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Even the Government Accountability Office says that the USPS must keep 6 day delivery.


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Thursday afternoon the Government
Accountability Office issued a legal opinion that supported the NALC’s position that the Postmaster General does not have the law on his side in reducing mail delivery to five days a week. “The GAO agrees with an ever-growing chorus of voices that the postmaster general doesn’t have the law on his side in this matter,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando.

This legal opinion was requested by Congressman Gerry Connolly,D-VA who lauded the verdict: ” Unfortunately, the Postmaster General continues to stonewall Members of Congress, withholding his legal justifications for eliminating Saturday delivery from Postal customers and the American public,” said Connolly, a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Government Operations, in a statement. “The GAO legal opinion clearly rejects the Postal Service’s attempt to circumvent the law.”

In New Hampshire Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster demonstrated their strong support for Six Day Delivery by being early co-sponsors of HR 630. This legislation protects Six Day Delivery and addresses a number of other important postal issues. Including the 2006 Congressional mandate that requires an annual $5.5 Billion in prefunding of retiree health care costs of employees not yet born. This mandate has largely put the Postal Service in their current dire financial situation. This mandate was created to prevent future insolvency but instead it is causing immediate financial problems.

Wayne Alterisio 2 Also in New Hampshire , on March 17, local citizens in Manchester gathered to rally against the proposed reduction of a day of delivery. NH State Association President Wayne Alteresio rallied the crowd with a moving speech regarding the fight to Save The Post Office. The crowd held approximately 50 signs with the names of local businesses that want to keep six day mail delivery. Also in the crowd were many signs about the negative effects on the local community if a day of delivery was eliminated. Despite the cold wind attendees left optimistic that together we can save the Postal Service.

 

Come Support Your NH USPS Workers on March 17th In Manchester

Rally to Protect Saturday Mail Delivery and Strengthen the Postal Service at Manchester City Hall Plaza at 12:00pm Sunday March 17th.

NALC Save Americas Postal Service

Concerned Citizens throughout America will rally in other states on March 24 to protect Saturday mail delivery and demand that Congress deliver a better plan to strenghten the Postal Service for the future.  The New Hampshire rally in Manchester will take place at City Hall Plaza on March 17 at noon because of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the 24th, and all members of the community are invited to attend.

The Postal Service’s plan to shrink the Postal Service and end six-day service is an attack on the future of this great institution, on the customers who need it, and on the employees who support it.  Many Americans – especially smaill-business owners, senior citizens and rural resident-would suffer if the strength and reach of our Postal Service is compromised.  In addition, cutting Saturday mail would delay important household and business transactions, including bills, invoices and personal communications, and may force customers to shift to high-cost competing services.

The US Postal Service is America’s only universal communications network reaching every address in America six days a week.  Established by the Constitution and using no taxpayer funding for its operations, the Postal Service is a vital public institution that New Hampshire cannot afford to be dismantled.

For more information contact Wayne Alterisio

Stunned By The Silence of Our Secretary of Labor

I am actually ecstatic that President Obama has been elected for a second term but I am perplexed at the silence of his entire cabinet. Especially the Labor Department headed, up by Hilda Solis. When I ask fellow union members who heads up the Department of Labor, I get a blank stare. Nobody knows. Here we are in the fight of our lives to preserve unions and in most of the fights from Wisconsin to Michigan to New Hampshire the Labor Department has been absolutely silent.

Sec. of Labor
Hilda Solis

From the Right to work fights to the anti-labor stance taken by Hostess and the possible layoff of 25,000 letter carriers due to the implementation of five day delivery by the Postal Service you hear nothing from the Labor Department. That is very troubling to workers. The Labor department is supposed to be our advocates. In 2009 after a very hard confirmation I remember being in a meeting with Secretary Solis and she stated “there’s a new sheriff in town, and she’s on the side of Labor”. So where has she been?
They didn’t weigh in on the crippling shipping strike in California nor have they said anything about the 11,000 workers about to be laid off by Citi Group. It’s astonishing that they are so silent on all these potential job losses. What are they there for but to be on the side of workers? There just seems to be a disconnect.

