The U.S. Postal Service is a Toxic Work Environment

Dr. S. Musacco - Beyond Going Postal

April 14, 2010
by Dr. S. Musacco

Dr. Steve Musacco is a Ph.D. in organizational psychology, a M.S. in Counseling, and a B.A. in psychology. He’s been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist and completed Coachu’s coaching program. He also worked for the postal service for 30 years.

Dr. Musacco said:

Prior to my retirement from the USPS, at a former district I worked for, there were three suicides within a two year period that I concluded were contributed to in significant part by how these employees were treated in the workplace. The third employee, a city letter carrier, fatally shot himself in a postal jeep and left a letter stating that he could no longer take the job. The night before he committed suicide he told his wife he did not know if he would be able to handle his job anymore. How do I know? His wife told me this one day after his suicide. He was one of the best employees in the office. The District Manager and I interviewed his coworkers after his death, and they stated he would urinate in a bottle while on delivery route for fear he would not meet an artificial deadline set by postal management. During the interviews, one of the postal supervisors told the District Manager and me that the day before the suicide she gave a letter to all the city letter carriers in the station, noting that any future over time used for their routes would be considered unacceptable performance. The suicide at the Gastonia postal facility was the second since December 2005.

Many people have asked: Why is there so much stress and workplace tragedies in the U.S. Postal Service? The answer to these questions is because the postal culture embraces and reflects core values that center on achieving bottom-line results with little or no regard for employee participation, respect, dignity, or fairness. Additionally, there is little or no accountability for the actions of top management in the Postal Service. Many postal facilities consequently have toxic work environments, and they can be a catalyst or trigger for serious acts of workplace violence, including homicide and suicide. The associated rewards system for behavior consistent with the postal culture core values, moreover, enables systemic organizational and individual bullying of employees at all levels of the organization.

I define a toxic workplace environment as a workplace where there is a high incidence of stress-related illnesses. These stress-related illnesses are manifested by psychological and physical deterioration. In other words, these types of environments seriously erode employees’ health and well-being. The primary factors contributing to a toxic workplace environment are high job demands, low job control, and low social support. Low social support generally entails a lack of respect and validation of employees’ dignity by their “superiors”. It also oftentimes includes organizational practices and methods that encourage the bullying of employees to meet corporate goals.

Dr. Steve Musacco
Beyond Going Postal

Submitted by:
Eric L. Wattree

510 Responses to "The U.S. Postal Service is a Toxic Work Environment"

  1. maggie   June 15, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    ive been and still being harassed because my supervisor wants to use my route assigned llv for city. ive had to sit and wait almost an hour some days. so i got a lot faster and quit casing anything i didnt have to. so now theyre going to make me come in later so they can use it. i was called in on bogus pdi for too much sick leave . 1 week she complained about had been approved in advance and was al because my truck needed to be fixed when she was told im allowed to call off the day of needing al i can do that as long as theres coverage she then tried to say o she had trouble finding coverage i told her right there that wasnt true. the other i was in hospital and the i had drs notes for all but 1 day out of 5 legitimate days i was off sick.she knows my dad just died and now shes piling all this crap on me too. i even had to work the day of his funeral because they didnt have enough people. thats one reason why i was so damn mad about her having a pdi to begin with. im already on 3 antidepressants a day. ive never had so much problems till she got the job and ive been here 16 years and she was a city carrier but omg the job went to her head.
    i also believe she is being vindictive because i tried talking to her about her unrealistic expectations of the new rcas. like the people here have complained about . the new rca was called the 1st day out by herself being yelled at by the supervisor to hurry up where are you why is it taking so long. she put the rca on 4 different routes within 12 days and was mad because she couldnt keep up. i wasnt nasty about it either i just said maybe she should keep her on the route she was hired for and get casing training which was her main problem. but nope she has her on other routes and never calls her in .
    ive even started looking for other places to go which does make me mad and depressed especially after working there for 16 years. im now in the process of filing grievances so wish me luck. and good luck to you all i know first hand how you feel.

  2. Chip   September 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Got this email today from whoever is in charge of deciphering the employee opinion survey. It was a very condescending email to all employees showing a perfect example of how out-of-touch postal management is with the workforce.
    Of course only a small percentage of employees even take the time to fill out the survey because they/we know it doesn’t matter — nothing will ever be done to change anything — not that we are “retaliating against management” as the email alleges — those who do not participate are doing.
    No, we have given up on trying to change anything. To complain is to volunteer to be harassed by management. To simply ask for something is to be asking to be put under the microscope to find anything you may be doing wrong. To speak up is to draw attention from those who like to destroy what little bit of comfort you might have with change for the sake of improving performance.
    I wasn’t going to fill out the survey this time around because it doesn’t matter and I don’t care anymore but the email said I should so I did. I gave all zeros like usual so there you go.
    You get a big fat zero from me once again. Can’t wait to see what the overall score is nationwide. Good luck with that and thanks.

