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November 1997
Vol. 1 No. 2 Page 7

A Trio Of Magazines
by Dee Werner

Having been away on vacation, I came home to a mailbox that greeted me with the latest issues of "The Postal Worker," (APWU), "Postal Life," and "Update" (New York Metro Area). Quite a few things hit me, and I'd like to share my impressions, and see how the rest of you feel.

Update

Basically this publication deals with all the nice stuff. It's put out by the New York Metro Area Corporate Relations Department, and focuses on nothing but the plus side of the Postal Service. And let's face it there are some nice things happening out there....not in my office, but somewhere.

Some people actually get rewarded for a job well done. Management treats the craft like human beings, and craft in turn loves management. I always feel like Dorothy in Oz when I read this one. If this were the only publication going, you would think the Postal Service was "Happyland", or added Prozac to the drinking water.

As an example, 13 carriers in San Juan, PR, were honored for their extraordinary efforts in delivering mail during Mother's Day weekend. I'm awestruck. There was an entire article about the wonderful things we did during the UPS strike, and interviews with the workers knocking themselves out to get the parcels through. There were pictures of happy workers with smiles.

Of course there was a rather large article about the Emery contract to boost volume and increase postal jobs. According to them, we should be thrilled and just leaping for joy. As we continue to stroll along the yellow brick road, we come across the Board of Governors Chairman, Dr. Tirso del Junco, telling us "we are delivering record results." One of the most ambiguous statements I have ever come across, except for the reply by the PMG (Runyon) saying, "That is because the US Postal Service has made a comeback." (now there's a winner).

If you go to http://www.usps.gov/postmark/welcome.htm you'll be able to buy products from Postmark America. Let's see, if I shop there I get to use my paycheck to purchase an item glorifying the company I work for?

And, one last item which I appreciated (my age shows on this one), recognized the passing of Ray Heatherton, the Merry Mailman (1949-1968). I watched his show every day as a kid, and blame him for my career choice. I really enjoyed the show, and respected him for having a children's program worthy of being on the air. He also presented a positive image of mailmen (thank you, Ray).

Postal Life

We all get this one, and I consider it to be a middle-of-the-road publication. I give the editors credit for printing letters that are not so glowing about the Postal Service (from both craft and management). I find the letters in the Dialogue section most interesting because I occasionally need a kick in the head to remind me there are managers who are just as frustrated and disgruntled as the rest of us.

Case in point, a letter from a Customer Services Supervisor who was wrongly accused of sexual harassment. On the opposite end was a letter from a member of NALC Branch No. 39, Indianapolis, IN, regarding the managers and supervisors not attending the training session in empowerment and conflict resolution.

Way to go guys! Next Column

What I didn't understand were letters in there from postal customers. Not that I begrudge it, but I thought this was a magazine for those of us in the Postal Service? There was a good article regarding the Postal Service's employee communications network "Postal Vision." At least I know it really exists and hopefully it will be in all offices. This is a good little publication, and done well, but there are too many rose colored glasses on the eyes of the editors.

Besides the letters sent in, there really should be some in-depth articles focusing on the problems the workers are facing (and I'll include management in on this one). It wouldn't hurt to see both sides of the coin, where it's justified. And don't forget, we get our yearly calendar from them, which I do enjoy.

Postal Worker

This is put out by my union the APWU. I never miss reading it. There is a wealth of information published within its covers. Naturally, it has the gung-ho, upbeat, all-for-one-and-one-for-all attitude you would expect.

It helps to keep my blood flowing, so I'm not complaining. All the glories and wins of the union, the hard work being done on our behalf, the latest attacks from management they all are in there.

What isn't in there, are our failures and/or shortcomings. When they are, they're sort of skimmed over. Kind of reminds me of the reporting of casualties during the Vietnam War (I refuse to call it a conflict).

Anyway, what hit me hardest was the article by William Burrus (who is in the middle of a little tiff with Moe Biller at the moment), APWU Executive Vice President. This article should be of interest to everyone, no matter what craft. It pertained to the EXPOSE program, which is urging employees to identify managers, supervisors and postmaster they believe have acted inappropriately.

It's a great article, but unless I didn't do a good job of it, I couldn't find it on the APWU website. So, I'll try and give you the gist of this program, which is aimed at the General Accounting Office's report to Congress regarding abusive management behavior. There is an actual list of people, including cities and states, accused of "abusive behavior." There will be a joint review of the alleged abusers at either local or state level. I'm very interested to see where this goes and the end results.

However, there is one big nagging question. Why isn't the list longer? Why didn't I submit my supervisor's name? I should have. Did I not have enough faith that this might work? Was I afraid of retaliation at work? Did I feel I didn't have enough proof of allegations? Why isn't my supervisor's name on the list? I have no one to blame but myself. Hopefully, there'll be a second chance at this, and I'm not going to miss it next time.

This pretty much sums up mail "vacation" mail for the immediate time frame. I look forward to your comments good, bad, or otherwise.

Dee Werner works in the Forked River, NJ post office. Dee has been a Union member since 1973. She has been a Substitute Rural Letter Carrier, a Regular Rural Carrier, a PTF Clerk, and a Regular Clerk.

E-mail: dwerner@cybercomm.net Back To Index

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