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MVS Craft Information
SEAM Challenged in National Arbitration
Jan 09, 2017

SEAM Challenged in National Arbitration

As we traveled across the country, we began to hear stories and concerns from our members concerning the new program Solution for Enterprise Asset Management (SEAM), including the obvious shifting of work between the occupational groups and supervisors. We heard the difficulties Vehicle Maintenance Facility (VMF) employees experienced performing the work they previously were able to do in their daily duties.

The MVS Division appeared before Arbitrator Stephen F. Goldberg on October 12 – 13 to challenge SEAM’s application in the VMFs.

The USPS presentation on SEAM included this description; SEAM is an Oracle web-based application designed to improve inventory tracking and visibility in the VMFs. SEAM has many roles in the VMFs. One of the primary functions is to capture data in real time as work is performed and parts are issued. The Postal Service started implementation of the program in February 2012. The APWU was not in agreement with the USPS description or the functions of this program.

The APWU Files Dispute

After the Postal Service began implementing SEAM throughout the country in 2012, the Motor Vehicle Service Division began receiving information from its members in the field that this new program created numerous violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). While the primary complaints from the field were centered on the shifting of work from one occupational group to another, the Postal Service’s failure to provide adequate notice of the impending changes was a violation of the CBA as well.

On May 13, 2013, the APWU initiated a national dispute citing several violations, such as those of Article 7.2. Since occupational groups are part of work assignments and are clearly encompassed in wages, hours and working conditions, they are therefore the subject of mandatory bargaining.

Furthermore, the Postal Service violated Article 19. They stated the SEAM program was implemented to replace the Vehicle Management Accounting System (VMAS), which is part of Handbook PO 701. The SEAM program consequently falls under the provisions of Article 19 of the National CBA, as part of a handbook, and the MVS Craft was never given the appropriate notification required for a change of this nature, nor does it meet the fair, reasonable and equitable standard of Article 19.

The APWU started a series of communications attempting to better understand the SEAM program. Management’s responses were vague and incomplete.

When we were engaged in the 32.1.B attempts to contract out Postal Vehicle Service (PVS), we found that SEAM was being utilized to track various components of PVS. Much of the information concerning the labor cost per hour of both PVS and the VMF employees is being challenged at the national level.

In this dispute we claimed the USPS arbitrarily changed the accounting system that was in place and went to SEAM without notifying or bargaining with the union, because these changes certainly impacted wages, hours and working conditions.

We claimed SEAM shifted work from the general clerk to lead automotive technicians, storekeepers, and supervisors among other jobs impacted by SEAM.

We were assisted by MVS APWU members Valerie Streety from the Houston Area Local, Dave Cook from the St. Paul Area Local, Michael McDonald from the Boston Metro Area Local, and Larry Tynan from the Tampa Area Local.

The Future of SEAM

A USPS manager testified at the arbitration hearing that he envisions SEAM to continue to evolve as the Postal Service moves forward into a technology-based operation. He stated the future applications for this system are far-reaching, as plans include the potential replacement of the kiosk with hand-held tablets.

The APWU is concerned with the USPS implementing numerous changes to SEAM without any notice, discussions or notification to the union. We will address this issue before Arbitrator Goldberg in the SEAM post hearing brief.

The Postal Service envisions instead of the automotive technician or mechanic using a terminal at one of the kiosks to input the work and the parts needed to repair a vehicle, the technician would use a tablet with Wi-Fi capabilities to go around the vehicle as they perform a PMI. The technician would enter the same information into the hand-held tablet as they would onto a work order or at a kiosk.

SEAM is nothing more than a sophisticated program used to reduce MVS administrative positions: the general clerk, the tool and parts clerk, and the storekeeper, further impacting the different occupational groups through a system that is shifting work and violating the CBA.

If the information captured by the SEAM program is corrupt, the information coming out from SEAM is corrupt as well. It is like the old adage, “junk in, junk out.” Ultimately, transparency is the key to determining if SEAM can work correctly within the requirements of the contract.

Merlie Bell Retires, Wright Elected

Merlie Bell 

Central Region Motor Vehicle Division National Business Agent (NBA) Merlie H. Bell retired on Nov. 10, 2016, after 15 years of dedicated service. Bell began his career as a Motor Vehicle Operator at the Chicago, IL, post office and quickly rose through the ranks to become the local MVS Director. He became a fierce fighter for the MVS Craft and a regional arbitration advocate. 

One of his most significant awards for the MVS Craft was the April 20, 1993 decision C0V-4G-C 10706 out of Fort Wayne, IN, before Arbitrator Belshaw. It gave a practical example of bulk quantities of mail.

Bell was elected as an NBA in 2001 when he unseated the incumbent in a landslide victory.

A wonderful family man, Bell is looking forward to spending time with his devoted wife Sharon, his children and grandchildren.

William Wright

The Motor Vehicle Division Council congratulates Bell on a long and successful union career. Keep on trucking.

William Wright was elected MVS Central Region NBA to replace Bell. He is a proud member of the Indianapolis Area Local.

“W.W.,” as he is fondly known, has a long career in the MVS Craft, starting as the local MVS Craft director and also serving as the local president.

