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Trenton Metro Area Local

American Postal Workers Union

AFL-CIO

 

News From The President

Bill Lewis



July 31, 2003

Trenton P&DC

The bi-weekly fumigation meeting was held this week.  Construction of the equipment is a few days behind schedule.  Shaw Company has brought additional help on site to pick up the pace.  Work has begun on the inside installing the miles of piping to deliver the gas.

Extensive work is being performed on the air handlers and ductwork.  This work was necessary due to the poor balance of air in these systems. This should improve the poor air conditioning in the building.

Work is continuing on the remote control system for operation of the machines for the gassing.  The contractor has contracted a software company to design the software to operate these machines.  Closed circuit TVs have been installed to monitor the operations during the gassing.

The chemicals are not on site yet, they are scheduled for the end of the month.  Two retention ponds have been built out of concrete barrier and lined with rubber liners to house the chemical trucks.  One is behind the credit union building and the other is up by the dock.

Some testing of the equipment should begin the second or third week of August.  Many different tests and meetings will occur before the final permits will be issued.

Employee's Lockers and Contents

The employee's lockers are in the process of being emptied. Employees who submitted claims will have their contents removed and sent for x-raying. Any objects that have sharp edges or points will be destroyed all food and liquids will be disposed of.  Ninety claims were submitted and employees who accepted the 100.00 will have all contents destroyed.

Employee contents that were on desks or in offices will be removed and sent for x-raying and returned to employees.  All of this will have to be completed in the next few days before the main fumigation pipes are installed.  Once the main pipes are installed travel with power equipment will be limited or impossible.

My position is employees who do eventually lose items or belongings will have the right to file a claim consistent with Article 27 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  I will advise everyone of the steps involved in the near future.  I will instruct and train all stewards in the proper handling of these claims and appeals, since they are different then regular grievances.  I am confident management will deny and play with our rights on these claims.


Town Meeting

The town meeting on the fumigation will be:

Thursday, August 7, 2003
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Auditorium Reynolds Middle School

2145 Yardville- Hamilton Square Road
Hamilton, New Jersey

The United States Postal Service has called for this community meeting to educate Hamilton residents and business people about the decontamination of the Hamilton Processing and Distribution Center. Following presentations, there will be a question-and-answer period.   

Additional questions may be presented by calling the Community Information Line at 1-800-527-0741. 

The Honorable Mayor Glen D. Gilmore and Thomas G. Day, Vice President, Engineering, United States Postal Service will address the community. 

Additional invited participants include representatives from the New Jersey State Department of Health, New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey State Police and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  


Employee Briefing

An employee briefing and breakfast will be held October 19, 2003, at the Trenton Marriott more details will be forth coming.


Brentwood

Renovations of the Brentwood facility still continue. I asked our Congressman's office to check on progress and a tentative date to resume operations.  I was informed that the target date of October 2003.  This date is 2 (two) years from the anthrax attack, what that translates into is the earliest date we could reoccupy Trenton will be the end of 2004 or early 2005.

The Fumigation Tour

I appreciate everyone's comments on me not participating with the tour of the P&DC.  My decision was based on legal advice.  In the last few days I have been contacted by legislators who share my concerns and have voiced they may not be participating, they are awaiting advice from their legal counsel.  We cannot and must not allow the Postal Service to silence us. The world must know what has happened to us and still continues.

Arbitration

It's not like I did not expect some form of game, as predicted, management has unilaterally canceled the arbitration hearing for our local's anthrax issues i.e. medical tests, treatment and travel.

After months of negotiations and 2 months advance notice of the arbitration hearing, management canceled the date, reason being availability of management's advocates.  I found this to be very disturbing, management has two levels of advocates, level 19 labor relations specialist, and the new level 23 area labor relations specialist (super advocates).  When I raised this issue, management informed me they are using an attorney. 

To make matters worse, we had 5 other arbitration hearings for the Motor Vehicle Craft this week and management canceled 4 of them.  We are trying to reschedule the travel issue in the near future.  The next available date the arbitrator has is in September. 

This is the second Tour La France, and congratulations to Lance Armstrong and the rest of the American Team.  Last year it cost 25 million to sponsor, I wonder how much this year? I surly know the amount would cover our compensation for travel to our temporary duty assignments!!

Grievance Settlements

All employees who have received grievance settlements by the union and have not been compensated should approach your supervisor and steward.  Many have received grievance settlements but some are still out standing.

I would like to make a comment on this whole process.  The local had 5,000 grievances back logged; to place blame does not correct the problem.  I approached the issue with the intent of resolving these cases with the best possible resolution I could possibly get with the information contained in the file.  I would have never imagined the amount of work that was involved in processing a resolved grievance i.e. filing, copying, removing cases from the arbitration calendar and trying to force management to implement these settlements. 

I now realized I could never please everyone, but rest assured I tried my best to resolve your cases.  I hope this cleansing of the grievance arbitration procedure will help bring closure to future cases in a timely manner.  I will continue to manage our arbitration's and scheduling and I hope to prevent any future delays.

Hope to see you at the picnic, August 10, 2003.


July 20, 2003


Tour of the P&DC

The tour of the fumigation equipment at the Trenton P&DC happened on July 9, 2003.  I was looking forward to the tour so I could share with all of you what was happening within the walls.  Well, several days before the tour, I received mail from the USPS containing a Non Discloser / Confidentiality Agreement related to the tour.

I had to agree to the terms of this document or I could not participate in the tour.  I read the document several times and I felt very uncomfortable agreeing to it.  The way I read it was, if I told you anything from that point forward about the decontamination process I would be in breech of the terms of the agreement and I would be liable for a law suit and I would place the local in jeopardy.  I forwarded the Non Discloser and Confidentiality Agreement to an attorney for review.  The lawyer agreed with me and called the Postmaster trying to modify the agreement to allow me to act as a collective bargaining agent and keep you up to date.  The postal service refused to negotiate with me or our attorney about changing the agreement.  

I chose not to silence myself and did not participate in the tour.  I will continue to pass along all information I have.  I have not seen any reports from the other unions who did sign the agreement and took the tour.  The only legitimate reason to participate would be to gather information to relay on to you, since I was unable to keep you up to date I did not go on the tour.

Arbitration


On July 31, 2003, we will have the arbitration for all the hours spent traveling to Kilmer, South River, Monmouth, and Toms River.  I am still considering Monroe in the mix.  A class action grievance was filed on behalf of every APWU represented employee.  We have been preparing for this arbitration for some time now.  Our case will be presented by National Business Agent Jeff Kehlert.

I do anticipate the Postal Service to play its usual games in delaying or creating a smoke screen.  If this arbitration is ruled in our favor it could result in a significant sum of money being awarded.  

Another case scheduled on this date is a class action grievance filed on the time spent under going testing and receiving medical treatment at RWJ hospital.  This grievance is also for all APWU employees.

I have over the past few months attempted to resolve these grievances, but have been unsuccessful.  I was told once how nice they were in not excessing us.  I do recall them trying to close us down or rightsize us.  It was only last summer to be exact.

In closing, the best I heard this week was from a manager in Kilmer "we should be happy we have jobs"   similar to "Lucky to have jobs."

The struggle continues for the Trenton Postal Workers.


July 2, 2003

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) held a Postal Workers Team meeting.   The intent of the meeting was to bring everyone up to speed on events of the Trenton P&DC.

As we all know the construction of the fumigation equipment is on going and is only running behind schedule by a few days, the contractor expects to catch up if the weather cooperates.  

The union was informed that the Environmental Clearance Committee (ECC) has been formed and the members of that committee have been meeting and will be increasing their meetings as we draw closer to the actual gassing.   The committee consists of medical personnel and scientists from various organizations; NJDHSS, NIOSH, EOHSI, OSHA and other health organizations.  

The committee is responsible for determining the types of test and the placement of the test strips. There will be two different types of test.   The wipe test will be cultured for actual growth of anthrax spores.   There will different types of wipe tests depending on the surface and area, hepa vacuum, swab and air samples will be taken from predetermined locations of known contaminated areas.   

The second type of test will be; test strips, these strips will contain a substance similar to anthrax.   The strips will measure the effectiveness and disbursement of the gas throughout the building.  

In total there will be 8000 tests performed on the building.   The committee determined this was an appropriate amount based on the size of our building.   The Trenton P&DC is 7 million cubic square feet.    These strips will be removed and sent the NJDHSS lab for testing.   NJDHSS has established the protocol for handling these strips.

Once the entire tests are completed the ECC will review the results and make a recommendation based on technical review of the data.    This recommendation will be a public release.   The ECC can only make a recommendation and has no authority over reoccupying the building.   The US Postal Service has the final say.    Once the ECC recommendation is made public, the committee will cease to exist.    Once the Postal Service makes the final decision to enter the building, OSHA will have jurisdiction for the health and safety of the workers renovating the building.   On going sampling of the building will be continued during the construction phase.

On July 9, 2003, the union will receive a tour of the outside of the Trenton P&DC.  On August 8, 2003, a community meeting will be held at the same location as the last one, at Steinert High School, Klockner Rd, Hamilton, NJ.   On Sunday, September 21, 2003, an employee's brunch will be held at the Trenton Marriott, Trenton, NJ.      


June 17, 2003

Trenton P&DC

Construction of the fumigation equipment continues.    The inclement weather has only caused minimal delays.    The outside portion of the construction should be completed soon.    All of the major components of the fumigation system are on site.   Public Service Electric and Gas Company has still not given a date of when the new transformer will be installed to power the equipment.


On the inside of the building they are examining the environmental equipment and the mechanical operations of the machinery.    There could be some delays due to the antiquated Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning system HVAC.    A company is on site trying to get the HVAC system to work with the computers that will control the fumigation process. The HVAC system will be used in conjunction with the emitters to deliver the gas into the building.   

The best guess/estimate I have on a time frame to reoccupy is as follows:  The testing of the equipment will be around the end of October 2003.  If all goes well, the actual fumigation will take place in December.   The test results should be around March 2004 once the building is deemed safe to occupy, the renovation process will begin. This will be an extensive operation, possible replacement of the Air Conditioning unit, duct work, walls, drop ceiling, carpeting, furniture, painting and cleaning.    The postal service is exploring if it cheaper to dispose of the DBCS machines and purchase new ones.    I predict based on the information provided to me during the last few briefings that we will not return until winter of 2005.    Maybe the end of 2004 with a prayer.

Lockers

I reported in a previous email that the maintenance employees' lockers contents were removed, cleaned and the contents are stored in a trailer.    At the request of some members I have followed up on this.    I am now being told that I misunderstood what was told to me.    The contents in the maintenance lockers were not cleaned.    Let me tell you - I know what I was told!

Employees who have not accepted the 100 dollar settlement will have their contents removed for possible cleaning.    No lockers have been opened yet nor has any contents been removed.



Brentwood and Trenton Employees who do not want to return to their installation

The following information I received from APWU headquarters.    I found this information very disturbing.    The postal service set the APWU right up.    The position of the Postal Service was any employees traumatized to the extent that they feel they cannot reenter these plants would be placed in other facilities without a loss of status or seniority.  

I disagree with the APWU's position on this matter and especially having 3 different positions for 3 crafts.   I do commend Clerk Craft Director, Jim McCarthy, for having the courage to make the proper decision.   I disagree with the Maintenance and Motor Vehicle Craft Director's decisions.

Each employee who faced death at the hands of these terrorists will have to make a decision to return to these contaminated plants.   No one can assure these victims if these buildings will ever be 100% anthrax free.   The decision not to return is not of a voluntary nature under normal circumstances.   The decision to return will be based upon the employees mental health and their physical condition.  

Brentwood and Trenton Employees who do not want to return to their installation.

Motor Vehicle Craft:

This is the Motor Vehicle Division of the APWU position on the issue of employees who do not want to return to their installation because of anthrax.

Specifically, this will involve the Brentwood Facility and the Trenton Facility; also known Hamilton Facility.  The Motor Vehicle Craft would prefer that these employees be allowed to transfer to other installations, and should remain the same class of employees.  It they are full-time regulars, they would remain full-time flexibles.  If they are full-time flexibles, they would remain full-time flexibles.  If they are PTF's, they would remain PTF's.

The employees would be slotted in and would begin a new period of seniority at that installation. Current PTF's at that installation, once they are converted to full-time, would leap frog over them on the seniority list for purposes of bidding.  This seems fair to the current employees at the installation where they are transferring to, and protects the employee in terms of status and income.

Bob Pritchard

Maintenance Craft:

In order to accommodate those individual employees who are unable to return to the Brentwood P&D, it is the position of the Maintenance Division that such employees should be granted the right to transfer to a residual vacancy (a vacancy in the Craft that remains unfilled after completion of the in-craft PAR/PER process).

The right to transfer would not be subject to USPS refusal.  The transfer should be to a same or lower level duty assignment.

The seniority of the individual would be as provided for in Article 38 for voluntary transfer.

 Steve Raymer

Clerk Craft:

For those Clerk Craft employees who are unable to return to either Brentwood or Trenton, upon reopening, will be considered a volunteer for excessing.

These identified employees would be able to select from available residual vacancies being withheld pursuant to Article 12.

These employees (Brentwood/Trenton) will be commingled with other identified excessed employees by seniority to select from the appropriate residual vacancies being withheld for that area.

The employees (Brentwood/Trenton) must meet the minimum qualification (e.g., exam, etc), and also quality on any additional qualifications (e.g., schemes/skills) that the residual duty assignment requires.

These individuals will retain status and seniority but have no retreat rights (37.2.D.5.c).

Also, there are no relocation benefits.

 Jim McCarthy


May 26, 2003

Some members have received a pay adjustment this week in their paycheck.   If you received an adjustment, more than likely it was for a grievance settlement.  I was trying to time, announcing the settlements until the pay adjustments were completed. My timing was off!  There are more pay adjustments coming in the next few pay days.  I will be distributing settlements for your records, you must follow up and make sure you receive the settlement in your pay, I will not know if you got paid or not.   You have to make sure you compare your settlements to your paychecks.

The following is an update of the grievance review process conducted in Trenton, NJ. The parties have reviewed to date 4,611 cases for all crafts.   This effort to reduce and resolve grievances was a priority of mine when I took office.   We all knew what happened next. The parties were guided by a national memorandum to meet and resolve the backlog of grievances.

Several issues are still in the discussion stages awaiting decisions or possible future negotiations.  Management has indicated that several issues need to be arbitrated.   I have requested arbitration dates be assigned to Trenton, NJ so we may continue the momentum of clearing the backlog of grievances.   The following are the results of the process to date:

Clerk Craft
Total cases: 2414
Resolved: 702
Withdrawn: 1320
RIS: 392

Pending clerk issues:  Travel/Testing/Treatment; Anthrax related issues for all three crafts; Accounting Techs;  Registry Upgrade; RI 399 and Mail Handlers on the SPBS and FSM 100. There are also many individual issues.

Maintenance Craft
Total cases: 558
Resolved: 155
Withdrawn: 99
RIS: 304

Pending maintenance issues: Denial of Information; MS 47 Custodial Staffing; Oklahoma Travel and subcontracting issues. There are also many individual issues.

