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Rural Carriers

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Joyce nalc
02:22 AM ET (US)
Can anyone tell me how to get ahold of the Rural Carrier Union that covers Santa Rosa California?
We have NALC 204B carriers carrying Rural Routes. I would like this to stop and have rural carrier assistants do the work so we can have our carriers back.
tony rb
10:14 PM ET (US)
can we caes fss
j poll
02:24 PM ET (US)
can you create aux route without rebuilding existing j route
05:09 PM ET (US)
PTF assigned relief for 3 k routes. He works on 2 of them, but never the 3rd. He is always scheduled for a route outside of his assigned 3, and an RCA is brought in form another station to cover my route on my K day, or they split the route. Don't they have to put the PTF on his assignment? Is there a reference?
RIKSNYPerson was signed in when posted
10:12 PM ET (US)
Um, a couple of those things you mention are not actually in the contract; but, good luck with that!
08:47 PM ET (US)
tin man
08:42 PM ET (US)
My postmaster got a tread checker. Amazing how he don't have time for real work but got plenty of time to check all the carriers and clerks tires. I've just been a carrier for over 25 years and never needed a tread checker to know when to buy tires. Wonder how much this cost the poor ole strapped USPS????
26 yearer
08:10 PM ET (US)
The Piece Work Trap
by John Dziubek former CTRLCA State Steward (written sometime after the Wells arbitration)

Since 1896 rural letter carriers have been paid by an evaluated type system. After the wildcat postal strike in 1970, some very important things changed for postal workers. First the Post Office Department, which was a branch of the federal government, was transformed into the United States Postal Service, an independent corporation. Secondly and more importantly to the paychecks of rural carriers, in May of 1974 an act of Congress placed all postal employees under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), however it was soon discovered that the entire rural carrier pay system was incompatible with the FLSA.

According to Lester Miller, past NRLCA President (100 Years of Rural Free Delivery): “The solution relied upon the Section 7(b)2 of the FLSA. This section provided for the use of an annual limitation of 2,080 actual hours worked instead of the usual 40-hour per week limitation to comply with the standards. The key to the solution was that the annual limitation of 2,080 was based upon actual hours worked and not upon paid hours. Taking into account the holidays and the use of sick and annual leave which a carrier would likely use during the year, most carriers could confine their actual work hours to the 2,080-hour requirement to comply with the FLSA and still be able to carry a 46-hour evaluated route, provided the carrier was able to keep within the normal time standards. Actually many carriers have been able to comply with the requirements even on a 48-hour evaluated route by working below the time standards.” This agreement provided the basis for our current evaluated pay system.

In actuality the evaluated system is nothing more than a piecework system. Obviously rural carriers don’t work on a long assembly line in a huge factory. But our “evaluated” pay system is based on the same principal. When mail count time comes your manager inspects the routes for boxes, stops, and mileage. You then receive a certain time factor, regardless of road and weather conditions. Your manager counts and times everything you do. You are given so much credit per letter, flat, parcel, etc. and anything else is measured with a stopwatch right down to the second. In other words, your salary is based on casing and delivering so many pieces of mail. Carriers are paid at a set rate for the route, whether they can complete their work in the allotted amount of time or not. If they can’t, they work additional hours without compensation. No consideration is given for a worker’s age, health or disabilities. The only difference between what we do and what is done on an assembly line is that our work is more difficult, and we have to work outside in all types of weather.

I have been a rural carrier since 1980 and during that entire period everyone from managers to other craft employees envied rural carriers for the simple fact that on some days we got to go home early. That was our incentive. But wait, during arbitration for our new contract the postal service informed the arbitrator that we are not on the incentive system. The fact that some of us go home early was used to convince arbitrator Wells that the time standards do not equate to a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. With the new contract standards and the count period have changed. In other words speed up the assembly line, because whether you realize it or not you were just caught in the piece work trap.

Let’s make a little detour through the history of the labor movement in this country. In early American history, the colonial settlers were mainly farmers. In America, the coming of machines was controversial. Workers were forced to work long hours from morning until night in dirty and unsafe mills and factories. Many of these people were paid according to the piece work system.

