Monday, May 31, 2010

The People, the Scam, and the Mainstream Media


The People, the Scam, and the Mainstream Media

A reader contacted me last week wanting to know why I've become so fixated on what's going on in the post office. The answer is quite simple. First, since I worked for the postal service for over twenty-seven years of my life, I care about postal workers. They're a part of my extended family and I have an intimate understanding of the hardships that they have to endure.

But there's another reason that's just as important. As a political animal I understand that the postal service is a microcosm of America as a whole, so it's clear to me that the injustice that postal employees are being forced to endure today is a prelude to what American workers as a whole will have to face in the days to come - and the reader's remarks clearly demonstrate why.

The reader went on to say,

"Now any organization with hundreds of thousands of employees is going to experience graft, fraud and so forth on all levels from time to time, but you don't seem to have made a case for this being a particularly noteworthy problem at the USPS. The organization, which has with the growth of email and competition from FedEx, UPS and even Twitter, become increasingly superfluous in recent years. It must downsize, become vastly more efficient, and employees whether in management or on the line will simply have to be more productive, and in thousands of cases released, as the "product" produced by the USPS is increasingly shunned. This is not some evil fascist government plot conspiring to trod upon the weak. It is reality."

First, let's dispose of the myth. The postal service isn't failing due to competition; the postal service has competition due to its managerial failures. FedEx and UPS owe their very existence to post office incompetence - and the fact that they both exist clearly atests to the fact that there is a market for the service that the postal service is suppose to provide. But in one sense the reader is correct. What's going on in the postal service is indeed a part of today's reality - but it's a reality that simply shouldn't exist in America.

Due to a thirty-year assault on our educational system and an endless fare of mind-numbing titillation - both fiction and nonfiction - over our airways, this reader, and America, has been conditioned to believe that "a little corruption every now and then" is simply the American way. Well, it's not the American way, and if we allow ourselves to embrace that philosophy the American middle class, of every race, every creed, and every color, is doomed - and due to the corporate media, we're headed in that direction as fast as we can go.

For example, we all know that the oil spill in the Gulf is a major catastrophe. At this point the media has made that clear. But the media hasn't become fixated on this story because it's an environmental disaster - they're just covering that angle because it can't be ignored. There are only three reasons why this story has drawn so much media attention - eleven people were killed, the live video of oil rushing out into the ocean provides compelling video, and the disaster is going to cost a lot of important people a lot of money, trouble, and controversy. That's it. Informing the people has nothing to do with it.

The fact is, the media is not as interested in informing the public as it is providing revenue-enhancing drama. So the primary reason that we know the Gulf spill is a major disaster is because it's managed to tear the media's attention away from what they consider the really important stories, like Tiger Woods' sex life.

That reflects the new journalistic standard of what's news worthy. The new standard for 'news' is that it must be either titillating, gruesome, have great visuals (the wives of coal miners crying over the bodies of their dead husbands), or that it has a negative impact on important people.

The mainstream media has become voyeurs. They're peeping Toms, and totally reactive. They no longer have any interest in digging beneath the surface to keep the American people informed, but they become giddy with excitement over the chance to exploit the resulting misery of the very people they've failed. Where was the media that should have been investigating the rationale behind the invasion of Iraq? I'll tell you where they were - they were getting film footage of themselves riding through the desert on tanks - in bed with the very government officials that they should have been investigating. If they'd focused on good journalism instead of self-service, they might have saved the lives of thousands of American troops, and nearly a million Iraqis.

Corporate media never becomes interested in a story until there's an explosion - twenty-nine mineworkers trapped in a poisonous coal mine, eleven oil workers vaporized in the Gulf, or when a postal worker snaps from abuse and walks into the post office with an M16 and brings death and destruction to his co-workers. But what's happened to the families of the twenty-nine mineworkers, eleven oil workers, or victims of postal mayhem since? We'll never know, because they've been relegated to the trash bin of yesterday's news cycle.

Now the postal service is pushing for a five-day delivery schedule under the pretext of saving on fuel costs. But is the media investigating that contention? Not on your life - the story's not sexy enough. If they did investigate it they'd find that what the postal service is actually trying to do is dump the consequences of their irresponsible management in the laps of the workers - yet again.

Just because the postal service will only deliver five days a week doesn't mean that mail won't continue to come in seven days a week. Unlike a manufacturer that can simply cut back on production, the postal service is going to get the same amount of mail regardless to whether it delivers five days a week or six. So what the postmaster is actually saying is, he wants the employees to continue to do six days of work, while only being paid for five.  It also means that on Monday letter carriers are going to be forced to process and deliver 24 hours of mail in eight hours - the mail for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. As a result, the postal sevice will have an incentive to steal even more of their overtime.