Motor Vehicle Craft
Total cases: 1639
Resolved: 580
Withdrawn: 185
RIS: 874

Pending motor vehicle issues: HCR; Mobile Truck; Jasper Transmission; DIE; Subcontracting; Denial of Information and Steward Duty Time.

I hope in the future we will be able to resolve our issues in a reasonable time frame, and not 10 years or more.  I will continue to work toward getting faster resolutions to our disputes.   You must remember we're not doing this by ourselves, management is the other half and we all know their act by now.

Please remember to give to COPA, forms available at the union office -- call or write for a form.


 

May 26, 2003

Rumors

On many occasions I have written asking you to dispel rumors, the latest rumor is the furthest thing from the truth.   I have not resigned from the union or post office.   I have no intentions or desire to resign from the union.   The second part of the rumor of me being ill is also false.   My health is the best it has been in many years.   I will remain in office as long as the membership desires me to represent them.

I had no intentions of addressing this rumor, but since it has ran out of control and is being circulated out of our local and state, I had to put it to rest.  


Trenton P&DC

On a recent trip to APWU headquarters I was troubled to learn that our national APWU residence officers did not have knowledge that the Trenton P&DC has not been fumigated and they were surprised to learn that the final fumigation may not be completed until the end of the year.   I will have to take steps to keep all our national union updated with the latest Trenton updates.

Construction of the decontamination equipment is moving along on schedule.   Those who have not seen the P&DC, there now is black plastic covering the entire fence.   Green plastic construction fence has been placed around the grass outside the public areas.   Wooden security shacks have been built and placed at the employees' entrance and by the main office window area.   Two cranes tower over the building during daytime, at night one crane has an American flag blowing in the wind, the perimeter of the roof is marked with little red banner flags, looks like a going out of business sale.  

A meeting is scheduled this week on the progress of the installation of the fumigation equipment.   If you have any questions please forward them to me and I will present them at the meeting.

Monroe

The new temporary air conditioning units are up and noisier than ever.   Those of us who worked in South River will remember how loud they were.   On those hot summer days they will help keep us cool.   When we moved into Monroe my biggest complaint was the lack of heat, air conditioners and ventilation system.   I finally received the test results of the air quality.   The results of the dust and other air borne contaminants are within acceptable levels.   Since I do not have any knowledge in this area I will forward the report to APWU national safety and health specialist.   The results were due over a month ago, after I contacted the Postal service we finally received them.   I will also inquire from our specialist about testing for noise levels within Monroe.


Currently we have members who worked in the Trenton P&DC working in Monroe, Kilmer P&DC & VMF, Lakewood VMF, RT. 130 Retail Center (trailer park) and the carrier annex on RT. 130.

COPA

President Commission on Postal reform has hired consultants to query workers about pay; this is the next move against our collective bargaining rights and us.   Our struggles locally and nationally are far from being over.   To date the members of Trenton Local have raised $4,776.62.   I would like to thank the members who have contributed and ask the rest to step up and continue, remember money does talk.  Give to COPA.


 

May 4, 2003

Count Down to Return...

The first pre fumigation meeting was held on March 30, 2003.  Management has committed to keeping the union updated with the development of the construction of the fumigation equipment.  A meeting will be held every 2 weeks.

I was glad to see some movement in the right direction.  Cranes and some other equipment have arrived at the site.  Over the next 2 weeks, 6 trucks a day will arrive and slowly increase to 10 until the project is completed.  The construction crew will eventually go to a 24-hour a day operation.

The cranes can be seen towering over the building on the South dock area along with other large pipes and containers.  They are currently placing black plastic/fabric on the fence surrounding the compound so inquiring eyes can't see. 

The Vehicle Maintenance Facility is now closed and those employees are now working in Lakewood and Kilmer VMF.  Just prior to those members leaving a meeting was held with management.  The union was not invited because all we do is supposedly obstruct the process.  As a farewell address by area and district managers these members were informed how lucky they were because they could be working in Burger King.  I guess this falls inline with how lucky we all are to have jobs.  I know how we maintained our employment during this crisis, APWU. Enough said.

The final employees will bid farewell to our P&DC this weekend and on May 5, 2003.  The new MOWS retail trailers and the box mail trailer will open across the street. The Postal Service has made some improvements to this property, paving, fencing and landscaping.  The trailers will be powered by electric instead of a gas generator.  A toilet trailer with running water will replace the Johnnie on the spot.  The grounds will also be used for storing our tractor-trailers, I hope none of our trucks fall in the sinkholes; since 2 have appeared on the leased property.

I've recently heard that there may be some delays due to inspections.

Locker Information

The latest information I have on the lockers is that nothing has been disposed of yet.  Employees who have submitted a claim for the hundred dollars, their lockers have been tagged. Employees who requested contents or who have claimed over a hundred dollars, their contents will be decontaminated and if cleared will be returned to the employee.  I was informed that maintenance lockers have had their contents removed and decontaminated and are being stored in trailers.  I have spoken to management about returning items to the maintenance employees.  Contents left on employee's desks or work areas are being stored in their location and will be gassed.


Brentwood Update

Employees and contractors are working inside the building without any protection from anthrax; these employees are restoring the machines and the building.

Monroe Report

The temporary Air Conditioning units have arrived at Monroe and should be working by May 15, 2003.  The employees who worked at the River could tell you how loud these units are.  The new restrooms are working; I was informed these restrooms were additions to the others, now I'm being informed they are replacements.  The cubicle/office employees now have their own private bathrooms.  The MDO's door will be locked because everyone is stealing from the office.


April 5, 2003

Monroe Air Sampling

During the recent safety inspection many members in Monroe voiced their concerns about the lack of ventilation and the dust. On April 3, 2003 at 11:20 PM a Safety & Health Meeting was held in the Monroe Facility. Bill Coleman from our local was in attendance to view the collection method for an Air Sampling that was taking place at the facility.

Safety Specialist Carey informed us that complaints had been made regarding the amount of dust that the employees are being exposed to in the facility. She said that OSHA has standards for levels of airborne contaminants and considers the amount of dust here to be within the levels of nuisance, not hazardous. However as a precaution, the USPS did contract with the URS Company to take environmental samples. A total of seven samples will be taken from predetermined locations around the facility to measure the level of airborne nuisance.

Five of the sample collection boxes were going to be placed in the feeder sections of the DBCS Machines. It was predetermined that those are the areas were the largest amount of impact exists. The sixth sample collection unit is a Personal Sample and was being worn by a Tour 1 Mail Processor. All six of these sample units were to be put out for an 8-hour period representing an employees normal work shift or normal exposure period. Tour 1 was picked because of the highest quantity of machinery in use.

The seventh sample collection box was being used for a different purpose. That unit was being placed at the SPBS. Its purpose there was to take an Oil Mist Sample. Apparently during startup, the SPBS Machine emits a visible oil residue cloud into the air. This seventh sample will be used to collect a sample from that oil mist.

Mr. Joe Rambo of the URS Environmental Company stated that the test results normal take 3 to 4 days. However Safety Specialist Carey interjected that with the weekend coming we could expect the results by the end of next week. She said that the results would be shared with the Unions once received.

West Trenton Post Office

On Saturday, April 4, 2003, I was notified that there was a suspicious substance (anthrax) at the West Trenton Station. Per the USPS all procedures were complied with. I have no way to verify if proper protocol was adhered too until Monday. I was told that the substance had been tested. The substance never made it inside the Post Office due to the carrier spotting it and acting properly. If anyone has anything to add to my investigation please advise.

Trenton P&DC

I was informed this week that the fumigation equipment is being disassembled in Brentwood and will be shipped to Trenton in about 6 weeks. Employees have entered the Brentwood facility without personal protection equipment to begin the refurbishing process.

I have been invited to a briefing outlining the progress in the decontamination of the Trenton P&DC. The meeting will be on Thursday, April 10, 2003. That evening there will be a Hamilton Community Meeting at 6:30 PM at Steinert High School Auditorium, 2900 Klockner Rd, Hamilton, NJ. Doors open at 6:00 PM.

I traveled to Washington, DC this week to voice my concerns about the delay in the decontamination of Trenton and the lack of communication from management. I met with Congressman Smith and Saxton's staff about ensuring that all the employees are returned to Trenton P&DC when it reopens. I also spoke with Congressman Holt about the same issue. We cannot just trust the Postal Service and sit quietly and wait for the Postal Service to do away with us.

Trenton VMF

On April 19, 2003, the Trenton Vehicle Maintenance Facility will shut down and operations will be divided between Kilmer and Lakewood. The employees will be placed off tour. I have a lot of concerns for this small group, reason being it is the same postal management that controlled the CFS. The stories I am hearing from management is a repeat of the CFS.


March 4, 2002

Anthrax Free

The Postal Service has informed the APWU that the Brentwood P&DC is environmentally safe. The fumigation process has successfully eradicated the deadly bacteria Anthrax from that mail-processing center. 

It has been 17 long months since the shut down of both the Brentwood and Trenton P&DC’s. This is the first promising sign for postal workers in these facilities that have had their lives disrupted. 

The Postal Service plans on moving the fumigation equipment from Washington, DC to Trenton at the end of the month.  The process will take several months before the Trenton P&DC will be ready for fumigation.

I have been advised that a contract is near finalization with the contractors who will be performing the fumigation of the Trenton P&DC.

I plan on meeting with the Postal Service in the near future regarding the final clean up of our facility.  I will keep you posted on all events. 


February 28, 2002

Trenton Postal Workers await word on the results of the Brentwood P&DC fumigation.

  The Trenton P&DC has been closed for 17 months.  It has been 10 weeks since the fumigation of the Brentwood P&DC, and still no word of when the fumigation process will begin in Trenton.  Back in November when I testified before the NJ State Homeland Security State Preparedness Committee the Postal Service reported that we would be back in Trenton by Mid summer of 2003. 

Many members have inquired into the status of the fumigation results of the Brentwood P&DC. I am sorry to report there has been no official announcement.   I was hoping to hear either way as to what the outcome was.  All I hear is the committee is reviewing the results of the test strips; I was hoping to have the results by the end of February. 

I make inquiries everyday from different sources, as of Friday, February 28, 2003, NO RESULTS.  I find this very disturbing since we were told it would take several weeks not several months. 

Even if the Brentwood Post Office is deemed safe to reopen, there are obstacles in the way in proceeding with the fumigation of Trenton P&DC.  There is no contract signed for the fumigation process.  The following is a Postal Service press release dated May 8, 2002. 

The contracts signed with Ashland and Sabre initially cover the Brentwood facility, and provides the framework for the cleanup that will be done in Trenton.  The Postal Service will finalize the contractors’ engagement for Trenton once the Brentwood cleanup has been completed and deemed a success. 

Do not believe we will be back into the building before the end of 2003.  When the contract is signed, there are many other steps that need to be completed and many governmental agencies controlling the final gassing.  It took 7 months for a contract to be signed for Brentwood, fourteen 14 months passed before the actual gassing occurred.  I find it hard to be positive with his whole process since we are being kept totally in the dark.  What happened to all the promises that we were going to be kept up to date?  

Work is still progressing in preparing the Trenton P&DC for possible fumigation.  The machinery inside the building was severely damage by the cleaning solution.  A decision will have to be made as to rebuild or replace several of the machines.  Several maintenance employees have been trained to reenter the building. These employees need to start-taking antibiotics again and also have the option of getting the real vaccination, 6 shots. 

Part of preparing the building and ground surrounding the P&DC is that the Vehicle Maintenance Facility will be have to be closed.  The new date for the closing of the VMF operation is April 5, 2003.  VMF operations will be divided between Lakewood and Kilmer VMFs.  No date has been set for moving retail and box mail trailers next to the annex parking lot. 

Lets hope for the best.  I will continue to monitor the process and as soon as the results are released I will pass them along.  At the request of many members we will resume the Bill Lewis updates.  I appreciate your support during our long struggle, and together we shall overcome, and return home.


Status of Trenton P&DC

     Ø     Brentwood’s results are still good

Ø     The dismantling and cleaning of the machines inside Trenton P&DC continues.

Ø     A disturbing aspect of this cleaning process is; the workers space suits are still testing positive for spores when they are exiting the building.

Ø    Time frame for moving the fumigation equipment is end of April.

Ø    New possible problem is the high humidity may cause mold problems in the building, they will have to deal with.

Ø     OSHA has now mandated a re-entry plan to be established for Trenton and Brentwood if any new construction or structural changes are made to the building.

Ø    Testing will be conducted in the affected area for anthrax re-contamination.

Ø     The local union has pushed and will continue to fight for periodic testing.


Lockers:

602 employees accepted 100.00 checks

168 employees have not responded.

149 employees are requesting more then 100 dollars

No Locker has been opened yet.


Congressman Smith has requested a GAO investigation into Trenton.   Roy Braunstein was the vehicle to get this investigation moving.  This investigation will begin this week; we may not see anyone for some time since GAO will be starting in DC.  Congressman Smith has also requested the CDC findings and investigations into side affect of antibiotic long-term health problems associated with exposure anthrax.

The CDC has responded claiming they have done follow up studies on us.  I found this to be a joke.  If you have been contract by the CDC in the last month or two please send me an email.  My investigation has shown that a telemarketing company has been calling a small amount of employees.  Please let me know, upon hearing from you I will present my findings to our congressman for his consideration.

NJ Health Department will be distributing a voluntary questionnaire concerning your experience with the educational material supplied with dealing with anthrax and the medication to prevent infection from anthrax.   This is different from CDC’s so called  investigation.  

 


December 14, 2002

A Special Thank You

I would like to thank Rob & Julie Edelschein for donating the Christmas wreath for the Postal Workers' memorial located in front of the Trenton P&DC.  I would also like to thank the members and friends of the APWU who continually reset up the memorial.  Either from the weather or anti Postal Worker forces, somehow the memorial seems to get knock over.  That will not discourage us from maintaining our presence in front of our building.  I request all members to stop by and place a remembrance in front of our P&DC.


Retirement

This week I attended a seminar on retirement given by John R. Smith Director of the retirees' department.  I found the seminar very informative. I realized there was so much information about our retirement system I did not know after 25 years of service.  I am in the process of requesting a similar program for the Trenton Local.  


With the latest early out proposal pending, many members have expressed their wishes to retire.  Many rumors are also flying about large incentives.  President Bill Burrus was in attendance at the seminar and clearly stated that there were no incentives being offered.  The Postal Service informed the APWU that they could not afford an early out incentive.

This doesn't mean there will not be an incentive when the time comes, as of now there is no incentive.  The early out must be approved by the Office of Personnel Management not the Postal Service, and by law there are penalties for retiring early.


I will be reproducing the training package I received to share with any member requesting one.  Due to the high cost and labor involved I will reproduce them upon request. 

Our January meeting we will have Roy Braunstein, Legislative Director as our guest speaker and I am sure he will be able to update us on any new information on the early out.


President Bill Burrus shares his views and reasoning on the extension of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  

The tentative agreement to extend the contract was based on my belief that 2003 will not be the optimum time to engage in collective bargaining and that achieving the union's goals will be difficult - if not impossible - during a period of uncertainty for the Postal Service and our country.

