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Union News Express 2013-03
Updated On: May 03, 2013

From the President’s Desk
By John A. Ancona, President

There are two National Disputes from the National APWU that I would like to share with our members.  The first one is a dispute over the PSE caps in Article 7.1.B.3.  Our PSE members have been asking when they will be converted.  This issue is dealt with at the National Level.  I have copied the dispute for you to review.  The second dispute is; should the PSE’s be counted in the clerk craft complement when it comes to Lead Clerk bids.

Brothers and Sisters:

As you all know the USPS is at or over the PSE District Caps in many Districts across the country. Just as was done with casuals before them, District Caps cannot be monitored or enforced locally, that is done at the Headquarters level. We have initiated a dispute (attached) and we are engaged in discussions with the USPS in an attempt to reach an agreement on a standard remedy for these violations. In the event we cannot agree upon a remedy, that issue will be scheduled and heard at this level.

With the upcoming expiration of the VER PSE grace period, the USPS is approaching many local presidents and even NBAs in an attempt to reach an agreement to permit them to continue to exceed the District Cap or alternatively to reach agreement to count certain PSEs as “new work” PSEs so they will not count against the caps. Let me be perfectly clear: 


Postal managers have been successful in getting at least two locals to improperly make such agreements. I have put the USPS on notice at this level that those agreements are NOT VALID inasmuch as the signers of the settlement had no authority to reach such an agreement.

Please pass this information on to your locals as soon as possible, this attempt to undermine our leverage at this level is cropping up all across the country and it must be stopped. Thanks for your assistance on this important matter. I will keep you informed of any progress we make in agreement for an across the board remedy at this level.

In solidarity,
Mike Morris, Director, Industrial Relations
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

Initiate National Dispute

                                                                                                                              March 20, 2013
Sent Via Facsimile First Class Mail

Mr. Doug Tulino
Vice President, Labor Relations
U.S. Postal Service, Room 9014
475 L’Enfant Plaza
Washington, DC  20260

Re: APWU No. HQTG20130201-Violations of the District PSE caps

Dear Mr. Tulino:

In accordance with the provisions of Article 15, Section 2 and 4, of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the American Postal Workers Union is initiating a Step 4 dispute regarding the appropriate remedy for violations of the District PSE caps enumerated in Article 7.1.B.3.

Article 7.1.B.7 requires the USPS to provide a PSE compliance report to the APWU every four week reporting period regarding the number of career employees and PSEs by craft, function, installation and district.  The USPS has been self-reporting PSE cap violations in the International Service Centers (ISCs) since pay period 12 of 2012 and district cap violations in the maintenance craft since pay period 20 of 2012, in the MVS craft since pay period 12 of 2012 and in the clerk craft since pay period 26 of 2012.

The parties have agreed that the district and ISC cap violations will be discussed and remedied at the headquarters level.  Discussions of these violations have been ongoing and the USPS does not dispute the existence of violations, although they have alleged the possibility that some of the self-reported violations may be covered by an alleged “new work” exception in some districts in the maintenance and motor vehicle crafts.

Although the parties have engaged in extensive discussions over the last several months, we have been unable to resolve the question of the appropriate remedy for these acknowledged violations.

Article 15 – 15 Day Statement of Issues and Facts
Re: USPS # Q10C4QC12291235; APWU #HQTC2013 0177

This is the APWU’s statement of facts and issues in the above referenced case.  Time limits were extended by mutual agreement with April 26, 2013, agreed as the date to exchange the 15 day statements.

Whether the USPS violates the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), including, but not limited to Articles 1, 5, 7, 17, 30, 37, the July 2012 JCIM and various MOUs, when the USPS failed to include Postal Support Employees (PSEs) in the “facility clerk craft complement” for purposes of calculating the number of Lead Clerk assignments pursuant to the MOU Re: Clerk Craft Jobs.

The APWU asserts the MOU-Clerk Craft Jobs section 2 is clear contract language as it relates to staffing Lead Clerk duty assignments.  That language states:

“The ratio of Lead Clerk assignments in the clerk craft complement in a facility shall be:
5 to 49 clerks – 1
50-99 clerks – 2
100-199 clerks – 3
200-499 clerks – 4
500 or more clerks – 5 plus 1 for each additional 100 clerks
Lead Clerk assignments may also be established in Retail only offices or stations…”

The USPS has taken the position that Postal Support Employee (PSE) clerks should not be counted in the clerk craft complement for purposes of determining the appropriate staffing level of Lead Clerk duty assignments.  That is the only position brought forward at any of the Step 4 meetings.  

They neither brought forward nor shared any documentation or other evidence to support that position.  The USPS’ position is undermined by the fact that their own national complement program, called WebCOINS, counts PSE clerks as part of the clerk craft complement.

The USPS’ interpretation of the intent of the language is also inconsistent with sound reasoning.  It stands to reason the facilities with a greater number of less experienced non-career employees would need more, and not less, leadership that is provided by Lead Clerks.  The position taken by the USPS in this regard is counter intuitive and not in their own interest.

Finally, the USPS’ position is not consistent with the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU and the overriding theme of the 2010 CBA, which is the concept of bringing the work back to the craft.

Pursuant to Article 7 and the PSE MOU, the only classifications of employees who may work in the Clerk Craft are the career regular (full-time and part-time) employees and PSE non-career clerk employees.  It is this group of employees combined that make up the clerk craft complement in accordance with the 2010 CBA. 

