Editorial: Does USPS Workplace Bullying Exist?

A recent article from Government Executive reports that federal job discrimination complaints have increased in 2010 over the previous year. “The federal government should be a model workplace,” said Dexter Brooks, director of EEOC’s federal sector programs. “We are concerned that retaliation is the most common basis of discrimination alleged and we caution all federal agencies to make sure that reprisals do not become the usual response to complaints of discrimination.”

President of the National Treasury Employees Union said “Generally, EEO complaints are filed when employees believe the merit system has let them down or when they feel they are being unfairly targeted by managers.”

The report continues and mentions “of the Cabinet-level and large federal agencies, the U.S. Postal Service was a significant contributor to the total number of discrimination complaints and investigations in fiscal 2010, the report found. Postal employees make up 18.6 percent of the federal workforce, but the agency accounted for 40.2 percent of counseling incidents, 31.2 percent of all complaints filed and 28.9 percent of completed investigations.”

In their recent book The Bully-Free Workplace Dr. Gary Namie and Dr. Ruth Namie created a working definition for workplace bullying. “Workplace bullying is the repeated, health-harming mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees through the acts of commission or omission manifested as: verbal abuse; behaviors—physical or nonverbal—that are threatening, intimidating, or humiliating: work sabotage, interference with production; exploitation of a vulnerability-physical, social or psychological; or some combination of one or
more categories.”

These experts also point out that bullying is still legal in the United States after all these years. They said “hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and racial discrimination are all illegal for everyone. Employer policies are designed to comply with federal and state laws governing discriminatory misconduct. Similarly, if state or federal laws do not address misconduct, employers need not create policies to prohibit it. That’s why so few employers do anything about bullying.”

I believe bullying is a very big problem and it creates a hostile environment to work in. Reports to senior managers in my experiences result in no action being taken and the perpetrator continues to target employees and pile up multiple complaints and after a large number of written complaints are logged, then the bully might be moved to another location where they can continue their unprofessional tactics.

The problem is that there are no laws against bullying, and local union and management representatives don’t see any guidance in the labor agreements or workplace policies and the issues are disregarded until there is a distracting workplace episode. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) specialists could probably be a valid resource to gather data and propose educated solutions to our managers and executives. Bullying truly does prevent the real work from getting done.

Is this a problem for the United States Postal Service? Chime in with your management or craft thoughts in the comments section and tell us what you think about workplace bullying, and what should be done about it.

Ronald Williams, Jr.

34 thoughts on “Editorial: Does USPS Workplace Bullying Exist?

  1. @Bandon We had a similar manager here in Seattle. It took 11 union grievances 19 months and over 200 statement letters to the Seattle postmaster before they acted on it. Their solution was to hire a therapist to interview the craft people. The result was to say that yes there was a personality conflict with the manager and nothing was done. To our delight the manager was caught skimming the till and was terminated by the Postal service. He now works security at an Indian casino. And thanks a lot Portland for giving us Robert Montgomery. A bad manager retires and a worse one moves in.

  2. Bullying is so bad at my PO from co-workers that I have been diagnosed with acute anxiety and PTSD! Got an approved OWCP claim due to bullying and managements refusal to correct situation. Doesn’t help me at work but at least I have someone to listen to me.

  3. I think the best way to get the bullies to stop their behavior is for employees to band together and write to upper management. If the plant manager won’t help, then go to the district manager, and on up until you get someone to listen. An M:DO once told me at the San Diego plant I worked at to remember that everyone has a boss. If you don’t get help from your boss, keep going on up the chain of command until you do! I’ve found this to work.

    After my complaints about the bully I worked with in Portland, the plant manager sent me a letter telling me to immediately notify her if the bully made any more trouble for me or other employees.

  4. The work place bullying is so existing in postal service, it is everywhere.

    It does not matter who it is , the bullying goes between employee to employee or the employee to supervisor, either vice versa.

    The bullying person is so narrowminded, jealousy,aggressive, and kiss asser.(or rat)

    it is true ,there is no policy to prevent these from happening in postal service.

