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TSALC Vice President’s Report

Carlos Rodriguez Jr.

 

Report pending


June 2013

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my Brother and Sister Letter Carriers from Texas for allowing me the great honor to serve as your Vice President for the Texas State Association of Letter Carriers for the past 6 years.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and have done my very best to serve the interests of Letter Carriers in our great State. 

During the last two years, we have been witness to some of the most trying times for this great Union.  Our Postmaster General continues to advocate slashing services and dismantling the universal network in his shrink-to-survive vision for the United States Postal Service.  The elimination of a day, or DAYS of mail delivery would lead to a death spiral this company could not recover from.

We are VERY fortunate to have the leadership we have at the National level – President Rolando and our team of National Officers have been all over this country – on television, radio, newspapers, and the internet – bringing the truth to the American people.  While the United States of America is the BODY, it is the United States Postal Service that is the arteries and veins that give life to this great country.

As all of you know, President Rolando and our National officers mobilized rank in file carriers in a manner we have never seen before.  The nationwide informational picket regarding the elimination of Saturday delivery convinced a large number of carriers that have otherwise been disengaged from union activities to finally get involved and participate in the activities - We need to keep that momentum going.

The American public heard us and convinced Congress to step away from the disastrous plan to eliminate days of delivery and close America’s Post offices.  However, we are not out of the woods yet – not by a long shot!

As a NALC leader for quite a few years, I have written numerous articles about the need to get the majority of carriers involved rather than the usual few we see year after year.  I am disappointed to find that my words and articles have not been as effective as I hoped.  Don’t think for a moment that I do not appreciate our Union Activists – we could not survive as an organization without you. (*IF YOU ARE READING THIS, THEN YOU ARE A Union Activist).

For the past 6 years as your TSALC Vice President, I have tried hard to make a difference in getting more carriers involved in the union and the political process. The whims of Congress and more specifically, the INACTION of Congress greatly affect our jobs as letter carriers.  I have continuously strived to convince Congressional representatives how voting our way for their own benefit, as well as for the benefit of their constituents.  I only learned how naïve I was.

I learned that our elected representatives go to Washington D. C. agreeing with EVERYTHING you say back in Texas, and then vote opposite what they pledge.  It is very hard to spend so much time and effort lobbying for letter carrier issues, believing all the promises, only to be left at the alter when it comes time for the vote. 

Another example of frustration that comes with this job is by looking at how the President of the United States has dealt with letter carrier issues. President Barack Obama benefited greatly from the all the NALC “releases” and NALC activists that worked tirelessly in his campaigns; fighting for his historic election and re-election; yet he continues to support the elimination of 6 day delivery and has steadfastly refused to take Executive action to correct the pre-funding issues that have been devastating for the Postal Service.

Yes, the job is very often frustrating and you don’t have a lot of satisfaction when you can’t get more carriers involved or convince law makers to vote your way; but the job has rewards too.  I am so lucky to have met and worked with letter carriers all over the state, as well as from around the country – WAY too many to list.  It is also very exciting to meet with people we all see on the news everyday – I make a lot of them mad because they don’t want to hear the truth, but that is what y’all elected me to do – represent letter carrier interests.

However,

After much reflection and thought I have decided that I have a personal need to spend more time with my family. This will also allow others willing to take on the challenges I have described an opportunity to fight the good fight.

I will not be seeking re-election for a fourth term as your TSALC Vice President; it has been an honor and a privilege serving you!

As sad as it makes me, I will not be attending the 107th TSALC Convention because I want to share memories of mountains with my grandson the same way I did with my daughter.  This was a very hard decision for me to make, but as many of you KNOW, some opportunities occur only once in a lifetime.  Lord knows that I have missed my share.

My heart and soul are with you - I pray you have a successful convention and enjoyable time in Waco.  Please support your new slate of TSALC Officers and work to expand the work that has just begun.

Bradley K. Ramey (Brad)

2007 / 2013


April 2013

First of all, I want to thank all our members who showed up at the NALC “Day of Action” rally, especially those of you that brought friends, family, and citizens concerned about preserving and saving the United States Postal Service.  The events were widely covered by news media around the country and hopefully sent a message to our so-called Postmaster General that America does NOT want reduced service through the elimination of delivery days.

I say days, because IF the PMG is allowed to thumb his nose at Congress and defy the Federal law that requires 6-Days of mail delivery, what would stop him from eliminating additional days of delivery once he finds out his estimate on cost savings was wrong (surprised?).

The Postal Service claims the elimination of one delivery day will save the Post Office $2 billion in operating expenses.  However, Postal Service estimates are based on faulty data (surprised?) that does not take into consideration the additional losses in mail volume that would absolutely occur as a result of cuts in service. A more realistic calculation on what would happen with the elimination of Saturday delivery is actually a net LOSS in revenue – possibly as much as $5.3 billion. (idiots!)

I like to call those of you that take the time to read TSALC Officer Reports “the choir” – you are ALWAYS there for the NALC, you contribute to COLCPE, you are an e-Activist, you vote, and you are truly concerned about the letter carrier craft.  You are also the ones that we ask over and over again to do more – call your Congressional representatives, write letters, attend town hall meetings, and get involved in the political process. 

I know it is not fair, others ought to be helping, but for whatever reason they don’t.  Micky and I are ALWAYS seeking advice and suggestions on how to motivate the rank and file carrier – so don’t hesitate to call us, e-mail us, or stop us at NALC functions and offer your ideas on how to get through to the vast majority of carriers that are not aware of the threats to our jobs that we currently face.

Here are some quick talking points about important legislation that directly affects the future of our jobs to offer rank and file members – the carriers you case mail beside, eat lunch with, and socialize with after work.

H. Res. 30 – Expressing a sense of the House that the United States Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of its six-day mail delivery service.

H. Res. 30 currently has 155 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, but only 7 Congressional representatives from Texas have signed on.  Please take time to thank Pete Gallego (TX-23), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Gene Green (TX-29), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Filemon Vega (TX-34), and Lloyd Doggett (TX-35) for co-sponsoring H. Res. 30, and for supporting letter carriers. If you do not see your Congressional rep here, PLEASE ask them to become a co-sponsor – write, e-mail, or phone call!

