Toxic work environment

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George Laham
George Laham

Summer came and went, yet one thing has never changed – the toxic work environment that our carriers work under. We regularly meet with the district manager and her staff, and the question is always, why is our retention rate so bad?

Well for starters the way the new hires come to us is not acceptable in any company let alone a federal job. There is no exam, no drug test, and no interview to feel and see who your candidates are.

The lack of leadership from management is at its lowest level. The average carrier wants to come to work, do his or her job in a professional way and go home. Yet there are number of issues that need to be addressed:

  • Poor management: this is one of the most important factors that contributes to a toxic environment. Lack of communication, favoritism, and insufficient training lead to chaotic work room floor. It’s getting almost impossible to get a supervisor that was a carrier.
  • Work pressure: lack of vehicles, tight delivery schedules and impossible performance expectations lead to stress, burnout, and a decreased sense of job satisfaction.
  • Bullying and Harassment: Reports of bullying have been reported especially from 204B’s towards some CCA’s, and even from some managers towards our senior carriers. That kind of behavior creates a hostile work environment, affecting employee’s morale, performance, and mental health.

We as a Union are trying to address the workroom floor issues but we need to know what goes on daily. Do not make deals with management and a month later call us with a complaint. Management historically is known to have short memory.

By now, I am sure that almost everyone has heard of the letter carrier that passed away in a customer’s yard on June 20, in Dallas due to the heat. What is ironic is that he had 36 years of service discipline free, but the previous week he was disciplined because he was taking too many comfort stops to cool down.

This is the new post office. They preach safety, yet when you work safely, you are being disciplined. What is so ironic about that is that Management was mandated to show 20 minutes to the carriers, but they never did. Instead, they logged in to Lite Blue, went in our Hero profile, and put down that each carrier in that facility received the training.

Recently, our business agent Rick Dicecca sent a template grievance to all our stewards to file if the video has not been shown and / or management falsified the Hero profile.

2023 is gone but the heat illness video still needs to be shown to ALL employees. That includes CCA’s since they come in between 9 and 10am. If they do not show the video by April 1st 2024, a grievance needs to be filed, then call the Union office and report it.

If any member suffers from any heat related issues, please make sure you fill out a CA-1, let your steward know, let your safety captain know, and contact our OWCP director, Mario Russotti for guidance. We have a 3-member team available on the day of our monthly meeting, from 3pm to 7pm, to help with any compensation issues.

Since we are talking about comfort stops that could lead to stationary events, let me explain how the system works. Safety is always a legitimate reason for having a stationary event. In the summer we deal with the heat and in the winter, we deal with snow and ice. But make sure you can explain to local management the reason why you were stationary or during route inspection to the REAT who are evaluating your route.If TIAREAP came to your office, then you know what I am talking about, but if you were lucky, then you have time to start going back to basics. No short-cuts, no usage of bottle as your mobile urinal, do not hang parcels from the mail boxes, and above all do not go into customer’s driveway if you cannot not have a clear exit.

On the political side there are few bills that NALC is pushing forward.

  • H.R. 82 would repeal the GPO and the WEP titles of the Social Security Act, which unfairly reduce or sometimes eliminate Social Security benefits for millions of federal workers, including letter carriers. Currently, the bill reached 300 cosponsors in the House. Under current House rules, when a bill reaches 300 cosponsors it can go to the House floor for a vote after 30 days if the committee of jurisdiction, the House Committee on Ways and means for H.R. 82, does not act. With 298 bipartisan cosponsors, a vote on H.R. 82 is expected before the end of the month.
  • HR 3721 Today, Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and seven other cosponsors reintroduced the USPS Shipping Equity Act (H.R. 3721). The bill, which is identical to legislation introduced last Congress, would allow the Postal Service to ship beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages directly from licensed producers and retailers to legal customers.
    Current law prohibits the Postal Service from shipping alcoholic goods, making private shippers such as FedEx and UPS the only option for wineries, breweries and other producers to have goods delivered directly to customers. This bill would allow USPS to ship these beverages and would generate an estimated $190 million annually in new revenue for the Postal Service.
  • Federal Retirement Fairness Act reintroduced in House Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), David Valadao (RCA), Don Bacon (R-NE) and Gerry Connolly (DVA) introduced the Federal Retirement Fairness Act (H.R. 5995), legislation that would allow certain federal employees to make catch-up retirement contributions for time spent as non-career employees after Dec. 31, 1988, making it creditable service under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
    The legislation would cover letter carriers who were employed as casuals, transitional employees, or city carrier assistants, providing them with greater retirement security.

When it comes to the Letter carrier Political Fund (LCPF) we as a branch are at 12% contributors. We can do better; we need to do better. There is no money that is too little. At every branch meeting we have 2 coordinators that will be more than happy to help you with your contribution. As the old saying goes” Money talks, bullshit walks.”

Until next time, in solidarity,
George Laham, President

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