Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Living in the (postal) past

After the death of my cousin Angelo, I brought out my old VCR from retirement so I could watch the old videos he and I shot of our aviation adventures, as well as some stuff he had recorded.

Angelo loved cartoons, and one he especially enjoyed was called “The Great Pooch-ini,” in which an animated dog conducts an orchestra. I hope to find it on the seven VCR tapes marked “Cartoons” that I received after he died.

I have tapes in the storage unit, and one was marked “Space Shuttle and flying.” It turned out to be a long sequence Angelo and I made when watching the space shuttle take the Galileo space probe into space. The probe eventually went to the planet Jupiter and sent back amazing photos and data.

We saw the launch from Lake Worth beach, and it was great to see Angelo in all his glory.

Then there was a lot of aviating in Cessnas, with me and Angelo taking turns flying and shooting video with my old, large video camera, the one I bought from Sears. By comparison, my current video camera is tiny but takes better pictures. Go figure.

One sequence on the tape is interesting because it shows me at work in the postal facility in West Palm Beach. It’s actually from a WPTV news report on the Christmas rush as the post office, and there’s a brief shot of me sorting mail during a voice over.

What’s amazing is the talk of the surge of mail volume during the holiday season, and the sight of Paul Pickard, who was then the facility’s manager, brought back some memories.

Most top postal brass stayed as far away from the folks who did the actual work as possible. We were not considered human beings by postal management, and they had contact with us all the time, so you can imagine how the managers and administration types saw the people who made it possible for them to sit in their offices and shuffle paperwork.

Pickard became infamous to me when a group of LSM operators, finally driven beyond reason by a mentally disturbed postal manager, went to him as a group to demand that he be removed. I know the person they were protesting against. He was a sexual harasser and all-around jerk who had gone from union rep to 204B to robo-supervisor, and was legendary for his mistreatment of subordinates.

The news that he had been taken off the LSM reached the local newspaper, and Pickard commented that he talked to the workers all the time and was surprised by the protest.

I wrote a letter to the newspaper calling it bullshit, explaining that a person at Pickard’s level never interacted with workers, and that his kind really didn’t care about people – except for his own bosses – because we couldn’t do anything to advance his career.

The supervisor in question was transferred in a “pass the trash” maneuver to another area, where he commenced a new reign of terror.

Pickard, upon seeing the letter, actually called me in for a chat but kept asking me, “What’s the solution?” I told him that he was management and should be able to see it for himself.

Later, he retired into obscurity. It was a shock to see him in the news report, mainly because he was shown in a place he almost never appeared: on the workroom floor.

Based on what I’ve seen at sites like postalnews.com, it looks like not much has changed!

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March 27, 2011 - Posted by | Living in the modern age | , , , , , , ,

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