S. 316 and H. R. 630 are both titled “The Postal Service Protection Act”.  Passage of this legislation would go a long way in restoring the USPS’s ability to once again operate as an independent and financially sound SERVICE. 

Passage of S. 316 and H. R. 630 would eliminate the USPS’s unique and unfairly burdensome pre-funding requirement that requires the Postal Service to pay between $5.4 and $5.8 billion each year into employee retirement accounts.

With regards to those payments – according to the OIG and PRC, the Postal Service has overpaid $50 to $75 billion into its CSRS pension fund.  S. 316 and H. R. 630 allow the Postal Service to recover overpayments by transferring CSRS assets to the Postal Service Retirees Health Benefit fund – this money came from ratepayers and employee contributions – NOT TAXPAYER FUNDS (as some Congressional “professionals” mistakenly believe!)

These bills include a proposal by President Obama to return any surplus in the postal portion of the FERS pension fund as well.

THESE MEASURES WOULD HAVE NO EFFECT ON ANY CURRENT OR FUTURE FEDERAL RETIREE’S ANNUITY BENEFITS!

If passed, S. 316 and H. R. 630 would establish permanent legislation that would require the Postal Service to deliver mail 6 days a week.  The legislation also calls for an end to prohibiting the Postal Service from providing other services – notary services, the issuance of licenses, banking services, state and local government services, and allow our company to begin shipping wine and beer. 

This legislation would create strict standards for delivery of First Class mail that would hopefully bring back many mailing customers, as well as make it much more difficult for the USPS to close mail processing facilities and local offices.

This is good legislation that would go a long way to ensuring a stable Postal Service in the future.  The squeaky wheel gets attention, so let’s be that squeaky wheel by getting friends, family and neighbors to let Congress know the Postal Service is broken – but there IS an answer!

PASS S. 316 AND H.R. 630 – SAVE THE POSTAL SERVICE!!!

TSALC Vice President


 4th Quarter Report

December 2012

First off, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is well on their way to preparing for the Christmas Season.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Also, I want to thank all who worked so hard for NALC’s endorsed candidates in this year’s elections - the new Congress will be much better for letter carriers and working people than the current Congress.

The latest e-Activist message reminds us the current Congress still has work to do before it adjourns and we have no time to rest. The lame-duck session of the 112th Congress began talks about Postal Reform and the looming “Fiscal Cliff” before the holiday break and it’s clear that both active and retired letter carriers still have a lot on the line. Budget talks could adversely affect the Postal Service, our retirement, and health benefits are now taking place between President Obama and the leaders of Congress. It has been reported that the chairmen and ranking members of our committees in the House and Senate are meeting behind closed doors to negotiate a “compromise” postal reform bill that could be attached to must pass legislation such as Hurricane Sandy Relief and voted on before the end of the year.

The NALC strongly opposes action on postal reform during the lame-duck session of Congress. Both of the House and Senate bills, H.R. 2309 and S. 1789, are deeply flawed measures designed to downsize (Senate) or dismantle (House) the USPS—at a cost of tens of thousands of our jobs.

Press reports indicate that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the retiring chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is proposing to immediately suspend letter mail delivery on Saturday but retain parcel delivery six days a week.

Billed as “compromise,” it would eliminate 25,000 city carrier jobs and drive more business away from the Postal Service by undermining the value of our service. Moreover, stand-alone parcel delivery would not be generally profitable on Saturdays if parcels were not delivered along with letters and flats. This is not a compromise at all, nor would it secure the future of the Postal Service since it does not address the crushing retiree health pre-funding burden.

President Rolando has asked us to Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard now at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representatives.

Another way you can communicate with your member of Congress immediately is to visit the Delivering for America website and sign the petition.

Tell them to oppose any action on postal reform until next year; we oppose the adoption of any backroom deal designed to slash service and destroy jobs at the Postal Service and tell them that federal and postal employees already have sacrificed over the past four years with pay freezes and other job cuts.

Also tell them that they should oppose in the fiscal cliff negotiations any discussion of cuts to federal pensions and health benefits.  Please urge your co-workers who are not e-Activists to make these calls as well.

In closing I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Brad


Bottom of the Barrel

“Bottom of the Barrel” – the place where the lowest quality things can be found.  A good example would be where Texas stands in e-Activist numbers – Bottom of the Barrel.

President Rolando came to our NBA School held in Houston Texas over the President’s Day Holiday weekend and informed those in attendance that our Sister State, New Mexico had a higher percentage of letter carriers signed up for e-Activist than Texas – as does most of the other States in this country.  Texas is LAST or near last and neither is acceptable.  I am pretty competitive, so I went to the microphone and asked all in attendance to take 10 sign up forms back to their stations and sign up the rank and file carrier that comes to work, does their job, but does not get too involved in all of this legislative stuff.  We NEED to increase our e-Activist numbers and get our participation up when it comes to dealing with Congress!

Folks, you have hopefully been reading about the proposals in Congress to pay for unemployment extensions and other programs on the backs of letter carriers – reducing our benefits while increasing our bi-weekly contributions SHOULD have gotten everyone’s attention.

The ONLY good legislation with the possibility of consideration is S. 1853 and H.R. 3591: The Postal Service Protection Act.  If passed as is (almost never happens), the law would eliminate the future retiree health benefit pre-funding requirement, return CSRS and FERS overpayments to the Postal Service, protect six-day mail delivery, establish new revenue for the Post Office, prevent the closure of rural post offices, as well as protect mail processing facilities.

This is an easy sell, whether you are a Democrat, Independent, or a Republican – no one wants to see the mail slow down further, reduced service, or post office closures – especially in areas of the country where our service means the most to Americans.

If your State Board and the few e-Activists we have are the only ones making calls, writing letters, and sending e-mails to our Congressmen and Senators, then our legislative representatives are not going to think very many people care about this legislation.

But if you and EVERY letter carrier on your workroom floor are calling, calling, calling – the legislative people that represent us in Congress are going to believe that this issue is VERY important to their constituency and will hopefully begin to support our cause.  That is the way it works – money or popular support from the constituency equals VOTES.

