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Maintenance Craft Information
Aug 13, 2019

New MS-1 Settlement and Implementation

On Aug. 8, the Maintenance Craft reached a settlement with the USPS regarding Handbook MS-1, TL-5 and TL-6 Revisions and Related Maintenance Management Orders, originally grieved by current Maintenance Division Director Idowu Balogun.

On Sept. 13, 2017, Arbitrator Goldberg remanded the MS-1 revisions case nos. Q10T-4Q-C-14171644/ Q10T-4Q-C-16481407 back to the APWU and USPS for resolution, directing the Postal Service to provide the APWU with all data and data analysis collected by the Postal Review Team.

The new settlement designates that maintenance work in stations and branches transitioning to Field Maintenance Operations (FMO) as a result of MS-1/TL-6 will continue to performed by the employees currently performing those duties.

It also stipulates that:

When attrition at the installation results in a staffing level below the authorized complement, management may determine the occupational group of the employee(s) that will continue to perform the work in the stations and branches… due to the transferring of maintenance work of stations and branches from plant maintenance to FMO, the FMO authorized staffing may increase in order to provide maintenance for the stations and branches. For FMO staffing increases that exceed the available plant LDC 37…those positions shall be posted and filled under the FMO in accordance with Article 38 and the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM).

The Postal Service will publish the final versions of MS-1 TL 6 and MMOs on Aug. 8, 2019.

Click here to see the full settlement on Q10T-4Q-C-14171644/ Q10T-4Q-C-16481407.

Register today for MS 1 TL5/TL 6 Settlement and Implementations on Monday Aug 19, 2019 2:00 PM EDT. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

May 23, 2019

Custodian Team Cleaning (CTC): Doomed to Fail

(This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

By Maintenance Division Director Idowu Balogun

Beginning in 2012, The US Postal Service embarked on a “Pilot” program to replace the 1983 Housekeeping Handbook MS 47 TL 3 with Custodian Team Cleaning (CTC). The CTC concept was created by a Utah based company called Manage Men. The new handbook was titled MS 47 TL 5.

By the end of 2014, USPS rolled out the Pilot program nationwide as the new standard of operation. Under CTC, four custodians are jointly responsible for completing all assigned tasks. The four specialists include the Restroom Specialist, Vacuum Specialist, Light Duty Specialist and Utility Specialist. Three of the four specialists visit each room, with the exception of the Restroom Specialist, creating the Team Cleaning Concept. Each specialist’s duties are as follows:

In our opinion, the Vacuum Specialist’s daily duty is the most challenging task of all. They are responsible for carrying a 10-15-pound vacuum machine and dirt around for up to eight hours per day. This is a daunting task for anyone, let alone our aging workforce.

The CTC Program drastically reduced the custodial staff by over thirty percent across the country. Cleaning frequency was reduced, and cleaning chemicals and tools were standardized. The safety and well-being of our employees are serious concerns to us.

Under TL 5, the Postal Service mandated the usage of a specific provider nationwide for its initial setup, daily cleaning materials and equipment for each CTC Specialist’s needs.

Currently, the Postal Service is paying millions of dollars across the country to set up CTC for its In-Out Checkout CTC supply rooms, with a contract for the single source provider to continue to replenish supplies on a regular basis. APWU’s investigation reveals that the new cleaning chemicals are NOT cleaning at all – what a racket!

Our members are forced to resort to desperate measures, with some managers encouraging employee to return to using the TL 3 cleaning supplies. Give me a break!

As your National Maintenance Representatives, we are not happy with USPS’s TL 5 postal experiment. In our humble opinion, TL 5 is doomed to fail. It is time to return to the TL 3 Handbook and Cleaning Standards. What do you think? The Maintenance Division is asking for your thoughts, concerns and input with Custodian Team Cleaning and products. Please email Director Balogun at I would love to hear from you all!

Jun 07, 2018

MS-1 Settlement Reached

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)

By Maintenance Craft Directors 

On Feb. 27, 2018, the USPS and the Maintenance Division reached a resolution regarding the MS-1 Handbook revisions that were remanded to the parties by Arbitrator Goldberg in case Q10T-4Q-C 14171644. The MS-1 Handbook is titled Operation and Maintenance of Real Property and it “prescribes the policies, procedures, and practices governing the operation and maintenance of USPS buildings and leased space.”

There are also other Maintenance Management Orders (MMOs) that can apply and the USPS intended to issue newer versions in place of some of the language from the MS-1. The principle purpose to Maintenance Craft employees was the procedures for the staffing of the “Building-side” occupational groups. These were primarily Building Equipment Mechanics (BEM), Level 9. Some of the identified work could also be attributed to Maintenance Mechanic, Level 7 (MM-7) employees. The method of staffing these positions and the duty assignments is similar to other staffing requirements in Maintenance, such as for custodial, mail processing or field maintenance.

First, an inventory of equipment and work tasks must occur. Then, using the MS-1, frequencies and work performance standards are applied. The result is an amount of work time needed to meet maintenance requirements, provide for safety and health of occupants, and protect the USPS investment in the property. The APWU’s views very seriously take umbrage with management’s budget driven approach, which results in the degrading of our work locations and detrimental impacts on employees and customers when building equipment is not maintained and cared for properly. We waged a years-long battle with the Postal Service on this issue and the February 2018 resolution provides completion on this round.

While the Arbitrator did make some definitive rulings in his Sept. 13, 2017 award, he also decreed that, “The issues of whether the revisions to the MS-1 dealing with (a) preventative maintenance time allowances and frequencies, and (b) space adjustments and miscellaneous work time allowances violated Article 19 are remanded to the parties.”

We had several meetings with the Postal Service on this remand and went through each and every line item in the various staffing forms utilized in the MS-1 – a tedious yet important task. The input from the BEM group of unionists we utilized leading up to, as well as their expert testimony at, the hearing was of great assistance.

In the end, we addressed the remanded items and the implementation of the new process. The February agreement provides that the staffing allowances and frequencies are agreed upon and will be incorporated into an updated MS-1 and applicable MMOs.

Critically, the settlement provides, “The APWU will be provided the final draft(s) for review and concurrence prior to publication.” Not only is this an important protection against any last second deviations, which would lead to another round of dispute processing, but it also ensures that the new procedures and staffing are NOT yet released.

We also went beyond the explicit remand in securing a one-year moratorium, stating that, “There will be a 1 (one) year transition period during which staffing adjustments which impact employees will not take place.” Not to be redundant but a provision also provides, “… any excessing of employees will not occur until at least 1 (one) year from the date of signing of this settlement” (emphasis added).

The final item addressed is the handling of pending grievances in the field. Grievances can be resolved or go forward, depending on the local factcircumstances.

A copy of this settlement is available on the Maintenance Craft page of the APWU website,

Please be sure to communicate with your local Maintenance representatives, as well as your National Business Agents. Looking forward to seeing many of you in Pittsburgh, PA at the National Convention.

Importantly, don’t forget to say “Hi” to your steward.

Page Last Updated: Aug 13, 2019 (07:22:03)
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