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3996 Estimates Do Not Mean Exact!

How many times has a jerk in a tie come up to you and said, ďYou missed your call by 10 minutes?Ē Well, EXCUSE ME! I go out and work all day in the heat, get chased by dogs, have to negotiate unkempt lawns, drive around trash cans, get stuck in traffic, handle two bundles of mail while walking and trying not to have an accident, talk pleasantly to my customers who have question after question, to come back to the office and have you ask me why my call was off by 10 minutes? Remember, idiots donít know they are idiots until you tell them!

Your 3996 call is only an estimate and is based on YOUR knowledge of the route and your abilities as a carrier. The jerk in the tie tries to use the inaccurate DOIS (ĎDis Office Information Sucks) computer program to try and intimidate you into changing your call. DONíT FALL FOR IT!

The Problem is that many carriers do fall for it, and change their calls. They go out and hurry along their route, find out they cannot make the time DOIS says they can make, so they skip their breaks, lunch, or both, to make it back in the time the jerk in the tie told him to be back by. Well, guess what? If you rush to get back in the time DOIS says you can do it, you just showed management that YOU can no longer be trusted to make your own calls and that your DOIS figures must be right!

These carriers then become stressed and hurry along and get into accidents. Now the very management that they were trying to please, and keep off their back, now is issuing discipline for having an accident and screwing up their accident record! Now, the carrier canít break for lunch or breaks, has to hurry, has an accident, and now has to go out on stress. All the subs that fill in get harassed because they canít do it as fast as the regular carrier, and they get stressed. And all along the regular is blaming the Union for not doing anything about this! We all know this guy!

Well, letís examine exactly what the Union has done for this carrier and what he has brought on himself.

First, of course is that the breaks are negotiated into the contract by the Union and by law, you are allowed to break 30 minutes for lunch. They cannot force you to work past 6 hrs without a lunch break.

Secondly, you have two 10-minute breaks, one when you need it, and another when you need it. Nothing states that you must take one break in the morning and one in the afternoon, if you take both breaks on the street. You can take both in the morning or both in the afternoon, just as long as they are not in conjunction with your lunch or with each other.


Thirdly, and most importantly, is the PS Form 3996. They should be requested and used anytime you need overtime. This is the ONLY recognized item in the contract that is used to make YOUR call for the day. DOIS is only a tool for management and is NOT to set performance standards for you! This means they cannot demand that you make DOIS time! YOU TELL THEM WHAT IT WILL TAKE THAT DAY! DO NOT LET THEM TELL YOU THAT YOU HAVE UNDERTIME IF YOU DO NOT HAVE IT!

Now you must justify your call, if challenged by management, and they are allowed to do so. This is different from harassing you. Challenging you is to read your 3996 and the reasons you are requesting OT, and calmly ask you if it will take you that long to deliver the mail. Harassing you is when they come by and hear your call, and have not heard the reasons why you need relief, and begin berating you about not making DOIS, or that your time stated is too much no matter what the call is! If they claim your call is too much and do not know the reasons why you made your call, thatís harassment in my book! Document it and file against the supervisor if they continue to do it daily!

DOIS means diddly! Do a fair days work for a fair days pay, that is all that is required by the contract! If they tell you that you have undertime and must take relief, follow instructions and call in later to let them know that you cannot deliver it in the time allowed, just as you told them before you left. Be sure to document that you did that. Write down anything that may be valuable for the steward when grievances are filed for non-odlís working OT and WA carriers are off assignment. We may not be able to make the jerk in the tie smarter, but we sure can make them pay for their stupidity!

Denny Belden
AKA: VetCarrier


Denny Belden
Aka-VetCarrier Orlando, FL - NALC Branch 1091

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