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What makes Ms. Snow’s story so unique, however, is unlike most of us, this lady not only has the backbone to stand up against her own union, but one of the nation’s largest and most brutal agencies.
By Eric L. Wattree

[Beneath the Spin]



What makes Ms. Snow’s story so unique, however, is unlike most of us,
this lady not only has the backbone to stand up against her own union,
but one of the nation’s largest and most brutal agencies.

By Eric L. Wattree
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The United States Postal Service’s Criminal Assault on the Middle Class, and the Illusion of American Justice
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Where's Jesse, where's Sharpton, where's Barack, but most importantly, where's justice?

Where are the people who fight for the poor and middle class when they're out of camera range? Dr. Cornel West, where are you?

Thousands of people have been following the story of Ms. JoAnn Snow’s pursuit of justice within the Los Angeles District of the United States Postal Service. This woman was literally being forced to work for free, as are many others within the postal service. Then when clear evidence was revealed to document her abuse, the officials and governmental agencies mandated to protect her interest closed ranks to protect her abusers, and thereby, the agency's very lucrative  status quo.

Prior to deciding to stand up for her rights, Ms. snow was not only coerced into working twelve hours a day and more, but robbed of her compensation. Then when she decided not to take it anymore, she became the subject of reprisal for having the audacity to complain to the Office of Inspector General - and not only from her bosses, but the OIG’s office itself. But she wasn't surprised. She was prepared for it, because this is business as usual within the United States Postal Service. As late as yesterday, a manger who is also considering coming forward advised me that she was also being force to work twelve hours a day, six days a week, without proper compensation.

So the interest in this case has been with good cause, because Ms. Snow’s ordeal is the perfect metaphor for the blatant corporate, and now, governmental assault on the American middle class as a whole. But when I promised to keep you abreast of the twists and turns in this particular case, I thought it was simply going to be the story of a middle-class worker’s struggle to finally obtain justice. But instead, it has not only become the story of governmental extortion, threats, and collusion, but the clear demonstration that justice has become nothing more than an illusion for the American middle class.

What makes Ms. Snow’s story so unique, however, is unlike most of us, this lady not only has the backbone to stand up against her own union, but one of the nation’s largest and most brutal agencies. And in doing so she’s refused to be swayed by either money, or the systemic pressure and reprisals that have allowed the government to sweep its gross assault on middle-class workers under the rug. Ms.Snow is motivated by the conviction that shining a light on the millions of dollars a day that the postal service is extorting from its employees should take precedence over the $8,000 of hush-money that they offered to pay her to drop the case. She says, the pursuit of justice also takes precedence over the reprisals that she’s been forced to endure for refusing to cave in.

"Somebody's got to stand up, so I guess it's got to be me. I didn't ask for this, but sometimes God just drops things in your lap. That means he want's you to hanldle it, so I'm gonna do it," she says.

But the postal service had yet another card up its sleeve. It got Ms. Snow’s union, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), to sign off on a settlement, without her knowledge or consent, awarding her a cash payment, even after she specifically demanded in writing that her union not accept any monetary settlement without bringing those who falsified her official time records to justice. But the NALC signed off on it anyway - and she didn’t even receive so much as a decision letter until she demanded it after noticing $7,866.26 mysteriously showing up in her bank account. Obviously they expected her to simply accept the money, along with the fact that her fight for justice was in vain. But obviously, neither her union nor the postal service understood the kind of woman they were dealing with. The letter reads in part:
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“Dear Mr. Jackson:
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"Calvin Brookins and I discussed the above captioned grievance on at least two occasions, the last being April 15, 2011.
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"After a full review of the information, contentions, and arguments, both parties have reached the pre-arbitration settlement. In reviewing TACS records and the other information contained in the file it was agreed that the grievant is entitled to compensation.
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"The Grievant will receive a lump-sum payment of $7,866.26 as compensation.
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"This agreement is entered without prejudice to the position of the parties and constitutes full settlement of the issues pertaining to this grievance.
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Steve Marney
Manager Labor Relations
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Calvin Brookins
NALC”

Labor Relations manager, Steve Marney, a signatory of the above agreement offered Ms. Snow the identical resolution last year, but she turned it down because he added the proviso that she drop the charges against Manager Marci Luna and Area Manager Tyrone Williams. Then after he saw that Ms. Snow wasn’t going to cave in for money, and later, one year of pressure, he went to the NALC for help. The above agreement seems to indicate that he colluded with the NALC to circumvent Ms. Snow’s wishes.