The postal service is simply trying to institutionalize the robbery that's already currently going on. But you won't hear about that in the mainstream media - at least, not until someone snaps and kills innocent postal workers, or God forbid, goes berserk on someone's front porch. But mark my words, once that does happen, and it's going to, you won't be able to get passed the hordes of media with a blowtorch - and never once will the media suggest that the problem lies in senior post office officials being criminally negligent. So someone has got to bring this to the attention of the American people.

In last week's column we quoted Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH) as saying,

"The USPS should immediately present a plan to ensure that workers are immediately reimbursed for their lost wages, and that appropriate disciplinary action is taken. Those individuals responsible for cheating New Hampshire families out of hard earned wages must be held accountable . . . In May of this year, I wrote to USPS Inspector General David Williams requesting that his office investigate claims that the United States Postal Service had altered letter carriers' timesheets on an electronic time system for the last six years. "

Arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge said in her December 2, 2009 decision that "Management's violations were so egregious over a period of many years that punitive damages were awarded to deter the service from further clock ring violations." But even after all of that admonishment, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) finds that time fraud within the postal service is continuing.

The American people should be aghast over the fact that a United States government agency is casually committing a felony against American citizens. But the fact is, poor and middle class workers in this country are being rapidly conditioned by both the government and the corporate media to meekly accept the ethical standards - and soon, the living standards - of a banana republic.

So with that, I'll answer the reader's question with a question of my own. How can any responsible journalist NOT continue to beat a drum over this issue?

Fight Government Corruption!

Postmaster General Potter and Inspector General Williams must go.
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Chairman Edolphus Towns
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5051

Beyond Going Postal

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's Time For The Postmaster General to Go, and The Inspector General as Well


It's Time For The Postmaster General to Go, and The Inspector General as Well

The time has come for postal employees to start flexing their political muscle. The record is clear. The United States Postal Service has been abusing, bullying, and robbing their employees blind all over the country for years now, and with complete impunity. So it's time for both Postmaster General John E. Potter and Inspector General David C. Williams to go. By overlooking the blatant corruption that has been clearly evidenced on their watch, they could both easily be charged with malfeasance at the very least.

The U.S. Postal Service is, literally, running a "plantation" under Potter. They're forcing some of their employees to work as much as six hours a day without pay, and others to work without lunch or breaks, then their official government clock rings are being falsified to reflect that the employees took three hour lunches. Thereafter, if the employees report the abuse to the Office of Inspector General, instead of investigating the matter (Time Fraud - a federal crime which carries a 6 year prison sentence), the OIG not only turns a blind eye to the crime, but goes so far as to report the complaining employees to their managers.

This is going on routinely all across the country:

"Washington, DC— Today, Congressman Paul Hodes called on the United States Postal Service to present a plan to fully reimburse postal workers for the wages they have lost as a result of managers manipulating their timecards." The congressman went on to say:

“It has been weeks and the hard-working employees at these post offices are still waiting for answers,” said Congressman Hodes. “The USPS should immediately present a plan to ensure that workers are immediately reimbursed for their lost wages, and that appropriate disciplinary action is taken. Those individuals responsible for cheating New Hampshire families out of hard earned wages must be held accountable . . . In May of this year, I wrote to USPS Inspector General David Williams requesting that his office investigate claims that the United States Postal Service had altered letter carriers’ timesheets on an electronic time system for the last six years. "

Arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge said in her December 2, 2009 decision that “Management’s violations were so egregious over a period of many years that punitive damages were awarded to deter the service from further clock ring violations.”

So the record is clear. The Office of Inspector General, politicians, and in some cases, many union officials have been turning a blind eye to unconscionable crimes against middle-class and minority workers. That doesn't bode well for the American worker, because it shows that the government has now embraced the effort to lower the standard of living of the American middle class - an effort that's been promoted by private corporations for some time now (The Role of Minorities, Poor, and the Middle Class in the New World Order).

As pointed out previously, the unions are a mixed bag. Just as in postal management and the population as a whole, there are many people within the unions who bring a dedicated, ethical, and conscientious attitude to the way they approach their jobs, but there are still far too many who are content to benefit from their members' union dues while they snuggle up with management. That's one of the reasons this situation exists.

With that said, it becomes incumbent upon us to mention how delighted Ms. JoAnn Snow is with the way that President Larry Brown of Branch 24, NALC has stepped up to the plate. Ms. Snow said the following in that regard:

"It took a little fence-rattling, but I'm very happy with the way President Brown stepped up to the plate when he became personally involved in my case. I also want to thank Anita Guzik. She created a legal document on my behalf that looks like Johnnie Cochran came back and wrote it.

