Editorial: USPS New Night Rider Policy

After Dark DeliveryIt was a dark and gloomy night. A half-moon cast its muted light through clouded skies upon the darkened streets. A soft rain fell, dampening the streets, and my spirits. The moonlight reflecting off the glistening pavement mockingly impeded my progress. But, I wasn’t going to be deterred. I drove on, squinting to see the road ahead. Shapes and shadows seemed to leap out of the inky blackness as my headlights pierced the darkness. My only thought was to KEEP MOVING. I gripped the steering wheel tightly and leaned forward. I was gonna MAKE IT! I HAD TO make it! I WILL make it!

Was I on a rescue mission? Lost in the wilderness and trying to find my way out? Desperately trying to ferry someone to safety? Nope. I was in my postal vehicle trying to make it back to the station before the PM truck left. Just another day (and night) at the office!What was once highly unusual is now commonplace; letter carriers working in the dark to deliver our customers their daily mail. Due to some ill conceived policies and boneheaded decisions by national and regional management, it is now routine for us to work well beyond nightfall. Visit a Post Office after sunset and you will see the darkened parking lot a beehive of activity, as carriers unload their trucks and wheel in the returning equipment, in the dark. All the while, the owls and nocturnal raccoons are wondering, “What the hell?”

Why is this happening? Simple. Stubbornness and stupidity! Upper management decided to close our local processing facilities and move all sorting equipment to Miami. They use words like “centralize” and “synchronize” but in reality all they accomplished was to screw up the system. To steal a word from our UPS competitors, they forgot about “logistics.” (Rest assured no upper level managers were negatively affected by any of this. Just carriers, clerks, and our customers. But who cares about any of them?) Now, all the mail in South Florida is trucked to Miami for sorting, then back again the next morning. The result? Mail arrives later at the stations, it takes longer to sort the parcels, and the whole system gums up. Duh!

In their drive to “cut costs” they forgot to consider how these plant closings would impact service. In addition, much to the chagrin of management, business is suddenly booming. The parcel business has exploded. No one, it seems, was prepared for this. I guess they never dreamed that our advertising and all those commercials on television would actually work. Now, we are going to start parcel delivery on Sunday in some areas. Who knew? They SHOULD HAVE! I wonder, just what is our plan for all this new business? Do we have one? Maybe we should cut our window hours so the customers won’t send as many parcels?

As usual, we are slow to react. Since the time change, we are still maintaining our late starting times, which range from 8am to 10am. The first day after the time changed in early November, I finished my deliveries and made my usual parcel pickups inside the mall. When I went into the mall it was daylight, when I returned to the truck, it was totally dark. Did you ever have one of those nightmares where you are still out on the route in the dark, the truck is full of mail, you know you’re late, and you’re going to be in big trouble when you get back to the station? That’s what I felt like. Except, I was one of the early ones back. No problem!
On conference calls, it is now routine for the unseen “voice” to ask, “How many carriers after 6pm?’ “How many after 7?” Like it’s nothing. 7pm!!! I wonder if some of these muckity-mucks go home after work, watch the evening news, eat dinner, put the kids to bed, then kick back for the night, and wonder, “How many carriers are still out in the street?”

Just a few years ago, it seems, we started at 6am. End tour was 2:30; with overtime, sometimes 3:30 or 4:30pm. Occasionally, you’d hear stories of some carrier in some station that worked until after 5pm. Legends would have it that somewhere a carrier didn’t get back from the route until DARK! Can someone please explain to me why we can’t start early again?

I give some local managers a pass because these are decisions made by higher-ups, who obviously have NO CLUE as to what’s going on at the station level. Further, station managers are hesitant to speak up for fear of retribution. As far as they’re concerned, they must ignore the obvious. That leaves us and our customers to suffer.

Or do they simply delude themselves? When I observe upper management in the station and they are asked about this new “night-rider” policy, they act as if it’s no problem. They have accepted it. They think they’re doing a good job. They think it’s okay for the mail to be delivered in late afternoon or early evening! Instead of working on those issues, they write articles in our regional newsletter and scold us about sick leave and attendance. How about the DPS that comes stacked like firewood instead of on racks? Or leaving to deliver Express mail before noon, then coming back to the station to finish casing? Since when is this good business practice?

It seems this late start strategy isn’t working and we should fix it.

Paul Gereffi (note: this article was written before the tragic killing of letter carrier Tyson Jerome Barnette)
NALC Branch #2550
Fort Lauderdale, FL

24 thoughts on “Editorial: USPS New Night Rider Policy

  1. To Scott retired 1 was probably a management slug, or either a suck up who stayed under some manager’s desk, you know the type. He has gotta be kidding? If he recently retired from the Post Office, he has to have the time and age, or he’s out on disability? either way if he just got out thaqn God Bless him cause he has to know that this job went from being “Sugar” to “Shit” and it did’nt take long…. Hey I have 25 years in and I remember when it was a joy to come to work… Not any more brother, 4 more months for me and I am out of this hell hole even if I have to go work some where else. Yea the pay is great, but the stress level is way over the top. So whatever the guy retired 1 is speaking on must not be on Postal Service Issues can’t be.

  2. Retired1 says he hates having worker rights. What the hell were you, a slaveowner? You think workers have to be subjected to any and all abuses management dishes out on principle? What kind of a sadistic jerk are you? It was the right of workers to have good pay, benefits and vacation packages that made you work for the USPS in the first place, not to mention job security. Without those rights you’d have worked somewhere for peanuts and would have probably never been able to retire.
    You sound like these Republican assholes who want to revert the American work society back to the industrial ages of the late 1800’s, where kids worked 12 hour days, and the only time off a steel worker got was for an hour for church on Sundays. Are you really that mean? As long as you aren’t subject to that abuse it’s fine with you. I work with a few selfish GOP idiots who think it’s fine to live below the poverty line and get paid barely minimum wage as long as it’s somebody else.
    You’re psychotic. You cannot and will not put yourself in anybody else’s position because you can only think of your own pathetic interests. You need help. Bad.

