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They Screwed Up My Route, Now What?

Hello Brothers and Sisters! This is the common question most carriers ask after manglement has counted and adjusted their routes after the route counts. Many feel that they did not get a fair adjustment and have no idea what to do now. Their routes may be longer than before the adjustment or that they did not cut enough to make the route 8 hrs. as required by the postal manuals.

The first thing you must understand that management has the right to manage or mismanage. Usually the latter is the norm, however, we do have rights under the same manuals and handbooks to address an adjustment that is not correct.

Under Chapter 2 or the M-39, and specifically section 271-G you will find out what you need to do to qualify for a special route count and inspection. 271-G states:

If over any 6 consecutive week period (where work performance is otherwise satisfactory) a route shows over 30 minutes of overtime or auxiliary assistance on each of 3 days or more in each week during this period, the regular carrier assigned to such route shall, upon request, receive a special mail count and inspection to be completed within 4 weeks of the request. The month of December must be excluded from consideration when determining a 6 consecutive week period. However, if a period of overtime and/or auxiliary assistance begins in November and continues into January, then January is considered as a consecutive period even though December is omitted. A new 6 consecutive week period is not begun.

It is incumbent on the carrier to document every 3996 and 1571 filled out during the 6 wk. period. Do not trust mgmt. to keep the documents for you. It is too easy for mgmt. to happen to “misplace” one 3996 to disqualify you from qualifying for a 271g. The 1571 is important so if they claim on a particular date you worked 8 hrs, you can show them that you curtailed 6 ft. of flats that would have taken you into overtime over 30 min. You must document all the paperwork yourself and prove you are qualified for the count. Trust no one but yourself for this.

Once qualified, they have 4 wks in which they must inspect and count your route. After that they have 52 days to adjust your route. Understand that many times they will try to state you have “performance” problems and that you can’t qualify for the count until you straighten out the performance issues. This is incorrect and a way supervisors try to bluff their way out of having to do the count. If there was any performance issues, they must have been addressed BEFORE the request for a special count and they must be documented! They cannot bring it up after the request has been made to keep you from having the count done.

Once you request the count they must do a 6-day route count and inspection and they must be conducted in the same manner as the formal counts and inspections.

After the count is done they have 52 days in which to adjust your route. Any violations of any of the time limits should be discussed with the steward to see if a grievance needs to be filed.

Many supervisors will tell you that they will do a minor route adjustment to adjust the route. First off, if you have not had a full blown 6-day count in the last 18 months the data may be old and not current for your situation and a minor adjustment should not be used. If you qualified for a special count, stay with the special count.

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If you are a carrier who just bid on a route recently adjusted and they tell you it is an 8 hr. route, let them know that it was an 8 hr. route for the carrier before you, it may not be 8 hrs for you. You walk at a different pace. He may have been 6’6” and you are 5’. Your stride will be significantly different. You may be 60, the other carrier was 25. The age difference may justify a different pace. Remember, there is no street pace with which you must be held to! There is no such thing. So if mgmt. says you are not walking fast enough, simply ask compared to what? They are not to compare you to other carriers and there is no street pace, so what can they compare you to? The only possible comparison would be to yourself. If you walked at 120 steps a minute in the morning and are walking 50 paces in the afternoon, they may have a point, unless you are about to go in heat stroke! Be consistent in your efforts and you will do fine!

You should keep in mind that they must adjust your route to as near 8 hrs. as possible. If they say they are going to adjust you to 8 hrs. and 15 min. and you have a 15 min. loop they can take off, make the argument that they are not following the manuals on adjustments and grieve it if necessary. If they adjust you and you have nothing but a 40 min. loop to be able to adjust, then 8.15 may be as near as possible. Make them adjust to 8 hrs! There should always be something that can be taken off to adjust the route in most cases. Do not fall for the over adjustment crap that “well, on a light day you can do 8 hrs.” On paper the route should be as near 8 hrs as possible. Hold them to that and to explain why they couldn’t adjust it per the M-39. They must be able to explain every adjustment to the route.

So you do have something you can do after unfair adjustments or anytime your route is out of adjustment. Request the 271-G, Special Count and Inspection and document the 6 wk period. This 6 wks can be at any time, but must be consecutive. Remember, it is more than 30 min. of aux assistance. That is 31 min or more. Asking for 30 min. will not help you qualify.

Well, that’s it for getting your route adjusted. I asked for two 271-G’s on my route in College Park before they got it right. Use this option to have your route adjusted, especially in the high growth areas. This can be requested at any time of the year except December. Requesting a special count during the summer months may work against you with the light mail volume, but it can be requested during this time.


Denny “271-G” Belden


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