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  No. 04-05 March 12, 2004       
 
 
  New York/New Jersey Carriers
Begin Postal Reform Lobbying
  Young Stresses Bipartisan Nature of Legislation
 
NALC President William Young chats with Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) at New Jersey congressional breakfast as Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) looks on.   NALC Executive Vice President Jim Williams, right, confers with Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) after Lautenberg addressed carriers at NALC Headquarters.
New Jersey NALC President Tony Massa is greeted warmly by Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ). Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) speaks at New York congressional breakfast NALC Assistant to the President George Gould, left, discusses issues with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ).


At top left, NALC President William Young chats with Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) at New Jersey congressional breakfast as Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) looks on. At top right, NALC Executive Vice President Jim Williams, right, confers with Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) after Lautenberg addressed carriers at NALC Headquarters. At bottom left, New Jersey NALC President Tony Massa is greeted warmly by Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ). In center photo, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) speaks at New York congressional breakfast, and at right, NALC Assistant to the President George Gould, left, discusses issues with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ).

 

Hundreds of letter carriers from New Jersey and New York fanned out over Capitol Hill during the past two weeks, launching face-to-face lobbying with House and Senate members of Congress on critical postal reform legislation that is on the front burner this year.

NALC President William H. Young told the New Jersey and New York legislative activists that along with valuable trips to the nation's capital by many NALC state delegations, his call for enlistment of members in the e-Activist and COLCPE programs has been "overwhelmingly positive."

"There is no guardian angel up in the sky looking after letter carriers," Young told New Jersey carriers March 4. "We've got to look out for ourselves. My job is to save your jobs."

Young said to date 57,000 members had signed up as NALC Legislative Activists to help advance letter carriers' concerns in the halls of Congress and many active carriers have also taken the opportunity for a payroll deduction for COLCPE. He added that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is expected to soon give the go ahead for checkoff of COLCPE donations by retired members through their annuity payments.

"Postal reform is moving on a rather fast track," Young said. "There's a possibility we could get a reform bill passed this year."

Young noted that the latest figures from the Postal Service show a 4.7 percent decline in first class mail in January which he said "augers very poorly for the future of this organization."

"Distant Dreams"

"The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 was a great success, but in 1970 computers and emails were distant dreams," Young added. "The world we live in today is much different than the world that was in existence in 1970."

He urged members of Congress to keep in contact with the NALC as they consider postal reform legislation.

"This is a bipartisan issue that affects every single American," Young said. "We need the support of both parties," acknowledging that currently the Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress.

At a joint meeting with New Jersey carriers at NALC Headquarters, Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine, both D-NJ, urged them to be active in the presidential campaign.

"This country has to make a change," Lautenberg said.

"It is absolutely essential to participate in the election," Corzine added. "There is a real important decision being made on November 2."

At the New Jersey congressional breakfast March 4, much of the attention of lawmakers was on postal reform legislation being considered by Congress.

"Something You've Earned"

"I said I would never sign onto any reform until the Letter Carriers signed onto the reform first," said Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), adding: "No one should fool with your collective bargaining rights. That's something you've earned."

Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said he opposed some of the recommendations of the President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service involving collective bargaining, including health benefits and pensions.

"I can not understand a country in which we are seeking to build a postal system in Iraq, but seek to destroy a postal system here in the United States," Menendez said.

At the New York breakfast March 11, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) told the delegation that she was going to be discussing issues less than a hour later with Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and would make sure NALC legislative issues were "on the top of the list" of things to be accomplished.

 

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  President Young Elected
AFL-CIO Vice President
   
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, right, congratulates President Young after his installation as a vice president of labor federation.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, right, congratulates President Young after his installation as a vice president of labor federation.


NALC President William H. Young was elected as a vice president of the American Federation of Labor, Council of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) March 9 at the labor federation's annual mid-winter Executive Council meeting in Bal Harbour, Florida.

Young fills the unexpired term of NALC President Emeritus Vince Sombrotto, who resigned his post at the same meeting. Sombrotto, who had been an AFL-CIO vice president since 1981, had the longest seniority of any of the current vice presidents.

Young's term will run until the next AFL-CIO Convention in Chicago in July, 2005.

 

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  Young Resigns from AIL Advisory Board
    In a March 4 letter to Roger Smith, president of American Income Life Insurance Company, President Young resigned from the firm's Labor Advisory Board because it competes with products of the NALC Mutual Benefit Association.

Young said it had come to his attention that AIL had been marketing insurance products to letter carriers that either compete directly with policies offered by MBA or are being viewed by NALC members as in conflict with MBA policies.

"Moreover, your representatives have referred to my presence on the AIL Labor Advisory Board as tantamount to an endorsement of AIL's products," Young told Smith. "Given the fact that the Constitution of our Mutual Benefit Association explicitly prohibits NALC's officers from encouraging competing insurance policies, I believe the wisest course of action would be for me to resign from the Board at this time."

 

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  TTD Backs Postal Bargaining
   

Leaders of 35 AFL-CIO Transportation Trades unions on March 7 voted support for collective bargaining rights of postal employees that are endangered by recommendations of the President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service. The action came at the winter board meeting of the federation's Transportation Trades Department (TTD) in Bal Harbour, Florida.

The TTD unions – which include the NALC – opposed recommendations of the commission that would "deal a severe setback to labor-management relations at the Postal Service and threaten the bargaining rights of 720,000 workers."

The Department said that the panel's call for a politically-appointed "shadow board" to oversee Postal Service collective bargaining, "would have a severe chilling effect on collective bargaining and would impose the will of a highly politicized body of outsiders who have no place meddling in the bargaining affairs of labor and management at the Postal Service."

The TTD also opposed the commission's recommendations for eliminating the long-standing tripartite arbitration process, which has clearly served the parties well. Also, the TTD united against the panel's opening the door to depriving postal employees of their existing federal health and pension benefits.

 

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  NALC Branches Can Order Free Kits
For April 28 ‘Workers Memorial Day'
   

NALC Director of Safety and Health Alan Ferranto urges all NALC branches to join on April 28 in observance of Workers Memorial Day, the anniversary of enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

2004 Workers Memorial Day PosterThe theme of this year's observances is "Good Jobs, Safe Jobs – Protect Workers Now."

"Decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements in achieving safer and healthier working conditions," Ferranto said. "But the fight is continuing as the Bush administration has joined with business groups to roll back, block or stall needed protections."

"The importance of this day becomes more and more evident to letter carriers and other postal employees every year as they have to deal with anthrax, ricin, pipe bombs, assaults nd the countless incidents they face in the workplace and on the street." he added.

The observance also provides an opportunity to remember those who have suffered or died on the job. Each year, more than 60,000 workers die from job injuries and illnesses and another 6 million are injured.

Special AFL-CIO kits to aid NALC branches in participating in Workers Memorial Day are available by contacting Ferranto at NALC Headquarters - (202) 662-2831.

 

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  Food Drive Update !
  1,300 Branches Registered for Food Drive
   

2004 NALC Food Drive CartoonMore than 1,300 NALC branches are now registered to participate in the May 8 NALC National Food Drive.

On March 5, orders for 85 million Campbell Soup/Postal Service postcards were sent to the printer for packaging and mailing in bulk shipments, according to data received at NALC Headquarters.

A list of branches registered for the food drive is on the Food Drive Page of the NALC website. If any branch has not yet registered or has yet to order postcards, they should immediately contact National Food Drive Coordinator Drew Von Bergen at NALC headquarters – (202) 662-2489 or via email at vonbergen@nalc.org.

 

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