Briefs and Featured Articles

A Survey of Our Contributions to the Mission -- and More

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 08/29/18

I strongly encourage all EAS Employees to fill out the nationwide survey intended to assess our EAS workload.  Don’t exaggerate, but don’t hold back, either.  Remember, they really don’t know what we do everyday (as hard as it might be to believe, it’s true), so take your time — perhaps even giving it a few days, just to make sure you don’t forget some task you perform regularly at the behest of your boss, as well as everyone else with a lately-granted go-ahead to make demands of you and your time.

            I’m reminded of an email I received recently:  “What is the hold-up?” the memo began.  The task would “only take a minute” to complete, the author implored.  Her impatience with those who’d not yet complied was clear.  But, so too was her lack of understanding of the real root cause of the delay which so frustrated her. 

            Ironically, she seemed unable to appreciate that her own demands, as well as the manner in which she made them, were contributing to the very problem vexing her.  Like traffic behind a bottleneck, more and more work is piling up on the plates of Postmasters and Managers in the field, and, as a result, people like this district staffer must spend much of their time repeating requests for action from frontline managers on the hot items of the day at the District -- or at the Area, or above that.

            What’s the hold up, you ask?  It’s the myriad new requirements competing for our limited time, and often getting in the way of our doing our jobs -- the critical jobs we signed up for, that is, rather than the continually growing cluster of new demands they’ve morphed into.  The hold up is an indefinite number of people freely exercising their newfound authority to assign work to us, despite the fact that most of them can be found nowhere in our chain of command.  The aforementioned email message was from just such an individual.  She holds a position once referred to as a “support” role.  The roles have clearly switched.

            The Postmaster General herself has spoken with our organization’s leadership, to our membership from the podium at our conventions, and with a number of us personally about a “disconnect” that exists somewhere between her level and ours.  I submit that this disconnect is the root cause of the hold up.  Case in point: nobody (and I mean nobody in the entire Postal Service) keeps track of the avalanche of added responsibilities flooding the desks and desktops of our frontline field managers.  No longer must demands be sent through the filter of our bosses -- our POOMs/MPOOs -- and for this reason, no one except Postmasters and Managers can grasp how truly out of control this situation has become.

            So, who’s affected, besides the overloaded Postmaster, Supervisor or Manager?  Who else suffers?  Not just the staff person or the executive above us who may not be able to report 100% compliance on all indicators today, but also the people we serve.  Remember them?  They’re the ones we really work for, supposedly.  Aren’t they?  It is they who will ultimately suffer when community level managers are overwhelmed, exhausted, demoralized; when the local managers upon whom our hometown postal customers depend are subjected to constantly mounting pressure and the compounding stress that results. 

            What is the hold up?  I’m glad you asked.  It’s too many people creating new work and making too many new demands on the hardworking, dedicated people out there every day performing the crucial, fundamental job that the American people expect and deserve of their United States Postal Service.  Perhaps the President’s task force and Congress will come up with an answer sufficiently focused on true businesslike efficiency so that an increasingly top-heavy USPS might be sensibly restructured into a flatter, more streamlined agency with its primary mission firmly in place once again as its primary focus.


   Submitted by:
   Drew Martin
   UPMA National Vice President
   Eastern U.S.