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LIES AND DECEITS
By Myron Mar, City letter carrier trainer, Branch #214
A hectic six months
What a hectic last six months it's been... pre-inspection, operational changes, dry-run, week of count and inspection, point-to-point, consultation, route adjustment, new case labels, new route, sixty-day reviews... and finally, are we all back to normal? Sadly, Dorothy, we are no longer in Kansas but on Postmaster General Jack Potter's yellow brick road to the "Land of transformation Plan"
Let us all review how far down the journey we all have traveled. The station's sixty-day review should be over. In the last issue of The Voice, President Lili Beaumont listed ten steps we as carriers should start doing to show management that their data were lies and deceits. Now comes judgement day. Those who follow the steps would have the union fighting for a realistic 8 hour adjustment, those who continued the illegal shortcuts or play, Let's Make A Deal, would blame the union for not doing their job, and those that never cared about route check would just retire, bid onto another route or join the silent minority of non-union.
The truth of the matter is that the problem lies within each one of us. Those who followed the ten steps since Day One in the Postal Service should be commended for being excellent Letter Carriers in terms of professionalism and consistency. Those who just started using the steps before-during-after-route inspection must not wander off the path. Then, those who think the ten steps are a bunch of hogwash would soon discover that it's not over until the fat lady sings twice.
During those union route inspection classes the main concerns from the carrier's perspective were, #1-The supervisor never told me it was wrong, and #2-Once route inspection is over we will all be back to normal.
The average bear
Let's take the first point...the supervisors were all smarter than the average bears. The data from the week of inspection and the seven random weeks show most carriers are undertime and management has the right to adjust those routes to get an eight hour day of work from each one of us.
The supervisor never told me
The supervisor never told me that I had to fill out a 3996 if I knew I wasn't going to be able to complete my route in 8 hours. The supervisor never told me I had to fill out a 1571 if I had to leave the office on time for an eight hours day, but didn't have time to do my mark-ups and case 3 days old standard mail.
The supervisor never told me to fill out another 3996 after I returned back to the office from being approved for 1 hour overtime in the morning, but I had to take an extra 30 minutes because the bus I was riding back to the station sideswiped a double parked UPS truck. The supervisor never told me not to load my parcels into my vehicle during my break time because I needed the hamper to be empty for my DPS & residual mail later. The supervisor never told me that I had to return back to the station to pick up the splits of my 2 hours overtime on another route and move my clock rings onto the new route because I'd rather wait in the morning crying to the other carriers to please hurry up.
The supervisor never told me that I should be parking my vehicle on the correct park points, instead of in the middle of the block, because I'd rather pull down my route out of sequence and didn't want to bother the supervisor to have my route adjusted to reflect overburdened blocks. The supervisor never told me not to load my satchel cart so high with mail and parcels that I can barely maneuver along the city streets without tipping over, because I didn't want to make another trip back to the relay box and incur more wear and tear on the rubber wheels.
The supervisor never told me not to rubberband all my stops, case DPS mail, collate "marriage mail" or book the mail within magazines, because I noticed in the latest issue of Pacific Area Update that the District needed representatives in the upcoming Summer Olympics Mail Delivery Speed Trials.
Carriers should know by now
Supervisors don't have to tell us these things because we as letter carriers should have known by now what our duties, responsibilities and rules are. Webster's Dictionary defines supervisors as, noun, to watch over and direct(work, workers, etc.); oversee. The Postal Dictionary defines supervisor as, verbal, babysitter, a juggler of numbers to match the variances. Supervisor duties are to input numbers for reports and to have somebody deliver today's mail.
Back to normal or not
The second point...back to normalcy. The management yellow brick road to the land of route cuts took a wicked turn. In 2004 Headquarters was looking into the cloudy crystal ball and noticed that declining first-class mail volume and increasing usage of automation would help cut the major expenditures of the Postal Service, namely labor.
In the processing sector they are moving forward in consolidating plants. In the transportation sector they are entering into more outsourcing with private trucking companies. In the window clerks sector they are installing more lobby APC(automated postal center) machines.
In the carrier delivery sector they are implementing a two-pronged attack plan. First, any new development is now required to install cluster boxes instead of door-to-door service. The second part is to decrease the carrier's office time and increase the street time, thereby eliminating routes by increasing route coverage areas.
In the management sector they tried and halted a program to allow a Postmaster to work in and manage two post offices at the same time. Their union objected because it was detrimental to customer service. When we, the workers, complained about the same reasoning, management will claim we are self-serving.
Lies and deceits...two human traits that I have personally encountered for a long time, mainly due to my lapse in judgment or plain stupidity. The Postal Service has been relying on those two traits for ages, mainly becasue it gets the mail delivered, or they cannot come up with any better excuses!
I have been asked many times, why I am so bitter? It could be on the fork of the yellow brick road. I chose the left road of mismanagement and malcontent. I am still waiting for Doc Brown and his DeLorean car to set me back on the right road. Then there is always Forrest Gump, and he was right that we all have a destiny...some are born to lead, some are born to be creative, some are born to be rightous. And I was born to be a pain in managment's rear end.
In my opinion I am able to assimilate all three sides of the Postal Service. Management - their lack of foresight in programs and leadership. Postal workers - many are dedicated and hard working. Then there are those that take this job for granted and don't appreciate how lucky they are to be working in the USPS. Customers who depend on us for those timely deliveries but have many unanswered questions, like why whenever I call the Psot Office the answer would be - we would check on it - no call; why I got my neighbor's mail; why I got a 3849 when I was home, and why my mail person is delivering mail at 10:00 PM. After a fun-filled day in the office, I would endure another 8-hour shift at home dealing with paranoia, repetitiveness and forgetfulness.
My father has an excuse...he has Altzheimer's. How about those carriers that break the rules or make the same mistake again and again-even after being told by management not to do it, or even going as far as being disciplined and they still keep on doing it...they have "Alzzdon'tcare?"
The carriers must realize that management did not achieve their goal in the latest round of route inspections and reductions and they will be back. Therefore we all must follow the golden rule of doing our job professionally, consistently and safely.
Ever noticed that the Postal Service loves quotations? This one I found inside a relay box:
If your principle goes against others, do what your conscience says. It is you who must live with the decision, not them.
--Confucious-in-training 2005 BS
(To be continued...............)
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