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Letters to the Editor
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Goodbye Time Clock - Goodbye DOIS - I WILL NOT Be Back in 8
Editorial by Rick Owens - April 6, 2007

Rick Owens: Postal Employee Network Founder Retires
On Monday April 2nd PEN founder Rick Owens - that's me! - retired from USPS after 34.5 years of service. Of those years, the last 32 have been spent as a city letter carrier and the remaining 2.5 as an LSM, letter sorting machine, operator. I will miss my coworkers very much - many of them have worked side by side with me for over 20 years. It already seems strange not having to punch a time clock - I'm certain I will get over that very quickly.

I must also tell you that although I worked my last years as a letter carrier experiencing much daily pain in my knees, feet, hips, and back. I would have attempted to carry on for at least another year or so if I could just stomach the manner in which USPS is managing this postal service and their employees.

In my humble opinion USPS has pulled off the biggest corporate raid this nation has ever seen...bar none. These folks knew exactly what they were doing with this postal reform issue - they knew it - but, neither the public, our government, our elected officials, or the mass mailers out there had a clue what the real outcome of postal reform was to be. USPS knew and they weren't about to share that information with us.

USPS has taken, and will continue taking, their new found freedom to act as a 'for profit' company and run it straight down the throat of postal employees and the postal public.

HQ started planning long ago for this postal reform thing. One of the least watched issues - mail delivery - will, in my opinion, become one of the most important and highly published changes to come out of reforming the postal service - I am speaking of contracting out mail delivery. Who knew? Again, who knew?

Of course we had HCR, highway contract routes, long before postal reform, but only in very remote sparsely populated areas. In September 2003 USPS had the Postal Operations Manual (POM) wording changed to allow HCR carriers freedom to complete door to door delivery almost anywhere. Now that postal reform has been cleared, it's full speed ahead with contracting out delivery of this nations mail.

I could go and on and I may one day, but for now lets just say that I will miss my customers and coworkers but I am glad that I will not be a part of where this service is going under the current powers in Washington, D.C..

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Why Are We Raising Postage Rates?

As a young retired military leader currently employed with the United States Postal Service working in a Processing & Distribution Center (P&DC), I get a daily panoramic view from inside the mail giant working behind the scenes in an industrial environment. I love the work I do processing, distributing and handling U.S. Mail and using some of the state-of- the-art technology available to get the job done. I can tell all the readers that from my own perspective that we could put our “two cents” in for the next few years like I’m doing right now and our U.S. postage would still be the most affordable rate around the globe.

At the same time I am frustrated with the unprofessional and inappropriate behaviors on the part of the front line leaders I am exposed to in this super-sized government agency. Based on my daily experiences I can see the signs and symptoms that have led to the pain of many current and past employees who have unfortunately resorted to or considered a fit of rage within a system that ignores complaints, minimizes employee training, and discounts the talents their employees bring to the table. Instead, we focus on how much mail we can cram on a processing belt and into automated machinery as fast as we can while accepting shortcuts and overlooking details due to the fast pace of the day in a deadline oriented business.

Our front line leaders push and divide employees by way of exclusion, favoritism, through use of bully tactics, gawking techniques, and use of threatening postures while hovering over employees creating the feeling of being in a concentration camp. Supervisors and managers chase and hide behind quantities of mail instead of processing the mail “by the numbers”. Floor supervisors diminish their credibility by disrespecting their bosses behind their backs by addressing them with names associated with their hair color such as “Little Red Riding Hood, and Blondie” and physical attributes like being bucktooth blatantly in front of the troops. Floor Managers have made comments to groups of employees stating “you wouldn’t have liked to work for me 26 years ago” I’m thinking hmmm, you know something you’re right!

Opportunities to discuss business issues are rare to nonexistent until it is time to fill out a survey that is perceived by the employees to benefit the managers who have learned to master the yes and no questions so they won’t have to be bothered with details. A favorite boasting tactic for management in my facility is to tongue lash employees with threatening comments to the effect of if you don’t like it here, you can go work at the fast food restaurant down the street. Why should anyone run from poor leadership? Most of the masses have worked hard to earn their position in the organization through interviews, testing, background checks, medical screenings, sweat in the trenches, and from a few extra points for holding Old Glory as a military veteran. If you can make it through all that and do your job well then you’ve earned the right to work for the Postal Service.

Being treated with dignity and respect doesn’t stop when we swipe our badges at the gate. We focus on individuals more than teams inside the P&DC making the facility a personality distribution center rather than a facility that concentrates on teams and processes. It takes a village to raise this postal child with the first initials U.S., last name Mail. On any given day I often see 2-3 supervisors and or managers standing around shooting-the-lip about their retirement, the latest sporting event, or complaining about whatever and at the same time ignoring the benefits of the diversity surrounding them to improve operations.

Let’s say these folks each make a $50,000 salary, that’s $150,000 standing around getting paid to do nothing. If there is a need for a supervisor let’s teach them coaching skills and get rid of the babysitter mentality. If we really want to save some money the company could keep $50,000 of the $150,000 to put back in petty cash and let a self-directed team of 15 employees divide the $100,000 for consistently exceeding goals better than an untrained individual without coaching skills and who isn’t a resident expert, and I bet pretty soon you won’t be able to recognize the place because you just motivated a team rather than an individual with a cash incentive.

The team can call a manager for assistance if intervention is needed to complete the task at hand. These adults who make important decisions outside the facility like buying houses, cars, insurance, and raising children would continue to make important decisions at work by building bridges across operations so we are communicating and tapping into the abilities of all members to safely and effectively get the mail processed in the least amount of time. Changing times requires changing minds. The park your car, park your brain mentality does not work in the 21st century especially when our customers can vote for our service with their voices and their feet. We need all hands on deck to be empowered so we can collectively check the “altitude” of this sonic Eagle and soar above danger so we can get to where we are going quickly.

At some point in our history we are going to have to put people in front of mail. I believe we do mail well, but I think we do our own people poorly! My point is these behaviors are intimidating and conducive to a hostile environment that potentially exposes each and every employee to direct or collateral damage in the form of deaths, injuries, and declining service that will impact our bottom line. I strongly believe that if we take care of the people our service to every address in America will be off the planet and unmatched by any competitor.

Until managers come out from behind the numbers and share business knowledge about postal operations, facility operations, postal reform, transformation plans, rate hikes and whatever else is on the horizon I guess I’ll have to keep reading the newspaper, listening to podcasts, surfing the web, and watching the media to get what I can’t get from my home away from home inside the Postal Service. And when my neighbors ask me the postal worker questions about business that affects their business I guess I’ll refer them to the Public Information Officer. I ask again, “why are we raising postage rates?”