Now, I understand that “collusion” is an ugly word, and since I wasn’t there or in anyway privy to the negotiations that led to the settlement between management and the union, maybe I’m being unfair to characterize the agreement in that way. But Ms. Snow sent the following letter to the NALC. Mr. Larry Brown is president of Branch 24 and also a national officer of the NALC. Please read the letter and draw your own conclusion:
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“April 30, 2010
President Larry Brown:
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“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.
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“That's a bunch of crap! Ray has been [Executive]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.
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“In addition, I had to fight him last week just to get a copy of what was supposed to be my clock rings. He refused to give me a copy, saying that it was "union property.” What?!! It was my understanding that the grievant owns the grievance. But even if I'm wrong in that regard, why should a grievant have to fight with the union to get a document in their own case?
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“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 thereto. 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 don’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.
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“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.
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“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.
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“18 U.S.C. § 1001 of the United States Code reads as follows:
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“‘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.’”
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“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.
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“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.
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Sincerely,
JoAnn Snow
Ayerssnow@aol.com

This case brings up several burning questions that are begging to be answered. First, why would the NALC sign off on a “pre-arbitration agreement” in spite of the fact that the grievant specifically told them not to settle on any money agreement without also agreeing that the perpetrators of the crime against her be brought to justice? Secondly, why would the NALC help the postal service conceal discovery documents that would prove conclusively that the agency is stealing wages from employees all over the district? And further, why would the NALC even consider settling a matter that's clearly an open-and-shut case, with ample documentation, proving that the agency is engaged in misconduct that leads to the extortion of millions of dollars, possibly per day, from their membership across the country?

This settlement is directly analogous to a bank robber being caught red handed with the loot, then saying, "Okay, okay, you caught me. I'll tell you what.  Why don't I just give you the money back and we'll call the whole thing square."  To enter into such an agreement is not only malfeasance on the part of the NALC, but it does a gross disservice to every postal employee across the country.

In addition, the decision letter indicates a January 6, 2011 arbitration date. How can the above agreement be a “pre-arbitration agreement” if it was entered into 14 weeks after the arbitration was scheduled to go forward? And finally, why is the union grieving criminal conduct administratively in the first place? We’re dealing with a federal crime here. Why isn’t this matter being handled criminally? If an employee is robbed by a manager in the parking lot is the NALC going to handle it like a simple grievance? What kind of crime does the postal service have to commit for the NALC and OIG to do their jobs?
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Facts in the case
I initially became involved in this matter when I found out that a friend of mine, Ms. JoAnn Snow, was the victim of repeated instances of forced unpaid labor and time fraud. Ms. Snow indicated that she was routinely coerced into working between four and six hours per day without pay. Then after she had the audacity to hit the clock, Ms. Luna used her government provided access to the time system to falsify the records and insert three hour lunch breaks that Ms. Snow hadn't taken. Then one day Ms. Snow walked into Ms. Luna’s office and she personally heard Area Manager Tyrone Williams instruct Ms. Luna to take her time out of the system.

The irony of this situation is that Ms. Snow's problems arose as a direct result of her competence and dedication to duty. As closing supervisor it was Ms. Snow's responsibility to follow up behind all of the supervisors that worked during the day to make sure that all of the mail was delivered, and to ensure that all mail collected during the day was dispatched to the general mail facility for processing in a timely manner. That included checking every route and every vehicle for "sleeper mail" that might have been overlooked during the day. She was also responsible for seeing that the mail in every collection box in the immediate area was collected on time, but not before the time indicated on the box. In addition, she returned calls and addressed all customer complaints that had been overlooked, or more often than not, shunned by supervisors during the day.

In short, it was Ms. Snow's job to check behind every employee and supervisor each day to make sure that they'd carried out all of their responsibilities effectively - and according to her previous manager, Mr. Eugene Jeffries, there was none better at what she did. That fact was also reinforced by Ms. Snow’s unprecedented longevity in her position.

As Mr. Jeffries pointed out in a letter subsequent to his retirement, Ms. Snow would often volunteer her own time to make sure she carried out all of her responsibilities efficiently. But instead of thanking her for her dedication, this new breed of less than insightful managers felt that "we've got a fool here," and began to load her down with even more responsibilities. It finally got to the point where Ms. Snow would still be in the post office when the morning shift arrived --she came in at 12 noon. At that point she had no alternative but to start hitting the clock to be compensated for the time she was being forced to work. That's when her problems began, even though a knowledgeable source indicated that after she left her responsibilities were being carried out by two supervisors.

According to Ms. Snow, after she started hitting the clock - as she was supposed to have been doing all along - she was contacted by Mr. Tyrone Williams (the new area manager who replaced Marci Luna after her demotion) and asked why she hit the clock. When she told Mr. Williams that she was being loaded down with so many additional responsibilities that she couldn't get them all accomplished in a reasonable time, Mr. Williams told her that she sounded like one of the carriers. She then was told that she simply wasn't managing her time wisely, and if she couldn't do any better she'd be returned to delivering mail - this, after twenty-one years of dedicated service as a supervisor.

Thereafter her manager, Ms. Luna, stayed with her to assist her with her responsibilities on one occasion, and even with the two of them, they were there for twelve hours before Ms. Luna decided to leave for the night.

On another occasion they placed so much work on Ms. Snow that by the time she was finally ready to close the station, she didn't have to because the morning tour was showing up for work. So instead of going home, she checked into a motel across the street from the post office.