We finally get a Secretary who actually has a history in the Labor movement, not management, and she has a standoff attitude. She should be at the front of the picket line! Maybe I just don’t understand what the Department of Labor is all about. I’m pretty sure their mission statement is “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights”.

She then should be supporting Wal-Mart workers and issuing strong statements against the company that locked up those garment workers in that factory that 112 were killed in Bangladesh. Aren’t incidences like that that triggered the union movement in this country? Remember the Triangle Waistcoat Factory fire in Washington Square in Manhattan in 1910!

It’s like the entire Obama Cabinet is invisible. You never hear from any of them. What is going on? Have they been given a gag order? Anyway, that’s my rant for the week. Have a happy holiday.

What Could Sweeter Than 2008 Election? 2012

After receiving a gut wrenching kick in the electoral stomach in 2010 we just witnessed an enormous 180 degree turnaround in just two years. We got almost everything we asked for except a Democratic Congress. That was gerrymandered out of reach by a Republican win in 2010. We did the next best thing though, we turned New Hampshire blue against an onslaught of the Citizen’s United enabled Republican money machine. Facts matter and we didn’t cave to the outside money interest that swarmed into the Granite State.

We now have some friends in Washington that we can count on. We gained in the House and the Senate. It will prove to be way friendlier to fixing the financial ills of the Postal Service than the previous Congress. We did all that we could and more. We had help from Massachusetts with the election of Elizabeth Warren. I pray they put her on a banking committee so she can ask the tough questions to Wall St. manipulators. You know the ones that squandered away trillions of hard earned workers savings! For us here in New Hampshire we have two wonderful women totally on board for Letter Carriers. Carol Shea-Porter has already proven herself with two terms previously and Ann Kuster was vetted in 2010 by our legislative department and was our endorsed candidate. They will be there 100% for us.

Governor Hassan and a Democratic New Hampshire House is just the cherry on top. We know that an attack on New Hampshire working families is just the precursor to an attack on all workers in the country including letter carriers. Besides our agenda in Washington which is fixing the financial woes of the Postal Service we need to protect bargaining agreements right here for State and municipal workers and teachers. Also in New Hampshire we need to begin the dialogue with our State government for a no fault absentee ballot and eventually a vote by mail system that seems to work fine in 26 other states. This will go a long way towards putting a damper on phony voter fraud legislation requiring us to provide ID’s at the polls.

Lastly I would like to thank the 70% of Letter Carriers that supported us in this last election by voting for our endorsed candidates. For whatever reason the other 30% could not support candidates that will vote to protect their jobs, good luck to you, you will still enjoy good wages and benefits. New Hampshire Letter Carriers scored among the top percentage of workers endorsing and going to the polls and actually voting. As a union President I could not be prouder. I was especially proud at my last union meeting when I read out the names and asked to stand the letter carriers that volunteered for the last election. A third of the room was standing. Way to Go!

New Hampshire Labor Day Breakfast Delivers a Much Needed “Kick In The Pants”.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast took on a whole new dimension for me this Labor Day. I am always expecting a conga line of Democratic politicians kicking off the election cycle with the usual “this is the most important election of your lifetime” speech and you better get your bottom off the couch and engage with your fellow union members and make sure they vote for the candidate that will protect their jobs and benefits. It happens every Labor Day like Kabuki Theater.

Well this was no ordinary Labor Day Breakfast. First of all, our legendary fearless leader NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie, phoned in his speech because he is recovering from a series of cancer treatments which precluded him from attending this Labor Day Breakfast. The first breakfast I can remember in the fifteen plus years I’ve been attending in which he was not present. His speech had everyone standing on the tables in absolute awe of his tenacity and dedication to the labor movement. He obviously has found a Labor steroid that he is injecting into himself for his tenure as President. He has attended all but one of my State Letter Carrier Conventions in the last six years and kills them. He is such an effective speaker it’s amazing he has not run for Governor.