"But we have a way to go yet. The postal service was willing to pay me $8000 to drop my case, but they're simply trying to protect their system of corruption by protecting the people who conspired to steal from me, and I'm not going to let that happen.

"If an employee picks up a coupon from waste mail that's been thrown in the trash, that's a removable offense; but managers can steal thousands of dollars from their employees' earnings and the postal service fights to keep those managers in place. That's got to change - and I intend to personally see to it that it does."

These crimes are so easily accomplished by the postal service because the employees and unions have been trying to address them administratively, if at all. Grievances go on for ever, and that places time on the side of the postal service. The time involved allows the PO to harass potential witnesses, and create hardships for the grievant.

The victim of time fraud shouldn't even have to grieve the matter. Time fraud is not a contractual issue - it's a federal crime, and should be treated as such. So if the postal service was as pristine as it claims to be, all the victim would have to do is contact the OIG and they would take it from there. The OIG would simply investigate the matter, and if the allegation was found to be valid, the victim would be reimbursed and the perpetrators would be fired - and possibly prosecuted and jailed. But unfortunately, justice within the postal service is only an illusion.

But there is an upside to this ledger. Postal employees don't have to beg for justice - they can demand it. They have both the law, and the numbers on their side. There are 600,000 postal employees in America, then when you add all of their family and friends, that's a formidable political group. In addition, in today's political environment up to 76% of the American people are unhappy with incumbents. So postal employees can very easily pull together to make a politician's willingness to fight for workers' rights a litmus test in order to be elected - and that goes for their union officials as well.

In spite of what we've been taught about this country, our actual history demonstrates that justice is not a birthright. In today's America, and throughout American history, citizens have only gotten as much justice as they're willing to fight for. Therefore, as long as postal workers continue to sit on their hands, they're going to remain the victims of injustice.  

The only way that postal workers are going to live in comfort and security is to challenge the comfort and security of the powerful. Therefore, postal workers simply MUST exercise their political clout - and the very first demonstration of that clout should be to contact the number below and demand the firing of the two officials named above, then go right down the chain of command to have everyone removed who has presided over a crime against them.  In short, it's time to tell President Obama and everybody beneath him that this is NOT the kind of change that you can believe in.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson will be holding a Los Angeles Roundtable on postal employee abuse in the very near future. Postal officials, the OIG, and union officials will all be invited. When a firm date is established it will be published in the Los Angeles Sentinel. If you want to change your working life, please attend. But in the meantime, please contact the number below:

Fight Government Corruption!

The document reads, "We the people," not we the government. This is a covert encroachment on the American middle class that the people simply must repel, or the rights of all Americas will be placed in dire jeopardy. Once the government declares open season on its employees, who's left to protect us from private exploitation?

This is not just a postal worker issue - it's an American issue.  So fight back now, while you still can.

"A citizenry of sheep begets a government of wolves."
Edward R. Murrow

Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Chairman Edolphus Towns
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5051

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

To the United States Postal Service: Bring It On!


To the United States Postal Service: Bring It On!

Dear Mr. Wattree,

Since you have identified yourself as a writer of a blog apparently associated with a news outlet, I have been asked to respond to your email on behalf of Los Angeles District Manager Ed Ruiz and the U.S. Postal Service.

As you are an employee currently on the rolls of the Postal Service, it is important to know that the Postal Service is committed to ensuring a workplace that is free of discrimination and to fostering a climate in which all employees may participate, contribute, and grow to their fullest potential. We recognize and value our diverse workforce and are committed to fair treatment of all employees.

Consistent with this policy, the Postal Service encourages you and all employees to raise any workplace concerns through the proper channels made available by collective bargaining agreements as outlined in administrative policies. All employees may also utilize
Equal Employment Opportunity processes.

Allegations of possible criminal conduct should be reported to the Office of Inspector General, or in the case of physical misconduct to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Retaliation against any employee who raises a claim or provides information in an investigation is illegal and will not be tolerated.

It is not appropriate to comment in a public forum on alleged internal grievances in process or raised by a third party.

Richard Maher
Corporate Communications
U.S. Postal Service

Mr. Richard Maher,

I'm going to be a little long winded here, because I have much to say in response to your veiled threat.

First,  please spare me this nonsense. All you're doing is wasting very valuable revenue that the postal service should be using to get the mail delivered on time.  I used to write this kind of hypocritical crap for the post office, and it is now my understanding that they're considering re-activating my employment to shut me up.  I don't have a problem with that. I look forward to testing whether the agency has a legal right to force me to lie on its behalf.  That's exactly what I was previously employed to do.  I now look upon that chapter of my life with shame, and if you have the least bit of integrity, Mr. Maher, so should you.

