Time Man of the Year?
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As many of you know, I have been around for a long time and my memory is even longer remembering hacks and cronies who have run the United States Postal Service. Since he started in the position in June, 2020, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy cleaned house at the upper levels of the Postal Service leadership team.
DeJoy selected and promoted people from within the organization to key leadership roles and developed a ten-year plan to make the Postal Service a viable operation in the long term. In my opinion, since he became the Postmaster General, the Congress has done nothing to help either DeJoy or us as postal employees.
While I have different political views from the Postmaster General, his work ethic is unmatched as the leader of the Postal Service. When DeJoy started, he said the trucks will leave on-time and if the mail isn’t ready, the carriers will deliver it the next day. Far different from holding an entire office full of carriers for a couple of trays of mail. Congress and the media had a field day with this.
When it came to taking out excess processing equipment that we truly didn’t need, the media trumped up (pardon the pun) a whole scenario about the ballots not getting processed. But; what happened? All the ballots were processed efficiently because of the efforts of all the employees in the Postal Service.
The Postmaster General is renowned as a knowledge-leader in transportation services. Isn’t that what we do, transporting mail and parcels around the country and the world? The Postmaster General wants the same thing that we do; to give the public the best possible service at the lowest possible cost. Since he implemented his ten-year plan, the Postal Service is looking better than ever, even with the ravages of Covid.
If we were part of the Amazon empire, what would your pay and benefits packages look like? If the Postal Service were privatized, do you think your salary and benefits would increase? If you do, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you.
From my perspective, DeJoy is the right person for the times to lead the Postal Service, regardless of what the mainstream media says. Journalists are sometimes like weather forecasters; they are wrong more than they are right. Should DeJoy’s plans work, it might just mean that you can continue to earn the salary and benefits you enjoy today. I’m not betting against Louis DeJoy and neither should you.
With the 2020 Presidential election over and President-elect Joe Biden ready to become our 46th President of the United States the question still remains, (Where do we go from here). I would tell you that President Joe Biden a moderate senator all his life is the perfect choice to bring Senators from both parties together for the good of the nation. I certainly hope he is given the chance.
As for the Postal Service, we did it again. Our employees are seen as hero’s here in New York and around the nation. I also would like to give credit to PMG. Louis Dejoy and the leadership team, along with our employees, for raising the bar to make sure we delivered the Ballots in a timely manner. Remember my motto, When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
The future of the Postal service would be bright if we got a little help from Congress. We know we can’t continue to operate under present conditions. If they would relieve us of the 5.3 billion dollar albatross for future retirees’ benefits, that would be a great help. PMG Dejoy has stated that we are now players in the Parcel business and need to upgrade our truck fleet, let’s not talk about it, let’s do it. What we really need is to be left alone to do our job, not be micromanaged, and have the respect of the U.S.P.S. I remember the words of Naps greatest President Vince Palladino when he said to me, we must show the USPS that we are not the enemy and only want what is best for Naps and the USPS. A lawsuit and an appeal of the decision of the lawsuit, certainly does not bode well with the USPS. History will show that NAPS should be going to Congress to modify Title 39, which in my opinion favors the USPS over all management associations. We have gone down this road before and never have been successful. In the eyes of the Postal service and Title 39, we are a supervisors association and represent EAS supervisors and managers, and are not entitled to represent Postmasters, yet when faced with the same problem years ago, Vince Palladino told the USPS, anybody can represent anybody is how he got around that problem. We represent about 3500 Postmasters today in Naps and the only way we can represent them officially is to change the verbiage of Title 39. This is why we should have gone to Congress rather than suing the USPS.
In closing let me say, in my opinion, now that the election is history, we should all rally around our new PMG, give him the full cooperation he needs to furnish us with a new working model that will last for years, and give us a bigger and better USPS, ready to take on all challenges. I am putting my trust in the PMG, how can I not back a guy born and raised in Brooklyn N.Y. not to do the right thing.
