It is extremely unfortunate that most of the San Diego media coverage of the congressional subcommittee hearing initiated by Rep. Jim Bates was so obviously one-sided. While we read extensively about the testimony of three union officials who were critical of the post office, the General Accounting Office report went entirely unmentioned.
It is my view that this report was central to the issues addressed by the subcommittee. For weeks before the hearing, the GAO conducted a thorough and objective investigation of postal operations in San Diego County. This was done at the request of Rep. Bates. In the GAO report to the subcommittee on Dec. 12, GAO Director L. Nye Stevens said that his staff could find no major hot spots of overwork or tensions with postal management. He said the declining grievance rate and Equal Employment Opportunity discrimination claims over the past two years clearly support that claim.
This is not to deny that we constantly need to work at improving labor relations and human relations, especially in a work force as large as ours with 6,400 people. But the reports of pervasive job-related stress and harassment among postal workers is simply not supported by the facts.
We have all learned some valuable lessons from this. We know that it is just as important to deal with perceptions as it is with facts. We need to work toward reducing the conflict that often arises between carriers and supervisors over workload. Some of the problems that exist in the workplace must be addressed through national labor negotiations, since they involve contract language.
I was sharply criticized during the hearing because of our work toward providing the best postal service in the nation right here in the county. I’m not about to back down from that goal, because I believe we cannot afford to sacrifice good service for lesser standards.
We’re No. 2 in the entire country as measured in terms of service performance out of 73 postal divisions. I’m not foolish enough to believe our customers would settle for anything less.