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Source:  http://www.sfbg.com/blogs/politics/2008/05/postal_workers_go_postal_with.html

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speaker.gif Postal workers go postal with picket

*SEE UPDATED RESPONSE FROM RON MALIG BELOW*

A group of local postal workers are hitting the streets this afternoon, Friday, and going postal on their boss who they say won’t stop going postal on them. Okay, that’s not the best way to put it. Local postal carriers say there’s a guy working as a supervisor at the Bryant Annex Post Office in the Mission named Ron Malig who’s simply out of control. This postal boss, they allege, has long abused and discriminated against his underlings, behavior they describe as “obnoxious” from finding ways to punish fellow postal workers he dislikes to claiming certain colleagues are “disrespecting” him.

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The highly publicized postal shootings of the ‘90s helped create an unfortunate image of letter carriers. But two union officials from the AFL-CIO’s National Association of Letter Carriers, Golden Gate Branch 214, told us that over the last few decades, their local hasn’t resorted to pickets all that often, maybe a handful of times. Mostly a quiet bunch, says union vice president Bill Thornton, at least compared to the ILWU, which briefly shut down West Coast ports this week on May Day to protest the Iraq war.

“We don’t picket. It has to be a really bad situation,” said Don Limin, a steward for Branch 214.

In fact, the last time Bryant Annex employees did hit the streets was for a vigil in late 2006 when a postal supervisor named Genevieve Paez from the 180 Napoleon St. post office in the Bayview was shot to death execution-style outside of her home in Visitacion Valley. Paez, who Limin said once worked at the Bryant Annex, had been involved in a dispute with another postal employee named Julius Tartt. The next day, Tartt himself was found in a Livermore parking lot dead from what the Alameda County Coroner’s Office declared was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police believed Tartt killed Paez and then took his own life.

As for Bryant Street postal manager Malig, he apparently worked at another location for two years, the Pacific Carrier Annex on Ortega Street in the Sunset, where his alleged obnoxiousness became so severe, mail carriers petitioned congressional representatives from the Bay Area to do something about him, which led to Malig being moved to the Bryant Annex, Branch 214 claims.

And that brings us to today’s allegations that Malig hasn’t ceased his mean-boss conduct over the last six months that he’s been at Bryant Street. Union vice president Thornton says approximately 200 grievances have been filed against Malig with his post office superiors and about 30 more complaints were lodged with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, typically a vehicle for more serious allegations of discrimination that can often lead to a lawsuit.

Now the union carriers have a demonstration planned in front of 1600 Bryant Street for today, May 2, where they’ll ask the U.S. Postmaster to fire or at least remove Malig from supervising carriers. Limin said that although Branch 214’s contract prohibits strikes, the union voted for the action against Malig anyway and no workers would be picketing on the clock or in uniform.

“We hope [Malig will] no longer work for the post office or work with postal carriers, because he’s got an ego problem,” Limin said. “He’s a bully with a big ego.”

Branch 214 also sent us a letter signed by dozens of workers demanding that post office managers intervene:

“[Malig] constantly threatens most of the employees with discipline even without basis just to harass and intimidate us. He yells and screams at almost anyone who disagrees with him. His continued unprofessionalism created a … hostile environment for all the employees under his supervision. He lacks integrity, honesty and truthfulness in every interaction with the employees … This strange, erratic and sarcastic behavior is of great concern to each and every one of us.”

We made two calls attempting to reach Malig at the Bryant Street Annex but he wasn’t available.

*UPDATE -- Ron Malig called us back on Tuesday to give his side of the story. Malig says the workers at Bryant Street are resistant to a changing work environment in an increasingly tough economy. He said he can't guarantee overtime for workers if the volume of mail they're distributing doesn't justify it. He calls the perception of his management style "subjective," says he doesn't yell at the carriers and insists all of his disciplinary actions against them have each been based on a reasonable concern about the performance of the carrier. Malig said he wasn't removed from the Pacific Carrier Annex because of his conduct there, but he didn't volunteer the reason why he's now working at the Bryant Annex. "They're the ones who are verbally abusive to the supervisors," Malig said of the carriers. "I'm just doing my job." He added that a Branch 214 shop steward has allegedly called him "crazy," "stupid" and "retarded." "They're retaliating against me for holding them accountable to do their job," he said. Malig said he has heard that the union will meet with post office management regarding last Friday's picket, but he hasn't confirmed it for sure. Until then, he said, "I will still do my job because it's part of my responsibility."