The Postal Service is in a state of flux as we speak. COVID-19 has drained the already financially strapped Postal Service of any reserve funds we might have had, and the man occupying the White House is hell-bent on destroying us. He refuses to include us in any stimulus bills he has offered, saying to his minions, fix it up and sell it to the highest bidder. His disdain for Jeff Bezos, Amazon C.E.O. goes back long before he settled into the White House. Jeff Bezos the C.E.O. of Amazon is also the owner of the Washington Post, a tabloid which has been unkind to Trump over the years. So, in the interim we the Postal Service become the pawns in their private war. Let’s face it; the Republicans want no part of vote by mail. They will do anything to destroy it. Could this be the reason why the man in the White House wants to kill the Postal Service? He would not have to worry about vote by mail if the Postal Service were not around. President Obama said just that recently at Congressman John Lewis’s Funeral. Everybody knows it, but it took President Obama to say it. MY KIND OF GUY. So now Congress wants to call P.M.G. Louis DeJoy to testify about the disappearance of mail boxes from routes, and the removal of all kinds of machinery from the plants, he will give the corporate answer, that in order to make the Postal Service viable again, these matters had to addressed. It is funny that his plan, even if viable, was enacted just before the Presidential elections in November, and the vote by mail controversy has raised its ugly head. Everyone knows that Trump and the Republicans fear vote by mail and will do anything to stop it. Our delivery standards really went down the drain when Mr. DeJoy stated in a letter to the field that if the Plant can’t get the mail to the carriers on time, the carriers would tie out and go to the street with whatever mail they had, and the rest of mail, which arrives late from the plant, would be delivered the next day. We were never taught to leave mail behind, our motto always was, EVERY PIECE EVERY DAY. I don’t believe that the rest of the letter which stated, no overtime or T time, no calls ins for a full 8 hours, and no extra transportation, could be attributed to the P.M.G. That came from one of his minions in delivery on the new leadership team. The COVID-19 virus dictates our daily rosters on who comes to work. Our employees have gone above and beyond to deliver the mail every day to our customers, they don’t deserve what is happening today. If the Postal Service wants to really help us, they can relieve us of the 5.1 billion dollar retirees prefunding bill that the Republicans slipped in on us in 2006. No other federal agency has ever been asked to do this, why did we get stuck with this? We are in dire need of new Postal vehicles to deliver the enormous amount of parcels we deliver every day, our present fleet is antiquated. We should instruct all Federal agencies including Congress on the use of the U.S.P.S. when mailing articles from their offices. It really hurt me when visiting the hill to lobby Congress on our Postal bills, to see FedEx, and UPS trucks getting the bulk of the pickup business. I personally have spoken to Postal officials on this matter and they stated, they would have to wait until the contracts they signed with these companies expired in order to come back to the U.S.P.S. If you want me to believe that, I still have that bridge in Brooklyn that is for sale. We definitely need the 25 billion dollars in the current stimulus package. Yet the President stated that he would not sign the package if the Postal service was included, he is hell-bent on destroying us and vote by mail. I could go on and on but will conclude with this, please make sure you exercise your right to vote this November and make sure your vote counts, Medicare and Social Security are next on his agenda? As for the appeal of our failed Lawsuit, we were told by the President to be on a telecom to discuss what we would like to do if anything, on an appeal. I immediately addressed the entire Executive Board with the following statement, now that we have received a response from the courts advising us that we should be going through Congress first, which I urged us to do from the beginning, I would like a full accounting of the amount of money we have spent on this lawsuit to date, including our attorney Bruce Moyer and all consulting attorneys and pay experts, before we convene any board telecom to discuss this issue. Further, I want to go on record that I will oppose any recommendations or motions that will continue the use of outside attorneys for future appeals should they be necessary. Title 39 has provisions for us to appeal problems we have with pay and benefits through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. We already had all the data needed, and I would consider appealing this with our own lawyer Bruce Moyer and getting rid of the other lawyers to cut our losses. The President called for a telecom and immediately made a motion to appeal the decision through the courts once again with all the lawyers on board. It should be noted that we have already lost $750,000 on the lawsuit up to now, and the President puts a motion up to the Board to continue with the appeal, and the board voted to continue the lawsuit 20 yes, 2 no, 1 abstain. Keep in mind they stated that the appeal would cost 6,000.00 dollars, what we don’t know is the cost of the lawyers who will now be on retainer until the spring of 2021. Now we await the U.S.P.S. response to our continuing the lawsuit. We were having good dialogue with the U.S.P.S. I will venture to say we have taken a step backwards.
