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MICHIGAN RURAL LETTER CARRIER'S ASSOCIATION

 

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Invite a board member to your next meeting

 

 

President Cyndi Parks  

 

Here we are starting a new MIRLCA year. A huge thanks and appreciation goes out to the counties of Region 9: Allegan, Calhoun- Eaton and Kalamazoo. I have said it before, but it is proper to say again how much work it takes to host a state convention. There was a small issue with the microphones, but after the issue was resolved, the association went right back to the business we were there to do. If you were unable to make the convention this year, you missed an absolutely hilarious visit from a gorilla who took several “hostages” until enough PAC money was raised to set them free. Well done Carol! An interesting question came up at caucus this year. It related to whether a candidate was a working carrier. I am not sure why the question was asked, but decided to clarify a couple of things for the record. As a retiree having served on an H route for 30 years, that fact has little to do with my position as your association president. The board acts in an administrative entity, not steward. The board members should not and do not give advice on contractual matters. We do need to know what is in the contract, never give out information, but rather point members in the right direction. We have an excellent steward system for that. Retiree’s role in this association.  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

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State Steward’s Corner

 Bridget Boseak

Another state convention has passed. We have a new state board member; there were things that changed and things that stayed the same. There were heated debates on many issues….where were you? We had question and answer segments to give the opportunity to get individual questions answered. The questions ranged from new scans to required equipment and everything in between. Do you have questions? We missed hearing from you….where were you? We also had a presentation on the proposed National Steward System. You can get a copy of the presentation on the NRLCA web site. This would be a change like we have never seen if it happens. NRLCA President Cantriel gave detailed information on how this would affect the MRL- CA dues structure. Did you have questions….where were you? The convention is the democratic process in action and your right and duty to participate in the decisions that guide our state association. We can have differing ideals and take opposing positions on issues, but the remarkable or maybe not so remarkable thing is that after all the arguing and voting is done, we move on and still have friendships with those that opposed us just a few short hours before. Did you vote and or debate….where were you? State of the State We have 2821 total routes in the state. We hit a high of 3004 in 2008 and with the current numbers we have a net loss of 183 routes in the past 3 years. We have now gone from 4 districts to 2. We have had approximately 48 DUO’s (delivery unit optimization) in the past year. The current break down is: Detroit 987 regular routes and 57 auxiliary routes, 1044 total (301H, 378J, 308K, 57A) The Southeast Michigan District was merged into Detroit. Greater Michigan 1595 regular routes and 182 auxiliary routes, 1777 total (359H, 609J, 627K, 182A) The Lakeland District routes in the UP were merged into Greater Michigan. RCA/RCR/Substitute Percentages: We currently have a total of 2148 relief people in the state, 434 less than we have regular routes. This shortage does not take into consideration that some of the relief people are assigned only to auxiliary routes. The TRC percentage is being tracked by the national office for the area, but just to show what it would be for the state, the breakdown per district is as follows: Greater Michigan with 1595 regular routes is 76%, they have 1214 RCA’s, 3 RCR’s, 3 PTF’s and 121 TRC’s Detroit with 987 regular routes is 79%, they have 779 RCA’s, 1 RCR, 1 PTF and 26 TRC’s For those carriers that do not have a relief carrier, you will be forced to give management a 120-day letter to get them to move on this in some cases. You will need to keep a copy of the request and when they get to the 120-day mark if there is not a sub in the works then you will need to follow through and file a grievance. Some managers are very good at keeping at trying to hire and some