Ronald Williams, Jr.
Mail Handler, United States Postal Service

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Did USPS HQ Recently Advise Local PM's to Move Mailboxes to Street?
Editorial by: Rick Owens - PEN - March 31, 2007 - Also see reader comments.

It is our belief that recent passage of postal reform has given USPS authority to cease their goal to break even and move full speed ahead toward being a 'for profit' entity. It is also our belief that USPS needs to make money in order to survive and thrive but they do not need to operate as private commercial company than can do whatever they deem necessary in order to make a profit.

Headline news across the nation today and yesterday reveal numerous stories detailing local postmaster's sending official USPS letters to local postal customers advising them that if they would move their mailboxes to the street it would be safer for their letter carrier and their service would improve.

Naturally, moving your mailbox to the street would speed up delivery, but most likely not for the customer - only for street delivery times for that particular carrier route. And, we all know what happens next - your number of deliveries is ultimately increased.

Please read the following stories found across the nation today - March 31, 2007. It is our belief that all the local PM's did not decide at the same time to seek this move - they were asked to do this by USPS HQ. Please post comments at our newsfront > PEN HOME

Move Your Mailbox to The Street: Mailbox Move Not Mandatory | Mailbox move not mandatory | Postmaster: Door slot request was not an order | LaPorte: Deliver mail to doorstep | Mail is signed, sealed, but it won't be delivered

Please see reader comments below.

Note: Some articles may have expired as we go to print.

Reader Comments
The regulation for converting modes of delivery is Postal Operations Manual 631.6. NALC branches should monitor conversions and ensure proper procedures are followed. It may be paranoid, but the goal of the USPS could be to make contract delivery easier in the future. Door-to-door delivery is what has made city delivery unique since 1863.

Don Cheney
Auburn, WA

Conversion of Mode of Delivery (POM 631.6)
In this section, conversion refers to changing existing mail delivery to a more economical and efficient mode. The key to converting existing deliveries is identifying those deliveries that are most costly to the Postal Service. Delivery managers can go into any delivery territory where delivery has been established for over 1 year and solicit to convert the mode of delivery if it would be cost beneficial to the Postal Service.

Postmasters should not establish a mixed delivery area where the carrier must zigzag from the door to the curb when previously the carrier took obvious shortcuts to effect delivery. Postmasters must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of converting less than 100 percent of the deliveries.

Customer signatures must be obtained prior to any conversion. In single-family housing areas (including manufactured housing and mobile homes) where the residences and lots are owned, each owner must agree to the conversion in writing. Owners who do not agree must be allowed to retain their current mode of delivery.

When a residence is sold, the mode of delivery cannot be arbitrarily changed prior to the new resident moving in. The existing mode of delivery must be retained. If an owners’ association represents the community, it can direct the mode of delivery for the community. In rental areas, such as apartment complexes and mobile home parks, the owner or manager can approve the conversion.

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Please Note:
The following 2 articles were written by the President of a branch of the National Association of Postal Supervisors - NAPS. The articles were brought to our attention by a PEN reader. If you are the person who wrote the following 2 articles and desire them to be removed all you have to do is Contact PEN and we will promptly remove them.

Follow the Money and The Ultimate Day in Being Micro-Managed
February 12, 2007

Follow the Money
This article is being reprinted just as written but was cut from a larger article.
March 2006 - Name Withheld by PEN

Why are the instructions to city carrier management to not count flats coming in with your parcels, SPURS, or from the BMC, but it is clearly noted in the Management Instructions that all cased volume is counted?

Why did Western Area decide sequenced coverage's in DOIS no longer is credited to the street time – and as far as that goes, why, last year, did we only receive credit for only one sequenced mailing on one day even if two or more gets delivered?

How come we can’t update DOIS Base information when carriers bid to new routes or when new deliveries are added? (And speaking of…Notice that DOIS itself was “updated” recently – a known problem with the system itself and now it’s ‘fixed?’ And it’s so much more user friendly to boot! Why are we to believe that this program is any better than the former program?)

This particular theorist offers, we are simply being tricked. When you trick people into doing more than the workload would indicate, you save money. Even with using overtime hours, it saves because the Agency does not have to pay additional benefits or the cost of training new employees.

Could all this be tied to the pay of our Postal Executives? Note PCES and Executives have a pay and evaluation process that differs significantly from EAS employees. Their pay is based on a national cost system and the bell curve for their location in the evaluation system is different from the bell curve for EAS scale employees. As in most “crimes” – if you follow the money you find the answers.

Hmmm…Anyone else want to offer up a theory?

The Ultimate Day in Being Micro-Managed
January 2006 - Name withheld by PEN

I am writing this after one of the worst days experienced in the Postal Service by most of us, the day after Martin Luther King Holiday, the ultimate day in being micro-managed. A day after a holiday that only government workers, banks, etc, take the day off while the rest of the world is working and entering mail into our system. The day we needed the latitude to manage the mail and our people - but this has been taken away from us.

The day, how we are to “manage” was forecasted days ago, because our bosses have this crystal ball to tell us what is best for our units. That we need not start any of our carriers before their official start time, maybe a half hour early, but don’t even think about before 0700, for their power of 20/20 hindsight is all so awesome you better have called that decision correctly. You must meet the threshold of curtailed mail, for they know better than you how to manage your own unit, that you will have everyone off the street by 1700, though you do not have the vehicles for the auxiliary help you know you need to meet this criteria, and if you were able to get your people into vehicles, then you are sending them without scanners to make their MSP scans and accountable scans.

Of course the PTF’s you need to hire will not be there because your FTER says you do not need them. Those two hampers of parcels are not going to impact the street times. The two days of accountable items will only take a moment as each attempt is made. The savior of our budgets, the DPS mail, two days worth, which was run backwards, skips ahead, and pulled down wrong would not add to the street as we are directed to have our carriers not to come back to the unit until they deliver that missequenced mail on their routes.

Don’t forget the EXFC scores – we still have to plan to take that hot case mail back out to be delivered – mail that was originally mishandled in mail processing – but as you are surely aware, DOIS gives you plenty of allowance to absorb these extra trips. Traffic of course does not enter into the total picture, because in our perfect world, there wouldn’t be any traffic, especially since everyone will be back well before 1700. Hey (!) and do this without any use of Penalty Overtime! Oh and the full coverage, the ADVO and/or whatever local coverage you get definitely would not have any impact on your DOIS variance.

You need to take this coverage out today because then you would be forced in taking out two coverage’s the next day or the day after and we all know that it is perfectly safe to require our mounted routes to take two or more coverage’s on the side because of all the room they have in their CRV/LLV’s. For the foot routes or park and loop routes, it doesn’t take any time at all to case one or more of those coverage’s directly into the case, the case that your carriers are already ‘two fisted’ casing because of the mail volume – the volume that our bosses said that we don’t have too much of.