Then the onslaught continues with the iconic Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. He has been such an outstanding friend of the Labor movement and his speech nailed it. It started with the $256 million handed over to the Republicans in 2001 from President Clinton and explained how the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dropped onto America’s credit card, and the tax breaks given to the wealthiest Americans in hope of stimulating the imaginary trickle down economy set us on the course we are on. Those two acts cost us $4 trillion dollars. Goodbye surplus! Then he explained how the attack on financial regulations by Republicans led to the financial collapse on Wall Street and the implosion of the housing industry. And now the Republicans want to take the reins again and do it all over! We are definitely standing at the precipice if we let this happen again. What is left of the Labor Movement must not let this happen.

Then we heard from two magnificent ladies running for Congress. Two term Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who was a champion for middle class families and veterans, and Annie Kuster who narrowly missed being elected in 2010 by 3500 votes. Had these two been in the last Congress America would be a different place today. There is nothing more important for America than flipping this Congress Democratic.

The cherry on the cake for me was hearing about the Republicans in the New Hampshire House who stood firm in beating back ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Committee) with their draconian anti-family, anti-worker “Right to Work” legislation which would have decimated the Labor movement in New Hampshire. State Representative Lee Quandt spoke to the Labor Day Breakfast how he and 46 other Republicans are against this affront to Labor. I have never seen a Republican speak to the Labor Movement at a Labor Day Breakfast in support of our values. That speaks volumes to the fact that we are right in this fight.

We need all union members to step up and get a shot of Mark MacKenzies’ “Magical Labor Steroids” right in our asses so we can fight the good fight in this upcoming election!

WHY IS GROVER NORQUIST LOBBYING TO DISMANTLE THE POSTAL SERVICE?

In a recent lobby report of 22 pages of various lobby activities including Agriculture, Banking, Budget appropriations, Communications/Broadcasting/Radio/TV, Computer Industry, Defense, Energy/Nuclear, Financial Institutions/Investments/Sec, Health Issues, Labor Issues/Anti- trust/Workplace, Pharmacy, Small Business, Taxation/ Internal Revenue Code, and strangely Postal, Grover Norquist is listed as a paid lobbyist. These are all areas that Grover Norquist is being paid as a professional lobbyist.It boggles the mind to accept the fact he is involved in every aspect of our lives.

Who the hell is he? He is the founder of Americans for Tax Reform who is responsible for the “shrink government until you can drown it in a bathtub” adage. He opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle. As stated by former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Norquists’ position is “no taxes, under any situation, even if our country goes to hell”!

As a nonprofit organization, Americans for Tax Reform is not required to disclose the identity of its contributors. ATR is financed by direct mail and other grassroots fundraising efforts. According to CBS News, “a significant portion appears to come from wealthy individuals, foundations and corporate interests.

As of late 2011, 238 of 242 House Republicans and 41 out of 47 Senate Republicans had signed ATR’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge”, in which the pledger promises to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

Norquist has connections into the dark side of politics. According to a 2011 memoir by former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Norquist was one of Abramoff’s first major Republican party contacts. Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform were also mentioned in Senate testimony relating to the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal which resulted in a 2006 guilty plea by Abramoff to three criminal felony counts of defrauding of American Indian tribes and corrupting public officials. Records released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee allege that ATR served as a “conduit” for funds that flowed from Abramoff’s clients to surreptitiously finance grass-roots lobbying campaigns.

So, how does an anti-tax organization fit into the dismantling of the Postal Service by being a paid lobbyist in support of S. 1789, a senate bill that will destroy the Postal Service in two years when the Postal Service in fact uses no tax payer money. What’s Grover’s skin in this game? Uh, lemme guess, he is a paid shill by Corporate America to take down this Governments infrastructure piece by piece including any regulation that would be a hindrance to the Corporations “bottom line”. Oh, that explains it. It’s all so painfully clear now.

The Facts Behind The Scenes At The USPS: O’Brien Has No Idea

I want to set the record straight about what really happens behind the scenes at the USPS.  After the accusations of mail delays from NH Speaker O’Brien, here is how deliverable mail is handled by Postal Management as spelled out in our contract.

