Wayne County, MI
AFL - CIO
Vice President's Report
January / February 2019
Just Give Us Some Truth
"All I want is the truth; just give me some truth ... "
The United States Postal Service begins a new calendar year still dealing with most of its perennial problems, some generated by outside adversaries and some self-inflicted. Among those that are self-inflicted there is none more glaring and problematic
than it's near absence of competent leadership. Perhaps such is inevitable in an organization that is so bloated with endless layers of useless management personnel. However, for letter carriers that do the actual work of the Postal Service, it is yet another
unnecessary impediment to their daily mission.
During more recent years a culture of arrogant ineptitude has thoroughly infested the organization at the work floor level. Although supervisory incompetence has always existed to some extent in the Postal Service just as it does elsewhere, it has of late become so widespread as to completely transform some post office stations into daily circuses.
Central to this culture of ineptitude is a near total absence of knowledge on the part of far too many postal management types about the letter carrier job itself, along with its work rules and procedures. CC.As are recruited into 204b positions without ever having actually learned the job, much less anything about its work rules and contractual requirements. The so-called "training" of new carrier supervisors is all but devoid of information about the job itself, instead focusing on numbers-driven and badly outdated tactics of micromanagement and intimidation.
The recent "Day of Observance" following the death of former President George H.W. Bush revealed just how comically inept local management has become with established work rules and procedures. Management in many Branch-2184 stations
stumbled all over itself with misdirected responses and blatant misinformation, going so far in at least three of our stations as foolishly attempting to create a "holiday schedule" for the proceeding day.
The sad reality of this all is that letter carriers cannot and should not ever rely on postal management for contractually accurate and truthful information about anything that is work-related. In most instances management representatives simply don't know what they are talking about - and they don't care.
In fairness, it should also be noted that some misguided letter carriers are also responsible for the spread of false information - either by repeating bad information they received from management or by simply guessing or making up their own Contractual
and work rule misinformation. However, all of this can be overcome, and quite easily.
Shutting Down the Disinformation Machine
A personal practice of always questioning the answers - ALL of the answers, is first and foremost of great value with everything in life both inside and outside of work. Healthy skepticism and its companion virtue of critical thinking are the perfect antidotes
to misinforn1ation, whether it is willful in nature or the product of ignorance. Always demand factual and evidence-based support in response to anything that you are told, no matter what the source. Follow the facts and evidence wherever they lead, even if this challenges long-held beliefs. A lot of myth and misinformation persists in the Postal Service simply because erroneous beliefs have not been challenged.
Fortunately in the Postal Service, factual and well documented information can be quickly ascertained in response to any workplace issue or question. The source of this reliable and easily obtainable information is unfailingly your Union. Your NALC stewards and Branch 2184 officers are at the forefront of this unending effort to provide fact based
and accurate workplace information. Given the time, I along with other Branch 2184 officers and stewards would sit down with every member of this Branch for as long as it takes to answer every question and to provide every bit of necessary information to counteract management's endless disinformation machine.
However, there is a faster and much more efficient way to do this. Comprehensive resources are immediately available 24/7 to every NALC member. These are vast in scope and go far beyond the presence of union officials at the branch, regional, and national levels. Available resources for Branch 2184 members include, but are not limited to the NALC App, the National Union' s website
(NALC.org), our Branch 2184 website (NALC2184.org), the Postal Record monthly magazine, and this publication. Collectively, these provide the information and answers to every possible Contractual, work rule, and postal-related question.
The postal management disinformation machine is thus easily defeated in the same manner that all sources of false and misleading information are defeated - by truth that is itself obtained through verifiable facts and evidence. An informed and professional letter carrier is forever management's greatest nightmare.
Replacing a Failed Postal Management Model
Only when (and if) the Postal Service entirely revamps its archaic and badly failed management model that seeks out and promotes incompetent and unqualified individuals into supervisory and management positions, can true leaders actually emerge. Only when knowledgeable supervisors and managers are effectively trained in cooperation, teamwork, and respectful interaction with others instead of engaging in ridiculous levels of micromanagement and intimidation can the dysfunctional postal workplace environment evolve into a professional delivery service.
The amazing work of United States Postal Service craft employees and especially letter carriers is the ONLY reason that the USPS survives. In its present fom1, the Postal Service and its craft employees would be much better served if most of its management
just shut up and got out of the way.
-- Joe Golonka