How do I know this? Because “they” told me it was so! If I don’t make these numbers, if I don’t get my people out of the office in time, if I don’t make the cutoff by 1700, than there must be something wrong the way I “manage.” So, that being said, I should not have to be “directed” to begin my day with the very first carrier reporting to duty and to end my day when the last carrier comes off the street, because you already know this will make the difference. Besides, most of us are still in the office anyway trying to play catch up with everything else. “They” will know how well I manage because I’m faxing in the Carrier Analysis report by 1300 everyday along with every other unit in my Area and within the District, because I simply do not have enough to do to fill out my day, like customer service issues, employee issues, growth management, selfaudits, ‘boss” issues etc, etc, (I usually doodle while I’m continuously pushing the ‘redial’ after each busy tone I get – what’s another ten minutes of my day anyway?).

Now tomorrow I get to tell how successful I was on this incredibly remarkable day after the holiday. How many did I start before 0700? Why did this person get out so late? Why did you not make 1700? The DOIS said you were suppose to! Why? Why? Why?!? Why did you not accomplish this? “Well,” I say cautiously, “Because I was trying to follow your instructions?” One manager commented to me, “Do they want us to succeed?” It seems that we have so little control of our units, with all the responsibility. I think it is incredible we can accomplish as much as we do.

And, we do accomplish a lot! But it’s so frustrating those moments of glee come crashing down as soon as you open the next Email to inform you, that yet again you are on another “Vital Few” list – get that Action Plan together!

Until next time…

Editors Note:
I wrote a similar editorial regarding DOIS in January 2005 - What About This DOIS Thing?!  - Rick Owens - PEN

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GPS Baby Monitor Coming Soon to USA Carrier Vehicles
by Rick Owens - PEN Founder
October 9, 2006
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I read with interest the story POSTIES' SUSPICION OVER GPS INTRUSION. I am not going to reference or provide sources for my thoughts here - I'm just stating my thoughts as to where USA letter carriers are headed sometime within the very near future.

Just around the corner in the transformation of this service is a GPS device waiting to be installed inside your postal vehicle. This device will send signals to a tracking program installed on some USPS base and said signals will be redirected, via smart technology software, to your supervisors desktop. The information received from these GPS devices will be instantly shared with your managers DOIS program. DOIS will want to know why you were parked in the 1000 block of Easy Street longer than 13 minutes when DOIS estimates show that delivery within the 1000 block of Easy Street should consume no more than 9 minutes of your street time. You, the carrier, will be asked why you were on Easy Street so long - or your supervisor will call you on the call system installed inside your postal vehicle and want to know what in the hell are you doing...taking another break?

It's coming guys and gals and it is not far away. Can't prove that, but my gut says it's so. Oh, by the way, on the flip side MSP points won't be needed any longer. (please add comments on this editorial under the story mentioned above on our homepage)

Reliving The Birth of DPS
If I am correct we first had DPS, delivery point sequenced, mail added to carriers daily plates. Carriers were told that bringing DPS mail online would allow stations, and post offices, to receive mail earlier, carriers would receive their residual mail earlier at their cases, and, ultimately, allow for earlier delivery or more timely delivery of the mail. Not.

The sole reason was, in fact, less office time equals more street time equals longer routes (=) abolishment of routes (=) less carriers needed (=) cost savings for USPS which should equate to savings on postage rate increases for the public...oops, lost my direction there.

I suppose DPS is saving USPS money in less office time for carriers, less clerks because of automation equipment, and abolishing routes. The way I see it, however, is... critical errors are occurring everyday on every route in every city across the country - machine errors - DPS errors. A new form of mail has been given birth by DPS automation...loop mail. Carriers attempt to 'un-loop' (if that's a word) this mail by killing the bar codes or by placing this mail into the 'Loop Mail' bin - but, more times than not this mail is dumped right back into the mail stream and continues to loop over and over until it is given special treatment by some postal employee somewhere. Most times this is important mail for customers - sometimes even critical to their business, lives, or future.

If carriers were permitted to case DPS mail errors would be caught in the office and this would greatly enhance the chances of getting DPS errors sorted to their proper destination in their DESERVED timely manner. Oh but we can't do this - that would be as good as saying that this automation technology was a failure and the cost wasted. Ask most any carrier and they'll tell you that DPS mail can be cased and corrected much faster in the office than on the street. They'll tell you that they're ashamed of the errors that they now bring back to the office - errors that did not exist before DPS came into town. They'll tell you that operations for them ran much smoother when they were allowed to case all mail.

Well folks, just wait DPS Flats is coming soon to a city near you - maybe even your city. This, I'm certain, will be another round of even less office time (=) more street time (=) equals even longer routes (=) even more route abolishment's (=) even less carriers needed (=) even more cost savings (=) even more savings on postage rate increases for the public...oops, lost my direction again.

Letter Carrier Pay is Fair
by PEN Editor Rick Owens
July 4, 2006

After almost 34 years as a USPS letter carrier I just today found the following at the NALC website.

February 2002

 

Starting Wage Maximum Wage
City Letter Carrier $15.85 $20.98 after 12.4 years
UPS Package Car Driver $16.21 $23.17 after 48 months
FedEx Courier $14.49 $21.58 after 4-5 years
Source: FedEx Corp. and International Brotherhood of Teamsters

I thought many of you would be interested in reading this since 2006 is a contract renewal year. Keep in mind that the above table was generated in 2002 - one year after our current contract was negotiated (2001-2006).

It was interesting for me to note that after only 4 years UPS and FedEx jump way ahead of USPS letter carriers.

I admit that our pay is fairly good, but when you think about the street portion of a letter carriers job you may begin to look at this closer. On most streets that you deliver to daily you may see UPS or FedEx speed onto the street while you're performing a park and loop - he/she will make one or two deliveries and then speed off again - you're still walking that loop wiping sweat from your brow.

Granted - they MAY be speeding and running around to make certain they complete their rounds on time - I really don't know - but, I do know that it is much easier to jump out, deliver one or two stops, and then speed off to repeat this on another street. I also believe that UPS doesn't even load their own vehicles.

It's just my opinion, but I believe our pay should match or exceed the higher of either UPS or FedEx at any given year or month of employment.

The Moving Finger Having Writ - Moves On -

Rick Owens
Postal Employee Network

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Is the Term 'Going Postal' Really a Misnomer?
by Rick Owens - PEN Editor and Owner
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Some say yes. Many say no - it is not a misnomer.