Then, while still at the motel, she received a conference call from Station Manager Marci Luna and Area Manager Tyrone Williams wanting to know why she hit the clock to be paid. When she told them that they had placed too many additional responsibilities on her, Area Manager Tyrone Williams is alleged to have told her that she simply wasn't using her time wisely. But Ms. Snow stuck to her guns, and just as Mr. Williams threatened, on Monday, April 12, 2010 she was scheduled to be "retrained" to carry mail.
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Employee Background
What makes this situation so egregious is the postal service’s cavalier attitude toward its most dedicated employees. Ms. Snow is the kind of employee that’s loved and respected by everyone in the workplace. Her superiors depended upon her because of her can-do, A type personality, and her subordinates would seek her out for council, knowing she could be depended upon to do the right thing (making sure they were properly paid, for example, or doing battle on their behalf with their immediate supervisors over injustices). In addition, she would donate her vacation time every year to employees who became ill and ran out of sick leave, because she never found the time to take a vacation herself.

This woman was so highly depended upon by her superiors, and so dedicated to her job that for years she was working seven days a week just to cover their backs against any oversights. And since she had been in her current position for over twenty-one years - again, probably longer in one position than any other supervisor, manger or postmaster in the United States Postal Service's Los Angeles district - when the administrators needed any kind of information, or any issue addressed, in many cases they wouldn't bother with the station manager - they come and go - they'd wait until after 11:00 a.m. when Ms. Snow arrived so they could address the issue with her.
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A former manager said the following:
I was the Manager of Customer Service at Bicentennial Station in Los Angeles from 1997 until I retired in 2001. I was Ms Snow's manager during this time. Prior to coming to Bicentennial Station, the two previous managers, Lloyd Curtis and James Barnett had apprised me of Ms Snow's supervisory skills and total dedication to duty and company. Upon coming to the unit I was not disappointed and found all they had told me concerning Ms Snow was true.


Ms. Snow was one of my closing and weekend supervisors. She had an exceptional knowledge of the overall operation and excelled at running a difficult unit and she required little to no supervision. She could be counted on to work beyond what was normally considered an average work day without complaint. She always finished her assignments no matter how long her day was extended and this included weekends. She has excellent interpersonal skills which you need supervising the diverse workforce at Bicentennial Station. Ms Snow exceeded my expectations relative to handling my business customers and resolving complaints. In addition to all of this, Ms. Snow would routinely call the office on her scheduled off day to see how things were going and offer her assistance if needed.
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Joanne Snow proved to be an invaluable asset and even now in retirement, I often think of her and thank her when I talk to her for helping make my tour at Bicentennial successful.
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Eugene Jeffries

The Office of Inspector General
When I first became aware of how Ms. Snow was being abused I was shocked, but not alarmed. I thought I could simply contact the Office of Inspector General and have the matter, and the manager involved, taken care of. I was certain that the OIG would be anxious to investigate the matter in order get the offending culprit out of their midst. But to my amazement it not only took two reports, but over a month before I was even contacted regarding the complaint.

Then when I finally was contacted and I carefully explained the situation to the OIG inspector, Special Agent Reid Robbins. I pointed out that a postal manager, Marcie Luna, was forcing Ms. Snow to work between four and six hours a day without pay, and was committing fraud by falsifying a government document and changing the employee's official clock rings to reflect a three (3) hours lunch that she wasn't permitted to take, I was essentially met with a yawn.

Agent Robbins was somewhat distant, and related to me like I was some kind of trouble maker. Instead of showing any kind of concern about the crime that was being committed, the first thing out of his mouth was, "Who are you, and how do you know this employee? Are you a postal employee?” Then after we finally got past what felt like an interrogation to determine whether or not I had a right to NOT mind my own business, Agent Robbins went on to explain that the OIG's office generally didn’t investigate time issues - which was a blatant lie (they just don't investigate time issues when the government is doing the stealing).

But at first I accepted his word at face value, until I gave the matter further thought. Then I began to ask myself, "What kind of crime fighting organization doesn't fight crime?" It was my understanding that the Postal Inspection Service investigated external crimes against the postal service, and the Office of Inspector General investigated internal crimes within the postal service. So if the OIG doesn't investigate the intimidation, coercion, and extortion of employees, or the falsification of government documents, the OIG must not consider employee abuse a crime.

So I attempted to contact Agent Robbins at the number he provided, but he failed to return my calls, even after six attempts. So I decided to leave a message on his voice mail asking him the following questions: 1) Whose office would handle the matter if the situation was reversed, and the employee worked only eight hours and falsified her time to be paid for twelve? 2). Whose office would handle the falsification of government documents? And finally, is he going to investigate the matter, and will anyone be held accountable for the commission of this crime? But to this day, fourteen months later, I have yet to receive a response. It seems that Special Agent Robbins simply disappeared into thin air.

But Ms. Snow did hear from him. The next day she called to advise me that Agent Robbins had contacted her. She went on to say that he seemed to be more interested in how she knew me than he was the crime that had been committed against her. She also said his tone was aggressive and intimidating. And he told her that when she accepted the job of acting supervisor, working overtime without pay came with the job. So yet again, he told a blatant lie.