If even one syllable of this politispeak you've sent me were true, postal employees wouldn't be suffering the indignities and hardships that they're being forced to endure.  In addition, instead of sending my email to a public relations office, District Manager Ruiz would have simply responded by saying, "I've received your communication of unconscionable employee abuse. Your allegations will be investigated immediately, and if your concerns are found to be true, appropriate corrective action will be taken against all of the managers involved." Period.

Did you happen to see the article in the San Francisco Chronicle this past week.  The gentleman who committed that act wasn't a criminal;  he was a productive member of society until he went to work for the postal service.  In fact, Dr. Stephen Musacco, an organizational psychologist, author of Beyond Going Postal, and who spent  thirty years of his life working for the  postal service, predicted that it was going to happen - and more tragedies are on the horizon if someone doesn't speak out about the postal service's criminal irresponsibility in the way it treats its employees.

As for my association with the postal service, it is merely technical at best. I am now writing these articles in my capacity as a paid journalist. Thus, I'm confident that the United states Constitution's guarantee of freedom of the press supersedes any obscure postal regulation prohibiting my freedom to speak out on any issue - including post office corruption. Of course, the postal service is free to challenge that constitutional right, but I am more than certain that the ACLU would relish such a challenge, as would I.

What better position could David be in than to engage in battle with a Goliath whose hands are too dirty for him to win? America started out as David, so the American people love such fights. The American people also love people who are willing to fight for justice against governmental brutes -  especially a brute that's doing a horrible job of serving their interest -  so guess whose side they're gonna to come down on in this matter?

So the fact is, I would relish such a challenge. That would only serve to bring the unconscionable, and un-American, conduct of the United States Postal Service's treatment of it's employees under the public scrutiny of the American people. That's the objective of this series of articles in the first place. So any price that I may personally have to pay will pale in the face of the thousands of employees who are suffering because this issue has failed to be brought to light.

And it couldn't happen at a better time - in an election year. And if you decide to wait until after the election to bring such charges, this letter attests to when the postal service first became aware of the situation. So if you plan to take any administrative action against me, I advise you to take it immediately, because any delay due to political concerns will render said action untimely.

While I've always had an innate love and understanding of the law, I don't have a law degree. So obviously I can't match the postal service attorneys' grasp of the law.  But life has a curious way of playing itself out. If I'd become an attorney I would never have experienced the hardships that postal workers endure. So just maybe I didn't become an attorney because my entire life was only a prelude for this moment, and engaging you in this fight was the only thing I was born to do.  I know, it sounds far fetched, but I intend to engage you as though my destiny was handed down from Mt. Olympus.

Just the fact that the postal service sent me an email like this betrays the fact that its leadership is completely out of touch with old-school Americans.  I'm  sure you thought that I'd be intimidated, but you've only managed to do just the opposite. I'm a baby boomer. We were weaned on fighting injustice - it's a way of life with us.  We're not weak and self-serving like many people are today.  There's something about fighting a battle that could benefit thousands of people that has an irresistible appeal to my nature, so all you've done is managed to start WWIII.

So please, send this response to your legal team, and tell 'em I said, bring it on - if they dare. But unless they got their degrees out a Cracker Jack box, they'll advise the postal service to pass on this battle, because it's one that they cannot win. Even with my limited education in the law, it is clear to me that the postal service's battle won't be with me, but with the United States Constitution. So, in recognition of that fact, contrary to the " . . . fool as a client" axiom, I won't even hire an attorney - that might detract from my image as David. But of course, I do reserve the right to use the ACLU in an amicus curiae capacity.

One of the weaknesses of your argument is that, according to you, the appropriate way to address this issue is through the Office of Inspector General and the grievance procedure. Ordinarily I would agree with your position, but if you've bothered to read this series of articles it will be abundantly clear that the collusion of the Office of the Inspector General and the unions are a large part of the problem, otherwise the issues being brought forth wouldn't be taking place.

The complete failure of the law enforcement mechanism within the postal service will be a huge part of the case before the court - and the record of those failures will not only substantiate my case, and demonstrate to the American people that the entire system is totally corrupt, but it will give literally thousands of employees a cause of action against the postal service. So again, please, bring it on. Make me a hero. I'm sure my miserable little ego would benefit from the boost.

