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News and Updates

Does Management Want You to Make False Scans

(03/22/2014) Written by David Yao, Vice President,
Greater Seattle Area Local APWU

If you work in a station or associate office, beware of management trying to get YOU to falsify on their behalf.
Background - everyone knows that management is obsessed with the numbers – making goals and looking good in their bosses' eyes. It could be wait-time-in-line, or getting all the box mail up before commitment time, or getting all items that arrive in a unit scanned as delivered or attempted, they want to make those goals, whether by fair means, or, sometimes, foul.
For several years, improper box section scans have been an issue. The official postal policy is that all box letters, plats and parcels, must be either delivered or attempted (accountable items) before the box section can be scanned as done. If management wants you to scan before that, they are asking you to falsify. They are risking YOUR job, to make THEM look good.

Hiding Delayed Mail
Now that management has closed plants consolidated mail processing, they have caused problems in trying to jam too much mail into the remaining plants. Evidence of this is the fact that they have admitted as much, when they recently announced a freeze on consolidations.
Mail is delayed in leaving the plants, or, on the other end, the delivery units don't have enough clerks to get all the mail sorted before the carriers leave for the day. So, not all of the mail leaves the unit and gets delivered that day. How do they track that? Well, for ordinary letters and flats, an on-site inspection is the only way – and more than one station has a favorite hiding place for such delayed mail.
Numbered items, which includes almost all parcels, are normally scanned as arrived at the delivery unit. If they are not given another scan that day, such as Delivered, Attempted, or Undeliverable, then they show up as delayed mail.
The other part of the equation is that management has cut staff to the bone, and often managers or postmasters will go to ridiculous lengths to avoid overtime (once again, just to make their own numbers look good). So – mail arriving late, plus not enough clerks, means that carriers will be leaving behind mail. Sometimes carriers can circle back, or someone will run mail out to them.
But the easiest path is to just fudge the numbers, by scanning any items left behind, either as Delivered, Attempted, or Undeliverable. If you see supervisors, or anyone, going through the hotcase and scanning items after all the carriers are gone, or if you see or hear such scanning late at night after the carriers have returned, then there is a good chance they are covering up delayed mail. But this is falsification – supervisors have been fired for doing this.
If, as a window clerk, you are asked by a customer about a questionable scan of a parcel, then it might have been delayed, given a false scan, and sent out for delivery the following day.

The Inspectors Want to Know
If you think you are being asked to do any false scanning, you might want to question the order, and then ask for it in writing. In addition, the union has learned that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has taken an interest in this cover-up of delayed mail, and is seeking any information about any occurrences. To contact the OIG, go to their website at and fill out their online complaint form, or call their hotline at 1-888-USPS-OIG (limited hours M-F 11 am.-3 pm. EST, 8 am.-Noon Pacific time). You are protecting clerk jobs by exposing the coverup of delayed mail due to short staffing, and you are also protecting your own job!