Want proof of the effectiveness of e-Activist?  As a result of President Rolando asking e-Activists to write, call, and e-mail every member of the House of Representatives to sign on as co-sponsors for HR137, a sense of the House to support six-day mail delivery, the NALC achieved a MAJORITY of the members signing on as co-sponsors in support of six-day mail delivery.  Does that mean we won or achieved our objective?  NO, in fact President Obama has expressed support to allow the Postal Service to reduce delivery days on several occasions recently meaning one thing – THE FIGHT NEVER ENDS! 

As one of your elected leaders, I have the experience and responsibility to let each of you know to the best of my ability that we need a BIGGER boat – we NEED more e-Activists in TEXAS!

If you are reading this on the TSALC.net website, you are likely already an e-Activist and I am asking that you PLEASE get this message out to the workroom floor.  We are not doing anything contrary to Postal rules and regulations if you ask for 2 minutes to read this letter or create your own plea for assistance by asking letter carriers help preserve our jobs and benefits.

I am going to try something new and ask all branch newsletter editors to print this letter in your branch newsletter – feel free to edit it for space, or even reword it to make it fit your particular membership.  Hopefully, our e-Activist numbers will rise soon and we will no longer be classified as “Bottom of the Barrel”!

The e-Activist Network is now open only to active and retired NALC members with valid Postal Record numbers. Once Headquarters receives your e-Activist sign-up, either online or by the postcard in the Postal Record, and once they verify your NALC membership, we will send you an e-mail that confirms your network membership.

Also, President Rolando sends out a special message to the entire network at the beginning of each month.

The NALC will mail letters to e-Activists whose e-mail addresses get marked as undeliverable. These letters will contain instructions for going online and providing the network with a working e-mail address.

Together we can take Texas from worst to first!

Brad


 Vice President’s Article

Special Edition

I am writing today in support of our National President, Fredric V. Rolando and to applaud his response to the outrageous tactics recently used by Postmaster General Donahoe and Management team members from the United States Postal Service.

At a time where JOBS are the number one topic in America, and may very well be the one subject that can pull this economy out of and away from another full blown recession – the Postmaster General Donahoe and the United States Postal Service are proposing to eliminate as many as 220,000 Postal Service jobs.  OUTRAGEOUS!

Hey, PMG idiot – I’ve got an idea – let’s start with the thousands and thousands of unnecessary MANAGEMENT positions that pay way more than the jobs of employees that actually touch and move the mail.  Manager of Fluff, Supervisor of Breaks and Lunch, Postmaster of Putting your Feet Up on the Desk While Reading the Paper, and my favorite – Complement Coordinator – You look good today! – Did you lose weight? – Love what you are doing with your hair!  RIF those positions, THEN we’ll see where we are at financially.

The next bright idea these cretins came up with was to eliminate both retirement systems and the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan because – wait for it – THE POST OFFICE COULD RUN THESE PROGRAMS BETTER!!! (LMAO)

The Postal Office proposal is to substitute a “postal management-controlled plan” that would provide retirees with lower pension benefits.  What a good idea – let’s save the Postal Service by reducing the benefits of all those rich retirees.  These guys are good.

UH, how about – IF you are going to lobbying Congress (like you are NOT supposed to) why don’t you morons lobby Congress for support of H.R. 1351 and other legislation that will relieve the Postal Service’s pre-funding obligations, correct overpayments, and put the Postal Service back on sound financial footing.

Instead of doing the right thing and doing the hard work that is needed to accomplish goals necessary to save good paying middle class jobs, the Postal Service has sensed blood in the water with regards to public opinion and Congressional attitudes regarding government labor unions, our pay, and our benefits.  They seized this opportunity to lobby Congress for help with these horrible labor unions that are bringing down the Postal Service right after signing a binding agreement with the APWU and the week before bargaining was to begin with the NALC – Bastards!     

This goes beyond bad faith as President Rolando labeled it – this strikes at the heart of being able to believe in whether or not we can sign an agreement with these scally-wags and believe they won’t try and change the terms or have the contract rescinded by Congressional action.

What good is an agreement bargained for in good faith if one side can lobby Congress to overturn it?

Folks, the actions of the United States Postal Service and Postmaster General Donawhore are unprecedented.  I have worked for the Postal Service nearly 32 years, stayed active both politically and in the Union during most of that time.  I’ve witnessed numerous negotiations for National Agreements with a half dozen or more Postmaster Generals.  I have NEVER experienced what we are witnessing right now.  If EVER there was a time to get involved to save your job, the time is NOW.

You NEED to call your Congressman’s office and ask for support and co-sponsorship or H. R. 1351.  Then, write a letter asking your Congressman for support and co-sponsorship of H. R. 1351.  Then send an e-mail to your Congressman asking for support of H. R. 1351. Then a fax, and then - start all over again.  Keep doing it until you get the desired result – then thank him or her! 

Get every carrier on your workroom floor do this.  Do they want their jobs? Get your spouse, your kids, your parents, your aunts, uncles and cousins to do it.  Get your neighbors, your church members, and members of clubs to do it.

The squeaky wheel is the one that gets attention – let’s fill every minute of every Texas Congressional office time up with dealing with H. R. 1351. 

LET’S DO THIS PEOPLE!  GET EVERYONE IN YOUR OFFICE INVOLVED IN SAVING THEIR JOB – ALL OF OUR JOBS – AND LET’S DO IT NOW!    

Bradley K. Ramey

Vice President of the Texas State Association of Letter Carriers


August 2011

Recently, I met with a number of NALC Activists to brain storm ideas about how to gain support for H. R. 1351.  One of the ideas was to write a letter to the Editor of your local newspaper.  I committed to doing that and recently sent the following letter to the publisher of the Pasadena Citizen, as well as several other community papers.

I thought I would re-produce that letter for activists that read this forum and ask you to consider taking what I have written and use it as a template for your own letter to the Editor.

“Dear Editor,

With the difficult financial situation facing the United States Postal Service, many local and national publications have been reporting on the Postal Service’s desire for a tax payer bailout. 

While it is true that the Postal Service has to solve its financial problems, the solution is not a taxpayer bailout in spite of what some members of the media have written about.

