APWU Wins Huge Arbitration For Clerks in Small Offices

The union won a major arbitration victory on March 29, when Arbitrator Shyam Das issued a long-awaited decision that will affect Clerk Craft jobs in small post offices. The ruling settles a long-simmering dispute about the amount of bargaining unit work postmasters and supervisors may perform in Level 18-and-below offices.

“This decision will mean more hours for the clerks who work in small offices and more Clerk Craft jobs,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey.

Arbitrator Das upheld the union’s position, ruling that an agreement between the union and management sets absolute limits on the number of hours postmasters may perform bargaining unit work (BUW) in small offices. A “Global Settlement” that was included in the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement, says Postmasters may perform up to 15 hours of bargaining unit work in Level 18 Post Offices and up to 25 hours in Level 15 and Level 16 offices.

During bargaining, when the agreement was struck, the APWU proposed language stipulating that, “All time the supervisor or Postmaster spends staffing the window during the day will be counted towards the permissible BUW limits.”  The USPS agreed.

The union clearly stated during negotiations that if the window is open for business, it is being staffed. If the person staffing the window is a Postmaster, all time the window is open must count against the limits, regardless of other tasks the Postmaster performs during that time.

After agreeing to the language in negotiations, the USPS took the position at headquarters, in the field and at the arbitration hearing that what management intended was not “all time” staffing the window, but rather “earned time” or “actual time” working the window, as reported by the Postmasters and supervisors  themselves.  “All time spent staffing the window” didn’t mean what it said, management asserted.

The arbitrator rejected management’s arguments, ruling that “All time the supervisor or Postmaster spends staffing the window . . . applies to all time the supervisor or Postmaster is covering the window, which, in the absence of a clerk, includes all time the window is open.”

“This is a major win for the APWU, and especially for clerks who work in small offices where Postmasters have been improperly taking work from our members for years,” said Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris. “The task ahead is to enforce the agreement. We will leave no stone unturned to make sure that happens.”

President Guffey praised the ruling. “We want to thank the officers and members who supported the union through this protracted fight,” he said.  “Many union officers and staffers assisted in researching, preparing and presenting this case. They did an outstanding job.”

Another disputed section of the Global Settlement dealt with offices that were downgraded under the Delivery Unit Optimization (DUO) program after Nov. 21, 2010.  The arbitrator ruled that the APWU agreed to an exception for offices without a clerk that are downgraded to Level 13 or-below offices.  “This very narrow exception should not work to the detriment of any bargaining unit employees, because it only applies to offices that have no clerks,” Morris said.

“This award sets the table for our challenge to POStPlan, which was another full frontal attack on our union and especially on clerks in small offices,” he said.  A hearing on that dispute is scheduled before Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg on April 16 and 17.

“The POStPlan is next,” Morris said. “Stay tuned.”

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Postal Service Cancels Temporary 2% Salary Cap on POStPlan Promotions to EAS-18 Postmaster Positions

As a result of consultations between the Postmaster associations and representatives at Postal Headquarters, the temporary 2% salary cap on POStPlan promotions to EAS-18 Postmaster positions has been lifted. The Postal Service has cancelled the temporary POStPLan Promotional Salary Policy for Postmasters that capped salary increases resulting from promotions to an EAS-18 Postmaster position at 2 percent POStPlan Promotions. This decision will effectively cancel the temporary policy that has been in effect since June 19, 2012 POStPlan Promotions June 19 2012. Effective immediately, EAS-18 Postmaster positions will be covered by the original policy memo that was released on June 24, 2011 Non Bargaining Promotions.

Charlie Moser
March 29, 2013

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4,600 Post Offices to be upgraded under POStPlan

The list of offices to be upgraded can be viewed using Excel by clicking this link: Post Office Upgrades. For the PDF version click here: Post Office Upgrades

The list of offices proposed for downgrade under POStPlan can be viewed in PDF format by clicking this link: Affected Post Offices .

The updated list (as of May 17, 2012) of plants under consideration for consolidation is posted here: Facilities list ›

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