Mail volume is in decline; the nation is experiencing a prolonged economic slump; anti-labor forces now control all of the branches of government; efforts to enact postal reform legislation and transformation are underway; and the decisions of the Board of Governors will be influenced by recent appointees who favor privatization of the Postal Service.

The tentative agreement guarantees wage increases and cost-of-living adjustments, protects our health benefits, continues no-layoff protection, and provides special early­retirement opportunities. 

Your vote will determine whether we adopt these changes or - if we reject them - wait to pursue our agenda in 2003 contract negotiations. In the interim, the turmoil of plant consolidations and excessing will adversely affect thousands of our members.

A contract extension, at the very minimum, gives us a measure of stability and, in a worst-case scenario, provides that special early-retirement opportunities will be available to all eligible APWU members.

The question before you is whether we will be in a better position in 2003 or 2005. This tentative agreement does not - and is not intended to - address in a comprehensive way all of the issues that can only be resolved in contract negotiations.

As your president, it is my professional judgment that the limited accomplishments of the tentative agreement far exceed the uncertainties of returning to the bargaining table in 2003. I believe it is in your best interest to approve the tentative agreement and I ask that you vote "Yes."

"Regardless of where you stand on the contract extension, we urge you to vote," said APWU President William Burrus, " and we hope that you will urge your fellow members to vote on this important matter."

I urge all members to vote to ratify the contract extension, said Bill Lewis Trenton Metro Area Local's President.  Ballots must be returned by December 19, 2002.  Anyone needing a ballot should directly contact APWU headquarters at 202-842-8505.

Read about the extension at Bill's Corner


Clerk Bids

The clerk bid posting was posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2002, and management canceled the posting on December 12, 2002, without notifying the union.  As soon as I get an explanation, I will share their lame excuse. 

Monroe Report  

This week the building had to be evacuated due to a natural gas leak.  Every time I go by where the gas enters the building I smell a strong odor of natural gas.  The gas leaks maybe contributed to the recent work on the curtain heater system. 

After 2 months we now have some phones on the workroom floor. Time clocks are another issue.  I have been told they will begin to install time clocks.  All members should be hitting on their proper operation; this will assist the union in investigating your grievances. 

I have requested that all postings and general information be posted in Kilmer and Monroe.

No date has been provided for our new rest rooms. 

In closing lets hope for the best with the gassing of the Brentwood Post Office.  The outcome will determine when we go home.


Some important dates

Annual Leave Exchange Open Season
Nov. 5, 2002 - Dec. 15, 2002   

TSP Open Season
Oct. 15, 2002 - Dec. 31, 2002

Flexible Spending Accounts Open Season
Nov. 11, 2002 - Dec. 22, 2002
   
Long Term-Care Insurance Open Season
Through Dec. 31, 2002


December 11, 2002

FUMIGATION OF JOSEPH CURSEEN, JR., AND THOMAS MORRIS, JR.,
PROCESSING AND DISTRIBUTION CENTER ON BRENTWOOD ROAD

STATEMENT OF AZEEZALY JAFFER
VICE PRESIDENT OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND COMMUNICATIONS

UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE

DECEMBER 10, 2002

The U.S. Postal Service received a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) crisis exemption from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday night which permits us to proceed with the fumigation of the Joseph Curseen,  Jr. and Thomas Morris, Jr. Processing and Distribution Center on Brentwood Road, Northeast, in Washington, DC.

This has been a long and careful process that involved the best scientific minds from the public and private sectors as well as the cooperation and assistance of our partner agencies. We appreciate their help and guidance, and the Postal Service looks forward to rehabilitating the Joseph Curseen Jr., Thomas Morris, Jr. facility and making it a vital part of the Brentwood community once again

The crisis exemption authorizes the Postal Service to use chlorine dioxide (ClO2) to kill anthrax spores in the facility.  Fumigation is scheduled to begin on December 14, 2002.

The facility has been closed since October 21, 2001 after it was determined that anthrax spores were released into the air from two letters processed there that were intended for Senators Daschle and Leahy. Since the facility's closure, the Postal Service has constructed an effective decontamination system based on the best available science and engineering from experts in both the public and private sectors.

This process is based on what was used to rehabilitate the Hart Senate Office Building where the Daschle letter was opened. Over the past year or so, the Postal Service has been adapting the decontamination process used in the Daschle suite at Hart to accommodate the scale of the Joseph Curseen, Jr. and Thomas Morris, Jr., Processing and Distribution Center, which is roughly 170 times larger than the Daschle suite.

The Postal Service will  host a community meeting on Wednesday evening, December 11, 2002, at 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center to brief the community and answer questions before proceeding with the fumigation.

Additionally, the Postal Service has established a toll-free information line for community questions at 1-800-527-0741; the deaf and hearing impaired can access the information line through TTY 1-800-418-5301.   For additional information, please visit our website, http://www.usps.com/ under News and Events, then Security of the Mail for the latest fact sheet and answers to the most frequently asked questions.


December 10, 2002

Just received this update from the US Postal Service's media department.  I will monitor this event very closely. Lets hope for the best.

Bill

FYI, the fumigation of the Brentwood P&DC is still on schedule for this coming weekend, beginning on December 14.   A media briefing is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, and another community meeting will be conducted prior to the fumigation.
    
Additionally, temperatures are forecasted to rise into the 40s for the weekend, which will be beneficial in the effectiveness of the fumigation.
    
I will advise of any further developments.   As we have experienced before, this situation is very fluid and could change.
    
The weekly employee Newsbreak will be issued announcing the fumigation as soon as we get confirmation that everything is a go.


November 21, 2002

CFS

As we all know CFS clerks were scheduled to be excessed to New Brunswick.  This excessing issue has traveled many different roads before being resolved yesterday.  Let me say my primary goal has been to stay focused on the excessing of the Trenton employees.  Now that the excessing issue is resolved, I will focus on the mail being permanently moved to New Brunswick.

Highlights of the CFS Excessing MOU

Trenton CFS Clerks' excessing letter is hereby withdrawn.

Trenton CFS Clerks will be issued notices of abolishment.  A date will be determined. All time frames will be controlled in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Management will post residual vacancies for all Trenton employees to bid on. Tour 3 vacancies will still be withheld until the parties can determine what the needs are for tour 3.

All unencumbered employees will be assigned consistent with the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Trenton CFS Employees whose jobs are abolished will be offered details to New Brunswick.  No out of schedule will be paid if you choose to take a detail.  Mileage will be paid.

I plan to visit the CFS unit on Tuesday around 11 am. 

Monroe Report

After countless discussions and meetings, I am pleased to inform you they're installing additional rest rooms and a break area on the automation side of the building.  Now you will only have to travel 1/8 of a mile to a rest room.  They're also going to install additional heat for us.

I have complained about additional time clocks, and now they are being installed.

Health Benefits

I have requested that someone from personnel be available for all 3 tours to process your health benefit selection forms.  Management will announce the dates and times a personnel employee will be available.  Open season closes December 9, 2002.

Tour 3 Employees

I've been having many discussions over this issue with management.  We have explored many different options. Management is playing hardball with this issue.
I have instructed tour 3 and tour 1 stewards to file grievances for the casuals they've hired, and the excessive overtime.  With all the overtime hours used, I feel there is enough work for the Kilmer 36.  My position is that no casual should work as long as we have displaced tour 3 employees.  Those grievances have been filed and advanced to the second step.  

Two candidates from our local election have filed charges against me relating to various alleged election violations.  All these charges do is steal valuable time needed to fight management on these pressing issues.  I assure you there has been no violation of the law.  I will fight these allegations vigorously.  To me, this is just another attempt to discredit me for all the hard work and the positive results we have achieved over the past year.

I will continue to push forward on this tour 3 issue until there is some resolutions.

Local Union Office

Just a little bit more bad luck for the Trenton Local, our union office was flooded with sewage that backed up from the township.  We are moving forward to restore the office so we can continue on our mission to save the Trenton Postal Worker


October 12, 2002

Monroe Report

The SPBS is nearly completed, maintenance is working on fine tuning it and making some final repairs.  The FSM 1000 is assembled and awaiting airlines before it can be ran and tested.  The FSM 881 is near completion and also awaiting air.  The contractor should have the air compressor installed within a week.

Maintenance plans on disassembling the 2 DBCS's from Princeton and installing them in Monroe this weekend.  With this installation, mail processors will be assigned to Monroe by Tuesday, October 15, 2002.  Anytime employees are moved from one facility to another there is bound to be labor problems and grievances.  I will try to help make the move for the employees as smooth as possible and protect your rights.

On October 19, 2002, the FSM 100 will be relocated from Kilmer to Monroe.  This process should be completed within 10 days.  At this point, additional mail processors will be moved to Monroe.  Which mail processors will be the question? The local's position is the mail processors who hold FSM bids will go first.  I know management has attempted to delete the FSM 100 duties from those bids but the local has filed grievances on the elimination of the principle duty assignment. We will continue to protect the concept of every bid having a principle duty assignment.

I have met with management and voiced some of the members concerns about our new place of employment.

Safety Concerns

Lighting in the parking lots was a concern but since the meeting the lights have been turned on, and additional temporary lights are installed.

There are some issues with doors lacking handles and a hydraulic door closer so when the wind blows the door remains open letting the cold air in.  Maybe minor, except it is right in the swing room.  Sometimes the bathroom door blows open.  

Rest rooms are being maintained and I thank the custodians for their diligence in keeping the place clean. An agreement has been reached that the Lab Rats can use the restrooms in the administrative area.  The ceiling tiles have been put back in place.  Everyone must help keep the restrooms clean, that means cleaning up after your self.  Please try.

I requested the eye wash station become operational and placed where all employees will access it, right now it is laying on a pallet. Eye protection must be made available to maintenance employees.

Outside lighting, lines, numbers on the bays as well as chocks for the wheels are serious concerns of our VMS employees.  I thank those employees for bringing these items to my attention.  Management has stated they are aware and currently working toward eliminating these hazards.  Dock lights are missing for the expediters and mail handlers who must work in trailers.  I have been informed temporary lighting will be made available.

Time clocks, I have asked that additional clocks be made available to eliminate the congestion at the clocks.  Maintenance is working on getting additional clocks in place.

I voiced our concerns about the heating and ventilation.  Only time will tell about this.

Additional parking is needed.  I have been advised that parking spots will be created down the far end of the building.  A second employee entrance will be created down there to eliminate employees walking through the truck yard.

No final decisions has been made about relocating MOWS, VMF, MVS and the supervisor trailer park. The VMF has 3 options, Lakewood VMF, Kilmer VMF or a location in on 539/537 in Cream Ridge, NJ. The engineers are looking at the site and drawing up plans for it. MOWs, they are exploring 2 options, moving the Trailer to a site on 130 right up the road from the annex or moving into Mercerville. They plan on moving the MVS operation to the same site as MOWS on 130.  As always these plans are not final and involve a lot of postal brass making decisions.  I will watch these developments closely

 


October 3, 2002

Monroe Report

The heat and humidity in the building is unbearable.  The fans are simulating a hair dryer.  Ugh.  I have questioned management about the AC unit from South River and have not received an answer. The plan was to bring that AC unit to Monroe when we moved.  I clearly remember that.

I have had some discussions over the heating for this upcoming winter season.  The brains are telling me it will be warm enough with the 2 roof top blowers, machines and bodies generate heat. Get some warm clothes and lets hope for a real mild winter.

Restrooms have already become an issue when they are being cleaned and employees are unable to use them. My investigation leads me to believe there is plumbing on the South side of the building and they are able to install restrooms for the employees.  MONEY, we need it for bike racing.  Not for the lab rats.

There are still no lockers install in the building yet.  Target date is the middle of the month. 

Installation of the SPBS is moving along, and now the FSM 1000 is unloaded and waiting to be installed. Battery chargers for the industrial equipment are online. The TACS room is running with some equipment.

Oh, don't let me forget the baseboard heat for the administration section is completed. Now the bosses will have some heat. Maybe they can leave the door open for us.

There hasn't been any drinking water for several days, the watercooler bottles are all empty (for those of you who worked at the River, it's the same thing all over again!!)  We are waiting on the water delivery.  The vending machines were all inoperative last night (again, for those of you at the River, this is nothing new!)  The employee entrance still has no door handle.  The registry cage is erected.

Safety rails are being installed all around the sheetrocked walls.  Over all some progress has been made but slow moving.

Mileage 

This subject of mileage has once again surfaced and management intends on rewriting the language contained in the handbook and manuals regarding travel.  I clocked the mileage from the Trenton P&DC to Monroe via the NJ turnpike exit 7A to 8A and it was 20 miles.  Someone please clock the mileage and see if I am wrong.

Telephone Numbers for the Monroe Union Office

(609) 860-9312 PHONE

(609)860-9361 FAX



September 29, 2002

The Monroe Report

We have finally moved, effective Saturday, September 28, 2002, we began sorting mail on a limited basis at our new interim facility in Monroe Township, NJ.  I don't share the same hype and excitement as some do over this facility.  This new interim facility raises some serious safety concerns.

Many members have made inquiries regarding the restrooms, locker rooms and swing room facilities at Monroe.  The restrooms are completed. For the workers on the workroom floor there is only one restroom for each, male and female.  The restrooms do have privacy stalls and are covered by drop ceilings. The administrated section has a set of restrooms also.

The locker rooms are constructed, but lack lockers. No surprise to me, we had 8 months to get them, assemble, store them and be ready for the workers on move in day.

The swing room is ready but lacks a drop ceiling. You can be accompanied by the noise and dust while you enjoy your breaks and lunches.  The reason for no drop ceiling over the swing room is, no money. There are vending machines, refrigerator, tables and chairs.  I don't believe there will be enough space when we go to full operations.

There is no ceiling over the administrated area also, lets see who gets a ceiling first!  Do you think the suits will deal with the dust and noise from the floor?

Outside lights are another issue; they are installed, but are not operational.  The lights were supposed to be functioning prior to move in, why would you need outside lighting when 75 percent of your workforce works in the twilight hours.

The registry cage is being erected and should be completed. The cage is located on the loading dock, I mean right on the outside wall between the bay doors. 

The installation of the SPBS in underway and expected to be completed in several weeks.  The FSM 1000 installation will begin as soon as the contractor releases additional space.  The removal of AFSM 100 from Kilmer will be on or about October 18, 2002.

The building lacks a ventilation system.  There is no air conditioning; no fresh air exchange and heat source is questionable.  When I questioned management about the heat, all I got was a chuckle. They have installed additional heat, electric baseboard in the administration section.

The heat and fresh air exchange is a major concern with winter coming upon us very soon.  There is no buffer zone between loading dock and the workroom floor.  What that means as soon as a bay door opens the cold northeast wind will rush into the building trapping the heat source at the ceiling. Dust could be a problem without a proper ventilation system.

Aisles in this facility are another concern. The building is only as wide as a length of an of a SPBS machine.  The machine is being installed right across the width of the building, it is a short machine only 100 sorting bins.  If it was a large model like ours in Trenton it may not have fit.  So when an employee wants to go to a restroom, lunch or leave the building they must travel along the loading dock, and we all know how safe and congested a loading dock can be at certain times of a day.

