I am sharing these facts with other folks in hope that they can recognize these traps that we walked into, should they be threatened with consolidation in the future. I think these Phase I & II consolidations are just the beginning.
It feels like we are in a post-apocalyptic outpost, cut off from everyone and on our own. I feel that there should be more open communication between impacted facilities, so that notes can be taken and strategies formed.
From the time rumors first began regarding possible consolidation with STL, our plant has been under siege by a steady stream of managers who worked diligently, seemingly under instructions to sabotage the operation from within. The managers could defend their actions because they made the decisions based on the input from the AO’s we serve, which was based on their operational “needs”.
The first thing they did was open the doors up to Postmasters from the AO’s we serve and pretty much allowed them to dictate operational changes that would best serve their individual offices. Anyone with plant experience knows that this is a death knell to a successful plant operation. “Wants” were confused with “needs” and the fuse was lit.
We started DPS-ing towns that didn’t get 3 trays of letters in a night and a bunch of other crazy stuff, designed to “help” those offices to cut their operational costs AND their personnel. They cut their own throats and set themselves up for “DUO”, a term used here for consolidating offices with low workloads.
This transferred those man hours of work into our facility, even as our numbers were shrinking from attrition. The new, ridiculous DPS schemes pushed outgoing truck schedules later and later, also requiring automatic late slips for trucks coming from STL that were not under our contractual control. Every night 6 days a week for years, we wrote late slips for 4 trucks that we held past their contracted departure time. The official reasoning was because of the later DPS runs. 4 brand new truck routes were created some years ago, for the purpose of hauling that DPS. Even though the DPS never was sent out on the 4 STL-based trucks, we still held those trucks and continued to write those late slips. This greatly increased our transportation costs and those numbers were used against us in the AMP studies. We were set up. As stated before, The managers could defend their actions because they made the decisions based on the input from the AO’s we serve, which was based on their operational needs.
In-house, from the time this process began up until the last year and a half, managers opened the floodgates for virtually unlimited overtime for anyone who wanted it. For a couple of years after the AMP study began, managers would offer 12 hour shifts and non-scheduled days to everyone who wanted it, even when the workload wasn’t there to justify it. People were just told to “look busy”. The managers worked PSE’s over 40 hours daily and used the contract to justify their overtime bonanza. There were a lot of takers, me included. This greatly increased our operating costs, while also dramatically driving down our cost-workload productivity. This was used against us in our AMP study.
We just had a “quick pick” re-bidding process where all but maybe a handful were reposted. The postings were up for bid for 10 days and we were all placed in the jobs yesterday (1-31-15). It is chaos. Training is non-existent. Everyone was moved to jobs starting at either 2/3 am or 2/3 pm.
Mass confusion reigns.
PS: See if any of this looks familiar: