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From The Editor of The Belden Factor - Denny Belden

Hello Brothers and Sisters! If anyone of you would read and do anything I’ve ever written about, I would hope it would be to fill out your 3996’s and 1571’s each and EVERY day. I hear all the time from our steward’s on how carriers will not fill out their forms every day and when they want to file a grievance, and the steward needs documentation to defend that carrier….guess who didn’t fill it out?

The only reason not to fill out these forms is laziness. No other reason. It is your job as outlined in the M-41 Sec. 131.4:

131.4 Reporting Requirements

131.41 It is your responsibility to verbally inform management when you are of the opinion that you will be unable to case all mail distributed to the route, perform other required duties, and leave on schedule or when you will be unable to complete delivery of all mail. 131.42 Inform management of this well in advance of the scheduled leaving time and not later than immediately following the final receipt of mail. Management will instruct you what to do. 131.43 Complete applicable items on Form 3996, Carrier-Auxiliary Control, if overtime or auxiliary assistance is authorized in the office or on the street. 131.44 Report on Form 1571 all mail undelivered — including all mail distributed to the route but not cased and taken out for delivery. Estimate the number of pieces of mail. 131.45 Do not curtail or eliminate any scheduled delivery or collection trip unless authorized by a manager, in which case you must record all facts on Form 1571. 131.46 Before you leave the office, enter on Form 1571 the mail curtailed; when you return, add any mail which was not delivered and which was returned to the office. Follow any special local procedures set up to identify errors and corrective actions for mail returned because it was out of sequence.

28 Carrier-Auxiliary Control (M-41) e. Item K. Under Estimated Work, the carrier must enter the estimated hours and minutes of the amount of assistance being requested. f. Present form to manager. g. Item L — Auxiliary Assistance. If assistance is approved the manager shall initial Form 3996 and return it to the carrier for completion of route information. h. Overtime. If overtime is approved, the manager shall initial the form and enter near his initials the amount of overtime in minutes. After advising the carrier, the form is then deposited in a designated place for use later when the timecard or printout is verified. i. Street Assistance. When street assistance is approved, the regular carrier shall complete the additional sections of the form as follows. And from management’s M-39 handbook, how these forms might affect you or your route:

127 Office Work When Carriers Return From Route d. When carriers have ended their tour of duty, review the carrier work areas for curtailed mail not reported on Form 1571.

141.18 Preliminary Planning Management should carefully review and analyze street management records, Forms 3997, 1813, 3996, 1571, 3921, and 3921-A, and carrier timecards or PSDS reports in order to determine the current evaluation for each route and the needed adjustments.

126 Office Work While Carrier Is on Route

126.12 Verify the type and amount of mail curtailed to see if it agrees with that shown on Forms 1571, Undelivered Mail Report, and 3921, Daily Delivery Unit Volume Recording Worksheet.

These forms are not only vital to showing management how long your route is by providing a written record, these forms are what may save you from being disciplined. If you were being charged with unauthorized OT and you did not fill out a 3996, how are you to prove you called the OT? What if management lies ( now there’s a thought!) and says you did not tell him you needed an hour, how will you prove your claim?


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What if you have been told to cut a tub full of first class mark-ups that have been building up for a week and failed to fill out a 1571 stating you cut it as per supervisor’s instructions, and a Postal Inspector comes into the station and wants to know who cut first class mail? Will management come to your rescue and tell him it was them? Of course not, they will throw you under the bus and let you take the heat because YOU failed to do your job and fill out the form. This will have put the blame squarely on their shoulders, but with no form, they will let you take the rap for the cut tub to save their skin. Why? Because you didn’t do what you are supposed to do!

Doing a carrier’s duties is not that hard. They pay you to follow rules and to do what they tell you. You should do it, even if it takes a lot more time, which it does. They are paying you to do exactly that. If you cut corners, you only hurt yourself and hinder the steward from protecting you when it later comes back to bite you. FILL OUT THE FORMS! You would not believe how something so simple is met with disbelief when a steward asks a carrier for documentation. Many times they state management never required them to do it. Well, DUH! If you don’t fill out the forms then you can’t prove anything against management allegations then can you? You fill them out to PROTECT YOURSELF, not to do something FOR management!

The steward and officers of this branch are here to protect you, however, if you don’t do your job, it makes our job much more difficult. Don’t get caught in a suspension or removal because you were just too lazy to fill out a form! Do your job, do it right, and you’ll be just fine! Remember my motto… BE INFORMED…learn your job and the contract…BE PROFESSIONAL…do your job right, with pride…BE UNION….be proud knowing that your dues are going to informing and protecting you in the workplace.

Remember, route counts are coming to your station soon! Are you filling out these forms and keeping copies of them each day? You have that right to duplicate copies and management must supply you with them as per Art. 41.3.G of the National Agreement.

Till next month….

Denny Belden
Pres. Br. 1091 Orlando, FL
Aka: VetCarrier


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