Postal Service understaffing automation machines, putting workers at risk


APWU_Round_LOGOPostal Workers delivering message with Day of Action June 14

The American Postal Workers are delivering a message to the U.S. Postal Service that employee safety should come ahead of system throughput.

They are planning a Day of Action on Flag Day, next Tuesday, June 14, from noon to 1 p.m. in front of the Main Post Office at 1720 Market St. in downtown St. Louis to get the Postal Service’s attention.

Fred Wolfmeyer, president of St. Louis Gateway Local 8 of the American Postal Workers Union, said the Postal Service is currently staffing automation machines, designed to be staffed with two people, with only one postal worker, thus delaying the mail, wearing employees down and putting them at risk of serious injury.

Wolfmeyer said APWU has gotten promises from the Postal Service on grievances that it will follow proper staffing procedures, but that’s not happening.

“They say if it’s a small district, one person could do this,” Wolfmeyer said. “But I’ve walked through the plant and we’re not talking about small districts.”

He said mail for areas as large as St. Charles, Clayton, Alton Bellville, Affton, South County and Sappington is being run through with only one person staffing the machines.

And when the machine jams, that causes delays because the sole person operating it has to clear the jam and the mail gets out of sequence and has to be rerun.

“Our median work age is 56 years old,” Wolfmeyer said. “They want the clerks to pull all the equipment over to the machine. They’ve got to feed the machine, take the mail out of the bind on the trays and put them up on a cart, and they want to have high numbers.

“We’ve got people that are getting worn out, bad knees, onset of carpel tunnel. Twisting bending lifting that’s what we do all night,” Wolfmeyer said.

“Automation machines are to be staffed with two people and the Postal Service consistently ignores this requirement and staffs with only one person,” Wolfmeyer said. “We’ve talked to them and talked to them and asked them to staff them with two to a machine. They know that it’s supposed to be two to a machine. We need some help with this because management just will not budge.”

Help deliver a message to the Postal Service by turning out with Postal Workers for the Day of Action.



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