The NRLCA – Its Own Worst Enemy

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.

This is how I see it.

There used to be a comic strip titled POGO written by Walt Kelly. The story followed the lives of animals in a swamp. The strip was really a satirical look at American life, anything from politics to religion. Out of POGO came an often used phrase, ”We have met the enemy and they are us.” The meaning is, sometimes, we cause our own problems. This phrase reminded me of the NRLCA.

I was in the middle of putting this piece together when the July 28 editorial from Ruralinfo.Net was published, where she defended her attempts at keep her readers up to date on any information that was pertinent to our craft, even if it meant stepping on the toes of the NRLCA. The editorial is a perfect lead-in to my contribution.

The NLRCA really takes a beating on Ruralinfo. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned not to rush to judgment; I try to listen to both sides before I make any decision. The problem I have is I wait to hear from the NRLCA to defend themselves and there is no response. The silence from the union is deafening; it says a lot about them.

First, the dues-paying members want an organization that acts like pit bulls. When the NRLCA fails to fiercely defend their actions, they look more like lambs than pit bulls. That is scary when contract time comes around. Second, it looks like the union is hiding behind their silence. Where is the flow of information to the membership? In lieu of an informed carrier group, innuendo and disinformation reign. Third, when you, repeatedly, don’t respond to an honest question, it says that you really don’t care. This may be the most damning reason of all.

The Ruralinfo editorial was a perfect response to an accusation. She spelt out her side of the story in complete detail. This is the type of response I look for from the NRLCA. You may agree or disagree, but the decision you make is based on facts from both sides of the argument.

What can the NRLCA do? I see that the union has three outlets to get their information out. Let’s look at the Rural Carrier magazine. In the digital age, a monthly magazine cannot be a source of timely information. Personally, I just thumb through the magazine in about 3 minutes. Much of the information is not down at the carrier level. PAC contributions, convention lunches, and month old MOUs do not interest most carriers. Why don’t you ask the carriers what they would like in the magazine? That could help bring it back to relevance.

The NRLCA website could be a valuable outlet to get news out to the rank-in-file, but, again, I don’t really feel that the needs of the enrolled are being met. Even the copy of the latest rural contract on the site is the 2006-2010 agreement. It’s 2013 guys. There is no attempt to get a feel for what is going down in the field. There is no looking for input as to what the carriers are facing out there. You get a lot of the same generic info that makes the magazine a real “snoozer.”

The union will probably bristle at this suggestion, but their best solution might be to find a way to co-exist with Ruralinfo.Net. I go to Ruralinfo just about every day. I go to the NRLCA website every month or two. In reality, the union should have started Ruralinfo, but that ship has sailed, but there is still time to embrace and use Ruralinfo to the union’s advantage. There should be a representative from the union on the site and his nickname should reflect that fact. He would have the full knowledge and authority to respond to any questions and accusations. He could get timely info out to the carriers and help the union with their communications to the membership.

One of the biggest balls dropped was the Industrial Study. I can’t believe the lack of information on this subject. My biggest fear is that the union really doesn’t know what we carriers face in the field and will be going into the study at a real disadvantage. It is very possible that the union has the pulse of what’s going, but how would anybody know? WikiLeaks tried finding info from the union, but gave up and went back to stealing secrets from the U.S. government. It was easier.

It is time for the union to stand up and represent itself. Wake up, NRLCA, before you find your membership tuning you out.

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 couldn't agree more!! Our illinois paper use to use a whole page devoted to the 'Chaplin" quoting biblical messages……..I wrote to them and let them know that had no place in the paper. You want prayers go to church…..i want INFORMATION!! I am sick at every mail count when EVERYTHING seems to be a gray issue and the constant bickering " for our side" something for us. I want Information,,,,,I want black and white and i do go to rural info website to get my information then going to NRLCA. How about a video for mail count when we… Read more »

So….just keep on keeping on, and the union leadership will change and start doing their job????? You do know what the definition of insanity is, don't you. Until they FEEL your pain, they won't hear you complain. I made my stand. You make yours.

I too am frustrated with the silence from the union concerning the real issues like the industrial study, and I don't go to the meeting to hear about what's going on at the convention. I want to know what's going on with my job! But, I don't think for one minute that we would enjoy the pay and benefits we do without standing together, and those that drop out of the union are much worse to our future than anything the union has ever done. If you don't like the job the union is doing, then speak up! By dropping… Read more »

I don't think I have ever heard it put better than that.

Well done.

Folks, the NRLCA it is not a Union. Quit calling it a Union! The NRCA is an Association. ASSOCIATION. They do not support the RCAs. The RCAs will be the future funding to the association. From what I see none of them will be members of the Association. What has the Association done for RCAs in the way of pay and COLA? It's taking many of them 8 to 12 years to become regulars. They will remember. I will always remember how we are not supported and I will never be a member of the Association. A union would have… Read more »

Oh ok. Thanks. They don't always tell you the truth (Shocker) so I didn't know. Thanks for letting me know.

Just want to say that when you have FMLA you can use sick leave, the Postmaster just won't have the District breathing down their necks for you using your sick leave. I have had two surgeries in the last few years using FLMA and sick leave,

This is well said! The only thing I can say is that the president of the NRLCA Jeanette Dwyer is the best!!! She really is! She used to be the state steward for North Carolina and I have met her! She really is a fighter!! The problem lies with the local and state stewards who kiss managements butt! I have them tell me one thing and when they are in there with management they said the complete opposite!! For example, when a postmaster or supervisor gives you a direct order, to me that is the same thing as a threat!!… Read more »

This is not directed to RogerR, however, it concerns the information that you were provided through a blog. The information you have should remain a private part of the organization. The topic is correct. The NRLCA is its own worst enemy. It must be remembered, the NRLCA is you.

