USPS cautions staff on media inquiries
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Sep 02, 2020
Postal employees are being instructed not to speak to the media, according to leaked memos obtained by Motherboard from postal workers in two districts.
The nearly identical memos to employees in the Appalachian District and the Greater Michigan District warned staff that the U.S. Postal Service needs to speak with one voice: "It is imperative that one person speaks on behalf of the Postal Service to deliver an appropriate, accurate and consistent message to the media."
The memo advises employees how they should handle media inquiries – find out what the question is, the name of the reported and the media organization — and tells them to forward the information to a USPS communications specialist who will contact the reporter with an appropriate response.
It also warns staff not to be tempted to just “answer a few questions” because “while most media members identify themselves upfront, sometimes they do not.” Before answering questions from postal customers, staff should ask whether the customer is a member of the media to ensure that anything that local worker may say is not reported as an official USPS position.
Curiously, the memo cautions against speaking not only to traditional newspapers, radio and television outlets, but also responding to social media posts on Twitter and Facebook.
“Well-run organizations don't try and stop employees from talking, an especially fruitless endeavor for the USPS which has a 630,000-strong heavily unionized workforce,” Motherboard said. “Typically, well-run organizations try and fix the problems the employees are talking about instead.”