BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
Dear Mr. Wattree,
As you are an employee currently on the rolls of the Postal Service, it is important to know that the Postal Service is committed to ensuring a workplace that is free of discrimination and to fostering a climate in which all employees may participate, contribute, and grow to their fullest potential. We recognize and value our diverse workforce and are committed to fair treatment of all employees.
Consistent with this policy, the Postal Service encourages you and all employees to raise any workplace concerns through the proper channels made available by collective bargaining agreements as outlined in administrative policies. All employees may also utilize Equal Employment Opportunity processes.
Allegations of possible criminal conduct should be reported to the Office of Inspector General, or in the case of physical misconduct to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Retaliation against any employee who raises a claim or provides information in an investigation is illegal and will not be tolerated.
It is not appropriate to comment in a public forum on alleged internal grievances in process or raised by a third party.
Mr. Richard Maher,
I'm going to be a little long winded here, because I have much to say in response to your veiled threat.
First, please spare me this nonsense. All you're doing is wasting very valuable revenue that the postal service should be using to get the mail delivered on time. I used to write this kind of hypocritical crap for the post office, and it is now my understanding that they're considering re-activating my employment to shut me up. I don't have a problem with that. I look forward to testing whether the agency has a legal right to force me to lie on its behalf. That's exactly what I was previously employed to do. I now look upon that chapter of my life with shame, and if you have the least bit of integrity, Mr. Maher, so should you.
If even one syllable of this politispeak you've sent me were true, postal employees wouldn't be suffering the indignities and hardships that they're being forced to endure. In addition, instead of sending my email to a public relations office District Manager Ruiz would have simply responded by saying, "I've received your communication of unconscionable employee abuse. Your allegations will be investigated immediately, and if your concerns are found to be true, appropriate corrective action will be taken against all of the managers involved." Period.
Did you happen to see the article in the San Francisco Chronicle this past week. The gentleman who committed that act wasn't a criminal; he was a productive member of society until he went to work for the postal service. In fact, Dr. Stephen Musacco, an organizational psychologist, author of Beyond Going Postal, and who spent thirty years of his life working for the postal service, predicted that it was going to happen - and more tragedies are on the horizon if someone doesn't speak out about the postal service's criminal irresponsibility in the way it treats its employees.
As for my association with the postal service, it is merely technical at best. I am now writing these articles in my capacity as a paid journalist. Thus, I'm confident that the United states Constitution's guarantee of freedom of the press supersedes any obscure postal regulation prohibiting my freedom to speak out on any issue - including post office corruption. Of course, the postal service is free to challenge that constitutional right, but I am more than certain that the ACLU would relish such a challenge, as would I.
What better position could David be in than to engage in battle with a Goliath whose hands are too dirty for him to win? America started out as David, so the American people love such fights. The American people also love people who are willing to fight for justice against governmental brutes - especially a brute that's doing a horrible job of serving their interest - so guess whose side they're gonna to come down on in this matter?
So the fact is, I would relish such a challenge. That would only serve to bring the unconscionable, and un-American, conduct of the United States Postal Service's treatment of it's employees under the public scrutiny of the American people. That's the objective of this series of articles in the first place. So any price that I may personally have to pay will pale in the face of the thousands of employees who are suffering because this issue has failed to be brought to light.
And it couldn't happen at a better time - in an election year. And if you decide to wait until after the election to bring such charges, this letter attests to when the postal service first became aware of the situation. So if you plan to take any administrative action against me, I advise you to take it immediately, because any delay due to political concerns will render said action untimely.
While I've always had an innate love and understanding of the law, I don't have a law degree. So obviously I can't match the postal service attorneys' grasp of the law. But life has a curious way of playing itself out. If I'd become an attorney I would never have experienced the hardships that postal workers endure. So just maybe I didn't become an attorney because my entire life was only a prelude for this moment, and engaging you in this fight was the only thing I was born to do. I know, it sounds far fetched, but I intend to engage you as though my destiny was handed down from Mt. Olympus.
