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

501 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.

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