The Future of the Rural Carrier – Carriers’ View – How Should We Be Paid? Part 2 – Evaluated

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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!

Guest post by Older and Wiser.

Older and Wiser is a rural carrier.

Click below to see all of Older and Wiser’s Guest Posts.
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I still say fight for better credits for evaluation system, fix what’s wrong than go to hourly. Vast majority of carriers can beat evaluation on an average day still. For the routes that are unfairly evaluated, fix them. Don’t throw out the whole system. I see the city carriers in our office, they work much longer hours overall and are micromanaged even more than we are. Best part of rural is the freedom, don’t give it up and always push back against efforts to micromanage us.

If we go hourly, then mgmt WILL treat us like city & micromanage us.
I agree that the eval system needs to be on more levels & adding traffic lights (his example) actually makes sense. My route is closer to the office but has slower speed limits & more lights than some of my coworkers that are actually further away. We should also be allowed a separate time for parcels that HAVE to go to the door due to size than those that fit in lockers.

Most so called rural routes are not rural anymore the system we have is working some what for us that have true rural routes, I dont have any traffic lights just 100 miles of rural roads and 508 boxes

Yeah you got a real route route sounds like. I think the main issue is parcels are waaay under evaluated. 30 seconds is a joke, especially since most parcels do not fit in the standard size mailbox. If we just attacked that one issue as a Union it would help tremendously far as evaluations go. Again, still beats hourly pay.

Hourly is definitely not the answer. The evaluated system based on an average from a couple week count is not the answer either. The evaluated system is based on a form of piece work. They have computers and they know how many pieces we are handling on a daily basis. From them riding the routes and knowing placement distances for hot cases, etc., consider those figures fixed figures and then enter the variable figures (mail volume, throwback/hotcase/markup volumes and parcel volumes on a daily basis so that there is no question of “hiding mail during count”. I am just simplifying… Read more »

We have lost our flat and letter volume and are now delivering engine parts and microwaves for same or less pay= not fair pay for fair work
Our mail counts are basically similar to inventory..but instead of prices we attach time standards; we also get paid by the piece and stop. And instead of these manipulated counts we take the average of 52 wks…

The evaluated pay system is the only issue the union really cares about. This is their baby. It’s also the shiny object we all watch as the post office continues to find ways to cut pay and minimize the carrier’s time. The union looks the other way when it comes to other contractual issues. After waiting nearly 15 years for a career route followed by 1 1/2 years of having my rights trampled in a career position I chose to separate from the post office. I liked the job but management and the union were too much for an assault… Read more »

Older and Wiser needs to file agrievance for not getting paid to scan. We get 18 seconds per scan.

I would slow down if we went to hourly and I am not being an a&& but I beat my eval at times and work over at times In The end I would say I even out. However I don’t think people who are slower than I am should be paid more. We have people who walk turtle pace and talk and case mail at turtle pace which is fine it is there time. However I sprint my packages to the door. And I case quickly and I am accurate and my customers love me. The carriers who beat their… Read more »

I was away in China for my son’s wedding during our last mail count. There were four different RCA’s doing my route, two of which had never been involved in a count before and had no idea what they were doing. The other two RCA’s each did one day and their figures were higher than the novices. When I returned from my trip I was told that I had dropped from a J route to an H route and would be getting a decrease in pay. Since the count I have been counting all of my mail and parcels and… Read more »