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MVS Craft Information
Oct 02, 2017

Postal Vehicle Service Scanning Duty Settlement Reached


09/28/2017 - On August 31, the APWU Motor Vehicle Service Craft Division and the USPS came to a settlement for case numbers Q10V-4Q-C 16466169/HQTV20160275, Q10V-4Q-C 15300453/HQTV20150846 and Q10V-4Q-C 16466163/A19V20160276.

The issue concerns the deployment of scanners to Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) drivers, as part of the Surface Visibility (SV) program. The issue initially arose in 2006, when the USPS first introduced the SV program that included scanning. Since then, there have been numerous conversations and disputes concerning the assigning of scanning duties between the parties.

Highlights of the settlement are:

  • PVS drivers will receive adequate training in order to operate the scanners.
  • The scans will accurately reflect the data the employees are supposed to scan and the employees will not be instructed to make improper scans.
  • The scanners are not an accountable item and the employee will only be held accountable for the scanners according to the language in Article 28.
  • Scan data will not be the sole basis for adjustments to routes or disciplinary action. Scan data may be used in conjunction with other data to support or refute discipline.

“The issue of scanning has been a much talked about subject in the MVS Craft for several years,” said MVS Director Michael O. Foster. “The intent of this settlement is to provide the PVS operators with rules and protection for scanning.”

This settlement, and accompanying letters, only pertain to Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) drivers in the MVS Craft.

 PDF (1.15 MB)

Sep 13, 2017

USPS Concedes that Schedule
Examiner Work is Bargaining Unit Work

(This article first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2017 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

By Motor Vehicle Service Craft Directors 

As we mentioned in a previous article, the union put its case for preserving the Schedule Examiner Vehicle Runs position before Arbitrator Shyam Das on Feb. 27 as the first case on the docket this year. As a long-standing issue, we considered this case an important step in preserving skilled Motor Vehicle Service work. It was the union’s position that the Postal Service was in violation of Article 1.6 of the National Agreement by assigning work normally performed by the Schedule Examiner to supervisory and Executive and Administrative Schedule employees; the Postal Service took the position that the case should be bifurcated on the grounds of arbitrability.

On June 7, Arbitrator Das ruled that the APWU and the Postal Service do not have an interpretive dispute of general application over the assignment of Schedule Examiner work. The case did not go forward, but the arbitrability hearing scored us an important victory nonetheless.

The union pointed out that Schedule Examiner work exists in all offices where there is a Postal Vehicle Service operation, but there are very few incumbent Schedule Examiners.

In response, the Postal Service conceded that:

“The Postal Service does not dispute that Schedule Examiner work is bargaining unit work, and that supervisors and EAS employees cannot perform bargaining unit work unless one of the exceptions provided for in Article 1.6 applies.”

Article 1.6 exceptions include:
1. Emergency;
2. For the purpose of training or instruction of employees;
3. To assure the proper operation of equipment;
4. To protect the safety of employees;
5. To protect the property of the USPS.

So while Arbitrator Das determined that the case is not arbitrable, the more important point is that the parties are in agreement that Schedule Examiner work belongs to the bargaining unit. National Motor Vehicle Service Craft Director Michael Foster, reacting to the decision, stated: “The concessions made by the Postal Service to get this result will give our local officers what they need to file successful grievances over these Article 1.6 violations.” The Arbitrator’s decision not to move forward with this case, therefore, is not a loss for the union but rather a significant tool we can use in our ongoing efforts to preserve skilled work in the Motor Vehicle Service Craft. 

Air Conditioning Repairs

Earlier this summer, we sent out a letter to the locals in reminder of the following management instruction to the field concerning the timely repair of PVS vehicles with air conditioning:

“During summer months or times when the temperature is expected to exceed 75 degrees, these vehicles must have the air conditioning system repaired within one week from the date the VMF is notified. In the event parts must be ordered to perform the repair, the vehicle may be placed back in service for a period of up to one week until the parts are received. When the heat index is above 100, the vehicle must be repaired immediately and not delayed for the one week. Parts must be ordered in an express manner when the weather conditions are expected to exceed 75 degrees. Air conditioning repairs may be postponed until the scheduled maintenance occurs when that delay would exceed the one week time frame if temperatures are projected to remain below 75 degrees for the entire time until the next scheduled maintenance.”

What we’d like to know from local officers is:

1. Was management in full compliance?

2. If not, were you able to use these instructions to bring them into compliance?

3. In terms of timely repairs and driver satisfaction, how effective was this policy overall?

Sep 13, 2017

Salmon Mail Haul Drivers Ratify Contract



09/12/2017 - Recently, APWU members employed by Salmon Companies voted to ratify a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the company. Salmon Companies is the largest ground transportation supplier to the United States Postal Service (USPS). Truck drivers for the private-sector company are part of the Support Services Division. The contract covers locals from Dallas, TX; Shreveport, LA; Little Rock, AR and Memphis, TN. The new CBA was ratified by over 75% of voting members.

