United We Stand!



MAY 28, 2007

From: Loren Adams

Date: Mon, 28 May 2007 07:01:04 EDT

Subject: Razorback Scheme newsletter

Tonight I wrote and published the RAZORBACK SCHEME for the first time in years. It will be distributed in the breakrooms at work and will be posted on the bulletin board. The newsletters will arrive when I do -- that means Tuesday afternoon.

Most of it deals with last week's Labor-Management Meeting.

The text is included in this email for you to read.


Fayetteville AR APWU Local #667

Three or four years have passed since our Local put out a newsletter. Since Jake retired from the job, no one has stepped up to the plate. Anyone interested?

This newsletter is being produced to report on the Labor-Management meeting held last Wednesday.


Acting Postmaster Jeremy Coffey, Acting Plant Manager Giovonni LiMandri, Steward Drew Heyd and I were in attendance.

The first issue brought up was the question about the 200 man-year office status. For months, Headquarters USPS and Area (Dallas) USPS were in disagreement whether we were. I submitted a full request for information to ascertain how they would arrive at the decision back in February. The request was denied by the PM based on his knowledge and concurrence with Area USPS that Fayetteville WAS over 200 manyears; thus, no need for information. I kept copies of their correspondence just in case.

Well, finally Washington (USPS, not APWU) made the determination that we are not over 200 manyears. Hence, we are placed in the below-category which means our current PTFs do not receive a blanket conversion by December 2007 and the option was lost where more jobs would be created to fill-in-the-blanks for regulars which would have meant the Dickson Street jobs would have possibly been resurrected from 2002.

So, at the Labor-Management meeting we finally got a definitive answer after asking many times over a period of four months. And since the answer contradicts the original (cited as the reason for denial of the request for information), I asked that the request be filled so we could investigate how they arrived at their numbers. (Contested period is 1 yr. prior to end of last Contract.)

In 2001, we were listed as a 217 manyear office. In 2006 (only reported after the ratification of the contract, of course), we were downgraded to 192 and later upgraded to 199. But where's the information from which to calculate?

Some have said this Local President hasn't done enough to clear up the matter. Okay. Do you know how many letters, calls, emails and faxes I've sent concerning this matter?

Some suggested that I just forget about it because it won't make any difference one way or the other. No, I won't do that. I want to know how they arrived at their numbers and we have a limited window to look into it since the PM denied my initial request based on his (and Dallas & District's) understanding that we were over.

According to the memo from the Rank & File Committee we just had 30 days from date of ratification to challenge the numbers, and a national APWU leader was supposed to do the challenging, not the local. However, if the PM and Area officials concurred in writing that we were over, it's an automatic extension to the investigatory period.

Other facilities over 200 are being flooded with casuals a 6% cap for each district but unlimited for 200 manyear offices up to arrival at the cap for the respective district which could possibly reach 25% of the workforce in some offices.

What this means being over 200 is an advantage for some, disadvantage for others and for the long-term best interests of the bargaining unit. Instead of hiring regular career employees, management naturally resorts to hiring temp workers. Voilà !

After crunching the numbers and they show we are over 200, an announcement will be made to that affect. If we are under, same.


The PM announced Fayetteville is under a withholding order from the closing of the Beaumont REC Site, about 450 miles away.

We asked for documentation. None given as yet. But since Beaumont is such a distance and only a fraction of that workforce are career employees, I suspect the withholding order will be rescinded. No, we haven't received paperwork; but the order may not stand, like the Memphis withholding order a few months back.

We will ask the national officers this week about this undocumented order when in Little Rock Thursday through Saturday (State APWU Conference).


For several years, training has not been properly scheduled for various jobs. The vending position is one of them. Instead of sending the regular who was awarded the job to do the tasks, management has sent in an assistant out of craft at the time. This issue was brought up at L-M; the PM promised he'd take care of it and schedule training.


Have you noticed managers and supervisors putting up box mail? Sorting parcels? Doing Priority Mail?

Well, that's a sure symptom we're short-handed. As employees retire or transfer, a good many of their jobs were reverted. It's gotten to the place if anyone calls in, there aren't enough employees to handle the workload. And why is that? Because management refuses to staff properly, and when they do it's with casuals.

I see nothing wrong with streamlining & organizing the work to make it more efficient. But proper staffing goes along with organizing. Historically, the Postal Service hired career employees to protect what they and the government called 'the sanctity of the mail.' And it remains so to this day. Hiring responsible, compatible, efficient people and placing them into career positions is the first priority in avoiding future entanglements and high maintenance.

Back to supervisors doing clerk work.... Did you realize we can't file a grievance based on this if we have nothing upon which to base it? In other words, without written statements, there is no grievance on this particular issue. It's the paperwork that counts! So, if you want to see it grieved where supervisors or 204Bs are performing bargaining unit work (Art. 1.6), then step up to the plate and write a statement. Include your name (of course), date of witness, length of time performing the work, location, etc. Sign and date. Then give the sheet to your steward. Stewards write the Step One's in our system; the Local President and/or VP handles Step 2s & 3s and whatever else goes up the ladder. I realize other smaller locals handle their cases differently, but that's how ours works.


