Route Vehicles and Inequality

Yesterday, I asked a simple question of my followers on Facebook. I asked them, “How many days of your annual leave or LWOP have you had to sacrifice for the sake of vehicle repairs?”

This stirred a lot of rural carriers up BIG TIME. Of course most had used a lot of their annual/vacation days for vehicle repairs, maintenance, etc, and most were upset about it.

I don’t know how many others have used, but I had to use about 6 days of my annual leave last year for
vehicle repair purposes, maintenance, etc. The numbers of days in the replies I got were staggering. This is a huge boon for the USPS, and don’t think that they do not know that.

But, I think what surprised me the most were the ones that more or less told me to stop whining and be happy I had days to use, or said if you don’t like it why don’t you just quit and let an RCA have your job, and even some that said go out and buy a back up vehicle.

These responses made my jaw drop for sure. Are you kidding me? Have rural carriers just become so used to being the stepchildren of the USPS, that we accept less than fair treatment willingly? And we willingly partake in the inequity and actually berate others for thinking things should be different?

Also surprising to me was that there were some that wanted nothing to do with a USPS provided vehicle for various reasons (AC, radio, etc) This too is unbelievable to me, because I know I LOSE money every single year providing a vehicle to do my route. Some say they make out OK, but I always wonder if they are taking the true cost of providing a vehicle into consideration. Just think about some of the stuff that should be considered..

1. Car payments (If you use a newer vehicle)
2. Insurance
3. Depreciation
4. Repairs
5. Maintenance
6. Tires, Brakes,
7. State Tags
8. Inspections
9. Car Washes (not a lot, but still should be included)
10. Labor (Even if you do it yourself)
11. A Second Back Up Vehicle (I will never provide 2 vehicles for them)
12. Lost Annual or LWOP Days
13. And of course Gasoline

And there may be more, but you get the point. When you add in all of this stuff above
there is no way anyone could make money on 64 cents per mile.

The USPS even says it costs them 90 cents per mile to maintain an LLV on a rural route, and most of them are fairly old. I know a lot of rural carriers these days have to have a newer vehicle simply for the reliability. I know I started out in an old Postal Jeep and the maintenance and upkeep on that thing was costing almost as much as a new car payment. So I know, Rural Carriers are losing BIG TIME just providing one vehicle to do our routes, much less those that provide another back up vehicle.

I’m sorry, but I don’t believe anyone could convince me that rural carriers that provide a vehicle are entitled to less annual days than any other postal employee in the USPS. Yes, we all start out with the same amount, but there is nothing FAIR or JUST for rural carriers that provide a vehicle to have to use their annual leave for vehicle repairs.

As for being happy I have a job, I am, but I am still not going to hide in a corner and not SHOUT from the roof tops what I feel is UNFAIR and WRONG about our jobs.

As for all of the ones that told me to stop whining, or quit and let an RCA have your job, I have one question for you? Have you become so used to taking what you get and not fighting for what is right that you have begun
to believe you are being treated fairly? I know you might like to keep believing it, but it simply isn’t true. There are many things that we as rural carriers have to suck up and take because “that’s just the way it is” and I for one am not going to sit back without saying something about it. Its just not in me.

When something is WRONG, there is nothing that will stop me from telling it!!

I would really like for someone to tell me WHY it is fair and acceptable that rural carriers that provide a vehicle have to use their annual leave for vehicle repairs while LLV users, and every other USPS employee does not.

I don’t think anyone can convince me, but please, give it a shot!

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The LLV was supposed to be an answer for the postal service in their never ending search for a quality vehicle for mail delivery. But, alas, it was not meant to be. To begin with, the design is horrible. LACK of visibility is awful. Can not tell you how many times in last 7 years I have almost hit another vehicle because I couldn't see them. Not to mention how hot they are in the summer months here in Florida. Ventilation is almost non existent. And last but not least the GM power train and chasis is at best sub-par.… Read more »

I came from a real world job. If my car broke down and I couldn't work I would have to take annual too. I agree with the LLV issues. They are not good vehicles. If you don't use your POV vehicle for anything but the mail it may work on EMA. You don't lose anything for annual when you take it for repairs. The post office looses because they pay two people to do one job.

LLVs are all pure junk. Patched together at the maximum and given the least amount of repair. Rattletrap tin cans that blow all over the road in a high wind, slide in the least snow or worse will not move at all as the tires spin helplessly. These pieces of crap were not even designed to deliver mail. I have sent mine in numerous times for repair because of horrible exhaust fumes that start 2 hours into the route after the engine is hot. What a joke. Every time it comes back the exact same way it went in. I've… Read more »

I am next in line to get an LLV in our office. I hate the thought of it. These things are unsafe. They can't even pass a safety exam. I like my right hand Jeep. I have 4X4 in the winter and air in the summer (which I rarely use) but the dust on the roads is awful sometimes. I have an air bag and more safety features than those LLVs. I used to drive a DJ5 and had the same problems that these LLVs have. Except there was a gap between the door and the Jeep and if you… Read more »