ARTICLE 3
MANAGEMENT RIGHTS
The Employer shall have the exclusive right, subject to the provisions
of this Agreement and consistent with applicable laws
and regulations:
A. To direct employees of the Employer in the performance
of official duties;
C. To maintain the efficiency of the operations entrusted to it;
D. To determine the methods, means, and personnel by
which such operations are to be conducted;

What the National Collective Bargaining Agreement clearly spells out is that management has total control of all operations within the Postal Service including what is delivered in any given day.
What House Speaker Bill O’Brien stated a recent face book post is that the Postal Service is run by a group of, and I quote, “union thugs” who decided that my mail would not be delivered that day and that when the election is here they probably won’t deliver it then either. Those statements were beyond just plain ignorance of an elected leader of one of the largest governing bodies on the planet but a deliberate unfounded diatribe at the men and women who move the nations mail to 150 million households a day six days a week in all kinds of weather.It was clearly political in nature because if true there will certainly be a lot of Postal management types on their way to federal prison very soon.

 

What the speaker alleges needs to be investigated by the Postal Inspection Service immediately and a Congressional Investigation launched because Congress oversees the Postal Service through committees in the Government and Oversight Committee chaired by Congressman Issa from California. Speaker O’Brien needs to testify to this committee immediately while all this intimate knowledge of this illegal mail activity is still fresh in his mind. Congressman Issa is really good at getting to the bottom of Postal Union malfeasance from previous committee hearings by discovering that APWU contract negotiations ended up with a “sweet deal” for the union, or so he alleged.

 

If in fact the Oversight Committee discovers that Speaker O’Brien purposefully led the public down a blind witch hunt to just excoriate Postal Unions because he could not get his “Right to Work” (for less) legislation passed in the last session of the New Hampshire legislature, than the Committee and the New Hampshire voters should immediately demand his resignation.

 

Accusing workers of a crime that is blatantly not true and punishable with jail time and a $250,000 fine is actually the criminal act here.

 

The gist of this article is to dispel the myth speaker O’Brien has been putting forth that postal workers control the flow of mail That is blatantly false. Postal Management tags all the mail to be delivered in a given day and clerks move that mail to letter carriers cases to be delivered that day. All first class, including political mail, has to be delivered that day or you will find yourself in Levanworth making small rocks out of big ones and your savings account will be depleted to pay enormous fines. There are NO union workers at the post office who would risk that. They are just hard working public servants who sort and deliver every piece of mail they are told to deliver in a given day.

Paul Ryan’s “Road Map”, If Followed, Sends Workers Off a Cliff.

Our new Vice Presidential pick is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. This Ayn Rand devotee who would give more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, including an elimination of all taxes on corporate profits, capital gains, and dividends in his budget, was quoted once saying “We don’t want to turn this safety net into a hammock that ends up lulling people in their lives into dependency and complacency”. That was after just having voted against extending unemployment benefits to the long term unemployed. He then turned around and voted for extending benefits when it was coupled with extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy adding seven billion dollars to the deficit.

As he said in his response to the President’s State of the Union address “spending cuts have to come first”. This is precisely the mindset that is devastating our economy. Ryan seems oblivious to the fact that weak consumer buying power brought on by long term unemployment and falling wages is devastating our economy making the recession worse. Now let’s get into the weeds of the “Ryan Road Map”.

The road map, touted as a cure for what ails America, advocates partial privatization of Social Security and turns Medicare and Medicaid into voucher programs with limited benefits. It would also eliminate The Affordable Care Act or “Obomney Care” as some likes to call it. UAW member Diane Hrovaiten, who was among 3,800 workers who lost their jobs when the Delphi auto-parts plant in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, relocated work to Mexico, is not fond of Ryan’s plan. “Ryan’s ‘Road map’ protects the fortunes of the rich,” she says, “but for the rest of us, it’s an eight-lane expressway to destruction.”

Ryan has a long voting record going as far back as 1999 when he voted to repeal the Glass-Steagall Bill thereby removing limits on the risk commercial banks could take. As if that wasn’t enough he voted for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act which blocked regulation of derivatives. He voted against new regulations on the banking industry in 2007. He voted against monitoring TARP funds, and voted against modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid foreclosure. He has been a good friend to Wall Street.
Ryan has seduced the mainstream media into praising him for his intellectual audacity and has labeled him as “the thinker” in Congress. The Washington Post labeled him as the GOP’s leading intellectual.