Regarding the tragedy in Goleta the Federal Times writes "Previous shootings at postal facilities in Edmond, Okla., in 1986 and Royal Oak, Mich., in 1991 took 18 lives. The incidents spawned a stereotype of postal workers as violence-prone and psychotic. The Postal Service’s Commission on a Safe and Secure Workplace issued a report in August 2000 that found postal workers are no more violent than workers in other professions."

I agree that given normal circumstances postal employees are not any more violent than other workers in other professions, but I contend that the phrase 'Going Postal' does have a degree of truth to it in many instances. Further, I believe if an unbiased investigation could be taken of postal employees one would clearly see that the vast majority of postal employees do think this term rings true...at times.

I believe that the general public does not bunch all postal employees into one group of misfits and mentally challenged. I also believe that many postal employees, and almost all of the general public, think that when the phrase 'going postal' is used it is meant to point out that postal employees are under a lot of stress to perform as needed or as required and sometimes an individual just can't cope with the demands facing them or the postal regulations that govern their work and life. This is not to say that what happened in Goleta could have been prevented by USPS or anyone else.

A vast number of postal employees feel that they are subjected to more stress while working at USPS than they would be if employed elsewhere. I do not think this is true in all postal positions, but I do believe the carrier craft, and other postal positions, feel that they are under constant stress and duress to meet USPS productivity demands and goals set to meet or exceed previous productivity records.

Generally, postal employees believe the term going postal to mean that this person has reached their individual breaking point and that either postal rules, postal regulations, or postal management contributed to this persons breakdown. The straw that broke the camels back so it seems. It does not mean that postal employees are more violent than employees at any other job - it just means that the stress of their postal position coupled with possible other life problems became to much of a burden for them and literally sent them into a mental breakdown of sorts.

It is highly likely that Jennifer Sanmarco experienced such a breakdown. She clearly had more problems than her previous postal life, but the tragic murder of so many fellow postal employees clearly points to the fact that she felt her postal position was her biggest problem. Was this the fault of USPS? no. Could USPS have done more to help Sanmarco with her problem? maybe, maybe not. I only point this out in an effort to explain why the term going postal even exists at all.

As a postal employee with over 30 years service I do not take the term going postal as a personal insult because I would never let myself reach such a mental state. I have learned what my limitations are and do not worry too much about postal productivity goals that I cannot reach. I have also taught myself to ignore what happens around me that I cannot control. It seems obvious to me that Jennifer Sanmarco could no longer control her mental state. She could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The problems in her personal life coupled with her real or imagined problems with the postal service, or former coworkers, blinded her reality and led her straight to hell.

To me - that's what going postal means.

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Bulk Mail Outnumbers 1st Class - Carriers Outnumber Clerks - Managers Outnumber Coffee Cups
by: Rick Owens - PEN Editor and Owner
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Bulk Mail Outnumbers 1st Class: Yes it is true. Over the past year or more we have seen bulk business mail, many customers refer to it as junk mail, overtake First Class Mail volume that is processed by USPS. As a long time postal employee I knew this was coming long before the facts actually arrived at HQ. I've stated this time and time again here at PEN.

I became a postal employee way back in the early 1970's. At that time of course 1st Class mail was our prime product and outnumbered BBM by a long shot. However, soon those at HQ decided we needed to increase BBM volume because it would increase our revenue. So, the push to provide more 'sale-ability' to BBM started. Bulk mail became Bulk Business Mail and color-coding was born to help insure mailers that their product would be delivered within a certain 'window' of operations... three days I believe it was.

All mail loaded onto our processing plant docks was weighed on scales and, if I recall correctly, given an estimated piece count according to the weight of one or more pieces. For example - a pallet of bulk rate local newspapers would be rolled to the scales and weighed. Then the volume of pieces would be estimated via the total weight of the pallet, less the weight of the pallet itself, and divided by the weight of one or more pieces - this would provide an 'estimate' of the number of newspapers on the pallet for processing. The vast majority of all mail processed was weighed and reduced to an estimated piece count for processing. We did this for years. My opinion? This resulted in inaccurate volume history. Weighing mail soon gave way to measuring mail by feet or inches to estimate volumes. Again, according to my reasoning, producing false estimations of volume processed and then recording these numbers into USPS records to use for SPLY (same period last year) computations in the years to come.

USPS sold BBM to large mailers and sold it well. In fact, the processing and window of delivery was sold so well that these mailers must have said "why pay 1st Class postage when we can get 1st class service paying only bulk rates." Why indeed - that would be a costly mistake to pay for 1st class processing and delivery when USPS guarantees you that your product will be processed within 24 hours and delivered within 72 hours.

Guess what? a few years later along came customer coding in addition to color coding. What is customer coding? well, that's a term I made up because I can't recall what USPS calls it, but it is the customer/mailer notes that you see on bundles of bulk rate mail demanding, requesting, or advising delivery by such and such date. Now folks, the way I see this is that a demand of delivery date attached to any bulk rate mail should raise that mail to second or first class status and rates. However, USPS did not and does not see it that way.

I agree that we need to guarantee the mailer that we will process their mail by a certain date, but the delivery date will be according to the rate paid. In other words - at NO TIME will bulk business mail be raised to 1st Class delivery status. If the customer desires his mail to be delivered on February 1st and 2nd then he will pay either 1st or 2nd Class postage. If not, then their bulk mail will be delivered within three days after it reaches the station, branch, or post office of destination.

Carriers Outnumber Clerks: Think about it - babies are born every minute of every day - people are living much longer than when the post office was born - more people than ever are able to buy or build a home - business openings increase almost every year as the population increases. All of this leads to more delivery points for the postal service. In other words - delivery points are increasing and, so they say, mail volume is decreasing. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the number of employees needed to process mail has deceased - and, as more and more automation comes online these numbers will continue to decrease. I have stated this time and time again (read the editorials below).

It is evident to me that the lost of clerk craft positions is not solely due to lost volumes, but mostly due to automation of the mail. In fact, it is my belief that postal service volume records over previous decades are inaccurate to the point of providing false volume comparisons to this very day. I do not believe this was intentional. I believe it was just that we had no other way to quickly count mail other than estimating volume of pieces. Today most mail processed is counted by machine and piece counts ARE. the most part, accurate. These accurate counts when compared to historical estimations leave one with the assumption that drastic amounts of volume have been lost. Is this true or is it just that we now count each and every piece via automated equipment and arrive at an accurate count instead of an inaccurate estimate. Think about it and you decide.

Managers Outnumber Coffee Cups: During my first years in the post office I noticed that many, if not all, of the supervisors could be seen roaming the mail room floors with their ever present cup of coffee lodged between their fingers. Scouring the area for those of us who needed a reminder as to just exactly where our work area was and what it was we were supposed to be doing. Very similar to what I assume postal HQ's must look like on many days.

