Part-time rural carriers claim they’re treated like ‘junk mail’

Photo: Toby Holder laments the Killeen post office’s treatment of part-time rural carriers.

For the last six years, Toby Holder has worked as a part-time, rural carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Killeen.

But the contract he signed with USPS turned out to be more than a part-time job, he said, as budget constraints and short staffing created an atmosphere of mistreatment, unsafe conditions and pay issues.

“They treat us like junk mail,” Holder said.

The choice of phrasing isn’t lost on Holder, as the USPS is becoming increasingly reliant on revenue from catalogs, advertisements and other unsolicited items as personal mail declines.

While Postal Service officials in Killeen declined comment, Holder’s claims about pay issues, long hours and unsafe working conditions were corroborated by several other carriers who asked the Herald not to be identified for fear of retaliation. They all told the same story: employees are lured in by the promise of part-time mail carrying, only to be forced to work full time with no benefits and little time off for family, friends and school.

Every source detailed large pay discrepancies, saying supervisors and union stewards paid little attention to complaints and said retaliation against employees who aired grievances is common.

“The post office is stuck with incompetent supervisors who have no business being in that capacity, yet they have the authority to affect our livelihoods the way they do,” Holder said.

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What do you mean you can’t make Dr appointments? Of course you can. But you have to be willing to stand up to management. The RCA was hired to work the relief day. No where is it written that you must also be available as needed. No doubt, this is how management operates and wants you to fear loss of job. The fact is you can always say no.. PO gas to build a case that your refusal to work is chronic before they can fire you. Problem is you can’t count on the union for support. They’re in the… Read more »

A lot depends on the people in management. After 15 years of service there has only been one manager in my time who had a sense of honor and respect for employees to go along with a broad command of issues. Put another way there was little, if any, grey area. Unfortunately, he died of cancer. Ironically, all others could be considered a cancer.

Thanks for your service, you can die now. If PO could find a way to eliminate your $14 check they would in a heartbeat. PO highly trusted by public. I’d like to see that poll directed to employees past and present. I’ve been out of PO about a year. Whenever I run into other retired employees the only comments I hear are negative and that is despite the benefits received. What does that tell you?

That’s an over simplification. Many RCA’s, myself included, worked other jobs to supplement whatever work gained at PO. PO CAN’t guarantee hours, so what…do we all just wait by phone waiting for the call. I don’t think so, yet that is the attitude management adopts because they understandably want things to run smooth. In fact, it is a violation of labor law for PO to demand availability unless they are willing to pay for it. For example, a pm cannot require RCA’s make themselves available the day after a holiday. It is against the law unless they are willing to… Read more »

Thanks for touching on real problem. The union is the most worthless organization for the rural craft. I worked 13+ years as an RCA. They are not a friend of the RCA. I finally made regular and found they are also no friend to the regular. I resigned due to blatant contract violations by PO, which the union also ignored. I resigned after 2 years, as the step 1 pay grade and vacation allotment were not enough for me to work with no dignity. Incidentally, I should mention my PM was biased and viewed my appointment to regular as an… Read more »

Thank u … RCA 12 yrs

It’s really sad we put in all those years & get so little in return 🙁

Technically, not true. Post office manual states without equivocation that RCA’s are hired to work the relief day (period). It does not go on to say “and be available as needed”. When I first started as an RCA, I was hired with mutual understanding that I was able to offer flexibility but also demanded the same in return. Over time and a few different PM’s management has become more and more less flexible. Still, they are bound by Federal labor laws. Visit Department of Labor for more info. RCA’s have more rights then they know or that management would admit.… Read more »

If you were told you must be available at all times then management would be liable to pay you as an on call employee engaged to wait. Of course, they only pay when you work. If you have other things to do (job, etc) then let them know and force them to build a case of repeated unavailability against you. They get away with this crap because many fail to challenge mindset of management. Your local PM’s and supervisors don’t know any better. Want more proof? Check with department of labor employment laws.

I love my job too but that doesn’t mean we should remain quiet in the face of management abuse, misrepresentations, and lies. Give ’em an inch they will take a mile. Somebody has to fight. Why not you?

Misty, if anyone is a dumbass in this thread, it has to be you with your ignorant remarks.

Our union needs to catch up with the city side. They get all the gravy and pay.

You must be a stupidvisor, because you sure sound like one.
No one is asking for special treatment, we just want to be treated fairly.

The PM always have their favorites that can get anything they want. If you’re not in the click you’re screwed.

I wish we were paid like the city. This evaluated time sucks.

I’ve got news for you all! After working 28 years for the USPS, I have retired. Do you all think that I am getting a Great Big Retirement Check? Think again. I was a sub carrier for 19 years and during that time; was also an Aux Carrier for 13 years before becoming a Regular Carrier. So basically, I bought back about a year (all that was allowed) I worked 6 days a week for 13 years and my Big Thank You from the USPS; was a certificate stating that I had worked 10 years for the USPS! Not only… Read more »

I appreciate the extra work my postal crew does ~ being in Gillette, WY bas made me see how rural rural can be!!! Thanks for going the extra mile to deliver my packages!!!

Volume of mail was at it’s highest in 2006!