As I see it, therefore, the postal service has two options. Since you obviously can't intimidate me, the postal service can either quietly change its policies and adhere to the law, allowing me to crawl back into relative obscurity, or you can make me a latter-day folk hero. But either way, things are going to change, because there's absolutely nothing you can do to shut me up. So in short, if you don't address these issues on your own, I'm going to personally see to it that you're forced to address them in public - come what may.

I'm anticipating your thoughts. No, what you're reading is not arrogance,  it's simply the frustration of a private citizen who's sick of your hypocrisy. I'm also sick of watching the postal service destroy people's lives for nothing more than the personal gain of bigwigs at the top of the food chain. So I'm determined to do something about it - and believe me, I'm going to succeed.

Do you know how many votes all of the postal workers and their friends and family represent? I don't think you do. Many of the postal workers don't realize it either, but I do. You see, I understand that they don't have to beg - they're in a position to demand - and with the help of the various publications that I write for, including the Postal Employee Network, I'm going to help them to understand the strength of their position.. But more importantly, I'm going to help them to make their congressional representatives aware of that fact as well. And when I'm done, some of you arrogant bureaucrats are going to be out of a job.

We're gonna  look at the record of your behavior, and we're gonna clean house. So what I suggest to Mr. Ruiz is instead of having someone else write his letters, he'd better start mending some fences with his employees.

You see, postal workers have been wasting their time going administrative, when they should have been going political. The only way their lives are going to change is by using the political clout of their numbers against the post office bureaucracy, the government, and their unions as well - and we're going to be addressing that issue.  So your letter is far from bringing this to an end - you've just ignited a beginning.

Again, I would have been more than happy to fight this battle in relative obscurity, but please, take me through the courts and drag me through the mud. Make me famous. My two children are grown, and my wife of thirty-three years and childhood sweetheart is dead, so all I have left is to do something that makes my life worthwhile - and it's becoming increasingly clear that this just might be my chance.

So I'm not hearing your threats. What I'm hearing is the suffering of thousands of postal employees who can't stand up for themselves because they have young families to raise. I also hear the voice of my late wife cheering me on: "Now that's what I'm talking about - get 'em, baby!"

So yes, please. Drag me through the mud. Take everything I own and put me on skid row - but you better make damn sure I don't have a computer.

Fight Government Corruption!

The document reads, "We the people," not we the government. This is a covert encroachment on the American middle class that the people simply must repel, or the rights of all Americas will be placed in dire jeopardy. Once the government declares open season on its employees, who's left to protect us from private exploitation?

"A citizenry of sheep begets a government of wolves."
Edward R. Murrow

Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Chairman Edolphus Towns
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5051

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, May 03, 2010

American Justice - As Practiced by the United States Postal Service


Los Angeles District Manager Ed Ruiz, United States Postal Service:

You've been contacted several times regarding the human rights atrocities taking place under your watch. Since you have failed to respond, even to indicate that you'll be investigating these matters, it is being assumed that you're simply thumbing your nose at the charges of falsification of documents, theft, and abuse allegedly being committed by your managers against your employees.

While your employees are deeply disappointed over your lack of respect for their rights, they've indicated to this writer that they are not the least bit surprised with your failure to respond. But you're being sent this latest article listing their complaints, nevertheless, just to document that you are indeed aware of their complaints. A copy is also going to Rev. Al sharpton. The Reverend made contact yesterday, indicating that he has just become aware of this situation, and he's looking at this matter with great interest. Perhaps you'll be more responsive to him under the intense glare of public scrutiny.

But in the meantime, this issue is being taken one step up the chain of command each week. It will indeed be interesting to see just how high up the chain the employees will have to go before these matters are seriously addressed:

American Justice - As Practiced by the United States Postal Service

In a previous article in this series, Pandora's Box, we pointed out the following:

When the United States had a thriving industrial economy one class complimented the other. Labor was well paid and given the security of knowing that they had a job for life, so they had the confidence to purchased goods that the corporations produced. That allowed the companies that sold the goods to prosper, to the benefit of the investor class.

But now, in a global market, in order to remain competitive with countries that pay their workers just above slave wages, corporations have to squeeze every penny and every concession out of the labor class that they can get. And since the heads of these corporations must make huge profits to justify their unconscionably oversized bonuses, they prey on their workers by undercutting their benefits and outsourcing the very jobs that the economy is dependent upon to sustain the corporation, and the nation. But since these corporate heads live from bonus to bonus and only think about themselves, they never stop to consider the negative impact of their irresponsible behavior on the economic viability of the nation.

The American people have always been comfortable in their belief that while the citizens of many other countries are routinely victimized by their government that 'it can't happen here.' But what the comfortable middle class fail to understand is the comfort that they take so easily for granted is under dire threat. They've been so mesmerized by MTV and their hedonistic pursuits that they're totally oblivious to the fact that under the new global economic structure the standard of living of the American middle class has become a liability to American business. While many may not feel the pinch yet, if they don't wake up, their carefree way of life is going to become a thing of the past.