I hope to set the record straight once and for all.  The USPS is required to grossly pre-fund its future retiree health benefits benefit obligations. These payments, while legally mandated, are unfair.  No other organization in the nation, public, private, or Fortune 500, is required by law to pre-fund for future retiree health benefits.  The obligation puts the Postal Service at a disadvantage compared to our competitors, who are not required by law to pre-fund.  The Postal Service is not looking to skirt any obligations; current retiree health benefits are already 99% funded, and future retiree health benefits are over 40% pre-funded for the next 80 years!  No private sector company or corporation can make this claim.   

The United States Postal Service has overpaid the Civil Service Retirement System fund between $50-75 Billion (according to two separate studies) over the last several decades due to an error made in calculations made in determining our yearly payment obligations during the Reagan years.  The immediate solution is to return the overpayment to the Postal Service and relieve the USPS of their pre-funding obligations.

Essentially, fixing these two issues would place the Postal Service back on sound financial footing.  It is now up to Congress to make the necessary changes, H.R. 1351; a bill introduced by Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) would solve these financial problems.

The solution is NOT a taxpayer bailout, but passing legislation in Congress to give the Postal Service the financial flexibility it needs and deserves to prevent a rate increase and protect 6-day delivery service.”

The information in this letter can also be used to write a letter or send your Congressman an e-mail asking him or her to co-sponsor H. R. 1351.

My e-mail is listed on the officer’s page, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance to your or your branch.

Bradley K. Ramey

Vice President of the Texas State Association of Letter Carriers


TSALC 106th Convention – Tyler, TX

June 2011

As usual, let me take this opportunity to thank all of my Brother and Sister Letter Carriers from Texas for allowing me the great honor to serve as Vice President of the Texas State Association of Letter Carriers for my second full term.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity and have done my best to serve the interests of Letter Carriers in our great State. 

Recently, many of us were shocked by the audacious attacks on public sector Unions that took place in State legislatures all over this country.  Evidently, someone, somewhere suddenly decided that State workers were all overpaid specifically because their right to collectively bargain for their pay and benefits.

The move to eliminate State worker rights through the enactment of anti-Union legislation is well underway in Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, Nevada, and Ohio.  Anti-Union forces have waited for decades for the opportunity to turn public sentiment against workers who have gained the right to collectively bargain for living wages and benefits.  A good example is teacher Unions.

We all KNOW how overpaid teachers are, so many states (Texas, for example), have decided to balance the budget by slashing funds to school districts.  Governor Perry declined Federal education funds because he wants to be the Queen of the Tea Party (don’t believe me, look at his hair – I’m just saying).  So now many states (Texas included) are laying off teachers, increasing class size, and increasing State college tuitions, all to the detriment of our children and grandchildren. 

The teacher Unions used to be a formidable force.  However, after being targeted as “the problem “by political pundits, their members are being eliminated district by district.  The justification for these layoffs and reductions in force are as bogus as the State Representatives and State Senators voting for this action.  Poor performers, overpaid, too old, failed to teach to the test, etc.

The real reason for this attack is to break the teacher’s Unions – with no regard for our children and grandchildren.

So, first we saw Wisconsin aggressively attacking notoriously overpaid public workers – you know, Police and Fire Fighters – then the workers responsible for educating our children and grandchildren.  Can anyone reading this guess who is next?   

The jump from State to Federal Unions is not a great big one.  The general public can be easily swayed into believing Unions are corrupt and have an unfair advantage over private sector workers because we have negotiated agreements achieved through our right to collectively bargain with our employers.

Letter Carrier’s right to collective bargaining can be easily changed to collective begging by Congress.  The simple omission or addition of just a few words to law could end our jobs and/or our right to bargain for wages and benefits.  THAT is why President Young changed the focus of State Associations to legislation.

In my 4 years as Vice President I have taken upon myself to meet both of our US Senators and many of the Congressional Representatives from Texas.  Many of them know me by name, several dislike me because they know I represent a labor Union, but I am proud to say that most of them respect me and my passion for representing Letter Carriers.

Representing Letter Carriers is such a gratifying job – almost everyone loves and brags about their Letter Carrier and often has a story to tell about something nice their Letter Carrier has done.  This includes Congressmen, Senators, and many of the staff personnel we talk to.  Maintaining a working relationship with the individuals mentioned above is essential. 

My goal during this next term is to do my best to ensure our State Board and Congressional District liaisons are communicating the NALC agenda with each Congressional member, and that we increase participation among the rank and file.

We attend meeting after meeting all over this State.  Generally, we see the same faces at each meeting, you know, the ones that are active in the NALC, the ones that donate to COLCPE through payroll deduction, our e-Activists, and those that show up when we call for volunteers to block walk, stuff envelopes, and phone bank.

Our goal should be to tap that until now untapped source of rank and file Letter Carriers who do not read these messages, do not attend local Branch meetings, do not write their representatives in Congress asking for support on issues that affect our jobs.

I am asking for YOUR help – LET’S GET THE WORD OUT!

This article is being written 3 weeks prior to our State Association trip to lobby for Letter Carrier interests in Washington D. C.  We need the rank and file Letter Carrier to support our efforts.

First of all, we need to have ALL our members to contact friends, family, neighbors, and those casing mail on each side of you about the importance of maintaining 6 day delivery.

ELIMINATING SATURDAY DELIVERY IS NOT THE ANSWER TO SAVING THE POSTAL SERVICE!

Letter Carriers can help us by contacting their Congressional representatives and asking for them to co-sponsor H. Res. 137.  The fact is reducing delivery days would NOT equate to increasing business or revenue.  The Postal Service is unique in our 6 day delivery system and would LOSE business, reduce revenue, and create new competition IF Congress were to vote to eliminate 6 day delivery.

This is an easy sell to rank and file carriers – all T-6’s would have their positions eliminated and most of carrier positions would have to be posted for bid.  Thousands of junior full-time regular carriers would have to select jobs from a list outside their current installation.