The National Association of Postal Supervisors advised me that a certified supervisor can be required to work a maximum of 30 minutes without pay (in emergencies), and since 204Bs (acting supervisors) are covered under various craft employee contracts, they must be paid for every minute they work.

But even worse than fluffing Ms. Snow off, giving her inaccurate information, and failing to investigate the complaint, Agent Robbins also revealed both the complaint, and the nature of the complaint to postal management, and that information is supposed to be confidential.

As a direct result, this highly productive employee who has held the same position for over twenty-one years - longer in the same position than any other supervisor, manager, or postmaster in the Los Angeles district - has been demoted by a manager who hadn’t even entered the postal service until six years after Ms. Snow was a productive supervisor. And even worse, while the manager, Ms. Marci Luna, who had recently been demoted from area manager herself, was informing the employee of her demotion, she allegedly commented to Ms. Snow, "I just want you to see how it feels when the postal service doesn't appreciate all that you've done for them."

What? Is this manager actually saying that she wants the employee to suffer because she feels that she's suffered an injustice? How was the employee responsible for the manager's demotion?
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Reprisal
Area Manger Tyrone Williams later denied that Ms. Snow was demoted as a reprisal against her for insisting to be paid for time worked and reporting criminal to conduct to the OIG. He indicated that she was returned to craft simply because the postal service was cutting back on 204Bs. But that’s ridiculous on it’s face. Ms. Snow had more seniority and experience than any other 204B in the Los Angeles district, so why would she be the first one to get the demoted? The 204Bs who continued to work off the clock for free did just fine.

In addition, even after they returned this post 50 year-old woman to carrying mail, they detailed her out of the post office that she’d worked her entire career, while holding on to substitute carriers that had just come into the post office. And after she refused to drop the charges against Tyrone Williams and Marci Luna, they tried to detail her to one of the most dangerous area’s in the city of Los Angeles. The following is a letter sent to Districr Manager Ruiz and Branch 24 president, Larry Brown:

Letter Complaining of Reprisal to NALC Branch president, Larry Brown, and District Manager Ed Ruiz

President Larry Brown, District Manager Ed Ruiz:

Since it's become clear that the postal service has decided that the best way of handling Ms. JoAnn Snow is through intimidation, I thought that it might be instructive to provide you with a little information regarding her past history with the postal service and her current concerns.

While Ms. Snow was the victim of time fraud and theft at the hands of Station Manager Marci Luna and CSO Tyrone Williams, she's the one that punitive action has been taken against. She's been removed from a higher level position that she's held for 21 years (which she has no problem with - in fact, she's come to enjoy, since she's now only responsible for her own productivity), she's been issued a Notice of 14-Day Suspension, and she's been involuntarily bounced all over the city, in spite of her seniority in both craft and career. At the same time, the people cited above who falsified federal documents, in direct violation of federal law, in a conspiracy to deprive her of her rightfully earned wages have not only remained in place, but CSO Tyrone Williams has since been both promoted and awarded a Regional vice President's award for performance.

So it is clear that after refusing monetary compensation with the quid pro quo of dropping her demand that the two managers be removed offered by Labor Relations Manager Steve Marney, the district has gone to plan B - intimidation. But as the case below clearly demonstrates, while Ms. Snow seems to be a very demure lady and has a history of being extremely accommodating to the postal service, she is not without backbone when she feels that she's being treated unjustly.

Ms. Snow prevailed in the case below (Under Clarence Thomas, no less) leading to the removal of the manager, and former Postmaster James Smith (then, Area Manager) would have also been removed if she hadn't dropped the charges against him in return for agency concessions to improve the working conditions of her coworkers.

So why am I sending you this document?

First, to alert you that it has been suggested to Ms. Snow that there's a possibility that she may have been illegally transferred to South Central Los Angeles (for the first time in her 27-year career) to make it easier to justify her experiencing bodily harm during after-dark delivers; secondly, to place Ms. Snow's concerns on the official record; and finally, to clearly establish that District Manager Ed Ruiz is fully aware of what's taking place on his watch.
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President Brown, please make this communication a part of the official record of both of Ms. Snow's pending cases.
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Response to 14-Day Suspension
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October 20, 2010
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JoAnn Snow
City Carrier
Los Angeles District
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Official Statement in Response to Notice of 14-Day Suspension

In accordance with Article 15 of the USPS/NALC National Agreement, I, JoAnn Snow, here by file this official statement in response to the Notice of 14-Day Suspension issued to me on September 27, 2010 by the United States Postal Service. The document reads in part:

"All Postal employees with time-keeping responsibilities are required to maintain time -keeping and pay records in strict compliance with postal regulations. When acting in a management position, employees with time-keeping access are aware that coworkers are to be compensated appropriately for work performed. Our regulations also require that clock rings accurately reflect the pay and work status of our employees. The postal Service has recently become aware that you have made time record entries for coworkers that were improper.

Postal Records reflect you entered numerous clock rings for craft employees Terria Clausell and Barbara Elzie that were improper and may have reflected the employees worked fewer hours than they actually worked. You made the entries for these employees which did not report directly to you."

