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carace16  
#1 Posted : Monday, July 28, 2008 1:31:50 AM(UTC)
carace16

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Posts: 4

Hello, everyone.
I am scheduled to take the RCA test this friday, now I'm not sure if I should even start a postal career again. I was a data conversion op. back in NJ when I didnt have kids and it was a night shift which I didnt mind. I younger kid is 7 and I will like to start a part-time job but at the same time I want to be there for my kids.
Can someone tell me whats a RCA day or week is like? as far as how many hours to put a day or a week? how early your day starts and how late it ends? do you work weekends? What is the duty of a RCA. Please help me decide. Thanks
mom2cole  
#2 Posted : Monday, July 28, 2008 9:01:05 AM(UTC)
mom2cole

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I just started working as an RCA, I sub for a regular on their days off, usually Saturday and when they have vacations ect... Usually just Saturday's, I go in between 6:30am and 7am and I am done around 3:30pm. I don't mind it since I am off with my kids pretty much all week. I was told in my office I wouldn't get a regular route for maybe 3 years, which is fine with me since my kids are 4 and 6.
hot_burrito_1  
#3 Posted : Monday, July 28, 2008 12:53:13 PM(UTC)
hot_burrito_1

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I worked 6 days a week when I was an RCA. The office I was at had a shortage of RCA's. I worked nearly every Saturday and some Sundays and holidays for expresses. After I got an aux route, I was not allowed to work on Sundays or Holidays per contract. I went in at 7:30 every morning and got off at around 6 nearly every day. I rarely took any days off (can count the number of days I asked off on two hands). I made more money as an RCA than as a regular because I could carry extra routes and pickup outgoing mail at contract offices. I went regular in January and took a pay cut.

Contrary to what everybody thinks, RCA's are truly the backbone of any post office. They do more work in a given day at the office I work at than anyone else. Many of them know 15 or more routes. In my case I knew either in the office or on the street 37 routes. Most were high density L-routes (12 boxes or more per mile) and I was the only carrier in that office who knew all 5 of the non-L routes (Less than 12 boxes per mile). There were days I cased two full routes and then went out (left at 1:00 or later) and carried the route I was assigned on that day.

Management is kind of rough on RCAs. There are some RCAs that are better than regulars. The subs can carry my route faster than I can. Sadly, management bullies rural carriers and RCAs (in my experience). In the office I work in, the rurals don't really have a breakroom. We consider the picnic table with the tree next to it outside our breakroom.

Go ahead and take the test. It can't hurt anything at all. If you score high enough, you'll be hired pending passing the drug test, physical, and background check.

Keep in mind, most offices are not like the office I work in. Many offices are not short handed on carriers. However, RCA's can work in different offices when they are not needed at their primary office. If you need anything else, please ask. There are no stupid questions. Somebody on here will have an answer for you.
rjackson000  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, July 29, 2008 4:27:40 AM(UTC)
rjackson000

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I was an RCA for 7 years, while my my children were young and it worked out great. The first couple of years I worked Mondays and Saturdays with a day or two during the week. My regular was cool and always called to let me know when he was taking off so I could plan for daycare. Once I got higher in seniority I got more work and worked almost daily
Plan on working Saturdays if your primary is a Mon. that is almost guaranteed!
carace16  
#5 Posted : Saturday, August 02, 2008 8:33:21 AM(UTC)
carace16

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Thanks to all who took the time to read my post and answer it.
Do they send RCA to remoted areas?, what kind of mail do they deliver that a regular mailperson cant do? I guess what I'm trying to find out is what exactly a RCA do?
Please someone answer.
thanks
lovaral  
#6 Posted : Saturday, August 02, 2008 10:59:29 AM(UTC)
lovaral

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quote:
thank you

Thanks to all who took the time to read my post and answer it.
Do they send RCA to remoted areas?, what kind of mail do they deliver that a regular mailperson cant do? I guess what I'm trying to find out is what exactly a RCA do?
Please someone answer.
thanks


You can pretty much do anything they ask of you. Just the other day I was scheduled to do APC (Automated Postal Center) "helper" in our lobby, for a 5 hr shift starting at 8 am. 2 hrs later I was pulled to deliver a route that was already cased. On top of that they needed help with express mail, so I delivered 4 pieces of express mail before I started my route. I've been asked to run my route that i sub for and parts of 2 others before. I run parcels at christmas time, even on sundays. So to answer your question, you can do lots of things.

