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View Full Version : Postal workers can't be fired?


Mr. Blue Sky
06-30-2002, 03:01 PM
One of my cow-orkers has a wife who works for the US Postal Service. He claims that postal workers who are in the union cannot be fired, only re-assigned. Is this true? If so, how is this possible?

Airman Doors, USAF
06-30-2002, 04:00 PM
Nope. Post office workers can't be fired, only disgruntled. You wanna be the one to fire one of those psychos? ;)

Just kidding, honest. I'd like to know the answer myself.

barbitu8
06-30-2002, 04:13 PM
Well, I believe they can, but it's a long, tedious process. Besides the union, it's civil service, or very similar. DDG 's husband is a postal worker. Perhaps she'll cue us in.

stofsky
06-30-2002, 07:14 PM
IIRC, the guy who performed the very first disgruntled-postal-worker shooting, my mailman, in my hometown (Edmond, OK) during my junior year of high school, was about to be fired.

I don't think it's easy to do, but it can be done.

HPL
06-30-2002, 08:54 PM
My father is a letter carrier for the post office, so I thought I'd chime in from what he's mentioned (he sometimes has a tendency to complain to anyone withen earshot, usally me, so I've heard a bit about it).

From what I gather, it's pretty hard to get fired just because the post office apparently has a pretty strong (or pretty good) union, despite the fact they can't strike. Apparently, if they try to fire someone, the union invariably makes a big stink about it, making it almost too much of a hassle to even bother.

While I realize that provides good job security for the workers, it also hurts because in some cases it makes it harder for those working because the ones who do poor or no work are rarely fired.

But then again, this is all second hand as well.

Ferret Herder
06-30-2002, 09:27 PM
My husband is a letter carrier for the USPS. He confirms that yes indeed, postal workers can be fired, but this can be a long process sometimes requiring numerous incidents of trouble due to the strength of the union, and in some cases concerns on management's part about equal opportunity lawsuits.

doreen
06-30-2002, 09:35 PM
I am not a postal worker, but I have been a member of three different unions. In each case it was "common knowledge" that people couldn't be fired becaause the union would protect them. People often weren't fired because the union protected them, but the part that's often left out is that the union was only successful because management didn't follow the proper procedures- not documenting lateness, or giving satisfactory evaluations for unsatisfactory work. For example, someone would be fired for constant lateness. They would go to the union, and it would turn out there wasn't any documentation of lesser,required disciplinary actions being taken first. They still had a job. What supervisors often would do, rather than take those steps, was have the problem reassigned or transferred.

Monty
06-30-2002, 09:52 PM
I personally know of one civil service worker who got fired (actually, she was given a choice of quitting or getting fired and she took the quitting option). The reason she lasted so long was that all but her last supervisor failed to keep the appropriate documentation on counselling and disciplinary actions.

Duck Duck Goose
06-30-2002, 09:54 PM
What Denise said--and double it. :D

You can be fired, but it's about as easy as firing a civil servant, which is to say, extremely difficult, except for something that's outright illegal, like stealing mail.

The problem is that the union "grieves" (files a grievance, i.e. "fights via paperwork and union legal channels") on virtually everything on behalf of a threatened postal worker, which means that first, it can take months, even years, to get someone fired, and second, the union will frequently keep on "grieving" (filing grievances) on behalf of the fired postal worker, keeping the paperwork going, and it's not unusual for the fired postal worker to be re-hired a year later, and with back pay.

From the standpoint of the workroom floor, it's a great union, actually.

Mr. Blue Sky, it's possible that what your cow-orker was referring to was the fact that it is impossible for a supervisor to call a postal worker into the office and tell him, "Clean out your locker--you're through with the U.S. Postal Service". When things get to that point at a Post Office (where a supervisor feels a strong need to boot someone's heinie out the loading dock), what usually happens is that the offending postal worker is simply reassigned, either to a different set of duties that put him under a different supervisor, or if the city is big enough, to a completely different station across town.

China Guy
06-30-2002, 10:34 PM
You might read Post Office by Charles Bukowski for an inside look. Kinda out of date but a hilarious read.

samclem
06-30-2002, 10:37 PM
So the consensus is that postal workers can be fired at easily, but not fired easily. :eek:

USNSPARKS
07-01-2002, 12:00 AM
I am a USPS employee. I work at a REC, Remote Encode Center, where we input info into a computer that will allow barcodes to be applied to mail at 12 different cities, all more than 100 miles away. We get computer images of mail and never actually see the actual mail. A large percentage (around 75%) of employees are Transitional Employees (TEs). TEs sign up for 360 day periods, at the end of which they have 5 days off. Shortly before their "TE break" they get a letter advising them whether they will be picked up again or not. The new time frame can be as low as 30 days up to 360 days. It's my understanding that the USPS does not have to give ANY reason for not rehiring a TE. This is in compliance with the contract signed with the local postal union. There are a lot of TEs that are let go in this fashion, a very large percentage are due to their not maintaining speed and accuracy requirements or poor attendance.