I'm challenging the above action on the grounds that it is nonprogressive, punitive, untimely, and the facts as presented are ridiculously contrived. In addition, the charges brought against me are a blatant and unconscionable exercise in reprisal within the meaning of 5 USC 2302 (9) (a) of the federal code, which reads as follows:

Any employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to such authority take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, any personnel action against an employee or applicant for employment for the exercise of any appeal, complaint, or grievance right granted by any law, rule, or regulation.

Falsifying Clock Rings
The charges indicate that I entered numerous clock rings for craft employees that didn't report directly to me. What they didn't say, however, was that it was the station's policy that 204Bs not hit the clock. In addition, 204Bs were also instructed not to enter their own time. Therefore, the facts will show that the above notice of suspension has been issued for the egregious offense of following instructions. Therefore, the matter that actually needs to be investigated is why 204Bs are not allowed to hit the clock in the first place. Every 204B in the district clearly understands the reason why - because any time worked over 10 hours constitutes penalty overtime which requires the agency to pay the employee double time, and 204Bs routinely work between 12 and 16 hours a day, time that the district demands, but refuses to pay for.

In addition, the charges seem to indicate that when I entered a 204Bs time, it was my intent to deprive them of compensation that they were entitle to as a result of gainful employment. But the fact is, as the evening supervisor, I didn't get in until after 12 p.m. So I had no personal knowledge of how many hours the morning supervisors worked. I simply had to rely on the information that they provided me, so if they worked 14 hours and told me that they only worked 10, I entered 10 hours. Thus, if they were cheated out of hours, they cheated themselves as a result of the intimidation leveraged against employees to adhere to the district's illegal policy regarding time - and that is routinely the case.

Clear evidence of my contention is indicated in a memo sent out by Area Manager Joe Digiacomo to the supervisors in his area. It states the following:
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Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 11:28 AM.
Effective Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010 all delivery supervisors will be required to stay until all their carriers are back. Unless specifically documented and requested, no extra time will be given without my personal approval. No exceptions!
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Any questions, call me.
Thanks
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Joe Digiacomo SOM-2
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Delivery supervisors are generally in the office by 6 a.m., and carriers are often on the street until after 8 p.m. So the above memo is instructing delivery supervisors that they must work that overtime without pay. Therefore, the above memo is grossly inconsistent with management's contention that "When acting in a management position, employees with time-keeping access are aware that coworkers are to be compensated appropriately for work performed." This clearly shows that while the postal service is preaching integrity out of one side of its mouth, it's threatening its employees not to hit the clock out of the other. So after getting such a memo, if a 204B worked 16 hours, what are the chances that they're going to tell me that? Yet, after gross intimidation of its employees not to report the time they actually worked, the postal service now want to hold me responsible for their under-reporting their time. Thus, the action taken here against me represents the height of hypocrisy.
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The Postal Service's History of Time Fraud
The theft of employee time that's going on here in the Los Angeles district is not an aberration, however. The postal service has clearly adopted time fraud as a national business strategy. One law suit against the postal service alleged that time fraud against its employees was so rampant and widespread that it constitutes a criminal enterprise. The attorney in the case actually tried to charge the postal service with violation of the RICO Act (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), the law passed by congress to go after the Mafia. And the postal service didn't deny the charge. Instead, it petitioned the court to thrown the allegation based on the fact that a government agency can't be charged with engaging in a criminal enterprise:

USPS has petitioned the District Court to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses postal officials of intentionally deleting parts of employees' Time Records to Avoid Paying Overtime. The suit alleges USPS violated the RICO, Privacy and FLSA Acts. However, USPS argues, " The Postal Service is not Subject to RICO Liability As Part of the Federal Government; and "Postal Service Officials Cannot Be Held Criminally Liable for Acts Committed in Their Official Capacity." Donahue vs FBI (pdf) . The petition further states "the Supreme Court observed ( in USPS vs Flamingo Industries (pdf) ) that while the Postal Reorganization Act of 1971 may have waived the Postal Service's immunity from suit, it...did not strip it of its governmental status."

In New Hampshire, Congressman Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) 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:
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“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. "
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On December 2, 2009, Arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge said in her decision against the postal service for time fraud 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.”

And finally, just this past week Barbara Stickler, president of Branch 1100 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, picketed the Long Beach postmaster for harassment, intimidation, and time fraud:

While Management everywhere is pushing Letter Carriers to do their routes and part of another route in an impossible time frame, Long Beach management has taken it to new heights. Long Beach management is consistently violating the parties collective bargaining agreement with their abusive remarks and creative discipline. Management is on a rampage destroying its very own employees. Letter Carriers are brought into the office and threatened with discipline if they do not make the delivery times arbitrarily created based on projected times and inappropriate deductions, and have been disciplined for not making these illegitimate standards. Additionally, the union is investigating several cases of management falsifying clock rings for the entire office.
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Background on Previous Complaint and Reprisal
This is an accurate portrayal of what took place after I had my time stolen, as related in the Los Angeles Sentinel:
I recently found out that a friend of mine was the victim of repeated instances of forced labor and time fraud committed by her manager in the U.S. Postal Service. When I first became aware of it I was shocked, but not alarmed. I thought I could simply contact the OIG's office and have it, and the manager involved, taken care of. I was certain that the OIG would be anxious to investigate the matter and get the offending culprit out of their midst. But to my amazement it not only took two reports, but over a month before I was even contacted on the matter.

