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"Editorials" features longer and distinctively personal commentary from readers on topics that don't seem to fit in a letter to the editor. Send postal related articles to PostalReporter.com via here or  PO Box 161, Walnut Creek, Ca. 94597. Note: PostalReporter.com reserves the right to refuse articles which contain inappropriate language or addressing any subject which may be deemed offensive to others.
 
THE MEDIA DEFAULT: Postal Coverage Falls Short
Jay Galione – Director, Gone Postal

I sifted through the barrage of news stories on the Postal “default” last week hoping to find some real journalism. Sadly, I didn’t. Instead, I came across the same tired citations from official sources like the Postmaster General, the National Union heads, and the players in Congress.

Here’s the skinny: Wracked with a financial burden imposed by the Bush administration* the Postal Service defaults on a multibillion dollar annual payment, following the greatest recession since The Great Depression.

*“Thomas M. Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia who proposed the law, said the payment requirement was initiated by the administration of President George W. Bush.” (NY Times 7-31-12)

The ensuing “crisis” is being used as a pretext to dismantle the agency as we know it. Postmaster General Donahoe and Republicans in Congress propose setting loose tens of thousands of unemployed, and erasing hundreds of thousands of living wage jobs from an already ravaged economy.

www.gonepostalfilm.com

Does the Postal Service need to economize? Sure. It’d be hard argue with that. But where can they find efficiency? Certainly not from the Postmaster General or from the voices in Congress. The people involved in the conversation at a national policy-making level have either never worked in a post office, or they haven’t touched the mail in years.

Want to know where Post Offices can be consolidated? Where redundancies exist? Where money is wasted? Ask a letter carrier in Gastonia, North Carolina. Ask a Postmaster in Gold Run, California or a Mailhandler in Newburgh, New York.

I did that. The result is a four year cross country investigation chronicled in the documentary film (currently in progress), Gone Postal.

Witness a place where efficiency and progress are lost in a sea of grievances, retaliation, and lawsuits. Where unreachable goals are never justified but always enforced. And where employees have no voice.

Solutions to a problem rooted deep in the foundation of the organization won’t be found in a headline or a soundbite.

A service that operates on a local level everywhere in America, meeting different challenges in each market and terrain is now being shattered by the decisions of centralized controllers far removed from the daily operations, who have substantial political and personal interests at stake. Who’s looking out for the Service?

Jay Galione
Director, Gone Postal
http://www.gonepostalfilm.com/

 

Postal Street “Breakdown”

I once publicly asked a senior manager why he doesn’t engage in cultural diversity awareness as part of the voice-of-the-employee metric, and after a long pause his response was because he “was just a little white boy from the Midwest.” I was shocked that a senior executive would sound off like that, but I replied back in his terms “I’m just a little black boy from the South Bronx,” the crowd of 100+ spectators erupted with laughter. The truth of the matter is that more important than where we are from is where our audience is at.

You can take a man from the Bronx, but you can’t take the Bronx from the man. I was inspired to write this article by a legendary recording artist from the Bronx by the name of Grandmaster Melle Mel who recorded “Beat Street Breakdown”. If you never heard it you should YouTube and check it out. Mel had a vision about the streets of the Bronx a long time ago, and I got a similar one about a breakdown today on the USPS streets. It goes a little something like this:

I know you can feel my heat from across the street, the postal streets have a lesson too, and you can’t let the workplace beat you. A leader can express a thousand words to describe the benefits of the employment we enjoy. There are plenty of opportunities if we want to improve a personal situation, and there’s never a better time to paint a better place to work. Workers from all crafts and levels can grow professionally in peace and harmony, but it’s up to you. Postal emblematic logos span walls so grand as far as the eyes can believe. We never know customer service until we see your face, and there will never be another to take your place. Every time you touch the mail Ben Franklin’s soul controls your hands.