I am now in the throes of coming up with a new sign for my first anniversary trek to Occupy Wall Street this coming September 17th. The last one was yawned at by CNN because its theme was a chart depicting the ravages of income equality. I think my new one will depict A Romney/Ryan Presidency stomping us workers into the ground then shoveling us off a cliff if they are elected. See you on Wall Street September 17th.

Washington Won’t Save The Labor Movement, It Is Up To All Of Us.

The recent Supreme Court ruling on “Citizens United” just about slams the door on free speech for those who can’t afford it. As Bill Moyers so succinctly put it “this gives ordinary citizens laryngitis”. That goes for unions too. You now need a super pac to be heard. Super pacs will drown out any other voice.

A recent example of that was a story out of California rallying against a public sector worker who retired at 62 with a $272.000 dollar a year pension. Public sector workers came under immediate attack as having had too generous a pension system when in fact the pension system was way underfunded. Unfortunately what was missed by the reporter was that this worker didn’t even belong to the union and was actually a state executive. They created a perception that union pensions were destroying our towns.  The truth was never reported. Unions will continue to be the whipping boy in this upcoming election by the right wing super pacs so hold onto your hat. Politicians cow tow to the corporate connected conservative base who, secretively, fund these pacs.

The surge of the union movement in this country was not a political movement but a social movement. There was little help from Washington. It does not appear now that we are going to be able to vote our way out of this mess we find ourselves in. There is a tiny percentage of Americans sitting at the top who are pillaging America. The unions need to identify them and go after them. They have pitted private sector workers against public sector workers by crushing private sector unions. Unions held the moral high ground when they were the champions of economic justice. When a strike occurred nobody crossed that picket line because the workers were right. Public sector unions, who are the strength of the labor movement right now, have to show that demonizing public sector workers is now the final goal for corporate America.

Washington is not going to save the labor movement. We can go out with a roar and possibly rebuild the labor movement through massive demonstrations very much like Occupy Wall Street has done to show financial irresponsibility on the part of the banking industry. People not politicians built the labor movement. I was recently in Minneapolis and participated in a spontaneous demonstration of thousands of letter carriers marching on Verizon. We were protesting Verizon for not bargaining in good faith with their workers. You did not need press coverage. Every worker in downtown Minneapolis was cheering and hooting in appreciation of outside workers supporting Verizon workers in their plight. That has to happen everywhere!

9,100 Letter Carriers Gather In Minneapolis

We in Labor are peering over a precipice that many workers have already been pushed over. As witnessed by very unfriendly legislation in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana  State workers, firemen, policemen and city workers have been deemed by the Republican Party as the problem with America. It’s living wages, benefits and making things in America that is bankrupting the country, not greedy Wall St. Investors and unchecked  unregulated lending practices that has caused the financial mess we find ourselves in.

This is a pretty neat switch and bait that has been perpetrated on the American public. Now it’s time to take down the long standing venerable organization known as the Postal Service. This dismantling of the Postal Service and the unions that work for the Postal Service is being almost singlehandedly championed by one Congressman, Darryl Issa Chairman of the Government and Oversight Committee. He brought forth a very onerous Bill that had only one co-sponsor. That’s because it’s a terrible Bill. He got it passed through Committee anyway in opposition to a Bill that had 230 co- sponsors that actually addresses most of the Post Offices financial woes.

He had it all figured out except one thing. He didn’t have the votes to get it passed. This was a critical oversight on his part. The response to this Bill H.R. 2309 from community business leaders ,community organizations and Postal patrons was overwhelming and leader of the House John Boener had no choice but to delay bringing this Bill for a vote.

How did this happen? Well it happened because a grass roots organization called Delivering for America quickly sprang from communities across the nation because they thought continuation of the Postal Service as a vital service to America’s communities was essential. When what was about to happen to the Postal Service was brought to light Congressional switchboards and face book and twitter feeds inundated the Congress.  This alone stopped the Bill in it’s tracks. This is proof positive that we can quickly organize around an issue and change the dynamic in a very short time.

This is proof positive that we still have a voice. Our votes may not work out the way we had hoped but the Democratic process is still alive and well if we just get off the couch and let our elected officials know we are still out there.

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