First-Ever Layoffs Loom at Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service faces a serious financial shortfall that is accelerating reductions in its workforce and raising the possibility of the first-ever layoffs of career employees.

Reduced mail volume, rising costs, and a newly enacted cap on rate increases all have taken a toll on the Postal Service’s finances. A gradual shift to electronic communications and bill payment is shrinking the number of first-class letters, a mainstay of postal revenues. And the current economic downturn has led to drops in advertising mail volume.

Increasing fuel prices have been a big factor in worsening postal finances, compounded by a legal restriction enacted two years ago against raising the price of most services beyond the rate of inflation. The cap on rate increases was a major victory for the big mailing industry, but combined with rising costs, it has seriously squeezed the postal budget.

Unionized postal workers have not yet experienced layoffs, which have been confined to casual employees, a small percentage of the workforce.

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But Postmaster General John Potter, after reporting losses of $2.3 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30, informed the unions that 16,000 craft employees (out of approximately 600,000) are not protected by contractual, seniority-based no-layoff clauses.

The Postal Service is offering early retirement which, based on acceptance rates thus far, will have around 7,000 takers. In early 2009, when the number of early retirees will be known and income can be assessed for the traditionally profitable fourth quarter, there’s a chance that the first layoffs of craft employees may occur.

DAY SHIFT ENDANGERED

Cost pressures are having other effects. Most of the sorting and processing of mail already occurs between 3 p.m. and 6 a.m. But, without notice to the affected unions, postal plant managers have been told to plan for ending day shift operations. If implemented, this would force thousands of clerks (represented by American Postal Workers Union) and mailhandlers (National Postal Mailhandlers Union) out of the more desirable day-shift assignments.

The elimination of daytime jobs would disrupt the family lives and the physical health of those displaced, mostly high-seniority workers. APWU President Bill Burrus has speculated that this action is partly aimed at pushing them to retire.

One proposal to recoup costs would be to ask Congress for an exception to the rate cap, pointing to the cost of fuel. However, one union president has cautioned that too big an increase might further reduce business and drive the shift to e-communication.

The situation may encourage management, or the U.S. government, to push for more subcontracting or privatization, areas of longstanding battles with the unions. For example, the Postal Service recently asked for bids from private companies to outsource work carried out by its network of bulk mail centers. Unions have responded by pushing for favorable legislation, and by pointing out the disagreements on privatization between major-party candidates in the presidential and congressional elections.

Postal workers have been relatively immune from the concessions that have hit other industries. We now face a set of circumstances, termed “a perfect storm” by Burrus, that will challenge the ability of the unions to protect postal jobs, pay, and working conditions.



David Yao is vice president of the Greater Seattle Area Local APWU.

Comments

PostalGuy (not verified) | 09/09/11

Let me tell you why all of this has happened.

First, the Postal Service is required to hire people that aren't productive. Ouch. That hurts, right? It's true. We have to hire the lame, sick, and lazy before we can hire young, productive, vibrant employees. You know the groups required as they have already been mentioned in the body of the story above.

Secondly, the Postal Unions are blood sucking leaches who evacuate the life out of everything in our system. Getting paid for work they didn't do is their entire goal. Trust me I know as I deal with labor issues on a daily basis. The local union leadership absolutely LIVES to find any loophole, controversy, or sickly-skewed interpretation of the contract to do their dirty work. What's really sad is our Labor Relations people give the grievance away at step 2 so much that we absolutely have given up. You push grievances back, they give them away. I see it EVERY day!

Thirdly, we are bound to Governmental Purchasing contracts that are so full of price gouging and red tape that being frugal is almost impossible. Only in the Government is a $3 screwdriver $25! And you are bound to purchase it from "approved" vendors due to an "agreement". It's really hard to stomach sometimes.

4th, we are bound to pre-fund the retiree's health benefits. NO other agency is required to do so. Why haven't we gotten relief? Simple. Congress needs the money and it falls into a black hole. Our government couldn't produce that money if they had to. They've spent it as it came in. Will we get relief? Probably not.

5th, Congress won't allow us to be profitable. Example: Why can't we do the 5 day delivery, for Pete's sake? Congress doesn't pay our salaries, the public does. Congress sits on their hands doing NOTHING while we beg for relief. Then, all of the blame will be shouldered by us when it all goes south. It is so wrong!

Now that 30% of our employee base is probably headed out the door (including me, probably; a 25 year employee), I hope that everyone is happy. This didn't happen overnight. Every time the union celebrated a grievance settlement, we slipped a bit more. Every time someone "laid down" on the job, we slipped even a bit more. Every time the management guard changed hands and the new regime took office, the offices all had to be remodeled. We went down a bit more.

Call me "old school", but my parents raised me to use my common sense in every decision I made. If I wouldn't do it for myself, why would I do it to my company? They write my paychecks for God's sake!

Now I'm going to say it. I HATE BEING A POSTAL WORKER! It is the most unbelievable organization to work for I've ever seen. Nothing makes sense and indifference is so rampant you feel like you're in the "Twilight Zone" every time you enter the doors.

I hope the Unions, Management, and Congress are happy. You did NOTHING to secure our futures and now we're all paying the price. End of Story.

apostalsystemuser (not verified) | 03/04/10

I am not really sure why I am bothering to post this comment. Actually I am expecting those who control this site to remove it as soon as they become aware of it because it doesn't fit with what they are trying to promote.
There are not many things I know a lot about. But I probably know more about unions, what they do and how they operate, than perhaps all but about let's say 100 people in the country. It was my job to deal with unions for 22 years.
I have to chuckle at some of the ravings put forth by some on this site. Classic unionized employees response to adversity. For those who whine about the guy who admits that many employees finish their work or could finish it in 6 hours, my reaction is "Hooray for him! An honest man! Those of you who attack him are simply stealing from the postal system and users of that system like myself.
I'm sure you are right about lazy, ineffective, even abusive supervisors being common. I have news for you. the more unionized a business is, the less competent the supervisors are. You don't need competent supervisors when there is a union. All the decisions got made in the adversarial process of negotiations.
A unionized workplace is generally, by definition, an adversarial one. Employees and the union take advantage of it when they can. The employer will when they can. It is the nature of the beast.
Actually, if I am being honest, I have to admit that public employees have benefitted by forming and joining unions. Because public sector officials don't have to operate in an EFFICIENT manner (they just raise taxes or the price of postage) they give in to unions much more easily than does the private sector which must remain profitable or it will go bankrupt and disappear.
As a result you have wages and benefits that are better than the average of those of us who work for the private sector. In case you haven't noticed we resent that fact like hell, particularly when you advocate being paid for 8 hours of work when doing only six. We resent like hell standing in a line in a post office when other postal employees are wandering around chatting with each other doing nothing.
Why should postal employees be exempt from layoff when the postal service is being used less due to technological innovations, and public dissatisfaction with postal service? When conditions change in the private sector people lose jobs. What is so special about postal employees that they should be guaranteed a job whether anyone uses the postal service or not?
As I said, I am sure this will be removed well before most of you get a chance to read it, but I just couldn't help myself. Someone with a sane, realistic, perspective needs to try to convey that perspective to those of you who are feeling so abused.
My most sincere regards to those members of the postal service who actually do the job the way it is supposed to be done.
A Postal System User