We will also be talking to our Texas Congressional delegation about HR-1262 and HR-1351.  These are proposed laws that, if enacted, would correct an unfair overcharge to the Postal Service’s Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employee’s Retirement System (FERS) by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  In addition to correcting these overcharges, House Resolution 1262 would increase revenue by selling non-postal products in retail locations, increase postal facilities and non-postal facilities to increase convenience to customers, provided all employees remain USPS employees, pursue new marketing strategies to attract new business and increase mail volume (vote by mail, for example), and replace our current vehicle fleet with Electronic Motor Vehicles.

HR-1351 calls on the OPM to re-calculate overpayments made to CSRS, (estimated to be between $54 and $74 BILLION) and overpayments made to FERS.  This is a “just the right thing to do” bill that all of our representatives should co-sponsor IF they care about this country and maintaining a viable Postal Service.

I am asking EACH of you to take a few minutes, visit our NALC.org website, click on Departments, then click on Legislation and Politics.  Read about our position, and then TAKE ACTION!

YOU can help your State Board, your co-workers, and YOURSELF by getting involved and getting everyone you can think of by motivating friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, club members, church family, and community contacts into calling upon your Congressional representatives about the importance of ensuring the United States Postal Service survives and thrives. 

I am entering my 32nd year as a Letter Carrier.  I worry about what the future holds for my Brother and Sister Carriers just beginning their careers.  So few of these new Carriers seem to care about the past and all that we have endured – they don’t join the Union, and if they do, they don’t attend Union meetings for the most part. 

I find myself constantly thinking about how hard it will be for new carriers to survive 7 to 10 hours of street time for 30 years.  I also think about who is going to replace those of us who have been in representative roles for all of these years.

We need to not only get our rank and file active politically, but we also need to get busy finding, fostering, and mentoring our replacements to ensure we have competent representation well into the future.

In closing, I hope that we have a successful 106th State Convention and I really look forward to seeing y’all in Tyler!

Bradley K. Ramey


March 2011

First off – let me say that I am not receiving any feedback from reports the Board members and Officers are submitting to this website. That concerns me because I’m left to wonder about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of our Texas State Association of Letter Carriers website. IF you read this, please take a second of your time and send me an e-mail to my personal e-mail address – bkr51@sbcglobal.net – and just acknowledge you read my article and visit the site. Thank You in advance for that!

Next, let me say that I see the handwriting on the wall that should scare EVERY letter carrier – Union member and non-Union member. Politicians have decided the best way to balance budgets is by eliminating State worker’s rights to collectively bargain for wages, benefits, and job security. This includes Teachers, Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Highway Workers – Working Class People the rich cannot do without, but want to pay as little as possible. This is NOT just a Wisconsin issue – similar measures are being considered in Indiana, Nevada, Florida, and numerous other states. How long before it will spread to states deeply in debt like Texas, New York, and California?

Once this plague of an idea takes root and begins to grow within state, county, and local government, how long will it be before this populist idea is taken up at the National level? Think about it!

Letter Carriers make a damn good living thanks to collective bargaining. Our wages and benefits are among the best you could find in the labor market. Sure, we work very hard for those wages and benefits, but how does the media, television, and films portray Letter Carriers? We are portrayed as jokes, losers, characters without wit, and lazy workers looking to scam our way through another day.

How easy would it be to convince politicians Letter Carriers are overpaid and have too many benefits all as a result of collective bargaining? If you think for a second that is a hard sell when you pit us against money for the military, national security, education, crime prevention, highways, energy, the environment, farmers, small businesses, job creation, immigration, space exploration, and hundreds of special interests – Believe me, losing our right to collective bargaining is very much a reality.

At one time not too long ago, our Union had to BEG Congress for pennies of a raise. Letter Carriers were working full-time (40 hours) and still qualified for food stamps and welfare.

YES, our job is hard and getting harder! After FSS, carriers will be on the street most of their 8 hours day – 10 or more if they on the ODL. Compare that to the 4-5 hours office time, 3-4 hours street time I had when I hired on.

So, our jobs are definitely going to get harder, our right to bargain for a fair wage and benefits with our employer may be taken away by politicians because it is becoming the politically correct thing to do, and YOU plan on working for the Post Office how much longer?

Don’t you think it might be time to get involved and work together to turn this thing around? We need:

- Every Letter Carrier in Texas to support COLCPE - $5 per pay period through payroll deduction. If you give GREAT, help us sign EVERYONE up!

- Every Letter Carrier in Texas to sign up as an e-activist – IT COSTS NOTHING! No spam, no overwhelming amount of e-mail – just up to date information about your job and requests for calls to action.

- Volunteer to help us elect politicians that support us – we call it Carrier Corps.

- Sign EVERY letter Carrier up as a member – Regular, PTF, TE – We should ALL be tired of paying non-members way!

IF you have ANY questions about COLCPE, e-activist, or Carrier Corps call or e-mail any officer or Board member – that information is listed under the Officers page on TSALC.net.

PS Please don’t forget to e-mail me @ bkr51@sbcglobal.net if you read this – Thanks!

Brad


The $68,000 Question

The Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) states the average letter carrier currently makes a little over $68,000 a year with salary and benefits.  That is a pretty comfortable living for most folks. 

I would like for each of you to take a few minutes and look on-line, in want-ads, or any source you choose - Try and find a job that pays anywhere near what we make in salary and benefits.  Pretend for a few minutes this job was ending in 2 weeks and you HAVE to find another job.

Most of you won’t do what I am asking, so I will tell you what I found.  NOTHING comparable to what we have.  Sure I could find some work for $10 - $15 an hour with no sick leave, no vacation, no health benefits, and no retirement plan – Brothers and Sisters, it is scary to think about looking for work in this economy!

This article is being written prior to knowing the results of the election November 2nd but I have a bad feeling.  If we lose friends in Congress that support letter carrier and control Post Office issues our jobs may be in jeopardy.

President Rolando talked at length during the National Convention about the impact letter carriers would feel if the decision was made to reduce delivery from 6 days to 5 days a week.

Our National Business Agent, Kathy Baldwin allowed for a significant amount of time devoted to the importance of legislation and activism at her recent NBA School in Irving Texas.  Our TSALC State President told carriers that he estimates we would lose 2,977 carrier jobs in Texas alone.

NALC Executive Vice President spoke at the training and informed carriers that if we fail to maintain support we have in Congress we will be having REunions, not UNIONS.  He stressed the point that 1 in 17 letter carriers in the state of Texas give $5 in payroll deduction to COLCPE. 

