Accountability Day 10

"We, the rescued, Beg you: Show us your sun, but gradually. Lead us from star to star, step to step. Be gentle when you teach us to live again. Lest the song of a bird, Or the pail being filled at the well, Let our badly sealed pain burst forth again.      ----Nelly Sach"

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This year will mark the 10th year anniversary of employees at the USPS seeking accountability against managers whom created the conditions which ultimately led to the shooting at the Royal Oak Post Office on November 14, 1991. The following letter is from Charlie Withers the Chief Steward of the Royal Oak Post Office:

November 14, 2001 will mark the 10th anniversary of the shootings at the Royal Oak Post Office. This tragedy was the result of a hostile work environment, created by postal management and condoned by those in higher positions within the postal service. This militaristic autocratic management style was allowed to go unchecked, even though the Royal Oak District was feeling the "backlash" in service to its patrons.

The actions by postal management during this period (1990-1991), were under investigation by members of Congress due to reports of horrific working conditions being reported to them by employees and lower level managers.

There were also complaints by customers of cutbacks to service which had been provided to them in the past.

The workforce throughout the Royal Oak District was under attack by over zealous managers who used whatever tactics needed to disrupt their lives.

This same group of managers had been investigated in a GAO (Government Accounting Office) investigation done in Indianapolis for the same problems 3 years prior ……and nothing was done!!

They were brought up to the Royal Oak District to spread their acts of aggression against the workforce and to do anything they wanted, in order to "get the numbers".

It isn't as if there wasn't already a group of "wanna be thugs" in Royal Oak, this just made a blending of malcontents being allowed to do whatever they wished to created havoc on anyone that got in their way.

These actions were allowed and condoned by those in higher echelon management positions from Detroit, Chicago, and Washington D.C. They wouldn't end up taking the heat….so why should they care.

They (management) got away with it in Indiana so therefore they must have felt protected in one way or another. To quote one of the mangers at that time, Christopher Carlisle, "Who do you think they (Congressional Investigators) are going to believe a level 5 carrier or a level 25 manager?"

Yes, it was quite apparent by the conditions in Royal Oak, that it was just a matter of time before a tragedy was going to occur. If it wasn't Thomas McIlvane, it would've been someone else!!

This tragedy was preventable months before the shooting occurred. Congressional staffers had met with postal authorities concerning information that they had been sent by employees documenting the worsening conditions. Management continued to ignore these problems and defended those whom were causing the turmoil by saying any problems were being blown out of proportion.

If these managers would have been removed in the beginning even as far back as 1989, when the Indianapolis GAO study had been done, it would have made a difference.

Another way to have avoided this tragedy would have been for the Postal Inspection Service to have provided security. They were contacted 2 days prior, but those who had the position of authorizing either postal Inspectors or Postal Police ignored the pleas for help!!

Why wasn't the national union getting involved when they were made privy to reviewing "the black book" (records kept on complaints throughout the Royal Oak District concerning harassment, threats, and improper actions taken against the workforce?)

For 10 years we've demanded accountability, and for 10 years, nothing has been done!!

There is still autocratic management going on throughout the USPS and nothing is being addressed.

If they would have done something to hold this type of management style accountable after the Royal Oak shooting it may have made a difference. Congress and the national unions did nothing to assure accountability so those who did the dirt escaped justice. They all retired, got promoted, or went out on OWCP due to stress.

On September 15, 1992 I went to the Congressional hearings on the Royal Oak shooting in Washington D.C.. I presented congress with a petition signed by over 100 carriers demanding accountability and informing them that the USPS was attempting to cover up the mishandling of their investigation. The petition read:

STATEMENT OF ROYAL OAK LETTER CARRIERS

September 15,1992

Members of The Subcommittees:

We, the undersigned, are employees at the Royal Oak Post Office. We feel that the hearings scheduled in Washington, D.C. on September 15,1992, should address the events which were allowed to build up and come to a finale on November 14, 1991. All of us have been affected & feel that material has been covered up and not brought to your and others' attention.

Many persons who were "key players" - in the conditions which were allowed in place here - have never been held accountable in any way. Quite the contrary, they have been promoted or shifted to other cities to further their careers. Actions as this only make employees feel that conditions which festered here -could always return - if not here, in other areas!!
We feel the hearings should bring out information on
which has NOT BEEN brought out and needs to be addressed. If it is not, then the word "justice" will be ignored and this cannot be condoned.

People were destroyed and the Royal Oak Post Office's services were practically destroyed because of the "madmen" allowed to control the power and the destinies of so many, this should never happen again...and we feel the hearings should address these actions. The recommendations of the investigators are one thing, but to bring out the truth - is a must.

This was put into the congressional records-what did it do-nothing-No one followed through and addressed our concerns.

That's why it is up to you and me to demand accountability because if we don't "no one will". There shouldn't have to be any more -Royal Oaks-where management created a working hell-and a post office that thumbs it's nose at justice and rewards those who have "done their dirt".

If you would like to join us in Royal Oak be here on the 14th of November. If you support the real accountability day and can't come, send any support through letters or posters signed by those who believe in our fight. Let your local branch and media know about accountability day -wear black arm bands on the 14th of November-let our voices be heard.

For any information on this please contact:

Charlie Withers
P.O. Box # 134
Royal Oak, MI 48068

Phone: 248-546-7179