On the issue of the new P.M.G. I believe NAPS should have gotten out in front of it. The President will tell you that he invited Mr. DeJoy to NAPS Headquarters to meet with the Resident officers without success. I know if I were President of this great association and the P.M.G. did not meet with me, the Palladino in me would have rose to the top. I would have been at Postal Headquarters demanding a meeting and possibly getting arrested to get the exposure I need for our membership, to show we were not backing down. The APWU President does not back down to the Postal service, why do we. As I have always told you my Northeast membership I am here to represent your wishes, 19 Branches in N.Y. voted not appeal, about 19 branches in N.E. voted the same way, N.J. said they were voting not to appeal, the rest was easy.
I first met Brian in the early 1970’s. I was a recovering letter carrier who fell on the ice while delivering my route, breaking my ankle, and needing surgery. When I was well enough to come back to work in a light duty status, I reported to Injury Compensation at the G.P.O. Brooklyn Division of the U.S.P.S. Brian was an Injury Compensation clerk assigned to my case. We hit it off right away because we shared a lot in common. We both liked sports, rock-n-roll music, wrestling, boxing, collecting old baseball cards, signatures of sports idols, and mostly, old-time movies. After returning to work, I used to run into him occasionally.
I was promoted to Supervisor of Mails EAS 15 Tour 1 in 1976. I was also the President of the Columbia Association in Brooklyn N.Y. As luck would have it, Stanley Michaelson, Brian’s father, was the timekeeper on Tour 1. Stanley told me straight out, if you want to get paid properly, please take care of Brian. When I transferred from Tour 1 to Customer Service Rep, I made sure Brian got a detail and a job in Customer Service. The rest was history, the Brooklyn Division led the country in sales, first class presort, Express mail/custom design, and naturally, The Ben Franklin Stamp Club. We were both natural salesmen.
In 1981, I decided to go back to my first love, the Stations in Brooklyn, serving the public. Brian eventually went to Staten Island in a support role in retail sales. He was also doing the Master of Ceremony duties for the Staten Island Postmaster, a job he loved. We were both officers in our local Naps branches in Brooklyn and Staten Island N.Y. We both eventually became Presidents of Branch 68 Brooklyn N.Y. and Naps Branch 110 in Staten Island N.Y. We took our branches to new all time highs in membership and revenue, Brian’s branch was at 100% membership.
Vince Palladino who was a friend and mentor to both of us asked me to run for New York Area V.P. in Naps, and Brian volunteered to be my campaign manager along with another legend, Frank Spatola. I am now entering my 20th year as a National Officer, keeping the legacy of Vince Palladino alive.
Brian has always reminded me the Naps building, which Vinny broke his back to buy, should be named in his honor. I am happy to report that in March of 2020 the ceremony renaming the building will take place. Brian also served the State for many years as President of N.Y.S. Branch 935. He was always doing something to raise money to keep the State solvent, another job well done.
At his funeral services on January 23, 2020 in Ephrata PA, the real Brian Michaelson came to light. We in New York always knew that Brian would help anyone , that he would go out of his way to do some good, like volunteering for programs in Hospice, Feed the Children, Meals on Wheels, ASPA, fostering animals, among others. There was a segment which the funeral home called sharing, where anyone who wanted to say something about Brian could go to the podium and share. It was astonishing to see and hear the local people from Brian’s new church saying how helpful he was, even when not asked he would volunteer. I was so proud of him that day. Rest easy my friend, your work here is done, I am sure Stanley, Kris, Vinny, Ruby, and Evelyn welcomed you home.