COLCPE (pronounced cole-sep) is an acronym for the Committee on Letter Carriers Political Education and is our federally registered Political Action Committee (PAC).  COLCPE is non-partisan and supports both Democrats and Republicans.  In 2003, contributions were almost equally divided between Republicans and Democrats the support our interests in Congress.

 THE $68,000 QUESTION IS – WHY AREN’T YOU WILLING TO GIVE UP $5 PER PAYDAY TO HELP SAVE YOUR JOB?

A HOSTILE Congress could end our jobs early next year.  Why stop with 5 day delivery?  If reducing delivery days to 5 saves 7 Billion Dollars, then 4 day delivery would save 14 Billion, right?  Pretty soon, we will have an all part-time work force – we wouldn’t be working enough hours in a week to be considered full-time.  Then, there goes your benefits as you pay more and more for health benefits and earn less and less sick leave, annual leave, and retirement.  Giving $5 a pay day looks a little better now, doesn’t it?  PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES AND CHOSE THE METHOD THAT BEST SUITS YOU BY GOING TO NALC.ORG, CLICK ON DEPARTMENTS, CLICK ON LEGISLATION AND POLITICAL ACTION, THEN CONTRIBUTE TO COLCPE IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER.  THANK YOU!

 Donate to Colcpe

Contribute to COLCPE

NALC's political action fund helps elect friends of letter carriers. (For NALC members only.)

Active and retired members can contribute automatically from their bank account via Electronic Fund Transfer. Instructions

Active members can contribute directly from their paychecks via PostalEASE. Phone Instructions - Online Instructions

Retired members can contribute directly from their OPM annuities. Instructions

Branches giving group contributions should use this COLCPE contribution form.

 

Brad


Convention Report

August 2010

What a great place to hold a National Convention!  Delegates were blessed with WONDERFUL weather – what a great break that was from the hottest Texas Summer in 120 years.

Our newly elected National President, Fred Rolando, did an exceptional job conducting the convention. Many of the delegates referred to the Convention as the Comedy Showcase.  I found Fred’s sense of humor in conducting business entertaining – there were no boring parts to this convention.  Even the guest speakers were more entertaining than usual.  

Fred did something very unusual during this convention – he held a mini Rap Session on contract issues during the convention that allowed input and suggestions from delegates attending the National Convention.  A consensus was reached that the NALC continue to bargain independently, allowing our negotiations to focus on carrier rights and benefits rather than general craft worker concerns.

I attended 3 workshops that focused on legislation.  The legislative department did an outstanding job of putting together classes for Congressional District Liaisons (CDLs), the mid-term elections, and the NALC’s legislative focus.

Most of the attention during the workshops and convention was on 3 topics – Making sure letter carriers contact the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) regarding the importance of maintaining 6 days of mail delivery, H.R. 5746, and H. Res. 173.

If you have not contacted the PRC, I encourage you, your coworkers, your family, and your friends to go on nalc.org, click on the departments tab, then select Legislation and Political Action.  The opening page will guide users through the simple process of providing input to the PRC about what a disaster reducing mail delivery to 5 days would be. 

H. R. 5746 is known as the United States Postal Service’s CSRS Obligation Modification Act of 2010.  Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) is chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and District of Columbia.  He is the first member of Congress to author legislation that addresses a decades old accounting error that led the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to overcharge the Postal Service billions of dollars for payments into the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).

H. Res. 173 expresses a “sense of the House of Representatives” that the United States Postal Service take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of 6-day mail delivery.  As of this writing, H. Res. 173 has 240 cosponsors (12 from Texas), and H. R. 5746 has 51 cosponsors with ONLY one cosponsor from Texas (Gene Green from PASADENA).

Please consider taking a few minutes of time to contact the PRC and your Congressional representatives - The job you will be saving may be your own, so don’t procrastinate – do it NOW!

Fraternally Submitted by,

 

Bradley K. Ramey


 Legislative Trip Report

This was only the second legislative trip to Washington DC that I have had the privilege to make with the TSALC delegation.  Last time the big issue was contracting Post Office work out to the private sector, and we were successful in getting sufficientsupport from our friends in Congress to get the Postal Service to back off that topic and get back to the bargaining table.

This time, an even more serious topic was on the front burner – the Postal Service’s plan to reduce the number of days that we deliver mail.  Before our group left for Washington, the Postal Service was trying to save money by suggesting that we reduce the number of delivery days to 5.  Since we have been back, PMG Potter has insinuated that we could even go to 4 days of delivery, eliminating street deliveries on Saturdays and Tuesdays!

Republican House member Sam Graves from Missouri presented House Resolution 173, a sense of the House of Representatives that the Postal Service do all that they can to ensure continuation of 6-day delivery.  When your Texas delegation left for Washington DC, we had ZERO Texas House members signed up as co-sponsors of H. Res 173, so our goal was to visit with as many Representatives as possible and convince them that we needed their support by adding their names as co-sponsors.  As of this writing, we talked 8 of our representatives in the House into signing on as co-sponsors, bringing the total at this time to 180 members of the House of Representatives supporting this very important sense of the House.

As many of you know, the Postal Service cannot reduce the level of service we provide below 1983 levels because of language written into an appropriations bill that guarantees the Postal Service millions of dollars in repayment for free postage for non-profits and federal mailings.

If and when the Postal Service realizes that we have overwhelming support from Congress for the continuation of 6-day delivery, we believe they will back away from the idea as they did on the contracting out issue. 

There are way more than 8 members of the United States House of Representatives from Texas, so we need your help!  PLEASE contact your representative and ask them to please co-sponsor H. Res 173 – so far the following House members are current co-sponsors:

Ralph Hall, TX 4th                                        Sheila Jackson-Lee, TX 18th

Ruben Hinojosa, TX 15th                            Ciro Rodriguez, TX 23rd

Lloyd Doggett, TX 25th                                 Solomon Ortiz, TX 27th

Al Green, TX 9th                                            Gene Green, TX 29th

I was very pleased to have received a letter from United States Senator Kay Bailey-Hutchinson expressing support for the continuation of 6-day delivery by the United States Postal Service.  Additionally, I was able to have a short conversation with our other Texas Senator, John Cornyn, about the money aspect of having 75 billion in overpayments made by the Postal Service to the U.S. Treasury for prefunding retiree benefits returned to our agency.