There seems to be a problem with the bay door staying in an open position.  They are not motorized, so use extreme caution when working around them.

The reason for all the cut backs is simply money.  Well, can we just sit back and allow them to take from us, when they can spend 25 million on a bike racing event? Hell no!  We must take on this battle like all the other we have fought over the past year. The struggle still continues for the Trenton Postal Worker.

Please forward all of your concerns to me about the Monroe facility. I will request management to address our concerns. 


September, 25, 2002

The US Postal Service notified the Trenton Metro Area Local that mail sorting operations currently housed at the South River MDC will be transferred to the new interim Trenton Distribution center in Monroe Township.  This switch in operations will be effective Saturday, September 28, 2002.

After many days of rumors and uncertainties, postal workers finally received notice of the relocation. For some Trenton employees this will be their fourth location since the closing of the Anthrax contaminated processing center.

The Monroe facility is still not complete.  Rest rooms are not operational, the accommodations for employees breaks and lunches isn't complete nor is there a place to store their personal affects.  The Postal Service has insured the union that these concerns of the union will be addressed and all rest rooms and employees needs will be addressed.

The Postal Service has been forced to vacate South River MDC and make this premature move by Aeropostale who they share the warehouse with.  Aeropostale has taken the Postal Service to court according to unnamed sources. 

The Trenton Metro Area Local has concerns about the safety of the employees in this new facility.  Construction work will be proceeding at the same time employees are sorting mail.

A meeting has been scheduled with the union on Thursday, September 26, 2002, at 9:30 am.  I will share any updated information as it becomes available.

So long River - hello Monroe!


COLA

COLA Increase Takes Effect September 7, 2002

The consumer price index, CPI-W rose in July to 524.5.  The second cost of living adjustment under the 2000 Collective Bargaining agreement will be:
            
             Per Annum: $312.00
             Per Pay Period: $12.00
             Cents Per Hour:  .15

The Postal Service will begin paying the adjustment effective September 7, 2002, (pay period 20-2002) and it will be reflected in paycheck dated September 27, 2002.

Due to a falling CPI-W index, employees did not receive any monies from the first cost-of-living adjustment period.

Pay scales showing the Cost of Living allowance that takes effect September 7, 2002, will be printed in the September/October edition of the American Postal Worker.

Annual Leave Submission for Christmas Week

Applications for annual leave for Christmas Week 2002 will be accepted during the period of September 7 through September 20, 2002.  This Annual Leave period covers the weeks of December 25, 2002, through January 1, 2003, for the APWU Crafts.

Approved Annual Leave will be posted the first week of PP 21.

Clerk Bid Posting

Clerk bid posting, CL 162 is now posted.  The window for bidding is 8/30/02 through 9/9/02.

The Postal Job Bidding Phone Numbers & Hours for Clerks:

Phone
1-800-222-2415
1-800-520-0625 (TDD)

Hours
Monday-Friday 3:00am-Midnight (Central Time)
Saturday 3:00am-6:00pm (Central Time)
Including Holidays
No Bidding on Sundays

Central Time is a 1-hour time difference from us, so that would make our bidding hours in the Eastern Time zone 4:00am-1:00am (M-F) and 4:00am-7:00pm (Sat).


Happy Labor Day, be safe and enjoy the final days of summer.


August 26, 2002

Anthrax Testing

All samples taken at South River and the Trenton P&DC, west dock have come back negative for anthrax.


August 22, 2002

Anthrax Testing

Tests results from Kilmer P&DC and Monmouth P&DC have come back negative.  No traces of anthrax have been found in these facilities.  " We are pleased that no evidence of anthrax was found at either the Kilmer or Monmouth plants, " said Vito Cetta, District Manager of Central Jersey.  This maybe a first, I do agree with Mr. Cetta's statement, that we are pleased.  

Testing was conducted on August 21, 2002, at South River MDC, Trenton P&DC and the Princeton Post Office.  I was told that the results from these tests should be back by Monday, August 26, 2002. 

New Building

Construction (renovations) have begun at the new interim Trenton Facility in Monroe, NJ.  The Postal Service has once again found a way around the laws that govern me and you.  Under some federal law they are not required to obtain building permits. I was wondering why they waited so long, when did they ever care about laws or employees rights before?

I am somewhat confused why the Monroe community would not enjoy the revenue that 500 employees would bring to their local establishments.  I would think the local businesses that surround the new facility would be excited with us arriving.  I guess I am wrong.

The time frame for occupying the new facility is still around October 12, 2002, for the South River Operations.  They do hope to move up the move in date, to September 21, 2002.

Tour 3 Excessing Meeting

Our local union as well as the Kilmer local met with the Postal Service on Wednesday, August 21, 2002.  The Trenton local's position is that some tour 3 employees should continue to process outgoing mail at the Kilmer Plant when the new interim facility opens.  My reasoning for this position is we don't want to give up any work, as long as we are working that mail we will maintain ownership.  The employees who would remain would continue the same benefits they currently have.  No Excessing.

Kilmer local's position is a simple one, we should be excessed to the Kilmer facility permanently and there is no room for negotiations.

The Postal Service is enjoying the Kilmer local's position.  Now they can run headquarters and our political leaders and say the unions cannot agree and we need to follow the contract.  They are wrong, the contract is being applied by assigning temporary duty assignments to the Trenton employees due to the temporary closing of the Hamilton plant.  What has the Postal service done over the past 10 months?  They have assigned temporary duty assignments, why change now? 

NBA Eric Wilson will obtain the national position on this mess.

We will continue negotiations and I will reach out to the National Clerk Craft in Washington for assistance. 

CFS Consolidation

This meeting was a disaster.  We met with Red Bank and Kilmer Locals and with the Postal Service on Wednesday, August 21, 2002, over the consolidation of CFS. 
The information supplied the unions when they notified the region was different then what they supplied at the meeting.  Postal Service's position is that it doesn't matter.  They were unable to support their facts and figures.

The meeting was terminated and the postal service will try to obtain the necessary information.  The most interesting bit of information was that this CFS consolidation plan has only been in the planning stage for a few weeks, not like the Postmaster general stated in his letter.

PMG Potter stated in his August 7, 2002, correspondence "Our plan is to return all operations and staffing to the Trenton P&DC that were in place prior to the anthrax attacks, with the exception previously slated for consolidation."

Management informed me that they planned this for about a week before the Regional notification happened.  They also confirmed that Trenton was not slated for consolidation prior to the closing.  Now tell me, who is telling the truth?  You decide.

Management is going to get the correct information and I will decide what course we should take. 


August 20, 2002

Anthrax Testing

The APWU has been advised that the Postal Service will conduct precautionary testing for anthrax on Wednesday, August 21, 2002.  Testing is scheduled for South River, 8 am to noon, Trenton P&DC, west dock, 8 pm to 3 am.  The areas to be tested are those associated with the induction of collection mail.

These test were scheduled for Sunday, August 18, 2002, but were canceled because it did not make sense to test everywhere.

I will keep you updated.


August 19, 2002

No Anthrax Testing

The Postal Service advised me today that they didn't test for Anthrax at the Trenton P&DC, west dock, South River MDC or Princeton PO.  They did conduct Anthrax tests at Monmouth P&DC and Kilmer P&DC.  The Postal Service notified me by mail and fax that they were going to perform test for Anthrax on Sunday, August 18, 2002, at all the facilities where collection mail is worked.  But they never notified the union of the changes.  I made the call after investigating where the tests were conducted.  Oh well.  Surprised? I'm not.  The reason offered by the service was it didn't make sense to test all the areas, only where the mail is processed.

As soon as I am notified of the results I will pass this on.


August 16, 2002

Additional Testing

The postal service has informed me of additional testing of the West dock, Trenton P&DC, South River MDC, Princeton PO, Kilmer and Monmouth.  The primary area of testing will be where collection mail is gathered and processed. The people performing the testing will be wearing personal protective equipment, (space suits).  I will keep you updated as events unfold. 


August 15, 2002 

Anthrax Testing

The APWU has requested that both Kilmer P&DC and Monmouth P&DC be tested for anthrax.  The reasons for the request was due to the positive test in a Princeton mail box.  The postal service has agreed to do the testing this weekend.  The APWU made this request to ensure the safety of the membership.  As soon as I have additional information or the results, I will pass it along to you.  The latest news stories pertaining to the Princeton mail box and other related stories are posted on the local's web page.

New Building

The POAC, (new building) meeting this week was canceled.  I have been informed that there is a problem obtaining the appropriate permits.  This delay will push back the move in date.  The Mayor of Monroe is holding up the process.  The reason I hear is the senior citizens community in Monroe is placing pressure on the Mayor.  I guess no one wants us.  By the time this building is up and running we will back in Trenton or I would at least hope so.

Meetings

On August 21, 2002, the local has 3 meetings, POAC, Tour 3 issues and the consolidation of the CFS unit.  Once I meet with management I will be able to report on exactly what they are up to. 

Mayor Gilmore has advised me that the local will be touring the fumigation equipment at the Brentwood Post Office.


August 6, 2002

CFS Consolidation Monmouth, New Brunswick and Trenton

The union has been advised that Central New Jersey District is proposing to consolidate the Monmouth, Trenton and New Brunswick CFS units.  The Monmouth and Trenton CFS units will be consolidated with the New Brunswick unit.  The combined operation will be housed in the New Brunswick Carrier Annex.

Central New Jersey District is claiming the consolidation of the CFS units will allow for more efficient operation, cost savings and a reduction in overtime.  The employee impact is as follows:

Monmouth:  22 level 4 CFS clerks, 3 PTFs

Trenton: 10 level 4 CFS clerks and 1 level 5 clerk

The current staffing at the new Brunswick CFS unit is 22.  The total proposed staffing for the consolidated CFS unit at New Brunswick is 62.

This notice does not provide for excessing out of the installation at this time.  I have reviewed the information provided and find many discrepancies. I will continue to investigate this issue.  Once we have a meeting I will provide more information.

Please be advised that management has posted 2 CFS clerk bids on the last posting.  The clerk posting date is the July 31, 2002, and the consolidation notice is dated July 26, 2002.  Bidding on these positions at this time could be a serious mistake, but that's only my opinion. You must make the choice. 

We will fight this issue just as we have the many other injustices perpetrated against us.  It is clear that Central Jersey has no intentions on living up to their statements that everyone will be returning when we open.  The most disturbing factor is, the postal service considers our customers of the Trenton P&DC second class citizens and they do not deserve first class mail service.

Just to update you, I have not received any notice reversing their decision to excess 66 Trenton employees.  Been told this by many, but talk is cheap.


July 31, 2002

New Building

The Postal Service notified the local that it has leased an interim facility.  The facility is located at 24 Engelhard Rd. Monroe, NJ 08831. They plan to start occupying the building in 4 to 6 weeks.  There is preliminary work needed before we can occupy the building; lighting, air lines, electrical drops, bathrooms, swing rooms and locker rooms will have to be installed.  The postal service has scheduled a meeting next week to discuss the building.  I plan on making a trip to this new site in the next few days. I will update you on all the specifics once they are made available to us.  This move will create a whole new world of labor issues.  If you have questions please feel free to contact me and I will try to get some answers.

Excessing

I have been notified that the proposal to excess 36 clerks has been delayed.  The postal service has taken that off the table at the present moment.  I still have not received this in writing.  They plan on scheduling a meeting in the near future.  I believe we need to be cautious and sleep with one eye open!  I will stay on top of this troubling issue. Please don't think for one moment this issue has gone away. 

Stay tuned I am sure this story will get better.

Web Site

If you have missed some of the latest news articles on Trenton P&DC, check the local's web site.

If you are interested in becoming a maintenance employee, management has scheduled a training course to assist you in passing the exam.  Information is posted on the web page.  This course is on your own time.

See you at the picnic.


July 27, 2002

There is no change in management's excessing plan. 

I would like to thank both Mayor Gilmore for arranging the meeting and Senator Torricelli for giving us so much of his valuable time over the past several months.  If you do attend the picnic please take the time to say thank you to the Mayor.

The meeting with Senator Torricelli and Mayor Gilmore did not yield the results I would have expected or desired.  The Postal Service took the position that the excessing was the result of the unions failing to negotiate a local agreement for overtime, holidays and vacation provisions with merge seniority.

Our local's position was simple and clear, Will tour 3 remain intact? If and when we reopen, and will the notice of excessing be rescinded?  I asked these questions several times, without a response.  The only response to any questions pertaining to this issue was we need to meet and negotiate. 

As in previous meetings I requested that the Postal Service please advise me of what is the problem.  The union has not filed any grievances on these issues.  Absence of any labor problems or grievances, why negotiate something that is working?  When I questioned how these 3 issues lead to excessing 36 clerks, I got the same automated response. We need to meet and negotiate.

How will excessing 36 clerks improve mail service?  Currently we have 100 tour 3 Trenton employees working at Kilmer now processing tour 3 mail.

As far as I am concerned the notice of excessing still stands, management still plans on downsizing tour 3, and abolishing clerk positions.  They may attempt to cloud the issue, but their main goal is to eliminate tour 3. 

Our local was represented by Bill Lewis, Local President, Bob Lauer, Local Executive Vice President and Roy Braunstein APWU National Legislative Director.

Roy was of enormous help and assistance during this meeting and arranging an additional meeting with Congressman Smith and his staff afterwards.  Thanks Roy.

After the meeting we headed over to Congressman Smith's office.  We met with the Congressman and updated him on the latest news. (Second time this week.)  We did meet with his Chief of Staff, Mary Noonan and Nick Manetto and had very meaningful discussions and explored many options we have, to continue our fight.  This upcoming week Roy Braunstein and other APWU staff will be meeting with Congressman Smith's staff and will work together on some ideas we discussed.  I cannot not tell you what we have in store because our enemies do monitor our communications.  I do like the plan and I do believe it will expose the evildoers of Central Jersey District.

I would like to thank Ms. Noonan and Nick for all their help and time.  Nick will be at the picnic, so please take the time to thank him for all his help.  He has been committed to our struggle from day one.

This week we had the no building meeting, 13 POAC meeting and we did learn that the building deal has ran into some legal obstacles relating to the lease.  I was hopeing to hear some news by weeks end.  That did not happen.  One interesting thing did come about, I received a phone call from the Office of the Mayor of Monroe Township asking why the union wanted to lease the building.  They additionally wanted to know why the employees did not want to work in Monroe Township.  I informed them our issues were not with Monroe Community.  We are just tired of the commute and we want to go home.  They did enlighten me that no zoning permits were taken out.  I told them I have nothing to do with the issue and directed them to district.

In closing, today I would like to thank all of you for your support and efforts in our attempt to get home.  No single effort, event or person will accomplish this task.  We must remain united and keep gathering support.  I do need employees to get in contact with their local community leaders, civic and church groups and ask them to publicly support us. Tell them to feel free to contact me.  We need to go back to writing letters to our political leaders and maintain constant pressure, so when you feel the need to trash the union or me please direct your enemy in the right direction.