Then when I finally was contacted and explained to the OIG inspector, Special Agent Reid Robbins, that a postal manager, Marcie Luna, was forcing an employee to work between four and six hours a day without pay, and was committing fraud by falsifying a government document and changing the employee's official clock rings to reflect a three (3) hour lunch that the employee wasn't permitted to take, I was essentially met with a yawn.

"And who are you? How do you know this employee?" Then after we finally got past what felt like an interrogation to determine whether or not I had a right to NOT mind my own business, Agent Robbins went on to explain that the OIG's office generally doesn't investigate time issues - which was a blatant lie (they just don't investigate it when the government is doing the stealing).

Then after giving the matter further thought, I began to ask myself, "What kind of crime fighting organization doesn't fight crime?" It is my understanding that the Postal Inspection Service investigate external crimes against the postal service, and the Office of Inspector General investigate internal crimes within the postal service. So if the OIG doesn't investigate the intimidation and coercion necessary to force an employee to work six hours a day for free, or the falsification of documents necessary to steal an employee's wages, the OIG must not consider employee abuse a crime.

So I attempted to contact Agent Robbins at the number he provided, but he failed to return my calls, even after six attempts. So I decided to leave a message on his voice mail asking him the following questions: 1) Whose office would handle the matter if the situation was reversed, and the employee worked only eight hours and falsified her time to be paid for twelve? 2). Whose office would handle the falsification of government documents? And finally, is he going to investigate the matter, and will anyone be held accountable for the commission of this crime?

I have yet to receive a response.

But it doesn't stop there. The next day the employee involved called to advise me that Agent Robbins had contacted her. She went on to say that he seemed to be more interested in how she knew me than he was the crime that had been committed against her. She also said his tone was aggressive and intimidating, and he told her that when she accepted the job of acting supervisor, working overtime without pay came with the job - another blatant lie.

The National Association of Postal Supervisors advised me that a certified supervisor can be required to work a maximum of 30 minutes without pay (in emergencies), 204Bs (acting supervisors) who are covered under various craft employee contracts must be paid for every minute they work. We know this information to be accurate because if it wasn't, it wouldn't have been necessary for the manager to falsify government documents to achieve her objective, to rob the employee.

But even worse than giving the employee inaccurate information, and failing to investigate the complaint, Agent Robbins also revealed both the complaint, and the nature of the complaint to postal management, and that's supposed to be confidential information.

As a direct result, this highly productive employee who has held the same position for over twenty-one years - longer in the same position than any other supervisor, manager, or postmaster in the Los Angeles district - has been demoted by a manager who didn't even entered the postal service until six years after the employee was a productive supervisor. And even worse, while the manager, Ms. Marcie Luna, who had recently been demoted from area manager herself, was informing the employee of her demotion, she allegedly commented to the employee, "I just want you to see how it feels when the postal service doesn't appreciate all that you've done for them."
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What? Is this manager actually saying that she wants the employee to suffer because she feels that she's suffered an injustice? How was the employee responsible for the manager's demotion?

In the interest of full disclosure, I became personally --but objectively-- involved in this matter because I know it to be particularly egregious based on my personal knowledge of the employee involved. It also speaks directly to an issue that I've been addressing in many columns and is of particular interest to me - the negative impact of America's new business model on the middle class. So while admittedly, I know the subject of this piece personally, the facts in this case alone clearly demonstrate the business community's full-throated assault on the America middle class.

The character of the manager and agencies mandated to protect the rights of the employee is clearly revealed through the facts in this case.
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The federal law is clear. 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."

If that is indeed the law of the land, then why did the postal service and the Office of Inspector General allow Station Manager Marci Luna to falsify Ms. Joann Snow's clock rings and insert three hour lunch breaks that she didn't take? Then, when it was reported to the OIG, instead of the appropriate action being taken against Ms. Luna, Special Agent Reid Robbins of the OIG interrogated Ms. Snow. He treated her like SHE was the criminal for allowing it to be reported (Who is the guy who reported this? How do you know him? Didn't you know that working without pay goes with the job?).

They placed so much work on this employee that by the time she was finally ready to close the station, she didn't have to because the morning tour was showing up for work. And instead of going home, she checked into a motel across the street from the post office.

Then, while still at the motel, she received a conference call from Station Manager Marci Luna and Area Manager Tyrone Williams wanting to know why she hit the clock to be paid. When she told them that they had placed too many additional responsibilities on her, Area Manager Tyrone Williams is alleged to have told her that she sounds like a carrier and she simply wasn't using her time wisely - this, to an employee that's been doing the same job for twenty-one years with nothing but praise for her efforts.