Yes you will probably go to some remote areas depending on witch office you are at.

The key is if you are in a bigger office that is a express mail hub and has a lot of rural routes, if you want to get hours NEVER turn anything down if you get called to cover. I have been an RCA for 2 1/2 yrs and probably won't get regular for anothe 6 yrs. So I try to work as much as I can. Hope this helps you
FLrca07  
#7 Posted : Sunday, August 03, 2008 12:30:28 AM(UTC)
FLrca07

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I was hired in Sept/Oct as an RCA. Going from 10.00/hr to almost 18.00/hr was awesome, especially working the 6 days a week- 7 days for 2 weeks before Christmas because of the express/parcels on Sundays. BUT, save some of that money! I remember being SO tired and exhausted and LOVING the $1500 paycheck, but this summer stinks!!!! The slow down began in June for me. Had I known I'd drop down to 3 days every 2 weeks in the summertime, I would've saved definately. If the post office goes down to 5 days a week, it's going to hurt a lot more- so my advice would be save a bit each nice paycheck just for summer months : )
hot_burrito_1  
#8 Posted : Sunday, August 03, 2008 6:44:34 AM(UTC)
hot_burrito_1

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RCAs are the backbone of the post office and the most taken for granted employees of the post office. They have no benefits, no insurance, and no paid leave or sick time. Anybody that disagrees needs to be an RCA for a month. I was an RCA for a little over 2 years. I worked 11 hours a day, 6 days a week for nearly the entire time I was an RCA.

I enjoy serving my customers. I'll take a bad day on the street before a good day in the office. RCA's do the exact same work that the regular rural carrier does when the rural carrier has a day off or is out on leave.

Sadly, the union (NRLCA) is getting nowhere with higher up post office management as far as getting RCA's benefits and paid time off. I think, and all the rural carriers in my office think, that RCA's should be made PTF or given paid time off and insurance. In the office I work in, all of the RCA's are working more than 40 hours a week. All those hours are not by choice, but out of necessity.

I wish there were more that could be done for the RCA's. We passed favorable resolutions for RCA's at the Texas Rural Letter Carriers Association State Convention. If all of the other states can get together and agree with those resolutions, maybe more can be done for RCAs.

In the local union I am a member of, we encourage RCAs to come to the meetings and give us their input. After all, they are the future of the post office. They have to allow all employees, except TRCs, union time. They also have to allow RCAs to be off work early enough to go to the union meetings.
debs822  
#9 Posted : Monday, August 04, 2008 2:23:50 AM(UTC)
debs822

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It depends on the office you work in as to how many days you work. Normally, an RCA covers Saturday (sometimes, but rarely, Monday) It depends which day the regular carrier takes off each week. Then, whenever the regular carrier takes vacation time or days off, you cover the route. You do all the same duties on those days as a regular carrier.
They can make you learn other routes in the office, depends on the situation in the office you'll be working in. That wouldn't happen right away, though. Most offices are really helpful and they want to keep you there, so they won't load you down with learning too much right away.
In the beginning when you are learning the route, your days will be longer, but as time goes on and things get easier, your days will be shorter.
Being an RCA really is a flexible job for the most part. I've been one for 10 years now, and most of the time I've been able to pick and choose the days I work. Now, I love to work, so I don't pass many of them days up.
carace16  
#10 Posted : Monday, August 04, 2008 7:44:27 AM(UTC)
carace16

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Posts: 4

hey debs, thanks
I currently work at my kids school just for 5 hrs. so I'm home when they are out, but the pay is sad. So I wanted to apply for RCA position but was not sure on how a typical day would be.
It seems like is basically covering for who is ever is out.
I want to make sure that I'll be out by 3pm the latest...but for what i've been reading its pretty much how much work there is at a certain office you are assign to..it can be a from a few hours to more than 8 hours a day. I dont think it will work for me now.
debs822  
#11 Posted : Tuesday, August 05, 2008 6:45:38 AM(UTC)
debs822

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It doesn't sound like it would work. Somedays you might be out by 3:00, but you can never count on being done by a certain time....NEVER. Just when you think there's gonna be no mail...BAM, and you could very well be there 9 or 10 hours.
Try again when your kids get older. It is a hard job, but I really enjoy it MOST of the time.
Good luck whatever you do!
Deb
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