    I am also surprised the some postal management is actually support these bullies to motivate the employees and keep them like their pet.

    It is a sign the leadership is broken and not based upon intergrity but the lies only.

    The victim of bullying gets heartbroken emotionally by these the very working co worker who supposed to be trust but gets betrayed and back stabbed.

    the bully get his or her reward from supervisor in some way because he or she did a good job to keep in eye on other people how they are working or they are not working and keep bullying the co worker to impress the supervisor.

    It is a sick mind individual are bullies ,the one who like them is also not appear to be normal either .

    thanks for reading my article.

  5. Postal bullies yeah of course 204 b’s can be nasty, but like some one else posted that can be expected. The worst problems that I’ve had were my co-workers MEAN, MEAN, MEAN!!! Me being an emotional weakling just trying to hold on to a job working w/adults getting there snicks by seeing me run off to the bathroom crying, of course the most sinister one’s would only do thing when my few allies weren’t around, management ignored the problem & the union said that wasn’t any thing that they could involving 2 of there members. One women had numerous complaints about her from other people.

    I’ve since taken a re-assignment to another state & no longer have to deal w/the sick, stuff that reminds me a grade school kids. Wow! What a difference. AND YES THIS IS THE KIND OF STUFF THAT CAN MAKE A PERSON GO POSTAL

  6. Is this a trick question??? Or is it that no one at EEO /EEOC actually reads the complaints…..come on….REALLY!

    We actually had a PM say to an employee yesterday that he and the stupidvisor had placed a bet on something pertaining to this employee…whether they would obey and come in (required) on their day off…..but also added that it’s not personal and that he is not vindictive….I guess if they say it enough they’ll actually believe it….so this is what they do during their tribal meetings??? Place bets on employees reactions to having yet another day of rest taken away….whip, whip, whip…and the gall to share it…..sociopathic behavior….but unfortunately that’s only the very very tip of the iceberg of what actually happens within the confines aka USPS

  7. Yes, Bullying does happen much too often. Usually it’s a co-worker who comes to work with a bad attitude every day, but management is the guilty party much too often also. The IDIOT that said the union is the bully is not living in reality. I don’t by any means think that the Union is perfect and wonderful, but I’ve never seen them go after or bully an employee, but I have seen them save an employees job.

  8. To finish my thought I refused to lie for anyone. Even if I didn’t like someone everyone is entitled to a work place that is free of harrassment and bullying.

  9. In my 40 yrs of PO employment the worst bullying was craft employees bullying other craft employees. Often times it starts with gossiping and then people pick sides. There is plenty of bullying from management too, but at least that is expected. The worst type of bullying is the subtle type. As someone else already stated it is often times next to impossible to prove, and yet is VERY REAL!
    From my perspective if everyone had a job to do and management made sure they were doing said job much of the gossiping and bullying would simply cease to exist. Management likes to just say, “oh we can’t do anything because of the union”. Actually if this same management new how to do there job and then DID their job the union would be a non-issue.
    With all the bullying that takes place, I’m surprised that there isn’t much more violence on the work floor. I’m certainly not advocating violence, but it is understandable.
    A few times there were sociopaths that lied constantly and sometimes it seemed that it was impossible for them to tell the truth about anything. I could never figure out how so many of these people ended up at the PO.
    Most people working at the PO are decent people, but it only takes a very small percentage of employees to make your life a living hell. I saw cases where an employee would flat out lie to get another employee fired. I was asked a few times to back up the lie, but I

  10. Research this as your proof. The manager that set off the carrier in the Oklahoma shooting massacre was promoted, transferred to California and even purchased his house with postal revenue. Later in his career he himself shot another manager over a promotion. The plant manager that sent the clerks to their deaths in the anthrax attack was recently promoted to 1 of the 47 high level VP positions under Donahoe. FIRE ALL POSITIONS THAT DON”T WORK THE MAIL! Let the crafts manage themselves. Make management increase the postal revenue and increase customer service for their salaries. It’s the only fix to save our postal service. MAKE MANAGEMENT WORK NOT BULLY FOR BONUSES!