The following is a letter from my former manager:
.I was the Manager of Customer Service at Bicentennial Station in Los Angeles from 1997 until I retired in 2001. I was Ms Snow's manager during this time. Prior to coming to Bicentennial Station, the two previous managers, Lloyd Curtis and James Barnett had apprised me of Ms Snow's supervisory skills and total dedication to duty and company. Upon coming to the unit I was not disappointed and found all they had told me concerning Ms Snow was true.

Ms. Snow was one of my closing and weekend supervisors. She had an exceptional knowledge of the overall operation and excelled at running a difficult unit and she required little to no supervision. She could be counted on to work beyond what was normally considered an average work day without complaint. She always finished her assignments no matter how long her day was extended and this included weekends. She has excellent interpersonal skills which you need supervising the diverse workforce at Bicentennial Station. Ms Snow exceeded my expectations relative to handling my business customers and resolving complaints. In addition to all of this, Ms. Snow would routinely call the office on her scheduled off day to see how things were going and offer her assistance if needed.

Joann Snow proved to be an invaluable asset and even now in retirement, I often think of her and thank her when I talk to her for helping make my tour at Bicentennial successful.
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Sincerely,
Eugene Jeffries
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I was demoted immediately upon speaking to the Office of Inspector General regarding having my time stolen. Yet, Area Manager Tyrone Williams indicated in his statement that I filed a grievance because I was demoted, or in his words, "because she was informed that her higher level detail would be ended because the four supervisor vacancies were filled at this office."
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His reason for my demotion might have rang true if it were not for the fact that Barbara Elzie, the other 204B in the station remained in place, and is still a 204B at this writing. In addition, while I was issued a Notice of 14-Suspension on September 27, 2010 for entering Ms. Elzie's time, at this writing, a month later, she hasn't been issued any corrective action for entering my time.
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Punitive, Nonprogressive, and Untimely Action
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About three months after I file my grievance for time fraud I was contacted by Labor Relations Manager Steve Marney. I assumed the investigation interview was to get clarification of my complaint, but it turned out that he wasn't investigating the time being stolen from me - he accused me of doing the same thing to Barbara Elzie and Terria Clausell that I was complaining about, but I wasn't having that. I told him that I'd been a supervisor for 21 years, and in all of those years I had never stolen a penny from any employee. I also told him that if he could show where I had stolen from an employee, he wouldn't have to bring corrective action against me, I'd leave the postal service on my own accord, so his attempt at intimidation didn't work.
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Then he offered to pay me several thousand dollars in back pay because, he said, "It was the right thing to do." But there was a quid pro quo - I had to drop my demand that Manager Marci Luna and Area Manager Tyrone Williams be fired for conspiring to steal my time. But I refused to accept that remedy, because this is not just about me. I represent thousands of postal workers across this country. While I'm not a crusader by nature, now that I've been placed in this position I'm not going to turn my back on that responsibility. Somebody has to stand up and say enough is enough, so I guess I've been chosen by fate to be that person.
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The resolution that Mr. Marney was suggesting is how the postal service has been getting away with this corruption for so long. Whenever any employee refuses to succumb to intimidation, they offer them money to sweep the matter under the rug. Giving me eight or nine thousand dollars wouldn't be anything but a business expense to the postal service, because the agency is stealing millions of dollars a day from its employees. So I made it clear that I wasn't going to go for that. The only way that we're going to stop managers and supervisors from stealing the hard earned wages of employees is to set a precedent that makes it clear to all management personnel that if they engage in time fraud and falsifying government documents they're going to lose their jobs, go to jail, or both, just as the law prescribes.
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So that's why I've received this untimely and punitive action - it's yet another attempt at intimidation. I had my investigative interview on June 17th, yet I didn't get a notice of suspension until September 27th. That's untimely. In addition, I've never had any previous corrective action, so it's also nonprogressive. And finally, everything I've said in this statement clearly demonstrates that this action is punitive.
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In closing, I'd like to predict in advance that the postal service is going to leave no stone unturned in their attempt to avoid providing me the TACS documents that I requested in discovery, because they're under no illusion that those documents will prove beyond a doubt that they're robbing their employees blind.
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JoAnn Snow
Regular Carrier
Los Angeles District
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Discovery Request
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Request for an Extension for Pending Discovery
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The notice of 14-day suspension issued to Ms. JoAnn Snow on September 10, 2010, is punitive, non-progressive, untimely, and the facts in the case are flawed. In addition, the charges brought against Ms. Snow is a blatant reprisal within the meaning of 5 USC 2302 (9) (a) of the federal code, which states the following:
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Any employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to such authority take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, any personnel action against an employee or applicant for employment for the exercise of any appeal, complaint, or grievance right granted by any law, rule, or regulation.
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The following discovery documents are hereby formally requested in order to substantiate the grievant's claim:
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1). Terria Clausell's complete and unabridged statement.
2). Barbara Elzie's complete and unabridged statement.
3). All of Barbara Elzie's clock rings for the year 2010.
4). Marci Luna's complete and unabridged statement.
5). Tyrone Williams' complete and unabridged statement.
6). The OIG's complete and unabridged report regarding Ms. Snow's complaint that her time had been falsified.
7). All of the Postal Service's investigative documents relating to Ms. Snow's complaint.
8). All of the district's TACs records and clock rings for all 204Bs for the months of January through March 2010.
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In addition, the grievant requests a 10 day extension to respond after requested discovery documents have been provided. The grievant intends to prove that falsifying employee time is the district's standard operational procedure:
