Garland D. Lewis Sr. worked for the United States Postal Service for thirty-three years, a career he questioned from his first day on the job. During the entire time he worked for the USPS, Lewis encountered supervisors whose “autocratic and abusive management style was offensive and threatening to employees,” he says. “Many times, it reached levels of criminal behavior, with management personnel stalking individuals and denying many of their civil rights.”
Lewis discusses his supervisors at great length in his book, The Truth Behind Going Postal: Surviving the Torture in The United States Postal Service (CreateSpace, 326 pp. $21.95, paper; $4.99, Kindle). “Their arrogance defines them,” he writes.
After four years as a Navy aircraft technician, Lewis took a job with the Postal Service in 1980 because, at that time, he writes, it was “one of the few places, if not the only one, where black people could earn a salary that allowed them to live a middle-class life style.” His goal was “a stable career with a future.”
Lewis describes himself as “hard rock muscles with five percent body fat,” a man weighing 255 pounds who “kept to [himself] and respected the distance of others as they did with [him].” His independence, however, conflicted with USPS supervisors who demanded absolute submissiveness from workers at his level.
Deprived on the job of his rights, Lewis saw no recourse but to file grievance after grievance. He tells a repetitious story of confrontations: discrimination, intimidation, documentation, accusation, retaliation, investigation, termination, examination, negotiation, arbitration, and mediation.
Lewis encountered police officers—who jailed him—and judges who favored his supervisors. Similarly, agencies designed to support his rights such as the EAP (Employees Assistance Program), EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), CRC (Civil Right Commission), and NAACP either sided with management or ignored him.
Lewis’ only help came from the American Postal Workers Union and lawyers to whom he paid thousands of dollars.
In a rare burst of humor, Lewis calls his dilemma as “Drowning in the Alphabet Soup of Equal Rights Agencies.”
Because he followed the rules and his tormentors did not, ultimately Lewis prevailed, but just barely. Reading the book wore me out. But it lives up to its subtitle.
The books’ website is https://thetruthbehindgoingpostal.com/