Sunday, September 6, 2015
Labor Day Letter to our Postal Plant Manager - Why Can't We Have the Luxury of Screwing up too?
By Mel Carriere
I really don't want to put a bummer on your Labor Day Weekend. I try to think about all the positive things organized labor has done to give us holidays like this where we can relax, have a few beers, and enjoy the fruits of our "labors." But centuries of fighting for our rights through collective bargaining has not yet altered the basic fact that somebody in management will sooner or later come along and do something stupid that we have to pay the price for.
All right, I asked for it, I'll admit. Nobody put a gun to my head and made me sign up to work my holiday on Saturday. Therefore, I really have no right to complain about what a hellish mess it is was. But then again, complaining is what I do, it is what this blog is basically for, because who would want to read my rosy postal portraits that are full of palm tree framed blue skies, like the pretty picture above?
So from my little corner of palm tree lined Postal Paradise I decided to pen this little letter to our Postal plant manager, who was at least partly responsible for the wearisome debacle that last Saturday became. How was your pre Labor Day Saturday, by the way? Let me know in the comments below.
Dear Postal Plant Manager,
First of all I am not usually a disgruntled type. I agree with a lot of the ideas that you and others occupying positions of power throw out there for postal and public consumption, I just wish that you people would follow through on some of them. For example, there is the idea of load leveling. In concept keeping a smooth, even work load throughout the course of the Postal Week sounds like a wonderful idea, but your execution of the load leveling principle reminds me of having the passengers of the badly listing cruise ship Costal Corcordia quickly run to the other side, uphill on a slippery deck, to redistribute the weight. Who am I but a humble mailman to offer an opinion on matters that are way over my pith helmet covered head, but in the future I don't think you should wait until the plant is sinking under the rivet popping weight of undelivered mail before you decide to push it all out to the delivery units the day before a holiday.
Problem is that you always have the unsung Distribution Clerks and Letter Carriers to pull your nuts out of the proverbial postal flames. The Saturday before a holiday we are required to take everything, so by that juncture it is no longer load leveling but employee leveling, as it brings all of us long suffering delivery unit employees down to the same withered, frazzled, unrecognizable exhausted shells of human beings that we didn't really have to be, if you had found it in your infinite wisdom not to give us one foot of flats on Thursday and Friday and 10 feet on Saturday.
Am I really supposed to believe that this extreme inundation of mail at the last minute just showed up at the plant out of the blue, that it hadn't been sitting there simmering alone in an abandoned corner while you made your numbers look really good during the week? This look good now and to hell with later and everybody else philosophy was something you were more than willing to trade an atrocious Saturday for, because on Monday there will be nobody to scream at you anyway, and by Tuesday the tragedy will be nothing more than a distant, irrelevant memory lost in the nostalgic thoughts of beach barbecues and beered up baseball games that some of us had the energy to attend on Labor Day Weekend.
Again I proclaim my inability to believe that this avalanche of bulk rate flats we had on Saturday just materialized out of thin air. Am I really expected to believe that the dedicated and highly motivated employees of corporate America worked extra hard generating countless mounds of mail on Friday instead of taking a half day like normal people so they could beat the traffic out to Vegas? Was this truly the reason we were flooded with mail on Friday worse than when the dam busted in Johnstown - and you very respectfully Mr. or Mrs. Plant manager had nothing at all to do with it? I think there were so many delayed bulk rate flats piled up in the plant Monday through Friday; stacked to the ceiling like combustible cordwood, that the Fire Marshall would have condemned the place.
But our clerks went ahead and sorted it diligently and faithfully on Saturday, and our carriers went ahead and delivered it in the same manner because that's what we are there for, living in the trenches on the Postal front lines. We exist to correct your errors in judgement, accidental or intentional, for the benefit of the American public. We don't have the luxury of screwing up and won't do it on purpose to improve our numbers, but still you ties and skirts sit up there smug on Mahogany Row and complain about what a lazy lot we all are.
So very respectfully thank you, Anonymous Postal Plant Manager, for turning me into a one dimensional human being on Saturday that worked to the point of exhaustion, went home and performed basic biological survival functions, then slept the sleep of the rock breaker of the month on the prison chain gang, but without the honorary parking place. Thank you for helping me to ignore and neglect my family by turning in at 8 PM on Saturday night while you probably partied late and long into the weekend, seeing as how I doubt you even worked Saturday, as the rest of the postal faithful did.
A tired, disgruntled but always respectful Mel
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