Tommy Roma N.E.R.V.P.
On Sunday, September 22nd, 2019, I was overwhelmed with a surprise 80th birthday celebration and the renaming of my Home Branch 68 Brooklyn N.Y. to the Thomas Roma Branch 68, Brooklyn N.Y. at LaFontana Restaurant in Staten Island N.Y. The celebration was attended by my family, my Naps Family, and members of the U.S.P.S. I was told this celebration was in the works for over a year. I would like to thank Jim Warden, John Vincenzi, Phyliss Morrissey, Jamaal Muhammad, my lovely wife Cathy, The Resident officers, and everyone who was in attendance. It was a spectacular affair. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
I have just returned from our 66th National Convention at Mohegan Sun Resorts in Uncasville, CT and can honestly say it was one of the best Conventions ever. I am also elated that the Northeast Area unanimously voted to return me as the Northeast Region V.P. for another term. This is a position I was made for and truly cherish. THANK YOU.
Our Executive Board voted to go to the fact finding process when we could not reach a new agreement with U.S.P.S. Everyone should remain professional and let the process take its course. I am proud to say that NAPS will always fight for its members to receive a fair and equitable pay package.
I was asked time and again at the convention what are officers from the other Management association doing at our convention for the entire time, they should attend the opening ceremonies, be acknowledged, make their speech and leave. This has always been past practice and should be adhered to. The same goes for our officers attending their convention.
President Trump releases Government reorganization plan which calls for privatizing USPS, NARFE reports. In fact, it calls for short term steps to put USPS on sustainable financial footing only to sell it to the highest bidder. This proposal came out before the President’s task force on the USPS issued any recommendations. The Postal Service is a National Treasure and should never be sold to private industry. NAPS opposes any efforts to privatize the Postal Service. The latest is the President will not release the findings of his committee until after the midterm elections, hoping for a Republican Congress who will favor his agenda. We must get out the vote to protect our interests.
The biggest question asked of me is will the other managements association acceptance of this pay package hurt us in fact finding. This question was asked at the convention only to have the chair rule the question was out of order. Why? My guess is the 2 presidents from the other association were sitting in on our business session. In my opinion the question was not out of order and the 2 presidents should have been asked to leave. Having gone through this process in the past you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the USPS lawyers will ask, if the pay package was good for this management association (UPMA) why is it not good enough for NAPS? Our lawyers will have their work cut out for them.
On a more favorable note we are going back to Puerto Rico, the dates are March 29th thru April 1, 2019 at the Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino. The brochure will be out soon, if you have any intention of attending please book your room early as this seminar always sells out fast. Stay tuned.
The SWC’S process was moving along nicely. Please know that this process is time consuming and can’t be rushed. We are now in the process of trying out what we came up with in the Northeast, in all other area’s around the country. I was asked if the fact finding process with the USPS on pay could hurt the SWC’S process to which I answered, it should not but anything is possible. Jimmy & I, along with Ed Phelan, Doug Tulino, Carissa Surprise, and others have spent a lot of time and energy on this project and we hope to see it completed.
In closing I would like to wish the resident officers and executive board of NAPS all the luck in the world in the next 2 years and hope that dealing with the Trump agenda to privatize the Postal Service does not come to pass. Hope to see you all in Puerto Rico.
Deep things retired men think about….
I mowed the lawn today, and after doing so I sat down and had a cold beer. The day was really quite beautiful, and the drink facilitated some deep thinking.
My wife walked by and asked me what I was doing, and I said, “Nothing.”
She then said that’s what you did yesterday—
to which I replied — “I WASN’T DONE , SO I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF FINISHING RIGHT NOW.”
The reason I said “nothing” instead of saying “just thinking” is because she then would have asked, “About what?” At that point I would have had to explain that men are deep thinkers about various topics, which would lead to other questions.
Finally I pondered an age old question: Is giving birth more painful than getting kicked in the nuts? Women always maintain that giving birth is way more painful than a guy getting kicked in the nuts, but how could they know?
