Thursday, February 15, 2007

You Are Fired!

About 40 years ago the Atlanta Post Office’s Postmaster was a man we will call Gregory. I’m not sure Gregory knew about the flow of mail, that was what his lieutenants were for. However, Gregory was an excellent speaker. He knew how to dazzle employees with statistics giving meaning to their jobs.

I remember when I was among the 50 or so new employees that sat quietly as he spoke to us. He said if the growth trend continues at its present rate, in another 50 years they will need the same amount of employees in the Atlanta Post Office, as they are citizens in Atlanta now. Isn’t that impressive? And it was also job security. However, what we didn’t know, as he spoke, they were working on automation.

He went on to say there are people in Atlanta very sick that needs their medicines. He said if they don’t receive their medicine through the mail in a timely fashion they will die. He said when one of them doesn’t receive their medicine when it is suppose to arrive they get on the phone and call him and he gets to the bottom of it (he banged on the podium angrily)!

“Gosh!!! What a nice heroic man wise man!” we were pumped up think. He was very inspirational. Also, that was all hot air.

Gregory’s true self came out several times before he retired when I worked in Atlanta.

Of course the getting the mail to people is a 24 hour operation. The bulk of clerks that sorted the mail by various ways worked at night.

On more than one occasion at the Federal Annex, where most the mail went through then, Gregory appeared in the middle of the night wearing Bermuda shorts, and a golf go-to-hell hat carrying a golf club. The floor managers would walk with him. He pointed at various black people men and women, and say “fire him, fire him, fire her, fire him, fire those two…” and so on. Then he would go to the next floor and repeat the process.

Whoever he pointed at a supervisor in the know would go tell the person to go sit in the break room until he came and got them. Most of the them knew the game and knew and knew it would be a good time to sit around and watch TV. If they were knew and didn’t know, when they were “temporarily fired” somebody told them the game.

Gregory never told them to fire a white person.

On one such firing a new aggressive young tall blond girl observed and overheard Gregory saying “fire that person with the hat on and that one with the red shirt and…” and saw the supervisor go tell the employee something and they would leave.

She came to their rescue. She walked up to the postmaster and ask why were he firing them, they were working like they were supposed to. He was speechless! Nobody talked back to the Postmaster, leader of 8000 employees. He was furious and sputtering. He left the workroom floor.

But he didn’t leave without telling a supervisor he wanted her name.

Later in the morning a supervisor walked up to her and told her to report to the Postmaster’s office.

She went. The outer office where the secretary and gopher sit was empty. She heard noises in the inner office. She went in. There he was sitting there steaming. He chewed her out saying she was fired and fussed back saying she was going to report him and they were screaming at each other and he was moving around in his chair so heavily, it tilted over and fell.

Then he started vomiting. He got vomit all over his face and clothes, stood up again, and told her she was fired, get out, and then fell again.

The girl left. When she walked out to the outer office the secretary was coming in. She told the secretary that she needed to call an ambulance the postmaster was very sick.

The next night she went back to work, as if nothing had happened, and except telling a lot of people, like me, the incidence was never spoken about again. She was still there when I transferred to Marietta in 1981.

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Blogger kenju said...

What happened to him?

She was right for confronting him! Good for her.

11:05 AM  
Blogger ET said...

The last I heard after he retired he was appointed to the Postal Board of Governors (I think that is what it is called). They meet about twice a year, get a big salary, and they decide where there will be a rate increase or not. Of course there will be, to pay their big salaries!

11:15 AM  

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