|GO > PEN HOME | Forums | SiteMap | On The Job Injury | Resource Gateway | Member Central | Mutual Transfers | Change Your Address | Contact Us | Search|
Please Note: This section may contain outdated material - please reference date/year of article.The U.S. Postal Service is a Toxic Work Environment
Posted April 14, 2010
by Dr. Steve Musacco
Dr. Steve Musacco is a Ph.D. in organizational psychology, a M.S. in Counseling, and a B.A. in psychology. He's been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist and completed Coachu's coaching program. He currently teaches online courses with Walden University. He also work for the postal service for 30 years.
Dr. Musacco said:
Prior to my retirement from the USPS, at a former district I worked for, there were three suicides within a two year period that I concluded were contributed to in significant part by how these employees were treated in the workplace. The third employee, a city letter carrier, fatally shot himself in a postal jeep and left a letter stating that he could no longer take the job. The night before he committed suicide he told his wife he did not know if he would be able to handle his job anymore. How do I know? His wife told me this one day after his suicide. He was one of the best employees in the office. The District Manager and I interviewed his coworkers after his death, and they stated he would urinate in a bottle while on delivery route for fear he would not meet an artificial deadline set by postal management. During the interviews, one of the postal supervisors told the District Manager and me that the day before the suicide she gave a letter to all the city letter carriers in the station, noting that any future over time used for their routes would be considered unacceptable performance. The suicide at the Gastonia postal facility was the second since December 2005.
Many people have asked: Why is there so much stress and workplace tragedies in the U.S. Postal Service? The answer to these questions is because the postal culture embraces and reflects core values that center on achieving bottom-line results with little or no regard for employee participation, respect, dignity, or fairness. Additionally, there is little or no accountability for the actions of top management in the Postal Service. Many postal facilities consequently have toxic work environments, and they can be a catalyst or trigger for serious acts of workplace violence, including homicide and suicide. The associated rewards system for behavior consistent with the postal culture core values, moreover, enables systemic organizational and individual bullying of employees at all levels of the organization.
I define a toxic workplace environment as a workplace where there is a high incidence of stress-related illnesses. These stress-related illnesses are manifested by psychological and physical deterioration. In other words, these types of environments seriously erode employees’ health and well-being. The primary factors contributing to a toxic workplace environment are high job demands, low job control, and low social support. Low social support generally entails a lack of respect and validation of employees’ dignity by their “superiors”. It also oftentimes includes organizational practices and methods that encourage the bullying of employees to meet corporate goals.
Dr. Steve Musacco
The Postal Service is soliciting medical releases for those employees that are required to partake in the 2nd and 3rd opinion process. In doing so, the FMLA Coordinators are requiring employees to release the “specified information” to the USPS Law Department. Specifically, the USPS is requesting access to:
Any and all records regarding treatment, including but not limited to, all current and past medical treatment, aliments and/or conditions (sic); Other: Stress, Psychological and/or Medical Disorders, Aliments, Conditions (sic) to include a copy of complete chart, progress notes & interview notes, discharge summaries, operative reports, x-ray & all imagery, laboratory tests, pathology tissue, and all diagnostic studies whether in electronic data or other format.
The Local Union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labor, and we have asked Senator Udall to intervene. We are also addressing the issue at the National level. The request seems highly improper. What legal purpose does the Law Department have with sensitive, private and personal medical information? Is the Law Department going to review x-rays and pathology tissue? The USPS letter goes on to assert that the information sought is the “minimum necessary” to accomplish the intended purpose of the request. There is nothing minimal about the information being sought. It is the Postal Service’s customary and routine practice to request everything.
Hopefully we will have this resolved quickly. Until then, we need to have every mail handler that is pushed to a 2nd and/or 3rd opinion (and required to sign the referenced medical release) to file a complaint with the DOL. The Union can assist you with this. It is nothing more then a simple letter written to:
Denver Colorado District Office
Those that are affected and do file complaints should remind the DOL that the USPS will likely terminate their FMLA (for refusing to sign and return the medical release) asserting non-cooperative with the 2nd/3rd opinion process. They should ask for appropriate extensions until their complaint is addressed. Additional information will be posted as this situation develops.
to Know How USPS Will Solve Late Delivery After Abolishing 8 Carrier
NEW BRITAIN, CT – Today, Congressman Chris Murphy released a letter he sent to Frank Marshall, Acting District Manager for the United States Postal Service to get answers for Meriden residents about how the Postal Service is going to resolve the mail delivery delays in the city caused by the recent elimination of eight routes.
“Individuals and businesses rely on the United States Postal Service; they expect to receive their bills, paychecks, and other important packages in a timely manner. The Postal Service’s sudden change in service begs not only explanation, but a solution,” said Murphy.
Murphy has received calls into his office about the situation. Many of those affected by the route changes are senior citizens, who are waiting until the late evening for their mail to arrive.
Minor adjustments to the routes have not remedied the delays. As a result, Murphy has asked the United States Postal Service detail how the routes are being improved to provide better customer service.
“I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the Postal Service deliver for their customers, the residents of Meriden, before they go to bed every night,” said Murphy.
FERS Sick Leave Credit
Earlier this week, Sen. Cornyn, the Senate sponsor of the Senate companion to HR 1108, legislation to give the Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority of the tobacco products, indicated that the Senate is unlikely to take up the measure this year. HR 1108 includes a provision, authored by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) that provides FERS retirement credit for unused sick leave. The House passed its version of the bill on July 30 by a 326-102 margin. The September 10 issue of CQ Today reported that when Sen. Cornyn was asked about whether the Senate would take up H.R. 1108, he answered, “Realistically, I don’t think so.” According to Senate leadership staff, the crowded end-session legislative calendar renders consideration highly doubtful.
Former Letter Carriers Local President Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $20,000 in Union Funds
On July 8, 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, David Denman, former president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 272 (located in Newton, N.J.), pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds in the amount of $20,000. The plea follows a joint investigation by the OLMS New York District Office and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
Former APWU Local Officer Charged with Embezzling More Than $18,000 in Union Funds
On July 17, 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Tina Curtis, former secretary-treasurer of American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 232 (located in Columbus, Ohio), was indicted on one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $18,283 and one count of filing false financial reports. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.
