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Good Day Postal Employees…..I know it has been too long!!
Let me start out by saying, my last column was informing you all, that I had (breast) cancer, and now I have possibly overcome that, only to do follow up blood work for that breast cancer, and find out that I now have non-small cell lung cancer. This is to let you know why the delay in columns….cuz I still have a lot to say. This column will be dedicated to the “INSANITY YOU FACE”. The next column (coming shortly) will be how wonderful retirement is and our amazing health benefits. Because now that I have been in two battles with cancer, and the resulting co-pays, I am in a much better position to inform you from a very personal & financial perspective.
I asked that my picture be changed so that when I write these columns you can SEE me. The picture on the beach was not that long ago….but this black and white picture was taken a few weeks ago.
I will begin this by telling you that on December 23rd, I received my “early voting card’’, listing all the certain locations and times that they will be open beginning on Oct 15th, and that I should MARK MY calendar. “As it’s only a couple of weeks away”. That statement would say that the date of delivery should have been around October 1st. Laughable isn’t it. No it isn’t…not to me!!
Let me start by saying I am called a “cradle to grave employee”. Meaning that I know from the beginning to the end of a postal career, and everything in between. From the time back in the day=day, when we “thought” we were going to need to hire employees, I wrote the advertisement for the newspaper; received and manually counted the yellow cards in the mail, secured the facility, made sure we had the proper number of test monitors, gave the test in giant facilities for days. Scored the tests, wrote the potential employees back, created the hiring work sheets…all manually……I don’t think I need to go on from that point. And then at the end of a career or an employee’s life, I did (and taught as well) retirements and Bereavement cases. So that is where the cradle to grave comes in…and of course everything in between…hiring, orientation, bidding, placement, firing, EEO, grievances…all manually created.
However, you don’t get this type of knowledge sitting in one department, I began as an LSM operator, Human Resources, PEDC, have worked for the Inspection Service, Transportation, Consumer Affairs, HRSSC to name a few…and countless details in other cities. I say all this to say, I KNOW….I REALLY KNOW.
We have rules and regulations that have guided us for years, and books one specifically called the ELM (Employee’s Labor/Relation Manual). WHERE are THOSE regulations? Let me phrase it this way, I have fired many employees for “Delay of Mail”. Oh, it’s a real charge. And I know that many of you out there may remember some of your co-workers who were fired for that same reason.
BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT WE DO -DELIVER THE MAIL TIMELY.
My sources tell me that the changes are sweeping, vast and for the most part make little or no sense at all. This comes from promoting as many “YES” people as you can find. You know those that won’t tell their boss (who also were promoted with little or no experience in that job they are in) as to why you CANNOT do that, it goes against regulations. So, what do you do? You change the regulations, ignore the regulations, wait for the union’s to file a grievance, or just work around them, settle them…and “manage” the complainers of the changes, or email me and tell me they can’t take it anymore and are retiring.
I sent a priority package (not the only story, but for brevity, I’ll use this one) to N Augusta SC. I mailed it at Whitsett, NC. It went the processing plant in Greensboro, NC, then it went to Greenville, SC, and then it moved 3 times back and forth to different Atlanta, GA processing centers…..and had been there for 4 days, in Atlanta just “sitting”. My question is not why but WTF. I paid over 7 dollars to mail this, and the service is horrible. My answer was…and I quote “Logistics were worked out by the PMG”. I believe that a review of the map of the United States would be very helpful and an advantage for those in charge at 475!!
As if that delay was the only time I sent a priority package to a client, that was sitting for days and days. And to an employee who works in HQ, who actually said to me on the phone, I don’t understand….I said (as kindly as I could muster), you most certainly DO!!. This too was not the only time, it’s now the new normal. So I can understand and feel the frustration of managers, supervisors and our amazing craft employees, the real unsung hero’s of the Postal Service. How this looks to those of US who’ve work there, and are still there, who have been around for a long time, know it’s a disaster.
WE ARE IMPLODING – It appears to me…to be FAILURE BY DESIGN.
EVERYONE KNOWS that the goal for years was to privatize the Postal Service. And they have taken chunks out of the agency for decades, so not a surprise! But this has ruined our reputation tremendously because a lot of the public still feels it’s the clerks in the offices they go to mail their letters, or the carriers that deliver their mail….they are the ones that are in the public’s face to take all the ridicule and verbal abuse.
I was in a post office, that I have several Boxes in (that outer) office. As I am getting my mail, I hear yelling in the actual office. I have to sign for a Priority package, & walk in, and this older lady (and when I say older….I mean like 80-90 because I am going to be 68), and she is beating with her cane one of the plastic partitions held by lightweight chains as barriers to reduce the Covid 19 effects. The two clerks were just standing there horrified…she was screaming at them about it’s the 5th time she has had to pay a late charge because what she mailed at that station took 10 days to go 200 miles in the same state. And she wanted them to pay her for her late charges. It was quite sad to see…SO of course, (you know me) I stepped in to try to calm her down. I said to her, I know you drove here because there are only 2 cars in the parking lot, so I know you watch the news on TV. And I know that you have seen for months that mail all over this country has the very same problems, of not getting there in a timely manner.
I asked her how many Christmas cards did you get after Christmas? She said almost all of them. I said, you see…this has been going on for a while. It’s NOT these clerks fault you have to pay a late charge. No different than your Christmas cards coming in weeks late. She said, that’s all fine and good, but I still want to know who is going to pay for my late charges. I said the only thing I can do is give you an address to send your complaint to. She said, I’ve already sent the complaint to Greensboro….I said no I mean higher than that. I gave the address at 475 L’Enfant Plaza, Washington DC.
I understand how all of you feel, because I feel the same way. I simply cannot believe that it has gone on for this long. Our agency is taking a beating ….and it is truly by design. It’s not for the good of the agency. There is something else at work here. I am not sure what it is…other than a back door or an “IN YOUR FACE” approach to making our agency become fully privatized. When a postal employee mails something via FedEx, we feel like we are cheating….and sometimes we have to…just to ensure it gets there in time, that is NOT WHO WE ARE OR WHO WE WANT TO BE!