The following was received by and has been posted in its entirety:

From: Joseph W. McKinney

Postal Employee Homeless after 18 year battle to regain control over signature without threat to employment

I am a regular guy who has tried very hard in my life to do the right thing and live a better life. I have served eight years in the Marine Corps and for the last 32 years held a position at the postal service. I don’t claim to be very smart or have any misconception that I am aware of how everything works. I try to be a realist but am stuck living a surreal life. I am homeless and have had my health benefits stripped away from me. Why? Because control over how my signature is used has been dictated to me under threat to my career and I am trying to get control of my signature back from the USPS.

I never dreamt in my wildest dreams that I would be homeless or not have access to a health provider since I am adamant about doing my job. The reason I am homeless is that I am losing a battle with the USPS over control of my signature. The USPS has decided that they will only let me live my life without consequence if I am willing to forfeit control over my signature and become their patsy and signature scapegoat. The USPS has taken every measure to ensure my collapse if I refuse to work under those indentured servitude and totalitarian conditions where I am continually threatened with my career not to do what I am told.

I was not aware that I could not turn to the lowest level reasonable person in authority to determine who is in control of my signature. I was not aware that such control wielded by the select few in hidden positions would have such far reaching power as to destroy my life over the basic question, Who is in control of my signature? I was not aware that one of the largest Unions in the USA could not get an immediate decisive and enforceable response as to who controls my signature.

In my career with the postal service, it has been dictated to me how my signature would be used and what level of responsibility would be incurred by its use that I have not agreed to. I thought this stuff only happened in countries where dictators ruled. Apparently even my Congressman doesn’t stand a chance against the Postal Authorities who have refused to supply a clarified response to this objectionable behavior stating there is an internal process that can be used to address this matter. A process that has now lasted over 18 years to decide.

I can tell you the internal process to resolve the matter of who is in control of my signature surely does not involve the APWU. The APWU has not pursued agreements to comply with the regulations. I have settlements that are now 18 years old to comply with the Registered Mail Handbook Regulations and that still have not been addressed or pursued by the APWU for compliance. The representation is purely symbolism over substance in this matter. It is almost as if the Union made a deal at headquarters to ignore compliance to the rules I am held accountable to by the use of my signature and continues to allow the USPS to dictate their authority over how and what my signature will be used for. I would have thought the APWU would have acted on behalf of the membership to end this type of control over a person’s unclarified signature responsibilities demanding compliance and the end to indentured service to perform additional responsibilities not required by existing position descriptions.

I am a member of one of the APWU and have gotten no definitive settlement response that ensures that I am in control of my signature and not the USPS if I want to retain employment without threat. The Union has done nothing to resolve this simple matter except settling grievances without pursuing the conditions of the settlements. The Labor Relations department feels the Union has done their job to represent me by obtaining a settlement that would be agreeable if it was complied with. This is done to show the Union acted on my behalf but in fact have resolved nothing and their representation is a façade to regain control over my signature without pursuing compliance to the agreement.

I have never agreed to use my signature for the purposes that have been demanded from me to keep my job. I have had my career threatened for 18 years and have been required to perform Managerial duties under threat that I was not compensated for covering a 12 year period costing me over $200,000 in wages not to mention the retirement ramifications. The personal harm caused to me by the USPS actions is unrecoverable and now I’m homeless.

After intensive research I found only one avenue that requires definitive evidenced action to a known or disclosed regulation violation. It is not an APWU settlement that does not consist of a court order and all settlements have been made prior to arbitration over the specific subject of who is the “lead” employee in Registry Operations.

It is the sole responsibility of a deeply embedded managerial department that is responsible for compliance. How deep are they embedded and how hard is it to uncover the layers of managers to reach one responsible authority to ensure compliance?

