Questions and Answers
By Darrell Berube
1. The supervisor asked me when I left the office, when I'll return to the office, when and where I took lunch, if I was delivering my route in order, and exactly where I would be in one hour. What is the reason for these questions?
A: This is part of a new San Diego program called "point-to-point" street observation.
B: I think management is trying to "create" street standards for us.
C: I think the questions are unnecessary. Management should already know when I left the office and when I expect to return to the office because I either submitted a 3996 or expect to do my route in eight hours. If a problem develops I will call in as I've been instructed. I am required to deliver my route in order. My lunch time and choice of lunch locations is on form 1564 in my route book.
2. The supervisor said that DPS was not a valid reason to need additional time on the street.
A: Normally, it takes longer to deliver. DPS because of having to backhand vacation hold mail, forwards (sweats), bad number, etc. Juggling a fourth bundle also takes more time.
B: Eventually, when the DPS software is "cleaned-up" and 90 percent plus of the mail comes DPS, then it may not take longer to deliver DPS. There may even be some routes today in which DPS does not take longer on the street.
3. So why did the supervisor say it
doesn't take any longer?
A: I don't know. Perhaps it was honest optimism. Perhaps it was just an intimidation tactic so we will "give up" our lunch and breaks to avoid a hassle.
4. Are there ant "street standards?"
A: There is no set pace at which each carrier must walk and no street standard for walking.
5. What are casing "standards?"
A: Basically, "standards" are casing either 18 letters a minute or eight flats a minute (18 and 8), strapping out time of 70 pieces a minute, plus specific time for accountables, etc., and line items.
6. Does DPS mail change standards?
A: No. This has been agreed to by NALC and USPS.
7. What are "line items?"
A: The M-39 sets certain minimum times for recurring office functions. These include vehicle inspection, withdrawing mail, accountables, recurring office work not covered by form and personal time. The minimum total is 28 minutes. If more time is needed you can exceed the minimum times.
8. My supervisor says that strapping out time and line time are included in the 18 and 8 standards. Is my supervisor correct?
A: No. Strapping out time and line item time are in addition to 18 and 8 time.
9. Can I be disciplined for not making "standards?"
A: No. Failure to meet "standards' cannot by itself lead to discipline. Only documented unsatisfactory effort can lead to discipline. However, if a carrier fails to make "standards," then management may adjust his/her route to "standards."
10. Are older carriers required to
A: No. An exception (to standards) may be made for carriers who are otherwise performing satisfactorily, have served 25 years or more, or are over 55 years of age. The office time allowed for an exempted carrier must be reasonable.
11. What does management mean when they say a carrier has "no sense of urgency?"
A: Your guess is as good as mine. The term has no contractual validity. It does not appear in any Postal Manual.
B: Our contract calls for "a fair day's work for a fair day's pay," and that is what we do. We give our "best efforts" and this is all the Postal Service can ask of us.
12. Can the Postal Service use feet of mail cased per hour to establish my office time?
A: N0), only a six-day count and inspection can be used for this purpose. Linear
measurements are extremely inaccurate due to the mail mix and the way different supervisors count the mail.
13. My supervisor says that casing four feet of mail per hour equals standards. Is this correct?
A: No, this is a management myth. There is no contractual relationship between linear measurements and standards.
14. What is the myth involved in guesstimating a conversion of linear measurement and standards?
A: The following is just a mathematical exercise and bears no relation to contractual standards: The Postal Service "guesstimates" that an average foot of mail contains 250 mixed letters or 115 flats.
The following figures are based on: a route with three hours of office time and a mail mix of two feet of letters for every foot of flats:
*250letters divided by 18 = 13.89 minutes
*115 flats divided by 8 = 14.38 minutes Therefore:
*Casing 2 feet (500 pieces) of letters 27.78 minutes
*Casing 1 foot (115 pieces) of flats = 14.38 minutes
*Strap out time (615 pieces) = 8.89 minutes
*Line item (I/3 of 28 minutes) = 9.34
*Total for three feet of mail = 60.29 minutes
This does not include any variation in line items of other factors which would add to the time.
B: Therefore, casing is less than three feet of mail an hour is closer to standards than casing four feet per house.
15. Where does management get the idea that casing four feet of mail an hour equal standards?
A: It has been reported that the belief that four feet 'an hour (or any number of feet) "equals standards" was developed during a recent management meeting with the Easter Bunny and Elvis aboard a UFO!!! That's no myth!
I want to wish all our members and their families a Happy Holiday and a Healthy New Year's.
By Alex Rios
Cold weather is here and with ice and snow the delivery of the mail gets more
hazardous. Certain situations created by patrons all serve to compound the action problem. Some of these hazards are:
- Carriers are not required to risk personal injury from icy, steep, broken, and rotted steps or porches, flooded areas, ditches, protruding nails in mail boxes, or other hazardous obstacles. Such conditions should be reported by the carriers and the patron notified by the Postmaster.
- Carriers should not finger mail while walking up or down steps or curbs, when crossing streets or anytime it would create a hazard to the carrier, or the public.
- Motorized carriers should not hold mail in his/her hand while the vehicle is in motion.
- Carriers should use cross walks when crossing streets at an intersection and follow traffic signals.
Let us make this winter and the holiday happy and accident free by being extra careful and cautious. We owe it to ourselves and our families to be Safety Conscious at all times.
Slips, trips, and falls are responsible for more postal injuries than any other single cause. Carriers should anticipate and remain alert for slippery and broken steps, toys, ice patches, and broken walks etc.
It takes two surfaces to make a slip happen. We cannot always control the condition of sidewalks, steps walkways, and streets but we do have the final word on what shoes to wear.
Carriers should wear shoes with slip resistant soles and heels and keep them in good repair.
Use Form 1767 to report all Safety Hazards both at the station or on your route.
Always remember to report all injuries as soon as possible. If you reported a Hazard and no action was taken on it contact the Union as soon as possible.
I want to wish everyone a Happy Safe Holiday and Healthy New Year's.
A CLEAR MESSAGE
By Frank Schimmenti
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our members for getting out to vote. With the election now over and the Democrats taking back both houses we have sent the President a clear message, "we have had enough."
As I watched President Bush after the thumping he said the Republican Party took, it reminded me of a little boy who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar; losing can be a very humbling experience. Now maybe the issues concerning letter carriers will honestly be addressed in the White House.
Postal Reform is desperately needed and all retirees should continue to contract their representatives concerning Pre-funding Retiree Health Benefits. The following excerpt from the NALC Web site on Postal Reform deals with this key issue.
Both H.R. 22 and S. 662 require the USPS to allocate a significant portion (roughly two-
thirds in the House and three-quarters in the Senate) of the pension reform savings now scheduled for deposit in the CSRS escrow account to pre-fund retiree health insurance liabilities. The burden of these costs is mitigated by the return of the military pension costs to the 'Treasury-since the surplus in a new audit of postal CSRS assets and obligations will be transferred to a new postal retiree health benefit fund. Nevertheless, the USPS will be subject to a pre-funding requirement that no other federal agency or private company faces. Neither government (GASB) nor private sector (FASB) accounting standards requires such pre-funding and less than a third of Fortune 1000 companies are pre-funding such liabilities voluntarily.
NALC supports the efforts of major mailers to find a compromise formula for pre-funding retiree health benefits with the some of the escrow savings and the savings from the return of the military pension costs to the Treasury. Any change in the escrow or military pension provisions of the bills would threaten this support. Like I said in the beginning of my article, "we sent a clear message", now we must send a new message that we need Postal Reform. Season's' Greetings to all my postal brothers and sisters and their families.