Am I basically unemployed right now?

Blondie13

Member
I'm going to list this story in bullet for length purposes and to avoid unnecessary details and angry side-rants.
I'm not looking to discuss whether or not the stated "accident" was actually an accident or not... in this district it apparently is so they're treating it with the same severity as if I'd hit a parked car or taken out a mailbox.
I'd also like to preface this by saying that up until this point i've had a spotless postal record- not even so much as a call-out.
  • I ran over a sunken storm drain on the route in an LLV (like the one pictured below). (Monday 9/30) I did not immediately report it when it happened despite the right side flap of LLV metal being slightly bent outwards, as there was already a piece of white rubber bolted to the underside of the LLV where someone else had previously taken out a chunk of metal in a similar manner and there was no damage to the storm drain.
  • Get back to the office, mention it to supervisor but it's decided to not file an "accident report" and have the VMF come out and look at it to avoid a weeks-long suspension.
  • Next day (10/1), my regular returns and has a cow in the parking lot- alerts every available member of management because "he can't afford a 2 week suspension"
  • (10/2) I show up to run a scheduled POV route, despite my POV being in the shop for transmission replacement.
  • I case the route and then sit to wait for an LLV since no schedule modifications were made.
  • Station manager throws enormous fit and has write down casing time on green card, splits the route and sends me home.
  • I'm told my driving privileges are revoked
  • Next day (10/3) I sit through 7 hours of district safety videos.
  • Safety team and station manager interview me and sign to have my driving privileges reinstated, pending approval from Postmaster POOM, and district manager.
  • I return to office after safety brainwashing to find I'm not on the schedule.
  • The next day (Fri. 10/4) I'm called in for PDIs with union rep.
  • Find out station manager is likely pursuing 14 day on-paper suspension (next step being removal.)
  • Text station manager on 10/5 about coming back to work, am told that "She'll contact me when I'm back on the schedule."
  • 10/5-10/8 I sit around the house like a bum waiting for a call back to work.
  • 10/9 (today) i ask union rep if there is max amount of time this can drag on for- he says no.
So here I am, a little after midnight my time lurking around on postal forums.
My one productive deed for the day- I did write my old postmaster a thank you card.
Am I basically unemployed?
As far as I know, the station manager could "lose" the paperwork and I could be out of work for months without anyone batting an eye.
Also, is this how this is supposed to go? Something here seems amiss... but like I said I don't really have the first clue about disciplinary proceedings.
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Rt2mailman

Well-known member
ASK your steward to ask what is the hold up on discipline or release for return to work or he will have to file on your behalf for not being worked while Rca s under your level if seniority are.
In the resources of this site read up on the defenses to discipline. You are not at fault, who ever cares for the roads is at fault. Although you should have reported the incident at the point it happened, you could claim there was already similar damage to that vehicle beforehand, so you didn't know how much was yours. This should have all been said at your II, however.
In this case I would claim discipline should be lessened to an official discussion due to extenuating circumstances.
1)Damaged roadway
2) Previous damage to the LLV in the same spot.
3) You did report it and supervisor thought little of it.
4)You would have worked and driven your pov had it not had a bad transmission and none of this would have occured.
With these you should be able to lessen your discipline back to at most a letter of warning, but I would try for an official discussion.
 

Blondie13

Member
ASK your steward to ask what is the hold up on discipline or release for return to work or he will have to file on your behalf for not being worked while Rca s under your level if seniority are.
In the resources of this site read up on the defenses to discipline. You are not at fault, who ever cares for the roads is at fault. Although you should have reported the incident at the point it happened, you could claim there was already similar damage to that vehicle beforehand, so you didn't know how much was yours. This should have all been said at your II, however.
In this case I would claim discipline should be lessened to an official discussion due to extenuating circumstances.
1)Damaged roadway
2) Previous damage to the LLV in the same spot.
3) You did report it and supervisor thought little of it.
4)You would have worked and driven your pov had it not had a bad transmission and none of this would have occured.
With these you should be able to lessen your discipline back to at most a letter of warning, but I would try for an official discussion.
That's what I don't understand- the union attitude here is just sort of...pandering? to management... Like just give management what they want and work yourself around it. During the talk with one of our union reps, he told me our area rep had told him to say something to me about "excessive grievances."
 

Blondie13

Member
There's a sequence to be followed and a 14 day suspension is not the first thing.

It's called progressive discipline and they cannot jump ahead.

Also, was there concurrence and review?
Union dude said that if they did pursue a 14 day suspension, he'd push for it to only be on my record for a year, and advised me to bid out of this office because management here has a track record of doing this sort of thing... my first thought was "isn't most of your job to keep management like that in check?"
...Please pardon my lack of knowledge, but what would a concurrence and review entail?
 

