June 10th, 2009

Guest blog: Another USPS Workplace Tragedy

By Stephen D. Musacco, Ph.D. author of Beyond Going Postal

On the morning of June 2, 2009, a city letter carrier went to work and reportedly fatally shot himself in the head in the locker room at a postal facility in Gastonia, North Carolina. The Gaston Gazette online news report stated that the “Gastonia Police are investigating an apparent suicide this morning at the post office. . . . One of the employees is inside dead from a gunshot wound.”

Prior to my retirement from the USPS, at a former district I worked for, there were three suicides within a two year period that I concluded were contributed to in significant part by how these employees were treated in the workplace. The third employee, a city letter carrier, fatally shot himself in a postal jeep and left a letter stating that he could no longer take the job. The suicide at the Gastonia postal facility was the second since December 2005.

Many people have asked: Why is there so much stress and workplace tragedies in the U.S. Postal Service? The answer to these questions is because the postal culture embraces and reflects core values that center on achieving bottom-line results with little or no regard for employee participation, respect, dignity, or fairness. Additionally, there is little or no accountability for the actions of top management in the Postal Service. Many postal facilities consequently have toxic work environments, and they can be a catalyst or trigger for serious acts of workplace violence, including homicide and suicide. The associated rewards system for behavior consistent with the postal culture core values, moreover, enables systemic organizational and individual bullying of employees at all levels of the organization.

I define a toxic workplace environment as a workplace where there is a high incidence of stress-related illnesses. These stress-related illnesses are manifested by psychological and physical deterioration. In other words, these types of environments seriously erode employees’ health and well-being. The primary factors contributing to a toxic workplace environment are high job demands, low job control, and low social support. Low social support generally entails a lack of respect and validation of employees’ dignity by their “superiors”. It also oftentimes includes organizational practices and methods that encourage the bullying of employees to meet corporate goals.

The name of the city letter carrier who committed suicide in Gastonia, NC on June 2, 2009 is Steven Spencer age 60. According to his obituary, Steven was married and leaves two daughters and three grandchildren. He was a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers/ and state representative for Muscular Dystrophy Association. He was the founder of the National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive for Gaston County. He was very active in Scouting, attaining the highest rank of Eagle Scout. He also was a member of the Order of the Arrow. Steven was a veteran of the Vietnam War serving his country proudly in the US Navy.

I find it highly improbable that an employee will kill himself or herself in a postal facility or while on a postal route unless it is to send a clear message that a toxic workplace exists and the person can’t handle it anymore. Sadly, it also may be a tragic attempt to better the lot of one’s fellow coworkers by drawing attention to the tragic event itself.

Prior to Steven’s suicide, I was contacted by a relative of an employee at the Gastonia post office in April of this year. She was concerned because of what she reported as a toxic workplace environment at the Gastonia post office, lack of accountability to address employees’ concerns, and that the situation may lead to another workplace tragedy. Unfortunately, her worst concern became a reality on June 2, 2009. She further indicated several employees have resigned their positions at the office because of the toxic workplace environment and others were suffering from negative psychological and physical effects because of this environment. I was told employees’ attempts, mostly city letter carriers, to have their concerns addressed over a two-year period included: filing of discrimination complaints and grievances, unprofessional workplace assessments, town hall meetings, contacts to congressional representatives both locally and nationally, contacts to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and petitions to Charlotte postal District officials and representatives of their national postal union. She further indicated that none of these measures contributed to fully addressing the workplace environment or alleviating its negative impact for the employees at the Gastonia Post Office.

In order for the U.S Postal Service to become a safe and healthy organization and thereby prevent future workplace tragedies, which have been at an endemic level over the past three decades, there is an urgent need for congressional intervention and legislation to address its toxic postal culture. Dr. Gary and his wife, Dr. Ruth Namie, along with their colleague Professor David Yamada, have for years pushed for such legislation at the state level. In order for national legislation for the prevention of workplace bullying to have the intended impact, it would require sanctions to employers or their representatives who are in violation of a new workplace statute that defines workplace bullying as a harmful and illegal activity.

Stephen D. Musacco, Ph.D.


WBI Note: Readers of the comments below will see the pattern of abuse described above repeated at the same postal center with other employees. Sadly, other comments reveal a national pattern within the Postal Service. So, readers may also be interested in:

Details of a bullying-related NALC Arbitration and management’s use of “routine” bullying on the shop floor as a defense! and   The 1992 USPS Joint Statement on Violence (policy that supposedly applies to ALL employees, except when a grievance is filed)


<-- Read the complete WBI Blog

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 at 1:22 pm and is filed under Bullying & Health, Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Fairness & Social Justice Denied. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  1. Linda E. says:

    I just recently took the VER becasue the PM where I was assigned didn’t care for me & she cut my hours to5 a week. I was s 29 1/2 yr employee and I know that part of her reasoning came from top mgmt. crunching the numbers. After 29 yrs. I can no longer palay those types of games,so I was fortunate to have an understanding husband, and being frugal helped me decide to enjoy the rest of my life away from the PO. Another friend who works not far from me,hurt her toe on the job and just went to the DR. to make sure it wasn’t broken.10 minutes after she left the DR’s office her PM went in to see the DR and told him that he had better not file this as OWCP and that he better use her insurance to cover this. Of course the Dr. called my friend and told her this& also wrote a statement as to what happened. This is the type of craziness that people who don’t work for the PO don’t understand, but its the kind of thing that may make you lose it

  2. Mrs. Steven LaFon Spencer says:

    Thank you for your prayers,comments and concerns. I
    would be very willing to speak to you in regards to
    what I and my family can do to stop the injustice that has happened and will continue to happen unless
    we as individuals take a stand.
    I am ready and willing to do anything possible to
    make sure Steve’s statement is not in vain.
    I would like to thank everyone for their prayers, and to please continue to do so.
    Mrs. Steven LaFon Spencer

    • garynamie says:

      To the Spencer family,

      It is noble to seek meaning in Steven’s death. One path taken by others is to advocate for legislation to curb employer abuses that can drive a good person to not only contemplate, but to commit, suicide.

      Gary Namie

    • leslie says:

      Some of his co-workers have expressed themselves elsewhere. Most of us are shy to write directly to you but we are praying and watching and hoping the media bothers to follow-up.

    • Mrs. FLB says:

      Mrs. Spencer, I am a city carrier and I would like to say that your husbands feelings are totally understood and your family is in my prayers.

      I would also like others to try to understand how her husband felt. Our office is going through the same thing. I have been assaulted and battered by a person in a management position and since then (a little over a year ago)I have been hospitalized three times for anxiety, depression and suicidal ideations. I still seek psychiatric help to date. The countless medical visits and the enormous amounts of medications that I have to take just to go to work everyday is insane. And to top it off the person who assaulted me still has their position and works directly over me. So if that is not a person feeling as if they were raped and their rapist rapes them again everyday I don’t know what is. There were several eyewitnesses but the outside world can not understand what happens behind the doors of the postal service.

      We have to my knowledge about 12 people in our office that are seeking psychiatric help. We have grown men crying real tears in our office daily. I have not seen anything this bad even being deployed in the military to some very bad places in some very bad situations.

      We have contacted members of congress, the media, the police department, threat assessment teams. You name it we have tried it. We have had tragedies that no one would believe and no one believes.

      So to those people who think that we need to just take responsibility for our actions, that is something that you don’t have to worry about. When you work for the post office and you are not a memeber of management, you definetely have to take responsibility for your actions. That is taken care of daily.

      If you hear it and you think that postal employees are just spoiled then it would do you some good to look into the matter a little deeper. In fact you should. I challenge you to do just that and I can garauntee you that your thoughts will change. Don’t be quick to judge be quick to examine.

      Mrs. Spencer I would love to speak to you because my co-workers and I are working on something that we hope will change national laws. We would love your input and we would like you to know that while your husband is gone, he and other postal employees that were in his situation are not forgotten.

      Mrs. FLB

  3. leverne buck says:

    Thanks for the info and article. I have 22 years of service with USPS. At 60 years of age, I am looking forward to my soon retirement. The situation at work is becoming more and more toxic. When one is mandated to state “would you like to purchase one of our study, durable, and attractive postal containers”-one can see micromanagement at its best. The titatic is soon going under.

  4. Marvin says:

    I support looking into this problem as it is not just a local issue but a national one. I have written articles in my local branch newsletter and have been told that we should handle this kind of problem without Congressional help!!! I was told that this would make privatizing the post office easier as those proponents we argue that privatizing the P.O. would stop this. As a former employee, I think you could help shed some light on this and appreciate your help.

    • leslie says:

      In the UK the Royal Mail is part of the Dignity at Work programme. Now whether it is merely lip-service to a concept or having actual benefit for employees I cannot say.

      Everybody (union and management) has had USPS employees subjugating their needs and rights to the fears of privatization for decades now.

      I had a work life prior to my USPS years and I have always made it a point to keep my eyes and ears open and I can tell you for a fact that this problem is not limited to USPS which is why I state emphatically that the US has a GANG CULTURE in every strata of society.

      There was a time that USPS was a leader in these type things for employees and private sector as well as lesser government entities looked to the USPS model for how things should be done. They COULD take the initiative and effectively address this issue regardless. Less angry postal employees lashing out all over the internet and their communities could surely change the sentiment towards privatization.

  5. KATHY says:

    I think this was a very insightful article. Iam a carrier in St.St Stephen S.C., have been for over 20 years. If I file a greviance I have it in for the P.M.and am a “problem” worker never had a problem, never filed a greviance until we were sent a P.M. who had “people” problems at other facilities. She was very insitive about the carrier who committed suicide said there was no stress in the P.O. only what we caused ourselves. Also record of problems at other P.O. was expunged.So she now can just start harrassing all over again.

  6. old clerk says:

    well said. and those thoughts can be echoed thruout the country. 100@ right on. i have 30 years in and have seen it time and time again. no accountability for supv actions. also, you have to be part of it to truly understand whats going on. the job is not bad its the enviroment in which you work that needs immediate attention. i mean immediate.

  7. Retired carrier says:

    USPS needs to change city carriers to evaluated routes like rural carriers. All the stress and harrassment would be gone instantly, problems solved. Nalc is fighting the evaluated route system because it would lose about 25 percent of it’s membership dues due to routes being eliminated that are less than 48 hours a week

    • Tom Foster says:

      Take off those rose colored glasses. If you ask rural carriers (especially in the economic downturn) about their stress level, you will find it is higher than ever. They are getting the same pressure that is applied to city carriers except they are losing money as their volume drops and their routes are adjusted. The toxic environment goes on and on….

      • ConcernedWife says:

        Amen!! My husband is a rural carrier and is mistreated (and I don’t mean just hurt feelings — laws broken dailiy and unbelievable stress and harassment) daily. Sad thing is, he will do whatever it takes to get the mail to his customers and be sure they know nothing about the idiots who run the post office, how they are treating their employees and what he and others must endure to get the mail to the customer. Ultimately it’s the customer that matters. His and other supervisors don’t give a rat’s behind about the customer. Their job is to harass and file reports, or else they have no job…right? BS! I’ve worked in the private sector for some of the top firms in the world, and now own my own company. If those idiots some how were sly enough to be hired by me or any of my former superiors (which is doubtul), they wouldn’t last 2 minutes. We are all about teamwork and getting the job done; not feeding our egos and wasting taxpayers’ money. This is one of the most serious issues of today (harassment, abuse and government waste) and needs to be addressed immediately. I am begging my husband to file a lawsuit. I’m up for the challenge and something needs to be done…NOW…before we lose more good people.

        End or rant, but not end of story!

  8. name witheld for retaliation says:

    Unfortunately accurate and with no change in sight. I am a postal worker and believe that there will be no change as the mehtofology for management hiring is the root of the problem. There is no real qualification or aptitude looked at or recruited for. Do what you are told, no matter how wrong you know it to be and you have a job for life. I would like to see a study on how many managers are fired or demoted for bad ( unethical, immoral, or illegal work rules violations ) behavior. The USPS likes to speak of themselves as “professional managers ” yet no matter how atrocious an act any manager performs nothing happens. I personally believe that very few managers in the USPS would be able to hold a managerial position in the real world. The antagonistic atmosphere in the USPS workfloor is the result of management actions, not the reactions of the employees.

