Delivering information when you need it most.

December 1997
Vol.1 No. 3 Page 4

Working In The Dark Guidelines

(Parts of this article were taken from the Mile Hi Mail Bag,
Denver, CO Branch No. 47, November, 1996 issue.)

Although we have fought and won this battle many times in the past, we will inevitably have the situation in which one of our members will be confronted with a stubborn manager who hasn't yet understood the message and our position. The following information is being printed as a reminder for our members who find themselves in a situation where darkness will prohibit completion of deliveries.

Whether or not you are new or old to the delivery of mail, dark is dark and it is suggested you familiarize yourself with the proper procedure.

It is suggested you print this information and keep it on you at all times when shortened daylight hours and deteriorating weather conditions exist.

1.) Complete PS Form 3996 Auxiliary Carrier Control Form in the morning and request field assistance.

2.) Inform your supervisor before you leave the officer that your workload will dictate that you will not be able to finish your assignment before dark.

3.) Inform your supervisor that it is unsafe for you to be delivering mail after dark.

4.) If your supervisor does not agree with you, request to see your steward.

5.) If the situation cannot be resolved even after intervention from your steward, call your supervisor in the afternoon and inform him or her that your situation has not changed and you will not be able to finish before darkness sets in. Again, request field assistance. If given an order to finish your route, follow that order until you feel an unsafe condition exists.

6.) After it becomes dark, again call your supervisor and inform him or her that it is unsafe to continue delivery. Don't forget to collect reimbursement for money spent on phone calls -- you are entitled to it. If you are once again given instructions to finish your assignment, make an attempt to follow the instruction. If the condition is unsafe, return to the office. YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN MAKE THE DETERMINATION OF WHAT IS SAFE AND WHAT IS UNSAFE.

7.) Inform your supervisor, if he or she is still in the building, that you have curtailed delivery because of an unsafe condition of working in the dark.

8.) If you receive any discipline for your actions, contact your steward and grieve the situation. Remember to document all conversations with your supervisor(s). You should write down notes of the conversation(s) you had with management each time you call in. As well you should write down the location of the phone call, the time, who you talked with at the post office. If you have to leave your route to find a phone make special note of your line of travel you took to make the call.

Once you return to the office you should write down on your note pad what time your returned, and take notes on any discussion you had with any employee upon arriving at the building. Next Column

Prior to clocking out do your accustomed office procedures, i.e. clear the window, return empty equipment, place "raw" mail in the designated area. Because you did not finish your deliveries, you should fill out a PS Form 1571 -- Curtailment of Mail, and hand it to a management person if one is available. Make certain you have a copy for yourself. If you need to wash up or go to the restroom do so, but by all means don't linger.

At any time you have a discussion with anyone from management do not engage in any argumentative discussion.

Article 14 of the National Agreement places a burden on management to provide you with safe working conditions. It also embodies the National Association of Letter Carriers with the same responsibility.

Section 1. Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of management to provide safe working conditions in all present and future installations and to develop a safe working force. The Union will cooperate with and assist management to live up to this responsibility.

Section 2. Cooperation

The Employer and the Union insist on the observance of safe rules and safe procedures by employees and insist on correction of unsafe conditions.

Some management personnel hold that working in the dark in and of itself is not unsafe. Management contends that people come and go safely at all hours of the night, and there is little if no reason why letter carriers can't be out delivering mail it the dark.

All Article 14grievances are initiated at Step 2 and not Step One.

Article 15, Section 2. Grievance Procedure -- Steps. Step 2.

(b) Any grievance initiated at Step 2, pursuant to Article 2 or 14of this Agreement, must be filed within 14 days of the date on which the Union or the employees first learned or may reasonably have been expected to have learned of its cause.

Once you have returned to the office if your supervisor is still available you should inform him or her you wish to speak with your union steward first thing the next morning if both of you are working. When management forces you to work into darkness, and you feel it is unsafe then you should follow through with a grievance as well as filling out PS Form 1767 Report of an Unsafe Condition.

When you have filled out the 1767 make sure you get your copy, and then pass that along to your steward. He or she should make that a part of the grievance package.

See Cartoon
by Fred Acedo
of Branch 782,
Bakersfield, California.
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