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Trenton Metro Area Local

American Postal Workers Union

AFL-CIO

President Bill Lewis

Paul Connor, Maintenance Craft Director

John Barry, Steward & Trustee

FYI

When selection is made from the preferred assignment register (PAR), employees in the same occupational group and level as the vacancy are considered qualified and no additional training can be required prior to selection.

 

 

Maintenance Issues

 

All Crafts Notice

Trenton P&DC & 086 Offices

Opening Date 3/6/08 Closing Date 3/21/08

Any career employee wishing to become a labor/custodian at the Trenton P&DC should submit a written request, including your employee ID number by the COB on March 21, 2008.  Please submit your written request to:

Robert Marks

Manager Maintenance Operations Support

Trenton, NJ 08650-9731

Phone 609-581-3159   Fax 609-581-3099

 

With the suspension of the Test 916, the In-Service Custodial Register, the following pecking order will be used  in selecting candidates for the new labor/custodian positions.

1. Current Maintenance Craft employees who previously passed the Test 916 in score order;

2. Current Maintenance Craft employees who have not passed the Test 916 in Maintenance installation seniority order;

3. Other APWU Craft employees who previously passed the Test 916 in score order;

4. Other APWU Craft employees who have not passed the Test 916 in their respective craft installation seniority order;

5. Other Craft employees who previously passed the Test 916 in score order;

6. Other Craft employees who have not passed the Test 916 in installation seniority order.

If you should have any questions please contact the APWU Union Office @ 581-8118

 

 

ELECTRONIC TECHNICIANS HARMED BY USPS DECISION TO USE SIEMENS EMPLOYEES TO INSTALL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE 

LOCAL UNIONS MUST INVESTIGATE AND FILE THE APPROPRIATE GRIEVANCE(S)

 

By letter dated April 11, 2007 the Postal Service provided the Union with the draft Software Modification Order, SMO-022-07 entitled, "Postal Automation Redirection System (PARS) Image Management System (IMS) P&DC Upgrade Installation v4.0.1." 

SMO-022-07 states:

“The purpose of this SMO is to provide instructions for upgrading software on the PARS-IMS computers at the PARS processing and Distribution Centers (P&DC) to version 4.0.1.  These instructions are for the Siemens installer and Maintenance Technical Support Center (MTSC) who will provide an Electronic Technician (ET) -12 to each site to load the software.  Please be advised that Siemens has no contract nor are they obligated to perform this task.  They are assisting the Postal Service with PARS development.  These teams will do the install many times where a local ET would only perform this task once.” 

SMO-022-07 also states:

“With the number of changes (hardware and software) to the system, length of time for the install, and difficulty of the install, USPS-MTSC and Siemens will provide Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to each PARS modified P&DC and Remote Encoding Center (REC) to perform the software and hardware upgrades.” 

SMO-023-07, dated April 13, 2007, entitled Postal Automation Redirection System (PARS) Image Management System (IMS) for Remote Encoding Center (REC) Version 4.0.1 was not sent to the Union under the terms of Article 19 or any other manner prior to it being published.  It states in pertinent part: 

“The purpose of this Software Modification Order (SMO) is to provide instructions for upgrading the software on the Postal Automated Redirection System (PARS) Image Management System (IMS) at the PARS REC Sites to version 4.0.1. . . . With the number of changes (hardware and software) to the system, length of the install and difficulty, USPS-MTSC along with Siemens will be providing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to each PARS modified P&DC and REC to perform the software and hardware upgrades.  Each site is required to provide a PARS trained ET to assist with the installation.” 

Upon receipt of this information the Union requested a meeting to discuss its decision to use non-postal employees to perform bargaining unit work.  It was not until August 17, 2007 that the Postal Service agreed to meet.  During that meeting the Union requested information based on the Postal Service’s position as well as its responses.  In late January of 2008 the Postal Service provided the Union with some of the requested information.  Based on the limited information, as well as the long standing past practice of Electronic Technicians performing software installation, a decision was made that the Postal Service’s actions violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in each facility where it used a non-postal employee to install the modifications identified in SMO-022-07 and SMO-023-07. 