The absurdity of this organization known as the NRLCA can be illustrated by numerous facts. Here is the latest I've come upon. From Ruralinfo's convention notes:

From 8-15:

Caucuses were held tonight to hear the candidates for national office. The paramount issue for all candidates is the dwindling finances of the association and what can be done to improve them.

From 8-14:

After a long debate followed by a secret ballot, the proposal to change to a biennial (every other year) convention did not receive the required 2/3 vote.

Secret ballot? You can't make up stuff that is this hilarious.

I did do something…I stopped giving them my money. If enough of us did that, things would change. But your giant brain tells you to continue to support what is NOT working will effect change. That, my friend, is insanity.

I have proof that I am a mental giant, do you? I am not sure of what you are saying, are you? If you do not like the leadership, vote them out. All of this silent whining will get you nowhere. Stand for what you believe. Do something productive about it.

Permit the same weak, do-nothing, in bed with USPS leadership to continue what they are doing. You guys are mental giants. Stand like a man against the failed leadership, you bed-wetting cowards.

My experience with State Stewards, they do well with what they are provided and have learned from their experiences. HOWEVER, everything that comes about through the contract and info around count times reflect that the NRLCA is in bed with the USPS. Great Article !!!

Also, the info I observe, we the carriers, aren't doing a hell of lot to help ourselves when we are still having run away vehicles on a regular basis. Our district accident numbers are overwhelming, not sure I want to see them on a National level which provides the USPS the ammo to hound us.

Ron Sewell, you have a point. We must understand that this is the time to join forces and fight together. Perhaps it is not always in the members' best interest to be in the "inside track". Permit the people who you have voted to the helm to run the ship. Believe me, you do not always know best.

A union that does not have the ability to STRIKE has no teeth! The rest is just blah, blah, blah!

There's an idea, let's force change by making the union even weaker than it already is.Makes sense to me. NOT. You want it to change, then MAN UP AND FIGHT FOR IT. Will it be easy, no. It won't happen overnight either, By pulling out, all you are doing is handing more power to " the good ole boys".

I've lost all faith in my union and i know I am not alone. Its sad that an organization that is suppose to stand up for us has instead turned their back. I really feel bad for all those future employees behind us…

Until enough of of stand up to them and show we are serious by leaving the union, nothing will change. Union leadership is corrupt, but if they still get our support, they have no incentive to change. Who will stand with me???????????

I personally know some great union folks, who fight tooth and nail every step of the way but unfortunately they are in low level and midlevel positions, and higher ups will not back them up 100% but rather "well we'll give them this one this time so that next time they will let us have such and such" is often the explanation. I feel like our union leaders are riding in the back seat of the car driven by USPS having a grand old time planning for next convention. It's all way too political and behind closed doors. I am… Read more »

Union member my entire career, in recent years swore I would discontinue my membership, based on every thing already said here.

I do think the NRLCA deservers real credit for continually awarding the leadership wall plaques, and giving scholarships to the insiders children.

I did finally find a way out; I retired last month.

Great article. If the union listens to us they could do more good for the craft as a whole. It is so political at the top they loose the connection to the people they are suppose to represent. They need to check up on their stewards to make sure they are following the rules and not becoming more management than craft. I have been a steward and now have left the union. My so called rep will turn craft into management and thinks that is okay. To make it worse the area steward thinks she can do no wrong so… Read more »

Bravo….excellent thanks for your opinion! Open eyes. Silence says alot ! What happened to the squeaky wheel gets…….

Awesome! Great article Older and Wiser!!! and Carolyn Hundley I agree also!!

I feel like the union tells us what they think we want to hear.

After 10 years, I quit the union. The only time I was ever written up, they lost my paperwork…tokk 10 months to resolve. Done.

yep, Im sick of our contract saying one thing and management twists it around, its needs to be in black and white, 1 way to be said, no 10 differnt ways. the conventions are mostly for retirees, not us currently working to PROTECT us NOW.

You hit the nail right in the head


You are totally wrong ,The NRLCA has never ever acted like a REAL union. The contract is written by unqualified corndogs. Hire a real UNION lawyer ,write a real contract thats written in black and white . A clear solution to every question in 1 location in the contract.That is what we want!

I couldn't agree more with this article! We are clamoring for information out here – a sign that our leadership understands what we are dealing with every day – which explains the activity on! Instead of seeing her as a threat, they could and SHOULD embrace her dedication to this craft! She is not the enemy! The old, tired, insufficient way of conducting Union business hasn't worked for the overall good of this craft for a very long time.

our union reps are more help to management than us

I am LMAO. This is a good article. I personally wouldn't care for the idea of a union rep answering questions. It would backfire anyway because it would very quickly become a 90 hour a week job just to answer people. Also the union rep would be more like the only dart board in a bar full of very drunk patrons each holding 30 to 50 darts. And each very mad at the union. Let's face it the union is still stupid enough to withhold and hoard information .If they were to have a rep on this site I am… Read more »

Well said. As a dues paying member this article sums up the feelings of most carriers. The only information we receive in a timely matter is where to make reservations for the next convention. Our union is useless when it comes to informing us on things that really matter. The most important thing to happen to our craft is going on right now the industrial study and all our union has told us is a quick sentence in an out of date magazine.