  11. Nobody is holding them accountable for their action, even Congress.

    We as a people are being screwed over by these scum bags, nice to see their

    getting the way over due attention they deserve.

  12. When a bully made my work life miserable I complained to the 204B, but he thought the bully was a terrific worker and refused to help me. I complained to the Plant Mgr and was granted a meeting with the 204B, the bully and a shop stewart. The behavior continued, so I wrote another letter to the Plant Mgr and this time got 11 fellow employees to sign it and write that they had also been bullied by this individual, and I included a copy of the Post Office’s posted notice on harrassment. This time I got Management’s attention, and the bully was talked to and he changed his behavior.

    However, this same plant has had lawsuits filed and won from women who were victims of blatant sexual harrassment and still the harrassers are employed in their same jobs; in one case, the victim is still forced to work with the bully even though she won her suit and was awarded a very large cash settlement. The bully should have been transferred to another pay location, but the managers love him. One M:DO even put her arms around him after the lawsuit and told him how sorry she was for all he had to go through!

    This Portland facility is a real snake pit to work in.

  13. Correct as stated. I have been there. Done it all and rewared and promotoed for having successfully achieved goals and objectives determined by MPOO hit teams.

  14. The qualifications for upward mobility is to be favored by the present gang in control. Bullying, womanizing,manizing, disrespect for humans who are decent respectful people who respect authority and other people. No conscious as to treatment or outcome of treatment to other people; mental torture to weak decent humans by bully boys is an attribute. Successful results on MPOO hit teams in taking out disfavored management results in promotion consideration.
    Education, degree, is not as favorable as BULLY BOY MOTIVATION.
    Dale Carengie training in communicating and motivativating people in positive manner is not considered as weak and ineffective. Fear is BullyBoy management style. Postal People who treat others with dignity and respect are considered as weak and ineffective and would not be considered for promotion to USPS Bully Boy management team. 204B Bully Womanizer-Manizers are moved to officies to create havoc and work place fear and in process maybe create a relationship as is norm for these type A Bullies.

  15. Debbie F.

    Almost identical situation here. We were set to go to arbitration
    when I was informed the day before that the arbitrator had been


  16. Lets see who we can piss off today? Any takers?

    Will someone please pass the bon bons? What office is next up for grabs..LOL.

    Hows are our employees shut the F-up gag orders doing?

    OOPPS im late for my EEO meeting…LOL

    Issa for pres.see you next meeting.

  17. If you dont like it file a grievance or EEO.We dont care.Will fire you and you’ll have to fight to get your jobs back,see how you all like that.

  18. You can’t stop percieved or real bullying because it’s nearly impossible to prove by yourself. Getting your co-worker’s to help you is just as daunting. Union’s can’t get results either, when they have compiled a long history of bullying by a particular supervisor and/or manager either, because practically everyone within management is doing it. Some just worst than others. Besides, Management only wishes to inoculate themselves from employee/Union attacks. The prospect that one of them receives discipline, or worse, makes them all uncomfortable and disoriented.

  19. personally, i work in a workplace so toxic that it has been charged with that by the letter carriers numerous times…..as clerks, we are just used to the stress, i guess….but i really do think that at this point, from customers unwelcome input, and the continual barrage from management (specifically, “we will do what we have to” (sic: to make your life hell) to meet what WOS, CSAW or 1949’s tell us to do….that quite frankly, the union as a whole should charge management with creating a hostile work environment….and charge congress , too….after 30 years, wow, i worked through some pretty crappy situations, but, politically, now is the worst…the other times it was local…now the A**holes are political….wondering which is worse….

  20. Bullying ? Lets see your are fat , useless and a worthless piece of shit . No i don’t think so . When i came back to work after having a heart attack , the manager told me he wished i had died . Maybe that might be ? And no one will do anything about it . So why change ?