USPS Deputy Postmaster/Chief Operating Officer Pat R. Donahoe sent the following letter dated August 18, 2008 to Vice Presidents, Area Operations
SUBJECT: Field Non-Bargaining Job Postings
The July financial results were as follows: Volume was 5.4 percent under plan, revenue was 3.5 percent under plan, and expenses were 2.8 percent under plan, resulting in a net loss of $216 million. Year-to-date, volume is 3.5 percent under plan, revenue is 3.5 percent under plan, and expenses are 1.4 percent under plan, resulting in a net year-to-date loss of $1.4 billion.
The net income loss and decreasing workload require a thorough review of all administrative positions. Headquarters is working with Area representatives to determine the appropriate field administrative staffing. As a result, effective immediately, all field non-bargaining position postings are frozen. Any exceptions must be approved by the Area Vice President.
USPS CFO Glen
Walker discusses USPS finances
If you live in Irvine, Calif., the car of one area postman is more expensive, more Jetsons and rarer than yours.
An Irvine-area U.S. Postal Service branch got a Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in late July, one of just about 100 of the cars released throughout the United States. General Motors Corp., which makes the car, will also provide a hydrogen-fuelled Equinox to a postal branch on the East Coast later this year.
The Equinox is part of the Postal Service's efforts to "green" their 220,000-car fleet, since higher gas prices will have added $600 million to its expenses by the end of the year.
USPS is also testing other types of alternative-fuels cars, and has had hydrogen-car experiments in the past.
"We're a consumer, and we're a good test bed," said Walter O'Tormey, USPS engineering vice-president.
The project is based in Irvine because the car will gas up at a hydrogen fuelling station at the University of California at Irvine. GM provides maintenance and fuel.
The Irvine post office will use the car, which is already in service, on a regular mail route. It can carry enough hydrogen to fuel it for about a week.
The car looks just like a regular Equinox SUV, but has no tailpipe, since the only emission is water vapour, and has a chemical formula printed on the back.
Other carmakers, including Honda and BMW, have also released or have plans for zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell cars in the U.S.
NALC: ‘Contracting Out’ Moratorium Extended To September 30
NALC President William H. Young announced June 13 that he has obtained agreement from the Postal Service to extend the moratorium on delivery subcontracting called for by the Article 32 Committee Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the National Agreement through September 30, 2008, the end of the USPS Fiscal Year.
The moratorium applies to city carrier offices not covered by the National Agreement’s life-of-the-contract ban on CDS routes in offices that employ only city carriers.
The NALC and the Postal Service, meanwhile, continue to update the list of city carrier offices covered by the MOU on Subcontracting. That MOU prohibits any outsourcing of delivery in covered offices for the life of the contract. Young said another list of affected CDS routes that will be converted to regular delivery in June will soon be released.
The extension of the moratorium on subcontracting in offices where letter carriers work side by side with rural carriers and CDS contractors will permit the Article 32 Committee to complete its work, as outlined in the MOU contained in the 2006-2011 contract.
Young applauded the continued cooperation of Postmaster General John E. Potter and Vice President for Labor Relations Doug Tulino on the issue of the moratorium.
DHL TO EXPAND USPS
Labor Organization Annual Financial Reports; Proposed Rule
The Department of Labor proposed a new rule today that would revise Form LM-2, Schedules 11 and 12 to include the value of benefits paid to and on behalf of labor organization officers and employees. This will provide a more accurate picture of total compensation received by labor organization officers and employees. In addition, the proposed changes will require the reporting on Schedules 11 and 12 of travel reimbursements indirectly paid on behalf of labor organization officers and employees.
Comments must be received on or before June 26, 2008. You may submit comments, identified by RIN 1215-AB62, by the following methods:
Internet – Federal eRulemaking Portal. Electronic comments may be submitted through www.regulations.gov. To locate the proposed rule, use key words such as "Labor-Management Standards" or "Labor Organization Annual Financial Reports" to search for documents accepting comments. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Please be advised that comments received will be posted without change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
Mail: Mailed comments should be sent to:
Kay H. Oshel
Because of security precautions the Department continues to experience delays in U.S. mail delivery. You should take this into consideration when preparing to meet the deadline for submitting comments.
For links to the Federal Register Notice, please visit:
REPORTS SECOND QUARTER LOSS — ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN CITED
Despite cost-cutting measures, the Postal Service ended the second
quarter with a net loss of $707 million, driven by a continued decline in
mail volume resulting from the current national economic climate.
Meanwhile, the on-time delivery of First-Class Mail continued at record
levels in the second quarter.
NALC Golden Gate Branch 214 call for abusive Supervisor to be removed from supervising carriers
AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL
Squandered On Government Cards
Resolutions in support of labor action against the war
The resolution attached below was adopted with no opposition by the
N.Y. Metro Area local of the American Postal Workers Union at its 19 March
PEN Editor: See below for San Francisco NALC Branch 214 - please post comments here.
San Francisco Letter Carriers on May Day and the war
RESOLVED: That Branch 214 of the National Association of Letter
Carriers, representing 2, 700 letter carriers in the San Francisco Bay
Area, request that carriers in all carrier stations observe 2 minutes of
silence at 8:15 AM on May Day May 1st, 2008 in honor of International
Workers Day and in solidarity with the ILWU longshore workers¹ action in
stopping work in all West Coast ports for 8 hours on May Day, to express
our opposition to the war in Iraq.
National grievance filed on 2008 rural mail count
National Rural Letter Carriers Association
March 20, 2008
Mr. William Daigneault
Dear Mr. Daigneault:
Pursuant to Article 15, Section 4(D), of the parties' National Agreement, the Association submits this National Level grievance on the following dispute.
During the February 23 — March 7, 2008, National Mail Count, the Postal Service failed to ensure an even flow of mail on rural routes as required by Article 30, Section 1.A, Article 19 and Section 534 of Handbook P0-603, to the detriment and disadvantage of all bargaining unit employees. Rural routes experienced an unprecedented and substantial drop in the normal volume of rural route mail during the 2008 NMC for several reasons, including but not limited to, the Postal Service's failure to provide rural routes with dated and other mailings during the 12 working days of the count. The Association expressly reserves the right to modify and/or amend this grievance as additional facts are discovered through additional investigation and responses to information requests.