Welcome aboard, “W.W.”

MVS Wins Important Ruling on Subcontracting Notification
Sep 06, 2016

MVS Wins Important Ruling

on Subcontracting Notification

Web News Article #197-2016

09/02/2016 - The APWU won an important arbitration case on Aug. 18, when Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that the Postal Service violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement by notifying the union of subcontracting awards after they have been let.

Arbitrator Das ordered the Postal Service to cease and desist from such violations and to comply with provisions of Article 32.2.B before renewing Highway Contract Routes (HCRs).

He also instructed the USPS to convert the 110 routes that remain in service to Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) within six months of the award for a four-year period. In addition, Arbitrator Das wrote, “By agreement, the parties may substitute other route(s) to be converted to PVS service pursuant to this order based on particular circumstances.”

“This is a significant award that will help protect Motor Vehicle Craft jobs,” said Director Michael O. Foster.

MVS Continues to Fight Subcontracting
Aug 31, 2016

MVS Continues to Fight Subcontracting

Web News Article #193-2016

08/31/2016 - The Motor Vehicle Service Craft has won some major battles in the fight against subcontracting, but challenges still lie ahead, MVS Craft Director Michael O. Foster said at the craft conference prior to the National Convention.

“We continue as a union as a whole, to try to get the Postal Service to see the value and benefit of work being performed by bargaining unit employees,” he said. The Postal Service continues to subcontract work under the guise of saving money, but Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) employees can often perform the duties as the same cost or less expensively, he added.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a moratorium for the life of the contract on new subcontracting in the craft .

In addition, all Postal Support Employees (PSEs) in the MVS Craft will be converted to career.

“We have made some major strides forward and we made agreements that we’re going to do studies in different locations that’s going to help us prove to the Postal Service that if we do some of the work that the contractors do, as far as driving and if we can go further out distances, then our cost would be equal or cheaper than the Highway Contract Routes also to,” Foster said.

Foster also stressed that unlike contractors, postal workers are trained and sworn to preserve the sanctity of the mail.

“We will continue to challenge the Postal Service on the improper contracting out of initiatives,” Foster concluded.

In the Dog Days of Summer Drivers Want Air
Jul 26, 2016

In the Dog Days of Summer Drivers Want Air

Web News Article #152 -2016

07/25/2016 - With temperatures soaring, many Motor Vehicle Service Craft employees have complained about management’s failure to maintain functioning air conditioning systems in their trucks – and the APWU has addressed those complaints at the national level, Craft Director Michael O. Foster reports.

“The timely repair of air conditioning has been an issue since the USPS agreed to install air conditioning in the 1998 Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Foster said.

In response to the union’s recent objections over the Postal Service’s failure to adhere to the contract, management at USPS headquarters issued a letter to the field on July 8 [PDF], instructing the managers of Vehicle Maintenance Facilities, Vehicle Operations and Fleet Operations that:

“Effective immediately, cargo vans, tractors, and spotters purchased with air conditioning must have the air conditioning system maintained as designed. 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.”

“This policy is the latest effort to provide functioning air conditioning in PVS vehicles for the health and welfare of our drivers,” Foster said.

PDF (120.19 KB)

APWU Urges Obama to Veto Bill that Would Weaken Truck Safety
Jun 22, 2016

APWU Urges Obama to

Veto Bill that Would Weaken Truck Safety

Web News Article #128-2016

06/22/2016 - The APWU is urging President Obama to veto an appropriations bill if it comes to his desk with a provision that would weaken truck safety regulations. As it is currently written, the appropriations bill for the Departments of Transportation (H.R. 2577) includes a section that would block implementation of DOT rules that limit the number of hours drivers can be on duty.  

The provision “would jeopardize public safety in order to squeeze a few extra hours out of already overworked truck drivers,” President Mark Dimondstein and Motor Vehicle Service Director Michael O. Foster wrote in a letter dated June 17.

“In 2006, the DOT found that 65 percent of truck drivers reported symptoms of fatigue while driving. Truckers working too much and resting too little can have dire consequences,” the letter noted. “As evidenced by the National Transportation Safety Board, between 30 and 40 percent of heavy truck crashes may be attributable to sleep deprivation or driver fatigue.

“The APWU is committed to safety on the road, both for our members and for the nation as a whole,” the letter says. “Towards that goal, last year we successfully opposed the National Star Route Mail Contractors Association when the company sought an exemption to DOT’s ‘14-hour rule.’ Such an exemption would have dangerously allowed drivers working for the contractors to operate trucks after being on duty more than 14 hours following a break of less than 10 hours.”

A May 16 statement by the Office of Management and Budget warned of dangerous add-ons to the bill, including the provision on Hours of Service found in Section 131 of the bill, the letter pointed out. “Should this appropriations bill be presented to you with the truck driver ‘Hours of Service’ provision included, we strongly urge you to veto it,” the APWU wrote.

The letter concludes by noting that the APWU “stands ready to work with the administration to maintain and expand safety on our roads.”

Page Last Updated: Jan 09, 2017 (09:27:00)
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