The other employees are Careers (8 hr tours) and PTRs (Part Time Regulars) (also career employees that work roughly 6 hr shifts). As mentioned by others it is my understanding that it is much tougher to fire a career employee. I cannot speak for other USPS workplaces, since I've only worked at the REC.

Hope this helps some.

ratatoskK
07-01-2002, 08:12 AM
My ex is a rural carrier. Yes they can be fired. Your co-worker friend may have been thinking of the "no layoff" clause in their contract. Or else he was just making a joke.

Mr. Blue Sky
07-01-2002, 08:31 AM
Originally posted by ratatoskK
My ex is a rural carrier. Yes they can be fired. Your co-worker friend may have been thinking of the "no layoff" clause in their contract. Or else he was just making a joke.

He was serious. Of course, he KNOWS everything and is never wrong. :D

TheLoadedDog
07-01-2002, 08:52 AM
Australia post: To get fired, hit someone or steal something. Anything else (incompetence, lateness, excessive absenteeism, drunkenness, drug problems) will not result in losing your job, due to management simply not wanting the headache of being put through the hoops by the Union.

Sounds just like the USPS.

Mr. Blue Sky
07-01-2002, 01:28 PM
Ah, unions!

USNSPARKS
07-01-2002, 04:03 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Blue Sky
Ah, unions!



Don't get me started ! :)

handy
07-01-2002, 05:16 PM
I think if they take a gun out on the people that they must be fired promptly? (Pardon the pun)

Markxxx
07-01-2002, 07:28 PM
My next door neighbor was fired for the Post Office. Every winter when it got cold he would tell his doctor to give him a note saying he couldn't carry in the cold.

Every year the postal service would suspend him. About 4 month later he would take it to the union and they would reinstate him WITH back pay.

He did this for about 5 years. Then he got a new boss. His boss suspended him saying that he could work the counter. He said he wasn't a counter person he was a letter carrier. He assumed that the union would get his job back and he would get back pay as usual.

The Post Office took the union to arbitration and the arbitrator looked at him and said "man you're single handedly bankrupting the post office." With that he was fired.

Zudz
06-30-2011, 02:27 PM
1. Create an "anonymous" letter from a customer accusing target individual of using some sort of threatening language.

2. Recruit and meet with others who also do not like this person to coordinate incriminating stories about said individual.

3. Slip "anonymous" letter under postmaster's door.

4. When inspectors investigate, write statements including previously discussed incriminating stories. Spice it up with various claims of inappropriate behavior. If possible, use anything you know about the person outside of work and say it happened at work.

5. Declare that you fear for your safety.

The subject will be emergency placed and eventually removed. This has, unfortunately, happened already and works.

Gorsnak
06-30-2011, 02:37 PM
Alternatively, use a flamethrower on the zombie letter carriers as they shamble towards you. Can't fire'em my ass!

srzss05
06-30-2011, 02:40 PM
Alternatively, use a flamethrower on the zombie letter carriers as they shamble towards you. Can't fire'em my ass!

You know, I was going to type "3, 2, 1...' after the new poster above responded, but I thought better of it. Thank you for not disappointing me.

Chefguy
06-30-2011, 02:47 PM
I am not a postal worker, but I have been a member of three different unions. In each case it was "common knowledge" that people couldn't be fired becaause the union would protect them. People often weren't fired because the union protected them, but the part that's often left out is that the union was only successful because management didn't follow the proper procedures- not documenting lateness, or giving satisfactory evaluations for unsatisfactory work. For example, someone would be fired for constant lateness. They would go to the union, and it would turn out there wasn't any documentation of lesser,required disciplinary actions being taken first. They still had a job. What supervisors often would do, rather than take those steps, was have the problem reassigned or transferred.

This is correct. Failure of management to follow the rules that they negotiated with the union is the reason most escape being fired and just end up with some sort of minor disciplinary action. This is why it's critical to have a competent HR manager who can recite contract provisions from memory.

code_grey
06-30-2011, 04:40 PM
given that Post Office is a huge outfit, can they just routinely dump reassign employees they don't like to Tundra-city, Alaska?

Crown Prince of Irony
06-30-2011, 04:55 PM
Could a postal worker be fired for, oh, I don't know, delivering mail 9 years too late?

Pssst. Look at the dates for posts 19 and 20.

srzss05
06-30-2011, 05:27 PM
Pssst. Look at the dates for posts 19 and 20.

Psst. Look at post 21.

Crown Prince of Irony
06-30-2011, 05:59 PM
Psst. Look at post 21.

Oops.

Does this mean I'm fired?