APWU Web News Article #060-14, April 3, 2014
Postal Support Employees should beware of management’s latest ploy, union leaders are warning: Beginning in April, the Postal Service plans to ask non-career employees to take Voice of the Employee (VOE) surveys.
Management is after a lot more than meets the eye, according to APWU Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy. “What management won’t tell you is that historically the USPS has used the Voice of the Employee data against workers at the negotiating table,” she said. The surveys have been a point of contention between the USPS and APWU since 1998, when management first cited survey data during bargaining; the APWU National Executive Board responded by adopting a resolution opposing “the use of surveys, focus groups, polls, audits, as a means of interviewing employees and union officials to evaluate job-related and internal issues.”
Since the surveys are voluntary, PSEs can decline to complete them – just as career employees do. “If you are handed the survey, remember, it is your mail and you do not have to turn it over to the manager. You can take it home, you can throw it out, or you can turn it in to the union,” Szeredy said.
“Management may try to entice you to take the survey on the clock and grant you 15 minutes to participate,” she added. “But employees should remember: No one is forced to complete the survey. It is voluntary!”
The Postal Service misrepresents the results of surveys, Szeredy said, noting that executive bonuses are based on the results of performance tracking, which includes results from the Voice of the Employee survey. Performance clusters that meet targets, including VOE results, are celebrated as “breakthrough performers,” she said.
In a March 19 letter to the APWU, [PDF] the USPS says that responses by non-career employees will be used to establish” a new baseline for all employees in Fiscal Year2015.”
“2015 is the year of our contract negotiations,” Szeredy pointed out. “Need we say more? Let’s not give them any baseline. Boycott the Voice of the Employee survey. If the USPS really cared about non-career employees wouldn’t they have offered better wages, decent benefits and a true path to career employment in the last negotiations?”
Employees who have questions and/or feel pressure to complete the survey, see your local union representative immediately, she said