are not. It will be up to you to stay on them. Mail Count We did not count in February due to the lack of a contractual requirement. We did have a special count in May that affected the FSS offices of Mt Clemens, Rochester, Pontiac, Novi, Ann Arbor and Northville. All of these routes are in the new/old Detroit district. The high loss was 13 hours on 2 routes; we also have a 1 route that went up by 13 hours. The middle data creates the average, 1 route lost 9 hours, 4 routes lost 8 hours, 10 routes lost 7 hours, 16 routes lost 6 hours, 23 routes lost 5 hours, 21 routes lost 4 hours, 13 routes lost 3 hours, 8 routes lost over 2 (120 minutes) hours, 5 routes lost more than 1 hour but less than 2 hours, 14 routes lost 1 hour, 2 routes lost 0 hours and 3 routes went up 1 hour but less than 120 minutes. The average is a 4 hour loss, we had approximately 24 of the 123 routes that counted did not have a 120 minute change so they will not be classified as an FSS route at this time. Grievance Activity: Since last State Convention 37 cases have been appealed to Step 3 at the time of writing this report. We had approximately 20% discipline in 2002- 2003, 22% discipline in 2003-2004, 34% discipline in 2004-2005, 36% in 2005-2006, 40% discipline in 2006-2007, 32% discipline in 2007-2008, discipline in 2008-2009 37%, discipline in 2009-2010 46% and this year 66%. The actual number of cases that we have handled has not gone down. We still see approximately 600 cases at Step 1 and approximately 250 at Step 2. I have been successful in pre-arbitrat- ing all except one of the cases in Michigan scheduled for arbitration so far this year and we have 6 cases pending arbitration scheduling at this time. Changes We face changes almost daily. Pay attention to the legislative portion of our nrlca.org web site. You may be called to help. When was the last time you called or wrote your legislative representatives either state or US? Have you told your representative that you are opposed to union busting tactics that seem so popular? Have you told your representatives that 5-day delivery would be the end of the postal service and that the customers in the rural areas would be the ones to suffer? Start by letting your representatives know those few facts, let them get used to your contacting them and letting them know how you feel about issues. They really do pay attention to the voters because we hold their future employment in our hands (votes). Always remember though that even with the many changes there are still things that management can’t do just because they want to. If something new happens in your office that you don’t think is quite the way it is supposed to be, give us a call and we will check it out. Assistants: Please note the changes in the Steward System. I currently will be the phone contact for the 497-498- 499 areas. We have had many changes in the state level steward system in the past couple years and I would like to take this opportunity to ask that you make sure that you contact the steward that covers your area. Please look at the list in the paper to verify which steward covers your area.The assistants and I do the best we can to return your call on the same day we get the message. Depending on call volume sometimes that isn’t possible but then those names go to the top of the list for the next day. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that if you do not have voice mail or your voice mail is full we cannot let you know that we have attempted to return your call. I have set up a system that if we try 3 times and are not able to reach you, we will send you a post card telling you that we have attempted to contact you and have been unsuccessful. If you still need advice please contact us again. If your call has not been returned and you don’t get the postcard then we didn’t get your message, please call again. Under no circumstances should you allow your time limits to expire if you feel you have a grievance because you haven’t talked to us. If you think it is a grievance then file if we have to we can withdraw the grievance later but it is better to file than to let it go. I would also ask that if you have a question, please only call your assistant or me; do not call all four of us and leave a message to call you back. If the four of us use time to return a call to someone that has already talked to another steward that means someone that hasn’t been able to reach us will be put off. As always, be safe, be informed, and attend a meeting!  