  9. get a grip says:

    another doctor trying to invent a new sickness and make money off of it, get a grip, people have free will they are not cattle or sheep. Everybody wants to blame somone for there problems? sound familiar, if you do not like were you are living move, you do not like your job quit. nobody can make you do anything, do not blame suicid on the Post Office. Start taking responsibility for your on actions and stop blaming people for your own problems

    • Gwen says:

      Get a Grip you obviously do not work for the USPS. You would never say these things if you did. Anybody who works for the USPS knows how it really is and can see how easily someone could be pushed to do this. I have worked for the USPS for 19 years in two different cities in two different states and it is the same all over.

    • Michael Hughey says:

      Your callous remarks tell me that you are either a Postal Manager, or you have never had a job with unbearable adversity. The Postal Service is a blue collar organization that is managed by draconian leaders who have no respect or compassion for their rank and file. Working there is financially rewarding if you can tolerate the crap, but the sad part is one should not have to. Human dignity is not a sacrifice any person should have to waive in order to maintain a career, and provide for their family. Whether todays economy, or one of years past, one should not have to leave a career just because its leadership structure is based on harassment, intimidation, and threats. The Postal Service is not an organization with a rapid turnover of employees. Many have invested a good portion of their lives working for this organization. As such, it is not as simple as going somewhere else to work. I sincerely hope that no such experience affects your life and you remain successful in all your ventures, but if it does, perhaps, as your age, experience, and wisdom grows you will develop a greater understanding of the workings of a stressful environment.

  10. steve says:

    I disagree. Most Postal jobs are boring and repetitive. Not a job anyone would want to do for a long career. The Unions restricts the movement of employees between jobs and facilites, so there is little chance to move around to different facilities and try different jobs.

    The problem is the pay and benefits are above average and no one is willing to give up these benefits no matter how bored and frustrated they are.

    The pace required for most Postal workers is not fast paced by any means.

  11. Larry Smith says:

    My name is Larry Smith. I’ve worked for the postal service for 23 years. I don’t know how many times I’ve felt that I wished I COULD SHINE SOME LIGHT ON THE THINGS I’VE seen over the years. If it was’nt for my family, I probably would taken the same road as these victims. And right at this moment, We have the the worst postmaster in the system. All the steps have been taken that were done at the Gastonia office, with the same results. The intervention teams are too busy elsewhere.The union is too busy trying to save people’s jobs. And upper management looks the other way cause he gets results.He has been removed from 2 other offices and now we are stuck with him. It’s no longer if someone is going off but when. The first office he was removed from, A carrier hit him and knocked him out. What happened was the carrier was out on his route and his father died. The postmaster did not come tell him. He just left a note on his case for him to find when he got done with his route. When the carrier got back at the end of the day, he took the note to the postmaster and said what is this,you could’nt come get me? The paostmaster said his father was’nt going anywhere.So the guy hit him. The guy lost his job and his father. The union showed this and a buntch of other things the postmaster had done, so the postmaster was moved to another office and the guy got his job back.OK, in the new office, he continued his usual stunts, so the union there documented them and grieved it thruogh the grievance process. So they settled the grievance by removing him again and put in writng that he was no longer allowed in the building. And now we have him. At our office, I’ve seen him chew out a 50 yr. old woman on the workroom floor in front of everybody for absentism. She was in tears and told him her husband has terminal cancer and she needed to take him for his treatments. The postmaster said in front of everyone: Sounds like you need a new husband!!. I also heard him on the phone argueing with a customer one day,” come down here and I’ll whip your ass! So you see what I mean. And what’s sad, is he is probably one of many that works for the USPS.And with the country’s economic disaster, everyboby is too busy. You tell me what is the answer?

  12. Allen B. Carlton Jr. says:

    Please notify family I have information in my case to help them Supreme Court case 99-565 & supplement.

    Also direct them to the Department of Homeland Security http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?Fuseaction=About.Jurisdiction

  13. Jack says:

    I agree with get a grip. Is it really worth ending your life because of a job. There are other
    underlying issues that are not known. If the job is that stressful than change or seek professional help. People have personal problems that others may not be privy to. Stop blaming the employer. Look at the percentage 700K employees..Figure the rest.

    • Catrice says:

      I respect Jack’s opinion but I know and have seen employees physically intimidated and verbally harrassed by supervisors or manager’s. I have seen things I wish I had not.

      In a way Jack I’m glad there are still people out there like you who are not aware that life can be so treacherous on a job. Because in all actuality it should not. There are often no extenuating circumstances but there is a difference in tolerance to rough and rugged treatment. Not everyone as the headlins tells us and I’ve seen as well as others that can tolerate the abuse. I am so sad to say it is abuse.

      It’s just that when most people describe what is happening they give the bare facts but it is hard to explicate and recreate the day to day perception of threat as well as the emotional angst that ensues. there is a level of malice present that is hard to explain so it ends up sounding like the person is being pressured and breaks under it. Yet the situations are decieving there are subtlties that exist that perpetuate the angst but are very hard to illustrate why they are the driving force to these issues and outcomes.

  14. F.U. Wiseman says:

    I have ordered your book from Amazon.com about a week ago and I am still eagerly awaiting for its arrival. I have almost 26 + years in the P.O. and have watched the Wilmington, DE. P&DC, steadily go down the drain over the last several years. The new breed of aggressive Manager’s only berates the employees and tries to get their ideals across only through intimidation. I am glad to report that no one has snapped here in Delaware but I feel it’s only a matter of time until these negative tactics will cause someone to explode! MDO’s stand behind employees with their arms cross in their vest trying to intimidate the workers, what a joke! Employees actually work less when pushed but these Manager’s have to rule the roost to make up for their shortcomings! The P.O. is a great place to work but today’s supervisor’s have made it a toxic environment and people who loved their jobs are now dreading to come to work. One could always go to EAP, but it does not take a genius to figure out it’s just a waste of time. There is nothing they can do until after something happens and even then I think one should seek professional help to deal with the grief! As a clerk on Tour 2 1/2, I can’t believe the way they treat the maintenance employees. They took their shop away and forbid them to wear shorts (they have been wearing them for over 20 years with no problem)and constantly harass them….WAKE UP A-HOLE these are the guys who fix the machines!!! So now, not only do the clerks have constant harassment but now they attack the people who repair our machines!! I hope I am wrong….but I feel Wilmington, DE. might be the next hot spot!
    Hopeless in Delaware

  15. pete countryman says:

    We had two supervisors commit suicide at our office in central Kentucky , their actions are no more a reflection on the workforce than the employee suicides in your article are a reflection of a “toxic workplace”.

    All those individuals had greater problems.

    • leslie says:

      Everybody has problems. Wouldn’t it be a dream if the worksite was a refuge from those problems instead of being the final straw that pushes people over that edge?

  16. I know more than Steve says:

    I just want to say what a pathetic uninformed loser Steve must be. The work at the USPS is not back breaking , but they continue to promote the worst people from every department into management. just imagine going into Walmart and having there absolute worst employee being in charge of the entire operation!!! That is the USPS managemment in a nut shell!! Jackass Get informed,you couldn’t handle such pathetic incompetence for 1 week!!!

    • fears retaliation says:

      It’s true, they promote the worst and the laziest…and it happens over and over. Our plant manager is FAMOUS for reading and doing his schoolwork on the clock – for years. District safety manager was always tickled that he had done nothing during his four hours of overtime. Truly countless other examples.

      • leslie says:

        My manager supposedly also did same.

        Gossip and information gathering pays – those who entertain well with it gather clout to attain management and union positions. Need to know vs. malicious gossip is not distinguished by most. I am the oddball who actually has negative physical reaction to malicious gossip rather than delighting in it.

        In bed with or inbred with is an appropriate question to ask as well.

  17. WILBUR517 says:

    Condolences to the Spencer family.

  18. old fart says:

    Talk to a UPS or FedEX employee and you will find they have the same type of management. infact check with just about any other large company employee and you will find the same type of management. All managers and supervisors are dummies

  19. Charlie says:

    Seems odd that you would have so any, but back in the 1990’s we had 5 at our facility. The postal service needs to look at this trend.

  20. dallas employee says:

    EVERY JOB IS STRESSFUL. . we all know that the usps is stressful. .i had to tell my supervisor just the other day to stop coming into our meetings being arrogant and overbearing toward employee’s due to the fact he wants to come off as a big shot. . .people need to realize that with the economy being bad and folks losing their jobs, homes, cars, etc, is very hard for people to deal with that loss. . . that’s mostly what a lot of folk have worked hard for to build and pay for a home and put their children thru college. . .we all know that there has been so much mess going on within the usps that its ridiculous. . .all of a sudden the usps is suppose to be doing so bad that they are laying off, excessing and cutting back BUT the administrators and upper management are still living good. . .it’s not fair. . . these craft employees, clerks, mailhandlers, carriers bust their behinds on a daily bases and we are rewarded with NOTHING. . .so i can see where the stress comes in a plays a big role. . . .my condolences are with this family and i pray that god will bless you to get thru this tragedy. . .

  21. jane says:

    Good Morning,

    I work at Grand Forks Post Office in ND I have been off work under FMLA since April 8 for deep depression for some of my harrassment includes being told I will end up a puddle on the floor and be pushed out the door in a wak before doing my new job of unloading semis by my superivisor and then been sexually harrassed by a custodian in a dark semi who offered to help me with broken equipment. This is only part of my list I hope to write a book I tell them because this is not all and for me to get through the day I say this this is my only protection I feel. Since then I am out of hospital for depression and pray in the future I can stop all harrassment in schools, work places and especially a place like USPS that allow diversity.

    Thanks for sticking up for us.


  22. Silver Fox says:

    Postal Supervisors know that they will not be disciplined for almost anything they do to Craft. It’s easy to figure out the rest. I wish some dumb ass PM would tell me to come to the office and he’d kick my ass. I’d be there in a second (with witnesses).

  23. Archer says:

    Its going to get worse. Mgmt makes staffing changes willy-nilly. Full time jobs are turning into part time jobs,which no one can pay their bills with these days. The manual jobs are going away or going part time. even the machine jobs are going part time. supervisors are putting rumors out on the floor that all of one shift is going to go away, or be forced into part time employment. No one, not even the most senior guy, knows from one day to the next if he will have his same position tomorrow or next week. We are an aging workforce, and many of the people are suffering from degenerative diseases. They just need another few years until retirement. They are stressed out enough from health problems, family issues, etc, and now they are faced with uncertainty at work. Alot of our employees are not that intelligent or sane to begin with, and they know in their condition they are unemployable anywhere else. We are all too old and/or too injured to start over somewhere. Dozens of unassigned regulars are vying for the few full time vacancies, there aren’t enough to go around. Yes, people are stressed, and some will break under the pressure. I just hope I’m not in the line of fire when it happens at my plant.

  24. John says:

    Problems Problems the world is full of Problems! I am one that doesnt like to complain unless I have a reasonable suggested solution for the problem! I have over 20 years with the postal service and have had a few troubleing times with management that were uncalled for! Each time was because the immediate supervisor was too concerned about brown noseing and not willing to do what was right for his employees! I was once threatened to be fired if I did not change paper work that was associated with my pay! I was told it would be considered falsifing paper work and people lose their job for that! I did my homework, filed a timely grievance, and because my paper work was in excellent order I won the case! Threatened to be fired over a simple half hour overtime a day for a week which I had a verbal and written agrement for! “Elements of a Contract” One other stressfull time was during the last few days of my fathers life! Hospice was called in and the children were taking turns looking after my father! Loseing a parent is stressful enough but add the confusing paper work and required to call 800 ####s which DO NOT work is much more than should be required! With over 1500 hours of sick leave I felt I should have been able to use some of that time to help my parents the last days of my dads life! When I used approximately two days over some magic number I was told I would have to use my vacation time! I politely pointed out the contract stated it is up to a supervisors discretion whether or not to aprove the leave! Wondering if my supervisor would do what was morally right or brown nose the upper management was also stressful! I can only hope these few word can help guide the world into a more peasefull and harmonious work place!

    • Barbara says:

      I haven’t called out sick in the year that I have been at this station, however I had to call in with emergency annual because of something personal. My staion manager demanded that she see the police report. No I wasn’t arrested. I had my seats stolen out of my vehicle and had to call the tow truck, arrange for rental. Call the insurance com….not to mention how I felt about what had happened. In the end I didn’t show her anything because my understanding supervisor in charge marked my 3971 approved. They just want the job done and they dont care if they piss you off. If I have to call out I will.

