Editorial: Wait A Minute Mr. Postmaster

Postal Officials projected 97 million patrons visited a post office during the holidays, reporting retail offices generated $12 billion in FY 09. Not bad for business.

On the hand, Deputy PMG Donahoe ruins it all by claiming waiting time in line at post offices was just over 3 minutes. He ignores the hundreds of thousands complaining of waiting in line sometimes as long as 20 minutes. The PMG eliminated Consumer Complaints Cards so the only way to complain is to go of all places, online. Donahoe’s brag is actually based on averaged surveys.

The fact is management has gutted window operations. Calling it “efficiency” they will continue to reduce window operations through 2013. The current number of post offices targeted for closure is 141. Pointing to alternative services that generate $5 billion, they contend reducing window service is good business. (Go figure) Wait a minute Mr. PMG. Why are you taking service out of the USPS?

Postal officials are quick to blame the economy, alleged 1964 mail volume and the internet to justify the reduction of the workforce, closures of post offices, and consolidation of operations. They sacrifice service while claiming to be more efficient. While service slips your work life is disrupted almost daily.

While boasting the Postal Service is the highest rated and trusted government agency, the bosses do everything to cut service. Some admit the recording and reporting of mail conditions is off track. Try finding a blue mail box in your neighborhood. Business hours have been condensed, fit and shipped priority boxes don’t make it in six days, and damaged mail can take more than 90 days to be delivered. Mail is still hidden, color codes are illegally changed while pallets of delayed mail gather dust.

Why? Why would a company that cries it is broke and needs revenue continue to cut service? Why would a management that boasts service goals are at 96% or better continue to gut operations? One reason is to garner public scorn for postal workers. Management daily pushes patrons to the internet. Management routinely points to the high labor costs and the need to cut workers, but why?

Is it Your Fault?
How often have you heard a manager claim employees are USPS’s #1 asset and then proceed to make your postal life hell? In their report to Congress the PMG and Chair of the Board of Governors bragged they cut 90 million work hours in 2009 and reduced costs by $6 billion. The bosses claimed they did all this and still had high service performance and customer satisfaction.

They gave you some credit saying it was the dedication of the men and women of the Postal Service that make it possible, but in the very next paragraph in their report the bosses state they are adapting their work force by “changing operations, staffing and facilities.”

Management claims USPS is in debt by about $10 billion and by the end of 2010 the debt will be $12 billion, so they plan to cut more work hours by about 100 million or so. They plan to “maximize” operational efficiencies [abolishments, excessing, AMPs, closures NRP etc.] They want to “adjust delivery” [cut delivery service to 5 days a week.]

The bosses also told Congress that they plan to “negotiate FAIR contracts that reflect the state of the economy and current and FUTURE mail revenues to maintain financial stability.

Management has made it clear to Congress and declared that in order to achieve savings they must OVERCOME the challenge to reduce employee complement.

They you have it! It is the fault of the employees why more cuts are needed. (Of course there are other factors like fuel, Do Not Mail state/city laws, weather etc.) According to management their #1 cost is labor- YOU! They claim total factor productivity is down for the second year in a row.

So expect 2010 at the post office to be crazier than ’09, but you can effect the outcome and destiny of the Postal Service and your future job security. Yes, YOU who management blames for the need to cut costs, can make a major difference.

by Omar Gonzalez, APWU Western Region Coordinator via East Bay Area Local #47, The Unionizer

2010 All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent of PostalReporter.com

7 thoughts on “Editorial: Wait A Minute Mr. Postmaster

  1. Mr. Scott, I advise you to contact Jean Hill via letter expressing your concerns. I’ve known Ms. Hill for my entire 33 year postal career and know she is one of the hardest working people out there. Furthermore, Ms. Hill is the president of a large local and is not necessarily the steward of record for all 163 offices that the California Area Local represents including yours. I’m sure she has a steward and/or a Busniess Agent assigned to your office. In addition I know that the California Area Local is one of the few locals in California that has dedicated a significant amount of resouses in the battle againist management and their so called NRP program.