I recently read a book entitled “A Pictorial History of American Labor” by William Cahn. Inside there were some interesting stories from workers in the early part of the 20th century that apply to the rural carriers of America today.

“The scientifically computed piecework system increasingly made the worker a victim of the machinery he tended. “I think that piece work is a very unjust method of paying workers,” one woman worker said.”

“If we realized how piece work harms us mentally and physically, we might take it a little bit more seriously. Piece work is paid on a plan that is more like guess work than anything else. The employer cannot resist the temptation to cut prices when he sees that we are making more than he thinks we ought to make.”

“Often the employer picks the fastest girl in the place and gives her a certain amount of work to turn out, with a time-study method of ascertaining the time required. When she turns out more than the average worker, and so earns more, the employer usually cuts the prices accordingly. He may cut the rate again and again. And we have to work faster and faster in order to get a living wage.”

One physician commented on the system: “Medically, the piece work system is perhaps the most pernicious thing that could be devised to weaken what, for a better term, might be described as the dynamic efficiency of the nervous system. I am referring, of course, to the unregulated piece work system in which there is no maximum or average amount of work set down to keep the worker from speeding beyond his capacity. The pay that the piece worker obtains for his labor is ingeniously devised, and subject to change in amount, so that he must work at top speed to make it worth while. With the increased efficiency of the pieceworker, the price per piece of work turned out is commonly decreased, so that a greater and increasingly more intense effort is necessary to reach the individual’s maximum reward for his labor. It needs no argument to convince even a sturdy advocate of that new idol, called efficiency, that such methods are bound in the long run, to use up the worker …”

These words were written over 80 years ago, but basically the same thing just happened to rural carriers in 2002. Some of us were beating the time standards, so the standards were raised. This is not the first, nor will it
be the last speedup in the rural carrier piece work system. Remember the bonus collectors receive bonus checks based upon increased productivity, not profits. That means that you and I will deliver to more delivery points with reduced work hours (higher standards) and fewer employees (fewer relief days). Their bonus is assured this year, but what will happen next year. In order to collect it once again they will want more blood from you and me.

Since I started delivering mail for the post office in 1980, there have been three speedups initiated by our employer that affected rural carriers.
The first one was in 1980 with the introduction of the L route. What it did was change the box factor from two minutes per box to 1.64 minutes per regular box for high density routes (12 boxes or more per mile) and .82 for all centralized boxes. In addition, carriers on L routes would have to purchase 150 times the first class rate in order to receive a 5 minute stamp stock purchase credit. While these radical changes affected only a small percentage of the nation’s carriers, it affected the majority of the carriers in Connecticut. I was a sub at that time and it decreased the evaluation of my route by three hours. As a new employee and union member I was impressed by the reaction and the solidarity of the carriers at the Connecticut contract ratification meeting. I am still proud of the fact that Connecticut rural carriers voted NO to this speedup. Unfortunately the contract was ratified, because this new L route concept did not affect the majority of the carriers in the nation. It was eventually hailed as the savior of the rural craft, because our cost was less than city delivery, therefore we were allowed to gain territory. However the carriers branded with an L route classification would be required to handle more mail and deliveries to receive the same wage as a non-L carrier.

As is usually the case, as time went by this speedup became the norm and therefore another speedup came in 1991 with the introduction of sector segment. This was soon replaced with the introduction of DPS mail, with
a new standard of 30 letters per minute for street time only. This was a double whammy. It not only eliminated office casing time, but it eliminated office strapout time. Again this speedup was limited to when and where automation came on line. While automation limited some handing of the mail, the carriers would again have to handle more mail and delivery points in order to maintain the same wage. These two previous speedups pale in comparison to what happened to all rural carriers in 2002. The pattern was set and the postal service knew from past experience it would be easy to squeeze the paychecks of rural carriers once more due to the evaluated system.

Management convinced the arbitrator that the rural pay system is not an incentive system. The overall average showed that rural carriers were getting done early and getting paid for work hours that they did not perform. Based on this fact, the arbitrator raised our standards. The postal service, empowered by this victory, decided they would squeeze the rural paycheck even more by teaching their managers how to create artificial targets, and intimidate and harass employees. This is what being labeled the most cooperative union has gotten us.

