Dear Brothers and Sisters:
As many of you already know, Mike Willadsen has stepped down as our President of Branch 86. On April 9, during our Danbury Retirement Dinner, he announced his resignation for personal reasons. It is no secret by now that his wife Beth is battling cancer, and we wish her a speedy recovery.
Mike has served the branch as President for almost 34 years. He put Branch 86 not only on the Regional but on the National map too. One of our own, Jerry Ugone is a Regional Administrator at the Business Agent’s office in Boston.
For the past 3 decades, Mike has faced tons of obstacles, but none could slow him down. He was strong when needed, patient at all times, and he guided and helped not only our Branch but numerous other Branches in Connecticut and across the country.
2020 and 2021 were unlike any other year in his life time. The challenges of the global Coronavirus pandemic presented even more obstacles to our Union, our membership and our communities. But not for Mike Willadsen. He was on the workroom floor with the fellow carriers showing solidarity, that is what you call Leadership. As I attended the Committee of Presidents in New Jersey, our President Fred Rolando wished me luck moving forward and said “you have big shoes to fill.” He was right, it is scary when you get thrown in the ocean and told to swim back to shore. But I am a fighter, and an optimistic person. With the help of my Executive Board and the plentiful advice Mike has given me over the years, I plan on succeeding.
Finally, after 12 years of battle, the postal reform passed and was signed by President Biden on April 6. This bipartisan legislation puts the Postal Service on a stable path. One of the key provisions is the repeal of the pre-funding mandate and the guarantee of a minimum of 6-day delivery of mail. This will eliminate the need to renew the 6-day delivery requirement every year through the Congressional Appropriation Process.
I would like to thank all Branch 86 members who contribute to the Letter Carrier Political Fund (LCPF), like we always say, “money talks.” The work that our Union and our members do as advocates of the preservation of the Postal Service has benefited the service and ALL employees, not just letter carriers.
And when I say ALL, I mean ALL, including non-union members who benefit from what we bargain for. Take a look at our COLA’s that hit high numbers. Every one is getting a pay increase, so maybe it is time for you “non-members” to join. We have new leadership in our Branch, my door is open. Any time you want to give me a reason why you are not a member, I will listen and try my best to help and educate you, just give me a chance.
By the time you read this announcement, the national parties would have signed a joint route inspection process. It will be done using a union member and a manager analyzing your route through your scanner. Carry your scanner at all times, take your lunch and breaks, and stop the unsafe practices. We need to go back to basics. Check the delivery addresses, knock on the door when delivering parcels or any accountable mail, and check your truck properly.
They might change the way routes are evaluated, but our rights as letter carriers under the provisions of the M-39 and M-41 are still the same.
Until next time, George Laham