Mail carriers win time off for holidays

NEW YORK — They won the battle but the war continues for Florida Jewish postal employees who were denied time off for the High Holy Days.

After receiving phone calls in support of the employees and intervention by the Anti-Defamation League, the manager of the U.S. Postal Service in Coral Springs, Fla., agreed to rework schedules so that anyone who needs the holidays off this year can take them.

There was "enough pressure to give [us] time off," said Sid Gradman, a Jewish postal carrier.

Postal officials declined to comment but Karen Schultz, spokeswoman for the South Florida District Postal Service, said the manager found non-Jewish employees who were willing to switch days off with the Jewish employees.

"Everyone is quite happy with the situation," Schultz said.

The battle began earlier this month when Jewish employees were denied time off for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

According to a postal regulation, no more than six people can take time off on the same day.

Of the nearly 100 people in the office, at least eight are Jewish.

Management claimed that six people had already asked and been approved for those days off.

Schultz had said that the Jewish employees should have put in a request 60 days in advance, the earliest one can ask for a day off.

But the employees argued that under the previous management, they were able to come in anytime and ask for the holidays off and their request would be granted.

The current management took over last year.

Postal carrier Dan Rosner said the manager told him that he didn't like "to give out so much time over something like this."

Rosner said his boss made him feel that it was "bad practice to be a Jewish employee in the Coral Springs post office."

Management has warned the employees that next year they will have to file for the time off 60 days in advance, and then vacation requests will be processed on a first come, first served basis.

Once again, some Jewish employees may have to fight for the time off.

This fight is "not resolved for the future," said Gradman, who hopes something can be done to resolve this issue permanently.

Rosner said he and the other Jewish employees are considering filing a discrimination suit against the post office to ensure that the incident does not recur.