Delivering information when you need it most.

October 1997
Vol. 1 No. 1 Page 4

You Can't Win
by Martin J Spielman Jr

Much like Dorothy in the Broadway musical "The Wiz" the carriers are facing a foe who says, "You can't win, you can't break even and you can't get out of the game." Although there may be no flying monkeys at the Post Office the challenges we face are quite daunting. Management is waging a war of numbers which makes it more difficult to do our jobs as professionals. It is demanding things as:

  • Customer Perfect - even though imperfect DPS is being taken to the street with moves not being checked.

  • A speed up in the office - by demanding carriers pitch (case) above standard as part of its goal, which is incorporated in the misnomer Voice of the Carrier.

  • A speed up on the street - carriers cannot even eat their lunches without two or three supervisors standing over them and asking ridiculous things as, "Where did you get that food?"

  • Withdrawal from EI and Listen - two very pro-active programs that were run into the ground by management.

    Now that things have gotten worse (misdeliveries, accidents) management demands that we make it better, "For the good of the company."

    How stupid does management think we are?

    Letter carriers are professionals. We resisted the fourth bundle and every other odious nightmare imposed upon us because we have the actual experience dealing with the customer. Because of this experience we know what works, unlike management and it's flunkies, who just, "Do what I was told."

    Now is not the time for rubber back bones. Carriers must be willing to sacrifice a little of their free time in order to gain the training to deal with today's business environment. Those not willing to sacrifice and suffer, the end of the road is approaching.

    Management is obviously willing to drive those poor unfortunates to the brink and beyond, "For the good of the company." Strong backs and weak minds are what the current regime wants, but slave labor was outlawed a long time ago, so make your choice.

    For those willing to suffer for the good of their families' long term survival in this institution the fight has begun. In the words of another famous movie character, "What are you willing to do now?"

    "Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God. If ever He had a chosen people, whose breasts He has made His peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue." - Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia [1781-1785].

  • Management of Delivery Services, Methods Handbook M-39 Section 115.1.4: In the administration of discipline, a basic principle must be that disciple should be corrective in nature, rather than punitive. No employee may be disciplined or discharged except for just cause. The delivery manager must make every effort to correct a situation before resorting to disciplinary measures.

    Managers can accomplish their mission only through the effective use of people. How successful a manager is in working with people will, to a great measure, determine whether or not the goals of the Postal Service are attained.

    Getting the job done through people is not an easy task, and certain basic things are required, such as:

    a. Let the employee know what is expected of him or her.

    b. Know fully if the employee is not attaining expectations; don't guess- make certain with documented evidence.

    c. Let the employee explain his or her problem-listen! If given a chance, the employee will tell you the problem. Draw it out from the employee if needed, but get the whole story.

    When problems arise, managers must recognize that they have an obligation to their employees and to the Postal Service to look to themselves, as well as to the employee to:

    a. Find out who, what, when, where, and why.

    b. Make absolutely sure you have all the facts.

    c. The manager has the responsibility to resolve as many problems as possible before they become grievances.

    d. If the employee's stand has merit admit it and correct the situation. You are the manager; you must make decisions; don't pass this responsibility on to someone else.

    The National Agreement sets out the basic rules and rights governing management and employees in their dealings with each other, but it is the front line manager who controls management's attempt to maintain an atmosphere between employer and employee which assures mutual respect for each other's rights and responsibilities.

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana.

    Brother Martin J. Spielman, Jr., is Chief Steward, Edison, NJ, NALC Branch No. 38 North/Central NJ Merged. He is a 11 year postal veteran with nine of those years as a steward at Edison.


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