The disastrous results of the 2002 mailcount were as follows. Before the count there were 599 K routes, 64 J routes, 58 H routes, and 91 Auxiliary routes in Connecticut. When the dust settled there were 188 K routes, 265 J routes, 267 H routes and 91 Auxiliary routes. Across the state the average carrier saw a 5 hour and 43 minute (11%) decrease in their route’s evaluation. This resulted in a yearly savings of $1,330,418 for the Connecticut District. This also eliminated 16,146 relief days for RCA’s to work and for regulars to rest and produced additional savings for the postal service. How many auxiliary routes do you think will be eliminated?

There is a comparison that management does during the mailcount that people pay little attention to. They compare each route’s standard hours to the time actually used by the carrier during mailcount. In past counts, 73% of the carriers worked under standards. This count provided a significant difference, with only 39% of the carriers working under standards. This means that 61% of the carriers worked actual hours over the standards, therefore the average rural carrier gave one hour and five minutes of free labor to the postal service per week. Collectively this amounts to $974,400 of free labor for the postal service per year. Obviously this was a significant negative change for rural carriers. Who is responsible for this debacle? The evaluated system caused the rural carrier to hustle in order to avoid a 2080 problem and to obtain the highest salary. For some carriers speeding up was not enough and this lead some rural carriers to not record actual work hours or to take shortcuts in the job. This is not unusual from the material I have read on the piecework system and the labor movement in this country, “that high productivity figures are partly the result of effectively forcing workers to work overtime for free”.

Human beings are not robots. This is the flaw of the piecework system that management ignores. Only the youngest and healthiest workers will be able to meet the new time standards, and even they will wear out over time like a piece of machinery, due to long hours of repetitive motion.

As you can see, the supposed benefits of the evaluated system are far outweighed by the negative. Carriers on most routes will work hours they are not compensated for, most of which will be unpaid overtime hours. Relief days for most carriers are a thing of the past, sick leave discipline will increase as the RCA ranks dwindle, and vacation time will be as difficult to obtain as it is in the other crafts.

So why should we be the only employees to be on an evaluated system?
If some of us are still able to beat our standards, the Post Office will only convince a future arbitrator to raise our standards again. It is time to put the evaluated system into the dust bin of history and get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, like everyone else. Rural carriers need to be paid hourly.

When the postal service convinced the arbitrator to eliminate the bump that allowed for an exemption to FLSA law in 1974, they in fact made the entire rural carrier pay system incompatible with FLSA. You can be sure as the work hours pile up, and your leave is denied, managers will become panicked over 2080 hours. They will then want to punish you for the problem they have created. Ultimately there will be only one solution and that will be to comply with FLSA law. Rural carriers will have to go on the clock like other postal workers, and be paid overtime for time worked over 40 hours in a week.

The mail handlers recently settled their contract with relatively similar results to ours with one exception. Our raise was picked right out of our pockets with speedups, so in effect we lost money in comparison to the other crafts simply because of the evaluated system. Rest assured the company is not done with their speedups. They will look to get their production numbers up and we are sitting ducks with the evaluated system.

I think you can agree with me that rural carriers work on their own piecework assembly line. Unfortunately we are the only postal workers trapped in this antiquated system. So how do we escape? It will be up to the membership and elected delegates at a future national convention to direct our national officers on a different course. Let’s hope something changes soon for all our sakes..
Postal Employee AdvocatePerson was signed in when posted
12:17 AM ET (US)
Update and Correction to Article on
How to Respond to Investigative Interviews or Pre-Disciplinary Interviews

Proving that I don’t know everything and am still a student, I’ve been schooled regarding how the 5th Amendment applies to federal employees when they are being interviewed during an official investigation. Under certain circumstances federal employees DO have to waive their 5th Amendment protections against self-incrimination in administrative matters. Exceptions occur whenever questions focus on conduct that could be interpreted as criminal – an act for which they can be prosecuted. So things like stealing mail, money or stamps, drug use on the job, assault, workers’ comp fraud, etc. are not just violations of agency rules and regulations, but are also violations of specific criminal codes or statutes. If the subject of the supervisor’s investigation includes conduct for which you could be criminally prosecuted, then you have an entitlement against self-incrimination and don’t have to answer.