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What you need to know about LLV’s

Senior Assistant State Steward Julia McCarty

Carrier of the Year

Julia McCarty

The decrease in the number city routes has resulted in an increased deployment of LLVs on rural routes. More and more LLVs will be coming to a rural route near you. Here are some things you need to know. 1. If the Postal Service gives notice that they intend to place one on your route - can you refuse it? NO EL 902 -Article 9.2.J.2 The employer reserves the right to provide vehicles at its option on ANY route. A carrier may be eligible for a waiver if they intend to purchase a RHD vehicle or are still within the 3 year waiver period in accordance with MOU 8. The required sequence of events is very specific. If the carrier intends to purchase a RHD vehicle they notify their manager. The manager checks to see if there is an LLV planned for the route and if not, the carrier must complete the purchase of the RHD vehicle within 60 days. You will not be eligible for either the waiver or the incentive if you attempt to purchase a RHD vehicle after having been informed of an LLV placement on your route. The entire language of MOU 8 and the incentive payment can be read on the nrlca.org website. 2. How do I get paid for having an LLV assigned to my route? This is language that applies to the credit given a route when a USPS vehicle is assigned to a rural route. Rural routes assigned USPS vehicles will be compensated using the following standard allowance: Twenty-four (24) minutes per week for completing the PS Form 4570 (Vehicle Time Record) daily, the vehicle check as outlined on Notice 76), and PS form 4564 (Vehicle Repair Tag), as appropriate. A 4.5-minute allowance for each fueling of the vehicle, the time to be added to the weekly evaluation is determined by multiplying the daily route miles (DRM) times six (6) days divided by one hundred (100) miles per fueling times the 4.5-minute fueling allowance. (If the fueling location is not on the route line of travel, the deviation is determined by measuring the distance in miles and hundredths to and from the fueling station and the official line of travel. The average daily deviation mileage is added to the daily route miles utilizing the PS Form 4003. The mileage addition on the Form 4003 is determined by multiplying the mileage deviation times daily route miles divided by six (6) days equals daily average deviation.) In no instance will a route using a USPS provided vehicle receive less than thirty (30) minutes allowance per week for the activities described above. What this means is that the 24 minutes is the route credit given for the vehicle check and filling out a repair tag. The fueling allowance can vary from route to route depending on the route mileage. The carrier is compensated based on their route mileage. The LLV is a postal vehicle and may be used for other functions when it is not in rural use. However, the fuel used in other functions MUST be replaced. Prior before being required to drive the LLV, carriers will receive on the clock training and familiarization. 3. Carriers are required to inspect their vehicle daily. Normally, carrier should sign in, get the vehicle keys and perform the vehicle inspection as soon as possible. This will allow management ample time to get a replacement vehicle if there is a problem with the assigned route vehicle. Vehicle inspections consist of starting the engine, checking the lights, wipers, turn signals and brakes. Obviously if, as you are walking to your vehicle, you notice a pool of fluid underneath - it should be reported! However, rural carriers do not open the hood or check any fluids. If your doors are frozen shut, rusted or some other such issue then your manager or the VMF is required to take care of it. Some more items and frequently asked questions4. Providing a Vehicle The carrier may be requested but cannot be required to provide a replacement vehicle during periods when the USPS vehicle is not available. If this happens (carrier agrees to use POV) then the carrier will receive the equivalent of one full day of the route’s regular EMA. The take away point here is that if your vehicle is in the shop or unavailable for some other reason they can ask you to provide a vehicle but they cannot require you to do so. If you are ready to go and are waiting for the PO to get you a replacement vehicle, that time is accumulated as “O” time (more about that later). I have had carriers tell me that their managers will come to them and say “I need you to use your car today ‘cause I need the LLV for the city side - or Express - or to do a collection run ....”. Wrong. The LLV is assigned to the rural route. 5. “OTHER” Leave for Vehicle failures. Government vehicles: Anytime spent for LLV breakdown is accumulated as “O” time. When an Employer provided vehicle fails during use by the carrier on the route or other authorized purpose the carrier will accrue OTHER LEAVE (O time) equivalent to the time the carrier was delayed as a result of the vehicle failure. When a carrier accrues eight (8) hours of other leave, the carrier will be granted one (1) days relief to be taken within the next eight (8) weeks. So, basically if you are delayed due to vehicle unavailability, broken down on the route, stuck in a ditch or snow bank, waiting for a tow truck or road service for a flat tire, then that time will be accumulated and considered “ O” time. 6. Vehicle Safety and Security This is the language straight from Postal Bulletin 22033: 

 

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  USPS to Institute Cash Conservation Plan PAC and Legislative and Retiree Affairs

Legislative and
Retiree Affairs

Lynne Ramsey

This is the SOP we received at work and I know a lot of you will already have seen it by the time the paper comes out but for those of you who missed it, or the retirees, here it is word for word: The Postal Service is facing its gravest financial crisis in history. We’ve made great strides to cut costs and generate revenue, but unless we see some legislative reform from Congress, we face the very real possibility of running out of cash by Octoberand facing a national mail shutdown as a result. To reduce the chance of that happening, the Board of Governors announced today that it’s implementing an emergency cash conservation measure and will suspend the Postal Service’s contributions to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) effective June 24, 2011. The Postal Service pays about $115 million every other week to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for FERS annuities. Suspension of payments would free about $800 million this fiscal year. What does this suspension of payments mean to employees? This will have no effect on employees. There are three components to FERS-an annuity, Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). USPS and employees contribute to all three. The Postal Service will continue to transmit employees’ contributions to all three. And USPS will continue to fund its Social Security obligations and to transmit its automatic and matching em- ployee TSP contributions for FERS employees. The Postal Service will suspend transmitting to OPM the portion that it contributes toward the annuity that FERS retirees receive. The Postal Service believes it has satisfied its current funding obligations because of a $6.9 billion surplus it has paid to FERS. Also, on June 23, 2011 Rep Darrell Issa Rep. of California, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform introduced bill HR 2309. HR 2309: To restore the solvency of the USPS to ensure the efficient and affordable nationwide delivery of mail. When I tried to get the text of the bill this is what I found. The text has not yet been received from GPO (Government Printing Office). Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from the GPO a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate unless there are a lot of bills. The text will be available by the time this paper is printed but I went to the NRLCA web site and while they did not have a copy of the text available either they did have some information from the HR 2309 available. Here are just a few things the bill contains: • 5 Day Delivery • Authorizes USPS to sell advertizing space on USPS facilities and vehicles. • 1st year recommends closures worth $1 billion/ year for post offices • Over the second it would recommend $1 billion/ year closures for mail processing and a 30% reduction in management facilities. These are just a few of the items in the bill, the NRL- CA strongly opposes HR2309. So it is still imperative we keep up the letter writing, emails and phone calls our jobs depend on it.   >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

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 Link to Michigan State Government

 


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MICHIGAN RURAL LETTER CARRIER'S ASSOCIATION

 

 

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