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April 1998
Vol. 1 No. 7 Page 6

Working Under Control

by Joe Golonka
USPS management's obsessive and paranoid preoccupation with unrealistic levels of DPS "savings" is the driving force behind its continued all out assault on letter carriers, the National Agreement, and common sense. This has led to ever increasing attempts at the intimidation of those who actually perform real work for the Postal Service.

Letter carriers are already performing daily work at the top end of what is safely and humanly possible, and we are incessantly badgered and threatened to produce more.

Some of the more gullible and weak have proven to be susceptible to these tactics. Even worse, when the level of safe and effective work is exceeded, accidents and injuries inevitably follow. The USPS then responds with more abuse, including retaliatory discipline and blatant obstruction and interference with employee rights that are guaranteed by the Federal Employee's Compensation Act.

Management's utter hypocrisy on "safety" issues is never more apparent then when it attempts to intimidate a letter carrier into working too fast to perform the job safely. The irony is that 95% of all preventable accidents and injuries (some accidents and injuries truly are unpreventable) are the result of letter carriers working too fast.

Management will never admit this though, because it means telling letter carriers to work at a safe and realistic pace, which it (management) considers to be "slowing down." Instead management promotes policies and practices that discourage the reporting of injuries, rather than policies designed to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring. The bosses just can't bring themselves to say "slow down and work under control."

There is a 100% effective way of avoiding this entire "scene." This is found in the most basic of union credos, which is eight hours work for eight hours pay. One efficient and effective method of doing this is always, every moment, working under control, and never letting anyone or anything "stress" you into doing otherwise.

Keep in mind that you work for an employer that claims you are 30% overpaid, and who claims that it has to "take back the streets" from you. (That is an actual management "battle cry;" these people really are paranoid). Also keep in mind that the USPS is "managed" by hordes of useless and inept personnel, from power tripping and incompetent delivery supervisors to self-important and utterly arrogant higher lever managers.

To make this even worse, management's bonuses are now based on YOUR work, and not on their own. I suppose that is the only way to justify paying them anything, as their own alleged "work" warrants no tangible compensation.

You owe the Postal Service a fair days work for a fair day's wage. You owe those cited above NOTHING. Management existence is based on deceit and intimidation, and on screwing you over, any way it can, any time it can. Moreover, it represents everything that is wrong with the Postal Service, just as we represent everything that is right with the Postal Service.

With this in mind, you can choose to be in control of your work, every second of every minute of every day. The letter carrier job involves the sequencing of flat and letter size mail, and then the subsequent delivery of this mail, along with parcels, to USPS customers. It is a job that demands our commitment and careful attention to the performance of our duties.

But that is what we do, and that is all that needs to be considered by any letter carrier. Everything else, including all of management's games and so-called "goals" (which exist solely for its own benefit and self-aggrandizement) is meaningless crap, and should be treated as such.

So, begin each work day under control, perform all of your assigned duties under control, respond to supervisory arrogance and Contractually violative management behavior by staying under control, (grievance actions and other Contractually designated means of response) and end work each day under control. You will be healthier and happier, and most important, YOU will be in control.

Joe Golonka is Vice President of Western Wayne County, Michigan Branch 2184 of the NALC. He has been a letter carrier for nearly 27 years (June 5, 1971) and an NALC member from day one. He has served as a Union official for 25 years, both as a Steward and also as Branch 2184 Vice Preseident for more than 16 years. Joe has also served as a Detroit District NALC DPS Coordinator for the past five years, and previous to this he was a member of the Detroit District TE joint task force. He also functions as a NALC legislative liaison for Michigan's 13th District. Joe received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1989, and is a volunteer severe local storm spotter (Skywarn program) for the National Weather Service.


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