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The Year that the Postmaster General Went Postal

After 41 Years on the Job, a Retired Postman Delivers Some Blunt Talk


Veteran Postman Morrey Weinner
Veteran Postman Morrey Weinner

Rain or shine, Morrey Weinner brought letters and packages to grateful residents in the Detroit suburbs for decades. Who better to sort out the current mess at the Postal Service for Insider readers?

The Insider:

The Democrats are angry at the current Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, and are

trying to push him out. Does he deserve that kind of treatment?

Morrey Weinner:

Yes, he deserves all the criticism and jabbing that can be dished out.

The Insider:

Why do you believe that?

Morrey Weinner:

Even though DeJoy says that he wasn’t appointed by Trump, it was obviously political, with him being a huge Trump donor, He was put there by the President to disrupt mail-in balloting. Okay, the Board of Governors chooses the P G, but they are a majority Republican. It all follows. And look what DeJoy did. Removing mailboxes from the streets and dismantling sorting machines.


The Insider:

And now he’s saying that he has plans to make delivery even slower!


Morrey Weinner:

Slower delivery at higher prices.


The Insider:

A great combination, right?


A combative Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told Congress members at a hearing this week “Get used to me”
A combative Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told Congress members at a hearing this week “Get used to me”

Morrey Weinner:

I don’t think DeJoy really has a plan. It’s not getting better. And it’s not the workers. When he eliminated overtime to save money, no good. Overtime has been necessary almost every day to deliver the mail. 


Raising postage has always been a big deal. It really hasn’t improved service, only a little more money in the coffers. This is all really unfortunate. Many people have to use the Post Office. When I was single, I would hand deliver my bill payments, not just to save stamps, but because I knew they were received. And remember, one could pay bills at the banks.

 

The Insider:

When you were delivering mail, were you aware of whomever the then-current Postmaster General was?


Morrey Weinner:

We would be shown videos of him from time to time. He talked about the Post Office  and its concerns. Probably trying to keep morale up. We knew about the national management and usually heard more at contract talks. Most interactions were at the local and district level. DeJoy as well as Trump are only concerned with themselves.


The Insider:

Do you ever talk with people who are still working in the agency?


Morrey Weinner:     

I talk with my own carrier or carriers on nearby streets whom I know. Or on the occasion of going into the Post Office, I’ll speak to the clerk. I always say I’m a retired carrier and ask them how many years they have. I talk to some other retirees as well.


The Insider:

What’s the mood these days among those folks?

 

Morrie Weinner:

The ones with some years under their belt are just waiting and hoping to be able to retire, probably with 30 years. The people who are relatively new, under ten years, have a long way to go and seem to just hope it continues.


The Insider:

 By “it” continues, do you mean the agency itself?


Morrey Weinner:

Yes, that’s what I mean. The Post Office I feel is going to be there; I just don’t know in what capacity. Its losses every quarter or year were always bailed out by the government at the last minute, it seemed. I don’t think privatization will happen, though. If it did, many postal services would disappear. Do you remember that under Reagan, Ross Perot wanted to buy it and Reagan would have sold it, I’m sure? But after looking it over, Perot changed his mind. He said it was too messed up.

There is one thing I should mention. Way back when e-mail was starting and electronic transfers, there as talk about the Post Office getting compensation, because this was like a letter. It was never pursued, obviously. It might have made a difference.

 

The Insider:

What about the Postal Service’s commercial competition?


Morrey Weinner:

The Post Office certainly has many outside competitors. With all the delivery options nowadays, things are way different, especially with food delivery, grocery delivery, pet food. Amazon, FedEx and DHL. The competitors are only going to provide service that is profitable, though. To this day, I believe UPS does not deliver in areas that will not make money or are too dangerous.

 

The Insider:

People are very curious about what it’s like to deliver mail, and you did it for 41 years! How far did you walk on the average day?


Weinner on the job in the early 1990s
Weinner on the job in the early 1990s

Morrey Weinner:

 I’m not sure of the exact distance, because I was in and out of businesses and stores and apartment buildings. But I was out delivering for 5-1/2 to 6 hours a day. When I started, and was delivering house to house,. I would guess it was 7 or 8 miles a day. 


The Insider:

That sounds very tiring!  It’s an Olympic event.

 

Morrey Weinner:

I enjoyed it. Many customers were like family. I was on my route where I delivered, more than 25 years. I saw children grow up, people move in, people move out, people die. One develops a rapport and a close relationship with many people.

 

The Insider:

Were you pushing a postal cart or carrying a bag of mail?

I carried a bag with the mail and walked. Where I worked we couldn’t use a cart. Now, I see some carriers with a double bag, crisscrossed, like a pack animal.


The Insider:

What time did you start in the morning? What time did you get finished?

  

Morrey Weinner:    

I started at about 7:00 am, and ended at 4:00 pm. That’s eight hours without overtime, but there was almost always overtime.  Closer to the time I retired, in 2013, the starting time was later because we didn’t get the mail delivered to us until later. When I retired, I was starting at 8:00 am. Now, I hear it’s 8:30 am or 9:00 am. And in the winter months, it gets dark early, which puts delivery in the dark. Unsafe practice!

 

The Insider:

Which season was the best? And which was the worst?

 

Morrey Weinner:

Well, I was outside 90 percent of the time. Of course, summer is nice unless it’s too hot or rainy. Winter’s not bad if you dress for it. The worst is cold rain!

 

The Insider:

Was the weather ever so bad that service was cancelled?

  

Morrey Weinner:

Yes, but I only recall four times. Once, way back, the weather was so bad that people could not get to work. But dedicated as I was, I walked to the Post Office. about three miles away. Six of us made it in. Later on, twice the mail didn’t get to us, yet we couldn’t go home. Another time I remember, my route was on the main streets, and I said just get me out of the parking lot and I’ll deliver. No dice!

 

The Insider:

What’s the weirdest thing you ever delivered?

 

Morrey Weinner:

A package that really had a foul odor. I later learned it was some dried fish from Korea. It was going to the end of my route, but I dropped the smelly thing off first to get it out of my truck.

 

The Insider:

Did a Post Office delivery person ever figure out that something bad had happened when someone didn’t take in their mail for weeks?

 

Morrey Weinner:

Yes, that happened. Not to me, but I remember some carriers noticed an irregularity, and it was discovered someone had died. Not taking in your mail is always a telltale sign. Either someone didn’t mention they were leaving or something is wrong. Even now, when I walk our dog, Honey Girl, if I notice a package on the porch and I know the person is working, I put it at the back porch or out of sight. If it sits too long, again it’s a sign of not being home. And packages are sometimes stolen, especially at the holidays. Notice would be given that something was delivered, but then there was nothing there. Be sure to take in your mail and your packages pronto!







A native Michigander, Morrey Weinner grew up in Birmingham, Mich. Now that he is retired, his regular route revolves around taking Honey Girl, his poodle-terrier mix, out for long walks.


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