HAZING????? Anybody listening????

6 weeks and the union finally came but now the waiting to find the green cards and go through them begins….then waiting on them to put it through to Eagan

I see it everyday at our office. I an 1 if the union stewards in our office as long as the sub comes to us and has tried to first go to Managment themselves and work the pay issue out And our supervisor that does payroll will work with the carrier to fix this issue but put that aside most of our RCA work 5/6 some 7 days a week 12 hrs a day and I agree there should be benefits for the subs that work like this every week

Actually I was a sub for 8 years and have been full time for 6. I put in my time with three kids at home working at three different post offices running two routes a day int 2 different cities and in my own post office. It was tough but worth it.

Can’t u file a grievance and get paid?

Yes and they’re go after you working for them second time with bogus application issue 12 yrs ago. Can anyone remember that? Oh and this second time I was working 3.5 yrs. Same PO told me they were hacked and they have my info and medical info. Is there anyway to make them accountable?

Sorry but we had way more mail in the 90’s worked 6 to 6 most days way more flats and letters not in order like they are today and no top shelf for case had to line up the mail wish we could time travel back

Not good days to be a sub unless you like money. Taking the Sundays sucks, but we regulars do not get the best treatment either.

Thing is we are not complaining about working Saturday!

Me personally, 7 days a week with no day off, 10 to 13 hours a day, no benefits, nothing, single mom trying to raise kids but never home. Yes, it’s ALOT different now than in previous years.

You’re so lucky!!! I can’t imagine working in an office that treats people like humans!

I delivered 296 parcels today…and it was horrible!! 8 am to 9 pm

Thank you!!

You are NOT “junk mail”; and I appreciate each and every dedicated individual delivering packages and mail ~ EVERYDAY of the year. Thank you ALL for your continued service! 🙂

I think he missed the word ‘corrupt’ in your comment, and Mary Katherine Lasher ditto – my route also hasn’t changed. It’s the same route I’ve had for 26 years except more boxes. It was once a 48K and as of the last day I was able to work in November 2013, it was a 41J. In 2012 alone, my paycheck dropped $800.00 a month. Trust me, the mail volume did not drop that much.

He’s not talking about once in a while, its all the time, not just the busy season. Splitting routes everyday after doing a 9 hr full route not just Saturdays and I hardly consider doing a couple hours of express hell that some of the poor regulars had to do. There is no comparison!

I’m with Eric, office I was in, this was all the time not just busy season and it depended on who you were if you wanted time off. It’s pretty bad when you can’t make a Dr or dentist appointment in 2 years but certain other stubs can take off all the time for stupid reasons and can make all kinds of mistakes but if it’s you, they try to write you up!

Oh no…you missed hair appointments! Really? As a regular you don’t know what it is like to work 7 days. Your comment is rude and arrogant. This is why we can’t keep subs.

I hate when people say XXX more days and it’s over. Yes, only 3 days until Christmas is over, 3 days until I have missed seeing my kids and husband during my favorite time of year.

Last year we carried UPS’S screw up through January 1…..I have my doubts this will end in 3 days

Ha! You’ve’ never complained ever? Find that hard to believe, perfect employee!

Thank you Doug Kerr! I was in an office like that!

There is no way regulars did what stubs do now. Things have changed in that past 2 years. Running a few express on Sundays or holidays is not even close!

Very funny Christmas express, no clue!

Roughly 30 of our regs did today. And last week. But on the positive side, we RCAs will simply drop from exhaustion before the posters here will stop telling us to find another job. Yes, there is a paycheck. No, it’s not worth it outside of December, which we knew would be like this. However, based on last year, I’ll average 6.5 days/week and 55 hours. Ludicrous to not even get the benefits that all other crafts get, let alone be able to schedule a teeth cleaning or have a family. You don’t have to agree, just hear and understand.

3 More Days Everybody!!!
I know this holiday working has been so hard on most of us but it’s almost over!!!
“”This is OUR Season””
We got this!!

He makes almost twice the minimum wage. Quit whining and be glad you have a job.

Stephanie, That’s not the only solution. No one has said they don’t like their job, I like the job, it’s about work/life balance, getting paid correctly & supervisors giving some respect, especially when they haven’t done our job. I don’t think that’s alot to ask for. .

Maybe it’s just turn for a change? I just became a regular, and being a sub was hell, it’s not safe to be forced to rush and work multiple routes. Why are more regulars not saying, that this is unacceptable treatment? I would have quit had I not been a single mom with three kids, and I missed so much of their early years, and had daycares telling me how terrible I was to leave them at daycare, but what do you do? How about we all join together and stop the childish attitudes? Some of you sound like my… Read more »

it’s very different in the po since i was hired as an rca. nowadays i find the subs in our office pampered. those, i find, are the ones with an entitled mentality.

eric, i was 7 months pregnant with my 2nd child when i started as an rca. i paid my dues as a sub. i took the crap. i was on call 24/7. i’ve earned what (benefits) i have now and i say that loosely. i still have to fight for a day off. even if my kid is sick. and “bonuses?” what world do you live in? so, button it.

And I keep thinking, “who crapped in Misty’s cereal this morning?” I can get mean, but damn, you’re just nasty.