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What's New at DMAL-APWU 229
Express 2014-06 Special Maintenance Issue


by Ben Pesina, Maintenance Craft Director

By now, many of you have heard about the two hour time change that will be implemented in January.  We met with maintenance management last Thursday.  The information we left with is that there are nine Electronic Technicians, three MPE’s, and six custodians on Tour 2 whose reporting times will be changed by two hours.  Instead of reporting at 0650, they will be reporting at 0450.  Management agreed that they will ask the senior employees if they want the change, before mandating the junior employee. Management wants two ET/Mechanics for M-F and one ET/Mechanic for Saturday and one for Sunday. The six custodians would be for Monday through Saturday.  No one’s days off nor tours will be affected. Operations plan is to shut down numerous DB’s at 0400 and restart them at 0800. Maintenance management is trying to accommodate their scheduling.

Your maintenance stewards are looking for supervisors and/or managers that are falsifying records.  If they are signing off your uncompleted routes, you can get the documentation and give it to your steward.  Whether you or someone else signs them off or partials them, it is falsifying documentation.  It is your job.  All man hours constitute man years.  Don’t just sign off your job.  Management does a new staffing package every year, at least.  Next year, you might be one less.  The new staffing package for 2015 should be completed by March.

Of the five positions that were posted for a start time of 1950, two of them were filled. The plan is to fill the remaining three.

Another plan is to shut down 11 DBs, all of the 990s and a few more, effective January 10, 2015. These programs will be incorporated into the other machines. Maintenance management does not foresee any drastic changes in the maintenance department because of the elimination of these machines.

There are other works in the fire that sound drastic.  I’m not even going to go there.  If the time comes and it seems to be more factual, I will let you know. Understand that any and all information in this article can change tomorrow. We, the union, do not make postal policy.

Colorado Springs scheduled closing date is now July 2015.

Remember just 10 years ago that we had four clerks that maintained all of the stamp machines throughout the Denver Metro Area.  They were domiciled at the North Pecos Station, before that effective system was destroyed.  The machines were eliminated and so were the four vending machine jobs. The amount of revenue that was eliminated from that premeditated decision is astronomical.  If you shop at Costco, they will ask you at the checkout line if you want to buy stamps right there, at a much cheaper price than at the Post Office. That’s unheard of, to have someone else sell the product you manufacture cheaper than what you can,  and you can’t do anything about it.

What you are seeing here in Denver is what is happening around the nation. Headquarters is determined to privatize the USPS.  A key factor in their diabolical plan is to turn the American public against USPS employees.  Remember just 10–15 years ago, management would man more than one station at our post offices. If a line was developing, station management would open more stations to provide our services for the public.  Many of the clerks were on a first name basis with their steady customers. Customers would go to the Post Office because they felt comfortable.  Management would provide better service knowing that these actions were generating revenue so that we could continue functioning.  Now, most of the time you’ll see at least three stations in a post office, but only one will be functioning and the lines are long.  The lobby will lack proper custodial maintenance, mainly due to the lack of proper staffing and managing.  The lobby is extremely deficient in aesthetics; there is one painter and one carpenter for the GMF, MPA, Holly Building, 28 stations and branches and numerous associate offices, totaling  approximately three million square feet.

To add insult to injury, the post offices are increasingly deficient in HVAC and efficient lighting.  During the recent cold spell about three weeks ago, Sullivan did not have heat for at least three days.  There were also other post offices lacking in heat during that time. Would you go in there to mail a parcel?  When I was a BEM in the field just six years ago, the Denver stations and branches had four BEMs and six MM7s.  Now they have three or four BEMs and no MM7s.  The result is that the BEMs main duties are to change locks.  Their core duties of performing HVAC and electrical work are only performed if there is a breakdown. The routes have been methodically eliminated and/or suspended. Only pathetic management would allow that to happen and continue. As a union, grievances have been filed and have been dismissed because management has the right to mismanage under Article 3 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement. Pathetic managers from Headquarters and Area condone and promote this plan. District managers and supervisors implement this plan.

Our recourse is to call OSHA or other outside agencies when we believe that a legitimate violation is occurring. If the violation is not an emergency, document the infraction by filling out 1767s (Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition) and make a copy for our maintenance stewards.  If we get enough on a certain issue, we can address it.  It’s all about documentation. We have to prove that management’s mismanagement is affecting our health and working conditions to the extent that an outside agency can justify getting involved.  Those agencies that can help, have also been downsized.  We just can’t cry wolf.  Just complaining will not change the circumstances.  Look up those agencies on the internet to find out what a real complaint is.  The union cannot effectively fight this battle without your help.

Management plans to implement the MS-47 TL-5 staffing here in Denver, the first part of next year.  I do not see that happening, at this point, unless everyone moves fast.  A lot of key factors have to be in place for that to happen. Part of the agreement is that management and the union will do the staffing package together.  This means that both parties will have to be trained on how to do the staffing.  Management has had some training.  To my knowledge, the union has had no structured training.  Regardless, when they do implement it, it will incorporate “team cleaning”.


Team Cleaning is a methodology for systematically cleaning all facility areas using specialists that are responsible for specific cleaning tasks. Each custodian may perform one or more of the specialist functions during any work period as assigned to satisfy facility needs. The structure of the Team Cleaning assignments enables custodians to work as a team, cleaning the facility with less equipment and at greater efficiency. Routes are structured in such a way that a custodian performs only the assigned specialist tasks to complete their route.  Each specialist performs the same cleaning tasks in multiple spaces.  Each specialist’s function is associated with a distinct color-code defining the tools and chemicals utilized.  Specific tasks performed by each specialist are identified in the Performance Tables listed in Sections 13 and 14 of this handbook. Each custodian may perform one or more of the specialist’s work during their work day.