tgrady6060 (not verified) | 03/04/10

In my opinion the Us Postal service is getting ripped off I know of a man in Scottsdale that is abusing the the priority mail system and has cost the system hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue loss's and management chooses to do nothing about it. They say it is the carriers fault if someone under pays for postage... How many people do exactly what this person is doing ad goes undetected for years. It is very easy to do. I think the troubles began when they made it easy the customers to do this by #1 giving them the tools The free box's and the ability to print their own labels on line through various 3rd party sources. Here people are getting filthy rich off of the backs of the US Postal workers EBay is a breeding ground for this activity. Not to Mention what EBay rakes in from theier cut... If anyone thinks I am kidding email me and I will send you a link to this persons eBay pages you can see for yourself. i know how much it cost for the products and what it cost to ship them. Clearly intent to defraud the Us Postal service. I hope they can straighten out their problems but I think first they need to start listening to their employees and their customers.

FEDeral UP Worker (not verified) | 12/01/09

I was just wondering if I can appeal an arbitrators decision. My Union says it is final, but the arbitrator was an ex Postal manager, and he ignored the contract, quoting a managers interpertation instead of the joint agreement, which is clearly stated, and is used for his decision. Management clearly violated the contract, but he stated he was unable to override decision.

Anonymous (not verified) | 10/08/09

can a PTF get partial unemployment benefits if hours are cut to one day a week??? Been working for 2 years at 40 plus hours, have a family and a mortgage!! What are we suppose to do??

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/13/10

That would depend on your state's regulations. The only way to get the correct answer is to contact your local unemployment office, explain your situation, and wait and see what their answer is. It will depend on how much money you are currently making as well as whether or not you are actively seeking other employment and are available for any other employment that might become available. Hope this helped.

malibu alcohol ... (not verified) | 09/17/09

WASHINGTON — The debate over how Congress can best ease the financial woes of the United States Postal Service is likely to intensify in coming months as the Postal Service’s record-breaking losses continue to escalate.

Anonymous (not verified) | 08/31/09

I'd like to know how the union (Pres. Burrus) agreed to the "buyout" without including those of us that retired under VER. I myself, just retired a month ago.....24 days shy of being eligible for the $15,000 incentive. I thought that he would have also had our "backs". I feel like it's so very unfair. If they were planning this for two months, why didn't they make it known that there was a possible agreement on the table? I'm sure that most of is, if not all, would have delayed retiring. Therefore, we have to settle for nothing........so disappointing!!

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/14/10

Well . . . . a close examination of Mr. Burruss's bank statement would probably clear it up for you fairly quickly.

BEEN THERE!! DONE THAT!!! HAD IT DONE TO ME!!! GOT THE T SHIRT TO PROVE IT!!! SORE AS HELL FROM IT!!!!

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/14/10

I've worked for the USPS long enough to know, without even having to give it a second thought, that they intentionally waited to announce the early out option. Think about how much money they saved by letting all those people retire before they announced the incentive who would have waited and collected the money. They know exactly what they're doing when they pull this kind of crap. So, don't go fooling yourself into thinking that it was just an oversight. The USPS will do whatever their feeble minds can come up with to save/make a buck to give to upper management in the form of houses and bonuses, regardless of the impact on the workers. You first have to face the fact that in the eyes of management, the workers are nothing more than subhuman beings that are there to be used up and thrown away when they are no longer profitable for the postal service. Postal workers are mere numbers who can be replaced again and again. Once you accept this fact it becomes much easier to see how USPS management can do what they do with total disregard for how their actions will affect the "people" who are actually doing the work, moving the mail, and generating the revenue that keeps the USPS alive and makes it possible for it to keep giving houses and huge bonuses to upper management. It doesn't make it any easier to swallow, but at least it becomes clear as to what is actually happening. One other thing to take to heart. If a USPS manager's mouth is moving, then he's lying!!!

BEEN THERE!! DONE THAT!!! HAD IT DONE TO ME!!! GOT THE T SHIRT TO PROVE IT!!!! STILL QUITE SORE!!!!

CarroBarrato (not verified) | 11/19/09

Wow, I feel bad for you, but it was almost a certainty with the Clerk craft. Rumors are the next incentive will be February 2010 for Supervisors.

rdrun4874 (not verified) | 08/23/09

I'm tired of hearing about carriers doing 6 hours of work for 8 hours of pay. Carriers for many years work through breaks and lunch time to make these automated and unverified numbers by these computer programs. Most employees do there jobs just like the rest of the workforce but are always bash by the public and the government servants, that they are lazy and need to be let go. How good will the postal service be when you have no benefits and minimum wage salaries delivering your mail. Your service would be like any other fast food place, poor service and very untimely. AMERICA don't believe the hype. Keep your postal service alive!!!!

