President Obama: Help Halt Abuse of U.S. Postal Employees

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[Beneath The Spin]

In Open Letter, Columnist Urges President To Act Against Abuse Of Postal Employees

The United States Postal Service is running a latter-day plantation. It's been documented by members of Congress, and arbitrators, that the postal service is routinely falsifying employee clock rings, subjecting its employees to harassment, intimidation, and abuse, and forcing many of its employees to work between four and six hours a day without pay.

Then, even though the Inspector General has documentation of the commission of  federal crimes in hand, the perpetrators are being allowed to walk away with impunity, and even being promoted.

Why are you allowing this to happen, Mr. President? Don't you know that this sort of thing more than offset all the good that you're trying to do? While the corporate media hasn't taken an interest in this issue yet, this kind of blatant worker abuse isn't taking place in a vacuum.

The United States Postal Service is the second largest civilian employer in America. It employs over 600,000 people, and they all know what you're allowing to happen to them, and so do their family and friends. That's a lot of people - and a lot of votes.

What's so curious about this situation is that your administration seems to be totally accepting of this abuse, and completely in the dark about what it's doing to your image. While you're hanging onto Glenn Beck's every word, you're completely ignoring a federal assault on the people who voted you into office. Then, speaking of audacity, you have your collective lips poked out because workers have the audacity to complain about it. In effect, you're asking your constituency to accept your position that, "Okay, so they're destroying one or two families - but we got you some healthcare!"

That's not gonna fly.  We appreciate the healthcare.  It was quite an accomplishment, but what about protecting our Constitutional rights? The way we see it is if you're willing to ignore these kind of atrocities, you're not the man we thought you were - people are dying!

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."*

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.

"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. "

And Arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge said in her December 2, 2009 decision that “[USPS] 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.”

As I've mentioned in a previous column, President Lincoln was willing to go to war to end slavery on his watch, while you have it in your power to emancipate over 600,000 American citizens with a simple phone call. Yet, in spite of repeated White House contacts and extended articles written and posted on the Democratic National Committee website, you've failed to make that phone call. We want to know why?

I've also previously mentioned how much pride I took in supporting your campaign, both in my column, and through my very meager bank account. While the historic nature of your candidacy wasn't lost on me, I didn't support you simply because you are Black, however - Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are also Black, but I didn't support either of them-- I supported you because I was inspired by your pledge to usher in a change that I could believe in.

Well, frankly, especially in the current matter, I'm not seeing that.

While I take great pride in your election, I vote with my mind, not my heart. So having a Black president is meaningless to me if he's not aggressively protecting the interest of all of the American people.

You can reach Black Star News columnist Eric L. Wattree via [email protected]

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