The Association's remedial request includes, but is not limited to, a substitution of the 2008 NMC volume-related columns with the volumes recorded in the same columns for the last mail count for each rural route or, at the regular rural carrier's sole discretion, the complete and total nullification of any counts or results of any portion of the 2008 NMC. In addition, an appropriate remedy must be fashioned for any rural route that was counted for the first time during the 2008 NMC. All bargaining unit employees shall likewise be made whole in any and all respects, including the provision of interest at the Federal Judgment Rate on any monetary payments. The Association expressly reserves the right to modify and/or amend its remedial request and to seek additional remedies if warranted by disclosure of additional facts not presently known.
Please contact my office to determine the earliest possible date to discuss this very important issue.
Donnie Pitts, President
FedEx Home Delivery is defending its illegal contractor model in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In a brief filed March 17, FedEx Home Delivery is requesting a review of a National Labor Relations Board determination that drivers at two Massachusetts terminals are employees and not "contractors" as contended by FedEx.
The drivers at the two facilities overwhelmingly voted in October 2006 to join Teamsters Local 25. The NLRB ordered FedEx to bargain with Local 25, but FedEx refused to do so and filed the request for review in the Court of Appeals instead.
The D.C. Circuit is the highest court yet to hear a case on FedEx's illegal contractor model.
FedEx's filing restates the many losing arguments that the company has tried in previous trials and hearings before the NLRB, civil courts and state and federal agencies. FedEx's brief focuses on the false claims of "entrepreneurship" offered by the company and ignores the many control factors that directs the drivers as employees in practice.
"The National Labor Relations Board has repeatedly and rightly determined that FedEx Ground and Home Delivery drivers are employees, yet FedEx is trotting out the same failed arguments and false promises before the Court of Appeals," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa.
"Instead of sitting down, negotiating a contract with these drivers that literally deliver profits to FedEx everyday and getting back to business, FedEx is repeating its mistakes," said Local 25 President Sean O'Brien. "These drivers and Local 25 are ready to talk and get a contract, but FedEx insists on delaying the process and raising the stakes with an appeal that will only result in another legal setback to its scam contractor model."
After FedEx Corporation held its quarterly conference call to report its earnings, Reuters and other reporters are pointing out how legal challenges to the "contractor" model are weighing FDX down.
Revenue at FedEx's ground delivery unit FedEx Ground rose to $1.72 billion from $1.52 billion, but margins were hurt by intercompany charges and "costs to enhance and defend" its independent contractor model.
FedEx faces lawsuits in more than 30 states that claim the contractors should be classified as employees. The Internal Revenue Service has also tentatively concluded that the 15,000 contractors at FedEx Ground should be reclassified as employees and that the company owes more than $319 million in taxes and penalties for 2002.
"I am concerned that we have this situation where the management is spending so much time, effort and money on this issue," said the AHA Diversified Equity Fund's Meyers. "For me, that is the only wart in FedEx's results."
Recent USPS MSPB Cases
Appellant: Dean J. Balouris
The agency petitioned for review of an initial decision that mitigated the appellant’s removal to a 60-day suspension. The removal action, based on a charge of “Unacceptable Conduct/Assault,” related to an incident between the appellant and another letter carrier, Sullivan. The agency charged that, after heated words between the two were exchanged, the appellant punched Sullivan in the side of the face. The AJ, however, believed the appellant’s testimony that he reflexively pushed Sullivan away after Sullivan had spit on him and, in doing so, accidentally hit Sullivan in the face. The AJ also found that Sullivan instigated the altercation by referring to the appellant as an “a**hole” in a telephone conversation with a third party within the appellant’s hearing. In light of these findings, and that (1) Sullivan suffered only minor injuries, (2) Sullivan was only issued a letter of warning, and (3) the appellant had 15 years of satisfactory service with no previous disciplinary record, the AJ found that the removal penalty exceeded the bounds of reasonableness and mitigated the penalty to a 60-day suspension.
Holding: A majority of the Board, Member Sapin dissenting, granted the agency’s PFR and reinstated the removal penalty. Although the majority found no error in the AJ’s finding that the appellant did not intentionally strike Sullivan, it concluded that the deciding official had weighed the relevant Douglas factors and that the removal penalty was within the bounds of reasonableness.
Relying on the same factors as did the AJ, Member Sapin concluded that the removal penalty exceeded the bounds of reasonableness, and would have affirmed the mitigation to a 60-day suspension.
And also this case...
Appellant: Cheryl W. Nevins
The appellant petitioned for review of an initial decision that dismissed her restoration appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The appellant experienced a work-related injury to her eyes in 1991. In 1997, the agency offered the appellant a limited-duty assignment, which she refused to accept, and resigned from her federal employment. There was extensive litigation between the appellant and the Department of Labor, including the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) and Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB), starting in 1998, and concluding on February 26, 2006, when the ECAB found that the appellant did not have any permanent residual affect from the employment injury, and affirmed OWCP’s action terminating compensation in 2004.
Holdings: The Board granted the appellant’s PFR, reversed the initial decision, and remanded the appeal to the regional office for adjudication on the merits:
1. Where an employee fully recovers from a compensable injury after more than a year, MSPB jurisdiction requires nonfrivolous allegations that: (1) the appellant was separated because of a compensable injury; (2) she has fully recovered more than a year after the date she became eligible for OWCP benefits; (3) she requested restoration within 30 days after the cessation of OWCP compensation; and (4) she believes that the agency violated her reemployment priority rights.
2. The first and fourth elements are satisfied, as there is no dispute that the appellant’s OWCP compensation benefits were terminated in 2004, and that the agency has not subsequently entered the appellant on its reemployment priority list.
3. OWCP eventually determined that it did not make a valid work suitability determination with regard to the limited-duty position offered to the appellant in 1997, and she has alleged that her resignation arose in the context of rejecting the same limited-duty position. The appellant thereby made a nonfrivolous allegation that this separation resulted from, or was substantially related to, her compensable injury, satisfying the first element of the jurisdictional standard.
4. With regard to the third jurisdictional element—a timely request for restoration—the Board found that the appellant has raised a sufficient factual dispute as to require a hearing. A remand is therefore required.
TEXARKANA COUPLE GUILTY OF USPS CREDIT CARD FRAUD
(TEXARKANA, TX) United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that a Texarkana, Texas couple have pleaded guilty to federal charges in the Eastern District of Texas.
