Officials with the United States Postal Service (USPS) are taking steps to fire three-Mt. Airy-based postal carriers caught drinking on the job by a Philadelphia television station.
The federal agency has recently filed for the removal of Rudy Gray, Melvin Ingram and an un-identified postal carrier, according to local representatives of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), a union for mailmen. In the meantime, the trio remains on leave without pay.
Caught on tape
Gray and Ingram were featured in a Fox29 investigation that secretly filmed the uniformed pair drinking several beers at McMenamin’s Tavern before returning to their USPS vehicles. The third mailman, whose identity has not been released, was not part of the late-night report.
Postal union gets involved
The postal union is backing the carriers. NALC Branch 157 has filed grievances with the Postal Service in an effort to save the veteran postal carriers from losing their jobs. The union is also encouraging the men to attend an employee assistance program available to all USPS employees.
NALC Branch President Randy Zebin privately disclosed the union efforts to neighbors during a recent meeting of the Mt. Airy-Nippon-Bryan-Cresheim Town Watch. Some of the residents there organized a petition in support of Gray’s reinstatement. A smaller cluster of nearby neighbors from the 300 block of Wellesley Road drafted a letter in support of the same for Ingram. Members of both groups attended Thursday’s meeting.
The union requested that media not attend the regularly scheduled monthly meeting, but afterwards released information about the discussion.
Zebin also said Thursday that petitions and letters on the men’s behalf cannot hurt NALC’s efforts open up lines of communication with USPS and told residents to make sure the union has copies of all support materials.
This is the first offense for each of the mailmen, according to the union. While the men could be fired, Zebin believes the men still have a chance. He told residents the entire matter could be settled or worked out in arbitration.
Officials with USPS said the federal agency does not comment on administrative actions.
Some neighbors call for second chance
Neighbors who attended the meeting released a statement that affirmed their hopes that USPS reinstates the men. “The letter carriers are part of our community, and we care about them. They made mistakes and admit that what they did was wrong. We believe that they deserve a second chance.”
All three men worked out of the post office at 5209 Greene St. in Germantown.