The Postmaster Slayer

“I’m tired of this shit, you mother fucking asshole!”

Everyone stopped casing mail. It came from the other end of the post office. From the postmaster’s office, in fact. One letter carrier giggled nervously. They all cast knowing glances at each other and grinned. They were being represented, and this was going to be a good one.

“You’re tired of this shit?! I’m tired of you coming into my office thinking you own the goddamned place, every day, with your fucking goddamned grievances!!!” the postmaster bellowed.

Joe waved a sheaf of timecards in his hand, punctuating thrusts with each emphasized word, “Have you seen these fucking timecards?! Don’t you have any fucking control over your fucking office?! When are you going to tell those fucking supervisors to do their fucking job right and stop violating the mother fucking overtime rules?!”

“When hell fucking freezes over! Goddamnit I demand respect! How dare you come into my office and talk to me this way! Get the fuck out of here, you insolent bastard! I’m not meeting with you today! I can’t take this fucking shit anymore! I’ve had it! Get the fuck out of here!”

“I’m not going any fucking place until we settle this you stupid moron! I want double the penalties! Double!! You hear that?! And next time I’ll want triple! I’m gonna fucking ride you to hell, you stupid bastard until you start following the rules!”

The letter carriers stopped all their work and gathered in a semicircle on the workroom floor. Even the supervisor was speechless, standing there with the carriers, wondering what he should do. But they weren’t the only audience. Customers could hear this scaramuccia clear into the lobby. If cell phones had been common in those days, one of them would surely have dialed 9-1-1.

“Double?! Fuck you and your double! Fuck you on the double!!” the postmaster’s face was florid. Veins bulged from his purple neck. He reached for a Rolaids. “Goddamnit, I’m sick of this shit! I’m sick of seeing your face in here every goddamned day!” He slumped back in his chair and bit down on the Rolaids tablet.

“You want rid of me?! You want rid of me?! Well then follow the contract! That’s all you gotta do! Just follow the goddamned fucking contract, and you’ll never see my face again!”

“I’m sick of you and your goddamned fucking contract!” the postmaster jumped up. He propelled a finger toward the nose of the union steward. “You can take that contract and shove it up your fucking a–” his voice tumbled away in mid-yell. He clutched his chest. His knees buckled and he staggered over onto his face.

“Ed, Ed, what the fuck? You okay, Ed?” Joe kneeled over the prostrate postmaster. Oh shit! Joe thought, he’s having a heart attack.

Joe ran out of the postmaster’s office and into the semicircled claque of letter carriers he was representing. “Call 9-1-1! I think Ed’s having a heart attack!”

The supervisor rushed into the postmaster’s office, with Joe trailing after. “Oh shit!” said the supervisor, as he stood over his boss’s body. “I don’t know CPR, do you know CPR?”

“I’m not doing CPR on him,” blurted Joe. “Let’s just call 9-1-1.”

The paramedics arrived five minutes after the call. They worked on Ed for about 20 minutes. Finally they gave up.

Joe was stunned. He stumbled out of the postmaster’s office with grievance file in hand. A grievance that would not be resolved this day.

Joe became legendary in union circles as the steward who got away with killing a postmaster. He was elected Branch President by admiring supporters.

Letter carriers had no sympathy for this postmaster, or most others. They were sick of managers ignoring their rights. They were tired of intimidation tactics. And they hated the disrespect and indignities so commonly meted out to them by the bearers of clipboards and neckties. In their minds and visceral guts, they concluded that the postmaster got what he deserved.

A few years after being elected Branch President, Joe was hoisted by his own petard. His confrontational style fueled a mountainous growth of grievances. The caseload became overwhelming. Joe lived, but lost his heart as assuredly as Ed. The intransigence of labor-management relations, so foreign to skills of diplomacy and communication, took another victim. Joe walked away from the mountain of grievances he so fervently helped to create.

He resigned from office, never to perform steward work again.

This is a true story, as told to me by the legendary postmaster-slayer himself. It’s also part of the history of the union branch I belong to. I changed the names and some of the details, but the basic story is accurate.

Categories: Postal

38 replies »

  1. I think I know what you mean. The last tie I built a fence, I went down to the post office for supplies and they were very rude to me about the entire thing. I ended buying my posts at Lowe’s instead. That’ll show ’em.

    And that language almost made me blush, but I used to be a construction worker and am not used to hearing such profanies.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I wonder if it would have been different if women had been in those positions…

    And thank you for your years of service; postmen are such a vital part of the community; for many people, I think it’s the only contact they have with the outside world…

    How much did you get paid by Rolaid’’s to sneak in that ad?

    Liked by 2 people

    • No, it absolutely would not have been different. I can tell you from much personal experience that the female postal managers (and there’s a lot of them) tend to be just as aggressive, abusive, and intimidating as the male managers. And they tend to be just as stupid, and just as easy to beat, with a grievance. Talk to most letter carriers and you’ll find that the general sentiment about postal managers (male or female) is not very favorable.

      You’re welcome, for our service. It’s our pleasure, when we’re not being harassed by managers. And you’re sadly right about some people, usually elderly, who’s only contacts are through their letter carriers.

      No cash has passed hands between Rolaids and me. But I wouldn’t deny having a lifetime supply currently sitting in my medicine cabinet.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. My mailbox used to be in an annex to the town post office, and I’d have to argue with people that there was no mail delivery to my home address… not even RR. Pretty laid-back town in those days… probably where they sent the postmasters and union reps that survived. Nowadays, I have to take a trash-can out to my mailbox box every few weeks to dispose of the garbage they wad into it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think they generally want to see some form of proof of a home address, to be assured that you’re not a terrorist, before they’ll rent out a PO Box.

      You’re kind of right. Postmasters who have a long track record of abusive behavior tend to be exiled to tiny post offices. These are called “working post offices” because the postmaster has to do some of the clerk work (heaven forbid!). It’s sort of like being sentenced to hard labor, for some of those lazy bastards.

      Yes, most mail is junk mail, these days. It’s the bread-and-butter of the postal service, as first-class mail has largely lost out to email and texting.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow that’s crazy. I totally understand head honchos treating workers like crap, the favouritism, double standards, and just down right corruption. My hubby deals with it every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a friend who works in postal office in Norway, but he seemed satisfied with his job and is now retired. But then again he didn’t have to deal with his boss daily. I’m just out of words of what to say about the story. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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