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/13/10

Oh hell yes!!! I totally feel you on this one. For some reason, many people are under the impression that they "Do it all!!!". If they would put half of the energy they waste bitching about others into getting their work done and not worrying about what everyone else is doing, the workload on everyone would get a little easier. With that being said, here's what has been happening and what will continue unless workers come together to do something about it. Over the past 20 yrs. + I have watched the USPS systematically whittle our workforce down to the understaffed, overstressed, and totally unfulfilled group of people that it is today. When I began work as a mailhandler in 1989 I started on T1 as a PTF and was moved into a FTR position on T3 within 9 months. Our office, which is a processing facility, had 14 mailhandlers on T1 and 15 mailhandlers on T3. When I left in the middle of last year to file for disability retirement and SSDI, never to return to the postal facility at which I had been working for over 20 yrs., there were 6 mailhandlers on T1 and 8 mailhandlers on T3. Nobody has ever been fired but the jobs have disappeared through a slow and systematic method of attrition. When someone would retire, transfer, or die, the postal service would simply not post the job. Over time, the remaining workers would forget about the extra worker that used to be there bearing part of the work load. The workers simply adjusted day by day until they were getting the same amount of mail moved while using fewer man-hours to move it. This trend has continued for the 20+ years in which I was around to see it and still continues today. However, this method of cutting jobs is not fast enough to suit USPS management so they had to come up with other tactics to try to speed up the process of reducing the career workforce and the entire workforce in general, including casuals and T.E.s. As a result of this need to eliminate jobs at a faster rate, USPS management came up with the evil tactic of simply targeting career employees who were nearing eligibility or already eligible for retirement and making their work life as miserable as possible. Some of the tactics that I observed first hand was to eliminate the bid jobs of workers in manual letters and force them to work in automation. Firstly, these folks were mainly senior citizen types who had put in an average of 30 years or more with the postal service and were in those manual letter jobs because they actually needed that type of job which is relatively easy on the body compared to most other mail processing jobs and carrying mail. Automation, on the other hand, will kick your ass when management wants to run as many programs per machine, per shift as they can in order to generate more numbers which they can then doctor to make it look like they have a legitimate need for more equipment, a larger building, etc. Basically anything they could use to make their particular facility one which would then require managers of higher pay grades to run it. Bottom line: larger salaries and more power for these managers. Anyway, many or most of the former manual letter clerks couldn't handle the physical demands of an automation job and resigned. Mission accomplished for postal management. Another tactic they recently began using is targeting disabled veterans and others with various medical conditions which prevent them from working full time all of the time with no restrictions and focus on their sick leave usage. This group of workers includes those who were injured while on duty and should be covered and protected by OWCP. They are cutting these workers' hours down to 2-4 hours per day and OWCP IS NOT, I REPEAT, IS NOT covering the remainder of pay that these employees are entitled to. Management has begun targeting anyone who is physically or mentally unable to show up exactly on time every day. They have taken it to the point of writing people up as being AWOL when they were .01 hours late. That's about 30seconds for anyone reading this who hasn't used the postal time clocks which break the hours down into hundredths of an hour. For 20 years it had been common policy to allow everyone a 5 minute (.08 hours) grace period for clocking in. By doing this, postal management is able to charge workers with failure to maintain a regular work schedule and issue discipline with the ultimate goal of removing the workers from service with the USPS. I almost can't wait to see what kind of draconian regulations and "creative" methods for workforce reduction they come up with next. I am no longer subject to their bullshit because I just stopped going in to work once I had had enough and I applied for SSDI and Disability Retirement. My SSDI came through in record time while my postal disability claim is still being looked at and I won't be the least bit surprised if it is denied. Even though Social Security has determined that I can't work at all and after being subjected to not one, but three fitness for duty exams and being found medically unfit for duty by no less than three postal contract doctors, the postal service will not be able to derive from this that my inability to work at all should automatically preclude me from being suited to my currently held position with the USPS and I will have to fight for what I am rightfully entitled to. A few nice rules of thumb that can always be applied to postal service actions are the following, "Common sense does not apply and has absolutely no place in the postal service.", "If it is obvious, then postal management will not even consider it.", "If it makes workers happy, forget about it, it's out.", and maybe the most important thing to know about the USPS if you plan on working for them, "The postal service doesn't give a damn about you or your family!!!! You are ignorant scum who knows nothing about the most effective way to accomplish the job that you have already been doing for years." and "Postal management is constantly looking for any excuse they can come up with, whether or not it's the truth, to fire your sorry ass!!!!" BELIEVE IT!!!

BEEN THERE!! DONE THAT!!! GOT THE T SHIRT AND SORE ASS TO PROVE IT!!!!!

Anonymous (not verified) | 07/03/09

Okay, here's a good one and if anyone knows what steps I need to take beyond union grievances (being processed now for all that's worth!), let me know. I am an above 40 y/o female PTF in a medium sized office outside of St. Louis. Since the day I stepped foot in this office, I have been harassed non-stop by both management and a few employees. Any heavy work management wants done falls to me to do (ex: presort bundles and tubs, throwing parcels, phone books, scanning all parcels as arrived at unit which means staying in a bent over position to scan 27 hampers of parcels.) None of the other clerks help me do this work, yet I'm specifically told to help them if, by some odd chance, I actually get to do something else. But when they see me doing anything else besides the above mentioned, they will pull me off of whatever it is (throwing loose letters or magazines, etc) and make me go to the "heavy work". I have even been pulled off of breaks or out of the bathroom to do something even tho there are four other PTFs in the office. I have been told by management, as well as a couple of PTF "pets" that I should just transfer out of the office--find another office to go to. I only live a mile from this office so what is the feasibility of transferring out? When I went to another office for window training, my office called ahead and told this office I had an attitude problem and I would probably cause them a lot of problems, so be forewarned. I only found this out after working at this other office for four days. When they saw I wasn't anything like they had been warned, they told me what my office had told them about me. Now, as a result of the constant bending, lifting, throwing, etc., I have lower back problems. Two weeks ago I was the ONLY clerk throwing letters--two PTFs senior to me were throwing parcels. The supervisor told me to go "help" them throw. (There were only four cages to throw and these two are just as fast as I am at throwing.) I refused based on the fact it was my first day back from being off a week with back strain. The supervisor put me on heavy work anyway which ended up with me having to leave again--this time with a bulging disc. After doing an MRI, the doc says I have osteoarthritis in my lower back and by doing the repetitive things I do six days a week, it's only accelerating the condition. I was out the second time for two weeks, then placed on light duty with a specific list of jobs I could do by the doc, in addition to having to go to rehab three days a week. Our postmaster decided he "couldn't" put me on the jobs outlined by my light duty slip from the doc (machine operation, throwing loose letters and flats or counter shifts) and therefore, I would not be allowed back to work, even tho I was released by the doctor, until which time I could come back without restrictions. Did I mention the restriction time was a minimum of one month? Did I also mention he has allowed rural carriers to go on light duty assignments i.e., answering phones, paperwork, etc. He said I was a liability to him and the Postal Service and he wouldn't allow me to work. He told me I would have to call my doctor and tell him to take me off restrictive duty, then he would put me back to work immediately. Being a single mother of two, I cannot afford to be on LWOP, so I was forced to call the doc to have the restrictions reverted to unrestrictive full duty. The union has said they will start filing grievances on my behalf the day I step foot back in the office but that isn't going to stop them from continuing doing what they've been doing and treating me the way they have treated me for five years. I am refused sick time or annual leave time based on "needs of service" but none of the others have problems getting days off. I have to go to PT three times a week for my back, yet they schedule me to where I'm working just late enough that I can't go to therapy. I realize they've been trying to force me out of the office and since they haven't succeeded, are they now trying to force me into permanent disability? What steps does anyone recommend I take now. I have filed complaint with the EEOC, but have yet to hear anything back beyond the paperwork.

opm or postal d... (not verified) | 09/22/09

I used to work for the Postal Service for 10 years and I’ve experienced basically the same problem you do now. There is not question about it, the Postal Service is a place full of favoritism and the union will only help their friends and favorites. The fact that other PTFs are not being required to work as much as you do is not an excuse. Given your age (40 years young), your own back pain condition, and all the harassment you have been experiencing so far, let me ask you this question: what’s wrong with disability retirement? Sure, you won’t make as much money as you are doing right now, but at least you’ll keep all your benefits (including the same health insurance you have now). Sure, you will only end up doing 40% of what you make now, but you can get out of there and make up to 80% of what you are doing now with another job where your will appreciated. That’s, you can make up to 120% of what you are making right now.

I know it’s a difficult situation given the fact you are a single-mother with two kids, but remember, you and your health are more important than the green material. With less taxes and equal benefits, you’ll probably be better off anyway. You should probably get another job (yes you can work even with postal or federal disability retirement) where you will be more appreciated and won’t be harassed like you are right now. This is a link from a lawyer who helped me and who works on postal disability retirement and has a lot of information about the postal disability process: http://federaldisabilityretirement.wordpress.com/category/u-s-postal-ser...

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/13/10

I agree 1000% with the above poster. Get the hell out of there and apply for disability retirement and Social Security Disability. Yes, you will be in for a few months of poverty but it sure beats the psychological abuse and physical stress that you're getting at the post office. Read one of my post above. It will explain much of why you are being treated this way. Hopefully you have some family or friends that will support you and help you out for a while until the money starts coming in from disability retirement or social security. I recently stopped going in to work at our post office and it's the absolute best thing that I have ever done for myself and my family. I won't lie to you. It's been rough. Really rough. We've been flat broke and left wondering what we were going to do but I have always had faith that God would see me through somehow. Whether or not you want to believe in God is your choice but I firmly believe and you wouldn't believe how many times we've been to the point of having to sell off our favorite possessions on several occasions. You just have to accept the fact that it's only stuff and you can get more someday. When we had nothing left to sell and didn't know how we were going to make it, someone would always step up and help us get through. Much of the time it would be help from the last place we would expect. I don't know why it works like that but it just seems that keeping the faith and knowing that your situation is only temporary and will pass, will get you through. It's a huge step that's extremely difficult to take, but if it's that bad at your work place, then you have to get out or it will literally eat you up from the inside. Don't worry about creditors. They can't eat you and a good bankruptcy attorney will take care of them in short order. Get out of there ASAP. Get your medical info in order and apply for disability retirement and social security retirement. Don't leave out anything on the applications either. My application for social security was over 40 pages long by the time I finished it. I didn't leave out anything. I took them through my day from the time I woke up until the tme I went to bed and I gave them a typical months worth of narrative on what my life is like. I was approved for Social Security Disability in 5 WEEKS WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY!!! YES, I SAID 5 WEEKS WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY!!! Get the post office to send you for a fitness for duty exam. If they find you unfit for duty then they can't very well deny your disability retirement. It's a scary thought to make the leap of faith it takes to walk out on your livelihood but you will never be so glad that you did something again. My life is totally different now. I can laugh at TV shows again for the first time in nearly 10 years. I know what it is to be miserable at the post office and subjected to daily harassment. My supervisor and managers would make up lies and put them on paper and stick them in my file to try to make me look bad. It totally backfired on them and helped me out in that what they said about me qualified me for disability retirement all by itself, not to mention the real medical issues I have. Trust me. Get the hell out now and apply for every type of benefit and assistance you can find. It's the biggest favor you will ever do for yourself!!!

BEEN THERE!! DONE THAT!!! HAD IT DONE TO ME AND HAVE THE T SHIRT AND SORE ASS TO PROVE IT!!!!

Anonymous (not verified) | 08/03/09

Get a good eeo representative, make sure they know what they are doing and make sure everything is done on time. Your rep will win it or loose it for you. It takes time but sounds like you have a good case. Contact your districts head in charge. Start with a paper trail to inform you supervisor, station manager and postmaster and so forth. If needed contact the OIG. Most people are to scared to do these steps in fear what might come next from management. Make copy's of everything and contact EAP its free.