Due to the apathy of the American people, the very government institutions that are suppose to protect the poor and middle class from being victimized by business interests are beginning to turn a blind eye to employee abuse - in fact, in many cases, as shown below, they're acting in direct collusion with those they're supposed to be protecting us from.  The narratives below will clearly demonstrate that the postal service's Office of Inspector General is a perfect case in point.

The horrible tragedy that befell the twenty-nine coal miners in West Virginia might have been an accident, but it was an accident just waiting to happen. And it's virtually certain that the same is true of the eleven oil workers who recently lost their lives in the Gulf of Mexico. Because the fact is, under the new American business model, the life and well being of American workers - in fact, the lives of the middle class - is now looked upon as expendable. Look at what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. The high and mighty pay a lot of lip service to loving America, but how many of the rich and privileged are actually dying for this country?  I'll answer that, a very precious few.

During the fifties journalist icon Ed Murrow warned us that "A citizenry of sheep begets a government of wolves." Now, due to a sustained attack on our educational system and a steady diet of hedonistic distractions, that's exactly what we've become, a citizenry of sheep - and ignorant sheep at that.

And as a direct result of our apathy, what you're about to read below is what we're getting in return - and not from some corporate bogeyman, but from our very own United States government. But here's the irony. The few people who are trying to stand up against this insidious encroachment are being completely ignored by both their government, and their disinterested and hedonistic counterparts - "I'll talk to you after the game." And they might as well be spitting in the wind when they turn to the government. After all, you can't ask the bogeyman to protect you from the devil - one is in league with the other.

The majority of Americans are totally oblivious to what's going on around them. The only time that it really begins to soak in is when the chickens come home to roost at their doorstep. So for those of you who think that you're comfortably ensconced in the middle class, and that your government institutions, laws, unions, and civil rights organizations will protect your interests, you're living in an illusion. The narratives from the victims below clearly demonstrate that you no longer live in the kind of America that you think you do. The only protection that you have from becoming an economic refugees is to wake up and begin to support one another . . . before it's too late.

With regard to the unions, they're a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are many strong advocates among their number. We mentioned NAPS vice president, Debbie Washington, in last week's article. While we strongly disagree with her position that her member, Marci Luna, is blameless in the falsification of Joann Snow's clock rings, we couldn't help but respect her strong stand on behalf of her member. That's the kind of union representation that's necessary for the system to work as it should.

But on the other hand, we've found far too many union officials who are star struck. They love rubbing shoulders with postmasters and corporate executives. As a result, it is far too easy for a postmaster to throw his arm around their shoulders and say something like, "You know, I like you. You're one of us. That's why you've risen so high in the union. You represent good people, but they just don't have the intellect to see the big picture like we do. But we can work together, and I'm sure you have the intellectual capacity to help your people to see the light."

Then just like a petted puppy, the union official will start waggin' his tail, and say, "Yeah, I like you too. I think we can work together too," then immediately start throwing his or her membership under the bus. If that wasn't the case, managers would have long since been in the unemployment line, and even jail, for the kind of behavior being described below. But instead, they're stealing from their employees, and abusing them with impunity, people who are paying very hard-earned money to unions every pay period.

With that, we'll let the victims speak for themselves. The following is the text of a petition that went to Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Appended to the petition was six double-columned pages of signatures:

Dear Madam:

We the employees of the Los Angeles International Service Center, (LAXISC) formerly the Carson International Service Center of the United States Postal Service humbly request your office to inquire about the horrendous behavior, sexual harassment and physical intimidation practices of named manager, Raul Corona. This manager has been exiled from the facility on more than one occasion for extended periods and was referred to anger management because of his actions and conduct. Recently, he allowed one of his acting supervisors to kick an employee, then slap them in the back of the head and make remarks about her body parts, stating that it was so tight that a quarter could bounce off of it. These actions were witness by other employees who either gave statements or were willing to testify to the office of the EEOC as to what was witnessed. Mr. Corona took no action against the 204B supervisor but instead displayed his true disregard for the employee by confronting her on the work floor about her complaint against the supervisor. This is just one of the many egregious actions of Mr. Raul Corona.