I drove a old postal DJ5 jeep for years. I bought it from the Post Office before they stopped selling them. I spent a lot of money on it over the years but I did replace the engine and had the transmission rebuilt several times. I drove it for 13 years and I had another one for back up part of the time. It was a hassle to keep it going but I did it. Then I was assigned a LLV. It was so nice not to have to do repairs BUT….now I have FSS and DPS. Because of that… Read more »

"WHY can’t they buy us studded tires (cost I know more important to them) "

>They< can! It's up to your PM to do this and how they value your safety vs. the bonus' they get for cutting costs. My PM comes 'round once a week these days and asks us to do her a favor and mow the lawn….gratis, of course. Well, madam PM, go Fxxx yourself!

I now like my FFV BUT when they replace your vehicle when it goes for repair it is JUNK! In our office we got a replacement and the girl kept calling the PM it stalls at every box it smells bad then the unthinkable happened! IT CAUGHT ON FIRE!! It was awful. Not even a month later they send another vehicle and same problems she has to switch with a city carrier, this is so scary. LLV's FFV's are not meant for RURAL delivery they were designed for city routes. And winter time no 4 wheel drive or AWD you… Read more »

That may be true Frank but if you only have like 30 mins or even less on your route to finish, and your car breaks down and you have no one to help you get another vehicle or whatever, you lose that whole day. You work your butt off all day just to lose a day of AL all because your car broke down just less that 50 boxes from being done!!

Well what do you expect from those babies!! These are the same ones who work off the clock, go fetch their own flats and whatever! Of course these are the ones also who say, "well it helps me out!" I don't have time to wait for the clerks to bring my flats! These also are the same ones who cost us money years ago when they changed our time standards!! They HAVE NO CLUE what they are talking about! Then they get their paycheck and wonder they aren't getting that much! Just ignore them!

The best thing that ever happened to me as a Rural was when my shop switched to LLVs. I learned my craft in a Dakota Quadcab (4X4 and cap) and then a Taurus wagon, but there's no conceivable way that milage ever covered the cost of operating any of the vehicles I used (Especially that Dakota!). While I DO miss the AC blasting this time of year and a working heater during the northern winter months, and when there's a winter storm coming through with 12+ of snow covering everything my 4X4 was indispensable. Nonetheless, an LLV really is the… Read more »

"Would have been nice is some one woulf have read the fine print and told me this. "

Would have been nicer if you had read the MOU yourself and found out.

I have never understood why someone else should be telling you your job.

I'm retired but when I worked I spent twice as much on upkeep as I received in EMA. When the vehicle is new, payments and insurance is higher; when the vehicle is older, payments are gone and insurance is lower, but repair costs tend to be up.

My route was issued an LLV nine months ago. I hate it ! The LLV rattles and is very loud. It is not air tight so when it rains water gets in and the dust is horrible. I have had customers complain about their mail being dirty. The lack of air conditioning is not a major issue but the lack of air flow within the LLV is dangerous when the heat index and humidity are high. There are no shocks on the LLV so when you drive on the side of the road where the dirt and grass is you… Read more »

I agree 100 % it is not fair. I have had to use most of my leave this year for repairs and I have two jeeps and they broke down on the same day. I had about 30 minutes to finish and there was no way I was going to lose my days pay to a sub. I had to have someone drive me around the rest of the route to get my pay. also it is so much more wear and tear on our vehicles now since we are out on the street a lot longer hours than we… Read more »

Part of the problem with EMA is the difference in routes. I transferred from a route which is very close in mileage, to the new route. The old route was mostly blacktop…the new route is all gravel, and very very rough. Thus wear on my vehicle is much more demanding, and accordingly more costly…

I agree with you to a degree, we are not compensated appropriately for our vehicles, This our own fault as it is not a priority for our union negotiators, there are other examples such as lack of compensation for the numerous unreadable bar codes that must be hand keyed with a best guess because the code was printed poorly or just as often had a USPS Label placed over it that pulls off the ink. So you are right it is unfair, but it is our own fault.

Well said! Not to add insult to injury, but then we get smacked in the chops every mail count when LLV routes get 30 minutes per week to do daily checks on their LLVs, gas up, etc. I think it is insulting that we get zero, zip, notta for keeping our vehicles fueled, checked for safety etc.

I've never used Annual for repairs to my right hand drive Subaru, just keep them maintained but do have another one for back up and another one for parts.

i have actually rented a vehicle for the route when i drove my own pov..was just a week but a week too many..I love having an LLV

Agree with you, I would not mind using their vehicle. If for no other reason than that they don't want us to. There must be a good reason that they don't want to provide postal vehicles for every rural route.

I so agree with you. I brought a right had drive jeep and put in for the $500, that we are suppose to get for this, then was told that the vehicle can not be more then 5 years old. Well, me is older. Would have been nice is some one woulf have read the fine print and told me this. Would have been even nicer to get the incenttive payment the post office offers, no matter what.