In a nutshell, Postal Window Clerk Liz Jones submitted a request to change her work schedule for 3 hrs. once a week and 8 hrs. on Saturday (another window clerk offered to exchange her day off with Ms. Jones) for 4 months to attend school. Ms. Jones wanted to prepare herself for employment outside of USPS due to the excessing taking place in Walnut Creek. The involuntary reassignment would require Ms. Jones to travel up to 200 miles away from her duty office. Management denied her request in the month of August stating that she could not be spared from the window. Shortly after denying Ms. Jones’ request management scheduled another window clerk to work as a 204B. Also, one month later (September) a letter was issued notifying her that she will be excessed from Walnut Creek effective 12/5/09. The following is a letter that Ms. Jones sent to several lawmakers about management’s refusal to grant her request to attend school.
October 4, 2009
My name is Ruben Jones, I am a Window Distribution Clerk at the Walnut Creek Post Office. Having been an employee for 11 years I have worked in various positions, Window Clerk, Distribution Clerk, 204B “Supervisor in Training”, Bulk Mail Relief and Business Reply Relief. My positions have been held in five different branches of the Post Office.
The intent of this letter is to inform you of the injustices that are occuring within the Walnut Creek post office. These injustices have caused a hostile work environment which are detailed in the attached documentation. The actions of management have also led me to believe that discriminatory practices are being performed against me in order to hinder my career advancement outside of the post office, once my position has been eliminated due to downsizing of staff within this branch.
In light of the economic situation with the downsizing of businesses nationwide, it is inevitable that the postal service will be effected. For one and half years it has been said the post office will be restructuring based on the need of the business. In knowing this I made the decision to return to school. I made management aware of this in June 2009. I was offered no resistance at that time, but was encouraged to return to school. As of August 12, 2009 I informed management of my intent to return to school by submitting a “Request for Notification of Absence” form detailing the reason I would be needing three hours away from work August 22,2009 due to placement testing. This time was approved by my supervisor. Since completing my placement test and being approved for the course I submitted my schedule change to management on August 28, 2009 along with my course schedule and the modification needed to my work schedule. My request was declined.
In lieu of the modification of my work schedule I was offered a part time regular schedule which only guarantees four hours per pay period or finding employees to cover my shifts. I did find an employee to cover my shift per management’s request but that was also declined. I feel I have not been given the opportunity that management has encouraged me to pursue. On September 30, 2009, I was presented by management a letter in reference to a necessary excess from the Walnut Creek bid installation effective December 5, 2009. This letter references that I can be reassigned up to a 200 mile radius. These are the events that I have occurred since I made the decision to return to school to prepare myself for any economic impacts.
I am asking from the management of the Walnut Creek post office to allow me to prepare myself, my children and my life. In the event that the post office presents me with an offer that will not be feasible, I need to protect both the economic interest of myself and my family.
footnote 1: Management stated my request cannot be granted at this time due to needs of the service. However, on September 29, 2009 management re-posted 16 bids of senior clerks in order to add “window duties” to all bids with only mail distribution. Management’s reasoning for adding window duties–not enough work available each day for clerks in my office. But yet, I am told that I cannot be “spared” to attend school.
footnote 2: Although management issued me an excessing notification letter on September 30, 2009, to date I have not received a list of assignments which are available to bid . I have been told that USPS is giving excessed employees only 2-3 weeks to relocate to new assignments over 100 miles away.