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The following was submitted to PEN from NALC Branch 214
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San Francisco – A USPS letter carrier was awarded injunctive relief, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees as a result of a lawsuit finding discrimination against a disability. In the wake of the decision, San Francisco NALC Union #214 has requested termination of the 5 management officials involved in the case, including SF Postmaster Noemi Luna.
The judge cited harassment, a hostile work environment, failure to accommodate, and retaliation by various USPS management personnel.
Billie Eyeball, a letter carrier for seven years, was robbed at gunpoint while delivering mail. She was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Cleared to return to carrier duties with medical restrictions, she encountered resistance from management. As a result, an EEO was filed and the USPS settled the case.
Ms. Eyeball returned to full time letter carrier duties in 2004, but management outside of her station targeted her. The judge in the recent case cited retaliation for the former EEO activity. The decision by the Federal Administrative judge holds sharp words for management citing “devious actions,” “sabotage” and “multiple examples of abusive and intimidating conduct.” She writes “I am utterly mystified why several officials mounted an intense, often malicious, campaign against her.
Ms. Eyeball comments: “I have no idea why I was targeted except that I happened to get injured on the job and I’ve been treated like a criminal. They tried to frame me. They made up blatant lies about how I handled my mail, and they sent false documentation about me to another government agency, which is illegal fraud. Five years of harassment in theses two cases has cost the Post Office close to 1/2 million dollars and it is obscene.”
The judge noted that management “provided information they knew to be false to the Department of Labor concerning the complainant’s condition …”. According to the USPS Employer Labor Relations Manual “any employee, supervisor or representative who knowingly makes a false statement with respect to a claim under FECA may be subject to a fine of $10,000 or (5) years in prison or both …”.
Shop Steward Audrey Davis, a veteran carrier in San Francisco worked for the USPS in Royal Oaks, Michigan in 1991 at the time of a notorious “going postal” incident that resulted in the murder of four USPS employees. For the past few years, Ms. Davis has been increasingly concerned about safety issues involved in management / employee disputes in San Francisco. “Billie’s case is part of a much larger problem that affects everybody. Postmaster Luna’s tenure is full of harassment complaints and no action. In October of 2006 employees at my facility, PCA [Pacific Carrier Annex located in San Francisco], requested a Congressional investigation because of management abuse, and this petition was joined by other stations and included almost 200 Union and non-Union employees. In November of 2006, a carrier suspension at 180 Napoleon resulted in a murder / suicide. In 2007, management was called into a joint meeting with people from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s office and Congressman Tom Lantos office. But nothing really changed. The Union has picketed two stations over management abuse and safety issues in the last year, but Postmaster Luna and District Manager Groux have done nothing to stop the abuse to employees.”
Shop Steward Vicki Sawicki from EPC station agrees: “Unfortunately other employees are being treated as horrible as Billie has been. Upper management is not taking these issues seriously and all of our safety is jeopardized.”
Both the Union and Ms. Eyeball have sent letters expressing their concern to upper management officials including District Manager Winifred Grox, and Pacific Area V.P. Mike Daley. Ms. Eyeball quotes a response by Winifred Groux which states she “declines to take action.” “Mr. Daley’s reply was equally irresponsible,” Ms. Eyeball adds. “Unfortunately their inaction perpetuates abusive behavior and costly litigation. They are offering a defense that because the judge didn’t specifically request termination that they don’t have to act, but, of course, it is well known that a Federal Administrative Judge can not request punitive action of this sort, and it is up to the agency to take the action necessary both contractually and morally to stop this abuse.”
A copy of the NALCX Branch #214 open letter requesting termination can be found in the Branch #214 March / April VOICE newsletter and online at www.nalcbayarea.com. The entire resolution and the judge’s detailed final decision will be posted at the website as well.
The Union’s resolutions state in part: “The National Association of Letter Carriers Branch #214 will request in writing in an open letter that management terminate Adam Alvarez, Gary Schrecengost, David Sullivan, Raj Sanghera and Noemi Luna.