Protecting Our Jobs

Originally published January 2014

by Dan Van Minnen

In the Maintenance Craft we are experiencing some changes due to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the parties signed July 9, 2015 and the MS-47. In order to protect and justify ours jobs we need to ensure we are documenting the work properly and more importantly the work not being performed or bypassed! Work not being performed or bypassed shows a need in the short term for overtime calls and in the long term for more positions. The requirements that are a part of the T/L 3 version of the MS-47 are what you are required to do as a custodian in this Installation until the T/L 5 version is fully implemented, nothing has changed in that respect. We are still required to cover daily frequencies. We are still required to fill out PS form 4776 for frequencies that are completed and report the status of those that are not this is all done on the PS form 4776.

Management will tell you otherwise, however. We have grievances and a multitude of settlements that enforce the requirements and they will be enforced as long as I am your steward. You may have a coworker that may want to do things differently or in a fashion that is best for them. Please remind them that this is only hurting the craft and the work that we do as a whole and will affect everyone. As the MOU becomes more and more a part of your day to day work environment please take time to familiarize yourself with the changes that are taking place. Listed next are a few.

Section 3.3.1 of the T/L 5 on Authorized Break Areas: The installation head at each facility must identify the specific areas authorized for breaks and lunches. All functional managers within the facility will communicate to their employees where authorized break areas are located and ensure that all break and lunch activities take place only in designated areas.

Section 5.8 of the T/L 5 defines what multiple tours are: Facilities such as Stations, Branches, Post Offices, and Associate Offices which primarily house retail services and/or delivery operations are predominantly one tour facilities. When the time a facility is normally in use by more than three (3) employees at any time during the service day exceeds 12 hours, it will be given for multiple tours.

Section of the T/L 5 version on Route Size states: The route size based on each area’s measured size or fixture count for the designated specialist is determined by the number of available work hours in a work day multiplied by a performance standard for a set of tasks. The quantity of hours making up a full productive work day is seven (7) hours. Create routes equal to the maximum available work hours. The objective is to provide a full day of work for each specialist on a single route. Multiple routes may be required to achieve a full work day.

While the items listed above should not be a new concept to any custodian we must do our part in the proper application and enforcement of these requirements. That means tell management that the workstation and workroom floor is not the authorized break area, it is the lunchroom / swingroom. That means if you have a situation where multiple tours exist, as you do at the most stations, then you need to document what work is being done or not done in order to adjust our staffing properly. That means that you need to take your 15 minute breaks and your 10 minute wash up times, (prior to your lunch and end tour) each day and a lunch within 6 hours as required by federal law. If you so choose to take a no-lunch, which is your option, then contact your supervisor prior to the 6 hour window and fill out a PS form 3971 accordingly since management must approve this.

As always feel free to contact me or request a steward.