Now that DOIS and other management duties have been reduced to computer generated programs that need constant updates throughout the work day postal supervisors seem to forget about their coffee cups gathering dust in the break area or in their drawers. All day long it seems that they sit at their desk with their eyes glued to a computer screen that is reaching out to cyberspace, gathering some historical productivity data, and returning it to them in the form of 'here's what you need to do today.'

Whether they want to admit it or not postal managers ARE, more or less, an employee under direction from their computers. They cannot make a firm decision without conferring with their non-coffee drinking computer manager first. What seems ironic though is the fact that their computer manager is the employee of another computer manager somewhere down line and in another city entirely. It seems that each computer manager has a computer manager of their own located somewhere out in cyberspace. Seems confusing doesn't it? Well, it is.

The computer managers stated above are slowly starting a new revolution - the decrease in frontline management. In the not too distant future these computers will take the place of your current supervisor and he or she will be gone - but, guess what? Their coffee cups will remain while their owners will get relocated to another computer manager in some other far away city. Then, because computers don't drink coffee, computer managers will outnumber coffee cups.

That rationalization seems kind of stupid doesn't it? But does this make sense... if computers tell your manager what he or she should do then in the very near future why will we need the frontline supervisor at all?

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"I Can't Afford to Contribute the "MAX" to Thrift Savings
Posted September 6, 2005
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Believe it or not, there are Postal Employees who honestly believe they "Can't Afford to contribute the Max" to their Thrift Savings Plan.

If you don't believe me, then simply ask a few FERS covered Employees and ask them if they contribute the "Max" to their Thrift Savings. You will be surprised by their answers!

I don't know what these people are thinking or even how much they understand about the Retirement System they are covered by but I know a way for them to contribute the Max to their Thrift Savings and NEVER MISS THE MONEY.

Contract Raises, Cola's, and Step Increases are a source of additional income that an employee has never had in their hands so they have never been dependent upon them.

By simply taking any of the above mentioned additional increases and immediately applying them toward their "Thrift Cap," then they would eventually contribute enough to "Max"out their "Allowable Contributions."

These people would never miss the money because they never depended on it and their argument that "they Can't Afford to contribute the Max" toward their Thrift Savings wouldn't stand up.

So the next time you run across anyone who "WON"T" rather than "CAN'T," Max out their Thrift Contributions, tell them how they CAN actually afford to do it.

DIRTYDAVE

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What About This DOIS Thing?!
January 2005 - Rick Owens: Postal Employee Network
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You know, I don't know if we carriers have been blessed or cursed here in Montgomery, Alabama - my hometown. I guess only time will tell. Here's why I say that...

Last year the NALC and USPS reached an agreement, via a Memorandum of Understanding, that blocked continued use of traditional inspection and evaluation methods for route adjustments. ( Read Here ) Then on December 7, 2004 USPS backed out of this agreement
( Read Here ).

Well, it seems our local NALC president signed off on a local MOU in October 2004, as per the aforementioned national MOU, that allows local management to adjust routes via DOIS, MSP scans, and other questionable digital data - yes, I did say DOIS. When I heard this I just got sick all over. What I know of DOIS, at least locally, is this...

The data contained within the DOIS program used by your carrier supervisor is not a flawless software data system - it may be possible that the information produced via DOIS could be without error - but that would only be true if the data entered into the DOIS system was flawless and kept current. Even without data errors I contend that DOIS data can be flawed because of mitigating human and real life factors such as traffic conditions, bad weather, customer questions or service, carrier sickness, etc etc - but, that's another story entirely.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but...

The 'projected street time' that DOIS produces every morning for your supervisor is a fixed time that has been determined via previous 1838s and 3999s completed on THAT particular carrier. It takes a minimum of two 1838s and one 3999 to ascertain what a carriers true projected street time is on his route and what his/her percent to standard (for casing ability and projected office time).

Without this DOIS data being current, via current 1838s and 3999s completed on you, the projected street time for your route is incorrect, your percent to standard is woefully wrong, and your projected office time is totally flawed. Why? Because this information belongs to the last carrier on your route that underwent inspection and count via at least two 1838s and one 3999.

For example - the route that I now hold, route 0443, was the only route in my station to check over 8 hours during our last route inspection and count way back in 2003. I was not on this route during this inspection - I was the regular carrier on route 0439. Pay attention here... because of this, the projected street time, my percent to standard, and my office time are all incorrect in DOIS daily computations because all of this data is based upon 1838s and 3999s completed on a different carrier back in 2003. Since I have been on this route there have been no 1838s or 3999s completed on me for route 0443.

Now our station manager is attempting to abolish an auxiliary route and divide the territory among four carriers - myself included. DOIS data is telling him that I have 30 to 45 minutes undertime every day. This just isn't true. The DOIS figures that he is looking at are totally flawed because of the factors I pointed out above. In order to ascertain what my true projected street time is, my percent to standard, and my office time he must complete at least two CURRENT 1838s on me and one 3999. Without doing this he is attempting to add onto my route using someone else's street and casing ability.

You may be suffering under these same conditions. Have you had the minimum of two 1838s and one 3999 completed on you since you won your route via bid or assignment? If you have not, then I would bet you that the DOIS info for your route pertains to the previous carrier and not you.

With all that said, let me say this...

I am not and have not been a supervisor, not since 1986 anyway, and I am not privy to all that DOIS does or contains - but, I have been told by two supervisors, not in my station, that my assumptions are correct. If I am wrong then I apologize, but I believe I am totally correct.

If you know different then please write me here:

Contact PEN

Rick Owens - Editor/Owner
Postal Employee Network

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Hazardous Duty Premium Pay for Letter Carriers
November 2004 - Rick Owens: Postal Employee Network
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I have been employed by USPS for 32 years now - almost 28 of these as a city letter carrier. I can say , without a doubt and reservation, that at times the job of carrying this nations mail can be very dangerous and stressful. For this reason I have, for years, said that carriers deserve a hazardous duty premium for all hours spent on the street delivering the mail.

During 27 of my 28 years as a city carrier I have been the regular carrier in two of my cities largest and most dangerous public housing projects. I have been threatened numerous times. I have had to hide behind buildings when gunfire started while I was in the middle of long park and loops and at least two blocks from my vehicle. I have been cursed and told not to show my face again in this neighborhood. Over and over I have been forced into stressful situations that could have not only ended my postal career, but also my life.

If I am correct, and I think I am, Postal Inspectors are offered retirement at a much earlier date, and age, than other postal employees without reduction in the amount of their pension. I think this is fair since they are placed in dangerous situations that other postal employees are not. But, I believe this to also be true about carriers. I think fair is fair and it would be fair to provide carriers with a premium for street duties in high crime areas/cities.