I was somewhat familiar with a Rights form used by the OIG’s office, called a Garrity and/or Kalkines warning. Therein Interviewees are advised that they are either provided immunity from criminal prosecution if they submit to the administrative interview or they have the right to not participate in the interview. I had not previously read the text of the actual decision by the Court of Claims in its 1973 Kalkines decision until I was challenged about my claim that the 5th Amendment also applied to administrative matters. And in my experience, the only reference to Kalkines in EEO or MSPB is whenever there are simultaneous criminal charges pending.

If an employee refuses to answer questions when presented with the Kalkines warning, the employee may be terminated for that refusal. Any answers that the employee provides may be used for administrative purposes, but not for any criminal prosecution. If an employee lies during a compelled interview, however, the employee may be prosecuted for lying. See DOJ Wray Memo, dated May 6, 2005.

So I acknowledge my overly broad advice regarding Investigative Interviews. If the investigation is strictly administrative regarding the official performance of the employee’s duties, then the employee IS compelled to cooperate. But if an administrative investigative interview raises possible criminal conduct, the employee is not obligated to respond. It’s at that point that the OIG may be asked to intervene and present the employee with a Garrity or Kalkines Rights form.

My regrets for the misleading and incomplete previous advice. I appreciate the reasoned and logical arguments posed by others that led to my further research into this subject. Hopefully, the exceptions described above will assist in correcting that error.

     J.R. Pritchett
     Administrative Law Representative
     (208) 254-9196
Postal Employee AdvocatePerson was signed in when posted
10:15 PM ET (US)
How to Respond to Investigative Interviews or Pre-Disciplinary Interviews

For procedural purposes, before an employee receives any discipline, management is required to give the employee an opportunity to respond, often referred to as the employee’s “day in court”. These occur in the form of an Investigatory Interview (I.I.) or Pre-Disciplinary Interview (PDI).

First, calling it the employee’s day in court is a misnomer. The employee is being interviewed by management, who cannot act both as the prosecutor and the judge. Ostensibly a “day in court” is presented to a judge, arbitrator or other unbiased mediator. This mischaracterization of the interview initially leaves an employee with the impression that there will be some fairness and weighing of circumstances. Under those conditions an employee may be more likely to reveal information they may not otherwise feel comfortable revealing – and with good reason.

In most cases, supervisors and managers have zero training in conducting investigations of any type. But under Article 3, Management’s Right to Manage, they have the right to do pretty much anything that they don’t know how to do. So a template or script is provided by the District’s Labor Relations Office. Almost universally one of the first things that the employee will be told is their obligation under ELM 665.3 that they “must cooperate in any postal investigation.” That agency rule however, does not waive other obligations or protections under law.

Anyone who has ever watched a TV cop show is familiar with the Miranda Rights afforded to anyone who is arrested…”You have the right to remain silent…anything you say can and will be used against you…” You have the right NOT to say anything that could possibly incriminate yourself. You have the right to keep your mouth shut – a difficult concept for too many people (myself included). [Rather than get into the history of Miranda and how its genesis arose as a result of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 5th Amendment, the reader can look it up on the Court’s website or on Wikipedia.]

When a supervisor or manager tells you during an I.I. that you have an obligation to cooperate, that does not waive or supersede your right against self-incrimination. Of course you don’t know yet what questions are going to be asked, so how do you know whether or not you could be incriminating yourself? If you are told that this interview could possibly lead to discipline, up to and including removal that becomes the equivalent of notice of your Miranda Rights. You do not have to agree to answer questions that could be used against you. Once advised that your responses could be used to discipline or remove you the employee should immediately invoke their 5th Amendment Right against self-incrimination and refuse to answer any questions. The employee should merely state for the record, “Since you have advised me that my responses could result in discipline or removal from the Postal Service, I invoke my 5th Amendment Right against self-incrimination, and respectfully decline to respond to any questions.”