Well, after another beer, and some more heavy deductive thinking, I have come up with an answer to that question. Getting kicked in the nuts is more painful than having a baby, and even though I obviously couldn’t really know, here is the reason for my conclusion. A year or so after giving birth, a woman will often say, “It might be nice to have another child.”
On the other hand, you never hear a guy say, “You know, I think I would like another kick in the nuts.”
I rest my case.
Time for another beer, and then maybe a nap.
I just returned from a productive Executive board meeting, the first in a long time as far as I can see. Under the new leadership, spear headed by incoming President Brian Wagner and his resident officers, the feeling is very positive. We had four decision makers visit the board which produced positive results. Our consultative meeting with U.S.P.S. produced a lot of answers something that was lacking in the past. The old saying “The answers are right here in the room prevailed at this session.”
Violence in the work place is a top priority of this administration, and we are working hard to resolve what we feel is an injustice to all EAS. The way the program is designed it definitely favors the craft. If charges are lodged against a supervisor our only defense is to write a statement on what we believed happened. Presently we can’t face our accusers, H.R. specialists at the lowest level, DRT. team members and of course Arbitrators who render a decision. What we would like is to be able to face our accusers get our side of the story told, and a remedy each side can live with. A motion was passed by the Executive board to get out of the Violence in the workplace program, but we are still hopeful that something can be worked out to keep us in the process. (STAY TUNED)
Jimmy Warden and I are in talks with Doug Tulino and Ed Phelan of the USPS and I am confident we will be able to work something out concerning the SWCS process. We mutually agreed that the present SWCS calculations are not conducive to today’s business environment. It was also agreed that the state of the business must be taken into consideration in the final determination, and any positions that are added, the EAS must perform the duties the position was intended for and not be placed on details. Non Traditional Supervisors was also discussed. These supervisors will have Sunday as a regular work day to cover the Amazon hubs. Their schedule would require them to work in different stations and their hours of work will vary from station to station. After everything is agreed upon and put in place Mr. Phelan has agreed to use the Northeast area as a test site. Stations from level 18s 20s,22s,24s and above will be used and NAPS will be consulted on all stations picked. Reviews will be conducted and monitored to establish how many EAS are needed to properly manage these stations and branches for that group level. This information will then be compared to the present SWCS calculations and adjustments made if necessary. This is not an easy process and the fact that USPS is allowing us to try this out in a certain area shows me that they are willing to work with us to end the SWCS issue once and for all. Seven day operations, expanded hours of operation rest days, and additional duties for supervisors that have been added in fiscal year 2016 were also discussed.
Charlie Scialla addressed the board concerning adverse action representation. He advised us that some cases are being sent to him without an address and telephone number of the appellant, making it hard for him to contact the person who the adverse action is being taken against. The officer of the branch submitting the case must acknowledge that the appellant is a member in good standing of the submitting branch. We have had cases in the past where non-members were represented and the branch who submitted the paper work were billed for their representation. Branches submitting cases must be sure paperwork is filled out properly and that the member is a member in good standing at the time adverse action is taken against them.
The Northeast area will be hosting another seminar in Puerto Rico March 24th-25th 2017 at the Marriott San Juan Resort & Stellaris Casino. We have put together another outstanding training agenda consisting of SWCS, NPA, Violence in the workplace, the State of the Postal service, officer training and much more. Rooms will be at a premium so if you have intentions of attending, please book your rooms, they will be on a first come first served basis. We have always sold out this seminar and this one will be the best ever. The seminar is being hosted by Jim Warden, Hans Aglidian, Greg Murphy, and myself.
In closing I would like to say that I am happy with the direction our NAPS organization is headed under the new leadership of the present resident officers and their staff. I believe that they have the best interests of NAPS at heart and will represent the membership proudly. They in a short time have renewed my confidence in our future as the greatest management association bar none. Good luck Gentlemen and I will serve proudly.
Tommy Roma, N.E.R.V.P.