Guest post by Older and Wiser.
Older and Wiser is a rural carrier.
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The Future of the Rural Carrier – Carriers’ View – How Should We Be Paid? Part 2 - Evaluated
This is How I See It!
It is time to move on to look at the Evaluated and Hourly pay methods and we will start with the Evaluated. We pretty much have an idea about the positives of each style of pay, so I will focus on what may be considered negatives so that a well-rounded discussion can ensue.
The evaluated system is like that old car you had or still have. It breaks down a little too much. Door handles have broken, the air conditioning blows mostly hot air, and the seats are ripped and soiled. You could spend some money getting the car in better shape, but is it worth it? It gets you to work and back, but it has seen better days.
That paragraph sounds a lot like the evaluated pay system. It is still functioning, but has it seen better days? More people seem to be working over their evaluations and by large margins. The standards we work by have gone against us in the past years, we do more tasks for no pay (scanning, for example) and the fairness of the mail counts always seems to be in question. It seems that the NRLCA are the only people hell-bent on putting lipstick on this pig. For all their enthusiasm, when was the last time they made any attempt to bring enhancements to the evaluated method?
We do have one thing going for us and that is the Industrial Study. The study reminds me of the Jews in the Bible after they left Egypt. If my memory serves me correct, when the Jews grumbled at God, He made the whole generation pass away before they were allowed to enter the Promised Land. Maybe this generation of rural carriers will have to pass away before the Industrial Study is finished and implemented. Anyway, if you believe that the study will provide fair standards that give you a shot at making your evaluation, you may be mistaken. There is one aspect of the evaluated method that is very seldom brought up, but is just as important as getting fair standards. That aspect of the evaluated method is ONE SIZE FITS ALL.
Imagine buying a suit or a dress where there is only one size. It would most likely be too large for most people, you would need to pull the extra material in and fold it in some manner so that you could actually wear it. For some people, there would be not enough material and the garment would be pulling tight at the seams. There would be some people who would be a size around the “one size fits all size” and they could actually wear the suit or dress without too much trouble. They would be in the minority. The rest of us would just have to settle for what we have.
“Settle for What We Have!” Sounds a lot like the evaluated system that is having to settle for something that just doesn’t fit anymore.
I have not been part of the industrial study, but I hope the three judges see that besides the standards being fair, they must also see that one size does not fit all and bring their expertise and accumulated data to the table to make serious reforms. I don’t have their years of experience in workforce management or access to the study data, but I think that instead of one evaluation there must be multiple ones to fit the diverse rural carrier environments. My guess would be that they would need maybe 6 to 8 different evaluations and come up with the criteria into which evaluation a carrier would fall.
Also, some of the specific events we encounter everyday should be given individual evaluations; for example, traffic lights. I don’t know what would be considered the average number of traffic lights all of the rurals encounter across the country. How will the study come up with that average? How will that number affect the travel speed of an LLV on a route? I might have a better solution. Take traffic lights out of the equation for determining our driving speed. It will at least make that task easier. How about we handle traffic lights separately? I will use an unscientific, but common sense, method for my example. I go through 22 traffic lights on my route. Let’s assume I have to stop at half of the lights for a number of 11. Traffic lights have different lengths of time, but I will use 25 seconds of wait time for my example, and an extra 5 seconds for the time it takes to slow down for the light and the time to accelerate to the appropriate speed for a total of 30 seconds. Doing the math, I have 11 traffic lights X 30 seconds equals 5 minutes 30 seconds X 6 days a week would be 33 minutes. This time would be like a surcharge added to the Route Time on my evaluation. In this way, I would get proper credit for the exact number of traffic lights that I actually encounter, no more – no less. Tasks, like traffic lights, that can be different for individual carriers, need to be each given their own evaluation.
A little ingenuity is what’s needed to bring the evaluated system up-to-date and to fairly compensate the rural carrier for the service that he/she performs. It is easy to see what needs to be done. Who will make the Evaluated System fit? WHO HAS THE WILL TO DO IT? The Engineers? The NRLCA? Somebody, please stand up!