While delivering these housing projects I seldom see our local police...maybe once per week or when they answer a call for help. However, I am there each and everyday. Yes, I am a carrier by choice. Yes, I keep my route by choice. No, I do not think it is fair that we do not get some sort of return for the danger that we are subjected to. Maybe a premium per hour increase while on street time. Or, maybe an earlier retirement date (age and years) without reduction in pension amount.

For what it is worth - this is my opinion.

Rick Owens - Editor/Owner
Postal Employee Network

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PEN HOME


 

Employee Access to USPS Intranet Blue
April 2004 - Rick Owens - Postal Employee Network
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I have said this many times before and still can't understand - why did USPS build, or have built, a postal intranet that did not include access to ALL postal employees?

I receive an email newsletter from USPS entitled USPS News Link. Many of you receive this same newsletter. Have you ever noticed how many times the newsletter references Blue? Have you ever noticed how many times Link says go to Blue and do this or do that to make life easier for you? We would like to - wouldn't we?

I was informed this month that USPS is finally getting around to having the USPS IT team build in limited access to Blue for all postal employees. IT, they say, are still working on the security issues related to allowing us to access Blue from home (at least I would hope that access would be from home - they didn't actually say we would have access from home).

USPS designed online services and sales for postal customers long ago. If customer access is secure enough then why could USPS have not built Blue secure enough to at least allow employees limited access many months ago.

We trade securities online. We bank online. We purchase goods and services via credit card online. Why would it take so long to allow normal employees equal access to Blue? It was said before that the reason all employees did not have access is because USPS needs to protect their infrastructure. God - I hope our infrastructure isn't online somewhere... even on their Blue - if it is we're standing on ground that is shakier than I thought.

I will close this by saying that I commend USPS for their recent effort to allow at least limited Blue access to all employees, but I give them a failing grade for designing a company intranet that did not allow access by all employees...even if it were limited access.

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Where Have We Been - Where Are We Going?
December 14, 2003
Rick Owens - Postal Employee Network
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We're coming to the close of another year in our lives and one more postal year closer to our retirement. Since I first started with USPS way back in 1973 I have seen so many changes that I would need to write a book to list all of them. Some good changes and some bad (as far as I am concerned).

Overall I have enjoyed my postal career and the people I have worked with. In some ways it is humorous to us old-timers to watch the actions and spirit of postal newbie's. The 'big picture' of exactly how large the postal service is has not yet sunk into their train of thought - even though the tasks in front of them sometimes seems to be much more than they had realized.

I have been a clerk. I have been an LSM operator. I have served 204b. I have served OIC. And, I have completed some details thrown my way. But for the last 28 years I have served as a city letter carrier.

Cushman Carrier Scooter
   
USPS Mailster

When I first became a carrier there was one Mailster left at our station (click photo above). If memory serves me correctly the scooter was privately owned by one of the carriers there, but he had special permission to continue using the scooter. The remainder of the carriers used the old postal jeep that would be way too small to carry the amount of mail we deliver today. Automation (DPS), route abolishment's, and route adjustments have made the majority of carrier routes almost too mail heavy even for the LLV's that we use today.

I have said this before and sadly I still believe this today - it seems to me that the postal services future will have almost as many letter carriers as we have today but other postal positions, mostly the clerk craft, will be drastically reduced due to outsourcing, plant closures, work sharing, and more detailed automation of mail processing. Even window services will be handled mostly by private companies.

I must tell you that it makes me sick to my stomach to see what 'may' happen in the very near future of postal employees. I say this because I have an extremely deep abiding respect for the institution of the Post Office Department of days gone by. It is my personal belief that postal services to this nations public and business community is something that should be protected by the US Government and provided to our people at any cost just as the government provides military protection for this nation.

It is sickening to me to reduce the postal services of this nation to a bickering over costs related to continuing free and responsible mail acceptance and delivery to our citizens...but, that is exactly where we have landed. Certainly we have a responsibility to provide services at the least cost to our citizens, but this, to me, does not mean closing rural post offices, shortening window hours, outsourcing any part of human resources, playing with mail processing via work sharing, or looking for ways to outsource postal services to private sector companies.

These are my opinions and you may not share these same beliefs - I respect this, but remember one thing...the Post Office Department was born to bind this nation together via personal, governmental, and business correspondence... correspondence processed by postal employees and delivered by postal employees - not placed in the hands of private sector companies to process at the cheapest rate possible.

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What Would USPS Do?
November 24, 2003
by Rick Owens - Postal Employee Network
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DM News reports that telemarketing companies are announcing lay-offs and closings due directly to the 'no-call' registry formed by the Federal Trade Commission. I would like to take this scenario even further by speculating as to what effect a 'Do Not Mail' registry would have on USPS and USPS employees. What would we do? What would USPS do?

A 'Do Not Mail' registry (see Group Pushes for 'Do-Not-Junk-Mail' Registry ) would, in effect, allow USPS customers nationwide to opt-out of receiving standard mail - better known as junk mail to the public at large. It would only be my guess, and yours, as to how such a registry may be managed or trickled down to the large standard mail companies such as ADVO. But it is my assumption that such a registry would be managed the same way USPS manages their Address Information Systems - OR - the same way USPS reports to mailers which address is vacant and which is not - which is a business and which is not.

Simple, really. Customers taking advantage of a Do Not Mail registry would submit a USPS provided form, USPS would then enter this customer information into their databases, and large mailers would be required to obtain, or purchase from USPS, current Do Not Mail registers. Companies that did not update their address information systems would likely be subject to fine and penalty from USPS and, most likely, the Federal Trade Commission.

After the dust fell, all address systems were updated, and all large mailers were cooperating with the Do Not Mail Registry requirements USPS, and the mailing industry, would then begin adjusting their work forces in like fashion to the telemarketer industry. In other words - jobs would be abolished.

From where I sit a Do Not Mail registry would be a death blow to USPS employees, and possibly USPS, because of the sheer standard mail volume that we process each and every day.

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Now What?
October 29, 2003
by Rick Owens - Postal Employee Network
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Today's headlines at DMNews.com says USPS, UPS Plan Rural Offering. I have not been able to find any press release or information from USPS on this subject - I'm sure it is forthcoming after a good 'cover' story has been penned by USPS management.

Does it seem as though we're partnering with competition here folks, or is it just me? Why should we accept rural packages from UPS when the service was sold by and originated at UPS? Maybe I am missing part of this story somewhere.

The way I understand it is that UPS will accept the package addressed to a rural location, process it through their ground system to the point where it loses profitability for them, and then turn it over to us for the final leg of its journey. Sure we make a small fee on the service, but we have basically lost the customers business because the customer started their packages journey at UPS not USPS!