Hope to see you at the picnic.


July 22, 2002

Today's meeting with Congressman Smith and Area Vice President David Solomon was not as successful as I would have hoped for.  Mr. Solomon had the typical corporate lingo and was filled with false information.  Speaking with him was like watching the transformation tape.  Mr. Solomon has been filled with too much transformation.

He would not commit to any type of agreement with Congressman Smith.  He placed the blame on the union and overtime grievances and the parties being unable to negotiate away our members rights.  When I questioned him if we agree to overtime provisions, would that stop the movement of tour 3 mails and future excessing?  He basically said tour 3 mail is gone.  This whole issue is not about the union being unable to reach an agreement on overtime and other issues.  The issue is transformation and the consolidation of mail. 

He did state that, as an example; the CFS unit would not be returning to Trenton, when we questioned if there are any other operations being impacted.  He stated the longer we stay closed the more work we will lose.

The Postal Service has now had 8 months to get the consolidation plan working.  My observation is the plan is not workable.  Remember the plan is to merge all 085/086 originating mail with Kilmer 088/089 outgoing operations.  The plan sounds great, but in reality it is failing miserably.  In order to create a delusional smoke screen, management is holding all Kilmer's collection mail, 088/089 on their platform and at 7 PM transporting it to DVD to be canceled and processed.  This diverting of Kilmer's collection mail allows management to just process Trenton's collection mail.

Kilmer cannot handle all of Trenton's mail, and some must be sent to DVD. This operating plan has been in effect for several weeks. I waited to be sure it wasn't just a one-night trip. Additionally, Kilmer is shipping 4 star routes directly to West Jersey with its collection mail.  All Kilmer is doing is off loading the amount of mail it is receiving from Trenton so they can claim its plan is working.  If they could handle it they would be doing it every day.

Under the transformation plan, Kilmer would process all originating mail from 088, 089, 085, and 086.  One would believe the intent of this merger would be to capture savings by merging of the 2 facilities.  I wonder how much they are saving by re routing mail from Trenton to Kilmer and then to DVD and then to West Jersey and back to South River to our area office, stations and branches.  Kilmer now has an additional 100 tour 3 employees assigned there and they can't handle the mail so they went out and hired themselves some casuals and placed them under the Trenton's finance number.  Now this is the group that wants to reduce Trenton's staffing at Kilmer to 36 when they have a hundred employees and cannot get the mission accomplished.

The whole transformation plan is in a holding pattern awaiting the new building.  At that time they will abolish a large number of the tour 3 bids.  The longer we are shut down we run the risk of losing more mail.   

Congressman Smith tried to get a time frame on the start of the clean up and the status of the new building.  Mr. Solomon had no additional information on these items to share with us.  He will not meet with the employees of Trenton at our union meeting.

At the recommendation of the parties I will continue to negotiate with the postal service and the Kilmer local.   


July 22, 2002

Excessing Meeting - July 22, 2002

This morning I attended an excessing meeting at the Kilmer Plant that was scheduled by District management. APWU National Business Agents Eric Wilson and Frank Giordano were present along with the President and Vice President of the Kilmer local. Representing management was Lynn Goldstein, District Mgr. Labor Relations; Patricia Connolly, District Mgr. Human Resources; Victor Pacheco, Kilmer Plant Mgr.; Gary Johnston, Area Mgr. Labor Relations and Steve Roman, Trenton Plant Mgr.

Management opened by asking if we would reconsider their proposal of about a month ago which Bill Lewis has publicized. Basically it would “temporarily” excess Trenton employees but with no bidding or retreat rights.  Our response was a firm no.

The intention of the Post Office is to give a 60-day advance notice immediately to the junior 36 employees on the Trenton seniority list. The original plan had been to move level 5’s only, but a new twist was added when it was announced that the level 4 DCO positions would be abolished today also. The CFS unit would be the lone remaining level 4 positions. Management has revised its plans to excess the JUNIOR 36 employees, level 4 and 5, since the DCO’s will be eventually put into level 5 positions. This would make the excessing strictly by seniority since there are no level 6 clerks in the bottom 36.

The DCO’s will not be the only ones losing their jobs. We were advised that “manual” operations on tour 3 would be abolished. Management did not set a time table or identify at this moment which jobs they consider to fall under “manual,” only saying there will be more abolishment's than the number of those excessed. All tour 3 relief and pool positions, most people probably refer to these as “station fill in window clerks,” will be abolished and reposted on tour 2 with different core duty assignments.

Senior employees will be given an opportunity to voluntarily replace the excessed clerks, carrying with them the seniority of that person, not your own hiring date. NBA Giordano requested a post excessing profile be provided to the union to aid those contemplating volunteering. This is an estimated list of positions that will remain in Trenton upon reopening. I'm not sure when we can expect to have that available, since management hasn't committed to a date for the proposed tour 3 abolishment's. We will pursue that issue.

For those of you who have a copy of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, management has indicated they will be excessing under Article 12, Section 5.C.6. Article 12 is the most complex of all, with additional memorandums, arbitration's and manuals supplementing the contract. Rest assured, we will relentlessly scrutinize management's every step and your rights will be protected. The union will post further information as it becomes available.


Bob Lauer
Executive Vice President


 

July 19, 2002

There hasn't been any additional news about the excessing.  I have spent the last few days reaching out to all of our political allies.  Additionally I have been in contact with our National union.  Since we've had a good idea of what management was up to, I wasn't totally surprised to receive the excessing notice. Over the past several weeks I have been gathering information to assist us in our fight.  I will present this information to the Political Leaders.

Today I held a teleconference with Representative Chris Smith's Washington office preparing for our Monday meeting.  Roy Braunstein, APWU Legislative Director participated in this teleconference.  On Monday, July 22, 2002, I will be meeting with Congressman Chris Smith and David Solomon, Area Vice President of the Postal Service.

The Postal Service has scheduled a meeting with the union over Article 12 and the proposed excessing on Monday at the same time. Bob Lauer, Executive Vice President will be attending this excessing meeting.  With him will be Sandy Schleher, Clerk Craft Director, NBA's Eric Wilson and Frank Giordano will be there from our National Union.

On Wednesday, July 24, 2002, there will be a New Building Meeting, POAC, I've heard they are very close to closing a deal.  Since I've heard this before I did not get excited over it.  I heard on June 17, 2002, in 24 hours the lease would be signed.  I do believe this time the deal is close to being finalized.  The reason I believe this is because management has begun to implement their plan of mass destruction of tour 3.  

On Thursday, July 25, 2002, I will be heading to Washington with Mayor Gilmore to attend a meeting with Senators Torricelli and Corzine.  Mayor Gilmore requested this meeting.

Once I have all the information I will hold a union meeting to bring you up to date on these troubling events.  I can only make one promise that I will fight the consolidation of the outgoing mail and management's attempts to excess our members.  I ask you pray that God gives me the strength and wisdom to fight these evil managers.


July 17, 2002

On July 16, 2002, I was advised of management's proposal to excess thirty-six (36) level 5 clerks from Trenton P&DC to the Kilmer P&DC.  The reason for this move is the consolidation of the outgoing operations.

Management has supplied me with an inaccurate and incomplete impact statement, which I am currently reviewing.  On Monday, July 22, 2002, a meeting is scheduled and I will obtain as much information as possible.

I have no details on which operations on tour 3 will be impacted or a time frame.

Excessing is a very a complicated process and involves many different issues. Please do not listen to rumors.  If you do hear these rumors or you do have information please share with me. 

Feel free to email me or call the office 609-631-7745 and leave your name and your phone number if you have any questions. 

This is the thanks we get for being front line heroes.

I have started the process of contacting our Senators and Congressional Leaders. As more information becomes available I will share and keep you updated.


July 11, 2002

New Building

A New (No) Building meeting, POAC, was held on Wednesday, July 10, 2002.  We were informed that the building's lease has not been finalized.  The final signature is the Postmaster General and we await his approval.  The building is located in the same general locations as the last few, Exit 8A off the NJ Turnpike and Cranbury Rd.

We were informed that all the machines and mail that was sent to DVD, Princeton and the Carrier Annex will be brought into the interim building for processing. Tour 3, out going mail will not be brought there, reasons offered by the Postal Service is there isn't sufficient space and the availability of machines. (Bull)

The building is just a shell, four walls.  Before we could occupy the building they will need to install lighting, rest rooms, swing room, lockers and other basic necessities. The air conditioning from South River will be moved with the river operations, so we will have temporary air conditioning in the building.  As soon as the PMG approves the lease, construction will begin.  The first phase will be to move South River's operations into the building, since time is running out for the Lab Rats.  Aeropostale wants us out and our cohabitat agreement runs out on Oct 1, 2002.

I was very frustrated with the lack of information and progress. On June 17, I was informed that the deal would be signed in 24 hours, it has been a long 24 hours.  When I observed the lack of management representatives attending the meeting, I knew the meeting was going to be a major disappointment.  I don't feel this building or any building where we must continue to commute will help improve our lives.  If and when we move into an interim building I foresee nothing but major headaches and a whole new world of labor issues.

It's hard for me to be positive when you see the Postal Service spend 25 million dollars on bike race. They do not want us in a building closer to home, the Trenton area. They constantly want us to do without. When they spend this type of money on nonsense and can't spend a few million on improving service to our customers or at least attempt to improve our lives and help reduce the stress these terrorists created.  I know "get over it," That's what we've been told GET OVER IT.  Sorry I can't.

DCO

The local has been informed that management intends to abolish the remaining Trenton DCO positions.  The Postal Service has transferred flat imaging to the remote encoding center in Princeton, NJ.  I will advise you when the official notice is given to the employees.

Bids

The union has filed a grievance over the last clerk bid posting and the temporary clerk posting.  Management has failed to answer our step 1 grievance and is forcing us to appeal this case to step 2.  The reason for the grievance is management failed to post the bids in South River, and blocked all level 4's from bidding. 

Improving Moral

In another attempt to improve moral, management is issuing discipline for attendance related infractions.  The Postal Service implemented a new attendance monitoring system, Resource Management Data, RMD.  Anyone who is brought in for a pre disciplinary interview should request a shop steward.  If you are issued discipline contact your shop steward. 

Picnic

Tickets are available and I hope to see you at the picnic, any questions check the web page or email me.  It would be nice and positive to see some of our co workers we haven't seen in several months. 
No Scabs this is a union function, remember you don't want to be part of us. 


July 3, 2002

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July.

Presidents Day and Memorial Day Holidays


Holiday/Annual Leave Hours from PAY PERIOD 05-2002 (PRESIDENTS DAY HOLIDAY) AND PAY PERIOD 12-2002 (MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY) will be added to the affected employees hours and annual leave balances in PAY PERIOD 14-2002.

These hours will be included in the annual leave earned this year amount and annual leave balance on the employees PAY PERIOD 14-2002 earnings statements JULY 5, 2002.

FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAY

The upcoming FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAY will mark the third time that eligible employees may elect a day of annual leave in lieu of holiday leave when they work the holiday or designated holiday.

6/6/02
Annual leave in lieu of holiday pay options

The annual leave in lieu of holiday pay options has not been reprogrammed into the USPS payroll system.

Many employees who exercised this option in February (President Day) and in May (Memorial Day) have not seen the annual leave credited to your leave balance.  This is scheduled to be done within the next couple of pay periods.  Exact date has not been provided to the union.

However, the USPS and APWU have agreed the employee can use this leave even though its not listed on an employee leave balance.  The local office should have a list of every employee entitled to the annual leave from the holiday option.  This is an employees annual leave.  They must input it manually until the payroll/leave program is updated.  This was confirmed by phone with the USPS Headquarters Labor Relations Specialist Lisa Hambalek on Thursday, June 6, 2002.


July 1, 2002

Bus Service

The bus schedule for July 4th is as follows:

Wednesday, July 3, 2002, at 22:00 NJ Transit will transport Tour One employees and bring back Tour Three employees.  There will be no bus service on Thursday, July 4, 2002, for Tour Two and Tour Three.
Service will resume Thursday night at 22:00 PM - for Tour 1.

Vans are available for alternate transportation. Please make necessary arrangements to ensure all employees are able to report to work.

Clerk Bid Posting

The local will be filing a class action grievance on the latest clerk posting.  The reasons for the grievance is, management's failure to post for the full 10 days at South River and the computer is preventing some employees from bidding.  The union will request the bids be reposted for the whole 10 days at all facilities where Trenton Employees are domiciled.  We will seek out of schedule pay for all days beyond the 28 days. I am advising every one of this grievance so no one should get too comfortable in their new position.  We tried to correct the problem prior to the closing, but we were unsuccessful, then again who are we to tell a manager they are doing something wrong? 

Air Conditioning

I must report that the River and the Carrier Annex now have some cool air blowing.  The annex has its new ac unit up and running.  The river has a temporary system working. We are truly going to need it this week.  I know Aeropostale employees will also enjoy the AC. 

New Building

There hasn't been any information provided to the union on a new building since the June 7, 2002, meeting.  I have heard that they are still searching for a building, but no official word.  For now we must prepare for a long hot summer up in the New Brunswick Area. 

Lack of Information

It has been several weeks since we had any meeting with management.  I have requested along with Congressman Smith to have a union meeting where Area Vice President David Solomon could discuss our future and what can or would be done to assist us in dealing with this hardship or maybe just answer your questions.  We are still awaiting a time and place.

Can we Trust Them, You Decide

This update was to long for email and has been placed on the local's web page.  The web page also contains some interesting news articles relating to us.  Take a few moments and check out the web site
www.trentonmetroarealocal.com

Local Picnic

This years picnic will be August 4, 2002.  The location is at the German American Club.  For further details check out the web page.


June 8, 2002

New Building

This was the 11th POAC meeting and still no building.  The Postal Service is still negotiating with AT&T lawyers over the building in South Brunswick.  The service is still looking at buildings in Monroe Township and Florence / Roebling areas.  Most of the machines that came in from other areas have now been redeployed to DVD.  Oh well, did we really think we were going to get them?

Air Conditioning

The temporary air conditioning should be completed shortly at the River.  The reason for the delay is the best I have ever heard. We could not get water for the unit.  The South River township would not allow us to use the water from the hydrants to fill the cooling tower. Water will be trucked in by tanker trucks. 

Construction and installation has begun on installing air conditioning in the annex.  Target date is still around the middle of the month.

Bus Service

The bus service to the temporary duty assignments will continue this weekend.  Change is coming, they plan on eliminating the bus service on the weekends.  I will try to get a clear answer or lets say, try to understand their plan.  Will keep you informed of this major change.

CDC

I have been informed that the CDC will be contacting us to continue their study of the Trenton Lab Rats. 

085 Mail

The service plans on shipping 085 letter mail to DVD with our new machines to do the dual pass on these zones. The 085 standard A mail is now being processed in Raritan. 

Also plans are under way to move more Kilmer outgoing mail to DVD.  Kilmer is already shipping some of their outgoing mail to West Jersey, this is just another attempt to disguise how Kilmer is able (unable) to process our mail.  One could see through this smoke screen.  Just a quick review of the past will show who absorbed Kilmer and Monmouth mail on a regular basis.  Trenton, enough said.