The Postal Service currently is $10.2 Billion in the red, and returning the $75 billion in overpayments discovered after an OIG audit would put us back in the black.  Additionally, we need congressional support to reduce or eliminate the $5.4 billion we are expected to pay each year that led to the over payments.

All of these financial corrections would eliminate the need to reduce days of delivery and save thousands of jobs.  This is not a hard sell folks!  Please take the short amount of time it takes to contact your congressional representative – letter, phone call, e-mail – and encourage them to co-sponsor H. Res 173!

If anyone has any questions or needs any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me – (832) 878-1165 or bkr51@sbcglobal.net.

Fraternally, 

Bradley K. Ramey (Brad)

TSALC Vice President  


Some People Just Don’t Get It

In about a month, your Texas legislative delegation will be making one of the most important trips we’ve ever made to our Nation’s Capitol.  We are currently scheduling appointments with Congressional representatives so that we can solicit support for legislation critical to maintaining and hopefully improving our jobs.

One of the most immediate issues we will be addressing is the importance of receiving support on maintaining six-day delivery.

President Obama’s stand on six-day delivery was revealed when he included the same language used by every President since 1984 in his budget submission.  In setting the amount in the budget for “revenue Foregone” – the amount paid to the USPS to cover costs for free and reduced mail – the spending plan says payments to the Postal Service will be made “provided that six-day delivery and rural delivery of mail continue at not less than the 1983 level”.

In other words, despite what you hear from management and the media, a move to 5-day delivery is not the certainty some would have you believe.  Reducing delivery from 6 days to 5 will take “an act of Congress” – literally.

I would like to thank our NBA Kathy Baldwin for providing me with the most current information discussed at the State Chair Training last month.  Kathy was able to attend some of the training, but the NALC Executive Council was in session, so most of her time was occupied by those meetings.

This issue is extremely important to the security of our jobs, but some people just don’t get it!

Thank goodness President Obama gets it!  He clearly understands that eliminating Saturday delivery would open the door for competitors to come pouring in – possibly even creating new competitors.  Once the Postal Service loses enough business, we will become incapable in providing universal service to all addresses in America.  The Postal Service we work for will have to evolve into something much less than what it is now.  If you don’t think that will affect your job then you need to think again.

President Rolando gets it!  His focus for some time now has been to find a way to help save the Post Office from itself.  President Rolando has worked hard to make sure members of the House and Senate are aware of the $75 Billion overpayment the OIG says the Postal Service was charged for pension liabilities.  When questioned by the media about the overpayment, PMG Potter responded that we would not need to go to 5-day delivery if the Postal Service could recover this money.

Our NBA gets it!  Kathy didn’t have to spend her “time off” making visits to member of Congress soliciting support for the NALC’s position on maintaining 6-day delivery, but she did.  While State Chairs from all over the country were storming Capitol Hill, our NBA acted on behalf of letter carriers from Texas.

I mentioned to her that President Morris wanted to appoint a Congressional District Liaison from her Congressional District, and she stepped up and volunteered.  I understand Micky appointed Kathy as a CDL on April 9th and she will be travelling with us to Washington in May. 

Texas now has our current NBA and our past NBA, Gene Goodwin, working for you as Congressional District Liaisons.  So, I guess Gene gets it too!

Who doesn’t get it?

Many of the members from Congress don’t get it.  Some of the Congressional Representatives the State Chairs met with mistakenly believed that the NALC was in support of a move to 5-day delivery!  We’re gonna have to educate them, folks!  We’re going to make our trip to Washington, but all of you could really help prepare the playing field by making some phone calls and sending some e-mails.  Our message is simple – Elimination of 6-day delivery will place FREE universal delivery to every address in America in dire jeopardy!

Let them know that we believe our jobs and secure mail delivery to their constituents are at stake.  Let them know that we need their support on this issue!

Trust me, this is a much easier sell than soliciting support for Universal Health Care or the Employee Free Choice Act.

Who else doesn’t get it?

A lot of our fellow letter carriers don’t get it.  I hear about letter carriers (probably non-members) talking on the workroom floor about how great it would be to have Saturday and Sunday off like most everyone does.  You need to ask them if having Saturday and Sunday off would be worth all of the changes to our jobs 5-day delivery would cause.

First off, tell them to say good bye to their T-6, because the Higher Level paid Carrier Technician positions would no longer be necessary.  Right off the bat, the first week of 5-day delivery the highest paid top 20% of letter carrier positions would be eliminated.  In many places this would create a need to excess junior regulars to jobs outside your office.

Because we no lay off protection in our National Agreement, the Post office would have to get rid of TEs, reduce PTF hours, and find positions for excess full-time regulars.  And, you can bet our no lay off protection would be a hot topic at next year’s contract negotiations.  If we have to go before an arbitrator, you can bet that the Postal Service would have all kinds of neat charts and graphs showing how they have too many letter carriers and need the right to lay employees off as needed.

Your UNION would be greatly impacted and likely less effective as a representative organization.  Reduced membership would result in reduced income for the NALC.  Ask your coworkers if the Union will be more effective or less effective with fewer members and less money.

The few of you who have taken the time to read this quarterly report need to spread the word and make sure EVERYONE gets it!  You can do this in a variety of ways:

 

·         Increase your contribution to COLCPE or talk others into giving

·         Become an e-Activist and talk coworkers into joining us

·         Volunteer time to help get letter carrier friendly representatives elected by becoming a Carrier Corps Member

·         Ask your coworkers, friends, family members, and even your neighbors to call or e-mail your representatives in Congress about the importance of maintaining 6-day delivery.

 

PROVE TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS THAT YOU GET IT!

 

Fraternally Yours,

 

Brad


4th Quarter Report

2009

I invited Mayor Bill White to address the membership at the TSALC Convention last summer and he spoke to the membership about his intention to run for the United States Senate seat that Kay Bailey-Hutchinson was stepping down from.  The membership unanimously endorsed Mayor White and the Mayor has sent notice of his appreciation to me for our support.