PAUL GREGORY, 43, and MILLIE GREGORY, 40, both of Texarkana, were indicted in October 2007 and charged with conspiracy to use unauthorized access devices and use of unauthorized access devices. They each pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge David Folsom.
According to information presented in court, former postal contractor, Paul Gregory, and postal employee, Mille Gregory, admitted to illegally using two United States Postal Services Voyager gasoline credit cards to buy gasoline for themselves and to sell gasoline to others. Over a ten month period, the couple fraudulently charged $47,393.23 to the cards for gas purchases in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
Paul and Millie Gregory each face up to 10 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000.00 and restitution of $47,393.23. A sentencing date has not been set.
This case is being investigated by the United States Postal Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Denise Simpson.
Read this USPS report here: 2007 USPS Annual Report
A few facts from the USPS Annual Report for 2007
Read this USPS report here: 2007 USPS Annual Report
2007 Embezzlement of Union Funds
APWU Branch 715
APWU Local 238
On August 17, 2007, in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, William Kendrick, former Treasurer of APWU Local 238, was sentenced to six months of home detention, five years probation, and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $26,236.94. On May 23, 2007, Kendrick pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to embezzle union funds.
On May 23, 2007, in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, William Kendrick, former Treasurer of APWU Local 238, pled guilty to conspiring to embezzle union funds. Kendrick and Dwayne Giles, former Local 238 President, co-signed checks that allowed Kendrick to embezzle approximately $26,237 in union funds. On February 28, 2007, Kendrick was charged with one count of conspiring to embezzle union funds in the same amount. The guilty plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Kansas City Resident Office.
On February 28, 2007, in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, Dwayne Giles and William Kendrick, former President and Treasurer, respectively, for APWU Local 238, were charged in a one-count indictment with conspiring to embezzle union funds. The two are alleged to have co-signed checks that allowed Giles to embezzle approximately $15,589 and Kendricks to embezzle approximately $26,237 in union funds.
APWU Local 7065
DEC. 24 EXECUTIVE
ORDER EXCLUDES USPS
The Executive Order President Bush issued yesterday excusing executive branch employees from duty Monday, Dec. 24, does not include postal employees. The day is to be treated as a normal business day for USPS.
Office of Personnel Management Director Linda Springer said the Executive Order “does not affect Postal Service workers, nor does it include Executive Branch employees whose agencies determine they cannot be excused for reasons of national security, defense or other essential public need.”
Click here to read Springer’s statement.
USPS Seeking Beverage and Food Service Suppliers
I wonder how this solicitation complies with the Randolph-Sheppard Act, which gives preference to blind venders in federal and USPS facilities? The USPS is required to go through the state agencies for the blind.
Code of Federal Regulations, 34 CFR 395.1x: "Vending facility" means automatic vending machines, cafeterias, snack bars, cart service, shelters, counters, and such other appropriate auxiliary equipment which may be operated by blind licensees and which is necessary for the sale of newspapers, periodicals, confections, tobacco products, foods, beverages, and other articles or services dispensed automatically or manually and prepared on or off the premises in accordance with all applicable health laws, and including the vending or exchange of changes for any lottery authorized by State law and conducted by an agency of a State within such State."
Arizona Department of Economic Security, Rehabilitation Services Division v. United States Postal Service (June 17, 2005)
After reviewing all of the records and hearing testimony of witnesses, the panel concluded that the Act requires Federal agencies to give priority to blind vendors in the operation of vending facilities on Federal properties. To accomplish this, Federal agencies and SLAs enter into permit agreements authorizing the operation of vending facilities by licensed blind vendors. However, the panel noted that the Act does not authorize Federal agencies to collect commissions from a blind vendor or the SLA without the authorization of the Secretary of Education. Moreover, Federal agencies are not permitted to go outside the Department of Education's regulations and substitute a negotiated vending agreement in place of the permit system.
FSS Will Get Carriers To The Street Earlier -
That's a Myth
I saw the following mailer's quote today, on
LiteBlue, and want to respond. The
It is a MYTH that machines like the Flats
Sequencing System will get carriers out to the
street earlier. It didn't happen with Delivery
Point Sequence letters and it won't happen with
FSS. It would only be true if you had enough
machines and facilities to process that much
mail in a very short time. That solution would
be very expensive and isn't going to happen.
Find available PO Boxes
Starting Friday, Nov. 9, customers no longer have to visit or call around to different Post Offices to find an available PO Box. They can find them online at usps.com. The Postal Service’s new PO Boxes Available locator will make finding just the right PO Box “Quick. Easy. Convenient.”
To check it out, customers can go to usps.com and click on Locate a Post Office in the upper right-hand corner. Under the drop-down menu for “What are you trying to locate?” they can choose the new option “PO Boxes Available” and search by either ZIP Code or address. Customers will then receive a list of the closest Post Offices along with PO Box information for each office.
Information includes availability by box size and associated six-month box fees, as well as standard address, phone and fax numbers for each listed office. They can then click on More Info under each Post Office for more details, including PO Box lobby hours.
The PO Box Available online locator uses information from WebBATS to make it easier than ever for customers to locate a PO Box, help fill vacancies and boost your office’s revenue. If your office isn’t on WebBATS, your PO Box availability information won’t be available.
Remember, this new feature doesn’t go online until Friday, Nov. 9, 2007.
Employee benefits open season begins Nov. 12,
It’s Open Season. Beginning Nov. 12, you can update your health benefits, dental and vision coverage, sign up for flexible spending accounts, adjust your Thrift Savings Plan contributions and elect annual leave exchange. Or not. It’s up to you.
Starting Monday, employees can make changes in their Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage, including the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). The deadline to make changes in FEDVIP is midnight, ET, Dec. 10. Open Season for FEHB ends at 5 p.m., CT, Dec. 11.
Open Season for Flexible Spending Accounts also begins Nov. 12 and lasts until 5 p.m. CT, Dec. 29. Open Season for the Annual Leave Exchange begins Nov. 15 and ends at midnight Dec. 15.
You can make changes to all these programs online or by telephone. On the Internet, go to https://liteblue.usps.gov and select PostalEASE under Employee Self Service, or access PostalEASE at http://blue.usps.gov. If you prefer, call the Employee Service line at 877-477-3273 and select Option 1.