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Comments (9)

RETIRED1:

When INCOMPETENT POSTAL MANAGERS like Malig act in this manner it is due to their shame of having an extremely small penis! They are mad at the world for their lack of endowment!

Robert Haaland:

Hey Marc,
I am not going to argue with you. Namaste.
Robert

wowthisisamazing:

"going postal"?

what junior college journalism class did you flunk out of? tacky and stupid at the same time.

G.W. Schulz:

Gosh, it's almost as if you attended journalism school right alongside me with all that knowledge! Indeed, I attended journalism courses at Johnson County Community College outside Kansas City before transferring to the University of Kansas. I didn't flunk out of anything, but my old adviser used to complain that he knew I'd end up at an alternative weekly newspaper.

The hed caught the attention of readers but the rest of the entry told a very serious story about allegations being made by postal workers against their boss and it also recounted a tragic murder from last year. You went so far as to comment on it. As far as journalistic endeavors are concerned, mission accomplished.

ACTIVIST:

Let me know how this works out, there are a couple of hundered of these type of managers across the nation. They are called ASP graduates. They don't learn how to read and adhere to regulations, and the contracts, but they sure know how to be anal retentive. First ASP class, Anal Retentive 101. Pass that class and they make you an SCS.

Carrier Mike:

I've never met Ron Malig let alone worked for him, but his reply fits a pattern. Everyone's picking on him? The local union branch singles him out for one of their rare pickets, but he did nothing to deserve it? Carriers from two different stations agree that he is a monster, but that's just a "subjective" view of his management style? Workers give up their free time to protest, but that's just because they're lazy? What's wrong with this picture?

If we believe Malig, then he is the only supervisor in the 13 cities represented by Branch 214 that is "holding them accountable to do their job."

I don't believe it is Postal management's policy to abuse and disrespect workers, but it clearly is their policy to ignore those practices.

union steward:

well Schulz, I do congratulate you upon your graduation from the university of the national enquirer, with a degree in tabloid journalism. mission accomplished.
He was,however,correct. It was tacky and stupid.
After reading your response, I'll throw in condescending as well. The story wasn't bad, though.
Unfortunately, too many Journalists use "Going Postal" to describe every irrational act under the sun.
If you actually had to work here you'd realize how offensive we find it, and after working for people like
this guy you would understand why it happens,and how hard we work to stop it. very touchy subject. By the way, do people in Kansas really still say Gosh? I thought that went out with Dorothy and Toto.

I've been pretty lucky with management in my postal career, but I've seen so many of this kind of manager in local post offices -- it's generally true that district management tolerates extreme behavior on the part of supervisors as long as 'the numbers' look good, even though often those numbers are falsified to reflect better on management. The post office these days definitely isn't the great work environment that they want the public to think it is.

Folderoll:

I can remember a similar situation from ... the 80s? ... out at Sunset Station. It involved an abusive manager and a picket -- which actually made the Chron/Ex. This would have gone right past me if I hadn't have checked the "comments" concerning another story.

I work for the PO, and have seen this type of superviosr before. As long as they don't make "real" trouble, they are kept around, for their intimidation factor if nothing else. (Also, I think they intimidate their higher-ups some.)

It also seems to be a function of the NALC. I'm a clerk, and employee relations are different under APWU -- its a lot less confrontational. But then again, the circumstances for clerks are not as uniform, and uniformly regulatable, as for the carriers.

It seems that postal higher ups tolerant almost anything. My supe sleeps on the job. And their response? Calling out her name before they enter her unit (to signal her to look appropriate!)

The postal business IS changing. However, I don't think the likes of Ron Malik will have much (positive) effect. When Change happens, it will be a change of a massive, systemic nature -- not the 'incrimental' prodding of self-righteous types like Malik. And the union, no matter how well organized, won't be able to stop what is becoming the hollowing out of the business (somewhat like the auto industry in scope).

Then guys like Malik will be on the street. Maybe they can then supervise an immigrant workcrew in AZ; where bullying is tolerated, if not encouraged.

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