Thoughts of a Postman
By Morrey Weinner
Here we are with an attack against the U S. Postal Service, an agency that is deemed essential and that was established before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. I am a retired letter carrier now, but I delivered mail in Bloomfield Hills, Mich for over 41 years efficiently and enjoyably. What I am seeing and hearing now on the news and in conversation is troubling and downright appalling. In my working days, all the mail had to be delivered each and every day. If for any reason it wasn’t, heads would roll. If there was mail brought back when we returned from our own routes, we turned around and went back out with that mail. Many times, this was in the dark (which to me is a safety hazard), but it didn’t matter. The latest I ever delivered mail was 9:30 p m. Once, I had to follow a walking mail carrier with my vehicle, and shine the headlights on the houses so she could see the addresses. These are only a few extreme instances, but the point is mail had to be completely delivered each day. That doesn’t seem to be the case nowadays. However, in talking and observing local carriers, there is no doubt as to their dedication and high work ethic on the street and the workroom floor.
The Postal Service has had problems, no question, and other disagreements and issues with the workforce. But through negotiated contracts and arbitration, most issues have been resolved. Never have there been such blatant and extreme policy changes from the top without discussion. And with overtime pay eliminated, there is no way most routes can be finished daily. I rarely had a day when I didn’t require overtime. In addition, one must realize that the post office delivers more than parcels and mail. There is Free Matter for the Blind, media mail, 2nd class magazines and papers, Registered Mail (the most secure way to send anything), circulars, coupons and more. This all takes time and effort. How can removing sorting machines and mailboxes NOT hinder mail delivery? Right now, there are people off sick, on vacation, on days off, so every office is short-handed. Daily scheduling cannot be met. These changes from the top only decrease efficiency and productivity.
One last thing: the government can borrow money from the postal budget and it doesn’t have to pay it back for years. If the government would pay off its debt, the Postal Service would probably be solvent. Enough said!
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.