 “Language regarding employee bumping rights, bidding process, extra-board procedures, working rules, safety and equipment, and discipline were all revised and improved from the original contract. In particular, the extra-board and bumping rights were changed to benefit each specific terminal,” reported Support Services Division Director Steve Brooks. “We made increases to the layover pay for drivers who are unable to complete their routes within their mandated 11-hour driving limit, as well any non-SCA (Service Contract Act) duties.

“Although we were not able to make adjustments to the cost of the health care benefits, we were able to design an opt-out clause for those members who can demonstrate they are/will be covered under a spouse’s qualified group plan,” Brooks continued. “The guidelines are provided for in the Affordable Care Act.”

The negotiating committee, made up of Support Services Division leadership and drivers from each unit across the country, participated in several bargaining sessions with the company before and after the previous contract’s expiration on March 1, 2017.

“This contract is an improvement from the previous agreement. It will better the drivers’ lives and we will build on it moving forward,” concluded Brooks.

The terms of the new agreement started Aug. 31, 2017 and will go through May 15, 2020.

Jun 05, 2017

USPS Private Contractor Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Beam Bros. Trucking caught stealing from and endangering employees

06/02/2017 - On March 16, 2017, Beam Bros. Trucking, Inc., a private trucking company, was indicted on multiple counts of fraud and abuse in their capacity as a Highway Contract Route (HCR) operator for the USPS.

The APWU Motor Vehicle Service Division has fought for years to return this type of work in-house to Postal Vehicle Service employees from such HCR subcontractors, citing fraud and abuse as one of the many significant reasons that these routes should be returned to USPS Motor Vehicle Service employees.

Multiple Counts of Abuse

The indictment stated that Beam Bros. had, amongst other abuses, encouraged and permitted its employees to violate federal safety regulations by exceeding legal speed limits and driving while fatigued or otherwise significantly impaired.

The company also encouraged drivers to falsely record their duty status as “off-duty driving” when they were in fact on “driving” status, and to falsify their time sheets.

Further, they failed to pay their drivers as required by contract, they failed to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and they obtained an improper and unfair competitive advantage over other potential contractors.

"We have continuously questioned the operating tactics and business practices of some HCR companies,” said MVS Division Director Michael Foster. “This is another example why USPS employees are the proper employees to perform this work." 

In total, Beam Bros. was charged with serious crimes including:

  • Conspiracy to Obstruct a Lawful Function of Government
  • Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States
  • Falsification of Records in Contemplation of Federal Matter
  • False Statements
  • Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
  • Conspiracy to Engage in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived from Specified Unlawful Activity

Beam Bros. ultimately pled guilty on May 16, 2017 to the counts of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, by falsification of records in contemplation of a federal matter and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The trucking company was hit with a fine of $250,000 and a mandate to forfeit $2 million in proceeds and pay $1 million in restitution to their own drivers.

 “This indictment underscores why postal work must stay in the public sector,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “For a private company, the bottom dollar is everything. Too often companies make greedy decisions to make a quick buck, at the expense of the workers and the American people.”

May 22, 2017

Step 4 Agreement Reached on
MVO and TTO Qualification Standards


05/19/2017 - Clarifies qualifications for Motor Vehicle Operators, Tractor Trailer Operators, and establishes training opportunities for MVOs in tractor-trailer operations

A settlement was reached between the APWU and the USPS clarifying the changes that the Postal Service made to the Motor Vehicle Operator (MVO) and Tractor Trailer Operator (TTO) qualification standards in 2002. The significance of this settlement is that the parties recognized that Motor Vehicle Operators are afforded the opportunity for tractor-trailer training consistent with Article 39.2B.9 which states, "When Tractor-Trailer assignments are established, motor vehicle operators who are not qualified to drive tractor-trailers will be given on-the-clock training, starting with the senior MVO."

The settlement also reaffirms that an operator need not be TTO qualified when hired for a MVO position.

The local parties should establish a process that provides training for MVO's before a residual TTO vacancy occurs.

"I am satisfied that this settlement will correct the qualification standards language that was changed in 2002, which allowed for the waiver of TTO experience if an employee successfully passed the USPS road test,” said MVS Division Director Michael Foster. “This settlement took many years of negotiations to resolve, and I hope that any MVOs who participate in this training will take the promotion to TTO when it becomes available."

 Agreement (81.69 KB)

May 08, 2017

The Protection of Skilled Work Continues

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

By Motor Vehicle Service Craft Directors 

As the Motor Vehicle Division continues this year's national arbitration schedule, we are focused on preserving and upgrading highly skilled work in Postal Vehicle Service (PVS). The first case on this year’s docket was the Schedule Examiner Vehicle Runs position, scheduled from Feb. 27-28, before Arbitrator Shyam Das.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) challenged the Postal Service’s shift of highly skilled bargaining unit work to Executive and Administrative Staff (EAS) positions. The Schedule Examiner is an essential part of PVS. This position carries through to completion all steps in the process of developing schedules for transit and local mail transportation throughout the entire area, properly coordinated with transportation contractors, special delivery and carrier delivery schedules and units.