CFS

The Postal service still plans on screwing these 10 CFS clerks by changing their begin tour start times and continues to terrorize them with psychological torture.  They are not treated the same as Kilmer's employees.  These employee are continually harassed by other employees and management.  I do have a meeting scheduled for Monday the 10th of June.

I must inform you that Congressman Smith's staff is unable to get Vito Cetta to return their calls on this matter and other issues of great importance to us.


Senator Robert Torricelli has invited the local Union leadership to attend a meeting on Sunday, June 9, 2002, with Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, in Princeton, NJ.  I will be attending this meeting and I will present to the Senators how we are still suffering from the Terrorist attack at the hands of our employer.  The anthrax letter was sent to Senator Daschle, so lets hope he will listen to us and join in our struggle to reopen Trenton in full.


May 30, 2002

I attended the 10th POAC meeting or as I refer to it as the NO Building Meeting. On May 1, 2002, the Postal Service signed a lease to sub lease a building in South Brunswick.  The owner, AT&T pension group had 25 days to approve or disapprove the sub lease agreement.  On May 28, 2002, I was notified that the Postal Service was not getting this building.  Today I was informed that AT&T attorneys want to meet with the Postal Service to discuss the reasons for the denial.  I say screw them and move forward.

The Postal Service is currently looking at several other sites, Monroe area, Florence/Roebling area and they are still looking in Cranbury.  At today's meeting I got the impression that they like the site in Monroe but were going to hold out until the meeting with AT&T.  I don't see us getting an interim building any time soon.  The postal services master plan of screwing tour 3 depends on this building.  I will keep a close eye on this event.

CFS

Management has notified the CFS clerks they are changing their tour hours to 1:30 PM to 10:00 PM.  The Union was never notified by management of these changes nor were afforded the right to negotiate for these clerks.  I spoke with Vito Cetta about this injustice, he has assured me, he would look into it.  Congressman Smith's office has also been in contact with management over the CFS changes.  Their reason for this change was this is what the Union wanted.  I have heard this before. Jim Burke, regional coordinator was told the issue was all settled with the Union. 

I am requesting a labor management meeting over the CFS issue.

At the last POAC meeting I was told it was un-American for the Union to file grievances in a time like this, well guys how about screwing the victims of a bio-terrorist attack.  Is this in keeping with the true sprit of being an American?

Air Conditioning

There were plans to place air conditioning in the carrier annex and South River.
I made an inquiry this week as to when this mission would be completed.  I was informed that the owner of the carrier annex building was sitting on the contract to perform the installation.  It now looks like the middle of June will be the date for installation of AC in the annex.  I forgot to ask what year.

The air conditioning in South River should be happening any time soon, yeah right. They are installing a temporary system. They were going to erect a plastic barrier between us and Aeropostel but the cost factor has now eliminated that plan.

I hope we get this air conditioning soon. I guess it would be un-American to complain to them as they sit in a comfortable office with ac in the district.

The River

The River still continues to be included in discussions about placing machines in there.  I have asked management of their intentions and was informed that there is no plan as of now to place any machinery in the MDC (river).

Aeropostel has started running a second shift and is placing a large amount of merchandise in the warehouse.  They are currently installing a conveyor system to remove their cardboard and transport it right to the dock.  This should be interesting.

Maintenance

There are currently maintenance details posted for ETs for Princeton and the carrier annex. 

Clerk

There are clerk details posted for carrier annex and Kilmer. I am investigating who is operating the DBCS's in Princeton and preparing to file a grievance if it is casuals operating these machines.


May 23, 2002

Holiday

The Memorial Day Holiday is this weekend. Employees have the option of converting holiday work pay for 8 hours of annual leave.  You should complete a 3971 informing management of your intent to elect annual leave in lieu of holiday pay.

On the PS form 3971 check the block labeled "Other" under type of absence and write "Elect annual leave in lieu of holiday leave Memorial Day Holiday."  Employee should demand a copy of the 3971 signed by the supervisor and you must retain it until the system is updated.  I have not seen anything reflecting the USPS system is updated yet.  If you have any questions please contact an APWU Representative.

Details

Detail positions have been posted to bid. The details are for the carrier annex and Kilmer tour 2 mail processing.  Many question have been presented to me.  I will try to address some of them.

Mileage. You will continue to receive mileage per the F-15, any mileage that exceeds your regular commute is compensable.

Out of Schedule Premium.  There will be no Out of Schedule Premium paid for the details.

You will not lose your bid, and the amount of time the detail will last is unknown at this time.  I can tell you one thing, they surely have no idea what they're doing.

COS

At the 9th POAC meeting there hasn't been any new development with finding a new home.  I did bring up the COS issue and we seem close to getting some members their change of schedules approved.  We will fight for all denials and I urge you to file with EEO. Will update you when I get a solid commitment from Joe Sautello.


May 17, 2002

Retroactive Pay

The retroactive pay will appear on employees’ regular paychecks for pay period 11-02, which they will receive on May 24, 2002.  The retroactive pay will cover all paid hours from Nov. 18, 2000, through March 22, 2002, including overtime.

Fairy Tales  (Mary Tales)

A manager who is overseeing or trying to run the Trenton Mail Processing in Kilmer is telling the Trenton employees that their change of schedules, were being denied because this is what the union wanted.  Let me just say one thing, I never told management to deny any change of schedules. This manager is just another evil one who was sent by central jersey district to terrorize us.  First some unknown person tries to kill us.  Management is instilling terror into us every day by hanging the excessing over some of us. Now they want to make our life just a little bit more miserable more then it is already is by denying our COS's and causing us to encounter additional child care problems, other personal issues and just add additional time commuting.  Stress will kill us as well as anthrax.

Every day we live with the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Trenton when we are forced to drive extra hours, the stress related with having no normalcy in our lives, and the affects of the evil managers who get their enjoyment at our expense.

Some members need someone to blame so they will continually bash the union for not doing anything, well the time is now to offer some solid positive ideas and begin to stand up to these evil people who are bent on making our lives unbearable.  Don't allow them to dangle that overtime carrot or additional breaks in front of you.  If your cos is denied then we will file a grievance but you must now file an EEO and request Redress.  This will cause them work and money.  No manager wants to work.

I have contacted and discussed this issue with Chris Smith's office.  They have advised me that some members have already called.  They are aware and are struggling to get the Post Office to treat us with some compassion and not like a casual employee.

Town Meeting

Congressman Smith has written to David Solomon Area Vice President requesting a town meeting with all of us about the current status of the Trenton P&DC.  This suggestion was made by President Burrus at our local union meeting.  Well, I just received Mr. Solomon's response and he has chosen not to meet with us at this time.

Mr. Solomon's response in part.
"Your invitation to me to participate in a town hall meeting with you is appreciated.  As soon as we have some more specific information to provide to our employees, I will ask Mr. Cetta to inform your staff.  Together, we can schedule a meeting such as you have described."

I will continue to fight for our cause,

The Struggle still continues in Trenton.


May 11, 2002

I would like to thank everyone one for coming out to the Union meeting this month. I also would like to thank Leonda Jenkins for being so thoughtful and bringing a sheet cake to the meeting to share with everyone. 

The turnout was great, the participation of the membership was superb. It was a great showing of support for the local.  The membership clearly showed our national leaders we are united and we are committed to our struggle of getting back to Trenton intact.

The membership was able to obtain from President Burrus commitments of support for our local's cause, the national will help replace the items we lost when the building became contaminated and the assistance of all national officers when needed. 

Eastern Regional Coordinator Jim Burke reported that the New York Area has informed him that no excessing of our members are planned at this time.  I will continue to work with Jim on monitoring management's intentions of eliminating Tour 3 and the outgoing operation from Trenton.

Northeast Regional Coordinator Liz Powell has committed to working with the local and is helping to forge an agreement with the Kilmer Local to cohabitat.  This may be needed with the long range forecast of our crippled P&DC.

I would like to thank all the national officers who were in attendance, Bill Burrus, Jim Burke, Liz Powell, Bob Pritchard, NBA's Eric Wilson, Jeff Kehlert, Mike Gallagher, Joe LaCapria and Safety & Health Specialist Cory Thompson.  In addition to our Union representatives, Nick Manetto from Congressman Smith's office was in attendance.

I would like to wish everyone a Happy Mother's Day and thank you for your support.

The Struggle Still Continues


May 9, 2002

New Building

This week we had the seventh POAC meeting.  The negotiations over the new building in South Brunswick are just about over. The promise of this new building is looking bleaker every day that passes.  The postal service is currently looking into the South River MDC know as "The River," as our new home.  There is one problem, we subleased this facility to Aeropostale and now we co-habitat with them.  On the tour 1 shift, this not an issue, the only reminder that they are there, is the locked offices and the prison style fence.

A little history. Back on November 17, 2001, a meeting was held and I was informed that we would be moving operations into the South River Location.  On November 19, 2001, we began operations there.  Machines were scheduled to arrive, and as we all know they went to Kilmer.  Then we moved some tour 3 operations there. The employees got settled in and were moving the mail.  On February 8, 2002, Aeropostale moved into the River. I must report there has been no major issues with them that I am aware of.

Over the past 2 weeks management has begun moving employees out of the River into Kilmer.  This was another attempt to improve morale or is part of the master plan of eliminating Trenton. 

Yesterday I was advised we could be moving back to The River.  Discussions are underway with Aeropostale.  I truly look forward to their latest plan.

Second Slotting of Lump Sum Payment

Under a new pay schedule settlement employees slotted from steps B
and C should receive a second lump sum payment shortly after April 21,
2002. The Service is making that payment in PP 10-2002.   

The second cash payment for eligible APWU represented employees in grades 2-7 who were slotted in PS or EMSC Schedule 2 from B & C Schedule 1 on or before April 21, 2001, are scheduled to be made on May 10, 2002. The payments are as follows:

Grade 2- $1,250
Grade 3- $1,250
Grade 4- $1,500
Grade 5- $1,500
Grade 6- $1,000
Grade 7- $1,250

This only for employees who were affected by the pay anomaly screw up.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me, If you feel you were omitted from the settlement contact me immediately.

BUSING

I have heard there is a rumor about the busing.  There has been no discussions about eliminating the shuttle bus service with the Union.  If we move Trenton's operations there will be a need for the shuttle service since there is inadequate parking at all the sites the postal service looked at.  I will investigate this rumor and will update you.

Clerk Bid Reminder

Clerk bids are currently posted, closing date is May 10, 2002.  The union is grieving all the positions that were not posted, or the ones that were reverted.  If you plan on bidding the CFS position, check with me or the Clerk Craft Director. 
   
Clerk bids should be posted on bulletin boards at all facilities we are domiciled in.  If not please contact me.

The Postal Job Bidding Phone Numbers & Hours for Clerks

Phone
1-800-222-2415
1-800-520-0625 (TDD)

Hours
Monday-Friday 3:00am-Midnight (Central Time)
Saturday 3:00am-6:00pm (Central Time)
Including Holidays
No Bidding on Sundays

Central Time is a 1-hour time difference from us, so that would make our bidding hours in the Eastern Time zone 4:00am-1:00am (M-F) and 4:00am-7:00pm (Sat).


Don't know your USPS PIN?

1. Call PostalEase at 1-877-477-3273.

2. Press 1 for PostalEase.

3. When prompted, enter your SSN.

4. When prompted for your PIN, pause then press 2.

5. Your USPS PIN will be mailed to your address of record the next business day.


May 2, 2002

The Master Plan

Does anyone really know what the plan is?  Management surely doesn't have a clue.  Over the course of a week I have attended six meetings and I am still not clear on what is going on.

Last week the new building was 95 percent go and now it is 50 percent on hold.  I guess one portion of the plan changed and this is the reason why everything is screwed up.  So as of now, make no plans to move to South Brunswick.  I must admit some members of the POAC (management) worked very hard in organizing everything, these individuals must surely feel let down over this. Don't be to upset or feel too sorry for them, they are the same team that wanted to screw us last week and eliminate tour 3 and excess us. The bottom line is we are still victims of ANTHRAX and no one wants us.

New plans are under way to make a lot of changes and get more mail processing and manual sorting operations into the Kilmer P&DC. Here are some highlights of yesterday's meeting regarding personnel movement:

Tour 1

All tour 1 flatsorters and manual flats will be moved to Kilmer. 
All 044 and all manual letters will be moved to Kilmer.
All tour 1 mail processors will be in Kilmer, annex operations will remain the same for now.

Tour 2

All tour 2 flatsorters and manual flats will be moved to Kilmer.
All manual letters will be moved to Kilmer, the exception to the rule is, management plans on posting 6 details for secondary schemes at the carrier annex. 
All tour 2 mail processors will be in Kilmer, management plans on supplementing tour 2 mail processors with COS's from tour 3.      
Tour 2 mail processors will continue to run Trenton carrier zones at the annex.

Tour 3

Tour 3 mail processors will return to Kilmer and discontinue running the 085 mail at the annex.

When I questioned about other tour 3 operations, management had no answer at which point I suspended discussion of the master plan.

It must be noted that No Trenton MDO's were at the meeting but the Kilmer rats were there to report back to the district.

All mail will be returned to Trenton operations from Raritan. The plan is to restore mail sorting operations back to the same hours they were prior to the closing of our plant.

Management plans on terminating all change of schedules and place everyone back on their normal schedule.

Sound confusing?

Excessing Tour 3

There were no discussions of eliminating outgoing operations out of Trenton. This was placed on the back burner for the moment, the reason is, the new building deal is crumbling.  Don't think for one moment that excessing has gone away.  I have been in touch with our national, Congressman Smith and Senator Torricelli and both Mayor Gilmore and Palmer.  I have prepared letters to all other unions in our area to solicit support for our cause. Stopping excessing is our top priority.  I urge you to start writing to your political leaders and show them our political strength by placing hundreds of letters on their desks.  Let's not wait until its too late.

Just a little reminder, it is management who is screwing you and not your Union.  Maybe for once you should blame the right people. I know its hard, but try it for once.  The Union is not in agreement with management on many of these issues and when they violate the contract we will file a grievance for you. 

Clerk Bids

Clerk bid posting should be posted by now.  I have not seen a copy yet but I have been informed they failed to post many positions on the posting.  We will file a grievance on all positions not posted. Management should be posting six details for tour 2 carrier annex, you must be qualified


May 1, 2002

New Building Update

Over the past month and half the local has participated in 7 Post Office Activation Committee (POAC) meetings pertaining to a new interim building for Trenton operations.  On several occasions we have been informed that the signing of the lease is only days away.  On each occasion as you know the deal fell through.  The primary reason, who would want to lease to us?  Our last meeting on April 24, 2002, I was advised that a lease was signed and we were awaiting final approval.  On April 25, I went to the new building in South Brunswick.  Now a week later I am still awaiting to hear if we have gotten the final approval.

The building is leased by another company and we will be subleasing it.  The owner of the building is AT&T pension group. The hold up is with AT&T's attorneys.  Over the weekend all the trash was removed from the building and the floors were cleaned and sealed.  I went to the building 3 times and progress has been made on cleaning up the building.  But now once again the process has been halted by the attorney's.

