January 27, 2011
Mark Strong, President
On January 25th the three management organizations met with PMG Pat Donahoe, COO Megan Brennan, and VP Labor Relations Doug Tulino. This is the second time we have met with the PMG and, as mentioned in my Advocate article, we have very open discussions. This is a welcomed relief at a time that it is so important. This was our first meeting with the new COO Megan Brennan, and she too is committed to working with the organizations. This meeting was especially well-timed with the articles that had just been released in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
First and foremost, Mr. Donahoe wanted to apologize for the comments in the Washington Post about the 5,000 Postmasters having the loneliest job in the world, and likened them to the Maytag Repairman. He was very clear that he meant no disrespect to Postmasters. The PMG expressed his deep regret for the comment. It was not meant in the manner it was taken and he will be issuing a statement of his own.
We then had a very long discussion about news articles regarding the upcoming consolidations, changes and possible closures. It was agreed by all that a meeting in the very near future will take place with Megan Brennan and Dean Granholm, VP of Delivery and Postal Operations, about the specifics on those offices to be reviewed and other consolidations.
As soon as there is solid, verifiable information on consolidations, RIF or VER we will share it with you. Until it comes from one of these officers, in my opinion it is a rumor. We have asked to be kept in the loop so there are no surprises and so we can share this information with you as soon as we are sure of its validity.
We also spoke about DUO and it once again was made clear that this is a National initiative and that all Areas and Districts will follow the National guidelines. We have a large group of LEAGUE leaders with access to the CSDC program. This program allows us to track activity in Suspensions, Closures and Relocations. All National Officers, all Area Coordinators, and some State Presidents have this access. We will be expanding this to the rest of the Presidents that do not have this access in the next few weeks. We are monitoring all Areas and Districts and we will make sure that those relocations are being done for the right reason and that it is not costing the Postal Service money just to have a false bottom line savings projected for DUO in a given District or Area.
Pat once again commented at the meeting that the transporting of small amounts of mail to chase EXFC scores is not acceptable. What a waste in miles driven and fuel, but also in hours. Instead of fixing the problem, they continue the practice of driving a few pieces of mail around every day so they can have the highest score. Sometimes when the score is high, the best practice really needs to be looked at and not copied. It was clear our PMG did not consider this as a best practice.
I will say that it is a breath of fresh air to have frank discussions about our future, current information shared and for the leaders of the Postal Service to listen to our concerns and ideas.
It is also clear that in some cases we may have a difference of opinion about how we get there, but our principles are aligned and I do not believe they will change for either of us. We want the best for our customers, we want to do all we can to protect our employees, and we want the Postal Service to survive long past our departure. With that in mind, I will continue to represent your interests, as well as the future of Postal Service, to the best of my ability.
National League of Postmasters