  25. BIG WHITE DADDY says:

    He should have shot his supervisors instead. now that will get action.

  26. can't u see says:

    Some of you people could not handle a job in the real world…. You will find out what a real job is when the Postal Service is privitized… just be thankful you have a pay check, 6 million people out there wishing for a job and insurance like you have

    • garynamie says:

      The USPS IS the real world, just not minimum wage. Bush commissioned a task force that recommended downgrading postal worker salaries to match those at wal-mart! That was the privatization issue. And those cute little self-service computer stations in the lobbies will soon replace counter workers at post offices as people retire.

      Why do people like you hate other workers in the same boat as you? What propaganda from executives and their apologists convinced you to turn on your own instead of lashing out against income inequality which is at the root of so many societal problems?


      • been there says:

        HAH. Thats the problem. In the “real world” most of the BS wouldnt happen. The Postal Service is a world in and of itself. And when it is privitized, you, my friend , will be paying 75 cents for a stamp instead of 44. You will pay tax on that stamp ( you pay no taxes when you purchase anything thru the Postal Service)
        and you will pay for a host of other services that you dont pay for now, like forwarding your mail, change of address, saturday delivery and the list goes on. Try this, send a package to a friend by the Postal Service then send the same package thru UPS, same thing for FEDEX. See which is cheaper. I’ve already done this, but I want you to see which is cheaper. What you and most people dont understand is that the Postal service is a NON-Profit organization, we are suppose to break even, NOT make a profit. Tell that to UPS and FEDEX and see what they tell you.

    • Barbara says:

      I would love to see some of these people in the REAL WORLD actually working for the PO. They couldnt handle the pressure that we are under for 40 hrs a week. You better hope they dont privatize because you will be paying 90 cents to mail a one ounce letter….if its over that it could be as much as 2.00. Also forget rural carriers. You will have to purchase a box and pay thru the nose with your constant going to town to pick up your mail. Thats where alot of the waste is in the PO. Those rural routes!! Get rid of them!

  27. Lars says:

    Postal supervisors are pressured by their superiors (District Managers) with veiled threats to harass carriers to get more productivity. They couldn’t care less if the person is working at 100% each day. They have always been this way but now the excuse is the PO is going broke. So the truth is; it doesn’t matter how productive a person is, it’s never enough.

    The sad truth is nothing will done concerning this. Oh, there will be a lip service but nothing more. Tomorrow it will be same as yesterday.

    • been there says:

      There is a PM in the next town over from me. He has been short 3 City carriers for almost a year and hasnt had a regular Supervisor for 3. He has been yelled at, harassed, given a letter of warning for going over OT projections, cussed at and was told he needs to get his office in shape.
      OH yes, and no custodian for 2 years. He has gone in on Sunday’s to cut the grass, sweep, clean toilets,dust and do just about clean anything that needs it. It got the point that he couldnt do it alone, so he asked the clerks to help, they did and he got his butt chewed for going over OT in the clerk craft. He cant win. He has 15 months to go, he might get fired first. 35 years down the toilet.

  28. been there says:

    The nonsense I have seen over the years are enough that I could write a book as big as War and Peace. I have been a Clerk, City Carrier, shop steward, Supervisor and Postmaster.
    The new thing now is ” If you dont like it leave”. Ok, at 52 years old who is going to hire me?
    I have 29 years in and they know they have us. The last 2 years the pressure has been unbeleivable and to be quite frank, nobody cares. Postal Management, the general public, Congress, the management associations, unions, nothing but lip service.
    While I am not suicidal by any means, I just want to survive the next 3 years so I can retire in one piece.
    The public would be very surprised if they knew what was going on and the pressure that Postal Employees are under. I have seen men and women walk out the door crying, intimidation tactics that NO company would allow and I KNOW everybody that works for the Postal Service has their own story.
    Now that the pressure to perform is greater then ever, there will be more stories like the ones above, but they wont be heard. They will be covered up… just like everything else.

  29. No longer proud to work for USPS says:

    I remember 12 years ago when I became employed with the post office. I could not have been more proud. Now…I am ashamed to be employed as a rural carrier. Our office has watched several PM come and go in my 12 short years. It took two years to have a PM removed for stealing money not to mention the lack of attendence. We are getting the bottom feeders to stand in as PM now. This one likes to be the bully, I have never witnessed such childlike actions from a full grown women. Embarrassing to repeat her antics. Over a period of time it takes a toll. She has currently set her sites on me, trying to break me down. I know that I am alone in this but I will win. She will not break me. I will not give in to her bullying.
    When I hear the tragic stories within the workplace I understand how the stress can lead to violence or suicide. Good people snap when the pressure becomes to much and there seems to be no end in sight.

    • Barbara says:

      Wow you could have written my problem!! I too have been bullied by this crazy station manager. However shes not going to win, and she wont be there forever. They will send her somewhere else eventually. In the meantime, I stay away from her…..or just use the YES MAM very sarcasically if she barks her orders. She will tire of my response to her.

  30. Mike says:

    Why does the USPS keep hiring so many weak-tits, who couldn’t work out in the real world? Stop, oh be nice to me!

    • been there says:

      As like most people, you have no idea. Never will. Sir, you probably couldnt do the job.

      • Tim says:

        In the real world would someone who is in a walking cast, being treated for repeated march fractures, be screamed at that he/she is not walking fast enough across the workroom floor? The bottoms of those cam boots are slick!

  31. AJ says:

    In response to “Kathy #5” comment – Our PM was recently transferred from another station because of similar ‘problems’ – Heresay but rumor has it because he was ‘foolin around w/a female coworker’ and used his company issued credit card for unauthorized purchases…..HELLO, if ANY of us would have done that, you’d be out on your ass before you could say ‘lemme explain’ – when is this type of mentality gonna stop. I’m in the process of taking disability retirement since being injured in 2003 and being on and off OWCP….Glad as hell I’m doing it cause one other person said – The Titantic is sinking and nobody’s to blame but management.

  32. Bobby Laton says:

    After delivering the mail on a rural route for 22 years, in 2002 I could no longer take the harassment, threats and provocations of the USPS management. I could not get help from the Threat Assessment Team, the Employee Assistance Program, the USPS Office of Inspector General,the Postal Inspection Service, the EEOCs (the regular EEOC and the USPS EEOC), the US Attorney General’s Office, my Congressman nor my Rural Letter Carrier’s Association. I was humulated beyond my belief by the Greensboro, NC POOM. My spineless Rural Letter Carrier Stewards were present and said nothing. Later the State Steward said the POOM did this at the order of the District Manager because I had written to my Congressman after being threatened for filing a grievance.
    I have been threatened and intimadated by the USPS even since I left the Postal Service.
    Postal Employees have no where to turn to so they have to kiss up or be gone. I should write a book. My situation was almost unbelieveable.
    I believe Gastonia is under that same District Manager.

    • Barbara says:

      They dont like it when you write letters to people. I was on the verge of losing my job once due to the LSM machine that was assigned to me even though I did not have the dexterityt. Long story…anyway I wrote a lot of letters and caused a big stink about it. In the end I kept my job but alot of people were pissed off. They decided to harrass me constantly…alot of them. In the end I had a nervous breakdown. Then they left me alone after that.

  33. Coach D says:

    I just heard the rumor that Districts and Area Offices will be dissolved, and the AO’s will report directly to Regional Offices. Hartford, CT is ours here in the Northeast. Lots of PM’s are retiring because of the pressure. And the latest is that all EAS employees will be asked to take a 15% pay cut along with a 1 level downgrade. This sounds to me like the beginning of the end. They are trying to get rid of middle management, which would normally be a good thing by doing this. But this will not be enough.

    I say this to say that even as things look bad, there’s no better time to really restructure the Postal Service than now, which will along the way get rid of the type of management we are referring to here. The reality is this: No way is this administration will allow the USPS to go under and have all of these employees on the unemployment rolls. Second, the President would be blamed for the USPS failure every time a citizen has to buy a stamp from a piece meal, privitized entity. They wont let that happen. But they’re not gonna bail us out either. The country has had enough of “bailouts”. What better time to relook at EVERYTHING. Private Express Statues, Negotiated Provisions, DMM, etc., everything. And put the power back in the front line employees hands.

    The letter carrier union has tons of data of joint experimental initiatives with the USPS that proves that if you put the power in the front line employees hands, they can deliver the mail better. One such initiative was in Indianapolis, IN, where they had a No Supervisor workroom floor. The carriers worked out the responsibilities for the day among themselves, every day. Not only did they give better service, but SL usage went way down, all the mail that came in, went out, and the workplace environment was markedly better.

    • Barbara says:

      This isnt the first time they decided to get rid of some of the upper management. Remember carvin Marvin? He got rid of alot of those people. Thats where the most money is paid out, and they do the least work!!!!

  34. Leon Russell says:

    This is a human rights issue and is the same nationwide. An Oklahoma carrier had a heart attack and returned to work less than a week later after a hospital stay only to be pulled into the office at 0700 and threatened for his use of sick leave. Time to stand up for ourselves people . No one else will !!!

  35. Barbara says:

    I am a 21 year employee of the PO and I have had several things that have happened to me. I had a breakdown after 4 years of constant harrassment on the job from upper management. After I was in the hospital for a month they got off my back and it was like that till I went to a station to work. At this station theres a station manager that just loves to harrass me, talk down to me, belittle me, yell at me…you get the picture. Well I have filed a few grievances and I really just try to avoid her. Now I am writing all that is said to me in a nasty way, on paper. I plan to file an EEO after I have enough things. She really stresses me out, but I think we all need to turn it back on her. Like worker slower………that’s easy when you are a clerk. Anyway I too was a bit suicidal but while I was in that hospital I got some help for it. The PO is a bad place, with crappy management that loves to use their powers to make people nuts. We love the job, not the management they have in there. I hope that these peoples families sue the PO for these suicides that are the clear result of that job. I am planning on leaving in about 3 more yrs. Yes the money will be tight, but at least I will have my sanity. I dont know why some of these people didnt take the early out if they could have. Money isnt everything. I talked to carriers that could have had 2500.00 a month and they didnt take it. I sure would have. Things need to change around there.

  36. I would like a job at Post Office says:

    You Guys better be glad you have a goverment Job, management there can’t be as bad as it was at Freightliner, put up with them for 20 years and now my job is in Mexico, at least they can’t happen to you

    • Bobby Laton says:

      Postal Jobs can be very rewarding. That is part of the problem. If you do not buddy up with supervisors your job is on the line every day. I worked in a Post Office that only had one full time route and one auxillary (part time)route.
      My sub carried the auxillary route (thirty some hours) and worked full time for the state as well as being my sub. He and the Postmasters Relief were very close. His job with the state was eliminated. The PMR said the Post Office should help my sub. The Postmaster Retired and the PMR, who could not pass a postal exam became OIC and then was appointed Postmaster. My life at the Post Office became HELL. I sought help everwhere but could not get any. It appears our Congressman helped her get appointed Postmaster. After I tried to get my congressman to help me he became POSTMASTER FOR A DAY at this same little Post Office. Postal Management punished me for writing him and he knew it….
      Some of the things they did to me were criminal but Postal Inspectors said they could not investigate letters I had sent and were lost by the USPS and one of them said, “We just carry guns and arrest people.” He told me he could arrest me for thinking about going postal..
      The USPS is like a country of it’s own. Your Congressmen and Senators have disclaimers on their websites that they can help Federal Employees except POSTAL EMPLOYEE with problems..
      Since I left the USPS in 2002 two other Postal Employees have also left that one route Post Office because they could no longer take the harassment from the same ……….

    • Daphne says:

      Not fair to say your job is anymore stressful than other peoples jobs are. After all everyone deals with stress differently !