Rt2mailman

Well-known member
Review and concurrence is to be used only if you have been placed on an emergency placement. That is you are thought to have committed an egregious act.
I believe they are trying to decide on what your discipline is to be, but that does not mean you should not be working. You could ask your steward if he would like you to become the office steward, since you don't mind filing excessive grievances.
 
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Oi veh.

Moderator
Staff member
My dear, your stew is sadly lacking imesho.

Here is the order of discipline:
Official discussion
Letter of Warning
7 day suspension (paper only)
14 day suspension (paper only)
Day of reflection
Fired

Management MUST follow this order, unless you are placed on Emergency Placement and you were not.

Here is some light reading for you. (RIA, I'm sorry to link elsewhere, but could not find this in knowledgebase. Admittedly, I did not go to the union website. This is something I have saved on my puter.)
 

EthelAnne

Well-known member
As @Oi veh. noted, your local steward appears out of their depth and you should contact someone higher up on the food chain. If I understand the timeline correctly, management is still investigating the incident, correct? No discipline has been issued, is that right? Unless you're on emergency placement, they can't prevent you from working while they investigate (and, as far as I know, there is no time limit on an investigation), so keep track of days you should have worked and make sure you request compensation for those days in your grievance. (Yes, you should file a grievance immediately).

Regarding the statement about "excessive grievances"--I have to believe this is BS. Frankly, it sounds like some made up BS a supervisor would say in order to intimidate a carrier and keep them from filing. In my district, my DR regularly calls out stewards for not filing grievances ("We know violations are occurring every day in offices, why haven't I seen a grievance from you in six months?" so there is no problem with "excessive grievances"--if anything, the NRLCA has a problem with filing too few grievances!) If your steward did say this to you, contact Susan Knapp ASAP.
 
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EthelAnne

Well-known member
Concurrence and review means another supervisor must take a look at the incident/issue prior to the carrier being disciplined. In your case, I don't think you've received any discipline yet so not a concern yet, but it can be if you grieve the discipline (which you should, of course).
 

csparks

Well-known member
I'd say that the best tactic is to insist this is not an accident, but a "road hazard" situation (like a pothole) that was unavoidable, and the result of the municipality's failure to maintain their stormwater infrastructure. You reported it to a supervisor, and followed their instructions.

No one like to make the leap of consulting with an attorney, but it might be something to keep in the back of your mind. The mindset of "I'm right because I'm above you" is hard to check without some outside influences sometimes.
 
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Blondie13

Member
As @Oi veh. noted, your local steward appears out of their depth and you should contact someone higher up on the food chain. If I understand the timeline correctly, management is still investigating the incident, correct? No discipline has been issued, is that right? Unless you're on emergency placement, they can't prevent you from working while they investigate (and, as far as I know, there is no time limit on an investigation), so keep track of days you should have worked and make sure you request compensation for those days in your grievance. (Yes, you should file a grievance immediately).

Regarding the statement about "excessive grievances"--I have to believe this is BS. Frankly, it sounds like some made up BS a supervisor would say in order to intimidate a carrier and keep them from filing. In my district, my DR regularly calls out stewards for not filing grievances ("We know violations are occurring every day in offices, why haven't I seen a grievance from you in six months?") If your steward did say this to you, contact Susan Knapp ASAP.
Nope, no discipline has been issued as of yet, and I don't think it's emergency placement? I wasn't given anything formal in writing.
As far as I know, the investigation has been concluded and they're just waiting on signatures at this point... so they say. But pretty everyone involved has been unwilling or unable to give me any info about what's going on.
Well, I've been firing off about 2-4/week for the past month and some change... He basically told me to keep it to some sort of issue that they could fix "make me whole" (basically just issues of pay)
 

Blondie13

Member
My dear, your stew is sadly lacking imesho.

Here is the order of discipline:
Official discussion
Letter of Warning
7 day suspension (paper only)
14 day suspension (paper only)
Day of reflection
Fired

Management MUST follow this order, unless you are placed on Emergency Placement and you were not.

Here is some light reading for you. (RIA, I'm sorry to link elsewhere, but could not find this in knowledgebase. Admittedly, I did not go to the union website. This is something I have saved on my puter.)
That's what I thought, but I guess this district considers it so egregious that they allow for skipping the process? That's what everyone has told me so far, despite not been having been given any of the safety training when I transferred into this district...
And from what I understand from said safety training last week, a bee sting is considered an accident... and if you're dumb enough to call in and report being stung by a bee (with no allergies, of course), they then pull you off the street and stuff you right back into safety training so they can go investigate said bee and see if you could have prevented being stung by said bee...
and that's an almost exact quote from the safety team.

