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What Are YOU Thinking? (2)

What are YOU Thinking?

Recently we have had carriers do some irrational things in order to keep to this 5 o’clock goal management has been hammering down your throats. Everyone needs to understand that safety and delivery of the mail is in your control.

Do not rush and skip breaks in order to make what they tell you is your time. You are playing into their hands. You prove them right when you are trying to make their times and then do it. Do you really think if you make their time for them they will leave you alone? Absolutely not! You just proved to them that they can intimidate you to run your route and make THEIR call, not yours! And this is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Now you have opened the door to harass you all the time, because you did run the route when they did it. Their thought is always, if it worked one time, let’s do it again!

And whose fault is it that you now have to make their time? It is not the Union’s fault or management’s fault, it is squarely on your shoulders. Learn the contract on how you are to make your calls. The M-41 is the carrier’s bible. It tells you exactly how to be a professional carrier. It states exactly what you should or shouldn’t do. How many of you even know what an M-41 is? How many of you have read it? How many of you know it is in the back of your route book?

From the M-41:

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.

Now if you follow the instructions above on how you are to make your calls, then no one will be in trouble, and the filling out of the forms is not for management’s protection. IT IS FOR YOUR PROTECTION! These forms, the 3996 and the 1571 prove what aux assistance you asked for and how much mail you were told to curtail. Understand that management and NOT YOU, have the only power and responsibility to curtail mail. A carrier never curtails mail on their own, you must always have instruction from a supervisor and your 1571 should always state: PER SUPERVISOR’S INSTRUCTIONS.

You should always keep copies of these forms. They help prove that your route is overburdened. This might qualify you for a special count and inspection. You may ask your steward on what the qualifications are for the special count or you can go to the M-39 at nalc.org and look up Sec. 271.g.

Anyway some carriers have been so rushed that they are jeopardizing their jobs by violating safety and delivery rules to make management’s 5 o’clock goal. There is no reason to be delaying mail or hiding mail to make the 5 o’clock goal. If you cannot make 5 o’clock with the mail you have, call in and let mgmt know. There is no such thing as unauthorized OT when they tell you to carry the mail. If they tell you to carry the mail, they have inherently authorized the OT to do so. They cannot put you in a position of working into unauthorized OT by ordering you to carry the mail.

If you carry mail into unauthorized OT you can be disciplined for that, however, if you do not keep delivering the mail, then you are not following instructions and can be disciplined for that. Mgmt cannot put you into a position of no matter what you do, you will violate a rule or instruction. That is conflicting instructions! That is not permitted and can be easily won at the B-team level. That is also backed up by a Step 4 decision M-00326.

Carriers are doing bizarre things with some of the mail that they are carrying. If you have standard mail on your route, deliver it! You are paid to deliver those items, that is your job! Do not play management on your route and try and decide what to deliver and not deliver. If you took it out, deliver it…ALL OF IT! Remember you do not have the authority to delay or curtail any mail, only management can do this! So don’t try this on your route!


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In closing, the only one who knows what time you will leave for the route and return from the route is you. Don’t be intimidated with the DOIS crap or that you have established a “track record”. Make your call based on the mail you received that day to carry and anything left at the case should have a curtailed slip on it. If it is at your case it should go out that day. Make mgmt tell you what to curtail. It is not your job to make the decision. If there is any blame to come down from doing any improper curtailment of mail, then the supervisor must answer for it and not you. Understand if someone is going to get chewed out for improper curtailment of mail and you do not have a 1571 sitting in the tub, then instead of the supv. getting chewed out, guess who will get the royal screws put to him? That’s right…the carrier.

The same goes with the 3996. If you called an hour of OT and you take an hour of OT but did not fill out the form, then mgmt claims they did not authorize the OT, and now have issued a letter of warning, how will you defend yourself? If you had a copy of the 3996 you could show that you called the time and it was authorized. But with no form, it is just all talk. This then becomes hard to prove.

The forms are for your protection. Make the copies and protect yourself. The one time you don’t is when they will make an issue of something, and there will be no document to back it up. Get in the habit of doing this each day. It only becomes a habit if you make yourself do it every time. Then it gets easier.

Good luck and remember that it is up to you to make your calls and then to justify them. Their DOIS numbers mean nothing, other than they have something to read other than comic books! Remember, DOIS sets no standards for you and is not recognized by the contract. So the next time they talk about percent to standard, ask them when they did the 6-day count to determine that? Most of you have not gone through 6-day counts and this is why most percent to standards mean nothing. They mean nothing anyway since they cannot hold you to those percentages. Only documentation of unsatisfactory effort can result in discipline. Keep up the good work and do it by the book. They hate that…and they wrote the book!

Denny Belden Aka: VetCarrier

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