  37. Postal Daddy's Girl says:

    My father worked for USPS for 20 years, after a succesful 20-year military career (yes, he was a proud double dipper). He was also very, very, very anti-union – until he went to work for USPS. He used to tell me that for the most part, unions are worthless, but that the USPS would be nothing but paid slavery without a union. Right before he died, I went to work as a temporary at the USPS and hated every living minute of it. The PMs are sadistic, cruel sub-humans – I had my employment ended because I missed some time to be with my dad and was told by mgmt that they “didn’t need the dying daddy drama” at their facility and that I would never make full time if I didn’t get my head out of my butt, stop obsessing on my father, and start to do my job. I mourned the loss of that job for about three minutes and moved on with my life. The reason why PMs have to stay with the USPS is because no other company would tolerate their behavior or their dysfunction. I bet they eat their young, too.

    • Daphne says:

      I had an Anyrium August 2,2013 and was life flighted and not expected to live and the crapy money hungry contractors would not help with my route ! I love my job and I love my customers ! But the postal system has many of flaws and could use a lot of help with bullying in the work place! I’ve really had enough and plan to take action against bullying! I’m truly sorry for anyone’s loss of a loved one due or not due to this screwed up system that is failing so many hard working people !!!

  38. responsibility says:

    I had contacted the Postmaster in DC in the 1990s about the killings from 1983 to 1991 and told him that if the post office didn’t change its treatment of its employees there would be many problems and more shootings. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from carriers (and I’ve also witnessed the criticism of various workers,which never should be done in public). While I’m not an expert on bullying I do know the effects of a toxic workplace as there are plenty in corporate america and more so because of the economy.

    My condolences to the family.

    • Bobby Laton says:

      Do you think the top USPS officials really care?
      TAT and EAP are just CYAs. They are management devices to protect management. They report to management and don’t believe for a minute what you say to them is confidential. I have evidence to the contrary. My union stewards betrayed me to get USPS assistance in climbing the ladder in the Rural Letter Carrier Association. The state steward in 2002 that represented me is currently the Vice President (soon to be President) of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association!!!! The assistant state steward that represented me is the President of the North Carolina NRLCA. Many, Many people have asked why I could not get anything done about my situation. Believe me, I tried everything in the system and nothing worked. The biggest let downs were my union and my congressman. They may claim they did not know what was going on but I have letters and other material proving they did know. According to my state steward in 2002, I was punished for writing my congressman!!! And what a ….. they used to do the dirty work – a ….. that hates children and even one of her own children.

      I love my clildren and grandchildren.

      • leslie says:

        Different union but same BS. I always say that my union cured me forever of believing that the “democratic process” works. My union elections cured me of ever voting anywhere, ever. Whatever shred of doubt that was left me regarding this nation’s election process – the union destroyed.

        The whole USPS experience does make people extremely cynical, distrusting and reduced to self-preservation at any expense.

        Anybody with integrity and ethics will be broken – “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!”

    • Catrice says:

      I’m sure that those commentaries were very painful. I experienced some ignorant and nasty responses when my Dad dies and my six week nephew that I was in the process of legalizing co-guardianship with my sister. Upon my nephew’s death the message that a family member called for me to go to the hospital for the emergency was not given to me until a while after the actual call. then the supervisor attempted to detain me from going by saying that he did not believe that I had to leave for a “real” emergency. He beleived it to be a prank and he summoned my shop steward who stupidly responded to this assumption by my supervisor. I was not driving so I missed my taxi that had ben called and by the time I arrived at the hospital the baby was lying dead on a table in a room and my sister was wailing in another room. I missed being there for my sister when she needed me and the baby needed me. I was devastated. When I returned to work I was harrassesd and verbally intimidated everyday up to the day before the baby’s funeral.

      When my father died four months later and I was about to return from bereavement leave, I called the station to check in. Someone had called my cell phone from the facility. I asked the supervisor if she was trying to get a hold of me. Her response was “Nobody here called you. Nobody here cares about you”.

      I can completely understand your response to this job and how you were treated. To some who do not work in this industry they may think its bad behavior that happens once in a while but I can honestly say the level of malice is very very high and unnecessary. Your stort is unfortunately not an isolated incident.

      I am so sorry for how you were treated at your time of need. You did not deserve that. No one does. I’ve experienced the same pain and insult. Just know you are not alone. There are others who know how cruel those people can be.
      Please accept my condolences for your loss.

  39. Ray Southwell says:

    My name is Ray Southwell. I have been a nurse for 33 years. I have seen workplace bullying over all those years. In the last 10 years, the health care system is in change. One of those changes is the recognition that intimidation to employees, at the workplace, puts patients at risk.
    I am currently working at a hospital in Alaska. Our senior management uses workplace bullying as a management tool. Last November an employee lashed out in a murder/suicide (see- http://www.peninsulaclarion.com/stories/112708/new_360734053.shtml). I had seen the bullying occurring prior to the shooting and did nothing. I never believed a murder/suicide could happen where I worked. I was wrong.
    Over the last 7 months I have done everything I could think of to change the management style. I have spoken to the Hospital Board and the Borough Assembly, letters to the paper, placed ads in the paper, letters to Politicians, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Filed an unfair labor practice (I am Grievance officer for the nurses union) filed a complaint with the Joint Commission (accreditation for hospitals) and spoke to the CEO.
    The CEO found information about my personal life and attempted to use it to demonize me. I believe this is what happened to the shooter last November. I believe senior management found personal information and used it to terminate the shooters employment. I believe he was so distraught (embarrassed on what they found out) he came back with a gun and shot two and attempted to shoot two others. He walked past staff employees and patients, targeting management only.
    I have been encouraged by senior management, to quit. What they do not understand; the employees are part of my family. (including management who do not understand how fragile people are).

    • ocdgirl2000 says:

      First of all,Unions are thieves. They just want your money. According to NLPC, (you can follow them on twitter @NLPC) Labor Unions are more corrupt and embezzle more money than drug dealers. I would get out of being their grievance attendee immediately. They are using you as a pawn. Then I would look for a different job. Find one with as few Nurse managers as possible. I’m at one now, but even with this one it’s difficult. We’ve been through three, but there is only one per 1 1/2 RN’s. so it could be worse. I hate the Union, they can rot in Hell. They did nothing for me when I was forced out of the County Gov the first time by 5 Bully Nurse Managers. I got into a different department through a different way..an agency. They needed my help, and I got the job on my own.

  40. Ray,

    First, please accept my condolences on behalf of all the family members and coworkers that were affected by this unfortunate workplace tragedy. I have witnessed the effects of these tragedies on others, and it is truly heartbreaking. Clearly, dramatic action is needed for its prevention.

    I appreciate your courage and persistent in helping the employees you represent to have a safe and healthy workplace. You serve as a noble example as to what union representatives and others need to be doing. Writing articles to the press, contacting U.S. Congressional Representatives and Senators, and the filing of unfair labor practices are all helpful in educating those have the means to effect dramatic change. If our local and national unions are not in the forefront of these efforts, who will be? In Europe, most of the countries have enacted national anti-bullying legislation only because of the efforts of the local and national unions. The unions in our country, unfortunately, have not taken this battle head-on.

    Many of the workplace tragedies that have occurred over the last several decades were preventable. If there are significant, legal consequences for individual and organizational bullying and the subsequent toxic workplaces that they create, there will be a significant decline in employee-directed homicides and suicides. As I stated in my blog, national legislation for the prevention of workplace bullying is necessary, a workplace statute that defines workplace bullying as a harmful and illegal activity.

    Again, thank you for your courage, persistence in this struggle. All employees deserve and have an absolute right to a healthy and safe workplace.


    • Ray Southwell says:

      Thank you for your encouragement. I have been in contact with the Alaska State Coordinator with the Workplace Bullying Institute. He has been helpful in making me understand what has been happening at my hospital.

      I do not believe that Unions will support legislative action at this time. I understand how to protect employees using the Union. I have not been fired because of my protection from the Union. I have been pro union for all my life. (I grew up in Detroit). I now understand the Union’s primary purpose is growth. With workplace bullying, employees will be driven to Unions for protection. There are two Unions organizing employees at my hospital. Each and every week employees who were opposed to Unions are bullied and they sign union cards. I have had a lawyer tell me, (prior to the shooting), not to try to stop what is happening at work, it helps with Union growth.

      Change will occur with public exposure. I am encouraged with the institute’s national public exposure. As I tell employees at work, be of good cheer, change is in the air.


      • Ray Southwell says:

        For clarity of my above statement.
        “There are two Unions organizing employees at my hospital. Each and every week employees who were opposed to Unions are bullied and they sign union cards.”

        The bullying I am talking about is from my employer not the Unions.


      • leslie says:

        Not quite sure what you are saying because my union was accused of bullying and intimidation to get people to sign up.

        I do agree that the unions won’t go for any of this and neither will management. The true cost of bullying means nothing to them – they have already made the determination that the status quo is cheaper to their bottom line. Sustainable business practices in terms of protecting and nurturing their human capitol is not going to be in their best interest until we have enacted legislation that includes significant financial penalties. and had some landmark lawsuits.

        I am hesitant to enact new laws; am concerned about possible abuse of any new laws’ feel unskilled in how to determine the truth in cases where bullies cry victim. Sometimes I think that enforcement would require some emerging and very expensive technologies that I consider invasive. However I am uneducated as to how interpretive those results can be.

        As it stands, victims who attempt to file charges on events that did not result in visible physical harm can be accused of filing false charges and fined if management finds some persuasive liars amongst the co-workers, and sadly, in my experience – there are too many willing to do exactly that. Seeing that repeatedly over my working life I think is what depresses me most.

    • leslie says:

      As a former postal employee, now disabled due to the medical problems that result from decades of harassment with no way to get restitution, resolution or closure, I am well aware of how USPS finds ways to circumvent the laws already on the books. Postal culture is such that employees know very well that to help a victim or be witness to a negative event puts their livelihood in jeopardy and that most likely they will lose – so the inhumane treatment is perpetuated.

      The end result for me is that I would like to see legislation enacting significant legal and financial penalties to witnesses who do nothing as well but the facts are that the laws already on the books are merely ink on paper and not enforced by any of the internal and external structures who are mandated to address them. How can we force the enforcers to stop their corruption and actually do their jobs that they get paid to do? (This includes the Labor Board.) Until this mountain is leveled a new law will mean nothing.

      It is a pathetic indictment of our culture that we have to enact laws to force the good aspects of humane human nature to occur.

      As far as the previous poster who is glad to be getting disability soon? Well my checks keep getting cut for bogus reasons even though none of my costs of living have gone down and it seems that there is no help that I can get with it. As of this month they expect me to support myself and my family on $441 per month (with social security offset) – we were financially decimated by the disability so there are no savings left, jewelry was pawned to pay the rent, various items sold to keep the utilities on and so on – but of course it is too much to qualify us for any kind of state aid.

      The state employees apologize (when they are not being abusive) and say that the financial parameters for receiving aid have not been revised by the federal government since the 1970’s so their hands are tied. If you need a food box you have to have transportation to the government assistance office to present your social security card and receive written permission, then transportation to the food bank or church and home and you receive stale mismatched food (just a few days worth) and then you cannot go back for another 6 months! If you are not well enough to go in whatever transportation you can manage to afford and then sit and wait for a day or to in order to get permission to procure food – well then you can just sit home and starve. The social safety net does not exist in real form for most of us although at the supermarket we see foreigners with the current food stamp card purchasing crab legs and putting them in their Lexus’s! REALLY! The welfare moms around here somehow manage to have expensive sports cars and the kids have big screen TV’s in their bedrooms but I have to explain that I cannot afford the foods that the welfare kids get because after working all my life OPM thinks that I should live less than a welfare mom. (I am a much older mom) What do you think is going to happen to THEIR work ethic? How can I teach proper values to the workplace when they have seen what has happened to me/us? As a matter of fact, I feel the fool for ever having had a work ethic myself. So for those who think disability is a cakewalk – it is not.

      • leslie says:

        Just got a letter stating that my Social Security benefit has been reduced as well – to less than the rent. Reason is because they are enrolling me on Medicare. So when you become disabled you are still extremely stressed – this time financially.

  41. Catrice says:

    I wish that I could say that the stories you’ve mentioned were far-fetched but I can’t. I have worked for the USPS for 15yers and I am grateful for my job. Yet in the last 6 years I have experienced bullying from other co-workers and managemnet staff that has exacerbated into damage of my property, physical assaults on my person and widespread slander of my personal character and loud verbal intimidation. It has been so very painful and scary. No one that I have reported these events to believe or listen. Without willing witness who are not intimidated or strong union representation there is no recourse or protection.