Just the fact that the postal service sent me an email like this betrays the fact that its leadership is completely out of touch with old-school Americans. I'm sure you thought that I'd be intimidated, but you've only managed to do just the opposite. I'm a baby boomer. We were weaned on fighting injustice - it's a way of life with us. We're not weak and self-serving like many people are today. There's something about fighting a battle that could benefit thousands of people that has an irresistible appeal to my nature, so all you've done is managed to start WWIII.
So please, send this response to your legal team, and tell 'em I said, bring it on - if they dare. But unless they got their degrees out a Cracker Jack box, they'll advise the postal service to pass on this battle, because it's one that they cannot win. Even with my limited education in the law, it is clear to me that the postal service's battle won't be with me, but with the United States Constitution. So, in recognition of that fact, contrary to the " . . . fool as a client" axiom, I won't even hire an attorney - that might detract from my image as David. But of course, I do reserve the right to use the ACLU in an amicus curiae capacity.
One of the weaknesses of your argument is that, according to you, the appropriate way to address this issue is through the Office of Inspector General and the grievance procedure. Ordinarily I would agree with your position, but if you've bothered to read this series of articles it will be abundantly clear that the collusion of the Office of the Inspector General and the unions are a large part of the problem, otherwise the issues being brought forth wouldn't be taking place.
The complete failure of the law enforcement mechanism within the postal service will be a huge part of the case before the court - and the record of those failures will not only substantiate my case, and demonstrate to the American people that the entire system is totally corrupt, but it will give literally thousands of employees a cause of action against the postal service. So again, please, bring it on. Make me a hero. I'm sure my miserable little ego would benefit from the boost.
As I see it, therefore, the postal service has two options. Since you obviously can't intimidate me, the postal service can either quietly change its policies and adhere to the law, allowing me to crawl back into relative obscurity, or you can make me a latter-day folk hero. But either way, things are going to change, because there's absolutely nothing you can do to shut me up. So in short, if you don't address these issues on your own, I'm going to personally see to it that you're forced to address them in public - come what may.
I'm anticipating your thoughts. No, what you're reading is not arrogance, it's simply the frustration of a private citizen who's sick of your hypocrisy. I'm also sick of watching the postal service destroy people's lives for nothing more than the personal gain of bigwigs at the top of the food chain. So I'm determined to do something about it - and believe me, I'm going to succeed.
Do you know how many votes all of the postal workers and their friends and family represent? I don't think you do. Many of the postal workers don't realize it either, but I do. You see, I understand that they don't have to beg - they're in a position to demand - and with the help of the various publications that I write for, including the Postal Employee Network, I'm going to help them to understand the strength of their position.. But more importantly, I'm going to help them to make their congressional representatives aware of that fact as well. And when I'm done, some of you arrogant bureaucrats are going to be out of a job.
We're gonna look at the record of your behavior, and we're gonna clean house. So what I suggest to Mr. Ruiz is instead of having someone else write his letters, he'd better start mending some fences with his employees.
You see, postal workers have been wasting their time going administrative, when they should have been going political. The only way their lives are going to change is by using the political clout of their numbers against the post office bureaucracy, the government, and their unions as well - and we're going to be addressing that issue. So your letter is far from bringing this to an end - you've just ignited a beginning.
Again, I would have been more than happy to fight this battle in relative obscurity, but please, take me through the courts and drag me through the mud. Make me famous. My two children are grown, and my wife of thirty-three years and childhood sweetheart is dead, so all I have left is to do something that makes my life worthwhile - and it's becoming increasingly clear that this just might be my chance.
So I'm not hearing your threats. What I'm hearing is the suffering of thousands of postal employees who can't stand up for themselves because they have young families to raise. I also hear the voice of my late wife cheering me on: "Now that's what I'm talking about - get 'em, baby!"
So yes, please. Drag me through the mud. Take everything I own and put me on skid row - but you better make damn sure I don't have a computer.
Fight Government Corruption!
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Chairman Edolphus Towns
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Eric L. Wattree