A complaint was made to the APWU, American Postal Workers Union and charges were also filed with the EEOC which is being handled by the APWU building facilitator Donna Williams who is representing this complainant and numerous others involving MDO Corona. While this incident is currently under investigation and review Mr. Corona has had at least one of the witnesses brought into his office and threaten them with disciplinary action if they did not personally give him a statement after they had already spoken with and given statements to the union representative, and when they requested that a union representative be present during his personal investigation, they were denied, which is a direct violation of the Weingarten Act. ( see attached )

This same witness who has FMLA and receives chemotherapy for her condition (lupus) was directed to his office by supervisor Erma Harris and when the employee would not cooperate with his request not only did he threaten her with disciplinary action, he directed his supervisor Brian Ta to go into the time and attendance system known as TACS to remove her pay three days later after she had called in for FMLA leave which had been already approved by this same supervisor. Because of the numerous grievances and EEO'S that are filed and still pending against this manager and conditions being so toxic, employees have bidded to other tours for fear of retaliation which we believe will take place to all of us who have signed this petition.

And if these circumstances aren't demoralizing enough we have observed Mr. Corona engaged in an improper and unprofessional relationship with one of his acting supervisors (204B), which violates the Postal code of conduct and ethics prohibiting this type of relationship between a manager and employee which is still ongoing. He personally assist her with her job duties in front of other employees when she is not supervising and she has been observed leaving his office with her clothes disheveled which had to be pointed out to her by a union steward, and they have also been seen by other employees in compromising situations. The most recent, being seen exiting the Postal Inspectors cat walk door located at the southwest corner of the building, he zipping up his pants as she was buttoning her blouse.

We are asking that MDO Corona be sent to another facility LAP&DC permanently and to be taken off of the work floor entirely where he can be under the watchful eye of his bosses as was done before, because he has waged his own personal vendetta against any and all employees who file charges against him. Employees on all three tours at one time or another have had to disrupt their family and personal lives by bidding to other tours just to get away from this man. Attached you will find a copy of just one of the petitions that were filed against this manager starting in 2003 and a recent EEOC discrimination and personal harassment case that was charged and awarded against this facility for these type of practices .

If any additional information or facts are needed we are sure you can get the cooperation of the APWU union representatives both mailhandlers and clerks at the LAXISC.

We feel if something is not done about this manager soon, the conditions here will deteriorate further becoming more toxic and possibly escalate into something which the public and news media refer to as "Going Postal" which we are fearful of. We all have families to take care of and do not wish to come to work in an environment having to look over our shoulders fearful that something will happen that could have been avoided.

All signatures in regards to this petition can be verified through the APWU building facilitator Donna Williams. We would deeply appreciate your office's assistance in this disturbing matter.

The following took place subsequent to the petition:

On Friday April 23,2010, employee Cloe Edwards was in serious physical distress having chest pains and requested 911. Mr.Raul Corona MDO told the employee he was not calling 911 for her because the Postal Service was not going to pay for the ambulance service and if she felt that bad, she should call herself which she wound up having to do. The paramedics from the Airport Fire Station # 95 on the corner of Century Blvd and International Road came and Ms. Edwards had to be taken out on a stretcher around 4:45pm.

Mr. Corona got belligerent with the paramedics telling them she was faking and started demanding her prognosis. The paramedics that attended to Ms .Edwards could not believe what they were hearing from this manager. She was taken to Marina Hospital in Marina del Rey where she was informed that her blood pressure had gotten so high that she was on the verge of either having a heart attack or stroke. She was then transferred to Kaiser Permanente in Bellflower.She was released Sunday evening April 25th. Ms. Edwards return to work Monday fearful that MDO Corona may try to take action against her.

She was given orders that she would not be allowed to perform her bidded duties as a general expeditor and would be working mail in IAAA. She is currently in the process of filing for leave under workman's compensation on the advice of the hospital.

While the above was going on at LAXISC, Joann Snow was having to fight both the postal service, and the NALC. She indicated that dealing with Vice President Ray Espana made her wonder who he was representing, her or the postal service. In response, she wrote Branch President Larry Brown (also a national officer) the following:

President Larry Brown:

I spoke to Ray Espana today, and he told me that he was meeting with Marci Luna and the postal service next Friday to get me paid for their falsifying my clock rings. I told him at that time that I didn't just want to be paid, I want the people responsible for falsifying my time removed from the postal service. In response, Ray told me that he couldn't do that. That's what EEOs are for.

That's a bunch of crap! Ray has been vice president of Branch 24 for over 15 years. You'd think that he'd know that the EEO procedure is for discrimination, not simple theft. The postal service is an equal opportunity thief. They steal from anyone, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, age, or gender. Therefore, if I filed a claim with the EEOC it would simply be thrown out. If he doesn't know that, he's not qualified to be in his position.