    I am not used to these reactions. My life before the postal service was in the private sector. Much of the behavior and harm i have experienced would have been deftly addressed without doubt or hesitation.

    this is without a doubt one of the most difficult periods of my life. When I have complained or reported and asked for help and protection I have been outright disbelieved and told so. they have gone so far as to suggest that I need psychiatri treatment as I am distraught and their belief is that I am mentally unstable and that it accounts for what they think are false claims. These responses have been demeaning and humiliating.

    I have been told I am not being an adult if I break down into tears overwhelmed with the harrasment and denial of protection or interest in trying to help me. I have been told that “they find it hard to believe that no one from any of the agencies available have tried to help me and just ignored my complaints without investigation”

    I can understand how the people mentioned in the article have reached so low depths of wanting to survive. When you are being treated as less than human and made to believe there is no help or support for your protection and safety while these infractions continue a person begins to lose the will to survive. I can completely understand. Everyday is an enormous struggle for me and more humiliating each time I reach for help from the USPS. I get the impression that they honestly don’t care. I also share their desperation and understanding that there is no help. My life, our lives are insignificant to respect or cherish if what is happening to us is not something they want to believe in or take a chance to invest in our protection. They choose to leave people to the wolves unless beyond a shadow oof a doubt it can be proven what is happening to an employee. They simply do not want to do the work involved in these instances of bullying because it is not always clear and concise. I was told this myself. I was trold by the US Postal inspection team inspector that if you are not used to military intimidation then it will bother you but it does not violate the zero tolerance rule. And I learned that if there is physical contact, unless there is a bruise and willing witnesses youcan forget having a case.
    Even domestic violence when working with another worker who is also a domestic partner has been overlooked when it may prevent you from getting to work on time or at all or working without being intimidated.

    The outlook is dismal suicide seems like an option when there is more than a person can bear. Most people including me keep trying to survive but there is only so much that a person can take. these people do reach out for help many, many, many times before succombing to suicide etc. But no one helps. The lack of help or being taken seriously and dissoultutionof these problems largely contribute to why a person succombs to suicide as a last resort. I know because I struggle everyday with this with less and less success or kindness each time I ask for help.

    • leslie says:

      Question for the Doctors?

      All these entities are created to help us – EAP, the union, Labor Board, EEO, Postal Inspectors etc., yet my situation is similar to Catrice’s – nobody admitted to believing me. Nobody did anything. If they made pretense at doing something they managed to screw it up (on purpose I am sure.) All these people are getting paid good money to not do what they are mandated by law to do.

      What is it going to take to force them to do their jobs and be accountable?

      • garynamie says:

        Leslie, Catrice, and all bullied individuals,

        Nobody believes (or won’t publicly acknowledge what their eyes and ears are telling them) because to do so knowing that they also have done nothing to stop it triggers personal conflict. It’s cognitive dissonance. They know what they saw and they know they failed to do the right thing. To make the tension from those two competing facts dissipate, they find it easier to rationalize that the bullying they witnessed or had reported to them did not actually happen. They delude themselves into not believing you to preserve their own sense of personal “integrity.” Because if what had happened was actually horrible, they surely would have intervened or taken the target’s side, as their convoluted reasoning goes.

        What will prompt them to stop bullying is when it is legally actionable. For American employers, it’s gonna take a law. That’s the ONLY time they move in the right direction. And if the laws we get passed are weak (like the school bullying laws now in 38 states – weak because you can ask any parent who has sued a school district unsuccessfully because the courts always protect govt-run institutions), employers will dodge the law with minimal compliance.

        I did a podcast on this very topic, Podcast 2. Check the Podcast directory on the right sidebar.

        In short, bullying will not stop until this society considers aggression at work taboo. How are we doin’ on that one? It’s a broad statement that makes the problem sound unsolvable, but until bullying, shaming, ridicule and humiliation are deemed socially unacceptable (as deliberately grabbing a woman co-worker’s breasts has become), we will have bullying to contend with.

        Gary Namie

      • leslie says:

        Thank you for the reply Gary Namie. I must say that this is where you, those of you in your profession and I have a serious disconnect. I understand the concept of “cognitive dissonance” however I do not believe that it is the cause of the problem in the majority of cases. I DO believe that all of these entities that are supposed to help us have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and not empowering us in any manner should we have a legitimate lawsuit – others here have stated the same thing essentially. I really DO believe that it is conspiratorial in nature. Because I believe the above, I KNOW that another law, no matter how much teeth it has, is not going to do us one bit of good. That law will merely be more ink on paper, paying lip service to a concept that is never practiced. RESULT is that I have no idea how to turn this thing around to where the EAP, Postal Inspectors, EEO, Unions actually do their jobs for once regarding these type issues.

      • garynamie says:


        Everything you say that happened to you did. That said, my sadness is that all hope has been squashed. I’m no believer that a law will be a panacea. In fact, we say to lawmakers, the goal is not to generate expensive, life-altering no-win lawsuits by bullied targets, but simply to send a societal message that once-acceptable horrific biz practices cannot happen with impunity. The goal of a law is to get employers to do what they should have voluntarily done for their own good. We know that damn few employers — and obviously never the USPS — do anything to help workers until the threat of lawsuits is dangled before them.

        Just don’t lose hope or abandon optimism. You are buried in the misery now. But there is life after this, however unlikely it seems to you now.


      • Bobby Laton says:

        Unless a group of bullied employees and former employees can get an attorney or law firm to file a class action law suit there is little hope. By having unions that buckle to and go along with management puts employees in a predicament because the unions are supposed to represent the employees. I have written to and called attorneys all across the USA and basically their response is you can not afford to take on the USPS.

        I do not know about your congressmen but mine claim they can not do anything about anything the USPS does. This applies to complaints as a former employee as well as a postal patron.

        They can make all kinds of excuses but it appears that Postal Management does favors for congressmen (tying their hands) and Congressmen in turn do favors for Postal Management.

        How does the USPS go BILLIONS of Dollars in the red year after year and not much is said about it? How does management meet their goals to get their huge bonuses each year?

        Several years ago a management group from the USPS in West Virginia were fired for doing the same thing all the other Divisions in the USPS were doing to meet their goals.

        I believe the accounting firm (Price-Waterhouse?) did the testing and informed Postal Management how to cheat on the test!

        Postal Management can do pretty much anything they want to do (legal or illegal) knowing the Postal Inspection will help them cover things up. If Postal Inspector read this they will probably pay me another visit claiming I have made a threat against the Postal Service as they have done in the past. I have never made any threats against the Postal Service even though they have falsely accused me of doing so. If I had made threats against the Postal Service I am sure they would have arrested me. One Postal Inspector said he could arrest me for thinking about going “Postal.” He also said he considered me to be a “terrorist” for saying I understood why people go “Postal.” I have never said I condone anyone “going postal” but I definitely do know why they do so.

        Another thing the USPS is good at is “stalling for time.” Settling any kind of issue with the Postal Service is much, much slower than the delivery of the mail. By the time issues get resolved the ones that cause the issues are gone.

        On and on and on.

      • California Sue says:

        I just discovered this blog. Never had any reason to look for info on bullying by postal supervisors until we got the new “supervisor from hell” last week. She’s already threatened me with discipline a few times, and I’m probably one of the most reliable employees at my office. Fortunately, since I haven’t had any health problems and never call in sick, I have over a year of sick leave on the books, which will come in handy when she causes me to have a heart attack, stroke, or a nervous breakdown from her constant micromanaging and sarcastic remarks. That’s if I can get up the nerve to go to work in the morning.I didn’t love the supervisor who retired( to gain relief from the District office harrassing her) and left the vacancy, but she looks like an angel when compared to the new bit**. Anyway, I have seen ads for a law firm on different sites for USPS employees that claims to represent us in claims against the USPS. I’m not endorsing it, since I have no idea if they’re legit or not, but here is their website, in case anyone wants to check it out.


        Hope this helps someone and I may be contacting them myself in the future. Heaven help all of us caught in this travesty of an organization- USPS.

      • Dr. Gary Namie says:

        We at WBI can personally recommend the services of attorney Mary Drovage in San Francisco who has taken on the USPS (and other governmental agencies). No idea about the firm you mentioned. GN

      • leslie says:

        I guess in my case because everybody jumped on the bandwagon and felt OK to publicly humiliate me and create incidents even when I was having absolutely no interaction with them whatsoever and to the point that I was physically assaulted at work and the witnesses thought it was sooooo funny and the supervisor did nothing – and I was so demoralized that I also did nothing . . . . you get the picture. Subsequent to that the perp was made an acting supervisor.

        Everybody knew it was open season on me. Some people ostracized me because of what they had been told. Others ostracized me because they were afraid of what would happen to them if they didn’t. I know that there were people who were bothered by it but they certainly were not going to jeopardize their job for me and I knew never to ask. There were occasions over the years that leaders of various groups would make show of giving me a token Christmas gift and a hug in a way that was to let me know that they could not include me or support me in any manner but they sure knew what I was going through and hoped I didn’t hold it against them personally. Who knows how sincere it was? Maybe they just figured that it was not a matter of if but rather a matter of when and that they didn’t want to be in my sights when I came to work equipped. I doubt anybody’s sincerity anymore.

        Shortly before my body quit one leader invited me to sit with her group when in the lunch break area but I saw the group as petty small-minded people who believed the negative about me and snickered at me and did not wish to tolerate their strained politeness at her insistence. I think that what won her over was she witnessed me one day confronting somebody who DID bother to speak to me on occasion. This other individual was attempting to ridicule a new employee who was a very different kind of person – raw foodist, wore the same clothes every day, total eco-minded wannabe hippie type and so I asked her if she wasn’t curious to meet new people and explore different ideas in her life -instead of participating or accepting her disdain towards this woman.

        Anyway, I was right not to accept the invitation because since then, now that I am well enough to go to the store, I have seen the group members in the store and they do not say hello – nope, they whisper nasty things to their shopping friends and snicker and walk by like it hurts them to have to even be in my presence.

        What always flabbergasts me is that they don’t know me. I have NEVER accepted people trying to tell me who to hang with. GANGS do that! If somebody tries to badmouth a person to me I usually will make it a point to meet the victim of the badmouthing and make my own opinion.

        I would say that the USA has a total GANG CULTURE and that bullying is part and parcel of it, known and accepted with very little cognitive dissonance and absolutely no individual personal concept of values for character, ethics or soul. I do think that there are cases of “cognitive dissonance” but mostly view it as a legal excuse for people wishing to avoid charges of complicity. Years ago the social gangs were called “Social Insecurity Clubs” but now you have to be a member to survive and independents are not tolerated -ever.

        I have ALWAYS been hypersensitive to bullying I suppose and will ALWAYS feel compelled to prevent it and so I know that has caused part of my targeting but I am not willing to give that good quality up, especially since I am the only one I know out of 1500 employees who had that quality. My heartbreak is that nobody else could do the same for me. Nobody else found me worthy of that.

        So when I make my future plans for that lovely day when I attain health again – part of me knows that probably the first incident and I will crumble so I really need some training not to be a victim/target. SERIOUS training so that it becomes instinctive like breathing. Like a support group that takes turns role-playing and you have to think on your feet as to how to turn it around.

        Here is another disconnect about bullying that I am not getting. The only socially acceptable US media coverage regarding bullying has been the dastardly things done to children. Suddenly once you turn 18 or 21 you are supposed to have the knowledge and the coping skills and it is a “Shame On You” situation? I agree that protecting children is necessary but to send them out into the world from a protected life into the real one where there is no protection at all is ridiculous. The same inequities exist in the workplace. The bully may not be older and bigger but maybe the bully is humorously quickwitted verbally and the target is slower. Maybe the bully has been there longer and has a huge network of “friends” or is management’s brother.

        To be fair, USPS is starting to attempt to address bullying in its employee education. Problem is that it is presented in video form and both management and employees are so disrespectful of it that they talk constantly throughout the presentation so that you can’t hear most of it. If they pay attention to any little bit of it somebody ridicules it and everybody cracks up and starts talking again. There is never a test afterwards.

      • leslie says:

        PODCAST EXCELLENT! Too bad it was so short! And thanks for telling the truth that you won’t be believed because it does compound the PTSD to not be able to get to step 1 in terms of protecting yourself and it is true that most targets do not take that step in a timely manner at the very beginning. The GANG culture is against it and the target naiively hopes that the bully was just venting and having a bad day.

