Director of Education
Francisco Pecunia-Vega

How Do I Do This?

    
     A common question for anyone doing something for the first time or who infrequently deals with situations. As humans, we learn and retain information differently. As adults, our learning abilities vary greatly from one person to the next. Some can pick up on something by seeing it done, for example, others can better grasp and comprehend by reading for themselves.
    
     Anyone who educates others must consider these basic factors when preparing a lesson plan or deciding the subject matter to be taught. As representatives of letter carriers and enforcers of the contract we are always in search of additional knowledge and information to improve our capabilities and expand our horizons.            
    
     You are the so called “know it all” if the title before your name is steward or other type of union representative. We see that in and around the workroom floor when management looks at a steward through a different looking glass than that of a carrier who has no title or holds no position. Suddenly the title imposes on you a requirement to always do things right, be an example to others and an ambassador of the craft not only to management, but to the public as well. Most understand no one is perfect, all we can do and expect of others is to be the best he/she can be.
    
     As leaders of this organization, we have an obligation to be properly trained and informed to efficiently perform the duties of our position(s). What good is a steward that has absolutely no knowledge of how to file a grievance or even determine a violation of the       contract or other workplace rule/regulation has taken place? None. To the contrary, lack of knowledge, apathy or inexperience may bring unwanted consequences upon our fellow workers or negatively affect the workplace environment.
    
     Self-starters take it upon themselves to seek information to better themselves and learn the proper way to do things. Others having a strong desire for knowledge and who have all the dedication and commitment to do right at times need help in garnering the necessary tools to effectively perform in their positions. Being elected or appointed to a position does not automatically come with the knowledge and experience required for the job. Not knowing the contract, rules and regulations does not excuse us from our legal obligation to represent letter carriers.
    
     In our recent state convention, the subject of the development of carrier representatives by way of state and local training was brought to the convention in session and an inaccurate comment made that the NC State Director of Education could do better for the membership if training was geared to the needs of each individual branch as determined by local branch presidents and that grievance quality, or lack thereof, was associated with poor or a lack of training.
    
     I have personal knowledge that local branch presidents who have requested localized training from the National Business Agent, from subjects such as route examinations to new steward training, have been obliged. The Constitution and By-Laws of the NCSALC, dated December 4, 2015 provide in Article 9, Section 6 that among the duties of the Director of Education are as follows:
“The Director of Education shall be reimbursed for lost time, payable as used, to attend state seminars, the State Convention, annual workshop of the Health Benefit Representatives, and all assignments by the State President to conduct education training for the membership of the North Carolina Letter Carriers Association.”
    
    
    
 

    
       Furthermore, the NALC Constitution for the Government of State Associations explicitly provides in Article 8, Section 7 that:

“The Director of Education shall have authority, under the supervision and direction of the National Business Agent, to arrange for seminars and training schools on State, District, and Branch levels.”


     To that end, Article 9, Section 8 of the NALC Constitution imposes on the National Business Agent the duty to:

     “Their functions shall include, but not be limited to, assisting in organization campaigns, gathering evidence for legal proceedings, assisting in the preparation of grievances and arbitration hearings, assisting in the mediation and conciliation of labor disputes, advising members and local officers upon practice and procedure, assisting in all activities relating to legislation; conducting training and educational seminars; and all other functions relevant to their duties.”  
    
     I believe the best way to learn is to learn things right the first time around. Misinformation is a lethal weapon aimed in the wrong direction. Anyone offering you advice, guidance or information should have no problem showing you in writing the basis for their position(s) or where they’re getting what they’re passing on to you.
    
     Loud talking with no foundation or contractual basis is just that, loud talk.


     The will of the delegates in national convention and that of the NALC national leadership has made the primary purpose of all state associations one very simple and straightforward. The state association is to guide and direct all activities relating to legislation within the State. Directors of Education throughout the nation are constitutionally subjected to the supervision and direction of the National Business Agents for all matters relating to training.
    
     If your branch or you need assistance and believe localized training is something you may benefit from, it will be a good idea to contact our NBA’s office and ask for assistance. We cannot fix what we don’t know is broken, and we don’t know you need help until you ask.

    


Director of Education
Francisco Pecunia-Vega

Committed To The Membership
     You have all heard it before, but I will say it again; EVERYTHING we have as it relates to the USPS and our jobs, can be taken away with the stroke of a pen. Proposals and decisions in Congress that could devastate our beloved USPS and our jobs are continuous and relentless. The is becoming an intricate part of what we do and we need to keep this momentum. Remember we were not Amazon’s first choice, just the most economical.

     CCAs have made tremendous contributions and inroads into the carrier workforce. Our national union leaders continue to work to make improvements in the workplace. Information on how to perform our jobs as well as the educational tools necessary to do so are now readily available on the NALC APP.  The USPS continues to be the most trusted organization in the government because of everything you do; keep up the good work. 
    
     As Director of Education for the North Carolina State Association of Letter Carriers, I have attended all state called meetings as required in our State By-Laws. I have conducted training at the request and approval of the National Business Agent, throughout the State of North Carolina. I continue to provide a quarterly article to The North Carolina Letter Carrier, as a way to keep the members informed in between our bi-annual training seminars. I look forward to the continued support of you, the members of the North Carolina Association of Letter Carriers.  


     In this last term as Director of Education, I have had the honor to serve the Letter Carriers of the great state of North Carolina as well as the board of the North Carolina State Association for the last twelve years. It has been an enormous privilege to be entrusted with the responsibility of providing training and information to the members of this Association.

     In conjunction with and through the office of our Region 9 National Business Agent Kenneth (Kenny) Gibbs Jr., we have continued to provide periodic training seminars that enhance the knowledge and abilities of participants. I have provided various types of branch level training as requested by the local presidents, and as approved by the NBA, for those not fortunate enough to attend state-level training sessions. I am grateful to the delegates for the confidence bestowed upon me by electing me as your Director of Education. I remain humbled and extremely grateful for your support.
    
     I commit and dedicate myself to the members of this Association and to provide assistance in any and all areas within my scope of responsibility. I have faithfully kept my previous pledge to the carriers in this state, to rely on the feedback from local leaders which assist the business agent and me in formulating future training seminar agenda, based on trending needs. Time and again we have proven that letter carriers are who  keep the USPS moving forward.

     As the most visible employee in this organization, we must strive to always be properly trained and informed. Staying involved in how politics affect the USPS and the working class has become more important and necessary than ever.