Then once I got the document, it turned out that it wasn't my clock rings at all. It was only a summary of my weekly time, without any indication of my rings, or any modifications there to. Why didn't he reject that useless piece of paper out of hand and ask for the documents that I'm alleging were falsified? Ray Espana's efforts in this case just doesn't pass the sniff test. It looks to me like he either doesn't know what he's doing, or that he's much too accommodating to management.

If I'm going to have to fight both the post office, and the NALC, I'm more than prepared to do so. But in that event, I respectfully request a copy of every document that the union relies upon to prosecute this case. Let's be clear. The union is not going to sweep this crime under the table without a lot of noise. That's why the post office thinks it can do whatever it wants to the employees with impunity.

I am formally requesting that you have someone handle my case who is both knowledgeable, and has some modicum of integrity. And DO NOT RESOLVE THIS CASE WITHOUT THE PEOPLE WHO PERPETRATED THIS CRIME, AT THE VERY LEAST, BEING REMOVED FROM THE POSTAL SERVICE.  Nothing else is acceptable.

18 U.S.C. § 1001 of the United States Code reads as follows:

"Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully - (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both" (Emphasis Added).

I don't know what's going on here, but I've been in the postal service for 27 years, and 21 of those years was in management, so I know how things work in the post office. So please understand that I am far from an innocent and trusting fool.

I look forward to a just resolution of this case - not just for me, but for every employee who's being robbed by the postal service.

Sincerely, Joann Snow

President Larry Brown, Branch 24, NALC:

I'd like to amend my grievance to include CSO Tyrone Williams for conspiring with Station Manager Marci Luna to falsify my clock rings for the purpose of defrauding me of pay that was rightfully earned in good faith.

I was in Manager's Luna's office while she was talking with CSO Williams over the speaker phone. He instructed Ms. Luna at that time to take my time out. Ms. Luna responded, "I can't do that," at which time, Mr. Williams told her, "yes you can. Just put it on a 1017-B." I immediately spoke up, saying, I disagree with that, because I was working.

Relevant to 1017B, postal regulations states in the Time and Attendance Handbook F-21, section 146.251, the following:

Unauthorized overtime is time that an employee, without prior authorization from a supervisor, works in excess of the scheduled tour.

(1) Because work was performed, that time must be paid as unauthorized overtime.
(2) If a supervisor did not observe or have reason to know that no work was performed by an employee while, "on the clock" that time must be paid while as unauthorized overtime.
(3) If no work was performed, and the supervisor had reason to know that no work was performed, the supervisor must disallow the time, and record it on form 1017-A, the disallowance record, and take appropriate corrective action.

*Note: In each of these unauthorized overtime situations the supervisor must document the occurrence on this form and take appropriate corrective action.s24
Both Tyrone Williams and Marci Luna clearly understood that they were in violation of the above regulation, as the falsification of my clock rings to reflect three (3) hour lunch breaks that I didn't take makes abundantly clear.

Thus, in addition to the falsification of a government document, they are also in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, entering into a criminal conspiracy to commit fraud. The statute reads as follows:

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

*Note: To reflect the construction placed upon said section 88 by the courts the words "or any agency thereof" were inserted. (See Haas v. Henkel, 1909, 30 S. Ct. 249, 216 U. S. 462, 54 L. Ed. 569, 17 Ann. Cas. 1112, where court said: "The statute is broad enough in its terms to include any conspiracy for the purpose of impairing, obstructing, or defeating the lawful functions of any department of government." Also, see United States v. Walter, 1923, 44 S. Ct. 10, 263 U. S. 15, 68 L. Ed. 137, and definitions of department and agency in section 6 of this title.) Emphasis added.

Therefore, in the interest of justice, and in order to dissuade the postal service from committing similar criminal activity against postal employees in the future, I respectfully request that the NALC prosecute this matter to the limit of the law.

Joann Snow

Finally, the parties involved have tried to contact both Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton. As egregious as these situations are, however, neither Mr. Jackson nor Sharpton have even bothered to respond. Obviously, the simple fact that the United States government is running a latter-day plantation is not sensational enough for their attention. But one victim says that she still has faith in them - "Once the cameras arrive - and eventually they will - they'll be knocking people down to address the issue."

She then went on to say, "But please thank the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Black Star news, Veterans Today, The Postal Employee Network, and all of the other publications that's run their story, and being willing to fight for justice beneath the limelight. Win or lose, we appreciate your support."

Writer's note: One can't help but be concerned about what's happening to this nation. If Rosa Parks had protested for her rights in today's environment, she would have rotted in jail.

Wake up, America. The party's over, and the only help that you can truly rely upon is from one another.

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Chairman: Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns of Brooklyn, New York
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5051

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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