A few scheme positions will be transferred to Dickson Street by sometime in August, reports the current acting postmaster. An additional 3 jobs will be created on Dickson and/or Joyce, he reports. 'De-centralization'at this time does not include operating processing equipment at the AOs as was earlier surmised.

How De-Centralization will work is to be ironed out by August. The PM promised we'd be apprised of the issue. But it appears these jobs will have to be re-posted based on changes in hours and locations.


I've proposed for three years that the WRMC Sleep Clinic return to the Plant for stand-up sessions dealing with sleep deprivation. At the L-M meeting, I re-emphasized this. Same for physical therapy training..... Both of them are free clinics offered to area businesses, but we haven't utilized them for 7 or 8 years. I told those at the L-M I was tired of suggesting positive ways to improve the workplace when no one cared to follow up and contact these people.


The PM & PM announced the Plant will be processing Russellville in addition to Harrison flats. I asked, 'With what people?'The PM suggested we had to justify having the machine (AFSM100), and I asked, 'The machine's more important than people? We have to have the people to operate the machine. The machine's not going to do it on its own.'

They nodded in agreement, then said they were thinking about starting up a Tour 2 operation with begin-times at noon to run the flats. I said that would be fine. But we need the people (full-timers, not temps).

Since when is possession of a machine more important than the humans that run it?


The handling of Priority Mail (especially on Tour 1) has been a problem over the years. We filed on it in 1997 and won. We filed on it in 2001 and won. But somehow the Priority jobs slip back into the same ol' mode of mailhandlers and supervisors doing clerk craft work. Drew filed on it with copies of the former grievance and settlement from 2001 or 2002. It's clerk work based on RI-399 Local Inventory and the nature of focusing on addresses and distributing pieces accordingly.


We scheduled the next one for August 23. If any member would like to give input or suggest questions, please contact an officer or steward.

LMOU 2006-2010

The Local Memorandum of Understanding (LMOU) continues as is for the duration of the current contract. No changes were made and no one requested to open up negotiations.

Copies of the LMOU are on the bulletin board and/or with your steward.

The LMOU was well written many years ago by Frank Fickle, Randall Woodlee, Jake Lamkins and Gary Blackshare who are all retired now except Frank. If you happen to see Frank, please express your thanks.


Dennis Taff (now NBA) has consented to teach another of our Steward Training sessions. It hasn't been scheduled but will be as soon as Dennis has an opening. I am asking all stewards, alternates, and officers to be present. And activists may also come if you are interested in union matters. Some get their stewardship by natural inclinations; others it has to be drilled into them. I fit that category. But the more we know, the more we grow. And the more able we are to help one another. If we want a better, safer, more hospitable workplace, where else to begin than by learning how to use the tools?

Just Cause? Or... Just Because?

Have you ever been disciplined? Was it for just cause? Did it correct the problem?

According to Article 16 of the National Agreement, the basic principle shall be that discipline should be corrective in nature, rather than punitive. No employee may be disciplined or discharged except for just cause such as, but not limited to, insubordination, pilferage, intoxication (drugs or alcohol), incompetence, failure to perform work as requested, violation of the terms of this Agreement, or failure to observe safety rules and regulations. Any such discipline or discharge shall be subject to the grievance-arbitration procedure provided for in this Agreement, which could result in re-instatement and restitution, including back pay.

'For just cause....' Now, that's an extremely broad term. How many supervisors are there that you know that take a very liberal stance in this area? What may be for just cause, to some is a license to inflict pain and suffering for others. Why? JUST BECAUSE they feel they can. Some supervisors get what is commonly referred to as the God Syndrome. They feel indestructible and feel that they can do whatever, whenever they feel the whim. Others will discipline usually to justify their inability to reach assigned goals. If they don't make their goals or budget, they immediately begin issuing discipline to blame it on someone else.

There seems to be a rash of discipline for one unit of penalty overtime; plenty of that to go around. Is this discipline going to make that overtime go away? I don't think so. What the discipline does is it instills so much fear that employees punch out and work off-the-clock! I guess management would deem that as 'corrective in nature.' Now, I ask you, is this for JUST CAUSE? It is just plain despicable and incredibly ridiculous.

Don't let management's warped sense of right and wrong do YOU in. If you are ever disciplined, especially when the discipline has no merit and is without just cause, contact your steward and FILE A GRIEVANCE.

One thing also to remember: If you do have discipline pending and it has been in your record for two years or more, if there has not been any disciplinary action initiated against you in that two-year period, then you may have that discipline removed from your official personnel folder. To do so, YOU must make a written request to management to have the discipline removed. Otherwise, it will stay in your folder most likely forever.

by Cliff Ritch, Jr., APWU Business Agent, Hialeah, Florida

(Reprinted from the MIAMI POSTAL LABOR NEWS)


To all our stewards who work around-the-clock to represent employees to the best of their abilities, I say a heart-felt thanks. On the first-line of defense they are the ones who compile the Step One's the necessary foundation for the grievance process. Without a well-documented case, I either have to withdraw the grievance or do the research myself if I find it significant.

Thank you, Gini Hickman, for being faithful as financial secretary for almost 10 years. Thank you, Pam Beck, for your work in reorganizing the Union Office and placing new officer racks. Thank you, Jake Lamkins, for continuing the Local's website for 10 years.

We are a YOUnion!