A Good Letter Carrier
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a conversation I had with a manager about what makes a Good Letter Carrier. One morning I happened to be in the company of a manager (who I will not disclose) who referred to someone as a Good Letter Carrier. Many times a manager(s) will refer to different Letter Carriers as a good. On this day when the manager made the comment, my hairs on the back of my neck stood up. So I asked him, what makes a Good Letter Carrier? The manager looked at me and realized he may have struck a nerve, at this point he wanted to change the subject. I wasn’t having it; I pressed him to please tell me what exactly it is that makes what he called a “Good Letter Carrier”. He said well you know, someone who comes to work, I responded Ok Ok I will give you that, what else?
He said a carrier who doesn’t give me a hard time when he is told what his expectations are, like when I approach some carriers with DOIS projections. A good carrier will just do it; he’s quiet and just goes about his own business. He said a good carrier will do extra, like make a customer pick-up or bring a package out even if he is not on the list. Someone we can go to for help, a real team player. At this point I had about as much as I wanted to hear, so I interrupted him and asked if I can ask him one question before I share with him what I think makes Good Letter Carriers. I asked him how long he a Letter Carrier for? His answer, “well I never really was but I have walked many routes, I was a clerk for 3 years before getting into management for the last four”. My response was, so 7 years; nice. Ok, now I will share with you what I believe to be a “Good Letter Carrier”.
First, I let him know that I have delivered mail for 35 years and prior to that I worked as a casual employee for 2 summers, so I have met and worked along-side many Good Letter Carriers. Good Letter Carriers like Jim Frederick, Anthony Gavagni, Pete Massaro, Peter Daniels, Steve Dynder, the list is endless so I’ll stop here. I agree that Letter Carriers should come to work, but not when they are sick. We earn sick leave and so a Good Letter Carrier will use it when warranted. I believe a Good Letter Carrier will not come in spreading germs just to appease you. You mention DOIS projections; you do realize that it is only a management tool to help you get some kind of basis for determining a carrier’s workload.
The Letter Carrier is the professional, and for you to say some carriers will give you a hard time, I disagree. For us carriers we sometime find it is insulting for a manager to tell us how long the route is supposed to take, we do the job each day with so many variables. I, like many carriers feel it is the manager that lacks the understanding. We know it is your job to occasionally challenge our projections but to say a Good Letter Carrier “will just do it” is a bunch of BS. A Good Letter Carrier will give you a fair estimate of his/her workload. If a Letter Carrier wants to do more, than he/she should sign the OT list, we don’t get paid to do extra. As for a carrier doing you a favor, here again, managers should not be making carriers feel guilty for not doing what you call extra. A Good Letter Carrier will come to work ready to work; if he/she signed the OT list then they make themselves available up to 12 hours. A Good Letter Carrier is not looking for any favors nor is he looking to do you any favors, the Good Letter Carrier works as safely and accurately as possible.
I strongly believe that if the offices are properly staffed, and you managers are respectfully managing within the contract, the USPS will thrive. By not following the contract it only makes things worse not better. Managers may think these small bending of the rules help them, but they do not, it only hurts in the long run. It’s a Union shop, so the rules are the rules. At the end of my spat I looked at the manager and asked if he wanted me to share what I believed makes a “Good Manager”, before he could answer, I winked and said I would not since I am not a manager.