RUMOR HAS IT . . . WRONG
NEW BEGINNINGS - Potter and executives focus on
BOARD OF GOVERNORS SETS 2008 FINANCIAL PLAN
The Postal Service Board of Governors today approved an aggressive 2008 financial plan for the Postal Service that includes $1 billion in cost savings and puts its expense growth lower than inflation.
USPS operating, capital and financing plans for the new fiscal year, known as the Integrated Financial Plan (IFP), project expense growth below the assumed increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most commonly used benchmark for inflation.
Those projections do not assume any price changes for postal products and services over the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The Board of Governors has not made a decision on future prices but applauded the Postal Regulatory Commission for being well ahead of schedule with its recommendations on the new rate regulations.
The IFP projects revenue of $78.2 billion and expenses of $78.8 billion in fiscal 2008, for a net loss of $600 million. The financial plan is significantly affected by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (the Postal Act of 2006), as are finances in the current fiscal year.
Top -PEN Home
2007 — One-time costs
For fiscal 2007, the Postal Service projects revenues of $75 billion and expenses of $80.4 billion for a projected net loss of $5.4 billion. The net loss of $5.4 billion includes operating income of $1.5 billion and a $6.9 billion negative financial impact from the Postal Act of 2006 — which includes a $3 billion one-time escrow expense, which was required under the previous law, an additional $5.4 billion payment into the Retiree Health Benefit Fund for 2007, and $1.5 billion in savings from Civil Service Retirement System relief.
“Absent the negative financial impacts from the Postal Act of 2006, the Postal Service projects operating income of $1.5 billion this year and $400 million next year,” Chief Financial Officer H. Glen Walker said.
2008 — Expense growth below inflation
Total expenses for fiscal 2008 are planned at $78.8 billion, or 2 percent below projected fiscal 2007 expenses. Even after excluding the $3 billion in one-time escrow expenses from 2007, expense growth in fiscal 2008 is projected at 1.8 percent, below the assumed growth in the CPI.
The 2008 plan predicts a record ninth consecutive year of Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth, which measures the relationship between workload and resource usage. TFP is planned to grow by 1 percent in 2008.
USPS CONCLUDES EAS PAY
Pay consultations with the Postal Service and the National Association of Postal Supervisors, The National League of Postmasters and the National Association of Postmasters of the United States have concluded, resulting in a four-year compensation package that will remain in effect through fiscal year 2010.
Labor Relations Vice President Doug Tulino said, “This four-year pay package extends our market-based, performance driven compensation philosophy using our award-winning Pay-for-Performance program as the foundation for building organizational success.”
CONTRACTED DELIVERY ALIVE AND WELL UNDER NEW CONTRACT
The NALC recently announced that a tentative agreement has been reached with USPS. The NALC site states "The proposed contract includes new limits on contracting out of city letter carrier work in more than 3,000 city delivery installations."
It is my personal opinion that carriers nationwide should immediately demand that either the NALC or USPS, or both, provide them with a complete list of these delivery installations BEFORE ratification is considered.
According to USPS we "Serve more than 9 million customers daily at nearly 37,000 Post Offices." Now, keeping the 37,000 post offices in mind - just how many cities service the proposed '3000 city delivery installations' that the NALC is referring to? All major cities have more than one delivery station (installation) - some have more than 10-15 delivery stations. So, in the real world, just how many cities will receive protection against contract delivery under this proposed NALC/USPS agreement? 300 cities? 500 cities?
I say to you that it is my 'guess' that most of the smaller cities across the nation will NOT be on any protected list against contract delivery. I say to you that one of the reasons behind this is possibly the fact that the vast majority of NALC members work and reside in larger postal cities such as NYC, Atlanta, Chicago, etc.
Smaller cities, where carriers deliver from only one or two stations, MAY not receive any protection against contract carriers being hired. What does this mean to you? Well, it means that for the immediate future you won't have to worry about it - for the long haul carriers could lose jobs, weaker voices (less carriers equals less power), and through DOIS based route adjustments carrier routes will be adjusted DOWN to aux routes which may be offered via contract carrier - hence, less USPS carrier routes for official USPS carriers.
Attrition will take care of much of the fallout from contract carrier use, but the future of officially uniformed letter carriers will be vastly affected and along with this the service this nation under our postal system.
It is very possible that I may be totally incorrect - if the national NALC can prove that what I say has no basis at all then please do so.
That is my opinion and I am sticking to it.
QWL for Everyone
NEWS RELEASE FROM U.S.
Keys of Post Office Clerk Aboard R.M.S. Titanic to be Auctioned
Given the demand of the job, sea post service was reserved for the best of the best, and a position in a transatlantic post office was highly sought after. Often, these clerks were selected from their posts on the railway postal service or from other positions in the foreign mail division. Life as a sea post clerk was a busy and rewarding one, but also a precarious one. The mail was considered precious cargo and the clerks were expected to protect it at all costs--even with their lives if necessary.
Of Titanic's five postal clerks, two were British and three were American. None survived. During the sinking they were seen working feverishly to protect the mail from the rising water, probably giving little thought to their own safety. Oscar S. Woody was one of the American clerks. He had previously worked for the Railway Mail Service and, on April 1, 1912, was directed to join Titanic as a sea post clerk for her maiden voyage from Southampton. April 15, 1912, the day Titanic was lost, marked Woody's 44th birthday.
Woody's body was recovered by the cable ship Mackay-Bennett and assigned body No. 167. Due to its condition, Woody was buried at sea. In Halifax, an inventory was made of Woody's personal effects. They included a quantity of postal facing slips. These slips were used for bundles of mail being delivered to the same location. Also recovered were keys and a chain. These effects, along with some others, were placed into a stenciled bag and returned to Woody's widow in America.
Woody had been a member of the Freemasons and his effects were bequeathed by his estate to that society to raise money for philanthropic purposes. The keys and chain were exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibition, entitled "Posted Aboard R.M.S. Titanic", it can now be visited online at www.postalmuseum.si.edu/titanic.
Offered for auction on the 21st April are the keys and chain recovered from Oscar Woody's body. The chain is approximately 24" long starting with a belt buckle loop containing a small clasp inscribed "U.S." The chain ends with a ring holding three keys. The loop and ring are connected by 43 identical links.