The Organizational design and Management department within the Employee Resource Department within the Headquarters Human Resources department is the only authority required to ensure compliance to postal regulations and only then under the requirements of a Harassment/hostile work environment complaint where impartiality must be shown. Notice that the description provided in the Employee Labor Manual does not identify a position but instead identifies an entire department. ELM 112.1 and ELM 156.2. Even changes at Headquarter require the approval of this Elite group known as the Organizational Design and management Department within the Employee Resource Department within the Headquarters Human Resources. Not very telling for who is in charge if it isn’t headquarters.
In July 2014 I filed a harassment/hostile work environment complaint and impartiality is not something that I have witnessed. In fact the only response provided in the last 4 years was proven by court ordered discovery to be a known lie. I have lost over $200,000 more in the four years that the USPS has still not made a decision that I and not they are in control of my signature.

I have lost all I have worked for and am now homeless as a result of trying to clarify that I and not the USPS is in control of my signature. Admittedly the stress of becoming homeless is great, but I have not experienced the impact I felt on a daily basis of being threatened to perform duties that I wasn’t being paid for while all involved were aware this level of enslavement was happening.

The lengths that the USPS has gone to hide the truth is identified in the last four years failing to actually take the disciplinary action against me that was threatened for the previous 14 years while the simple question at the center of their 4 yearlong in depth investigation remains unanswered. Who is responsible for my signature and can I be forced to use it in ways that I do not agree just to keep my job?

What is my job?

My job is a Register Cage Clerk. As a Register Cage Clerk the most important part of my job is actually knowing what my job is and what my job is not especially where my signature is required. My job duties require that I process registered mail according to a system of receipts that can be referenced in whole. I am required to process Registered Mail in a semi secured environment where I am responsible for the signature verification of registered articles being received or dispatched under my control for all articles being mailed through the registered mail system and sorting them appropriately according to postal policy. There is no other requirement on my job description for other duties as assigned and I am strictly a Register Cage Clerk.


What my job is not. My job is not to sign the Valuable Unit Control Signature Receipt or work in a more secured Valuable Unit accountable for Valuable Mail without authorization. It is not my job to share signature accountability for anything with anyone under Area Responsibility or any other condition. It is not my job to report to work and be threatened for 14 years not to do someone else’s job that the USPS has not authorized and provided a job description for. It is not my job to be threatened not to do supervisor and Mid-level Manager work for 12 years as acts of reprisal and not be paid. It is not my job to explain regulations that are not implemented or followed.

The APWU and USPS are both aware of what my job is and what it is not. I have had my career threatened far too long for someone not to acknowledge what my job is and what my job is not and who is in control of my signature.

The regulations in the Register Mail handbook are clear. DM-901 7-1.2 a “lead” employee without a corresponding job description is responsible for security and signature turnover of Valuable Mail and Valuable Unit control. Signature responsibilities are required to be provided in a mandated SOP for the separation of duties between a Register Cage clerk and a “Lead” employee. The SOP has not been produced and all register clerks who sign for Valuable Registered Mail should be paid at the “lead” employee rate. Note: The 2008 across the board clerk CBA upgrade is not reflected in the current DM-901. Older versions show this to be a fact and the 2010 version should show the “lead” employee as a level 7 not a level 6.

Four years I have held a position without reporting to work. I have not abandon my position, I have mitigated any additional psychological and physical harm that was documented due to stress created by the situation prior to me leaving the hostile environment. I have provided that I would immediately return to duty when I am provided written authorization to sign for the higher level “lead” employee duties. I have submitted no other documentation as a reason for my absence and will provide the SOP as a document that verifies I and not the postal service is in control of my signature for the responsibilities of my job description and not the signature responsibilities of a “lead” employee position.

Immediate relief is available to management to end the conflict over who controls my signature. They are required to provide written authorization (PS form 1723) for any time I am required to perform those duties which are not mine and are the “lead” employees.
All clerks should demand a 1723 when signing for Valuable Registered Mail responsibilities and grievances for the mandated SOP that has not been produced 94% of the time according to the 7/14/2017 OIG report should be continuously filed until the APWU pursues compliance of this missing mandated document.

Respectfully, Joseph W. McKinney