The Postal Service has slowly been eroding the duties of the Schedule Examiner as network rationalization results in the reduction of supervisor positions. Claims by management that this work is becoming less and less are nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The Postal Service is systematically reducing the number of Schedule Examiners across the country and shifting the work to the Supervisors Transportation Operations and the Network Specialists.

Article 1, Section 6, draws a clear line between the work of supervisors and the work of bargaining unit employees. The work of the best qualified Schedule Examiner Vehicle Runs has been shifted to EAS positions in violation of those lines. Management may not perform these duties where Schedule Examiners are assigned. In offices where full-time Schedule Examiner positions are not established, Article 1.6 still prohibits the performance of bargaining unit work by supervisors and EAS employees.

Instead of going before the arbitrator with the merits of the dispute, the Postal Service decided to bifurcate the case under the pretext that the union failed to raise an interpretive issue.

However, the APWU presented two witnesses during the bifurcation portion of the hearing: Assistant MVS Director Javier Piñeres and MVS Central Region National Business Agent William Wright, a former Schedule Examiner, who testified to the duties and work a Schedule Examiner performs daily. Additionally, the union testified that during the actual Step 4 meeting, MVS Director Michael Foster clearly stated the interpretive issue the union would present to the arbitrator.

MVS Division Seeks DIE/DSI Upgrade

On March 29 and 30, before Arbitrator Shyam Das, the Motor Vehicle Service Division sought the Driver Instructor and Examiner (DIE) – the current Driver Safety Instructor (DSI) position – to be upgraded one level higher than those employees they train. The MVS Division takes this position from a previous Step 4 award granting a higher level of pay for employees who train another employee of an equal level.

Arbitrator Das is very familiar with the issues surrounding the DIE position since his involvement goes as far back as 2004, when he sustained the union’s challenge that the Postal Service’s revision altering the language of the existing qualifying standard was a violation of Article 19. In that case, he found the language was unnecessarily ambiguous, and therefore not fair, reasonable and equitable as required by Article 19.

Subsequently, as part of the Postal Service’s 2005 “Safe Driver Program” the existing title of the Driver Instructor and Examiner changed to the current Driver Safety Instructor. As part of a general upgrade, the DSIs received a one pay level upgrade during the 2006-2010 National Agreement, upgrading the DSI position to a PS-07 position. The duties have remained the same despite the change in title and the subsequent upgrade.

The DSI is a highly skilled position and an integral part of the Postal Service’s “Safe Driver Program.” The program itself grew out of unfavorable publicity in 2004 concerning a number of children’s deaths in accidents. It should not have taken a national-level dispute (much less a national-level arbitration) to achieve a well-deserved upgrade for these positions.

SEAM Case Outcome

Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg rejected the APWU’s contention that the introduction of a computer program called Solution for Enterprise Asset Management (SEAM) to manage vehicle repairs at Vehicle Maintenance Facilities (VMFs) violated existing handbook and manual provisions.

The APWU filed a dispute asserting SEAM caused the reassignment of work across occupational groups in violation of Article 7.2. The union’s dispute stated how the program violated the PO-701 Fleet Management Handbook and violated position descriptions in the EL-201 Handbook. The APWU also argued that SEAM resulted in supervisors performing bargaining unit work in violation of Article 1, Section 6.

Arbitrator Goldberg reaffirmed that Articles 7.2 and 1.6 of the National Agreement limit management’s right to make changes in the workplace. However, he ruled “the essential nature of the work performed by technicians and stockroom employees under SEAM is not meaningfully different than it was” before SEAM’s implementation.

The Arbitrator’s finding that SEAM “did not change any Postal Service Handbook” led him to conclude that “the Postal Service did not violate Article 19 by implementing SEAM without Article 19 notice to the Union.” However, he remanded to the parties the question whether or not the Postal Service violated Article 19 “by not furnishing the SEAM Coordinator Guide to the Union upon its issuance.”

Arbitrator Goldberg also rejected the Postal Service’s contentions that it had complied with Article 19. The Postal Service claimed it complied because it gave the union all it was entitled to under this article. It also argued the union’s appeal to arbitration under Article 19 was untimely.

Under the Award, the APWU has a right to meet further with the Postal Service on SEAM and, if necessary, to seek a remedy for the Postal Service’s untimely provision of the SEAM Coordinator Guide to the union.

The Award reconfirmed the principles that management cannot assign our work across occupational groups and must follow the requirements of Article 19.

As evidenced by the SEAM award, there is still much to be done in the MVS Craft towards protecting our work and significant contributions to the Postal Service. As always, we will continue the fight.

Page Last Updated: Oct 02, 2017 (07:28:48)
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