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Over the years, postal management has meant different things to different employees.  Some of the relationships with management have been very good, and some have been very bad. However, this variance in relationships is common in most business organizations.  Because I am a member of many different organizations, I am often asked, “Are things really as bad as we hear and is anything being done about it?”  I have a difficult time trying to explain relationships between management and employees without using analogies.  Analogies help the non-postal people to sort of get an idea about what I am trying to convey.


At first, I began by trying to explain where these postal management people come from.  It is sometimes difficult to believe that most postal management personnel come from the craft workers pool. So, at one time these people worked side-by-side with the craft employees.  This is not a bad thought because you would think that management personnel would have an idea about what is required to accomplish the mission at hand.  I explain that this is not necessarily true.  It is truly amazing how the craft employee is transformed into a postal supervisor.  It is something like a caterpillar being metamorphasized into a beautiful butterfly.  At least that seems to be how management views themselves after becoming a supervisor. As supervisors, they are stronger, faster, and smarter than those craft employees they left behind.  The same craft employees they once worked beside have suddenly become worthless, lazy, tricky, thieves and just someone that you have to stay on all of the time.


Because they are supervisors, they believe their superior qualities grow compared to the qualities of craft employees.  Often times the evaluation of new supervisors is not so glorious in the eyes of the craft employees.  Usually craft employees view new supervisors as the same people that would walk off and leave a job incomplete, the same person who lacked the capabilities to perform assigned duties, and the same person who made sweetheart deals with management at other union members’ expense, the same person that would do absolutely anything to get out of work.


Before I get into the analogies of postal management, I have to establish the fact that any and all relationships are built on trust.  Regardless of the type of relationship, good or bad, they are built on trust or the lack of trust.  Man-woman, father-daughter, mother-son, boxer-trainer, coach-players, all of these types of relationships are built on trust.

Can you trust management?

A. Decades ago, there was a very happy place for wildebeests called Aurora.  The grass was green and plentiful.  The wildebeest (clerks) herd would eat and eat and grow.  Times were good.  The wildebeest only had to watch out for lions (management).  The lions had their purpose in life and that was to weed out the old, sick, and slow of the herd.  They have always been good at that.  As the lions would hunt and bring down a wildebeest to feast upon, the rest of the herd would stop running and just watch the lions eat away.  They would go about their normal way of life because they knew that as long as the lions were eating, the rest of the herd was safe. The relationship between the lions and the wildebeests remain the same until a new pride of lions came in and took over the territory of Aurora.  These lions were aggressive, brutal and went against the laws of nature.    They would kill wildebeests whether they were hungry or not.  They seemed to enjoy taking down wildebeests, just for the sport of it.  The wildebeest continued their ways with the new pride of lions.  As the lions would feast on a wildebeest, the clerks would stand and watch thinking, “We are safe.”  The wildebeest herd, of course, became smaller and smaller.  The herd of Aurora is very small compared to what it used to be.  The management pride will eat until all the clerks are gone; clerks are therefore becoming extinct.


B. A man (clerk) finally was able to take some vacation that he had planned for in recent years in the mountains of Colorado.  As he finished putting on his boots, he heard a voice calling.  “Hey Mr., hey Mr.”  He looked but couldn’t see anything until a baby camouflaged rattler raised its head and said, “Hey Mr.,” again.  The snake continued and explained that it would die if it was not warmed soon and that it would really appreciate the man’s help in getting across the river.  The man fulfilled the snake’s wishes, by putting the snake in his bosom and crossing the river to the other side. Thereafter, the snake would become cold and ask for warmth.  Time passed, the snake grew and one day the snake bit the clerk in the neck.  The clerk fell to the ground in amazement that the snake bit him.  Finding it difficult to breathe and even harder to talk, he asked the snake, “Why would you bite me?”  The snake replied, “Hell you knew I was a snake when you picked me up.”


C. The U.S. Postal Service is a huge ship that has been on the open seas for many years.  The ship has two types of people on board, management and workers.  The ship has recently developed some problems and finds itself in troubled waters.  Both types of people blame the other; however, management makes all of the decisions, all the rules, and gives instructions; and clerks follow instructions.  The two types of people seem to be oblivious to the fact that they

need each other if they are to survive.  Management works hard in creating division among the workers in an effort to control them.  A unified workforce is a strong workforce.  Without the cooperation of both parties, the ship will surely sink.  Management must realize they need the workers if the U.S. Postal Service is to stay afloat.


Now I don’t feel this strongly about all postal management personnel.  There are a very few that I believe are decent people and they know who they are.  The rest are all the same; they will sit down at the computer and input situated lies, get on the phone and tell a lie, will use one of their favorite clerks to wrong fellow clerks.  They will give you a 7-day suspension just because they were instructed to do so, not because you’ve earned it.  Do I trust management?  No!


I have not been very complimentary of management; did I lie? No. As clerks, we have to step up and do our part.  We have to stop management from doing our work by providing statements.  A complaint about management without a statement is like a car without an engine.  It is going nowhere.

As postal workers, management, and craft employees have to realize that our ship is going down slowly, respect for each other, working together and understanding could keep it afloat.  We are in the business of customer service.  Everything we do should be with customer satisfaction in mind.  Customer service should be our number one priority.  Satisfied customers always return.  Satisfied customers don’t walk out the lobby in disgust for having to wait long periods of time and head straight to the UPS and FedEx store.  Customer service is our business.


Do the right thing, for the right reasons

Analogy of Postal Management

by Boogie Whitfield

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