The beauty of cultural diversity fills your head. Tear drops fall due to a stressed state of the times, and many just can’t get this workplace out of their minds. Why do you have to give up so soon before you can prove you’re a good employee for the greatest mail system in the world? Mail must travel, bad attitudes must die, and we all need each other to make sure our ego is fed, and to keep the roof overhead. Tell me who else is going to dream a possible dream of a perfect workplace. Janitors clean, clerk’s scheme, handlers load, managers evaluate, and everyone still continues to get paid at this middle income party.

We got to make something out of a situation that sometimes feels like nothing, and no vision will keep you from seeing all you are about being. The challenge is to have a mind of someone wiser than you, and to exhibit the heart of a beast with the courage of two to stand up for you, and do what is right. You and I represent the souls of the brothers and sisters who can’t come back. You got the skills to make this place better for you and me. Some people act like they have to retire, or be excessed just to be free.

When you search for justice you know what you see, just-us, the few who can find their voices so the rest won’t be on the unemployment line. You find just-us, working six days a week from dusk to dawn. Maybe there’s no justice, or is it Just-ice. Our postal trademarks displayed on trucks and boxes, and from this day forward there will be no more hard times, no more pain, no more stupid-bull because we deserve more than excuses that are lame. All you postal workers get on up where we belong because the age of the Postal Street Breakdown is here. We got postal movies, a museum, but no hall of fame. Can I get a hoooo-rahhh!

Look, a newspaper on the desk, birds flying through the plant and the headline says, postal worker destroys other postal workers. Extra, extra, read all the postal news, from the violence, to the decrease in service standards, somebody’s going to lose. It’s the sound of the mail industry caught on fire. Maybe it’s the rise and fall of the last postal empire. Watch out for the ruthless struggle, and the desperate lottery jackpot gamble. Here comes the cheater, the liar, and the individual with the squeaky clean alibi. The private sector wants to conquer a defaulting agency because they want a piece of the mail volume pie. The service is lost, you name the place, and the PMG forgot about the workers holding down the base.

We’re spending millions, possibly billions to save a market raking in trillions. There’s a gold mine of packages in the street, and we can turn that into diamonds right under our feet. Employees work all month and we still can’t profit no money. Everyone shouts out in the darkest hour about a sight unseen with a single-digit approval rating, and a voice that is finally heard. Oops, too late, the congressional bill got the last word. Craft attack craft, managers attack managers, and a superior wants to abrogate an agreement clause. Everybody is being used, and abused. One-A-Day and B12 vitamins are regularly swallowed back. There’s a constant fight for power that turns into a hot verbal shower.

Recall generals Klassen, Bailar, Bolger, Carlin, Casey, Tisch, don’t forget about Frank, Runyon, Henderson, Potter and Donahoe. If these leaders made any mistakes would they still be able to look in the mirror? With poor communication and no rumor control from the top down our minds will be poisoned, and our spirits will be forever polluted. Ego-maniac bosses will control others to be bobble-head righteous.

Everything is sacred, and nothing is pure. The revelation of the death spiral is our cure. We are all going to suffer while the situation gets rougher, and that’s the reason why we got to get tougher. To learn from the past, and work for what we want as a future, we can’t be a slave to no social media. The future of the Postal Service is in your hands. The attention of all the men and women is the only way to inherit a solid plan. Before we get to a Postal Street Breakdown, put your hands in the air and let me hear, no fear! Then say oh yeah!

by Ronald Williams, Jr. for PostalReporter.com


February 28, 2012

OUR MAIL

A PUBLIC SERVICE OR A BUSINESS DELIVERY SYSTEM?

A MOVE TO SAVE HIGH PAYING POSTAL MANAGEMENT POSITIONS AT OUR EXPENSE

As a citizen I question the move of our government institution to reduce our service.

What if I offered a solution that should resolve all the postal problems for monetary shortfalls without the people of this country or their mail being affected?