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/14/10

Can someone tell me why was my post replying to the above post about postal eeo removed? I only wrote the truth which came directly from first hand experience. What in the world is wrong with that? Shouldn't others be allowed to benefit from my experiences over the past 20+ years working for the postal service? My advice was sound and my comments were truthful. So many people think that the postal eeo office is their friend and will just listen to their story and immediately go to bat for them and fix the problem for them bing, bang, boom and all of a sudden the world is right again. Well, that's just not the case. It's much closer to being exactly the opposite of that and postal employees should know what they are facing when they enter into a situation that involves filing a complaint with the postal eeo office. If they are not forewarned and enabled to prepare themselves for the ride they are about to go on, then they are in for a major shock when the actual postal eeo process starts and they won't stand a snowball's chance in he!! of winning their case if they go into it blindly with false expectations about how the whole thing works. The postal workers who have never had the "pleasure" of dealing with postal eeo should at least have some kind of idea what they are facing so they can get their documentation in order, have a chance to find someone who might have witnessed the discriminatory act, and mentally prepare themselves for the quagmire they are about to enter that is the postal eeo process as well as the huge disappointment which they are headed toward. The employee should know that it is very difficult to prove discrimination. You absolutely must have a witness unless the offender was stupid enough to put something in writing which would incriminate himself or herself. The employee should also know that they will most likely be required to show a pattern of repeated discrimination against other employees by the offender. The employee will also have to prove that the discrimination was based on one or more of the criteria which is listed in the eeo literature. Discrimination based on anything not listed in eeo literature is OK and the offender can't be punished for it. The burden of proof rests squarely on the shoulders of the offended employee and they should be made fully aware of this and many other facts that are sure to come up at their very first meeting with the postal eeo representatives. But most importantly, they should know that they absolutely, positively must have every detail of every incident of discrimination documented very thoroughly. They should know that keeping a small notepad and pencil with them at all times is a must. They should also be ready when the lies from the other side start flying. For example, I filed an eeo in the postal service because I was denied a transfer to a less physically stressful custodian position from my mailhandler position due to medical problems caused by my service connected disability and this was after I had already been told I could have the transfer and was even shown in writing the actual date that I was supposed to be transferred.(get copies of everything in writing and put it all in a folder and save it for as long as you work for the postal service!!!!! I wasn't experienced enough yet to know this so I didn't get a copy of the paper with my transfer date written on it. If I had made a copy of it for my own records, I might have been able to win my case. If I only knew then what I know now!!!) The mail handler job was killing me and I needed a less physical job. I even had multiple doctor's statements backing me up including a statement from the postal service's contract physician. In the interim from when I was promised the custodial position and the date that the transfer was to become effective, a new maintenance manager was put in place. The new manager decided that I couldn't have the custodial job because my sick leave record wasn't good enough. Now, keep in mind that I have a permanent medical condition which was being aggravated by the mail handler work, which caused me to have to miss work and use my sick leave. This was the whole reason why I had requested the transfer to custodian and the prior maintenance mgr. agreed to let me have the custodian job. Now all of a sudden the new guy is denying my transfer until I can go for an entire year without calling in sick while still performing the mail handler duties that were giving me so many problems and causing me to have severe, chronic pain. Do you see how ridiculous this is? And to make it even worse, the condition which was causing my problems was a service connected disability that I had when I hired in and was the reason I was given 10 free bonus test score points as well as being placed on a preferred hiring register which gave me special preference to be hired before the average person applying for the same job. So I went to the new maintenance mgr.'s office with my witness by my side and asked the mgr. why I was denied the job which had already been promised to me in writing and had already had a date set for the transfer to take place. The mgr. said in no uncertain terms that I was denied the transfer because of my "poor sick leave record". Obvious discrimination based on my disability and I had a witness to back me up. After it was all said and done, management lied about everything they could in order to twist the entire situation around to make it appear as if they had done nothing wrong at all. The maint. mgr. denied saying what he said to me in front of my witness. And to make a long story short and give you an idea of how sad the situation is when postal eeo is in charge, the final letter I received from the postal eeo office said that there was no way this mgr. could have been holding my sick leave usage against me because when they looked at my 3971, they found that I had used more annual leave and lwop than sick leave, therefore it was impossible that the mgr. was denying my transfer because of my sick leave use. Now, just how ridiculous is that? I had used my annual leave for vacation and had used a lot of lwop to go home early when the mail was light and all of it was approved by a supervisor. But that not withstanding, just look at the whole situation and how it played out. It was the biggest joke and saddest excuse for an eeo investigation possible and this kind of stupidity wasn't isolated to my case. Others had faced the exact same kind of treatment when they sought help from postal eeo. All management has to do is lie and the postal eeo reps will do whatever they need to do so they can deny your claim. The whole thing is hard to believe, even for me, and I was the one it happened to. I can just imagine how difficult it is for someone who has never had any experience with postal eeo or limited experience with postal management to swallow. All I'm saying is if you plan on filing an eeo complaint within the postal service you need to be prepared for anything and everything. Common sense and fair play are out the window and you need to be aware that you are going into battle with a foe who has no sense of right and wrong and is more than willing to lie, cheat, spend any amount of money necessary and sell their soul to win. The postal service has absolutely no problem at all with spending thousands of dollars to win a 50 cent fight. The employee should be fully aware of the fact that the actual offending mgr. will in no way be held accountable for his or her actions and therefore doesn't care at all to break the rules, break laws, lie about anything and everything and put the employee through hell. All of the stress that comes from battling with an entity the size of the postal service will fall directly on the shoulders of the employee because the employee is the only person who is affected by the whole process. The paper you will sign to file a formal complaint will read: postal employee, Joe Blow vs. postmaster general whoever it is at the time. The offending manager isn't held accountable for anything and therefore is unaffected by the whole ordeal and could care less about how it turns out. The only one who is affected is the employee. The employee is the only one who will lose sleep, feel the stress, have the anxiety, and have their lives turned upside down over the time span that it takes to get to the end of the process. Then when it's all over the employee is the one who has to deal with the disappointment, depression, anger and outright disbelief about what has been done to them. It's sad but it is absolutely true. If this post is not removed, I'm more than certain that there will be others replying to it in full agreement with me and will most likely have there own horror stories to add and tell us of even more unbelievable atrocities perpetrated by postal management and postal eeo reps. It's a different world inside the organization known as the USPS that most people simply can't wrap their head around. It's one of those things that has to be experienced first hand before you can even begin to believe it exists. It is never understood because common sense never comes into play when dealing with postal management and postal eieio. The whole postal eeo process is nothing more than a stonewalling tactic designed to break the employees spirit and wear them down to the point that they no longer have the energy or desire to keep fighting so it all will just go away and then it just never happened as far as the po is concerned. This is all true information which I experienced first hand and any postal employee who is getting ready to go down the postal eeo road should be allowed to read this so they can at least be prepared for what is to come. So in light of this, I'm quite confused as to why my post was removed. Can someone please enlighten me to why it was removed so I don't make the same mistake in future postings, whatever the mistake was? Someone please enlighten me. Thanks.

BEEN THERE!! DONE THAT!!! HAD IT DONE TO ME AND GOT THE T SHIRT TO PROVE IT!!!!! I'M STILL SORE TOO!!!

