Thursday, September 02, 2010

To All Postal Employees: It's Time to Start Sending Time Thieves to Jail - and Get the Unions Off their Butts


To All Postal Employees: It's Time to Start Sending Time Thieves to Jail - and Get the Unions Off their Butts

Don't laugh. Standing up for justice is no laughing matter. A federal statute regarding time fraud is on the books, and it's clear. It's a federal crime, and the time has come to see to it that adherence to that statute is not ignored. 18 U.S.C. § 1001 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."

I've quoted that law so many times in this series that you should know it by heart, but the reason that no one has been sent to jail, or at the very least, fired, under that statute is because the unions have been twiddling their thumbs in the administrative process instead of using the clout of the membership's numbers to flex their political muscle. TIME FRAUD IS NOT A GRIEVANCE. IT'S A FEDERAL CRIME.

Filing grievances and EEOs play right into the PO's hands. The administrative process takes forever, and justice delayed is justice denied. The system is stacked against the grievant and/or complainant. It's designed to make you think you have rights, while its actual function is to maintain the status quo - that's why you're paying thousands of dollars in union dues and you're still suffering. Have you ever wondered why an employee can pick up a Walmart coupon out of the trash and be summarily fired, while your manager can be caught falsifying thousands of dollars of employee clock rings then be promoted?  It's time for employees to wake up and use their political clout to hold everybody's feet to the fire.

If you want justice, and for your job to be secure, you're going to have to make sure that the jobs of your boss, your union officers, and your politicians are insecure. You're going to have to shine a bright enough light on laziness, complacence, and corruption to place THEIR jobs in jeopardy.

Again, time fraud and falsifying government documents is a federal crime punishable by five years in federal prison. Yet, in spite of that fact, and the fact that the United States Postal Service is stealing millions of dollars PER DAY from its employees, you're not seeing anyone go to jail, or even fired, for that matter. In fact, one acting CSO in the Los Angeles District was even promoted while an allegation of time fraud is pending against him. The reason for that is your unions have been less than aggressive in pursuing your rights. They've been satisfied to get one or two people paid a year (just enough to look good on their resume), then letting the PO sweep the matter under the rug. One officer even told the grievant that she'd have to pursue the matter through the EEOC and refused to return her calls.

As egregious as that sounds, all of you know it's not an unsubstantiated claim - you're living the consequences of that kind of reckless complacence on the part of SOME union officials on a daily basis.  It is this kind of complacence that has made time fraud and many other abuses such a severe problem within the agency.  The postal service knows that the unions are ineffective, so they feel free to rob, abuse, and intimidate you with impunity. I know I'm being kind of hard on the unions, but before a problem can be corrected it must be faced in an honest and forthright manner.

What's particularly unconscionable about this particular situation, however, is it can be so easily addressed. A thief needs the cover of darkness to commit his crimes, so all the unions have to do is shine a light on what's going on within the shadows of the postal service. Why haven't they done that?  I won't speculate on that issue.  I'll leave that for the membership to decide - but decide you must - and in a hurry, because not only is your hard earned money disappearing, so are your jobs.

The OIG has been ignoring the issue of time fraud for years now, but after the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Black Star News, Veterans Today, and the Postal Employee Network started shining a light on this criminal conduct back in March (, then continued hammering away at it and demanding that the OIG and PMG be fired, all of a sudden the OIG recognizes the need for a national audit.

But back in February, in the Los Angeles district, when JoAnn Snow's time was stolen, OIG Special Agent Reid Robbins said "the OIG's office generally doesn't investigate time issues." Well, now they've reconsidered that position.  But the question is, why ddn't the unions do years ago what these publications have managed to do in six months?  That's something that the membership also needs to consider. At this point, however, it's going to be very interesting to see just how much effort the unions put into organizing their membership to take advantage of this opportunity to correct this criminal conduct. If the unions fail to get behind this effort, that should tell the membership all they need to know.


Recent news stories have identified a few instances where Postal Service employees have had time deleted from electronic time card records. There have also been other time and attendance instances where managers inaccurately calculated employee work hours for out–of-schedule work.

If you are a Postal Service employee and are experiencing similar problems or any other time and attendance issues at your work place, we would like to hear from you. Please take our brief survey or provide comments below.

This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Human Resources and Security audit team.


Don't be intimidated. Take advantage of this opportunity.

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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