On-the-job injury

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Union Steward, Steven Benoit.
Steven Benoit

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

My name is Steven Benoit. I started my postal career 22 plus years ago as a PTF in Putnam, CT. It is located in the northeast corner of the state. The office had 6 city routes and 3 rural routes at the time I was there. After a few years, I transferred to Manchester, CT. Boy, was I in for a surprise! My new office had 66 city routes and 12 rural routes. It would take me close to 4 years to learn/do all 66 city routes. The office had a lot of hustle and bustle compared to what I was accustomed to in Putnam. I had to learn the rules of the contract and what management could or couldn’t do.

After a few years in Manchester, I was fortunate to put in for a hold down and I was awarded the hold down on route 49 and it would last for about a year. The carrier on 50 routes, John O’Neil AKA “JJ”, would often have visitors or stewards coming over to his case. Scott Flood, Paul Neil, Dave Krinjak, and Marylou Larose often asked “JJ” questions about the contract. In the back of my mind, I was thinking “who the hell is this guy and what is he doing carrying mail?” Over the course of the next year, I would come to find out that JJ was a past steward, an executive board member, and he also had arbitrated the second-most number of cases for the NALC in New England at the time. So, I figured JJ knew his stuff and that’s when I started to listen in on his conversations, and that’s how I would learn more about the contract. It took me 6.5 years to make “regular.”

At that point, my two children were very young and keeping me busy with sports and afternoon activities. This situation would hinder my union involvement at this point of my career. Six or seven years later, elections for steward in the Manchester post office were about to happen and now that my kids were older, I put my name in the running to become a steward in Manchester. I was elected steward along with Bryan Colletti. I would learn a lot from Bryan as to how to negotiate what I wanted to get out of management concerning contract violations. We served a few terms together.

I was then approached by Mike Willadsen and he asked if I had any interest in Compensation. I told him that I was interested. Mike would send myself and Lou Sklenarik to OWCP training in Boston at the Department of Labor. Two years ago, Mike asked me to run on the slate for the Executive Board of Branch 86 and I became the Compensation director at that point. A month later, I ran again for steward in Manchester, and Scott Flood and I won on the ballot. This would be Scott’s second term as steward and I found myself relying on him for his knowledge and past expertise in handling union contract issues. We became an awesome team together. Mike would constantly encourage me to obtain training from the nationally-based team.

May this be a message to all active carriers… when you become aware of a resulting on-the-job injury, you must notify your supervisor and your steward IMMEDIATELY! If medical attention is required, you need to obtain three forms from your supervisor: 1) CA-I, 2) CA-16, and 3) CA-17. These forms must accompany you to the treating facility!

If you have any questions pertaining to filling out the forms, please feel free to contact me at any time. A few months back, a business card with my phone number was mailed to all active carriers of Branch 86. If you have misplaced my contact information, please contact your steward and I would be more than happy to help you out!

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