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Prez Says  August 2002
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by Ron Woods,

How about some good news for a change? The financial picture of the Postal Service seems to be improving. They are now looking at possibly only a billion-dollar debt this fiscal year. Though that may not seem like good news, it is much improved over earlier projections of a 4 to 5 billion-dollar loss. Putting the rate increase into effect earlier than originally planned, and taking other cost cutting steps seems to be working. Thirteen thousand jobs have been eliminated through attrition, and another 3000 are supposed to be eliminated in the next three months.
  Also in the good news section, Postmaster General Potter announced that the management bonus plan has been scrapped. Unfortunately in the not so good news section, they are working on a new management bonus plan that could go into effect in 2003. Hopefully Congress won't allow any bonuses to be paid while the Postal Service is operating in the red. Over the last 4 years Postal management has been paid over 1.1 billion-dollars in bonuses, during which time the Postal Service was losing money. Makes a lot of sense doesn't it?

   How about some more good news? The route adjustment grievance is once again on the move. The Dispute Resolution Team (DRT) has taken it off of hold, but was unable to reach a decision. Neither side could come to any agreement, so it came to an impasse. The grievance has been sent to National Business Agent Neal Tisdale, and he has appealed it to arbitration. Neal, and National Vice President Gary Mullins are looking over our case and deciding whether it should be arbitrated regionally or if it should be a national arbitration case. On the not so good news side for those who are not happy with the way their routes were adjusted, it looks like September will be the earliest possible date that our grievance will be presented to an arbitrator.

   If you can handle any more good news, word is finally out that our pay raises will finally be showing up on our last checks in August. Our October 11 paychecks will include the nearly 9 months of back pay we are owed. Also our September 27 checks will include the COLA adjustment from October of 2001 through July 2002, which should come out to be close to $300.

   On a final note, it is now time to decide whether we want to open up local negotiations. If we are going to do so, local negotiations are to take place in October and would remain in effect for the remainder of this contract, which expires in November 2006. We will be voting at the Union Meeting of Wednesday August 14 as to whether we want to open up the local negotiations. So if you are interested in the outcome, I suggest you show up at the meeting and cast your vote. The vote will take place toward the end of the meeting so that those who work overtime should be able to make it. I hope to see you there.

Ron Woods