The biggest mistake the Post Office made was to sublease the MDC in South River.  In light of all the events with anthrax you think they would have kept that facility in the  case of another facility closing.  Now we have nothing.  Its called poor management.


April 26, 2002

Labor Management Meeting

A meeting was held on April 25, 2002, at the Kilmer P&DC.  The agenda of the meeting was the temporary combining of Trenton's outgoing operations with Kilmer.  The Agenda topics were, bids, seniority, day to day reassignments, overtime scheduling, breaks, representation, wash up, leave, vacations and other applicable local memo items.

The only thing missing from the topic list was management's hidden agenda, Excessing.  The Union was led to believe that this meeting was to discuss the issues related to the Trenton employees that would process the outgoing mail in Kilmer while we await the opening of Trenton.

Management's proposal was to create 36 new positions in Kilmer. These employees would have different schedules then they currently have.  Most would have later start times of 1700 and 1800 with spilt days off.  The three sections and number of positions where these new proposed positions will be, are:

12 positions, Automation
14 positions, 030 manual
10 positions, AFSM 100

When we questioned the status of the remaining 100 employees we were informed they would be excessed under article 12 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  This excessing is in the planning stage.  Vito Cetta, informed me personally and the rest of the meeting attendees that if the decision is his, he would not return outgoing operations to Trenton.  He made this quite clear that he intends on screwing us one more time by eliminating tour 3. 

Make no doubt about it, together we will continue our struggle.  We have overcome many hurdles and obstacles in the past, we have dealt with terrorists to evil managers and now we will deal with the Postal Services special way of saying thank you to the Front line heroes.  Excess Anthrax Victims.

Maybe someday, I will be able to report some positive news to you. 


April 18, 2002

New Building

There is no change in the status of the interim building.  The Postal Service is negotiating for a new site.  The proposed lease has not been sent for review by the lessor's attorneys.  We still continue to hold weekly planning meetings in the event that a new site is secured.

Trenton management has secured machinery from around the area for the new building.  SPBS, Flatsorters 881 and MPDBCS.  Some of this equipment is being stored in trailers at the Trenton P&DC.

Kilmer is now installing MPDBCS from Ohio, that were scheduled for the new Trenton facility.

Toms River

Management has failed to inform the union officially of the discontinuation of mail processing in Toms River. The mail is scheduled to be processed on tour 3 at the carrier annex.  The union's position is employees will be returned to the carrier annex by seniority and tour.

Travel Grievances

The union has filed class action grievances on all travel related issues.  The grievance covers all APWU bargaining unit employees who were temporary reassigned outside the immediate suburban area surrounding the Trenton P&DC.

We have also filed grievances for all time spent traveling and receiving medical treatment for exposure to anthrax.

Management has unilaterally terminated the extension of time limits that were agreed to by Bob Lauer, Vice President and Bob Towler, Plant Manager.  The extension covered all labor issues and grievances until we returned to the Trenton facility.

DCO

Management has failed to notify the local of any changes in the remote encoding site.  I have learned that the images will no longer be processed at the rec room in Kilmer.  Kilmer employees have been notified of the abolishment of their positions.  I will look into when Trenton Employees will be abolished. 


April 3, 2002

No Building

I attended the new building meeting today when it was announced, no building, no lease and all deals were off.  The person holding the loan on the building wants no part of the post office, and their reason was a simple one, possible anthrax contamination.  So as usual just more bad news.  The post office will continue searching for another home for the Trenton Lab Rats. They will be looking into 2 other buildings in the same area.


March 30, 2002

New Building

Despite not having a signed lease the planning stages are moving full speed ahead with the new Cranbury Distribution Center (CDC how ironic). The first delay was in finalizing the lease, now it is the landlord's representative was not available to sign, spare me. Millions of dollars involved and no one is available, I know I would have been available.

Before anyone can get into the building, the lighting will have to be replaced, the contractor doesn't want anything or anyone in there until the lighting is complete.  We are receiving machines from Ohio, Cherry Hill, Kilmer, Monmouth and the Bulk Mail Center.  Our maintenance team will have an enormous task ahead of them. 

Tentative machine list, subject to change by the minute, 8 DBCS's, 3 FSM 881's, SPBS. LIPS and now maybe a FSM 100.

No plans have been made dealing with which employees will be going to Cranbury.  I have had preliminary discussions with each MDO. As the machines become operational, decisions will be made as to who will be sent to Cranbury.  My goal is to get us all back together.

We will have a second Post Office Activation Committee meeting, April 3, 2002.  The first meeting we had went very well.  I just wished we had a lease.

Rolling Stock

I have been notified that equipment, i.e., post cons, hampers, baby buggy's, BMC containers and nutting trucks, that was inside the Trenton P&DC has been released by IT Group.  This equipment has been decontaminated and tested and released by the New Jersey Health Department back in December.  I am trying to verify this information from the Health Department.

CFS

I will be attending a meeting on April 2, 2002, at 1:30 PM with management over CFS issues.  When I asked management's representative what is the meeting agenda, he had no clue.  Anyone who can provide me information on this matter, it would be appreciated.  I hate going to a meeting without an idea of what management's intentions are.

I have been in contact with congressman Chris Smith on this issues of CFS. He has contacted Vito Cetta who also has no idea of what is going on.

Active Duty

Brothers and sisters of our organization have been called upon to active duty to protect us from evil. One member has returned from overseas to learn that the Post Office deducted their annual leave, due to LWOP.  When the Union researched this complaint it was disclosed that management has changed the ELM.  I have had a discussion with Congressman Chris Smith, who seems very disturbed by the USPS actions and has requested me to obtain the names of our brothers and sisters.  I will forward the names of these local members to him.  Please forward names of anyone you may know who has been activated. 

The local will continue the fight for these brave Americans. Could you ever image a company as large as the PO doing this? These women and men will surely need time to rest and spend time with their families when they are released from duty.

Johns Hopkins University

I had a long discussion with Dr. Ellen Grusky, Johns Hopkins University, Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies.  The topics we covered were the lack of information provide to the employees by the Postal Service, lack of accurate medical information from the CDC and Health Department. The lack of preparedness by all, in response to this medical crisis.  Reassignment of the employees and the lack of compensation for time spent traveling.  The additional time away from our homes and families and its impact.  The most important thing I got out of this interview was, if we feel ill we should still seek immediate medical attention.  The University is conducting a study of the anthrax crisis and the effects on postal employees.

Just a Reminder

Submission for choice vacation period, June 1 through September 20, 2002, will close on Friday, April 5, 2002


March 22, 2002

New Building

No lease yet, enough said.

New Mileage Rate

Effective March 21, 2002, the new mileage rate is 36.5 when you use your Privately Owned Vehicle (POV).  This change is covered by article 36 section 2.  The contract provides for payment equal to that of the General Services Administration GSA.  I am sure we will be told differently.  Let me know if you have a problem.

Annual Leave

Applications for Annual Leave for the Third Period (choice vacation) will be accepted during the period of March 23 - April 5, 2002.  This annual leave period covers June 1, through September 20, 2002.

Mail Processor Upgrade

Level 4 mail processor positions will be upgraded to level 5 mail processor effective March 23, 2002.  There are many rumors and tons of bad information running around about this upgrade.  If any changes, bad or good come about from this upgrade I will inform you.  As of now, it is a simple upgrade of position.

Carrier Annex

The second DBCS was installed this week. 


March 20, 2002

Tuesday, March 19, 2002, the first Post Office Activation Committee meeting was held in Central Jersey District, for the pending new building in Cranbury, NJ.  There is no lease or approval of this interim facility as of this morning.  Many issues were discussed at this meeting including personnel movement and machine deployment.  The local will be meeting with each MDO to discuss which operations and employees will be going to the Cranbury Processing Center.

As soon as I receive official confirmation on the approval of the new site I will update you.


March 15, 2002

New Building, No lease signed

On Tuesday, March 12 the local attended a labor / management meeting.  The Union was updated on several issues pertaining to the possible new building and some info was shared about the P&DC.  Let me start by saying there is no lease signed as of writing this update. The building is located around the Cranbury area near exit 8A of the NJ Turnpike. The building is fairly new, and requires some renovations to accommodate us, i.e., expanding restrooms, swingroom, building locker rooms.  The workroom floor area is about 140 thousand square feet.  The building has sufficient electrical service which is required for operations of the sorting machines.  The lighting is in need of upgrading, and the building has no air conditioning.  The Postal Service has informed us they are going to use a temporary system to maintain a workable climate.  We were shown the blueprints of the building and the tentative layout of the machines, 4 flatsorters 881's, 8 DBCS', 1 SPBS and a LIPS. The machines are available and will be installed, if the lease is finalized.

Please don't listen to all the rumors of who is not going and who is going.  Employees will be assigned to the new building as machines become operational, and manual operations are relocated.  There are currently no plans to do out going mail, due to the fact there are no ISS, OCRs or cancelers being installed.

I was advised we will be staying at the River until they are able to secure us Lab Rats a new home.  Management is hoping to have all of us in this in place by April 15 - 30.  We must watch this closely.

I will be meeting with management as soon as the lease is signed or not signed.

Carrier Annex

Plans are underway to install an additional DBCS in the carrier annex.  These operations are going to stay in the annex even if a new building is secured.  The only draw back is, there is only about 4 hours of work there.  This means employees will start work at one facility and be required to report to another. This travel is on the clock and mileage is paid.

Trenton P&DC Clean Up

The clean up of the P&DC continues.  What they are doing is beyond me. I have sat and watched all sorts of movement in and around the building.  We have been advised that we will not be gassed until Brentwood has been cleaned and determined safe.  There is no contract signed with anyone for the gassing of the building. The delay is caused by the contractor's insistence that the Postal Service indemnify them from future legal action, which the postal service refuses to do as a matter of policy.  Why would the postal service be concerned, they have never been held accountable before?

COLA  Lump Sum

All eligible APWU bargaining employees should have received the 499 lump sum payment. If not, please contact your steward or contact the Union office. 

Mail Processor Upgrade

On March 23 all Mail Processors positions will be upgraded.  This upgrade doesn't change any other terms or conditions of the contract or the local agreement.  I do realize management now believes that all the other provisions of the contract have been thrown out the doors and everyone is a Universal clerk.

Air Sampling of P&DC

Last week the Union received a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, on the results of air sampling of the P&DC.  The full report is at our web site and posted at the River and Kilmer.  I have attached a download of the report.  It is a word 2000 document.

Between February 4–8, 2002, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH conducted tests on DBCS 70 at the Trenton Processing and Distribution Center to evaluate air sampling methods for Bacillus anthracis spores. 

Environmental sampling consisted of area air samples and surface wipe samples for B. anthracis, collect around a delivery bar code sorter DBCS 70 before and after the machine was operated.  This machine had under gone initial spot cleaning, and was enclosed in a polyethylene structure.

The IT Group, Incorporated cleaned DBCS 70 following closure of the Trenton P&DC in October 2001, using the following four techniques: Initial spot cleaning using a high–efficiency articulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner.  Application of a 10% bleach solution with a contact time of 10 minutes.  Application of a neutralizing solution, sodium thiosulfate.  Final rinse with clean water following cleaning, the DBCS machine was covered in plastic.

In January 2002 a plastic–walled enclosure, approximately 70' x15' x 7' was constructed around DBCS 70. The plastic covering over the machine was removed the cover was cleaned prior to its removal.

Before operating DBCS 70 all wipe samples collected were positive.  As the bin numbers increased, the amount of contamination increased, with wipe samples collected at approximately bin 100 to the end of the machine having confluent (heavy) growth.  The wipe samples seem to indicate that this particular DBCS machine was still highly contaminated with B. anthracis spores.

Since positive Andersen samples were collected at the beginning, middle, and end of the 8–hour time period at various sample locations, it does not appear that a single event generated spores.

After operating DBCS 70 again, all wipe samples collected were positive and as the bin numbers increased, the amount of contamination increased, with wipe samples collected at approximately bin 100 to the end of the machine having confluent (heavy) growth.

Almost all of the collected Andersen samples were positive.  An initial analysis of the samples seems to indicate a declining number of colonies per sample as the time passed during the 8–hour session. Only one sample was negative during the first two hours of sampling.  This seems to indicate that the DBCS machine released a large amount of spores when in operation.

All air sampling media used in this evaluation were capable of collecting B. anthracis spores.  However, the initial analysis of the results seems to indicate that the Andersen sampler collected B. anthracis spores more consistently than other sampling media.

The Andersen sampling method appears to be more sensitive than the other methods since the only positive air samples collected before the machine was operated, was with these samplers.  However, further analysis of the samples is in progress which will provide quantitative data. The positive Andersen samples before the machine was operated suggest that even walking and light work in the enclosure may be sufficient to reaerosolize anthrax spores


March 3, 2002

Possible New Building

The never ending story of the new building, it's on, it's off, this time it's off again!  Friday, March 1, 2002, I heard two different stories on the possible new building. Local postal management informed me that the new building was totally off.  I reached out to Congressman Smith's office who contacted David Solomon, Area Vice President, or better known as "Mr. Lucky." Smith's office was informed that they were looking into four other buildings, and management was looking at one on Friday.  Then a little birdie informed me of the Washington based hit team's report of recommending that we not get a new building.  I called Smith's office back and informed them of the latest.  Smith's office contacted Vito Cetta who informed them that the new building was not part of the recommendation of the Washington team.  Lets analyze this, Area Vice President says one thing, District Manager another, Who's telling the truth around here?  The 4 point plan recommends that the River facility be closed and consolidated with Kilmer.

Was it not to long ago we took mail out of Kilmer and Monmouth because they could not handle it?  Now the plan calls for it's return.  Don't pack the suitcases just yet, anything could happen over the weekend. 

Carrier Annex

On Thursday the Union was notified that three tour 1 mail processors were needed to work at the carrier annex.  Well, by the time I woke up, the whole plan changed.  Now it is three tour 2 mail processors to work at the annex.  I heard it is only about 4 hours of work.  I am curious to see how this works out.

Mercerville Post Office

The Mercerville Station located on Route 33 has now moved.  The new location is right across the street. Management never informed the Union of this move.  When we questioned them about it, they claimed they just forgot to tell us.  Come on guys, spare me.

Mental Health

Some members of management feel there is a need for a group meeting with employees of Trenton.  The meeting will be ran by Magellan Behavioral Health and EAP representatives Federal Occupational Health. I will keep an eye on this one. 


February  25, 2002

New Building

I have been advised that the building the Postal Service was looking into has been dropped.  They are currently exploring options on two other buildings in the same vicinity.  Despite having the hit team in from Washington, they are still actively looking into a new facility.  I know there are many different rumors flying on this issue; I will keep you posted with accurate information.

Carrier Annex

I was notified that a DBCS would be installed in the carrier annex, starting this weekend. This story has changed so many times I am afraid to even report it to you.  Originally there were going to be 2 machines and the secondary operation was going to be moved to the annex.  Then the master plan of getting a new building with machines washed that out.  Now we are going back to the old plan.  I am confused!