One thing I don't understand is how policy can vary so much from district to district? I would think that USPS would want to have some sort of cohesiveness country-wide.
 

Blondie13

Member
Thank you so much everyone! I really appreciate your input... I'm definitely not feeling like as much of a useless turd now 💩
One think that occurred to me last night as I was falling asleep is that I asked my union rep outright "When were my driving privileges revoked? I don't remember them being revoked" and got no response... It seemed to have happened after I reminded the station manager that my POV was in the shop for a NEW TRANSMISSION (sorry, not something I can drop off in the morning and pick up later in the day.)
Our state representative is of no help and has probably been the most indifferent to this situation out of everyone I've talked to.
I'll give calling Susan Knapp a call, and see where that lands me :)
 

Bud Budderly

Active member
  • Get back to the office, mention it to supervisor but it's decided to not file an "accident report" and have the VMF come out and look at it to avoid a weeks-long suspension. <snip>
  • Find out station manager is likely pursuing 14 day on-paper suspension (next step being removal.)
Great advice as usual from the folks above. It strikes me as odd that considering your spotless record, they went straight to a 14-day suspension in lieu of progressive discipline and that they (management) are being so tight-lipped about the status of the investigation. It makes me wonder: 1) what bumped this up in severity in the eyes of safety & district management and 2) if the above-mentioned supervisor, in order to cover his/her own butt, is claiming you failed to report the accident to him after returning from the route. It may be worth checking out to make sure safety and upper management has all of the information about who reported what to who and when correct. Supervisors have been successfully removed in the past for failing to report the accidents of their subordinates so it wouldn't surprise me if one threw a carrier under the bus to save himself.
 
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Blondie13

Member
I'd say that the best tactic is to insist this is not an accident, but a "road hazard" situation (like a pothole) that was unavoidable, and the result of the municipality's failure to maintain their stormwater infrastructure. You reported it to a supervisor, and followed their instructions.

No one like to make the leap of consulting with an attorney, but it might be something to keep in the back of your mind. The mindset of "I'm right because I'm above you" is hard to check without some outside influences sometimes.
So, I did go the "road hazard" route, and the safety team here apparently doesn't distinguish between road hazards and actual collisions if there's even a scratch on the LLV.
And that's not me just angry ranting, that's what the safety team told me... apparently this district had the worst accident rate in the country (which is funny cause that's what my old district said too 😂) so they said that's their reason for being stricter.
But I don't see how they actually have any authority to dole out advice for disciplinary action even if that is the case.
 

Blondie13

Member
Thank you so much everyone! I really appreciate your input... I'm definitely not feeling like as much of a useless turd now 💩
One think that occurred to me last night as I was falling asleep is that I asked my union rep outright "When were my driving privileges revoked? I don't remember them being revoked" and got no response... It seemed to have happened after I reminded the station manager that my POV was in the shop for a NEW TRANSMISSION (sorry, not something I can drop off in the morning and pick up later in the day.)
Our state representative is of no help and has probably been the most indifferent to this situation out of everyone I've talked to.
I'll give calling Susan Knapp a call, and see where that lands me :)
I left a voicemail with Labor Relations at the NRLCA main building... I might try calling again tomorrow, or by some miracle I might actually get to go back to work 🥳
 

Blondie13

Member
Great advice as usual from the folks above. It strikes me as odd that considering your spotless record, they went straight to a 14-day suspension in lieu of progressive discipline and that they (management) are being so tight-lipped about the status of the investigation. It makes me wonder: 1) what bumped this up in severity in the eyes of safety & district management and 2) if the above-mentioned supervisor, in order to cover his/her own butt, is claiming you failed to report the accident to him after returning from the route. It may be worth checking out to make sure safety and upper management has all of the information about who reported what to who and when correct. Supervisors have been successfully removed in the past for failing to report the accidents of their subordinates so it wouldn't surprise me if one threw a carrier under the bus to save himself.
Well, the problem here is that I'm already on this station manager's shit list for the "excessive grieving" of a lot of issues around the office.... one of which was being added to the matrix.
So I have my primary route (that I just bid onto, since they had originally assigned me to a primary with a regular on the ODL...) and that's it.
And this station manager has a track record of getting problematic people out of work however she can, and then dragging it out for months until they're forced to find another job.
...Which isn't going to happen here. If they think I'm just going to roll over and quit, they definitely got another thing coming. I can make a huge nuisance out of myself until somebody somewhere steps in to put things in order 😬
 
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