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Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 11:28 AM
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Effective Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010 all delivery supervisors will be required to stay until all their carriers are back. Unless specifically documented and requested, no extra time will be given without my personal approval. No exceptions!
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Any questions, call me.
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Thanks
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Joe DigiacomoSOM-2
Los Angeles District
7001 S. Central Ave Suite 307.
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Los Angeles Ca 90052-4200
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JoAnn Snow
Regular Carrier
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NALC Malfeasance
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As in the initial case where the NALC assisted the postal service to circumvent Ms. Snow’s insistence that the case not be resolved without the people who stole from her being held accountable, again, the NALC assisted the postal service to avoid having to produce their TACS records in discovery. Instead of insisting that the postal service produce the requested discovery documents, which would have both proven Ms. Snow’s case conclusively, and also served as prima facie evidence that the postal service was routinely robbing its membership blind, the facts seem to suggest that the NALC colluded with the postal service to suppress the requested discovery records.
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This was accomplished in the very same way that they allowed the postal service to avoid holding the managers who falsified Ms. Snow’s records accountable for their crime. In this case the NALC agreed to a settlement with management to reduce Ms. Snow’s 14-Day Suspension to a Letter of Warning, and again, without her consent. The settlement letter reads as follows:
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Dear Mr. Jackson,
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Ray Espana and I discussed the above noted grievance and have reached the following settlement. The union contends in this grievance that management did not have just cause for the issuance of a 14-Day Suspension to the grievant. After consideration of all the evidence in the file the following settlement is reached.
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The discipline at issue will be reduced to a Letter of Warning.
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This agreement is made without prejudice to either party, and constitutes a full and final settlement regarding all issues relating to the attached list of grievances.
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Steve Marney
Management Representative
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Ray Espana
Union Representative
2/7/11
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The above settlement not only did a gross disservice to Ms. Snow, but also to every member of the NALC. It clearly demonstrates why letter carriers are suffering all across this country. Instead of the NALC aggressively pursuing the rights of their members, management is being routinely let off the hook for their crimes against letter carriers, which is in direct violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
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And the OIG, the agency mandated to protect postal employees, is doing absolutely nothing to protect worker rights. Instead of engaging in due diligence to bring thes egregious crimes within the postal service to an end, they’re simply paying lip service to it as the postal service continues to rob, extort, and intimidate its employees. Last year the OIG put out the following notice:
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FROM THE USPSOIG:
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Having Problems with Your Time and Attendance Records? The OIG Wants to Hear From You.
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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.
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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.
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This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Human Resources and Security audit team.
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The OIG posted the above last year. They know very few people are going to come forward - they’re afraid to, because they know that the OIG can’t be trusted, and the very same thing that happened to Ms. Snow will happen to them. And besides, if they really wanted to crack down, all they’d have to do is audit the TACS records. Why were all of the 204Bs in the Los Angeles district not hitting the clock during the period of Ms. Snow’s Discovery request?
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Ms. Snow’s case clearly demonstrates that filing grievances and EEOs play right into the hands of a system that’s designed to defeat you. The administrative process takes forever, and justice delayed is justice denied. The system is 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.
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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.
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The only way that the American middle class can ensure that they receive justice, and that their jobs are secure, is for them to come together and make sure that the jobs of their bosses, union officials, and politicians are always insecure.
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A Time for War
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from: Steve Spencer
to: Ewattree@gmail.com
date: Wed, May 18, 2011 at 9:52 AM
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subject:Postal Abuse
mailed-by: yahoo.com
signed-by: yahoo.com
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hide details 9:52 AM (5 hours ago)
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Good morning Mr. Wattree. My name is Wanda Spencer. My husband was Steven L. Spencer, a twenty seven year employee of the USPS. He died June 2, 2009 by self inflicted gun shot wound. This was done at the USPS annex Gastonia, NC. He was being harrassed by postal management. He had kept a notebook on all his time clocks. There were also other notes depicting his harrassment. On the day of his death postal management changed his clock rings. They changed them "five different times in three days". I would like for you to see the articles on my husbands death. It is documented on Postal Mag and the Gaston Gazette. I am presently pursueing legal action. Also there is a documentary being made at this time with Steve being part of the story line. I think you may be able to contribute to this film. I would like to make a difference in seeing all injustices of the postal service made public. I think if the public knew what the usps is doing to them there would be change. I believe that change has to come when the public realizes how much money is used to cover up such injustices as Ms. Snow and my husband. I intend to make my husbands death a rallying cry for justice. Thank you for listening to my cry. May God Bless. wss
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Notice the heading on this email. Steve is literally reaching back from the grave for justice. Let us not let him down.
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Eric L. Wattree
http://wattree.blogspot.com/
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

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