    • Nancy says:

      I will be returning to the Post Office after being on a removal for over 9 months. I made a complaint of harassment by my supervisor and discipline started, disparity in treatment, my supervisor following me wherever I went, the stress caused me physical problems, which subsided once I was no longer exposed to the constant abuse. I stay because my plan is to retire from the Post Office, ten more years. I should not the one forced out. The widespread problems of hostility and abuse within the Postal Service need to be addressed. The Office of Inspector General will not help, OSHA will not help, the National Labor Relations Board will not help, your Congressman will not help, the Threat Assessment Team will not help; I contacted all of these agencies 6 months before my removal to no avail. Now I will return to the same hostility, maybe worse since I won in arbitration.

  42. Bobby Laton says:

    I fully sympathize with Catrice. All the programs in the USPS is PBS. The employees (at least the ones I have dealt with) on these committees answer to Postal Management. My National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association State Steward (who is now the Vice-president of the NRLCA and soon to be President) told me that I was punished by the POOM of the Greensboro Management team for writing my Congressmen.

    The POOM stated he wasn’t afraid of Jesse Helms, US Senator at the time of the incidents.
    My congressman was kept fully aware of the situation by letters, phone calls and in person but did nothing to help me. You know politics is involved when the Congressman is appointed Postmaster for a day at this one route post office.

    Please do not do anything drastic as that is what they hope you will do and then they can justify having all these programs. All of their programs are bogus CYAs for Postal Management. The Unions (at least the NRLCA) are nothing more than self promotion, leisure and travel at other employees expense.

    While some may doubt me, I would be glad to let them listen to my tapes and read my letters. That would erase their doubts.

    The USPS management is so arrogant that even Postal Patrons don’t have anyone to file a complaint with about poor service and other matters. So what can you expect as an employee.

    More later.

    • Catrice says:

      Thank you Bobby. Your words of enouragement are so meaningful. I am very sorry that your case was not taken seriously as well. You are brave.

      I needed your encouragement so very much thank you.

      • Catrice,

        I am sorry to say that I have heard too many stories like yours in my years with the USPS. I am sorry to read that you are very “stressed” over your job situation. Please seek counseling through the USPS Employees Assistance Program (EAP) by calling 1-800-328-6539. Let the counselor know what you are experiencing and thinking. Please don’t delay calling. They can’t help you change the job situation, but they can help you cope and explore healthy options.

        Take care,


      • leslie says:

        Catrice, my heart goes out to you. I felt that I could not leave due to financial reasons, everybody in my family has major medical and could not go without the insurance so I was stuck. Now that I am permanently ill I say LEAVE! QUIT!

        You have been advised to go to EAP. My experience with EAP was horrendous as have many others been and reports sprinkled across the web. You may get a good counselor but if you do not please do not let it be the last straw for you.

        Now I am going to wear out my welcome on this site and share with you a page from another site that really helps me to keep my sanity and I hope it helps you too. I don’t care because if it saves one life it was well worth it to me. This is a very good page to share with counselor types or psychiatrists even because they need the education. You can’t take a pill to overcome the effects of bullying! This page outlines the differences between mental illness and the psychiatric injury that you have sustained and so it will help you to fight for your right to be treated respectfully.


        (The site of the late Tim Field.)

  43. Bobby Laton says:

    Catrice, I would like to think that the EAP will help you but do not depend on them. I asked them and the TAT for assistance before I had to leave the Postal Service. According to a letter from the POOM Greensboro, NC, that was the reason he came to my Post Office and chewed my ass out. After my doctors told me I could not go back to work for the Postal Service, the EAP representative became involved. Too little, too late. I don’t know if you have any realiable connection to your congressman he may help. In my case and probably most others the congressmen are indebted to Postal Management for helping get their political friends into the Postal Service. If you had someone like Steve to help you, then you might get some help. I wish I had someone like him to help me. Otherwise, Good Luck.
    I hope you have a happy Independence Day.

  44. Bobby Laton says:

    Steve, If you want to hear about Postal Injustice contact me. I would love to share letters I wrote to and received from USPS human resources, my union representatives, my congressmen, the USPS OIG, EEOC and the US Attorney Generals Office. I also have recordings of conversations with my union representatives, congressional staffers, postal inspectors and others that I could share with you. One of my doctors said to me, “Bobby, the reason you can’t get anything done about your situation is simply, no one really cares.” Do you really care or do you just want to sell your book? I have just purchased your book and began to read it.

  45. Unfortunately Postal supervisors often target the weakest and most vulnerable: the disabled. I participate a lot in forums and I can just see human stories behind these tragedies. These stories remind me the constant fear and humiliation I felt while working at the Postal Service. I just want to tell all the disabled postal and federal workers that they don’t have to take it anymore if their agencies won’t give them light duty jobs that don’t do but worsens their physical/mental conditions. There is a lawyer that spends 100% of his time helping federal employees secure their benefits under FERS and CSRS laws: the http://federaldisabilityretirement.wordpress.com/ website.

    • leslie says:

      I would like a lawyer who helps when OPM keeps taking money out of your check stating they paid you too much and your social security check gets cut too and you can’t make ends meet. Haven’t found anybody that helps force them be accountable for their questionable accounting. Their paperwork pays lip service to fairness, stating that I can have my representative in Washington DC go to their office and check their records on my behalf. What a laugh! Who can afford a representative in DC on these monies?

      I did contact a local Senator whose office representative blindly believed absolutely everything OPM said. and was openly disdainful in their written correspondence. Sheesh!

      And as far as harassment goes. Social Security is going to withhold monies from me because they think I have another source of income somewhere that I am hiding (NOT!) I have nobody to compare notes with so do not know if this is standard for everybody or if somebody is trying to sabotage my Social Security behind the scenes. I have good reason to be this paranoid but don’t care to share those reasons here. Just would be nice to have a place to touch bases with others to learn what is normal and what is not.

      At one point when I was too ill to drive and no longer had a vehicle I received a letter from Sociall Security stating that I had to show up at their office very far away from me by the end of next business day or they would deprive me of all of my benefits. I could not afford a cab to that location, was not well enough to spend long hours on the bus and had no friend that could take me – it was very stressful. Is THAT NORMAL for Social Security to threaten disabled low income people in a short time period like that?

      When you call them on the phone the computer witch goes round and round and round seemingly hoping to exasperate you so much that you hang up and give up. I feel lucky that I am not out in the heat or cold at a gas station with loud traffic going by, putting $50 worth of quarters in trying to get through to them.

  46. richone says:

    I am 60 yrs old, I have worked for the USPS for 42 yrs, and I am well versed, with the bullying, intimidation tactics, and the selfishly pious demeaning sarcasm inherent withiin USPS management culture. I have also, been subjected to racial discrimination from management working hand in hand with bigoted fellow employees many times over.

    At one time I believed retaliation was the answer, however a sincere and observant co-worker noted my silent stress and helped me to see the bigger self damaging picture of any foolish attempt on my part. I am forever grateful to him.

    With that said, no amount of harrassement, ridicule, biased micromangement, racial bias, inept supervision, will EVER lead me down that path again. The reason? Life does not center around the USPS. I came to work with nothing in my pockets and will soon retire with something to live on. What else do I need, besides a sane mind? I will not allow the insane postal culture to deprive me of that!

    Take this for what it is.

  47. rockiniowa says:

    It’s very hard to deal with federal agencies such as the OPM and the SSA. You get out of a federal agency from work on disability, and then now you are at the mercy of others. I also owe the OPM like $29,000 that they believe me they paid me too much because I was also qualified later on for Social Security retirement. I also understand that at any time at any moment they migth try to take that away from me.

    I have seen Postal inspectors follow me when I go and just walk a little in a lake trailer. They are constantly following us because they assume we are fraudulent or something. How about all those supervisors that are constantly harassing employees? Do Postal Inspectors ever watch them? No! Never.

    Now, like you said, the OPM and SSA are always trying to find any excuse to take away your disability benefits….

    What can we do? I really don’t think we can’t do much. They have their law at the side. The OPM laws were written in that way so if somebody gets social security, the OPM will pay less. It’s almost as if it’s not worthy to get both.

    My son’s mother gets almost as much I get because my son is my dependent. Yet, she makes twice as much as I do. Yet, my son lives with me almost all the time. He can’t stand his mom, even when she takes him on vacation. He wants to be with me all the time, and I don’t have the heart to say no, even though I might be busy. Still I enjoy his company. I know I can’t go to the child support agency and tell them, hey, my son lives with me almost all the time. Shouldn’t I keep the social security disability dependent check?

    Then I remember when I was practically fired by the Postal Service because of my disability, I was about to go homeless. I asked his mom to borrow $100 stinky dollars. What did she do? She said no.

    My brother lend me $1,000 –with hight interest– only to find out after paying him that wasn’t even his money. It was from my mom’s credit card. She said he still made money out of it.

    Life is so unfair. Yet there are other countries where the poor can’t even afford a decent place to sleep. I’ve grew up in a poor country. I know there are places far, far more horrible than here for the very poor. So I won’t complain anymore about the system here in the State.

    I’m just grateful to God for the things He gave me. I know that He put me with the right people to win all my cases against the Postal Service. An unemployment attorney Irish Muchmore, Robert McGill for OPM disaiblity, then Gordon Reiselt who got me the schedule award, and only one of them didn’t really won my EEOC claim, but I won’t mention his name. He did try though, so I give him credit for that.

    I believe that behind all that adversity God was there with me, becaust I asked him to forgive me for all the bad things I have done in my life, and He did.

    I really don’t longer hate the supervisor who gave me so much stress at work. I know that if he don’t repent, he will go to the lake of fire. The Bible says so. If he does repent, God will forgive him, of course, like I did. I forgive him because God has also forgiven me.

    Yet, I hope that the working conditions at the Postal Service improve. What can we do besides pray? We should unite to demand our politicians that they impose respect on the postal and federal employee. Not to get even with those who hurt us, but to learn from the mistakes from the past.

    History repeats itself. If we don’t learn from history, all the bad things will happen.

    I’m glad about the other guy above, Stephen Mussaco, who wrote a book about what’s going on in the federal jobs. I hope people will buy it and so they will become aware of what’s really going on with the federal agencies, especially the Postal Service, institutions where the managers and supervisors are practically immune from any sort of ethical or moral responsibility.

    • leslie says:

      Question answered – thanks rockiniowa! All those calls made to the Postal Inspector on my behalf resulted in “We are too busy” because they WERE busy – tailing you in Iowa! Would be nice if for once they investigated BEFORE the bullying made us too ill to work anymore.

      • rockiniowa says:

        The USPS Office of Inspector General and the Postal Inspection Service are organizations that are so biased against the Postal workers. Sure, they are always monitoring workers comp “fraud”, but when we complain about Postal management or supervisory harassment, they won’t do anything about it. “They are too busy” (like you said) or “that’s not their mission” like they told me too me.

        I hope some day there will be legislation against their current work practices, so they won’t be so biased against the federal workers and they finally monitor all the harassment made by federal or supervisors and the hostile environment they are creating at work. This is a job the unions should also do, but the unions are so corrupted that they will only help the people they like. It’s so unfortunate that when a Postal or Federal worker gets ill or injured, very few people or organizations will help. Most likely, they will finger point at him and call him lazy or assume he’s on some sort of fraud. So unfortunately….

  48. leslie says:

    Thank you Gary. It is clear to me that I have to work through this to heal my body which is reeling with major medical ailments. I was hurt recently when I was told that “you reap what you sow” because I have no idea how I “sowed” what I got. (Which of course feeds into my low self-esteem I must be stupid endless loop.) I also like to resort to thought stopping cliche’s but not so quickly these days.

    Just hoping that the library has your book. Most of us that really need to read it are no longer able to just go out and buy it. Same with Dr. Steve’s book. Even if I am too ill to routinely put the solutions into practice – even the validation is healing.

  49. Bobby Laton says:

    It has been a week and no more replies to this blog? Most postal employees probably have not seen these blogs or don’t care because it hasn’t happened to them. Others, understandably fear retribution if they do comment. I was punished for writing my congressman (Honorable Howard Coble) several letters about threats to me for filing a grievance. He claims to know nothing about the letters, phone calls and even a person to person appeal for help in my situation. BS!!!!!The letters were sent by certified mail with return receipts. I have recordings of my calls to his office. Maybe he didn’t remember talking to me in person but he surely did!