Anonymous (not verified) | 06/25/09

The clerks and mailhandlers are paying for the problems in the Postal
Service. One reason for the problems the Postal Service is in is poor management. You have supervisors and management that do not know what they are doing and have no interaction with employees except to berate them. In fact they also are very good at harassing employees. The Postal Servie is trying to force the senior employees to retire by given them the worst hours on the night tour. If the Postal Service wants the seniors to retire offer them an incentive not an early out. They can add 5 years to their retirement and many employees will go. Postal Service has nothing to loose won't have to pay for health insurance, night differencial sunday premium, sick leave annual leave and holiday pay. Employees can't leave with the ecconomy as it is now. They couldn't get a part time job to help during their retirement. Look into management and the bonuses and high salaries and the million dollar homes and brand new government vehicles that are spent on each year and also the the 4 star hotels they stay in when they go to a different state for meetings

anonymous (not verified) | 06/17/09

I work in a office where we are short on clerks and have been for some time and there is a contractual custodian who puts around flat tubs, puts mail in the holes for carriers, scan and throws parcels and the list goes on and on. On top of this the office is filthy. With all of this going on the post office is still complaining about being in a deficit. If they stop doing stupid s _ _ _ like this maybe we might have a chance.

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/14/10

Is there any other kind of supervisor? In 20+ years of postal service, I have yet to come across a supervisor that was of any use. Well . . . . I guess someone has to answer the phone.

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/14/10

and you continue to go back day after day? Get another job because in case you haven't noticed, the postal service is on a major campaign to cut jobs, cut hours, and get rid of everyone they can. Didn't you hear about them paying people $15K to quit? Honestly, if you are sticking around and thinking that you're going to be made a full time regular any day now, well . . . . you had better think again. And if you have less than 7 years in service as a career employee, you probably won't have to make the decision to leave the postal service. They're going to make the decision for you in the very near future. I'm not trying to be mean, just honest. Do yourself a favor and go get a job selling cars. When the economy recovers, you'll be able to pull some serious jack if you can sell worth a crap.

BEEN THERE!! DONE THAT!!! HAD THAT DONE TO ME!!!! GOT THE T SHIRT TO PROVE IT!!!! STILL REALLY SORE!!!!

rich (not verified) | 06/16/09

to the idiot who has a whole 3 years in the post office once carriers start running thier routes and come back in 6 instead of eight they will just cut routes and then cut jobs and guess what with your whole 3 years in your gonna be flipping burgers so good luck to you and get some time in the outfit before you open your stupid mouth.

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/14/10

You are dead on, exactly right. This doesn't only apply to carriers. It applies to every unit in every postal facility in the country. Here's the bottom line: When postal management reduces the work force and the remaining employees start to "kick it up a notch" and kill themselves to get the mail out the door, they are only hurting themselves. Let me lay it out like this: As long as you keep getting the job done and getting the mail out with your short handed, overworked crew, you WILL NOT get any more help. Postal management looks at the situation and says, "Hey, they're getting it done with the bodies they have so why in the world would we spend any more money on more help. It's obviously not needed because the mail is getting out and the job is getting done. And most importantly, our manager's bonuses are going to be larger because we're getting this mail out the door with fewer bodies than ever before." Meanwhile, some employees are smart enough to look around and see what's happing and are smart enough to stop working themselves to death for no reason. The problem lies with those "special" workers who will continue to do their own jobs plus the jobs of one or two other people. They will kill themselves trying to get the mail out, never stopping to think about the damage they are doing to their bodies and the extra stress they are putting on themselves. They aren't smart enough to realize that as long as they are willing to hurt themselves to get the mail out, postal management will continue to let them do it. They are too stupid to see that they are only helping postal management to get rid of jobs. One thing I figured out early in my postal career is that my paycheck was the same if I paced myself and did a good job safely as it was if I ran around like a damned fool, risking my health, doing the duties of two or three jobs trying to get the mail out. In private industry a job well done and finished ahead of time will get you some praise or maybe a bonus or a promotion. In the USPS, a job well done and finished ahead of time will get you MORE WORK!!! Those of us who knew better had a saying: "One paycheck, one job." Take it to heart.

BEEN THERE!! DONE THAT!!! HAD IT DONE TO ME!!! GOT THE T SHIRT TO PROVE IT!!!! STILL PRETTY SORE!!!!

New Hire (not verified) | 09/26/09

3 people along with myself, which makes a 4th were hired. They laid off 12 employees at this large station. The money paid for 3 employees for every 1 person laid off.

tallest (not verified) | 06/10/09

supervisors are very abusive, they lie and do not have respect for their employees. additionally, they take advantage of their authority. what bothers me the most is that they can work only four hours and get paid for eight. thats one of the reasons why we are going down, down, down.

There's plenty of work in the post office, but instead of getting off their butts and proving it, the NALC is content to sit in their office and throw spitballs at one another.

In the Los Angeles District their hiding mail, recycling mail, and the supervisors are throwing up routes and carrying swings. They work employees off the clock, and rountinely for employees to work through lunch - and everybody know it, including the NALC.

If the NALC would just do the job they were elected to do, the post office wouldn't be able to justify saying there was no work. Just ask yourself - when was the last time you saw your union officers walking around the station checking the mail. If you work in Los Angeles, it's never - and, Larry Brown, the president of Branch 24, is a national trustee, so I can just imagine how sorry some of the other branches are.

But it's the carriers' fault, because they don't demand that the NALC do its job. Carriers don't invest in their own well being. Most never attend the union meetings, so the meeting are generally attended by a small clique that vote for whatever the officers want - including huge salaries and expense accounts, to do absolutely nothing.

If carriers want to keep their jobs, they better start getting down to the union meetings and start raising pure hell. Otherwise, you're going to get just what you deserve(See below).

http://wattree.blogspot.com/search?q=Postal+Service

Cincinnati PTF (not verified) | 06/09/09

Is anywhere else other than just "Cincnnati" working their PTF's 4 hours or less and that's it???