The largest of the keys was manufactured by the Eagle Lock Company of Terryville, Connecticut USA and was used to open a special mailbag padlock. One side of the key is stamped "U.S. MAIL 19". Stamped on the obverse is "SEA POST 101". It is believed that the No. 101 referred to ships of the White Star Line, with No. 100 belonging to ships of the Cunard Line. The small two-lever barrel key with a round head was likely intended for lever locks installed on furniture of the period, such as a desk drawer. In such a locker or drawer could be kept rubber name stamps such as the one Woody used for his facing slips, as well as cancellation stamps, etc. The small lever lock barrel key with the oval head matches stock barrel keys of the era used on items such as steamer trunks. This key was likely for Woody's personal luggage.
The keys and chain exhibit a light coating of rust owing to their submersion in salt water and could probably be restored to brilliance if one were inclined to do so. In their current state all the markings are discernible.
The only other Titanic postal clerk to be recovered was American John Starr March, but no keys were recovered from his body. The keys and chain offered in this lot are arguably among the most historically significant Titanic and philatelic artifacts ever to come to market, supported by extraordinary provenance. This may represent the only opportunity one will ever have to acquire the only known keys to Titanic's on-board post office; and the only keys recovered directly from the body of one of her postal clerks and are estimated at £30000-£50000.
But the Oscar Woody Keys and Alfred Rowe archive only account for a very small percentage of the auction. Another stunning collection on offer relates to William Gwinn. Like his colleague Oscar Woody, Gwinn was a seasoned veteran of the Trans Atlantic postal service. Part one of this stunning archive offers Titanic collectors the opportunity to acquire a letter written by Gwinn to his wife Florence prior to the sinking and also offered is one of only two photographs known of Gwinn in existence. This emotive collection gives the reader of any of these letters a snapshot into the long distance relationship between Gwinn and his wife. Further lots included are photographs from Stanley May showing Titanic at Southampton, a very rare First Class menu for a luncheon onboard Olympic on the 20th September 1911, the day of the collision with HMS Hawke, publicity material relating to Titanic maiden voyage, material from 3rd Officer Herbert Pitman, over 50 lots of rare and unusual postcards of Titanic, a silver Benson pocket watch given by the Countess of Rothes to Bedroom Steward Alfred Crawford shortly after the sinking and a series of photographs of the aftermath of the sinking including several of Halifax are expected to realize in excess of £1500 each.
The principal lots in the auction will be on show at Titanic Made in Belfast from 7th – 14th April and in Devizes on April 20th and the morning of the sale. Alan Aldridge will also be holding a lecture called Titanic at auction in aid the Youth Action for Wiltshire “Kev’s Van Appeal” on the 20th April at 2pm. All proceeds of the lecture will go to the appeal and those visiting will also have the opportunity to view items relating to the Titanic in an exhibition that will run alongside the auction items. The appeal itself is about raising money to buy a new van to help Youth Action Wiltshire. The charity supports youth groups throughout the county and Kevin Whitehorn provides an invaluable service by taking play equipment out to the rural areas.
Henry Aldridge are the leading auctioneers of Titanic and White Star Line memorabilia and are now accepting entries for their next auction of this genre on September 22nd. Please contact either Alan Aldridge Principal or Andrew Aldridge BA Hons MRICS for further details.
APWU Officers Subject of Criminal Enforcement Actions
During 2006 several APWU officers were subject to criminal investigation by OLMS - The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS). Some were:
On December 29, 2006 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Charyle Emel, former President of American Postal Workers Union Local # 2013, was charged with one count of falsifying union financial records by willfully making or causing to be made a false loan agreement between herself and Local 2013. The agreement purportedly allowed Emel to borrow approximately $7000 of her USPS salary from the local and required her to repay the loan by the end of her term in office. The charge follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office and the United States Postal Service Inspector General’s Office.
On December 18, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, David E. Hlavacek, Secretary Treasurer for American Postal Workers’ Union Local 7065 and the Missouri State Postal Workers’ Union, was charged with one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $6,383. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Kansas City Resident Investigator Office.
On February 27, 2006, in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, Robb Dutchuk, former Secretary-Treasurer for American Postal Workers Union Local 349, was sentenced to three years probation, which includes six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring and work release privileges. Dutchuk was also ordered to pay restitution of $18,812.18 to the local and a $125 assessment. The sentence follows an investigation by the Minneapolis Resident Investigator Office.
On February 21, 2006, in the United States District Court of the District of Wyoming, Richard Carlson, former Secretary-Treasurer for American Postal Workers Union, Local 769, was sentenced to three months time served and three years probation. He was ordered to pay restitution of $3,899.14 in addition to the $6,500 he has already repaid, plus a $100 special assessment. On December 9, 2005, Carlson pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.
On February 17, 2006, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, John McGovern and Gary Weightman, former Secretary-Treasurer and President, respectively, for American Postal Workers Union, Local 190, were arrested and indicted on three counts each of conspiring to embezzle union funds totaling over $400,000. The indictment also charged that McGovern and Weightman obstructed investigations by the American Postal Workers International Union and the Department of Labor by destroying essential financial records. The arrests and indictments follow an investigation by the OLMS New York District Office and the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
New Mail History Tracking System deployed
Delivery Point Sequencing (DPS) revolutionized the way the Postal Service processes letter mail by sorting it into a carrier’s line of travel. But even with the best of systems, errors occasionally occur.
Sometimes it’s human error, where a mail processing clerk sweeps the mail incorrectly. Other times, it’s machine error — where the machine has calculated an incorrect ZIP Code. And still, less-than-optimal machine performance affects the quality of the sort.
And because letter carriers don’t discover these errors until they’re out on the street, service is impacted.
But thanks to the Mail History Tracking System (MHTS), a new web-based application, the Postal Service can tell if there are errors and, if so, exactly where in each tray the missorted, missequenced and missent letters are located. Within one hour after completing the DPS second pass — the final sortation for DPS mail — MHTS can produce a report that lets maintenance, processing operations and delivery units know the number of errors, if any, and where they are in each letter carrier’s tray.
That saves carriers time and improves delivery service. MHTS also provides mail processing and maintenance departments with vital performance information that helps them identify opportunities to improve performance in their operations.
The Mail History Tracking System is being deployed nationally this week.
NEW POSTAL LAW
The Financial Impact
Could Learn A Lot From GM
Unions were created to serve an important purpose -- to protect workers? rights and safety. But in their zeal to negotiate as many benefits as possible, some may be hurting the very employees they represent.
