|Delivering information when you need it most.||January 1998, Vol. 1 No. 4|
by John Cerullo
In the December issue of Contracts and Conflicts, Pam Waschbush writes: "The evaluated route is not piece work. I feel the city craft would be better off being involved in the system they will eventually get versus having it forced on them."
First, with all due respect, there are currently two methods of being paid: an hourly wage, and 'everything else'. Everything else is piecework, no matter how hidden the nature of the system may be in numbers and bean-counter nonsense.
Second, I object to the assertion that letter carriers will have to have a system like this forced on us. If we do not accept this type of a system, we are entitled to arbitration. Since this is a complete and unilateral change of the work agreement on the part of USPS, I do not accept that an arbitrator will force this upon us, if our union does its job.
Further, I submit there is one and only one reason why USPS wants this system: to get more work for less pay from letter carriers. There is no other logical reason for management to want this system. I am not opposed to change, especially if the change represents progress. However, this is not progress, it is a step back toward the 19th Century, and I am unalterably opposed to evaluated routes for city delivery carriers. Now, if rural carriers are happy with what they have, I say: "Good for them."
But, from my standpoint, the NRLCA made a major error in its negotiations, and are now trying to justify a mistake by passing it off as 'the wave of the future'. This is the same kind of tactic used by political fanatics with things like 'privatization' 'welfare reform' 'tax reform' and many other programs, all of which have resulted in stealing from the
working class people of this country and giving to the already fortunate.
There is no need for evaluated routes. Management has the tools at its disposal to adjust routes properly so city carriers don't work the ridiculous kind of hours so many of us have been working the past few years. I am tired of 10 hour days. If the postal service wants to cut my route to eight hours, I'll be more than glad to get eight hours pay for it.
I, for one have never in 23 years as a city carrier 'sat under trees' to fill my day. Until postal management learns the simple commandment "Thou shalt not steal." I will be forever opposed to evaluated routes. They can't adjust routes properly when paying overtime and penalty time; they will not evaluate routes fairly under an evaluated system. When a route is 'counted' now and the mail is ridiculously light, management shafts itself with overtime and penalty time. Under evaluated routes, it will be the carrier alone who suffers.
To repeat: Postal management wants to change the work relationship for one reason and one reason only: It wants MORE work for LESS pay. It firmly believes City Letter Carriers have it TOO GOOD NOW, and it wants to put a stop to it. I would be more than happy to get paid eight hours pay for eight hours work. I have no intentions of getting eight hours pay for for six hours work, but when I get 10 hours work thrown in my lap every day, I am quite comportable with 11 hours pay; that's the law, and we would be fools to sidestep FLSA in this way.
John Cerullo is a member of NALC Branch 147. He served as a steward in New Canaan, CT from 1979 - 1991. Previously served as Branch Secretary for NALC Branch 1653, prior to merger. John has been with USPS for 23 years.