River

I previously reported that Aeropostale has moved into the River.  We now share a postal processing plant with a full operating clothing warehouse.  They erected a fence around their operation.  The fence line and the gates have alarms installed on them. The South River Police are summoned on a regular basis by the alarms going off.  I wonder if it is a false alarm or is it those large river rats moving around in the fenced area?  I wonder how long this will last.  The other day the fire alarm went off and our maintenance staff was unable to silence the alarms, so the fire department responded.  

I find it hard to digest that a company would sublease a facility that was needed due to a crisis and the complete shut down of a major sorting facility.  I want to believe that someone is lining his or her pockets with this move; I would hate to believe anyone could be so stupid.

My Views/Opinions

The Trenton Plant is clearly needed.  The empty suits are rerouting mail everywhere in the state with minimal results.  Plant managers in Central Jersey District are using Trenton employees to move every other plants mail and Trenton mail is just delayed.  The empty suits are concerned about meaningless EXFC scores rather than Trenton's customers.  There is one solution to this problem, reopen the Trenton Plant!!  Why they refuse to do Trenton's decontamination before Brentwood is beyond me.  We are so ahead of Brentwood, it does not make sense. Remember it was management who informed the senators and myself that we were ahead of Brentwood in the cleaning process.

I love the latest letter we received.  I guess this is in response to our demands to be kept informed.  Now in an attempt to neutralize our rally's intentions they are stating that our safety is their primary concern. Management makes it seem like we want to go back to an anthrax contaminated plant.  Come on, if they truly were concerned about our safety, why did we work in a plant that was a known source of anthrax contamination for a week while they made excuses?  Even after the facts, employees were forced with the threat of discipline to work in possible contamination while we awaited the results. Who is kidding who?

We must continue in our efforts to be in the public eye and maintain pressure on our political leaders. Those who have not taken the time to write your representatives, please do so. It is your job that is on the line.  It's not to late, we must maintain a constant presence until we are all returned to the Trenton P&DC.

These days there is very little talk about moving the tour 3 operations out of Trenton P&DC.  I read mail from all around the country and management is continuing with their plan to consolidate operations.  We must not fall asleep on this issue and become a victim of excessing.

I ask you to join me and other Unionists and march in this years St. Patrick's Day Parade.  It is a perfect opportunity to place us in everyone eyes.  High profile political leaders will be present. We'll gain the support of the Mercer County Labor Council.  We will show the Postal Service that we stand united.

Clerk Bids/Training

The current clerk posting will close on February 28, 2002.  Management will post the results on March 8, 2002.  The successful bidder will assume the bid on March 23, 2002.

We have had discussions to iron out any possible training issues.  Employees will train according to the collective bargaining agreement. Training will be at the Kilmer P&DC, no computer training will be available.  Management has informed us that they will be flexible with changing schedules for training, we will see.  The successful bidder on the new TAC position will be contacted via mail for testing for the position.  The testing will be on the clock at Kilmer.  If you encounter problems with testing, please contact me.

The Postal Job Bidding Phone Numbers & Hours


Phone
1-800-222-2415
1-800-520-0625 (TDD)

Hours
Monday-Friday 3:00am-Midnight (Central Time)
Saturday 3:00am-6:00pm (Central Time)
Including Holidays
No Bidding on Sundays

Central Time is a 1-hour time difference from us, so that would make our bidding hours in the Eastern Time zone
4:00am-1:00am (M-F) and 4:00am-7:00pm (Sat).


 


 

February  25, 2002

The following information was received from the Safety Department at Postal Headquarters. Mr. Corey Thompson, APWU Safety Specialist has forwarded this message to us.

ANTHRACIS BACILLIS

Adverse Effects of Medication and Emergency Response

There are possible adverse effects associated with the use or abuse of most
medications.

The Postal Service, under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and
local Public Health Services, agreed to allow antibiotics and vaccinations
to be prescribed by the CDC and PHS to Postal employees either as treatment
for exposure to anthrax or to serve as a prophylaxis. An employee who
suspects adverse effects arising from the administration of the antibiotics
or vaccine must IMMEDIATELY:

1. Report the reaction to Postal management
2. Call the CDC Hotline at 1-800-696-1545
3. Be seen immediately by either Postal medical personnel or by a community
based medical provider.

All facilities have emergency medical response procedures in place. On-site
Health Units are prepared to address medical emergencies. Accurate and
detailed records are kept regarding all medical emergencies


Corey Thompson


February 16, 2002

New Building

No lease is signed.

The following is a retype of a fax I received on February 14, 2002.

**********************************

February 13, 2002

In an effort to increase the effectiveness of mail operations in the Trenton service area, and to consolidate from many facilities to two major facilities, we are negotiating a lease for a new interim facilities.

This leased facility, once acquired, will replace the MDC in South River.  We will make additional operational changes as necessary based on the replacement equipment deployed to this facility.  The area we are looking at is near Route 130 and the NJ turnpike around Exit 8A.

We will continue to update you on a time frame to occupy this facility as we know it.

I thank you for your continued cooperation.

Vito J Cetta

************************

Over the past 4 months I have learned not to run with the first rumor I hear. In the early part of the past week, I learned of the USPS' intentions to lease a building.  I confirmed this information with several sources. The information was looking good.  Newspapers were reporting the story. I still have not received anything in writing, absence of a hard copy I refuse to run with rumors.  Now one day after receiving this information, the plans have changed.  The Postal Service's initial plans for a new building, are now on hold, pending a visit from headquarters.  (Did we ever see one of them before?) .  This doesn't mean we will not get a building, but it may be delayed.

I don't think it is fair to share inaccurate information / rumors with you.  We have been a roller coaster ride of misinformation and this has created additional stress in our lives.  We are starved for good news and any information which could bring us closer to home, it is so easy to latch on to.

Since day one, I have tried very hard to provide you with correct information. I believe as a Union representative you should only share with the membership the true facts, not rumors. I will continue to provide you with accurate information. 

I have developed several avenues of distributing information, e-mail, news flyers, posting on bulletin boards and now the web site.  Our local doesn't use the newspapers to share information with it members. As soon as I have real information I will share with you.

Thank You for your support.


February 12, 2002

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Save Our Service Rally.  Your presence made this event, a success. Everyone I spoke with was impressed with the large turnout.  Having Senator Torricelli, Mayor Gilmore and the massive media coverage, our message was clearly sent to postal management, that we don't plan on being victimized a second time.  In attendance was Nick Manetto and Joyce Golden from Congressman Smith's office, APWU Clerk Craft, National Business Agents Eric Wilson and Mike Gallagher, New Jersey State Postal Workers Union President Joe Shevlin and Gary L. Guear, New Jersey State Legislature. 

Our sister unions the Carriers and Mailhandlers were also in attendance, and many of their members were on the line shoulder to shoulder with us. It was clearly a day of unity for the Trenton Postal Workers. Remember, where there is unity there is strength.

The Mercer County Labor Union Council was present and has extended an invitation for us to join them in marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  This is a perfect opportunity to get our message out.  Some members have already shared some ideas about the parade. I welcome your suggestions. 

We can't stop now, we must continue to keep political and community pressure on management.  You must continue to write those letters and urge family friends and neighbors to do the same.

Saturday evening we had standing room only for a monthly union meeting. Management must clearly see that we are committed to our cause.  I thank you for your support, and will continue to work toward our goal of getting back to Trenton.  May God Bless the Trenton Postal Workers. 


Update February 8, 2002

The River

Aeropostale is here, the new landlord has started to move in.  The fence line is being erected around us and paid for by the Post Office.  I look at this two ways:  Is Aeropostale securing their merchandise or are the lab rats being fenced in for future detainment?  In my 24 years with the Post Office, I don't believe anything will beat this one.  The Postal Service subleases a Postal Facility to a private vendor.  We give them all the furniture, power equipment, racks for storage and he doesn't pay rent until we move out.  Now we must go lease another facility, pay rent, move everything including the employees, not that we really matter to management. There is a major task of rerouting transportation of the mail.  Is anyone watching this Central New Jersey group?  They are slowly putting us out of business. 

Has anyone looked into the security of the mail and the safety of all postal employees at the river?  Enormous steps are being taken for security of this manufacturers merchandise, but none for us.  Unsecured trucks being allowed to unload into a mail processing plant, who knows what could be on these trucks.  What type of background checks are being performed on these employees?  Are all the steps being taken by the Postal Service for security of the mail or has this been forgotten? All postal employees and every citizen in the United States are being placed at risk.  But does that matter?

P&DC Clean up

I was notified this week that air sampling, swab and vacuum testing is being conducted inside the Trenton P&DC by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH.  They are testing DBCS 70, they have ran a test deck through the machine to see if the cleaning procedures used were successful in removing anthrax spores from the machine.  This machine was cleaned and wrapped in plastic.  A tent was erected over the machine.  Once they were ready to run the machine the plastic was removed.  With minimal maintenance the machine was operational.

APWU headquarters has informed us that decontamination process should start at Brentwood facility within 2 weeks. Approximate time frame before coming to Trenton would be 2 months.  (This includes a vacation), lets hope for the best.

APWU headquarters has received word from management that there are no intentions for the removal of mail from our facility.  They plan on reopening our facility intact.  This message has been conveyed to me from Congressman Smith's office on several occasions. I do trust our Congressman and our headquarters, but can we trust Central Jersey District?  We can only hope for the best and continue our efforts to restore service to our customers.

We must continue with the plan of writing to our leaders, newspapers and keeping the public informed of our commitment to restoring service. 


Save Our Service Rally

The Trenton Metro Area Local, Save Our Service Rally For All Postal Employees Will be At The Trenton P&DC Saturday, February 9, 2002, 10 AM to 12 Noon.  Bring Your Postal, ID. Be There!!!

Clerk Bids

Clerk's bids should be posted on Friday, February 9, 2002, on bulletin boards at all facilities we are domiciled in.  If not please contact me.

The Postal Job Bidding Phone Numbers & Hours for Clerks

Phone
1-800-222-2415
1-800-520-0625 (TDD)

Hours
Monday-Friday 3:00am-Midnight (Central Time)
Saturday 3:00am-6:00pm (Central Time)
Including Holidays
No Bidding on Sundays

Central Time is a 1-hour time difference from us, so that would make our bidding hours in the Eastern Time zone 4:00am-1:00am (M-F) and 4:00am-7:00pm (Sat).


Don't know your USPS PIN?

1. Call PostalEase at 1-877-477-3273.

2. Press 1 for PostalEase.

3. When prompted, enter your SSN.

4. When prompted for your PIN, pause then press 2.

5. Your USPS PIN will be mailed to your address of record the next business day.

The Web

The Trenton Metro Area Local now has a web site.  Please check it out at www.trentonmetroarealocal.com


 

Update January 29, 2002

On Monday, January 28, 2002, a meeting was held with Senator Torricelli and Senator Corzine in their Newark, NJ office.  In attendance at this meeting was Mayor Glen Gilmore, of Hamilton Township, Carriers, Mail Handlers, NAPS, for the Postal Service, Vito Cetta, Joe Sautello, and Bill Brown.

In addition to myself, the Trenton Local was represented by Bob Lauer, Executive Vice President and Sandy Schleher, Clerk Craft Director.

Let me first state, that the other Unions clearly have a different agenda then us.  This did consume a lot of valuable time.  Some people clearly have a compulsive desire to speak.

The Senators questioned the PO's representatives about their intentions of placing the new radiation machine in Trenton.  The Post Office had no answer. This clearly ticked the Senators since they supported funding for these machines.

The Post Office was unable to give a time frame for the completion of the decontamination process of the P&DC.  They did inform us, that Trenton would be following Brentwood PO, and they could only guess the time frame.  I informed the Senators that Brentwood has not even begun the decontamination process.  I explained how far along we were with the cleaning and decontamination of the Trenton P&DC.  Management representatives confirmed that my information was correct.  I then proceeded to ask the Senators to request the PO to reconsider their plan and place Trenton first for the gassing.

Vito Cetta, did inform us that they are currently looking for a building to replace the South River facility and confirmed that we will be sharing "the River" with Aeropostel until a new location is found.  Both Senators found it amazing that the Postal Service subleased the facility after we moved our operations there.

When questioned about the elimination of tour 3 mail, management finally admitted that they've had discussions and plans are being made to move tour 3 cancellations to Monmouth.  Vito Cetta did state that nothing has been finalized. Both Senators informed Cetta that this was unacceptable in light of all we've been through.  

Brothers and Sisters the time to act is now!  Contact your elected officials before the final decisions are made.  We have now seen the Postal Service at their all time low. I do not believe I could ever trust them again.  We have been terrorized by evil people who wanted to kill us, now the management in central jersey district wants to screw us one more time.  There are many forms of terrorism, we are now witnessing postal terrorism at its best.  We must Rally together to over come the evil ones who want to hurt us.   


 

Update 1-25-02

Holiday

I was hoping the Postal Service would have discussed the change to Article 11, Holidays, prior to soliciting employees to work the Washington's Birthday Holiday schedule.  It is a simple change, I do have some reservations if it will be done right.  Effective February 2, 2002, employees who work their holiday or designated holiday may, at their option, elect to have their annual leave balance credited with eight (8) hours of annual leave in lieu of holiday pay.

The holiday is on Monday, February 18, 2002.  The holiday schedule must be posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2002.

Annual Leave

The submission period for the second annual leave period is January 26, 2002, through February 8, 2002.  The annual leave period covers March 9, 2002, through May 31, 2002.

Mileage

The Federal Times is reporting a change in the mileage allowance for privately owned vehicles. The change is 36.5. per mile. Article 36 section 2.B mandates when this change will be put into effect for APWU bargaining unit employees.  The change must be within 60 days of the effective date of the GSA change.  I will advise you when this change does become effective.

Clerk Bids

The Union has been in discussions about getting the clerk bids that were posted when the P&DC closed, reposted.  We are additionally attempting to get the residual position posted. You should see the bid posted within the next 10 days.  Use this time to find your pin number, since that will be the only way you will be able to bid.  I will email and notify everyone when the posting go up.  

DCO / Remote Encoding site

The Union has met with management about the elimination of the Remote Encoding Site within the Trenton P&DC. They were able to give a time frame of when those DCO positions would be eliminated.  There is a nationwide attempt to take all remote encoding sites out of the P&DCs.  The Princeton REC site is still targeted to close.  The Postal Service is attempting to do all remote encoding on the West coast.

Meeting

I will be meeting with Senator Jon Corzine
and Senator. Robert Torricelli on Monday, January 28, 2002, in Newark New Jersey. I will explain to them what we are going through, discuss our problems, the delay in opening of the P&DC, management's attempts to eliminate tour 3 mail out of the Trenton P&DC.  Please support me, and write to these senators this weekend.  I cannot do it alone.  The following have email addresses and links for AOL users.

Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) 
   
   
Web: corzine.senate.gov
Phone: (202) 224-4744
Fax: (202) 228-2197
Address:
502 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
District Office: Newark
District Phone: (973) 645-3030

Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ)    
   
Web: torricelli.senate.gov
Phone: (202) 224-3224
Fax: (202) 224-8567
Address:
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
District Office: Newark
District Phone: (973) 624-5555
   

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