Helen Amill
Editor of the Outlook
Outlook March / April 2019
Unfamiliar Terminology
I would like to offer my congratulations to the Charlie Heege/Pascual Ortiz Team. I am honored to remain in the position of Editor of the Outlook and look forward to serving with the new team by assisting them in keeping our members updated with the changing times.

As letter carriers we are faced with daily pressures from management. We receive countless instructions from management on how to deliver the mail and the amount of time it will take us to case up and deliver our routes. All the while, management knowingly is trying to squeeze a ten (10) hour day into eight (8) hours. These instructions are coming from supervisors and managers who have never delivered mail before.

Management oftentimes instructs carriers with unfamiliar terminologies and in turn causes unnecessary stress on the work floor. I wanted to address some of the phrases which management uses daily, so as carriers we can better understand what they are instructing us to do.

Letter carriers hear announcements on the loud speaker informing them that it is uptime. Many carriers assumed this meant all the mail on the carrier’s route, including parcels, should be cased and the carriers should be ready to tie down their carts and hit the street. What exactly does uptime mean? Simply put, management is informing carriers it is a call that all the residual mail has been cased in the hot case. Carriers are expected to make a final sweep of the hot case as well as the parcels.

Another phrase we are bombarded with is percent to standard. This means letter carriers should be casing 18 letters or 8 flats per minute. This is the formula management uses to estimate our leaving and return time for delivery. It is important to remember these calculations do not include the number of parcels carrier routes receive on a daily basis. Letter carriers should keep track of how much mail and parcels they receive on any given day. If extra time is needed to complete your assignment, you must document all this information on your

PS Form 3996 in order to inform management that you either need overtime or assistance.

To add insult to injury, management is always instructing carriers according to the DOIS report that they are projected to return in eight (8) hours, regardless of how much mail or packages they are taking out. Remember, DOIS is only an estimated time for leaving and returning from the street. Management wants to pressure carriers to do ten (10) hours of work in eight hours. Sad to say there are some letter carriers who give up their lunch and two breaks to run through their route in order to return in eight (8) hours, regardless of the volume of mail and packages. This not only hurts the carrier doing it, but it also hurts the station. How many of us are asked by management, “Why do you take overtime when other carriers do it in eight hours?”

What should you do if you are given these instructions and you know it would be impossible to complete your assignment in eight (8) hours? Carriers must fill out a PS Form 3996 documenting the amount of letters that were cased, how many trays of DPS the route received, and the parcel count. It must also include the estimated time it would take to walk and return from your route. Keep a copy for yourself, so you have proof that you asked for assistance or overtime.

Remember management cannot deny you a PS Form 3996 or a copy of the form for that matter. Even if management denies your PS Form 3996, it still is evidence that you informed them prior to leaving that you would not complete your assignment in the instructed time given.

It is important for all letter carriers to understand exactly what management is instructing us to do on a daily basis. If you are unsure of the terminology, do not hesitate to ask them to explain what they are instructing you to do. Knowledge is power!

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