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View Diary: Republicans manufacture a crisis for the Postal Service, and too many Democrats go along (197 comments)

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  •  Excellent diary, Laura! (4+ / 0-)

    As a Postal union rep, I have been following this story (living it, actually) for a couple of years now.

    Your diary is the best piece I have seen anywhere explaining the situation clearly, accurately, and in plain English that anyone can understand.

    Good job, and thank you!

    •  I'd like to get the perspectives from those (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, reflectionsv37, basket

      of you on the inside - letter carriers, service associates who work behind the counter at post offices, workers at processing/sorting facilities, etc.

      I work for the 1-800 number for USPS. The majority of calls are about problems in one form or another. The majority of those are about mail pieces not delivered when customers expect, as well as other ancillary issues. Probably the call volume we get reflects just a fraction of what actually happens.

      Common perceptions, though, paint a picture of spoiled, overpaid employees who can only get fired if they commit a felony, all because the union prevents USPS management from taking any corrective action against workers not performing their duties properly. I know it isn't true, but there are a few specific complaints I get more than occasionally:

      - carriers leaving a "Sorry We Missed You" notice in someone's mailbox or on the front door without attempting to deliver the mail piece. All happening while the resident is home.

      - Scheduled redelivery requests not honored (sometimes multiple requests for the same item)

      - customers sending items using First Class International Mail or Priority Mail Flat Rate Small Box or Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope and being told the customs forms that accompany them - the CP22 forms, provide a customs number that begins with "L" - provide tracking as part of the service, when they do not.

      - customers sending insured domestic items and being told the insurance number, beginning with "13" or with the letter "V" provide tracking and delivery confirmation as part of the service, when they don't.

      What are your experiences, if any, with these issues?

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 01:11:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Postal emplyees are forbidden (0+ / 0-)

        to talk to the media (and that includes blogs) about postal business. That is the truth, believe it or not.

        Mitt Romney's Like A Box Of Chocolates. You Never Know What You're Gonna Get!

        by kitebro on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:47:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  understood (0+ / 0-)

          I do know that mail is treated like national security, which has its good and bad points

          liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

          by RockyMtnLib on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:58:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Um, not really... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            avsp, Zinman

            Postal workers are free to speak publicly or post information about our jobs, as long as we do it on our own time and don't give away any Postal secret information.

            RockyMtnLib, sorry you have the misunderstanding that there is a "common perception" of Postal workers as

            "spoiled, overpaid employees who can only get fired if they commit a felony," etc.
            I have never run into that perception anywhere I go. In fact, polls consistently show that the USPS is the most trusted and respected of any federal agency, and its workers are seen as dependable and upstanding.

            In my hometown, and many others, there was a huge hue and cry from the public when USPS management announced its plans to shut down local Postal facilities. Literally no one was in favor of the cutbacks. The public wouldn't have given us their unanimous support if they thought we were spoiled and overpaid.

            Your perception has probably been tainted by your job answering complaints all day long. I hope someone is telling you and your co-workers at the complaint call-in center that 99% of all mail is delivered accurately and quickly. You're hearing complaints only about the very small percentage of mistakes that the USPS makes.

            As far as your specific questions, I don't know about those forms. But in general when a Postal worker makes a mistake like those you listed, it's because management failed to train them properly or is emphasizing "getting the mail out" too quickly, at the expense of good customer service. More and more frequently these days, it's because management is under-staffing its facilities, trying to do the same amount of work with too few workers. That may be why the unions are so successful at keeping employees from being fired, as you noted, because neutral arbitrators usually can tell when management is trying to fire someone to cover up a management mistake.

            •  I did add this (0+ / 0-)
              Probably the call volume we get reflects just a fraction of what actually happens.
              so I certainly didn't mean to imply that what I hear constitutes experiences of the majority of the public, but it does constitute the stated experiences of a plurality of the public - not just a few stragglers.

              It isn't just at my job. I can't mention anything about my job to my mom without her bringing up some time in 1991 where she lectured a letter carrier about getting rid of junk mail and that if junk mail helps pay postal carriers' salaries, then gosh darn, those postal carriers need to find other work, that with complaints about delivery later and later during the day. It of course is totally irrelevant to her that carriers' routes may change and that each day the goal is to get everything delivered by 5pm.

              Add to all of that the complaints that USPS is an "evil monopoly" since nobody else is allowed to deliver 1st class mail, which to me also reflects a misunderstanding of the idea of the commons (which is anathema anyway to many on the right) and that some services should only be delivered by one entity.

              Their complaints about unions aren't limited to USPS. I think the complaints are off base, but they're absolutely convinced. My mom would also frequently bring up her experiences shopping at King Soopers (owned by Kroger) - a union shop, and an Albertsons, which in her neighborhood was non-union. To her Albertsons was clearly superior because the lack of a union enabled management to bring discipline into the workplace. Albertsons got her through the checkout line, unlike the unionized King Soopers, where she had to frequently wait due to employees just dicking around and chatting with each other.

              It's part of the old "Theory X" view of business management, which asserts that workers are inherently lazy, try to avoid work, and will only be productive if management is stern and heavily emphasizes the "stick" over the "carrot".

              liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

              by RockyMtnLib on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:39:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If your mom... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RockyMtnLib, Donkey Hotey

                If your mom had ever held a union job, I'm sure she would change her opinion. I work with plenty of people who were previously anti-union. Now that they have union jobs, all of them agree that the union is the best thing that ever happened to them. More money, more protection, better benefits, and actual employee rights, something most workers these days can't even imagine.

                •  She only had secretarial jobs (0+ / 0-)

                  at places like Lockheed (back when it was Martin Marietta).

                  When I was at Qwest (now Century Link) my dad was so anti-union he suggested I should quit the job just because it was a unionized workplace - out of "principle". When he passed he was making a six figure salary in his consulting business.

                  liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

                  by RockyMtnLib on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:48:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

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