Anonymous (not verified) | 05/20/09

I left the Postal Service 10 years ago and went back to College. Two degrees later it was/is the best decision I've ever made. I could see the handwriting on the wall; email was taking off, and management was putting all their faith into automation. I remember the 'ol 6 and 2 warning, but they didn't figure there wasn't going to be enough mail to guarantee that!
And the union workers slow down when the volume drops off to get their guaranteed 8. Then 3996's would fly for a half foot over reference volume, yikes.
I hope all you guys and gals trying to hang on till you can retire make it...Peace

steve (not verified) | 05/19/09

I've been a PTF for three years now. For three years I've watched carriers bleed the post office for everything that they can. Now volume is dropping drastically and all they do is go slower and slower to get their 8hrs in. John Potter makes next to nothing compared to a CEO of a private corporation that does the volume of buisness in retail, and has such a large workforce and vehicle force that the post office does. Get some integity and stop whining. If there is 6 hours worth of work, do it in 6 hours and not 8. At least that way I could still count on the post office being a viable job for me and all the other people who believe in an honest days work for years to come.

20YR. USPS VET ... (not verified) | 01/14/10

Sorry Steve but you've got it exactly backwards. If those carriers start finishing those routes in 6 hours it will only serve to confirm that fewer carriers are needed to get the mail delivered. Now, since you're still a PTF with a whole 3 years under your belt, take a guess at who the first swinging henry out the door will be. It will actually be a swinging Steve. Wake the hell up and shut the hell up because you don't have a freaking clue about what's going on in the postal service. You have been a PTF for 3 years now and you will continue to be a PTF for the remainder of your postal career. Which, by the way, will end when postal management wants it to. You will never see the 7 year mark and gain the "super seniority" protection that those who have a lot of whiskers have. It is also a very real possibility that in the coming years, they won't have that protection either. There are just too many deals happening under the table in the labor management meetings. Get ready for anything because anything is going to happen. The USPS now does as it pleases and tells the employees to grieve it if they don't like it. Management knows that most of the grievances will be tied up in the system long enough to allow management to accomplish whatever it is they wanted to accomplish and then it no longer matters if you win your grievance. Management has already accomplished what they set out to do and you are just SOL.

BEEN THERE!! DONE THAT!!! HAD IT DONE TO ME!!! GOT THE T SHIRT TO PROVE IT!!!! STILL PRETTY SORE!!!!

CarroBarrato (not verified) | 11/19/09

When I was going to College, I took a class called "Theory of Technology". The whole concept is when technology gets rooted in society(internet)old technology(paper)dies. First Class makes up 40% of the revenue and it's eroding @3% a year. The folks at your work realize what is happening and are hanging on as long as possible.

Rich (Virginia) (not verified) | 04/01/09

I am a RCA(Rural Carrier Associate) in Virginia, and I am facing a decline in hours worked. Our Offices have a combined 36 Rural Routes, one Aux Route, and 10 City Routes. Majority of the Rural Routes were K-Routes at the time of my hire in '05. As my position as a subsitute, when I was hired, I was guaranteed one day a week on a K-Route. K-Route are routes whose carrier is off one day during the week, every week. Well we just ended our National Mail Count on 3/14/09, and our offices lost big! We had K-Routes drop to J-Routes, (J-Route Carriers=1 day off every other week), and J-Routes drop to H-Routes (H-Routes=6 days a week, no day off). Now there are only 16 K-Routes in both offices combined. This doesn't really hurt the Regular carriers, as they lose money, but not their jobs, but it adversely affects us subs. I have been in my position for almost 4 years, waiting for someone to relieve their post so i can obtain my own Route as a Career employee. The saddest part of the delimma is, i'm 3rd in line for my own Rural route, but with the recent turn of events, I am facing that my guranteed one working day will be abolished! At our offices, we have about 12-15 subs, so you can image how the ones under me will be affected. Only hope I have is in our Union, but let's see how far I get with that!

Steve (not verified) | 04/01/09

In 2 weeks USPS kicks a money making restaurant out of the DC post office. They're giving that space to Smithsonian RENT FREE. Half a million in rent given up so we can look at stamps instead of have jobs.

LAINISHA (not verified) | 03/29/09

I have been a casual for about 2 years now and since I been here its been so many rumors I mean we are all human and the econ is mess up all we can do is pray and keep going on about are day some one come up to me evert day and aske me hey have they said any thing about letting u casuals go all I say is hey if they let us go every thing happen for a reason maybe its somethin out there btter for me I mean when I first came in my time was from 8am to 5 15pm and now since they shut the 2nd shift down I come in at 4pm to 1 15am I mean its hard but that's they only way I can pay my bills and I'm only 19 years old ....I'VE SEEN A LOT OFF MY FRIEND GO A LOT OF CASUALS BUT ALL WE CAN DO IS PRAY ...

Anonymous (not verified) | 03/04/09

I read the comment on retirements , and want to put forth
lets say a hypothetical situation:

a. Small Office, with 2 routes one auxillary
b. enter a hire, orignally hired after 2 year hiring freeze
and told he would not get many hours, decides to go for unemployment
but then due to series of unfortunate events for co workers
he ends up with more hours, first becoming a PTF, than
working up to FTR
c. Series of changes , Old Post master retires,
new PM comes aboard
d. Carrier works for another 6 years, but mangement
style is changed from non comfrontational , orignally
told he is asset to PO, but with new mangement
constantly harrassed , until relations between labor
and managment becomes stressed
e. New mangement makes decisions not on common sense
but more on perception of threats and itimidations
d. Now comes the retirement issue, of 2 retirements
of fellow carriers, for a 2 route, one aux office
e. Injury of fellow remaining carrier, tying up
office, for owcp matters.
f. Due to district numbers, upper management makes
decision of now no hire, leaving carrier as only
carrier for 20 hours of routes a day.
g. eventually allowed one day off for consultation with union
on situation, allowed 10 minutes to fax situation
and eventually gets a hire approved.
h. no new listing results in more months on duty without
help
i. use of duel casual hired, and no time off for carrier
because of duels responsibilty to other office.
j. finally gets help in office with hire of one ptf
but duel casual falls at home and is no longer in office working.
k. both ptf and carrier have weddings, by this time another
ptf hired but limited hours, told can not attend weddings
due to staffing shortage.
l. New casual allowed after fight about weddings
m. Confrontations continue with management about
removal of injured carrier, training of ptf's,
resulting in removal of casual.
n. FTR carrier dies after removal of casual.
o. mangement carrys mail day of funeral even
with 2 ptr in office, refuses to lower flag in honor
of carrier, offers to help with insurnace matters to widow.
p. investigation on behalf of union by postal inspection office
overtime hours of last month reported only, told he was
adequately staffed, and not much rougher than most post offices.
PM is reported to feel as a friend of carrier.
question: is this scenario likely in event of sudden retirments
and no hiring policy to handled finacial situation in mangement
of Postal office and cut backs?
And is management held responsible for carrier becoming only
carrier with 2 routes and one aux?
o. eventually route adjustments are made and now small office
is cut back , 3 routes magically become 2, and thus
nessitating only hire of 2 ptf's, and not 3rd.
p. does the scenario play out on a larger field in bigger
offices with forced layoffs and early retirements and no hiring.
q. questions abound, the carrier widow is told he is not
member of his own union, postal inevestigation is false,
about hours and routes, and policy has been enforced,
protection of managment resulted.
r. responsibillty of reality verses management in the
twilight zone, falls to whom in this situation,
the postal inspectors office for not investigating properly,
so it results are in unions favor for hiring on retirement,
or on union for admitting no calls made from small office,
or on mangement for notice of retirements, and no hire?
s. this senseless case is actually reality not twilight zone.
t. this matter of lay offs, retirements, is complicated
in our day and age of financial insanity, but at what cost
mangement saved how much money from lack of hire,
'and of course carrier did not retire, he expired.
u. I agree with the statement about upper management
is where cut backs need to take place, small offices
do not need to be understaffed, but staffed at a normal ratio
in order to help small towns survive.
It is only the lack of common sense that has died.

