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The Prez Says
May  2002
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by Ron Woods,
President

     For the past couple of years my stepson has been trying to get me to take up golf again. I recently inherited a set of clubs so what the hell, why not give it a try. It had been 25 years since I last played, and it didn't take long to figure out that my body wasn't as flexible as it used to be. I also soon realized that playing golf when you're in your fifties wasn't, as easy it seemed when I was in my twenties. But then again, what is? It kind of reminded me of our jobs. As we age it becomes more and more difficult to perform at the level we once did. The years of lugging mail around eventually take their toll on the body and the aches and pains are a constant reminder of that fact. The game of golf is kind of like dealing with management, at times it can be frustrating and aggravating. That is where we are with the proposed route adjustments. Frustrated that we could not reach some kind of reasonable settlement as to how much the routes needed to be adjusted. Aggravated that management is set on devising their own system to analyze and adjust routes. Their justification for doing route adjustments without an actual mail count and inspection is that they are only making minor adjustments. What I want someone to explain to me is, how can two regular carriers losing their routes be a minor adjustment? Changing a route from being 8 hours to non-existent is not a minor adjustment. When routes are getting major territorial changes how can that be a minor adjustment? How can routes that are using 2,3, or more hours a week of overtime be evaluated at less than 8 hours?

  Just because mail volume is down over last year's figures, can management justify making major changes to all the routes? I don't think so. Mail volume may have dropped, but so have work hours by almost the same percentage. So what that is telling me is that most of the routes were over 8 hours and now the drop in volume has brought them back to being closer to 8 hour routes. The last figures management shared with me showed that caseable mail volume was down 16.8 percent, but work hours were down 14.5 percent. Total mail volume was only down 8.1 percent due to a 10 percent increase in DPS. We also have to deal with managed service points that we weren't doing last year. When you take into account the additional scans and the increased DPS that we have to now handle, it pretty much offsets the drop in mail volume. The amount management wants to add to the routes is going to make them over 8 hours once again. It seems apparent they want the routes to be 8 hours even on the lightest days and if it costs a couple of regulars their routes, so be it. What do they care? They still have their jobs. We are now in the process of acquiring the information to grieve the entire adjustment process. Hopefully we will win. Then they can put the routes back to the way they now are and be forced to adjust the routes properly, according to the guidelines set forth in the M-39.

  As far as our contract goes, I'm sure that you all know that our union leaders were able to negotiate a settlement. I still haven't received any news as to when we'll be voting to ratify the new contract. I'll let you know as soon as I hear anything. The terms of the agreement are posted in both offices.

Hope to see you at the union meeting May 8th 4:30-City Hall!!

Ron Woods