As the current round of route adjustments nears completion (the last adjustments were put in place by September 19), we have preliminary totals on the impact. In the Bay-Valley District, about 260 routes were abolished-including auxiliaries. Adding in the 140 routes abolished this spring, that’s 400 routes altogether, close to 12% of the total for the District.
Nationally, we were told almost 10,000 routes were eliminated, not counting the impact on T-6 assignments. This has had a major effect on our delivery units, not to mention the changes to individual routes. It is easy to feel the frustration of letter carriers who had changes of 50% or more to their route–or who lost their route altogether! (Some carriers lost routes during both adjustments).
Even though one of the goals of the adjustment teams was to minimize change as much as possible, because of the scope of the adjustments or because of geography, big changes had to be made.
Most Painful Adjustments yet
We received a lot of call and comments from carriers during these adjustments, and I believe that these were the most painful yet. Minor route adjustments have been done on almost every route in our Branch prior to this over the past several years, but the steep decline of cased mail volume reflected n these latest adjustments surprised those of is who have been involved during that time. Carriers get very attached to their routes and their customers and are the fact of the Service as they deliver the “last mile”. What’s more carriers have always hated change, because it is a job of routine, with its own rhythm. Although most carriers were realistic about getting an addition, the amount of territory having to move made this much more difficult.
Some things needed to be done better. The consultation process caused problems because of the involvement of local parties, who were not the ones actually doing the adjustments. We know that this caused some carriers to feel they didn’t get enough input.
Also, the quality of the forms 3999s were uneven, as was the cooperation of local management in getting things done. The time frame (May through August) caused too much pressure at the end of the process to get the adjustments completed. Local data integrity was an issue in too many units, particularly in the office, where light mail at times caused carriers to have to wait for parcels and accountables..
So what’s next?
Every route that was adjusted has to be given a full month of analysis and review sometime between September and the end of November. This means a new form 3999 will have to be done on each route, and with the troubles we had so far, we need to know if you feel that something is not right about the way they are done on your route or in your unit–and we need to know as soon as possible.!
Just as important–maybe even more important–is that we need every carrier to carry their adjusted route as professionally as you can! No skipping lunches or breaks! Do it by the book. If management changes your mode of delivery from dismount to park and loop, carry it that way to show exactly whether it saves any time. When we took at your review period we want to see a true evaluation of your route.
Your “Measuring Stick”
One further item, carriers often ask what their adjusted volume is. In a DOIS world, the world, the only volume worth measuring is the amount your route gets each day. Every Carrier should have received as 1840 Reverse with the final adjustment. Look at the adjusted office and street time.
Your “measuring stick” each day should be that street time. What time do you have to leave each day to make that street time in 8 hours? How much of the mail distributed to you can you take and still do that street time? Please use the form 3996 if you can’t make it within management’s expectations! Get a curtailment slip if told to leave mail. Call in if your are not authorized enough time.
Be professional! Protect yourself and the route!
NALC Branch #1111