    My State Steward NRLCA at that time, Jeanette Dwyer (who will soon be the President of the National Rural Letter Carriers’Association)plainly stated I was punished by the POOM USPS Greensboro, NC for writing my congressman, Mr Coble.

    I was told by a source before I came under very difficult conditions that Mr. David Fields was embarrassed about me writing Mr. Coble and to be expecting retaliation from management. How could Mr. Fields be embarrassed and Mr. Coble not know?

    For 22 years I worked for the USPS and never had any kind of disciplinary action against me.

    I don’t know why I am writing on this blog when I should be working on a book. When I complain I know people think it is just about me. It is about me but it is also about the USPS and how it operates. This not just about employees but also about poor customer service and fraud. And all of this is mismanagement and no oversight because of political connections that are supposedly illegal.

    Why is the USPS losing “Billions?” When a parcel takes over 2 weeks from one place to a destination 80 miles away and you can’t even make a complaint you look for another shipper. Oh heck it was just a couple books for my Grandkids for Christmas and I got them on December 31.

    I will be looking for more blogs.


  50. R.V. Felde says:

    As a retired City Letter Carrier and former trustee and advocate of Branch 1100 of the NALC I can attest to that the culture at the Postal Service has not changed in the past thirty-five years. It would appear that Postal Management promotes unqualified personal as supervisors and middle managers. Training not required. A cover my ass loyalty and a necktie are all that is needed to become a supervisor. Knowledge of the job or ability to become skilled has been abrogated. The service has been denigrated. I would never advise anyone seeking a postal position to do so. If you are willing to sacrifice your personal life and family quality time then submit your application to the Postal Service. My suggestion is to round up all of the Postal Supervisors and managers and ship them to third world countries. They will fit right in.
    Our Nation supports human rights around the globe. What happened to human rights in the Postal Service?

    R. V. Felde

  51. Steven Woltz says:

    First of all, my condolonces to the family. I have just learned of this tragedy. In my thirty-six years and two months of carrying mail, I, as most of you alike, have seen a whole lot just plain “wrong”. I started in ’73 and the troops were telling stories of supers and of PM’s long before then. The toxicity, I hate to say, is now in the paint, so to speak. As carriers, we want to keep things at work livable and doable. (KISS) The managers don’t want to keep things simple. I believe one huge problem are the numbers coming from above. I had a PM with tears in his eyes years ago tell me that the numbers are just plain unattainable and managers are threatened if they cannot reach the stars. Now, it is up to the managers in place to try and reach those unreachable levels. PM’s have unions as do the supers (NAPS). They should use them and tell their reps the numbers are BS and too many problems will arise within the workforce if they try to ram them down our throats. But, it doesn’t seem that any of the managers have the stones to question their uppers. So, we, the craft has to put up with the wrath of the unqualified managers that can only somewhat reach the numbers through intimidation and the constant threat of discipline. Some managers as well as carriers simply do not know when to stop. Some get off on the entire cycle. Most of us do not. Here, one hour West of Baltimore and one hour North of Washington, DC we are caught between two districts trying to out-do each other. For example we are told everyday that we do not have eight hours worth of work and we have to pivot on other routes every day for thirty to forty-five minutes and be back on time. If you cannot acheive this, you’re taken to the wood shed the next morning and given a PDI. That’s where we are in the Capitol District. I am currently in my 37th year, have 3,075 hours of sick leave and have been to the wood shed twice in the past two weeks! Probably with more to come because I cannot and will not run with the kids. Stress is abundant with more to come. With no hiring, people leaving, more vacant routes to cover, the stress is going to become worse. I honestly look for more tragedies to take place in the Postal Service. All for the numbers. It is truly a shame.

  52. Steven Woltz says:

    Me again from up north. One thing that worked for our PO in Germantown, MD years ago was an informational picket. Not just by the city carriers, but with the help of our rural and clerical brothers and sisters, we got rid of a bully PM and his henchman, too! We had bout 100 people, spouses also, walking out front of our office from about 2 ’til 6 o’clock. We had flyers pre-printed, everyone knew exactly what to say to the public coming in to make postal purchases and we even had one reporter from our local newspaper show up and interview some of us. We didn’t know what to do and someone came up with the idea of an “informational picket” and you know what? It worked! We were so glad to get rid of those two butt-holes. And our branch has used this method a few times since at other stations. IF your really have the problems I think you have, why not try this? Check with the locals to ensure it is legal. Get in touch with a newspaper or two, pre-print you flyers, make your placards nice and professional and neat. Prepare to put on a professional presence and just go and do it. It may be tough to get alot of folks during the summer months and you may want to do it when the kids go back to school, for example, but if things are how I think they are….DO IT! Good Luck.

  53. Jay Jacobus says:

    The employee was bullied so badly that he lost all rational control. He must also have been trapped in some way (otherwise he would have saved himself). Doesn’t bullying take away the victims free will?

    In fact, in some psychological texts it is possible to manipulate a person’s mind without him knowing what is going on. A person can be conditioned to stop biting his nails. Can a person intentionally condition another person’s mind to cause him to commit suicide? This thought is chilling but worthy of consideration.

    The average healthy person cannot understand toxic manipulation. Instead people would rather believe that there was no explanation other than the person was weak.

  54. Greg says:

    I was recently hired as a temporary employee in Myrtle Beach. I was treated like dirt from the first moment. I was told how I might get fired daily and the supervisor even told me he was a prick. Everone knows how he is and I was even worned ahead of time. He is not held accountible for his actions at all. Apparently from this post, it is everywhere. I was fired when they elimated some routes. He notated it as my performance. I had worked there for almost a month and only gotten part of my pay. I am still trying to get it. I also have travel pay that I never got paid for and am trying to get it. I could go on. I worked for other union companies in the private sector and the environment was not nearly as toxic as the USPS.

  55. Steven Woltz says:

    OKAY, kids, let’s get our act together, as they say. I have written twice already and have seen nothing positive happening in your Branch since the man committed suicide. For Gods sake, do something for him and his family. How would you feel if it were YOU!! I gave you an out. I gave you something that worked for us in the North!! If it can work up here right next to the Big Boys, it can and will work for you down under. It is not going to stop. Management is going to push each and everyone of you beyond your possible ability and only hold it against you when you CANNOT GET the job done in eight or less hours. RIGHT??? Up north, we have to call at 3:30 and tell the boss we cannot make it back by 5:00. If you cannot make it back 5:00 you are given a PDI the next morning and if you cannot make it back by 6:00 you are castrated. I do not know what they do to the ladies and I do not want to know. The Postal Service is getting SILLY. How will they act this Holiday Season will be and should be a real HOOT!!! Sad to say we have to be the ones (CARRIERS) to pay the freight, but we are the very last in the order of things. We control this company and management knows that and that is why we seem to come up short annually. I say to each and all of you. Stay strong. Don’t CAVE. Man-Up. We, the good Union worker, will be laughing at these cheese-bags in the future. Do not forget…Joe Biden loves LABOR and so does President Obama. Have a great end of 2009. And do not forget to fight.

  56. kathy says:

    The way managment makes employees at the usps feel, like you are nothing, they harass and they lie all the time. and then when you complain nothing is done the postmaster just stands up for the managers and not the employees who are actually doing the work. its not a wonder not more of usps employees dont feel like taking their lives. its so sad that this gentleman had to deal with the stuff he did, and managment should be held responsible for his life, may his family find peace in this tragedy

  57. Shamar Hill says:

    Postal workers are simple, uncomplicated, mostly dedicated individuals.

    However, there have been over thirty documented cases of Postal Killing sprees since 1983. It is God’s will that this situation was not another spree but still, it’s a case of life loss. Yes, suicide is still murder. Even at his own hands. We can’t begin to evaluate his reasoning or logic (or lack thereof) at all. We know that he was committed to his work. We all are. As a number, a machine, a carrier, you have no choice but to give yourself to this company… pledge your trust to these supervisors and suits and their little fictional world where they arrest power and control your every move. After so many years, it hurts. You know that your life is not even your own. Regret is something I can’t even speak on right now. My father would just say man up Marine. But this is not a game between men. This is a concentrated MASS CONDITIONING. Bred and pushed by people (armed with stats and computer programs) who have NO IDEA of how to actually work mail yet instruct you and control every facet of how you are to do it. Or else.

    Besides spreading this kind of knowledge and self awareness, I don’t know how to stop it from happening. No idea. It seems widespread.

    Toxic Enviroment. Workplace Violence. Hostile Work Enviroment. Zero tolerance. Pivoting enforcement. Right to manage. What?

    All of these terms, phrases and idioms are interchangeable, interworking verbal set pieces. All of them viable and serious and specifically mind-numbingly-stupid to the general public. All of them — word without weight, without any merit within the confines of USPS walls. Absolutely none.

    I had a supervisor once, no (five year mental note) a green, ambitiously swollen 204B tell me that I was defiant( supervisor buzz word no. 8)and that I have a problem with authority… that I have to learn to submit to their will. We were alone, in a locked office having a man to man talk. He was sweaty and red faced as he moved to within barely a foot away from my face. He continued with the “you are” stereotypes and the mirror rehearsed threats and “his” 3 minute long verbatim until he ran out of breath.

    I remember saying, You are harrassing me. This is wrong. I didn’t even go through this shit in boot camp. Let me out of here, please.

    I took a step back. He moved a step closer. Are you friggin kidding me? My heart was in my throat, head pounding, screws turning in my mind -see, as a kid, I could fuck a bully up and then beg to be his friend. I LOVE peace and professionalism and and organization. My mind yells at this 204B, I want to be cordial but I will massacre you in this tiny little office! Get over yourself!

    I remember feeling my fist ball up. I remember thinking about my wife and kids. I remember the smile on his face as he opened the door — what’s wrong, I never once touched you. You can’t do anything to me — he smiled again.

    I can still smell his twice-slapped on Avon cologne right now… even, as I type this. Seriously. He would follow and watch people in the office, on the street, on lunch break, change scan locations without telling them, pull people on the carpet at will, mix up my mail, throw assistance forms away, tease workers on the workfloor about pivots, laugh and joke about messing up paychecks – WHATEVER HE WANTED. I was in his sights for months, until he found a new pet to play with.

    I had never been threatened so much in my life. And I’ve never held back so much. In time, I’ve learned to master the literal meaning of the word restraint.

    Nowadays, I tell the bosses – I just want to do my job and get to Wendy’s for lunch.

    That was the last man to man talk I’d EVER have with any postal supervisor, fair or otherwise, because of the steam boiling pressure I felt on that day. I went to the range everyday that week after work. I ran through 13 boxes of el cheapo 9mm centerfires. A hundred thoughts went rhough my mind. You either let it out, turn it on someone else, or inject yourself with that pain. We have to redirect our efforts. We have to concentrate those efforts effectively. We need to open the closet doors. Halt pivoting and route (job) eliminations in the winter. We need to do something before the contract is up. We need to save our jobs. Why is that not happening?

    I’ve seen, in the last five years, a major shift in conditioning. A network… an aggressively enforced infrastructure was set up to protect the “top levels” at all costs. Level 17 nets you a golden Captain America sheild and a vest of teflon. They can, however unlikely it may seem, shoot verbal insults at you, spew opinions on cue, scream and berate, and curse to effectively belittle employees into a submissive (there’s that word again) state AT WILL – ON THE WORKFLOOR – IN FRONT OF EVERONE IN SIGHT to no end and no resolve. And then brag about it to other supervisors. How is this possible?

    Even in the face of such a significant detail of financial failure, this is all we do. This is all we can give to each other. Really? In a decade or so we might be looking for jobs and the emergent reality of violence and stress and deigning constant moral degredation still sits over our heads. Why?

    I. Dont. Know.

    Stay strong my friends. Maintain control and self discipline. It’s that simple.