Pursuant to previous CBAs, the non-career work force (casuals) were excluded from the CBA by Article 1.2.  Under the 2010 CBA, the non-career work force is no longer excluded and is a part of the bargaining unit.

The parties have clearly demonstrated the ability to differentiate between career and non-career employees in numerous places in the CBA where there was an intent to do so, including but not limited to Article 1.2, Article 1.4, Article 7.1.B.3, Article 7.1.B.4, Article 7.1.B.8 and Article 37.3.A.1.

Had the parties intended not to count non-career clerks in the clerk craft complement for purposes of determining Lead Clerk staffing, they had the ability to make that intent clear.  The fact that they did not, and instead chose the words clerk craft complement, instead of career clerk craft complement is determinative of this issue.

Lamont Brooks, Case Officer

Maintenance Labor/Management Meeting
By Miguel Salazar, Director Maintenance Craft

Cleanliness of All Facilities  
In a Labor/Management Meeting with maintenance management, the union brought up many issues to include the cleanliness and conditions of all facilities, custodians performing multiple routes, overtime, details, and PSE’s.  The union feels as though the cleanliness of the facilities is due to low staffing levels.  The union brought up filthiness of the restrooms, the dust on the pipes, ducts, etc…

Management feels that the staffing levels are appropriate and the issue is that there is a high level of sick calls.  Management is attempting to hire PSE’s to fill vacancies that are in withholding for Colorado Springs.  They agreed to create 4776 routes in accordance with the MS-47 but also would like to have a checklist for the custodians to ensure that the routes will be done properly. Management is also committed to deep cleaning and reconditioning all of the restrooms.  

The union addressed some issues with overtime in the plant.  The issues stem from a difference of opinion on how overtime should be called on specific machines.  This issue has been appealed to Step 3/Arbitration.  The union requested an agreement between the parties that will offer OJI (On the Job Instruction) training for all machines.  The union also requested that the rotation be called in a more uniform manner. Management is in agreement with both issues and we are discussing a grace period for OJI training.  Any changes to the overtime rotation would not occur until the next quarter.

The union also addressed several issues pertaining to details.  These issues include maintenance employees being tasked with assignments outside of their bid facility.  Management agreed that any assignment outside of the bid facility will be by senior qualified volunteer, and the mandates will be by juniority.  The union is also looking at using the same rules for the details within the bid facilities as well.

Management further stated that they will be implementing employee expectations and with those expectations, employees should expect a closer watch of leave usage, clock rings, breaks (which you may have already noticed) etc….  Please let your union stewards know of any violation of the contract as management attempts to tighten the reigns.   

Read Your 3971’s!
By Chris Arellano, Director Clerk Craft

Time and time again, employees sign 3971’s (Leave Forms) without reviewing what they are signing. Later, the employee is called in for an investigative interview for attendance and what the employee thought was scheduled leave is marked as unscheduled.  I cannot stress this enough; read anything and everything before signing!  Management wants you to blindly sign paperwork and you believe management won’t use it against you.  Well, they will!  If you finished your job and want to leave early, make sure you state in the comments section that you are requesting scheduled leave.  If you write that in, and management approves it, then the leave is scheduled.  Did you know that you can write in what you want on a 3971 and management can approve it or disapprove it.  

You don’t have to sign any form or paperwork you don’t feel comfortable signing!  It is entirely up to you.  If you are called in for FMLA and the 3971 does not reflect the FMLA, it is up to you to write your FMLA number in the comments section and complete the 3971 as you see fit.  If you don’t take care of yourself, you will find yourself in a possible disciplinary situation.

 MVS Update
By Carey Henricks, Director Motor Vehicle Craft

I would like to welcome Jason Evans aboard as a new steward for the DMAL-APWU. Jason will be the steward for the VMF and will cover both shops at this time, along with Gonzo. Any contractual issues can be brought to their attention.

I should have the THS runs ready for review shortly.  If not, I will be initiating a grievance for management being untimely. I want these runs up for bid as soon as possible for the drivers to have an opportunity to bid on them.

Our Western Region NBA, Javier Pineres, is leaving us to pursue a position with National. I would like to wish him good luck with his new position.  Ed Knipe will be the new NBA for our region and I would also like to wish him good luck with his new position. 

Human Relations 
By Phil Desautels, Director Human Relations

I would like to let the membership know that effective immediately, I will be available to represent everyone who desires to proceed with any Reasonable Accommodation requests.  This service will be done similar to EEO Redress Meetings.  If a RAC meeting is being scheduled for anyone who requests it, or accepts a meeting, please contact me at the earliest possible date before the meeting.

The local also has an Executive Board Policy on EEO Redress.  Anyone who desires an EEO Redress must contact myself, Tina Desautels, or Bobby Rollins.  This policy was adopted about four years ago and is designed to represent members as needed when they are discriminated against.  This policy was adopted to give the best possible outcome to our members, and to avoid decisions that would be in conflict with the grievance procedure and the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The EEO Redress representative will produce a better outcome.  Sometimes the Redress meeting does not provide the results that someone was looking for.  In those cases a formal hearing will be requested.  The union will not supply an official advocate for formal hearings.  

I’m hoping these two services will provide more consistent outcomes for everyone.  Please feel free to contact me at 303-365-1524 ext. 12 with any questions. 

opeiu #5





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