We complete the touchdown, but the other team gets the points - NOW WHAT!?

©2003 Rick Owens - Editor/CEO
Postal Employee Network
May not be distributed in any
manner or form without consent
of the author.

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They DON'T Own the United States Postal Service
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October 24, 2003
by Rick Owens - Postal Employee Network

President Bush and his Cabinet does not own the US Military and would not have the right to down-size our Armed Forces and turn protection of the USA over to a government contractor (private firm). Likewise, our Postmaster General, current USPS executives, the Presidents Postal Commission, and any and all commissions, committees, or boards of governors are not free to set the future existence of our US Postal Service - neither in part nor whole.

The above statement is my own personal opinion and may or may not be applicable law. The way I see it our current President, and his staff/cabinet, and our current PMG, and his current staff/executives, are elected or appointed to keep their ships afloat in the best manner that they can and at the least cost to the American public possible - they are not in their position to undermine the service that has been historically provided to the American public by the US Government or the United States Postal Service.

No matter how old you are while reading this you were born with a right to mail service provided by our government at the least cost to the citizens. This does not mean that Bubba's Mail Service has a right to handle, sort, process, or deliver any correspondence that you have entrusted to the US Postal Service. Similarly, Bubba's Security Force is not to be entrusted with protecting our American borders from invasion by a hostile foe.

If you have not noticed, our government is being sold off to the highest bidder (government contractors) piece by piece. Well, this sell-off seems to be 'in the works' for the United States Postal Service. It started a few years back by allowing outside firms to process mail - I believe they refer to it as work-sharing. Private companies accept tons of mail from state, city, county, and government agencies, as well as mail from large firms, and pre-sort this mail before it reaches the USPS processing center. What this does, USPS says, is speed up our operations and thus allows the service to operate at a lesser cost to the public.

Say what? Actually what it does is provide profitable businesses for already wealthy companies and abolishes jobs for current and future postal workers. The cost, which is basically passed on to the public in one way or the other, is just diverted from USPS paying employees to process this mail to private companies paying their employees at a lower hourly rate. In the long haul the cost of processing and delivering this mail more or less remains the same to the American public.

On the horizon we have the recommendations provided by the President's Postal Commission - which is heavy with suggestions and proposals from large mailers (who, in most cases, utilize work-sharing) and USPS executives who think they own the United States Postal Service. I've got news - the American Public owns the US Postal Service - always has. But, why are we, as citizens, allowing these elected and appointed officials to set up the postal system to fail? By this I mean - moving, or out-sourcing, any operation or service historically provided by the United States Postal Service to a large private firm or company is, in my opinion, a failure of duty to our nation and its' citizens.

To borrow a recent caption from Federal News Radio - "Are You Being Set Up to Fail?" Are we? Does someone somewhere know something that we do not? Is there a secretive 'plan' being discussed behind closed doors to abolish most of the services provided by this nations Postal Service?

My opinion isn't worth two cents to those who are steering this postal ship, but my opinion is not directed toward those people... my opinion is directed toward current and future employees of the United States Postal Service, to the little old lady who each day looks for a card from her grand child, to the soldier serving in some far away land that smiles when he gets a letter from his wife or family, and to your children and mine who so desperately need a postal service provided by, protected by, and enforced by the United States Governments United States Postal Service - formerly known as the US Post Office Department.

©2003 Rick Owens - Editor/CEO
Postal Employee Network
May not be distributed in any
manner or form without consent
of the author.

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Pay for Performance
Top

August 27, 2003
Except for the heart attacks I believe your current physical standing sounds very similar to mine and this for this reason I can also say I agree with you about being compared to other carriers half my age is not reasonable, but if they choose this program in the future I hope I will have the opportunity to go back and be reimbursed for my "high performance" years. It seems to me it would be hard to set up a program that could be fair and equitable knowing the vast differences in the routes and modes of delivery. I guess it will be a wait and see, but I'm not at all excited about the prospect of being compared to a six foot male half my age.
GLAS

August 17, 2003
Pay for performance would be okay IF a reasonable set of standards could be formulated. This can't happen for two reasons: 1) Management cannot be expected to be reasonable (especially if a management bonus is involved) and, 2) Management WILL find a way to abuse it and misuse it. Even now, route inspection numbers are routinely falsified and adjustments made according to arbitrary and subjective standards set by overzealous managers. Routes are often adjusted to what management wants to accomplish for themselves instead of the requirements of the office. The result is outrageous overtime figures, forced overtime for carriers (in violation of the National Agreement), diminished customer service and strained labor-management relations.

John Nudge
State College, PA


August 17, 2003
Rick, That is a good article and I wholeheartedly agree with you. I was athletic and as fast as they came when I was 20. At 48 I have two neck fusions, a bad back from a car accident, plantar fasciitis in my right foot, and there is no way I can move or deliver like I used to. I cannot even carry a satchel now, which doesn't affect me since I am an all business route, thank goodness, but your article hit home. We should litigate it if it ever came our way. I could never keep up with the "youngsters" now. Take Care!
Denny Belden

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from Danielle
8/14/03
I believe in pay for performance but I don't believe it should be based on physical assertiveness because of the age and limitations of many postal workers. I do suggest that pay for performance be based on ideas brought about by employees to improve the business. Ideas of the mind have no age discrimination.

from Anonymous
8-12-03
I think that you are fooling yourself to think that pay for performance means that you must do something that your body is not capable of.  It means that you will do everything possible to insure that the Postal Service is positioned to be a world class organization that the world envies. In my mind it is a sleepy, lazy dwarf.   This is to say that there a lot of employees that choose not to do what they are capable of and the organization suffers as well as our customers. I am disappointed that you would oppose pay for performance. I think that we are missing the point when the employees and their union representatives let an opportunity slip through their fingers and allow management and other staff employees get their pay for performance.  This is an embarrassment when you consider they receive pay for taking actions and not even touching the mail. This is on the back of us all.

from Larry Shepherd
8-12-03
Commenting about the pay for performance proposal:
It is the worst system in the world. This is the main cause behind violence in the workplace. It makes the managers crack the whip in to Hitler type antics to assure their bonus. It turns the carriers against each other competing for a money bonus, and always jealousy as to why someone else got a bonus and not them. As always it is a buddy system awarding bonus's to the favorite runners. The worse possible system that could be implanted.
N.A.L.C. branch #14 member Larry Shepherd

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July 29, 2003

Sounds suspiciously like what Rural Carriers were doing for years. Main problem is that just like the last rural contract, management can change the standards and require more and more for less pay. We had a pay-for-performance system that most rural carriers now want to exchange for an hourly based system.
- Craig

Craig is referring to the recommendation below that comes from one of the Postal Commissions Subcommittees

Pay-for-Performance. The Subcommittee believes strongly that performance based compensation programs are effective tools that, when designed correctly, can be used to align the goals of management and labor and result in improved efficiency and service quality. The Subcommittee, therefore, recommends that the Postal Service undertake a careful study of performance-based compensation programs for both management and represented employees, and that it work with the unions and management associations to design and implement a performance based compensation program that is meaningful to Postal Service employees and assists the Postal Service in meeting its productivity and service quality goals.