  3. Venom   September 15, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    They hire ghetto thugs, pimps, pedophilers, pervs, incompetent, unintelligent former carriers, and whores with no social skills whatsoever as management. They set them loose like wolves to lambs on hard working employees. Who then have to deal with them on all levels filing grievances, EEO arbitrations, and lawsuits against these unskilled low lives. Who break every federal labor, osha law in existence.

    There needs to be a complete overhaul in the hiring process of these monsters even less putting them in positions of authority. The post office operates autonomously under the umbrella of the Federal Government. However there is no outside monitoring of these mongrels on any level.

    Employees are mistreated, abused, treated worse than animals by many of these low lives. Now not all management is bad but a good portion of them should either be fired or in jail for the unethical devious practices deceptive acts and they commit. The level of harassment they subject hard working honest employees should be litigable. Then and only then the abuse would stop if you hurt their pockets.

  4. Sta-C Hale   September 17, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    It’s a shame that all these allegations are extremely true. The term “going postal ” is definitely an understatement

  5. Clint   September 27, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve been seeing more and more delayed mail lately. The delivery service standards are falling short more and more.
    I wish I could say more about the lack of consideration I’ve received by management but it would expose me to harassment. I am no longer “proud” to be a postal worker.
    I am ashamed of myself that I have allowed management to treat me without dignity and or respect.
    In a nutshell the problem here is unqualified managers. The fact that they may or may not know how to move the mail doesn’t matter. What matters is they don’t have people management skills. Low level managers are not qualified to supervise employees.
    Low level managers cause poor morale among workers.
    Workers who are treated poorly by managers will treat others poorly.
    That’s all I have to add.

  6. upsc-2017   October 1, 2017 at 2:43 am

    Its very strange to know that employees of any department is so stressed. Yes, its true people need respect and recognition on work. These work like non finacial benefits and help employees to get relief from their work burden.

  7. what is wrong with the world   October 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    I have worked for the postal service for twenty years. Our union reps are crooked, what I mean by that is that they steel from the post office. These union reps steel tools, sold furniture and split the money and only file grievances that will get them money. I was told today to keep my mouth shut about it because the guys doing it have a lot of power. What is wrong with the world?

  8. Xavier   October 4, 2017 at 11:04 am

    It happened to me again just last week. Instead of being recognized for my three decades of service the “manager” seemed to try and find any tiny little issue to use as a negative starting point in a morale killing discussion.
    I’ve seen managers come and go who have no knowledge of the job at hand. I have 30 years of experience at doing my job yet they seem to feel it necessary to dig down deep to find one tiny little issue and make a big deal out of it. The issue is whatever the latest crave that’s handed down from H.Q. and last week was of no concern and in two weeks from now will be forgotten about but today it’s a big topic.
    Who gives a crap about informed delivery? Not me. Not the customer. Why should I try and tell every customer who comes in the door about it? And I’m not going to either!
    I have enough areas to be concerned about every day covering my own butt that I don’t need to waste time with the latest craze. It’s stupid.
    I keep getting treated like crap by management so I’m going to pass that feeling on to the customer. I don’t give a crap. I don’t see any change coming soon in either direction.
    My new motto is “I Don’t Give a Crap”
    Send me a manager who treats me better and I might change but until then this is what you get. CRAP

  9. dirty John   October 11, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    We have so many custodial maintenance staff in my office it is ridiculous. It seems that all they do is empty the garbage cans once in a while. The rest of their time is spent in places like the locker room where they sleep, play dominos and read magazines.
    I get tired of walking around in dirt, trash, and garbage so much that I have had to start sweeping the floor myself. In a show if resentment I have decided to leave the piles of dirt that I sweep up in the path the custodians follow to empty the garbage.
    I am also leaving piles of dirt in places where other maintenance people are know to go just so they can walk in dirt and wonder why there are piles of dirt under their feet.
    You know it’s not much but it’s the least I can do to show how much I care.
    Management says that you cant ask a custodian to sweep up an area that is not on their route either. I guess that must be some kind of union rule for something.

  10. GI Joe   October 15, 2017 at 2:55 am

    More than 99% of these people’s comments are sadly true and exact. I recently retired after having all walking routes for over 30 years and I am beat up both physically and mentally. I take comfort in the fact that I have seen “karma” work it’s magic against certain individuals that had it coming. From the janitor who smoked all day and never cleaned (heart attack death) to the bully manager who ended up with heart disease, divorce and bankruptcy, “karma” doesn’t fail. I was very self-motivated and worked hard and not one single co-worker wished me well when I retired even though I stuck my neck out many times to defend carriers from the bullying. The hard workers are quietly kicked out the door and the rear end kissers get a huge cake when they retire. The whole place sickens me. The military treated me a thousand times better. I simply pray every day that the “karma” continues to do it’s job. I have never, ever, ever seen people act like this. What a sick circus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.