Workers in the automobile industry have learned this lesson the hard way. Employees of the U.S. Postal Service -- the third largest employer in the country -- should take note: Asking for too much can sometimes turn big benefits into big layoffs.
Delphi, the nation's largest auto-parts supplier and employer of 34,000 hourly workers, is bankrupt. It might have something to do with the fact that Delphi's unionized workers make on average $64 per hour in wages and benefits -- more than twice what some of its competitors pay. The company is offering voluntary buyouts, while GM and Ford have announced layoffs of at least 30,000 workers each.
Ford also announced this week that it is offering buyout and early retirement plans to all of its 75,000 hourly U.S. employees as a way to help shrink its workforce.
The four unions whose workers serve the U.S. Postal Service have operated under similar principles -- get as much as they can for their workers. Postal employees generally earn between 20 to 30 percent more than their private-sector counterparts. Most are protected by no-layoff and no-relocation clauses.
Today, the Postal Service has accumulated over $80 billion in unfunded liabilities -- mostly in the form of benefits for retirees. And the cost of health benefits continues to rise dramatically. It has shot up 36 percent -- or $2 billion per year -- since 2002. Rising healthcare expenditures were cited as a major reason for the recent layoffs at GM and Ford.
Within months after increasing the first-class stamp price to 39 cents in January, the Postal Service has announced plans for another rate hike next year, and regular annual increases starting in 2009.
USPS says the increase is mainly in response to rising gas prices. But its ballooning labor costs are creating a system-wide strain. If it doesn't reverse this cost-stress, its workers could face the same fate as those in Delphi, GM and Ford.
If it acts now, USPS -- and its employees -- can avoid the massive cuts that have rocked auto plants from Detroit to Doraville, GA.
There is plenty the agency could do to streamline costs. If its unions allowed it more efficiently distribute labor and negotiate lower pay and benefits for new hires, cuts could be spared for current employees.
The Postal Service should also consider changing its pay structure to incorporate differences in cost-of-living -- a common private sector practice. USPS wages should reflect the fact that an employee in New York City, for example, has much higher living expenses than an employee in rural New Mexico.
Postal unions must recognize that there is little choice. If they continue to block the agency from addressing its rising labor costs, postal workers will eventually be faced with the prospect of large-scale workforce reductions.
The agency has been able to push off this problem for a few years. Through attrition, it managed to reduce its workforce slightly. And productivity gains through the use of new technology offset the drop in first-class traffic for a while. But these benefits appear to have been maximized. Meanwhile, the Postal Service continues to lose business to the Internet and courier services.
In many ways, under the leadership of Postmaster General John Potter, USPS has acted like an exemplary government organization -- embracing the best practices from the corporate world. Even now, it is moving aggressively to consolidate distribution centers and make them more efficient.
Postal management likes to describe their organization in corporate terms. But when it comes to trimming fat, USPS has a tendency to act like a government bureaucracy -- hiking rates on its letter-monopoly customers to avoid more painful cost-cutting measures.
General Motors, Ford, and Delphi cannot solve their financial problems by simply raising prices. Clearly, such a strategy would drive consumers away at an even faster rate. Instead, they focus on becoming competitive again. That means lowering prices -- while improving quality -- to make their cars more attractive to buyers.
Meanwhile, their unions, having recognized their folly a little too late, are busy negotiating buyout packages and trying to arrange soft landings for the employees caught in the crossfire.
What will the Postal Service and its unions do? Face reality, lower labor costs, and hold the line on price increases? Or give in again, raise prices, lose market share, and go the way of the auto industry -- if not worse -- sooner than anyone expects?
Charles Guy, Ph.D., is Adjunct Fellow with the Lexington Institute and
Managers Required to Stop Harassment from Outsiders
Managers sometimes feel helpless when their subordinates are harassed by outsiders such as customers or vendors. What can the manager do to stop the harassment? A recent Court of Appeals case affirms that managers must take "all steps necessary" to prevent the harassment.
Although the particular case involved a woman corrections officer who was being harassed by prison inmates, the same principles apply no matter who is the harasser.
Employers are liable for the acts of non-employees when they "know or should have known of the conduct" and fail to "take immediate and appropriate corrective action." The court noted that "[t]his theory of liability is grounded not in the harassing act itself - i.e., inmate misconduct - but rather in the employer's 'negligence and ratification' of the harassment through its failure to take appropriate and reasonable responsive action." Freitag v. Ayers (9th Cir 09/13/2006)
In 1993 NIOSH released another ergonomic investigation in which they described the sweep side of the DBCS to be "a significant departure from good ergonomic design which places workers at high risk for lower back and shoulder disorders". As a clerk who works on the DBCS almost every day I fully realize that NIOSH states what most of us grunts have already long known. However, when the best expertise in the country (NIOSH) backs us up, it gives us more legal muscle against management's relentless push for BIG NUMBERS.
I did request both the 1993 and 2006 investigations and they are available for your review by clicking the links provided below. I need to add that I am NOT a union officer and these investigations were NOT called in by the union.
If you have any questions you may contact NIOSH industrial engineer Dan Habes at 513-841-4438 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
As most of you probably well realize, NIOSH has no enforcement power over the USPS. However, they are the very best expertise in occupational health in the country. The truth they reveal for automation clerks in both investigations looks dismal. With the deployment of the four tiered DIOSS DBCS to replace the single tiered ISS the fewer clerks that will be left in automation will be doing far more ergonomically hazardous work and ERRP has done little to address these hazards.