Anonymous (not verified) | 02/16/09

Seriously, the US Postal Service should start firing the abusive Supervisors in the San Diego. One Supervisor from Tour 1 has been brought to court for harassment of a female employee. The complainant was awarded $1 Million together with 3 of her co-workers. She sued the female MDO and this abusive Supervisor. What is amazing is that they are still employed by the Post Office. With the economic crisis and fear of massive lay-offs left and right, shouldn't the Post Office think twice and fire these people. You guys will be suprised how many complaints were filed against them at the union office and EEO. Please Mr. Postmaster General, look at this case and fire them.

Jillian Y (not verified) | 02/13/09

How could unemployment rate drop, if lay off is continuously going? The “market” has fallen and with this, many companies around the country are starting to collapse, which results to lay off employees. We aren't out of the woods yet, but we have the tools to get us there. On the other hand, the payday loans that are about to be made to the nation from the stimulus package, there is more good news on the horizon. Retail sales have stopped falling, and in fact, retail spending has risen. I think so many layoffs and the drop in economic activity had more to do with consumer panic, than anything. This is good news for the economy.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/31/09

There are so many solutions, that are so simple. Allot of which are common sense. Closing Saturdays since that is also the lowest days of revenue, and the elimination of paying employees. Make all routes managed routes, like with the rural carriers. That would give more incentive for all carriers to get the job done. Go to 4 - 10's, with it being straight pay, only overtime after 10hrs. And that will save the T-6 positions. Have one postmaster for every 3 to 4 offices, pending on the size of the offices and consolidating smaller offices into 1 location. Downsize the number of supervisors to the minimal amount and have a floating supervisor to cover several offices when someone calls in sick etc. With giving more responsibility to supervisors and postmasters, you will find that only the more competent are up for the challenge.
The unions need to work more with management in eliminating the walk and talk in the offices and see that everyone is earning there pay, how many carriers do you know that work maybe 6 hrs total and "milk" it up too 8 to 10 hrs. Don't get me wrong, I have survived on overtime for the entire 14 yrs here at the postal service. But I also know that I can't go anywhere else without a degree (or maybe even with a degree) and make $25.00 hr. The real world out there beyond the postal service is hard, and we have it very easy, so I would rather give of myself too keep my job, then go out into that other job market. We all may need to understand that overtime is a privilege, and we need to learn to live within our means. At least we would still have a paycheck.
One last thing is the process to remove the slackers in the postal service needs too be easier.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/30/09

Now here this all dvd casuals strap up the ax is finally coming down hope you are one of the 14 good luck

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/30/09

i would gladly take a reasonable paycut until things got stable again.
but the po needs to hold a lot of these carriers, sup, and so called managers. i see carriers everyday falsifying there 96's and asking for more time to finish their routes than they actually need. i see waste, fraud and abuse in my post office everyday. too many supervisors, and they're letting carriers become 204b's (trng sup) while another carrier gets paid overtime to do the 204b's route everyday. it's sickening how they pick their supervisors and managers, they really don't know much and they're not helpful at all. management "is" the problem and has alway been the problem no doubt.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/30/09

couldnt agree with you more. our supervisor was hired off the street not clerk or carrier experience. think they should be hired within. at least they would know what it is like to be a carrier or a clerk, might be more understandiing and not harrass as much. i would also take a cut in pay, but the supervisors and the postmaster general should also take those cuts. we can do our own bail out. we dont need government help if we would all pull together.. get rid of the dead beats in the postal service....

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/29/09

I worked for the Post Office for over 20 years. If you think that approved fmla for a chronic condition is safe, think again. I have fmla approval for a chronic condition and for my childs condition,since birth. Postal management went out of their way to target me. Not only that, they altered my clock rings in order to take away overtime that I had worked. This is fraud. The postmaster,in a state capital admitted in e-mails that this is "stealing, plain and simple." I still have never been compensated for this. Management targeted the clock rings of women over the age of 40. Management, and the postmaster, managed to generate ,falsly,a way to fire me. The management responsible for fraudulently altering clock rings still have their jobs. Wow

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/29/09

after 38 yrs. and having my route re-adjusted to managements whims without route evaluations in at least 20 years or since DPS when i decided to start driving again and have had my route changed more times then some supervisors have years on the job!!!!

where does the s___t stop ???

how about starting with the brass with all their vacation homes and can't get us toilet paper or paper towels !!!!!!!!

Portland person... (not verified) | 01/29/09

This strikes me as a total battle of lobbyists. Whether the postal service has to lay people off depends on government funding and regulations, and government funding & regulations depend on how money money big mail donates to the people in power. Business as usual in Washington.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/28/09

I know this is a format for regular and career workers but is there any concern for casuals that pick up most of the slack and looked upon for most of the grunt work what is our future like in the p.o. I need an answer not a rumor

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