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Guest Comments Regarding Combining the Unions
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August 24, 2003
Steve, Charlotte, NC
As a former RCA and current City Carrier, I agree that the best interests of ALL USPS employees would be better served by one strong union.

That being said, I must also mention that the work performed by city carriers IS MORE DIFFICULT and DESERVES the higher pay that City Carriers now receive.

Somehow we must find a way to have a united voice, but still have effective representation for our individual crafts.

MJ Michaud
8-16-03
I have been a regular rural carrier for 13 years and a sub for 4 years before becoming regular. I feel the evaluated system is absolute foolishness. There is petty dickering over seconds and minutes. There is no such thing as an "average month" and trying to compare all rural routes, nationwide. I have never received a fair count as I have a seasonal business that inflates my package count during the Christmas season when package volume is heavy, but it never hits at count time. I should receive partial credit for this heavy volume but never do. I find counting mail unrealistic and unfair to special circumstances on my route. Mail count is not a true measure of the carrier's work.

from Anonymous
8-12-03
I agree that all employees should be represented by one union. The current fragmented arrangement creates a lot of competition between the union negotiators who use the differences to the disadvantage of the whole organization.
Simply said: There is more strength in a united voice. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

also from Anonymous
I agree that the two should be combined. It is like we have two different companies. One cases DPS, one does not and in fact will discipline a carrier who does. We have passed the time for doing this and this issue should be addressed immediately. The only problem with it is that the NALC will never do it due to the flack that they would catch over lost overtime. Lets be real here. There is no incentive for a city carrier to get done early since they are paid by the hour and will be rewarded for their efforts with more work, a nice auxiliary trip from a poor performing carrier.

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Abusive Employee
August 5, 2003
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Hi,

I'm having a problem with a carrier at my local office and I don't know where to turn to for help.

I'm a part time carrier and the person with whom I am having the problems is the full time carrier I work under and I also live on the same route of which we both work. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg because I cannot get anything done about the problems on a local level, as the postmaster basically ignores the issues brought up by myself, other employees and/or customers, because of who this specific Full time carriers' son is. I say this because her son is in a 'high' office in this tri-state region and is 'over' our post office as I'm told.... Am I wrong or is this a conflict of interest and should never of been allowed (having a mother/son in a position where one is over the other)?

I personally feel this is a conflict of interest and shows favoritism toward this woman and feel that because of this I (and others) have no where to turn to be treated fairly by this employee, if I do not agree with what she says or does or if I take up for myself, I have been told that she will cause me to lose my job.. Everyone walks on pens and nettles at our office when anything concerns this woman and afraid to speak up or to offend this woman in fear of it causing problems with their employment.

Everyone at our office is aware of the things this carrier (elderly woman) does, including the postmaster, but again are afraid to speak up and have something done about it..... I don't know what else to do to protect myself from retaliation and discrimination because I do plan on speaking up for myself and my rights in the future regardless of what happens to my job...

A couple problems are: This woman has lied on me, both on the route and in the post office, she blames her mistakes on me both on the route and in the post office (forwarding mail, etc.. etc..), has showed my parents personal mail from their lawyer around the post office to several employees, after they filed a complaint about a couple of their letters missing (this employee is friends with or are in the same democratic club, etc.. with the woman my parents are involved in a land lawsuit with). She made some rude comments while showing their private letters around the mail room. Am I wrong in thinking that not only is this unethical, but against postal service rules (sharing private mail with others)?

She has made rude remarks about where I live and what I live in, etc..

She has made and sold dinners for the Democratic Woman's Club locally while working on the job, both in the post office and on the route and has delivered the dinners to those who wanted them on her route while she was delivering the mail. I know this happened for almost the entire 2 years I have worked there and heard it happened before I started there. Not to mention selling dinners & delivering them on her mail route and raffle tickets for her church and her granddaughter, etc.. Not one word was said about this, even though it offended many people... The postmaster even purchased some of the dinners!

Am I wrong in thinking that this is 100% against the postal service rules and regulations?

If someone files a complaint against her, about mistakes she makes on the route or if they were treated rudely by her, I have Personally Seen her delay mail on a couple occasions and force some customers to come into the post office to pick up their packages even though the packages would either fit in their boxes or in a safe place at their residence, (however this would be my word against hers, unless the customers would speak up) I also have notes that she left me telling me not to listen or believe to what specific customers have to say about her, their problems and her calling them "Assholes" and troublemakers and so forth right in the notes......

Customers suffer the brunt of this woman's retaliation, as if they complain either to her or the post master, they are then subject to her whims and abuse.. As I have been told by customers themselves and other employees at my office, that the customers used to call and complain so much on this woman and nothing was getting done, that they finally gave up calling locally and had no one else to turn to....

I can't get any help at my local office or even the regional office which is over my office (that is where her son works), so are there any phone #'s or people I can contact for help??? I'm desperate and don't know where else to turn for advice or help...

Thanks,
Help Me in East Kentucky

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Former Postmaster Speaks on Delivery After Dark
July 20, 2003

I am a former Postmaster in Needles California. The temperature in Needles reaches 120 plus in the summer. During my tenure I instituted a plan by which our letter carriers would be back in the office before the extreme heat took effect. I believe this plan should be in place in every city in the United States where carriers are forced to wait until late in the day to get their last mail run. The Needles residents voiced their opinion and overwhelmingly approved this plan. Our mail comes from San Bernardino, which is some 240 miles distant. We received two HCR trucks with first class mail each day. One at 5AM and the last run arrived at 9AM. What we did in Needles was to cut the 9AM mail. The carriers would come back into the office at around noon, and case that mail for delivery the next day. I believe carriers lives and health are more important than ODIS scores. Evidently so do our customers when asked.

Thanks for allowing my two cents.
Larry Chaney

Guest Comments

I carried mail in Las Vegas for 15 years and always brought this matter up during the summer months. I wished that we had a Postmaster like Mr. Chaney. The power company, construction companies, and many other companies allowed their employees to come in early during those hot summer months, so that they would not be in the heat during the afternoon, when it was the hottest part of the day.

I applaud you Mr. Chaney for your compassion for the employees and you seemed to treat them as human beings first and employees second.

Dave B

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