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Mel's Mail Moments

Updated on April 26, 2013
Mel Carriere profile image

Although many are mystified by his mysterious moniker, Mel Carriere is a San Diego mailman who writes about the mail, among other things.

Just some things to meditate upon
Just some things to meditate upon

CCAs - You get what you pay for

Hello, My name is Mel Carriere, and I welcome you to my first hub, where my primary goal is to explore all things postal. However, I am not so close minded to think that there is no life outside of the postal service, so don't be surprised if I deviate from the postal norm time and again. I will not be straightjacketed into rigid conformity to any given theme, but I will try to explore subjects that will be interesting and helpful for all readers within and without of the postal community.

if you are expecting me to wave the Union banner here, think again. On the other hand, if you're looking for somebody to rubber stamp management decisions you have also come to the wrong place. I believe that bad, unprofessional management is the primary reason the Postal Service finds itself in the straits that it is in, so you are going to hear a lot more about this if you follow my blog. I have been on both sides of the fence, and I intend to objectively analyze the post office based on all of these experiences. Nobody will get a free pass - if you are behaving badly I am going to call you out.

So welcome to my blog. All these things being said, we can get started.

The first topic I would like to discuss is the CCA, or City Carrier Associate. I have done a lot of work with these new employees since they first came into existence a very short time ago, and my immediate impression is that the post office is going to get exactly what it is paying for, which is not much. My first question is if the CCAs are all American citizens. One fellow I came into contact with barely spoke English, or should I say he did not understand the finer nuances of the language. Many of the suggestions I made to him were responded to with dumbfounded stares. I understand that the job can be difficult and befuddling at first, but letter carriers are required to understand all of the essential functions of the job, so a firm grasp of the English language seems to be essential. Is the postal service purposely hiring people with limited English skills, in hopes that it will encounter more blind devotion to its bad policies by people who are afraid to talk back - simply because they cannot?

Another glaring characteristic of the CCAs is their extremely young age. Before the CCA we had the TE, or Temporary Employee, and most of them were military veterans. I have not met any military veterans among the CCAs as of yet. In fact, the oldest CCA I have encountered so far was 23 years of age. The Postal Service is getting a very inexperienced skill set here, even though the job of letter carrier is more complicated than most people think. Perhaps because this is a very young age group, I haven't met any CCA that owns a belt. When I speak to the CCAs I continually reiterate the fact with them that they need to wear a belt in order to avoid losing their arrow keys, but my admonitions fall upon deaf ears. This is the generation that lets its pants drop down below butt crack level, and it is evident in these youngsters' attitude toward belts. Is the next generation of postal employees going to consist of butt-crack showing letter carriers? Will this improve our public image?

The next issue is money, and of course this is the most significant one. Along with a satchel, a letter carrier carries with him or her a sacred public trust, and my contention is the less you are being paid the less you are going to care. Easy come, easy go, in other words. If the job is not paying all of your bills, how much are you going to care if you keep it or lose it, or whether the institution that is paying you is profitable?

UPS and Fedex pay their employees living wages and are still able to clear a profit. So is underpaying the work force really the answer? Or should we perhaps try employing modern management techniques or better yet, modern state of the art technology? All of these factors will be discussed ad nauseam in other blogs, so stay tuned. In the meantime, why not take my poll below. I want to know your reaction to the issue of the CCA.

Until next time,


CCA - Agree or disagree?

Is hiring the new CCAs at their extremely reduced wages a positive or a negative for the economic health of the Postal Service?

See results


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    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 

      5 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Mel, 27% sounds reasonable and pretty common in Malaysia. How're things in Malaysia? Pretty bad. We just had an election on 5 May and the corrupted government was reelected, due to vote buying and 'possible' election fraud. Seems like Muslim foreign workers were allowed to vote, after they were given instant citizenships. But I'll save you from hearing all the unpalatable news and spoiling your day. Have a good day, friend!

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      5 years ago from San Diego California

      I appreciate your comment. Actually I probably wasn't clear the way I explained it. They took a pay cut from $22 per hour to $16 dollars per hour, so it was actually a 27% pay cut. Not as bad, certainly, but still significant. Thank you for reading and thanks for pointing out this error. I will take a look at the hub and correct it. How are things in Malaysia?

    • WalterPoon profile image

      Poon Poi Ming 

      5 years ago from Malaysia

      Mel Carriere, a $16 pay cut is a 73% pay cut and would leave their employees with only $6 per hour! Even if the balance was $60 an hour, a 73% would send employee morale down the drain. The management action sounds illogical. Your hub did not discuss the Management's rationale for doing this because it sounds like suicide. Are CCA's postal rates much lower than UPS and Fedex? Are they aiming at the low-end market as their business strategy? Even so, a 73% pay cut is mind-boggling!

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      5 years ago from San Diego California

      I'm not saying that temporary employees do not care, I am just saying that the less you pay them the less motivated they tend to me. Our former Transitional Employees (TEs) were making 22 dollars an hour, and had to take a pay cut to $16 an hour in order to stay employed. Futhermore, the selection process for the CCAs is much less rigorous than it was at the time that you were working for the post office. Thanks for your honest comments.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I was a seasonal worker and that job lasted 3 years. I got out due to the fact that my hours were cut, so I am well aware of the problems. I was working at the EMP&DF. Sadly, it was their mistake losing me, as I had a darn good test score...that's all I'm gonna say, other than the fact that I cared.

    • srsddn profile image


      5 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      melcarriere, Welcome to HubPages. I am sure your personal experiences would be interesting and inspiring. Useful.


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