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.
The Future of the Rural Carrier – Carriers’ View – Integrity Part 1
This is how I see it!
Dictionary.com defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
As I was preparing this blog, an 8/31/2015 news flash on Ruralinfo.net reported that the APWU’s Clerk Division officers outlined the criteria for distributing the $56 million lump-sum penalty portion of the settlement that resolves a decades-long dispute over postmasters and supervisors in small offices performing Clerk Craft work.
This reminded me of the check I and many other rural RCAs/Regulars received about 6-7 years ago for the way the USPS had managed (or mismanaged RCA hours with TRCs, if I am not mistaken).
These are two instances where the Postal Service made a corporate decision to circumvent a negotiated contract.
In both instances, this wasn’t a case of a rogue postmaster or some decision at the district or regional levels; these decisions had to come from the highest levels. They were caught with their hands in the contract cookie jar.
It would be bad enough if these were the only two occasions that come to mind, but we only need to look at how the rural carriers have been treated the past few years.
First came the need to pair the cell phone with the scanners. This took some time depending how many attempts it took to get the cell phone and scanner in sync.
The next step came with the extra menu page on the scanner to select the location of a delivery. Then we needed to scan a 3849 for all items that were not delivered. These extra tasks added some time each day, but the USPS was not finished.
Amazon asked if the Postal Service could handle more packages. The USPS probably said that you could give us more parcels because we have a bunch of carriers that we could give more work to without worrying about paying them more.
It isn’t like this was a natural growth of packages that we have seen over the years, but a decision to take advantage of a situation like they have done many times over the years. Now our days are significantly longer with these the addition of these packages and the numbers and size and weight seem to increase as time goes on.
Now maybe the Postal Service has a legal right to make us do these extra tasks for no compensation. The only people who could tell us if this is so is the NRLCA and they are reported missing in action (don’t worry NRLCA; I will be getting to you soon).
Take another look at the definition of integrity at the top of the page.
You will not see the word “legal” in the definition and that’s because to act with integrity makes you adhere to a higher standard. You do see the words “moral”, “ethical”, and “honesty.”
Just because you can do something to someone does not mean you should. This is the reason unions were started in the first place.
That was in the 19th century, and maybe someone should tell the Postal Service that we are in the 21st century and they need to bring their managerial methods up to date.
If the reports of contract negotiations with the rural carriers and the clerks union are correct, the USPS are now seeking lower wages and lower benefits for us. Will it ever stop? Acting with integrity means treating people like you would want to be treated. They seem to have lost that fact.
So, where do we, as rural carriers, go in the future? How are we supposed to “give an honest day’s work” when management gives us a less than honest work environment? How do we measure our level of integrity as an individual and as a group? I do have answers for you and they will come in my next article.