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Surviving the USPS “Alphabet Soup” with the Help of RI-399
Nov 17, 2023

Surviving the USPS “Alphabet Soup” with the Help of RI-399

Lamont Brooks

September 18, 2023

The number of changes and additions to the USPS dictionary of acronyms can be overwhelming, such as S&DC, RPDC, LPC, and Transfer Hubs, to name a few. This is nothing new and we have survived these types of reorganizational movements in the past – SCFs, GMFs, AMFs, AMCs, and AMPs. Mail processing is still mail processing, even though it is more mechanized than before, and the provisions of RI-399 and the contractual agreements are still controlling. But we still have to fight to protect our work.

The June 26, 2018 RI-399 Update MOU – what does it mean locally?

It is imperative that we are vigilant as clerks. Often, we hear complaints that clerks do not want to perform certain tasks, and maintain that the work is mail handler work. All work can be considered clerk work. We must stay vigilant and not give our work away.

One of the most important issues resolved in the Update MOU was the opportunity to update the local RI-399 inventories. A completed and agreed upon inventory sets the guidelines for work assignments by operation numbers and functions. A completed and agreed upon inventory is binding on all three of the local parties represented in the Local Dispute Resolution Committee (LDRC).

Paragraph 13 of the Update MOU provides for the required LDRC meetings each month. The LDRC members have the authority to reschedule the meeting, but not totally ignore it. We must enforce the language of paragraph 13a. If either of the two parties fail to meet this obligation, then the APWU LDRC representative should file a local dispute with the LDRC. And if management fails to schedule the monthly meetings, an Article 15 grievance should be filed for noncompliance. Paragraph 13a also provides language that protects time limits. If this monthly meeting does not occur because one or two of the parties refuses to meet, any party may refer this refusal to meet to their Regional Dispute Resolution Committee (RDRC). If the monthly meeting does not occur, the disputing union has the right to appeal the dispute to the RDRC without time limits.

If there are violations of the local jurisdictional assignments per the inventory, the violated union has the right to file Article 7 cross-craft grievances. A completed and agreed upon inventory is controlling and should resolve these issues at the local level. The Update MOU also provides protection so these issues cannot be improperly referred to the Dispute Resolution Process (DRP), unless properly done so at Step 3.

We are currently experiencing “excessing” in the Clerk Craft with the creation of the S&DCs. These facilities have been determined by USPS management to be Function 4 (F4) facilities. The RI-399 DRP provides us with arguments to protect our work. Two issues that will be challenged in these F4 facilities are the Small Delivery Unit Sorter (SDUS) and spreading the mail to carrier routes. The USPS has issued a national jurisdictional determination on the SDUS in F4, giving that work to clerks. Our position on spreading the mail to carrier routes is that if clerks are being excessed into the S&DC, the jurisdiction of spreading the mail should follow them. Going back to 1992, the DRP RI-399 provides guidance, jurisdictional assignments shall not be changed solely based on moving operation(s) into a new facility. If jurisdictional assignments existed in a previous facility; they shall be carried forward into the new facility, except where operational changes result.

Local leaders must be familiar with the RI-399 process and the training manual that the Clerk Craft has provided. USPS management is improperly reverting clerk bid duty assignments. Contract enforcement and our vigilance are our best protections of clerk work. â– 

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