July 2012 Update
I wish I could tell you that July saw the resolution of many important issues which are the subject of our collective concerns. But, all I can say is that another month has gone by with little progress being made. The Congress, or at least the US House of Representatives, seems more interested in hurling criticism at the USPS rather than addressing the pre-funding mandate which underlies the financial difficulties. Who will serve as the neutral arbitrator over the terms of the 2011 National Agreement remains an unanswered question; and many people continue to work numerous unwanted hours whether they be the result of overtime or holiday scheduling.
Perhaps if July did see a change it was that the frustration people are experiencing is reaching everyone. You can see it in their faces and hear it in their voices.
Who is frustrated you ask? Full-time regulars not on the overtime desired list that are continually required to work their 6th day week after week for more a year, these people are frustrated. Part-time flexibles who have been working 12 hour days 6 days a week forever with no relief in sight, these people are frustrated. Mail Handlers who were excessed from Minneapolis to Des Moines because management claimed they didn’t have jobs for them in the metro area are frustrated. This is particularly true because management had no problem providing full-time employment to dozens of casuals in metro are facilities after sending our people to Des Moines. You know who else is frustrated, the Union representatives who continue to beat their heads against the wall month after month over these issues. Quite frankly, I’m frustrated.
I’ve been struggling for a while now to keep my frustrations from bleeding through into these monthly columns. One reason for my restraint has been a desire to keep these columns more factual than rhetorical. Another reason was that I felt it might not be constructive to add my voice to the internet echo chamber that has filled the void resulting from a lack of Congressional action over Postal reform. Regardless, my frustrations continue to build. Maybe it’s because of a lack of progress despite fervent efforts or maybe it because I know that the path to our future goes down the pot hole filed bumpy road we’re on now, and I’m tired of only being able to tell people to hold on.