Keep in mind that the burden of proof – evidence that the employee committed the infraction – always rests with the Postal Service. Sometimes they may have enough documentary evidence to meet that burden. More often than not, their evidence would be insufficient without some type of admission or acknowledgement from the employee that they committed the infraction. That’s where I.I.’s & PDI’s are relied on. They rely on the employee to incriminate themselves. Also consider if the investigation were about another employee, or a situation unrelated to the employee being interviewed, you would not be advised that the interview could possibly lead to discipline.

     J.R. Pritchett,
     Administrative Law Representative
     (208) 254-9196

cut here
“Since you have advised me that my responses could result in discipline or removal from the Postal Service, I invoke my 5th Amendment Right against self-incrimination, and respectfully decline to respond to any questions.”
fold and place in wallet or purse
03:55 PM ET (US)

Have several vehicles for sale - Factory RHD Jeep Cherokees. Call 888-632-5936 for more information.
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26 yearer
04:40 PM ET (US)
USPS Execs Get Pay Increase, Bonuses and PMG, DPMG get new perk for FY2015

On Friday, November 13, 2015, the (Temporary) Board of Governors approved USPS’s Annual Report (10k) Pursuant to Section 13 or 15 (d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015. Although USPS financials were widely reported in mainstream media and postal related news websites –nothing was reported about USPS executive’s pay or the new policy for PMG and DPMG.
According to the report: At the start of calendar year 2015, the compensation system operated pursuant to its terms eligible officers received an increase in their basic compensation and a performance lump sum payment. The increases in basic compensation in fiscal year 2015 were dependent upon performance, and averaged 3%. The amount of the performance lump sum payments issued in fiscal year 2015 was again based upon performance, and averaged 4%. Further, some non-executive officers received additional financial awards in fiscal year 2015 for outstanding performance on particular strategic projects in fiscal year 2014.
If we follow the BOG’s logic in granting postal execs salary increases and bonuses, the same rule of thumb can be applied to bargaining unit employees. Full-time employees at UPS and Fedex receive higher wages and much better benefit packages (dental in particular) than postal employees. Also, when employees from both companies (and other private sector companies) retire they receive full entitlements from Social Security. Postal Employees under CSRS on the other hand are entitled [if eligible] to only a portion of their Social Security benefits.

At the present time, contract negotiations with the APWU and NRLCA reached impasse and awaiting on either mediation and/or interest arbitration. It has been reported USPS is seeking to reduce pay scales for APWU represented employees.

USPS execs were not able to achieve goals in operations or any other area without the hard work from dedicated postal employees. The news of USPS ending FY2015 with a $5.1 billion loss AND USPS execs getting pay raises, bonuses while seeking to reduce wages of its workers is not a good look. Currently, APWU and NRLCA represented postal employees will not receive any wage increases or COLA adjustments until the respective contracts are settled.
26 yearer
04:39 PM ET (US)
Jack Potter made more (from the USPS) than you did last year
 July 29, 2015 postal 37 Comments
Former PMG Jack Potter

It has been almost five years now since Jack Potter retired as Postmaster General, so you might be surprised to learn that he’s still on the payroll- and he probably made more than you did last year. According to a recent OIG report, Potter was paid $110,625 in “deferred compensation” last year. Deferred compensation is a way of getting around federal executive salary caps- pay in excess of the cap in a given year goes in to a deferred compensation fund, to be doled out after the executive has left the USPS. Potter had over a million dollars accumulated in his fund when he retired. After receiving his payment last year, he has over a half million left. Potter is currently the President and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, where he is paid a reported $350 thousand a year, with up to a 20% annual bonus.

Potter isn’t the highest paid former USPS exec- that honor goes to Ross Philo. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s understandable- Ross was CIO for just three years, from 2008 to 2011. Despite his brief tenure, he managed to pile up a deferred compensation fund of $642,999 before he left, on top of his regular salary, capped at $230,000. He was paid $150,111 last year, and still has over $450K of USPS customers’ money to look forward to in the coming years.
Spam deleted by QuickTopic 12-30-2015 05:34 AM
11:25 AM ET (US)
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Edited 08-24-2015 11:29 AM
11:00 PM ET (US)

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Edited 08-04-2015 11:02 PM
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