Senator Hutchinson has since announced that she is going to remain in her seat so that she can continue to represent her friends that run the big medical insurance companies – protecting them from what she calls “a Government take-over” of the Health Care Industry.  I don’t how many of you have seen her commercials where she is crying about having to do the job she was elected to do at her own “Political Peril” – she makes me physically ill.

The top Democrat planning a run against Governor Good Hair, Tom Schieffer, decided against make a run for Governor, leaving the Democratic Party in Texas without a promising candidate for the position.  In his stepping down speech, Mr. Schieffer endorsed Mayor Bill White for Governor – a shock to Bill White and his campaign since the plan is to run for United States Senator.

Evidently, this got Bill and his staff to thinking about the similarities between the Chief Executive of one of the largest cities in the country and Chief Executive of the State.

Bill is seeking advice from his supporters, and I urge you to contact him before December 4th – that is when he plans to make the decision.  You can send him a personal message @ billwhitefortexas.com.

Personally, I will support whatever decision he makes.  Bill supports the middle class and will be a good friend to letter carriers.  Whether he is elected Governor or Senator, he plans to:

  • Help struggling homeowners and making homeownership more available for credit worthy buyers
  • Reform the Tax Code to promote more savings by and investment in middle class families
  • Work to reduce deficits so that our children and grandchildren don’t have to pay our debts
  • Diversify our sources of energy
  • Cut Electric Bills
  • Reduce Gasoline Bills
  • Create Flex Work Hours to reduce fuel consumption by avoiding congestion
  • Focus on education
  • Attack Waste in spending and energy consumption
  • Strengthen the Economy
  • Create Jobs
  •  Protect the Environment

These are the items Bill talked to all of us about at the Convention.  Bill has a long track record of innovation and action as Mayor of Houston – he now needs our help to represent us at the State or National level.  I have talked with Bill and promised him that he can count on Letter Carriers.

Please contact one of your State Officers, Board Members, or Branch Officers to find out what you can do to help us get our TSALC endorsed candidate elected.  No matter which job Bill runs for, he will be the underdog.


 Quarter 3, 2009  

The times, they are a changin’…

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for re-electing me to serve Texas as Vice President for another term.  I look forward to the legislative challenges we face, as well as confronting the always uphill struggle in getting labor friendly representatives elected in a “Red” State.

Now, let me address “the changin’” part I alluded to in the opening…

As you all know, President William H. Young decided to retire on July 3, 2009, and effective July 4th people all over this country celebrated as Brother Fredric V. Rolando became this organization’s 18th President.  President Young was at the helm during much of the automation changes and revolution in the grievance-arbitration process, as well as heavily involved in some of the best negotiated contracts letter carrier have ever had.  Letter carrier income and benefits have increased significantly directly because of Bill Young’s involvement.  I know I speak for all of the TSALC Board as well as Texas letter carriers when I wish Bill good health and lots of happiness as he enjoys a well deserved retirement.

Our former TSALC President, Director of City Delivery, and NALC Vice President - Gary Mullins – has now ascended to the position of NALC Executive Vice President.  As a group we could not be more proud of Gary, personally I say about time!  Gary has served Texas letter carriers longer than most have even worked for the Postal Service (he started carrying mail in 1971).  I am proud to call Gary my friend and congratulate him for deciding to stay on and assist his friend Fred Rolando.

I feel very fortunate to have been selected by Gary Mullins to attend arbitration training some years ago when I met Fred Rolando for the first time.  Letter carriers can rest assured that this great organization could not be in better hands.  I was amazed at Fred’s talents during the arbitration training we went through.  I can honestly say that we had some of the best and brightest in that class, and Fred Rolando was among the stars that were certified ready for arbitration after the week long training.  

I also would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sister Kathy Baldwin from Beaumont Branch 842 on her appointment to replace outgoing National Business Agent Gene Goodwin.  She represents women well as our first female letter carrier to rise to the level of National Business Agent in NALC Region 10.  I know that she is proud of that accomplishment.

Kathy has always supported this State organization and will have the support of the State Board as we work together to represent letter carrier in the State of Texas.

I want to personally thank Gene for all he has done for me over the years and wish Gene and outgoing State Treasurer Elisabeth Goodwin all the best retirement represents.  After all of the years these two have devoted to letter carrier outstanding representation, they deserve nothing but wonderful years in retirement.

Region 10 is very lucky to have the talent and experience Ken Claxton brings to the table as out senior Regional Administrative Assistant.  Ken never hesitates to take the bull by the horns and deal directly with the toughest problems.  He is not afraid to travel directly to the various locations letter carriers are dealing with the worst management.

NALC Region 10 also had a recent newly appointed Regional Administrative Assistant made by President Rolando, Javier Bernal from Houston Branch 283.  I have known Javier for several years as we all struggled for justice when management decided to adjust carrier routes without including time for many of the daily duties letter carriers are required to perform.  Javier was heavily involved in getting a large number of routes put back in to Houston Stations.  Javier was also named as out District Lead person for the current alternate route adjustment program and oversaw the work we “DEATS” did in the District.  Congratulations Javier!

With the experience and knowledge Fred and Gary possess, Kathy’s desire to try new and better ideas out in Region 10, Ken’s strength and devotion, and Javier’s drive - we could not be in a better position with regards to the leadership we have in the NALC.  Please join me in congratulating and supporting our new leadership team.

On the legislative front, as of this writing, the NALC is seeking to strike and amendment on Senate Bill 1507 that interferes with postal collective bargaining.  Essentially, the language in the amendment has the effect of giving short-term financial conditions for the Postal Service preeminence over other relevant factors.  This would put a thumb on the scale in favor of postal management in the next round of bargaining and cannot be tolerated.

The amendment is not necessary since arbitration boards already take postal finances into account.  Without listing other specific considerations, this language would be prejudicial to the NALC’s economic arguments that favor letter carriers.   

Please visit NALC.org, click the tab “Departments”, then under departments click legislation and politics to learn more about what you can do to help yourself and your family, as well as receive timely updates on legislation that affects your job.

Fraternally and Respectfully submitted