I Did It My Way
This will be my last article as President of NALC CT Merged Branch 20. After 57 years of NALC membership and after 35 years of representing letter carriers in various Union positions including full-time President of Branch 20, CT State President, Local Business Agent, Regional Administrative Assistant, Arbitration Advocate and National Business Agent for the New England Region I have decided to retire effective October 2, 2020.
As I reflect upon the milestones I have reached over the past half century I recognize that most would not have been possible without the love, support and loyalty of a handful of individuals. Without the unconditional love, understanding and support of my wife Anna over the more than 60 years we have been together, none of it would have been possible. She made up for all the time I was required to be away from our children raising four amazing kids, Brian, Christy, David and Jennifer who have become somewhat normal adults that we are extremely proud of.
Certainly I do not recall from memory all the events that have filled my Union career, however I am fortunate in that I have available thirty-five (35) years of documented history on record in the Branch newsletters on file at the Union Office to reflect upon.
There have been however a small number of events that have occurred over the years that were memorable enough, that at least for now, they are committed to memory.
I recall making the motion to join the letter carriers’ wildcat strike in March of 1970 and walking the picket line with the 100% Union Meriden NALC members. That event changed the destinies of Letter Carriers for the better over the past 50 years.
I remember working at the NBA’s office in Chelsea, MA for seven (7) years driving up every Monday morning at 5:00 am, in snow, rain, sleet or fog and driving home every Wednesday night at 5:00 pm. The stress of that effort I am sure contributed to the need for surgery to remove a kidney in 1989. NALC Branch 57 President John Pimentel, Jr. worked alongside me in the NBA’s office during that time and without his friendship, guidance and constant support I would have never made the 7 years.
I recall becoming the first full-time NALC Union President in the state of CT in 1985 after merging together many Post Offices that eventually numbered 30 representing 647 active and 396 retired Letter Carriers. Those were heady days. Working at the NBA’s office while serving as a full-time President and spending many nights going to Branch meetings to effect mergers with VP Jim Chiaverini in tow. In my spare time purchasing a Union building, renovating a Union hall, buying a $17,000 computer system, creating an award winning Branch Newsletter and Web Site.
Then there was my “Don Quixote” quest to become the first National Business Agent (NBA) for the New England Region not from Boston Branch 34. That effort requires more space to explain than I have available. Suffice it to say after spending $65,000 on election flyers, magnets and postage I was elected NBA in 1994. While serving as Business Agent I developed an extraordinary, special bond with a “group” of NALC colleagues including Matty Rose, Jim Williams, Barry Weiner, Dale Hart, Michele Ditchey and Linda Giordano that continues to bring joy in my life today.
And all these events were made possible in part because of the people around me who gave freely and lavishly of their expertise, time and effort, asking very little in return. Words alone cannot express adequately the love and gratitude I have for Jon Daniels, Norm St Arnauld, June Ruszala-Martin, and Kate Tavernier. Along with Tom Barry, Jim Chiaverini, John Kaminiski and Dave Martin they were the heart and soul of this Branch for the past 35 years. Without their support and loyalty I would not have been elected to the position of National Business Agent or been able to serve as Branch 20 President for so long a period of time as I have.
I also need to thank three individuals who served me and Branch 20 faithfully and honestly for more than 20 years. Thank you to Paul Dominello from Paul’s Deli for all the excellent food and service provided for our Officers and Stewards meetings; to Steve Barker from Barker’s Specialty for all his assistance and considerations providing holiday gifts for our Officers, Stewards and Members and Carole Becker from Budget Printers for her constant excellent guidance for all our printing needs.
I offer my full support and wish the best of luck and good fortune to President Tom Sagnella and the Officers and Stewards who will now lead the branch and who take up the mantle of representing the Letter Carrier of NALC CT Merged Branch 20. It is a difficult and at times a thankless task, however, if done for the right reasons it can be very rewarding.
To each and every one who has given me your support, respect and especially your loyalty throughout the years I thank you from the bottom of my heart.