  21. Yes! There is so much bullying in the postal service that employees are happy to see another carrier being pciked on so they will be left alone. The EEO process in the postal service is such a sham……the postal service had so many complaints that they were allowed to investigate their own complaints. I filed an EEO age discrimination complaint in 2003 (?) and found the process was so corrupt that it is almost impossible to get a hearing. I experienced massive cheating within the system in an effort to get the complainant to give up or miss a deadline. Meanwhile the postal service didn’t care if they missed a deadline. I experienced problems with getting my mail accepted as arriving on time even though it was there and a notice was left. I was told that she didn’t have it in her hands so it was late. I eventually sent everything by Federal Express AND registered mail. I experienced investigators not investigating……not getting any info from the postal service…….just using my complaint to help the postal service make up a reply. After I filed a retaliation complaint, the postal service was then contracting out for investigations. I told the investigator I wanted a real investigation and I would be happy, even if I didn’t get approved for a hearing. This investigator did a good job but he was suddenly fired right before I was supposed to get my report from him. It was turned over to another investigator who signed his report as his own. I do not know what could have been deleted from the report before it was given to me. The report still was favorable to my case but at least one major item did not appear to be investigated. I believe the investigator was fired becasue he did too good of a job and the postal service wanted to sanitize the report. The investigator said he could not discuss with me what had happened unless the judge asked him to. I ended up taking a cash settlement from the postal service before my hearing was held but I have always wanted to get to the bottom of this corrupt process. If there is someone who wants to take this on……I am willing to help. I have kept all my paperwork. I’m sure my experiences have been repeated with other emplyees. I am retired now so I am free to do this

  22. IS it BULLYING when Management goes through your Post Office and tells everyone that they are going to be LAID OFF when they close the local Processing plant?

  23. Union EEO … You cited that 99% of the time we are successful in winning our case.

    Could you be sucessful in winning any claim such as the secret postal medical regulation ELM-806 Section 152.3?

  24. 204 B’s are the worst they will do anything to keep getting that extra change, and condoned by MDO’s to their dirty work. Promoted supervisers should be on the work floor not sitting in some office being a staff puke. The have the authority to disipline and reward, 204 Bs have neither yet on day to day operations we have to deal with thier bullying. Postal Management creates many of thier own dilemas. PUT PROMOTED SUPERVISER ON THE WORK FLOOR !!!!!!!

  25. To Union EEO………..By you calling someone an ass-kisser is as bad or worse than the so called offenses you are protecting people against! Such a typical response and I just love it when I’m called an ass-kisser for doing a fair days work.

  26. It’s a fact that when an ass-kisser is granted certain “favors”, EVERYONE is entitled to the same benefits of employment as the ass-kisser. I have represented numerous carriers before EEO hearings identifying the working conditions of an ass-kisser and a non ass-kisser and in 99% of the time we are successful in winning our case.
    Yes the bullying continues on and yes the union advocates perform rectumologies on managers.. 🙂

  27. I would disagree with the above statement! The union was the only one that would listen to me when I was FIRED for being diagnosed with a disability. The Postmaster and a Rural Carrier decided that there should be NO ACCOMODATION made and that the accomodation that was agreed upon would not be followed. They would deliberately do everything they could to make me suffer. The carrier even went so far as to tamper with my own personal mail. It was several months of pure misery for me. After I PROVED to labor management that this was happening did anything happen to the Postmaster of Carrier? NO!!! Nothing. In fact after the mediator told the carrier that I did not have to be her friend and that no one could make me be her friend she quit 2 weeks later. The Postmaster is still here still being a bully. Some things will never change. If it wasn’t for the Union I wouldn’t have a job.

  28. Union’s are the BIGGEST bullies of the bunch. If you don’t belong to their cliques, they will make life difficult for you to the point of even causing discipline to be issued or you being denied positions (which incidentally, is an unfair labor practice) but they get away with it under the protection of maneement which enjoys the entertainment.

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