Since 2009, the USPS has wanted to cut our workforce and reduce the retail footprint using Contract Postal Units (CPUs), approved shippers, and reducing or closing retail operations, which, if successful, would have reduced mail processing and retail/customer service clerks to under 50,000 clerks in each case. However, the clerk complement was 154, 061 in 2011; as of 2022, there are 155,895 employees in the craft -- an increase of 1,834 clerks.
We fought off plant consolidations, attempts to contract-out retail operations, the subcontracting of mail processing, and attempts to reduce or close retail operations. We must face the reality that we are not writing letters, mailing bills, or buying postage like we used to and must shift to customer service, packages, and alternative products and services. We must take back non-managerial and non-supervisory work from EAS employees to create more work opportunities and higher paying jobs.
Where We Stand
Article 37.3.A.1 states, “Every effort will be made to create desirable duty assignments from all available work hours for career employees to bid.” This language has resulted in the creation of new duty assignments, the maximization of PTF clerks, overturning reversions and abolishments, the creation of more desirable duty assignments, and defeating the excessing of clerks.
Article 37.3.A.1 has changed the way the USPS performs Function-4 audits based on earned hours. The USPS is relying on clerk observations. It is very important for clerks to properly perform all of the duties in their position description. The USPS is switching from the timeclock method to utilizing sensor technology and scanners, for more accurate operational moves.
It is important that we apply the Enhanced and Expanded Services MOU, Job Audits MOU, Clerical Work MOU, New Positions and New Work MOU, and the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU to expand our work opportunities. The new 2021 CBA resulted in the Article 8 Task Force MOU, which provides the necessary language to challenge understaffing. The Filling Residual Vacancies MOU provided for all the improvements requested by the delegates at the 2018 convention. PSEs now have automatic conversion rights in all offices except level-4 RMPOs in POStPlan. In exchange they were given 26 hours of additional annual leave. PTF clerks received a one-time opportunity for full-time conversion.
Currently, there are no national-level RI-399 disputes. The parties are waiting on an arbitration decision for the final dispute involving the Automated Delivery Unit Sorter (ADUS). And with the assistance of NBA Bernie Timmerman, we have developed a training manual to assist locals with RI-399 jurisdictional matters.
In Function 7, we negotiated a pilot Telework Agreement at the Customer Care Centers, Customer Retention Team sites, and for the Mailing Requirement Clerks (MRCs). We are pursuing pay upgrades for MRCs and other work opportunities for BMEU clerks, resulting from the reduction of work from Seamless Acceptance.
In Function 4, we are pursuing additional products and services, including passport duties, where we have been negotiating for a higher-level duty assignment. The USPS proposed a new retail clerk position to perform these duties, however it was for level-6 pay. We will challenge the pay-level under sections 233 and 234 of the ELM.
We have also enforced crossing-craft grievances related to injured employees from other crafts, have won Lead Clerk and TACS grievances, including the return of TACS work to the clerk bargaining unit, and were successful with the Jobs MOU, where the USPS failed to post 400 duty assignments, for the PMR/PSE violations in the small offices, Postmasters in level-18 offices, and the improper use of the End of Day button. We will continue to work with Industrial Relations to provide a good, safe, and healthy work environment, free of hostility and harassment, and with dignity and respect.