Mail Handlers Local 323

Representing Mail Handlers and MHAs working for the United States Postal Service

Local President's Page

April 2022 Update

All right, here I go again. If you sense an underlying tone of frustration, it’s because my old friend frustration is paying me a visit once again. Maybe it’s just me. It’s possible that I’m just becoming a grumpy old guy. So, I’m going to explore the source of my frustration and let you decide. Why am I frustrated? It’s been suggested that I don’t understand. Although, I can’t completely dismiss the possibility that I’m not the one who doesn’t understand.


So, what is it exactly that I don’t understand? In a word, accountability. Management does not hesitate to hold Mail Handlers accountable. If someone in management concludes that you missed too many days of work, you will be held accountable. Management is required to inform you of your obligations through an informal discussion before proceeding to disciplinary action. This seems reasonable enough; although, if you inquire about the specifics of your attendance obligations you will receive an answer that is not responsive to the question. Even when your Union representatives ask management about attendance requirements the answers are bewildering.


Should management conclude that you continue to miss too many days, you will be called into an investigative interview or day in court and questioned about your attendance. This is the next step in holding you accountable and will likely result in the issuance of formal discipline. As a reminder, any time you’re called into a meeting with management that you believe may lead to discipline, you have the right to the presence of a Steward. Make sure you ask for one. During your day in court management will ask you the specific reasons for each absence. This is a pretense because any answer you give will be deemed unacceptable. For example: If you missed a day due to being involved in a car accident on your way to work, management will deem that reason to be unacceptable. Management will seek to hold you accountable for every absence regardless of the reason.


Accountability for absences was only used as an example. There is no shortage of rules and regulations to which management will hold Mail Handlers accountable. But when the shoe is on the other foot, and the Union is attempting to hold management accountable for violating the contract, it’s a completely different story. You wouldn’t believe number the reasons management will give to avoid being held accountable. The 204-b didn’t know how to call overtime, the supervisor is new, or the supervisor made a mistake. The list of excuses is endless when management fails to meet their obligations. In fact, a senior manager once looked at me and said, “people like you are going to destroy the Postal Service.” Why? Because I was seeking an appropriate remedy for a proven contractual violation. This manager’s statement was nothing more than a desperate attempt to avoid being held accountable for a situation he created.


In sum, management expects to hold Mail Handlers accountable to their obligations but does not expect to be held accountable when they violate our contract. So, there it is. That is the source of my frustration. Your Officers, Stewards, and I, are determined to hold management accountable for violating our contract. The question is: what are you going to do? Are you going to let management hold you accountable to your obligations; and then turn a blind eye to management violating our contract? Or are you going to request a Steward, write a statement, and help us hold management accountable? Write a statement, participate in holding management accountable, and help us tell management that violating our contract is unacceptable.


On second thought, maybe I do understand. What do you think?