  3. Another thing they tell us that being in the dark in it self is not necessarily unsafe, because they do it in Alaska all nthe time. But what they omit is that it takes approximatley 3 times longer during the dark days, naw goe figure, why did they leave that part out?

  4. all of a sudden this has become such an urgent priority? The Letter Carriers Union never fought this thing aggresively. I have been a carrier for over 25 years in the Philadelphia area, and some places are’nt save in the day time. What puzzles me is how when I first started it was severely frowned upon for a carrier to be out after 4:00p.m.. Now people are out until up to 11:00p.m. Then Postal Management is always sprewing saftey out of one side of their neck, and putting carriers in harms way out the other side, threatening their livleyhood if they don’t stay out there. Everyone with common since knows that half the battle of a “thug” is already won with the cover of darkness. As the economic situation in this country gets worse all delivery people will become victims and marks. Postal Management and the Letter Carriers Union have the blood of Brother Barnette on their hands, and what else seems crazy to me is that tonite you can still find Letter Carriers out after dark, meanwhile they the powers-that-be are silent and just figure they’ll ride it out until it dies down, and just wait until it happens again, and the way things are going I can guarantee that it will “NOT ONE MORE LIFE, TO SAVE ONE MORE DOLLAR”

  5. Management will stop after dark delivery when carriers start to bring the mail back. Not one carrier, not two carriers, but many carriers. Whole stations, whole cities. Can they fire us all? In unity there is strength. And handbooks, manuals and the contract protect us. Delivery after dark is a threat to life and limb. Tyson Barnette and many others who’ve been injured and assaulted in the dark are proof. If they fire us, the union will get our jobs back. Are you willing to go on unemployment insurance for awhile to save lives? To save your life?

  6. The carriers now are complaining of the plant closures, they were no where to be found when the protests were being made and congress was being contacted. Where the clerks and mailhandlers tried to work together to stop the consolidations the carriers sat on the sidelines only getting up when five day delivery was discussed. The carriers are now inconvenienced by getting there mail later in the day and finally realize that the closure of the local processing plant was not a good idea.

  7. Great article and it sure holds true here in Northern NJ.
    Our parcels are starting to get out of control. We have routes
    now where you cant even put all the parcels in the truck.

  8. We are one of those P&D’s that shut down last year. our mail travels 180 miles round-trip needlessly. Our carriers are great,but darkness still falls. Our Union made it very clear to our District Mang. that logistics were going to cause delays and guest what??? So, if they were aware,then there must be some other reason for their actions. Just say’in!!!

  9. My friends all do drugs, all my friends have unprotected sex.

    Why not me?

    Because it’s wrong, if all your friends go jump off a bridge, are you?

    Be a leader not a follower…

  10. Nobody should be out on the street after dark, it’s not safe!

    For their employees or ours period.

    But for you cupcakes, ok will play?

    After 5pm only parcels.

  11. the answer we get when asking why deliver after dark? Our competition does it! If UPS and Fed-Ex do it, why not us? They seem to forget that our competitors are delivering 1 out of every 50-100 stops, while we go to every house and business. Even on driving routes this is dangerous, since you need to turn on the dome light at every stop, and the windows always have a ton of glare.

  12. OK folks. I am a former Mail Handler. Former dishwasher, former ditch digger. I am now going on 30 yrs with the dear old USPS. Let’s all resign from the Postal Service in disgust. That will send them a message. Let’s all refuse to accept another penny of their dirty corrupt money. Next pay day, let’s throw the damn check right back in their face. That will show them that we are sincere in our disgust with the Postal Service.

    Resignation will be the best thing that we ever did for ourselves. We will go on to be CEO’s of Coca Cola, Apple, or Home Depot. At the very worst, we can all have some tranferable skills. We can all say “you want fries wi’ dat.”

    Are we serious or are we hypocrits?

  13. The USPS has to stop having clerks sort mail for delivery that day. All the mail carriers deliver should be sorted the day before and at our cases by 6 PM.

  14. Our mail is processed locally and it still arrives later than it should…PO ONLY CONTRACTS ONE TRUCK TO DELIVERY WHOLE CITY, IF THERE’S MORE MAIL THAT WON’T FIT THEY HAVE TO SEND ANOTHER TRIP…..200 CARRIERS WAITING FOR MAIL FOR THE SAKE OF JUST ADDING ANOTHER TRUCK!!!!!!!!!…..200 carriers out after dark,70,000 postal customers getting late mail…….

  15. Simple solution Suckas but management will never listen to craft. Case all bulk flats and periodicals in the p.m after Carriers return. In the Mornings case up all first class and newspapers and get out early.

  16. Could this be a natl plot to run off the last of civil
    Servants..in true form the only incentive management
    Offers is harassment .. The managers change but
    The sop is the same, at least the last 31 years..

  17. Postal mgmt, at all levels are incompetent, corrupt, unethical morons. I’ve worked in four offices, and in each, there were more intelligent people, including degrees, in craft than mgmt.

    As stated, throw in the corruption and unethical behavoir, and wham, there ya go.

    Mgmt. is the worst enemy the USPS has. It costs the USPS more money lost, via theft, corruption, lost business, and simple completely avoidable waste than anything any craft comes close to doing.

    And if you think working at night in the above scenario is bad, try doing it like I have; below zero temps, with feet of snow everywhere.

    Also, this is from an NBA. There is NO approved lighting equipment for working at night, including the scenario in the above photo.

    Keep that in mind.

Comments are closed.