  2. Omar has written an article that is right on point. That’s why its here, it has caught the attention of the nation.

    The APWU has great concern for the USPS, its our livelihood. Our members work hard everyday to process the mail, even when managment gets in the way. It is not the workers fault that the service is in the condition it is in, our members show up to work and they do care.

    Staffing at post offices is based upon work hour studies (that we disagree with (but managment has the right to manage) and so there are not enough clerks to process the mail. A small office has many functions to complete on a daily basis, but they cannot be done with the present staffing. So many tasks are delayed.

    Staffing at the window is down. In our city offices 12 clerks were excessed from 10 offices elminiating window clerks. I have been told that our city office will face excessing agains because we are overstaffed still by 18 clerks, again in 10 city offices.

    Guess what? We are going to loose more window clerks. We close the airport post office at midnight now – no more 24 – 7 service there. The villages in Alaska depend upon the mail big time and the ending of 24 – 7 service is a huge loss.

    These two issues alone – less window clerks and closing the airport post office equal less customer service and it drives our customers away. The service must bolster window clerk staffing and make it easy to mail again. I would say that not one APWU member would disagree with that.

    There are many issues that do not make sence to our members, the ones who process the mail and service customers at the window. Yet our members still stand tall working as hard as they can to provide the service our customer need.

    Our members do care and they work hard everyday to provide service to our customers. It is our job, we have families to support, we all want to retire with dignity, we have hopes and dreams, so the future of the postal service is important to our members and if you think for 1 minute that a postal worker with 15 – 20 years of time in is not working hard to ensure the future of the postal service i just don’t know what to tell you.

    We do not think we are untouchable, Officers of APWU locals are not spinless or greedy – we do what we do for the members and the future of the service and waiting in line is a big deal to APWU members.

    Postal workers are proud of the postal service and we will overcome the damages brought on by the economy.

    Larry Benson
    Midnight Sun Area Local 2756

  3. The steel industry thought they were untouchable, now they say Welcome to Wal-Mart, The auto industry thought they were untouchable, now a large portion of them say, Welcome to Wal-Mart… Well my postal peers, better start practicing Welcome to Wal-Mart……The only thing that is for certain to death and taxes

  4. I wonder how the PMG will hide the $75 billion the USPS overfunded into the CSRS. Dosen’t that money balance the books for the USPS? All the gllom and doom talk just before contract negotiations…. gee what a coincidence.

  5. I am a due paying member who can’t get my local ( California Area Local APWU) to file my grievances. It seems as though they are representing the interest of Postal Management more so than the Union members.

    It is getting harder and harder to know the good guy from the bad guy when they are both trying to screw you. Postal Management is able to do what they do because they are allowed to do so by weak members and union representatives who are more concern about themselves than the interest of strengthening the union.

    I had my Limited Duty Job Assignment taken from me and was placed into NRP without being assessed. I sent a grievance to Jean Hill (CAL APWU President) asking her to process it for me but just as has been done with my previous grievances it was not processed.

    So if the membership is suffering or declining the question has to be: How much is due to a failure to provide adequate representation of the members? Why pay union dues to get screwed when at least the Postal Service is willing to pay something to screw you before they show you the door?

    Greedy spineless people (USPS and APWU) are destroying the service once provided the customer by dedicated Postal employees. In order for it to change it must start from the top down.

    Just my thoughts


  6. Big deal so you had to wait in line at christmas time for more than 5 minutes or ten minutes big frickin deal???
    i dont get that you wait in line everywhere you go these days and what is so horrible about it ?you dont go to the dmv when you have to be at work in 30 minutes same goes with anywhere i go now i always seem to have someone standing behind me huffing and puffing over the wait ,well then go somewhere else or do your shopping when you dont feel so rushed .
    its like the idiots on the road going 90 miles an hour weaving in and out of traffic being a hazard to everyone so what they can be one car ahead of me at the stop light ???geezz get over it

  7. Let’s not sugar coat it. These postal officials are liars. And they think the public is too stupid to figure it out. 3 minute wait in line? Donahoe should have to go stand in those “3 minute lines.”

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