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Hello Brothers and Sisters! It still amazes me that carriers will still go into a meeting with Postal Inspectors without any representation. This has happened in the past and will continue if the carriers donít wake up to the fact that if Postal Inspectors are involved, it usually is not a good sign. If you go into a meeting with the Postal Inspectors and believe they are your friends, you are sadly mistaken. They probably are not your enemy either, however, they are there because of some issue that may have come up and they will want some answers. Sometimes it may be of an insignificant nature, but usually they are investigating something that may cause you to lose your job. DO NOT speak with them without representation!
They are there to do a job. They probably have no personal issue with you, they probably donít even know you. However, they will investigate any issues and ask questions. Your answers can and will be used against you. It is vital to know if they are asking questions that may lead to a criminal investigation. If this is the case the steward should inform you that you should not answer any more questions until you have an attorney present. Our stewards are trained on contractual issues and not the law. You should always ask if the questions could lead to a criminal investigation.
I mentioned how to combat the DOIS syndrome in my last article, but I am still getting calls on this issue. Remember DOIS is an estimate and is a tool for mgmt, it sets no standards for you and is not recognized by the contract. Only YOUR call on a 3996 is what management must deal with, not an estimated volume or projected leave and return time. Arguing with them only plays into their hands. Simply refer them to your 3996 and go back to casing. Arguing with manglement only encourages them! Now, having said this, be sure that you can justify your call and if they go with you, the time you requested is the time you needed. Do not overcall your aux. assistance. Be as accurate as you can be. All estimates are inherently inaccurate, so estimate as closely as you can.
You can adjust your call up to leaving the station for your morning estimate and if you are going to go over in any amount from your morning call, be sure to call in from the street to have mgmt tell you what to do with extra time. They can tell you to carry it in authorized OT, bring it back, or send someone out. There is no such thing as being told to carry it and they will not authorize the OT. But, be sure you call, otherwise you are in unauthorized OT and can be disciplined for it. Take the burden off of you and call in, it is then on managementís shoulders on what to do. This is what they are supposedly are paid for.
Every station has been understaffed and everyone
is working into tons of OT, even non-odlís. If
you think your station is unique you are wrong.
One station has been using a custodian and a
clerk to deliver city mail and we have grieved
it and tried to put a stop to it, especially
hiding the hours they used under clerk and
custodial craft hours. I am now in the process
of grieving it again as they used the clerk
again to deliver mail. They claim short staffing
too, however, city carrier work is city carrier
work and if they do not have the help they need
to hire help. Although this may mean later hours
for the current city carriers this will also
mean the PM cannot go home until the last
carrier is in. Once he begins going home at 8 pm
then perhaps heíll put pressure on district to
hire. The carriers there are working long hard
hours. They only have one ODL so everyone is
working OT. My hat is off to them for the long
hours and no days off theyíve had to endure for
a long, long, period.
I realize that manyt of you are in the same boat, however, there is nothing contractually that we can do to force them to hire more people. We have tried maximizing the PTFís here in the last couple of months, and were successful in getting 6 of them promoted.
Spring is right around the corner! Nice weather and nice temperatures will soon be here!
Keep warm, keep informed, stay professional, and Be Union!
Denny R. Belden