The inevitable question arises why the postal service would deploy such a machine as the DBCS, a machine that one NIOSH official correctly described as a work comp time bomb back in 1992. The answer in one word is money. A major reason for the deployment of the multi tiered DBCS to replace the singe tiered BCS and the deployment of the four tiered DIOSS DBCS to replace the single tiered ISS is what management likes to describe as greater “depth of sort”. With 200+ stackers on a typical DBCS versus 60 stackers on an ISS, this simply means that the mail does not have to be run as many times with two clerks running mail on a machine with more mail sortation stackers. Hence, there will be a need for fewer clerks. for the same amount of sortation. With about 85% of USPS costs going into labor costs this does make sense. The big downside in all this is that the fewer clerks will be doing far more ergonomically hazardous work on the multi tiered DBCS, versus the single tiered machines. For the Postal Service, the decrease in labor costs are offset to some extent by the inevitable increase in work comp costs. However, as many of us grunts who work on the DBCS fully realize, the Postal Service has a very effective system in place to discourage workers from reporting injuries through use of harassment against injured workers. Several years ago OSHA cited the Denver GMF for gross underreporting for this very reason. This is another reason to hold highly suspect when we hear about miraculous reductions in injuries here in Denver that are attributed to ERRP. Are these ACTUAL injuries or just reported injuries. In response to several email inquiries, I need to post this reply. I did call in both NIOSH investigations, but I am NOT a union officer. These investigations were NOT called in by union request. I am a “grunt” clerk who does work on the DBCS almost every day. I am a former high school teacher and my brother is a medical doctor who deals in occupational health issues which did help in gaining immediate expertise during the course of the NIOSH investigations. Both NIOSH investigations that are posted here on Postal mag are NOT copyrighted and can be downloaded. If anyone has any remote interest in these investigations and the truth they reveal PLEASE download and also email then to anyone else that may have an interest. The 1993 NIOSH investigation has already been used on numerous occasions by clerks who have been injured by the DBCS to successfully file comp claims. What NIOSH says about slowing down the pace of work and running less mail through the DBCS as the most effective control, short of a redesign, to avoid injury HAS been already figured out by many us grunts who work on these machines every day. However, when the best expertise in the country backs this up it gives us more legal muscle to fight management’s relentless push for big numbers.
I have one automation clerk friend who had to have a disk removed from her back from working on the DBCS. She told me afterwards if she had only known about what NIOSH said in 1993. She, and a number of people like her, is why I called in NIOSH for both investigations and had them posted here. When one local APWU president over a thousand miles from Denver read through both NIOSH reports he reminded me of the familiar quote of US President Garfield: “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” The truth needed to get out there.
off injured worker says, "It can happen to anyone"
The piece of vinyl siding was hidden beneath 3 inches of snow when Mike Vinci accidentally found it while delivering mail in Caledonia, NY.
It was like stepping on a sheet of ice.
“My feet went straight up in the air,” he remembers. ” Like an idiot, I hung onto the mail and landed on my elbow.”
Mike finished his mail route that day. But the pain wouldn’t go away.
“I worked for almost a year with shoulder and neck pain, not knowing I had damaged two discs in my neck and partially tore my Achilles tendon in my left ankle.
“I went out of work in February of 1992. It took eight months to even get an OWCP claim number and my first comp check. I had $75 to my name.”
Mike had more than money problems.
It turns out he needed surgeries to repair his ankle and neck. But, like the wheels of justice, the bureaucracy moves slowly. After his ankle surgery, it took another three years to get approval from the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) for surgery to fuse his 4th and 5th and 6th and 7th cervical discs.
His days as a letter carrier were over.
But the Postal Service has always provided work for employees hurt on the job. So when he recovered from his surgeries, Mike was given a position as a part-time flexible clerk at the nearby Geneseo post office. Eventually he worked his way into a regular position.
His work involved the usual clerks’ duties, sorting and distributing letters and flats, clearing carriers and handling accountable mail. Mike has done everything, in fact, except work the window, where the college kids often bring in large parcels too heavy for him to lift because of his medical restrictions.
The story would end here, if the Postal Service hadn’t come up with a scheme to get rid of injured workers like Mike.
Called the Reassessment Program, the plan is being tested in the Western New York District and a couple other areas of the country. The purpose of the program is to cull injured workers from the payroll by dumping them on Workers’ Compensation and then retraining them for private sector jobs.
Mike got his walking papers on May 24, when it took five postal bosses coming down from the Western New York District Office in Buffalo to tell him he was no longer needed.
“A mail carrier had to come in off the street to take over my duties delivering all of the guaranteed overnight mail so that I could attend the meeting,” Mike says.
“They took my badge and walked me out the door. It was 2:00 p.m. They don’t even let you say goodbye to your friends.”
The Geneseo Postmaster, Tammy Kelley, disagreed with the big shots who said there wasn’t any work for Mike.
But what did she know? She was only looking out for Geneseo and wasn’t able to see the big picture.
‘Tammy insisted to them that, not only was I doing a great job and an asset to the office, but the work was there for me to do and had not changed. She also emphasized that I was included in the office budget hours, compiled by them, and that the office had made budget last year and is continuing to do so.”
For obvious reasons, Postmaster Kelley was reluctant to speak about Mike’s situation.
“I can’t really say too much, except this is all new. It’s beyond me. It involves staffing decisions by higher-ups,” the Postmaster says.
But she wasn’t reluctant to praise Mike’s work ethic.
“Oh, Mike was an excellent worker. I can tell you that.”
The bosses at postal headquarters who came up with the Reassessment Program have been mum about the scheme, referring all questions to the American Postal Workers Union, which they say has been briefed on the outsourcing program.
According to APWU Human Relations Director Sue Carney, the Postal Service claims it wants all limited duty and rehabilitation jobs to consist of “necessary work,” not make-work assignments.
So it seems like an obvious question to ask: Why dump Mike Vinci back on Workers’ Compensation when the Geneseo Postmaster has plenty of real work for him to do?
The postal big shot who apparently decided that Mike wasn’t needed at the Geneseo post office is Mary McNeill. She has an important title: Western New York District Manager of Injury Compensation.
Mary wasn’t in her office when I called to ask why Mike was put off the clock and unceremoniously shown the door. Or why it took 5 postal bosses to deliver the news. The person who answered her phone said she was on the road doing reassessment interviews.
I have to assume she must be quite busy trying to help other injured workers, because she hasn’t returned my call.
Mike is now 54 years old and in 11 months he’ll be eligible to retire. Until then he’s going to fight to get his job back.
He’s written his Congressman and filed a grievance with the American Postal Workers Union over his dismissal.
As you can imagine, he doesn’t have much good to say about the Reassessment Program and the bureaucrats in charge of it. But he’s grateful to Geneseo Postmaster Tammy Kelley for “being truthful and maybe jeopardizing her job” for him.
And he has this bit of advice for other postal workers who think it can’t happen to them:
“Even the people who aren’t injured should be against this program because anyone can get hurt at work.
“If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”
Contact Dan Sullivan at email@example.com.