The protagonist of this story is Ann. You remember Ann. She is the awesome fellow sub who saved my butt last week and earned a spot in my sermon.
Ann got royally pissed off today and filed a grievance for the first time in her five year postal career. What got her dander up? Seeing me this morning when she walked in, that’s what.
Let me explain.
It all started at 5:39 this morning when my phone rang. “Hello,” I choked.
“Good morning James.”
“Bill called out sick today so can you come in and do R4?”
“Yes,” I said, and thought about asking why Ann couldn’t do the route, since she’s the “sub of record” for R4. I didn’t ask though, figuring that maybe she rescheduled that date with her daughter from last week.
“You can? Great. See you soon,” said Rich.
I dragged myself to the post office where I was relieved to find a light volume day and the mail already being brought around. This was good since Thursday is marriage mail day. Marriage mail is a once a week shopping circular that gets married together with an advo card, the ones with the missing kid pictures on them, before being put in the customers’ boxes. Marriage mail is awful. It really slows you down. It’s nice when the volume is light on marriage mail day, because you can get to the street earlier.
Life was good, I was getting an unplanned full day of work, Ann was getting a free day to spend with her daughter, and the mail was light. Yes, I had to cancel the interview scheduled for today, but so what. I could reschedule that easily.
Ann arrived some time later to do her route, route 9, a very short one. She walked in, said good morning, and got to work on her route. It was only when one of the regular carriers asked about her plans for the day that she dropped the bomb.
“They never called me,” she said. Meaning that she didn’t know her primary route needed a sub. When she walked in, the first thing she saw was me, casing the mail that she should have been casing, and more importantly, earning the 17.50 per hour that should have been hers.
I’ve mentioned before that everything works on seniority at the post office. For a sub, the route you receive as your primary assignment is ‘yours’ when that regular carrier is out. No one else can be asked to work it unless you refuse it. The downside to this system is that if all the other qualified subs beneath you also refuse, you’re stuck with that route for the day. It’s a system that strives to be fair, and most of the time it works. Today it did not.
No one knows why I got the call, but I did. Ann did not. Anytime a supervisor subverts the seniority rule for any reason, a grievance can be filed. Ann, once her grievance is awarded, which it will be, will receive pay for R4 today. So will I since I actually delivered it. Grieved is an understatement. Ann was so angry she dropped the f-bomb, twice. I’ve never heard her say that even once before. I should note that she wasn’t mad at me, and she made that clear. Still, I felt like a dork,
Unfortunately, Ann’s troubles didn’t end with that. At some point she checked the sub schedule and saw that she has been assigned to route 5 (the monster, the one I always do on all the heavy days) on July 5th, the day after a holiday. R5 is unpleasant on easy days; it is downright evil on heavy days. The reason she got R5 that day? I”ve already been assigned to R7, which is my primary route, that day.
And yes, of course I offered to switch with Ann on July 5th. The last we spoke, she was still saying ‘no’ to my offer. Tomorrow I intend to speak with a supervisor (not Rich though, someone else), and see about getting Ann off the hook. It’s the least I can do.
This is better than a soap opera, no?