The Plight of a Postal Worker
On May 1, 2010, I met a man traveling on the train. I guess you can say he was in his late forties. He was polite enough to introduce himself as Raymond, and my name is Tina. As the train continued along its route from the southside and traveling toward the northwest, we talked about the plight of our jobs. Raymond at this time was a mail processor for the post office, now a mail handler. I am a secretary at a catholic school. I asked Raymond why was he considering such a career change this late in life? Raymond said that "believe me, it is not by choice. My post office said that they have too many employees and not enough mail to be processed". I told him, you are kidding right. He said I wish I were. I told him, "wait a minute, you mean that you are being forced to become a mail handler". Raymond said "well, yes. I said " well I guess some job beats no job at all". Raymond just chuckled and then said. "Yes, some job beats no job at all. The only problem with that is I have to move family to a new location. I also have to put my house up for sale or if necessary rent it out". I told Raymond, I hate to sound like a wet blanket but good luck, the housing market doesn't sound to good at this time. No, it doesn't, he said.
I guess I am lucky. In five more years, I will be retiring. How long do you have too retire? Raymond said I have twenty-five years, but I am only forty-five. I will not be able to get full retirement until another twenty years. And that is only, if I make it as a mail handler. You know I really hate having to move. My kids only have two more years to go in high school and middle school. But what can I do. You won't believe it, but I am consider a full time employee, but the post office seem to have replaced me and other full time employees with casual workers to work at my old job. My union is fighting, but it is going to take some time, I have no choice but to move on. I asked Raymond could his wife stay behind, and he just send money home. Unfortunately Raymond is a widower....single parent. I was about to get off at the next stop, and decided to exchange telephone numbers with Raymond.
It has been six months, since I last saw Raymond. I tried off and on to get in touch with him, but we were just playing phone tag. Raymond works at night and I work during the day. I finally got a call from him yesterday, December 21st. Raymond said that he was moving again, this time it will be out of state. I asked why? Raymond said the post office he was working at is changing and that employees with more seniority than he has will be able to stay and he would have to take a position that is available at another post office. This is unbelieveable! I asked Raymond how can he be a full time employee and he is being bounced around like this. He said the post office is also becoming more automated, meaning more use of machines and less employees. Is there anyway for you to stay instead of having to leave? He said no, he has to go where the job is.
I remember when my friends went to the post office for the test and got employed. They were so proud to work for the government. They were so proud of their benefits. But now Raymond and other people I know from the post office are being treated just like employees in the private sector. There is no security...not even with the government.