50 Years Strong

Originally published February 2013

by Shelly Lucido

On May 1 we celebrate 50 years as a Local. It is a good time to reflect on how far we have come and where we are going. Many people have made sacrifices and fought for the wages, hours and working conditions we enjoy. In a struggling economy we are fortunate to have a no-layoff clause and to have negotiated wages and benefits so we can provide for ourselves and our families. Yet we sometimes forget the individuals who fought before us so we could enjoy these wages and benefits. A union is about solidarity, upholding the contract and fighting not just for ourselves but also for those who will come after us, just as our predecessors did. A union is only as strong as its members.

Article 1.6A states:
Supervisors are prohibited from performing bargaining unit work … except:
1) in an 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; or
5) to protect the property of the USPS

If management is performing your work – touching the mail, moving equipment, delivering express, lobby sweeps etc. – you should be requesting a steward. Do not continue to allow them to do our work and eliminate jobs.

LMOU Item 21 F.
“… the successful bidder shall work the duty assignment as posted and shall not be displaced by a junior employee.”
You bid the job and you should be working the job as posted. There is no provision for you to be working at other stations if it is not posted on your bid assignment. To do so is to assist management in eliminating jobs. Of course you must do what you are instructed to do but you should be requesting to see your union steward.

DUO = Destruction of Unit Operations.
I can respect the Postal Service goal to eliminate costs but I cannot agree to it at the expense of customer service and the causing of unsafe working conditions. Employees working at Hoffman Heights have been experiencing hazardous working conditions that the Postal Service caused when they moved carriers, clerks and mail from Fletcher to Hoffman Heights. In December, OSHA performed an inspection and we are awaiting their official findings. In the meantime District Safety – present during the OSHA Inspection – is well aware of their findings – called unmanaged egress aisles. A 28” egress aisle must be kept at all times, but due to the inadequate space at Hoffman it is impossible to achieve. Management’s response is to search for another location for the carriers and distribution or reconstruct Hoffman.

Whatever station you are working at least a clear 28” aisle must be maintained in your work area, around carrier cases, etc. If it is not you should be filling out a Form 1767 or requesting a steward.

Fletcher and Altura have experienced the effects of the so called DUO’s. Missing mail, insufficient time to do second notices, return packages etc. Management’s response is to further make customer service worse by eliminating jobs at these two stations. A job at Fletcher has already been eliminated and, per MCS Donna Flaherty, the elimination of a job at Altura is forthcoming.

It doesn’t matter what station you are at, if mail is being delayed – second notices, forwards, return to senders etc. – you should be reporting it to the OIG or requesting a steward.

Wos, CSV and Flash reports.
Every time there is a reversion or an abolishment of a job, these are the reports management utilizes to justify it. These reports are driven by some things you either do or don’t do. I cannot stress enough the importance of assuring you are making moves on the clock depending on what duties you are performing. I cannot stress enough how important it is to account for every customer visit by recording it in the POS machine. I cannot stress enough the importance of assuring that you are accurately recording mail volume. Help us save your jobs by doing your part.

Scheme Training, Travel time and Mileage. It is management’s responsibility to provide and schedule training and your responsibility to go. If you incur additional mileage due to traveling to the AMPO, you should be paid mileage. Ask your supervisor or Manager for assistance in requesting reimbursement for mileage.

Senior Bidders. You have a right to do your scheme training immediately before or after your regular tour or on the clock with the use of annual. If you are being mandated for overtime and it interferes with your training, request a steward. Clerks under certain circumstances such as abolishment of your job or reposting of your job you may be entitled to conduct your scheme training on the clock. Remember: if you are traveling on or off the clock you are entitled to be paid for mileage. In addition, if you are traveling off the clock you are entitled to travel time.
Recently I became aware that Clerks for some time have not been paid for their travel time or mileage. This means management has not been paying you correctly. This means they have purposely been robbing you of your pay. Andy Weaver has provided me with training records for the last 6 years and I believe I have identified the clerks that were robbed of their pay. At this time Mr. Weaver wants to argue that it is untimely to get you paid now. I am currently working on a response or solution, whether it is notifying the OIG, Dept. of Labor, contacting your Congressional Representatives or perhaps filing a grievance on your behalf. I promise you this, there will be a response. Robbing employees of their pay will not go without a response. In speaking to employees it appears it was not a problem prior to Mr. Weaver and in speaking to others they were unaware they were not paid correctly.

JCIM Art. 37, page 5, Question# 22.
In early 2012 I sent a letter to Postmaster Cook outlining my position on the above mentioned provision and that any violation of my position would be grieved. It was grieved and has recently been resolved. It is now agreed among the parties that when overtime is needed for scheme distribution: 1) the employees on the OTDL who are scheme qualified must be maximized first; 2) then the clerks on the OTDL not possessing the skill must be utilized to perform mail distribution via alpha-numeric; 3) then mandating non-OTDL clerks. This was a very expensive lesson for management, but a provision of the contract they were well aware of prior to the violation.

These are just a few of the provisions of our CBA that must be enforced. Do not allow your contract to be violated without saying something. We cannot sacrifice our fellow employees and future APWU members, or turn our backs on those who have sacrificed and fought for the wages, hours and working conditions we enjoy today. Get involved in the day-to-day fight. In addition, get involved in the legislative issues that affect workers all over this great country including Postal Workers.

As long as local management chooses to disrespect the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) – which the Postal Service agreed to and signed – we will continue to file the same grievances. As long as certain Managers and Supervisors are not held accountable for the thousands of dollars paid out in grievances every year, we will continue to file the same grievances. As long as local management shows no integrity in honoring the agreement the Postal Service signed, we will continue to file the same grievances. We must not give up and allow management to violate our contract. We must not play “Let’s Make A Deal” with the contract to benefit just ourselves. The outcome of such deals is the destruction of what being a union is all about and the elimination of current and future jobs.

Blame Postal Management, not your union. Remember your union has your interest at heart. Your Officers and Stewards took an oath to uphold and enforce the contract and will do so to the best of their ability. Remember the APWU is not trying to destroy the USPS by filing a grievance, as management sometimes claims. We are enforcing a contract that both parties agreed to and it is management that chooses to violate the contract.

God bless and Best Wishes to our retirees. I ask you all to stay involved and remain a member of this local or become a member of the retiree department. In 2013 and forward we must continue to stand with one another, pray for one another and be there for one another as the fight and struggles continue.