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September 1998
Vol.1 No. 12 Page 9

The Mother of All Resource Indexes

By Thom Green, Editor

One of the most perplexing problems facing a union officer or steward doing investigative work is the research itself. Often a steward might have a need to cite a particular arbitration, manual, handbook, the National Agreement - anything - only to come up short.

It isn't uncommon for a steward to be caught mumbling: "I know it exists, I saw it in the (blank) manual." Filling in the blank is always the puzzle because the officer might remember the manual, but can't remember the page, chapter, article, etc, location.

No matter how comprehensive the index in a particular manual it is never complete enough to satisfy the one doing the investigation. For as along as I have been doing research in the manuals I have always threatened to create a master index. One that would allow me to turn to the exact page, chapter, article, etc, location.

Maybe laziness is one cause for not doing it, but realistically I would say that the feasibility of such a work would not be - well - realistic. During the 61st Biennial National Association of Letter Carriers convention in Las Vegas, NV, Tom Gates, Director of Education, Oregon State Association of Letter Carriers, changed my thoughts when he showed me a "beta" version of the index I have maintained was a lot of work to create.

Brother Gates writes in his prelude:

"This booklet is simply a compilation of indexes and other lists of references and resource materials. It has been assembled to be used as a research tool by NALC stewards. Although it contains an estimated 6,000 entries, the list is certainly not all-inclusive."

From start to finish the "book" covers every index one can imagine. Do you want to know which form is used for Absence Analysis? That would be Form 3972. How about a Back Pay Decision/Settlement Worksheet? You would need Form 8039 for that.

Further references in the Resources Index covers items from the Post Office Operations Manual (POM); City Letter Carriers Methods Handbook, M-41; the newly created Joint Contract Administration Manual (JCAM); NALC Constitution; Employees and Labor Relations Manual (E&LM); the MRS (Material Reference System).

Brother Gates doesn't profess to have recorded every item from every index, that would be unrealistic to consider. He certainly has missed some. And, in order to cover those that he has missed he is inviting the users to send him the references that he has missed.

"Obviously, the more accurate this is, the more valuable it will be to our members. To that end, I ask your assistance. As we each use this booklet, we will undoubtedly find references that are missing, or need to be eliminated or corrected. I intend to maintain this list as a computer file available to any NALC branch upon request. To make it the most accurate possible I need your help."

The Resources Index Booklet can be purchased for $5.00 each by contacting Brother Gates. Version One will be available for shipping sometime in late September. Write to Tom Gates, Director of Education, OSA, 37272 Conley Road, Springfield, OR 97478. (541-747-0472) His email address is: Or, you can contact me at Thom Green, 2610 North Anthony Blvd. Fort Wayne, IN 46805-3663 (219-482-1946)

Brother Green is a 26 year member of Summit City Branch No. 116, Fort Wayne, IN. He is editor of The Summit City Mailbag, and a union steward at the Hazelwood Station, Fort Wayne.


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