  58. ocdgirl2000 says:

    Unions are nothing more than parasites. They steal money from our paychecks and do nothing but live high on the hog with it! When will you people “get it”? Unions are mafia, they use your hard earned money to elect the people in congress that give them what they want. FREE passes to more money from YOUR pocket. Keep on voting for Democrats and thats what you get. follow open secrets dot org and follow the donations from the unions to congress and senate, you will see! All I can say is, It is EXACTLY the same in our local gov in Montgomery County Gov HHS with the Health Care Workers, especially NURSES. Talk about ABUSE. You have no idea.

    • Bobby Laton says:

      Took me awhile to get back to this website. I can only speak about the National Rural Letter Carriers’Association(Union). My Stewards at the time of my problems with Postal Management implied they were trying to help me. I followed their instructions and when it really mattered they turned their backs on me. “Parasites” is exactly what they (Union Representatives) are.
      Instead of helping me they sold me out to promote theirselves to leadership positions in the North Carolina and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association. They may claim that is not so but the facts are what they are. When a State Steward says I was punished for writing my congressman about threats for filing a grievance it shows how much back bone she really has. If she wishes to claim she did not say that in a court of law, she should be reminded that it is perjury to make false statements in court.

      I am still very angry about what happened to me in a small rural one route post office. Several people had to conspire to commit the acts they did to me. That includes those in position from my substitute who got my job, the postmaster who could not pass a postal exam, the POOM, the embarassed Vice President USPS, postal inspectors who helped cover up the incident, the USPS OIG that spent too much time playing games in animal costumes, my Congressman who I now totally distrust and most especially my National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association Stewards who seized on the situation to promote themselves in the organization.

      When I first filed the grievance in 2001 at the advice of my State Steward, she called the POOM at that time a “COMPLETE IDIOT.” I won the grievance and Postal Management made good on their threats. Now as Vice-President of the NRLCA she acts very angry at me. She did not get to where she is without help.

      You will always hear “document, document, document.” Don’t believe it. I have many, many incriminating documents (letters and recordings) and no one in a position that could do anything about the situation did anything – did not want to see them.

      I thought about writing a book and have even started on one. It would probably sound like it is all about me while I would not want it to be. My documents are about like a volume of old encyclopedia and my recordings would be like a TV serial lasting a year. Then there is a problem of finding a publisher and editor just as Icould never find an attorney that would take my case because it was against the USPS.

      I have nothing to hide. Yes, I have probably said some ugly things about some of these people but nothing that I don’t believe to be true.
      The public needs to know how Postal Management treats its employees. It is also how they treat their patrons. It is a corrupt, unaccountable organization. It is hard to believe so many people believe their lies. Many people don’t believe them but know there is nothing they can do about this Multi-Billion Bankrupt Monopoly.
      No viable business would treat it’s employees and patrons in the manner as does the USPS.

      Remember there are very few in the Postal Service you can really trust. I wish you lots of luck.

      Having fun with the Grand Kids
      Bobby Laton

  59. Melanie says:

    Oh my gosh, how did I miss this story?! This is only miles from where I live! Oh, never mind, I remember now. I was busy dealing with being the target of workplace bullying myself. I know how this person felt. I retired early just to get out (it cost me over $43,000 to do so!). Though I am away from the monsters who tormented me, the trauma is still with me. I know how it feels to hate your job so much that you would rather die than go to work. Believe me, I know. Such a tragic end for this person. My sister works for the USPS also and they are pretty unbelievable at times from what she has told me.

    • Bobby Laton says:

      The USPS has a way of keeping this type of news “hush, hush.” That is the job of Postal Inspectors. It is only reasonable to outsiders that if you don’t hear about these incidents, they must not be happening or are very rare. Several years ago a postal employee was mugged and robbed and left for dead on the back loading dock at a local Post Office (28338). News? A couple paragraphs in a local newspaper. Postal Officials did not want any publicity!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. marcia48 says:

    after realizing that bullying was the name of the horrible treatment i was experiencing at work i thought that this had to be a serious crime. i also thought that my employer would be outraged when they found out that such behavior was happening at their facility, to my suprise the employer sided with the bullies which is common place in these cases. the bullies lie their way through the so called investigation procedure and the victim is labeled as being paranoid. it is often recommended to speak to an attorney about the situation and after a hefty consultation fee, you are told that they can not help you because bullying is not against the law. in my opinion unwanted, repeated harassment is against the law on the streets so why not in the workplace. we have to find a civil remedy and that starts with our legislatures, i know a lot of victims are pushed to the edge and feel the only remedy is to lash out at the bully which leads to the loss of your job. i plead with all bully victims to write your legislatures and let your voice be heard, expose the bullies and the companies that keep them. [original comment adjusted to lower case]

  61. […] Another USPS Tragedy The 2010 Murder by Proxy documentary An arbitration where the Post Office defended the bully supervisor claiming the Violence policy does not apply […]

  62. john says:

    postal management also accused me of making threats,I suppose that is one way of ridding employees from the usps, and then they have lawyers who use legal mumbo jumbo to complicate matters and make it virtually impossible to comply with their demands, until finally they convince even judges to lose interest in appeals and make the employee resign. my case started as a simple request to be transferred to another facility and evolved into a fiasco where another employee in fact, did threaten me, only to have that threat turned against me…that was 10 years ago now, and still I have not harmed a single person, but I have lost my job and been forced to resign

  63. John Daly says:

    I worked for the Malverne PO on Long Island for a dozen years. I had a hard time dealing with management, and the coworkers that they used to divide the workplace.

    One time the PM had someone fill in for her during a vacation. At the same time, the guy that cleaned the place had a heart attack, and, in his absence, the trash started piling up in the office. I went in to complain and got lip service. Well into the second week, the trash was still not removed and it started becoming a legitimate health hazard.

    So, I went into the office and complained again. The replacement PM wheeled on me and asked me who I thought I was. She told me she had a husband who was an engineer, and wouldn’t even consider taking the job I was doing. That’s when I started realizing that it was a losing battle, and if I couldn’t do better than that, I deserved what I got.

    I feel sorry for people that work for the PO. I’ve never been in anything near so poor a work environment, and also nothing so antagonistic and violent. Horrible. I now set up all the bills I can to be paperless so that awful institution gets as little revenue as it can from me.

  64. C.J. says:

    Saddly we lose one of ours and nothing has changed in a year since this tragedy.
    The crafts, NALC, APWU, NPMH & Rurals are all in this together (like it or not) with those at the top(USPS) not addressing the issues of the workplace, that creates the events which cause our brothers and sisters to lose touch.
    My prayers go out to all of the familys.

  65. […] He was a productive member of society until he went to work for the postal service. In fact, Dr. Stephen Musacco, an organizational psychologist, author of Beyond Going Postal, and who spent thirty years working […]

  66. bob the builder says:

    Well,its been almost a year since ‘steve left us,things haven’t got any better except the PM has been on details several time now

  67. jay lane says:

    26 year carrier says:

    Carry a micro-recorder. Record everything for weeks or months….whatever it takes to gather enough filth. Tell NO one! Give it to the media…

  68. Joe says:

    Under normal circumstances, I’d have had no reason to visit this site. But my circumstances of the past two months have been anything but normal. For the past two months, I’ve been employed as a USPS “casual” at a local NDC. In that short span of time, I’ve witnessed numerous examples of the horror stories that have been posted here.

    When I took the job, I had no clue of how badly USPS employees are treated. I only knew that the work itself would be hard. As it turns out, the work itself has been the easiest part of the job.
    Physical labor is always preferable to being mentally abused and beaten down; which is exactly what USPS employees go through.

    There’s no question that management is the root cause of most of the USPS’s problems. Inept, self-serving, and criminally abusive would be the best way to describe the management (and management style) I’ve seen thus far.

    It’s shocking that in this day and age, the postal service can get away with treating it’s employees like nothing more than garbage. To hear of a postal employee committing suicide because of the job doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. A few months ago I might have dismissed it as a suicide that was brought on by other problems, but after what I’ve witnessed the past two months, it no longer surprises me. Never in my life have I witnessed such a hostile and emotionally draining work environment, nor have I ever encountered such abusive and inept management personnel.

  69. angelfire1812 says:

    First off.. my condolences to the family..very tragic. I’m wondering if his union helped or not in either the stated case or subsequent situations people have been in? We’re suppose to rely on the OIG to come in and help but I’ve heard that they are suspect?? I’ve been in a corrective measures type of meeting with a union steward and management..and when a nasty tone was taken toward me during the exchange…the steward said nothing. Is there some way we can change the attitude of our union and I’m speaking about the rural union specifically; I sometimes think they embrace bullying to some extent ..even in their own steward/union environment. Management seems to allow bullying and embrace bullies because they help keep others in line for management to control. We need solutions.

  70. Chapter 13 Birmingham,Chapter 13 Sterling Heights,Chapter 13 Ferndale,Chapter 13 Bloomfield hills,Chapter 13 Troy,Chapter 13 Madison Heights,Chapter 13 Warren…

    […]Guest blog: Another USPS Workplace Tragedy | WBI[…]…

  71. spoiledbeauty says:

    I’m a postal employee who was recently fired when I was 8 months pregnant in sept,1 week b4 my due date.prior to that I was employed by usps and fired in feb,2011 for not qualifying for fmla because I didn’t hv enuff hrs,I filed a grievance and won because they were sayin they didn’t knw I was preg when union stewards knew and I filled out fmla papers(that’s hw I didn’t qualify).I was awarded settlement and returned to wrk june 24,6mths pregnant on a last chance agreement..meaning I can only miss 3 days in 6mths unschefuled.I was told my last chance should hv went out the window because of my condition.while returning to wrk I was harrassed,treated unfairly,I couldn’t sit dwn cause it wasn’t fair to other employees,only one workin in very hot humid conditions until I complained and wrote it dwn she moved me then,forced to sign up for light duty-so tried to chg my hrs from 1-9pm to 7-3am in 1 day not giving me notice to make plans,not accomodating me knwing its inconvenient to wrk that shift.my supervisor stares at me a lot and follows me arnd,as well as mdo who been wanting me out of the workplace.I hv always been stressed at the job but me being pregnat,harrassed daily,messed me up.with me being on a last chance,I thought my water broke so I hv 2 tell supervisor and ask if I can b excused and will it count against me..smh,I shouldn’t hv 2 choose between my health and my job.my doc took me off wrk due to stress on aug31,usps is counting dat against me saying its unscheduled when my DOCTOR took me off.sept 8 I get called in to be removed,while I’m on bed rest.I’ve been stressed out 2 the max..its always sumn at this job,been fired 3 times and got grievance pay every time cause they messing up.also thought about suicide and was admitted 2 psych hospital 4 treatment.I never had a job like the post office b4 its really easy its just the managers(they gv the wrong ppl power)and they will not get away wit it..its hard getting unemployment,they want you to lose whachu hv and go crazy then call you bk..in the process of looking for discrimination lawyers

  72. freeatlast2009 says:

     Believe me NOT ONE THING will change for the better in the USPS.  The bullying will continue.  I worked there for 31 years as a letter carrier and the last 4 years were the absolute worst.  I was going to retire this coming December 2012 but I opted to take an early retirement in 2009.  Still to this day I have episodes of utter resentment of the way I was treated and bullied and intimidated by management.  It came down to me living or me dying – – – I chose to live. 

  73. flowers66 says:

    What happens after an employee is told to quit disrupting the work room floor or they will be sent home without pay? Was told usps will tell them when they can return. They hollered at postmaster and came in next morning and did the same thing and hollered at postmaster again.

  74. Noname says:

    I agree whole hearty. Just resetly. A 50 year old was complain to her daughter about the someone in management riding her back. Just list her mom 3 weeks prior. Went home complain took a shower and has a hear attack and died. It’s a shame that was the last thing on her mind before she died. Hee daughter has been calling the police inquiring about the manager by name. They will not answer. Ive been at the postal service for awhile and it’s so terrible what goes on. I can’t wait to retire. And pray that I don’t have a heart attack my self while trying to retire.

  75. Metoo says:

    The USPS sucks. It is full of lie, discrimination. No one has interest if the mail goes or not. The plant manager is going after female to do !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The employees do not work, this man giving them too much overtime. This manager cares only for servant who always says ok and do not do anything, just show up to work and make money. It is shame to work For the USPS> PMG , judges, and EEO they all do nothing.

  76. […] Guest blog: Another USPS Workplace Tragedy […]

  77. james says:

    The USPS uses black magic to target the employees it’s true I have been being attacked since I was working there since I worked there.

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