For those of you that are affected by your coworkers that do not perform their work the way you believe they should, your life will become much more stressful.   It is management’s responsibility to manage effectively. The union does not manage craft employees.  Neither you nor the union can control how someone else performs their job.  We usually end up cleaning up the messes and trying to create a non-hostile working environment.  My hope is that you realize and remember who causes these disturbances. Also keep in mind what entity is here to help.  There is no one else.  If you don’t like your representatives, get involved.  Remember when you want to get rid of your representative, who is going to take their place?  Think about it.  You are the union.

With all of what you have just finished reading, even though it is negative, it is the truth that we are living in.  The only way we can change this destructive course is to support your union.  Who else do you see trying to save your job and even more important, save the United States Postal Service?

When you see the aftermath of a tornado or a flood or any other disaster on your television, do you see people talking on their cell phones?  Do you see people sending an email on their laptops?  No, you see a USPS vehicle or a postal employee navigating around the debris so that he can deliver precious communication that can’t be delivered any other way. When the electricity goes out and you cant pump the gas in your vehicle to get to your family, you really can send a letter and get a reply to find out how they are doing.  We have been delivering the mail for hundreds of years.  Remember the last stand to be able to communicate is the USPS.  Spread the word.  Tell your family members to get involved . Your political representatives can change the course we’re on.  It doesn’t matter what party you believe in, if you even believe in any party at this point.  Chip in and save your jobs and the USPS.

Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Co-Workers  

by Muriel Ponder, Maintenance Steward

A situation is brewing in the ranks of one craft that has an employee wanting to file against another employee.  I would like to address a few points regarding this.  To begin, the UNION never participates in an action against a member or a potential member.  If you have a complaint against a coworker, go to your immediate supervisor and bring up your concerns.  Take it to the next level only when you are certain nothing has been done. 

Remember, if you do not see discipline in action, it does not mean your concern is not addressed.  Discipline is private, not public.  Ask, if you must, if the supervisor has taken steps to address your concern.  You are free to ask the union to help resolve the issue, but it will only be in the role of negotiating peace.  If you complain of a hostile work environment, harassment or threats, it is the responsibility of management to investigate and to determine a plan of action.  Be absolutely certain that YOU are not part of the problem. 

Be aware that your actions will also be scrutinized carefully.  Before you accuse others of creating a hostile work environment, question whether your behavior is a contributing factor.  Just because another employee chooses not to be a part of your at work social group is not an act of hostility.  Just because someone has a different way of getting the job done is not an act of hostility.  Just because you don’t get a warm, fuzzy feeling about someone is not a reason to call them names, put them down or to undermine them in any way.  Think of how it feels if someone does that to you, and don’t perpetuate bad behavior.   If you have ever suffered harassment, you never forget the pain it causes.  If you have felt that pain, do not stand by and let others inflict that pain on someone.

The Service pays us to work together.  Postal management is committed to a non-hostile work environment.  I heartily recommend you not test their resolve.  New ways of accomplishing the job are going to be introduced next year in the plant and people will be working in teams.  We all get paid a fair wage for what we do, that would be difficult to match in the private sector.  Our job descriptions do not include a requirement to like or be liked.  You do not have to like your coworkers, but you must find a way to be professional in your interactions.  Instead of going along and fanning the flames of discontent, be a leader and set an example as a peacemaker.  

The Infamous Email

by Bradley Windholz, Maintenance Steward

Yes, it is true.  Higher management stated it is the responsibility for every supervisor and manager to hold their employees accountable for route completions.   Higher management also stated that “appropriate” action should be taken to employees that are not “clearing” their tasks and informing their supervisor. 

CBA 34.A - The Principle Of A Fair Day’s Work For A Fair Day’s Pay Is Recognized By All Parties…We, in maintenance, should be performing the tasks, not just clearing them.  We should only “clear” the tasks when we perform the task.  We should also hold management accountable. 

In maintenance, we should have an idea of time a task should take, but we also realize that other factors come into play (stripped bolts, excessive worn parts, computer connections problems to name a couple).  Someone somewhere assigned times to the ECBM route.  These time keepers probably had all needed parts on hand before the clock started.  These time keepers probably worked on clean nearly new equipment.  This time standard may be accurate, but it may not.  Perform the tasks at a reasonable safe rate.  According to the CBA 34.B – The Employer agrees that any work measurement systems or time or work standards shall be fair, reasonable and equitable.  Management should provide us with the proper amount to time to perform our duties.  How can you perform 20 ECBM hours of PMs in a two hour maintenance window?

We, in maintenance, should have a general knowledge of the piece of equipment we are performing maintenance on.  According to the CBA 38.6 all maintenance craft job training opportunities will be offered first to the senior qualified volunteer within the occupational group, level and tour where the need for the skills exists.  If you require training, request it.  Be Safe!  If you are unfamiliar with the piece of equipment, How can you complete your duties?  If you cannot complete your duties, Why would you “clear” the tasks?

According to the CBA 38.7.A – The employer will provide adequate tools, tool kits, equipment on a charge-out basis to those employees who require such items for the performance of their assigned function.  If you need a special tool or piece of equipment to complete an ECBM task, Management WILL provide (again refer to CBA 38.7.A).  If management fails to provide the proper tool / equipment, How can you perform your job?  If you can’t complete your job, How can you complete your assigned duties?  If you don’t complete your assigned duties, Why would you “clear” the tasks?  

Finally the union feels that there should be communication between the employee and his/her supervisor.  The employee should inform the supervisor how much time is needed to perform the ECBM.  The employee should inform the supervisor if he/she requires more training.  The employee should inform the supervisor if he/she requires more or a special tool.  If the employee is unable to complete all assigned task, Yes the employee should notify supervisor and only sign off on the tasks he/she does complete.

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