Businesses served by the USPS get discount rates, incentives, rebates.....other offers. When will our representatives realize that the PO is supposed to be a public service and not a business delivery system?  Cut the discounts from businesses who write 100% of their mailing expenses off their taxes. That is the only incentive any business should receive using the public's service.

 The excuse that the internet is the reason mailings are down is a facade concerning business mailings. These are targeted areas that these businesses want to reach and not something that can be done with the internet ever. The cost of handling the mail doesn't go down just because it is third class mail. It cost the same amount to handle once it is touched by a postal employee as any first class letter so quit blaming postal workers incomes for the downfall of the service. In most cases it cost even more to work the business mail considering:

 It requires the carrier to stop at every house to deliver a reduced price piece of mail.

 It is stored at post offices around the country for up to three days before delivery necessitating more costly building space.

 It comes in forms that are not machinable like newspaper inserts without any surcharge we would be required to pay.

 It represents over one third of all mail worked.

 The post office has a revenue problem? Really!!! The post office just announced these businesses get the second ounce of presorted first class mail free. Free? They are falling short of revenue and offering something "free". The public isn't getting this deal. The public is subsidizing business mailings and will be paying the price in first class service standards by delaying our mail to the third class business standard of three day delivery or longer instead of overnight.

 The USPS states that first class (your and my) mail is down 25%, however it doesn't specify what specific areas of the country are experiencing these reductions to justify the processing center closures. Take for example Springfield, MO mail processing center. It is in a part of the state that is the fastest growing area according to the census and it is scheduled for closure. The mail will be sent to Kansas City some 180 miles away and cause a delay of overnight delivery for the local area which has over 200 outlying community's it serves. One can surmise that this is not a downsizing of the Post Office to serve the people, but instead is a way of justifying big operations in big cities for big business.

 What is the actual percentage of first class mail reduction for an area that is the fastest growing in the state? I bet it isn't the claimed 25%, or even close. No actual numbers have been provided because the postal managers making these decisions won’t take personal accountability for the answers or decisions. It would affect their pay scale. Where is the transparency?

 If you want the facts on the Post Office, make their spokesperson tell you who he is speaking for by name since it is supposed to be a public service and they don't seem to be speaking for any of the people that I have met.

 There is no reason to cut the services to the people. Cut and reduce the specific areas that have experienced the reduction of mail they used to process like in Kansas City. They have already established they have machines there not being fully utilized. Postal management has purchased equipment for these big cities and now will try to justify their purchases by absorbing mail from other processing plants. This doesn’t provide better service; it only secures big city postal management jobs.

 If an area has experienced a reduction of mail, cut that office by the same percentage to match the service.

 Match the service to the public and stop justifying big paychecks to managers that are no longer needed to run big offices if big offices are not necessary to serve that cities metropolitan area. The Post Office is supposed to serve the community, not try to re-establish one.

 This is an example of postal managers who get big pay checks in big cities trying to hang on to their big bonuses by justifying big operations instead of serving the people. Without the numbers to back up their operations they couldn't justify their incomes based on the standards currently in place. The manager's pay scales are determined by the size of the operations they are involved with. Cut the big cities down to the size of service for their metropolitan area and these big cheeses would have to experience a reduction in pay.

 Where are the real numbers before these big managers take away our service? You'll find every manager questioned hiding behind an arbitrary statement as to not accept any personal responsibility for giving the facts. Ask PM General Donahoe and see how fast he diverts the responsibility of giving our system away to businesses and bigger postal manager payouts for retaining big city positions.

 Sounds like a conspiracy to defunct the system for personal gain of higher level postal managers at the public's expense. Isn't it the PO manager's claim that 80% of all postal cost is directly related to wages and benefits?

 Imagine how those figures would change if businesses would pay what we pay to use our service and the postal managers get their pay scales adjusted.

 Cut these postal managers down to size and stop the forced subsidizing of business mail. Post Office Fixed, and monetary problem solved.

 Joseph W McKinney

 

 

 

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