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Jed Clampett 1966

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking with our Postmaster King Bob. He is a very personable fellow and a likeable kind of guy. If I wasn’t a steward and he a postmaster, we could probably have a few brews and share a few laughs. However, the situation is what it is, and personable and likeable or not, I am at odds with him on a number of issues.

He specifically asked me about why I am so against the VOE surveys, since he knew I wrote an article against it. I’m flattered that he read it, however, I told him of how management used the surveys against us in the contract negotiations for the 1998 contract. And how the carriers felt betrayed by management by using our good faith input against us during negotiations. For those of you not around at that time, one of the questions was (I’m paraphrasing) “Are you happy with your current wage?” We all marked yes. It didn’t have a follow up question such as “So if your happy, you don’t want to make any more money, right?” Well, that is what they did to us during negotiations. They brought up the fact that an X percentage of carriers were happy with their salaries and didn’t need or want raises. Now, nowhere on that survey did it state we didn’t want more money, or did we feel we deserved more, or that garbage men in New York make more than carriers. No, they just took a slanted survey question to be used to their advantage and hold it up against our Union officers and say, “See, they’re happy with what they make! They don’t need more!”

From that point on, my station does not and will not fill out the surveys. I told King Bob the reason I just described. He said that they shouldn’t be held responsible for something that happened 8 yrs. ago. Why not? I’m held responsible on a letter of warning for two years, why are you not responsible for your acts 8 yrs. ago? I know, you weren’t in charge at that time. He asked that I reconsider my stance against the surveys. He wanted to have a chance to initiate change if need be. I’ve heard this so many times before. However, since he is a likeable guy and I was in a good mood that day, I said I would present it to the station. He liked that. He doesn’t know my station very well! He did state that College Park didn’t even register on filling out surveys as you must have a response rate of at least 25%, and we did not achieve that. My guys are great aren’t they!

Anyway, true to my word I presented it to the station that he would like the chance to prove that if we had a problem on the survey that he would try and fix it. As soon as I started to tell the carriers what management said, they told me I sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher, Waaahhh! Waaahh! Waaahh! They’ve heard this before. “Management wants to prove that they are cooperating.” I ask…If they want to change, why is one of the most detrimental supervisors to labor relations still managing carriers? He knows of whom I infer, as I told him his name as one of the supervisors who severely damaged good will at our station and is not even allowed on our premises without an advance call. So why is the survey now so important? Is it because it is part of their new Pay for Performance incentives (bonuses)? What is their real agenda…surveys turned in to benefit their pockets or do they really want to help carriers? We all know that answer, and the answer I got back from my station was, “Surveys! We don’t need no stinkin’ surveys!” I think even a few of them were mad that some carriers filled them out last time. So at this time given the choice to fill the survey out or not, the station gave a resounding “No way Jose!”

So if you are reading my article King Bob, I did as you asked. Too much damage has been done to us at College Park by past supervisors and managers who physically threatened us, and used intimidation and bullying to new levels. We called the 1-800-violence number TWICE on one, and we are STILL waiting on a response. The calls were made in 1995. Should we hold you accountable for their past transgressions. I don’t think we personally blame you, King Bob, however, the damage that was done will take decades to heal and probably won’t heal until we are retired and away from that station.

We do blame management for all the bad faith supervisors that have been heaped on us at College Park. That is why we are a strong and pro-Union station. Without each other we wouldn’t have survived the onslaught of the managers I mentioned to you in our talk. We know that they will come and go and we will be there when they are gone. I guess the only good thing that has happened from that is that it made us unified. We do things together. We have an annual station Christmas Party, Memorial Day Beach Party, and a Labor Day Picnic. We are a family at College Park. So we do things as a station and as of now, we have decided not to participate in the VOE surveys.

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You want us to trust you to take our input then change. Why not show us change first, then maybe, just maybe, you can start earning some of the trust back that just a handful of supervisors have so drastically damaged and taken away. We have tried to listen to management for years profess change and then get thrown down face first. Remember EI? I know that was done at a national level, you told me that, however where is the leadership at the local level? Are the Postmasters just puppets at your level as they are at the station level too? Does anyone think out of the box? Does anyone show initiative to really change the working environment? Is there a method to manage without threats and discipline? Can Management manage a working environment that would be a pleasure to work at? And wouldn’t that decrease sick calls and tensions? Are you a leader that could tackle these problems and be groundbreaking in the labor field? Or is the driving force just to “make the numbers”?

Just some food for thought…Mr. King. If you really seek change, then it must come from your end FIRST! We have bent and changed to accommodate the things that have been put on us. We have seen where carriers come back late at night from their route only to have the gates locked and supervision had gone home. We have seen supervision retaliate against a carrier, a disabled veteran, for obtaining approval for a pushcart and make him carry his whole route in 2 loops! We have witnessed supervisors provoking carriers toward physical violence, and supervisors who ordered us not to help a pregnant carrier lift flat tubs and who later miscarried. We have given all we will give. It is now your turn sir. And I respectfully ask, “Do you think YOU can BEGIN the change toward a better working relationship? Are your skills and talents enough to move Orlando into a better place to work? Is there any latitude or DESIRE to improve the working relations in the Central Fl. District one station at a time?”

The ball is now in your court sir. We have bled enough.

Denny Belden
Br. 1091 Orl. FL.
Aka: VetCarrier


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