There are no provisions in the CBA for a vendor to “volunteer” its services to perform bargaining unit work.  Also, the Postal Service’s limited rationale for having Siemens people perform this work – “These teams will do the install many times where a local ET would only perform this task once.” – is self-serving.  Local ETs have historically installed software for PARS; the Postal Service’s position is insulting to these highly skilled technicians.  It is extremely disingenuous for the Postal Service to claim that its highly skilled and extremely knowledgeable level 11 Electronic Technicians lack the skills and knowledge to install hardware and software. 

In addition, we have no dispute that installation of software and file maintenance for mail processing equipment, which includes PARS, is bargaining unit work within the duties and responsibilities of all Electronic Technicians.  As such, when the Postal Service assigns this type of work to a person other than a career Postal Service Electronic Technician, it violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The hardware and software modification referenced in these SMOs must be performed by a career Maintenance Craft employee, specifically an Electronic Technician. 

Based on the above, Local Union s should conduct an investigation to determine if the hardware and software modification referenced in these SMOs has been performed.  If it has been performed by someone other than a career Maintenance ET, then the appropriate grievance would be filed seeking a monetary remedy at the appropriate overtime rate for the number of hours worked by the non-ET person(s). 

You will be able to acquire through the Maintenance Support Office the information you need regarding the date and length of time it took to perform the work and whether it was performed by a highly skilled career Maintenance Craft ET or a non-ET.  The SMOs required a Form 4805 be completed and the work to be entered into eMARS.  The information is required to be stored in the “Bulletin Completion File” at each site. 

Please contact me at (202) 842-4213 or your NBA should you have any questions regarding this matter. 

Gary Kloepfer
Assistant Director
Maintenance Division

Custodial Employees To Share in Long-Awaited Remedy
 The APWU and the Postal Service have finalized a $48 million payout to “remedy” the USPS violation of staffing procedures for custodial employees. The settlement will be in the form of lump-sum payments of $2,700 to more than 17,000 employees occupying custodial positions, with payments to be made by April 18. 

MS 47 Settlement

Custodial Test Suspended

On Aug.10, 2007, the Postal Service notified the APWU that it was suspending the requirement to pass the custodial exam, Test 916.

Test 916 replaced the old custodial exam (Test 911) six years ago. Test 911 was a pass/fail exam and the new test is a “rated” exam, with a minimum score needed to qualify for custodial positions. While the prior test had been waived as a requirement for career employees since 1992, the Postal Service asserted that the new Test 916 would, among other things, “better predict a successful custodian,” and refused to waive the requirement for current employees.

Management then decided, however, to waive Test 916 for the purpose of excessing employees, which prompted us to file a dispute over the Postal Service’s selective actions — at the same time that the employer was waiving the exam requirement, it was requiring current employees to pass Test 916 if it was not an excessing situation.

An e-mail from the Postal Service reasoned that: “Applicants who previously qualified on examination 911 (includes career employees who applied for noncompetitive assignment for custodian or laborer, custodial) must reestablish eligibility under the 916 requirement in order to be considered for these positions.”

This meant that Level 2 custodians might not be promoted to Level 3 or that ETs (even those who were former custodians) could not avail themselves of their right to downgrade. This grossly inequitable situation was not remedied when the Test 916 excessing waiver was lifted, which made passing the test a requirement.

The Maintenance Division pursued the issue of treating the Test 916 the same as the Test 911; we felt that passing any USPS entrance exam should be permitted as a substitute for the Test 916. The Postal Service then decided to “suspend” the requirement, which immediately caused an issue with the administration of the in-service register. After all, the in-service register is to be ranked in score order, and a register already exists (those who have previously qualified on the Test 916).

On Aug. 31, 2007, the APWU and the Postal Service agreed that the Test 916 will be suspended for all employees for all purposes from Aug. 8, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008. We also agreed that there will be one in-service register, and that it will merge the current register with new requests to reassign to custodian.

With the suspension of the Test 916, the In-Service Custodial Register selection process will be as follows:

1. Current Maintenance Craft employees who previously passed the Test 916 in score order;

2. Current Maintenance Craft employees who have not passed the Test 916 in Maintenance installation seniority order;

3. Other APWU Craft employees who previously passed the Test 916 in score order;

4. Other APWU Craft employees who have not passed the Test 916 in their respective craft installation seniority order;

5. Other Craft employees who previously passed the Test 916 in score order;

6. Other Craft employees who have not passed the Test 916 in installation seniority order.

The Postal Service will not offer the Test 916, except for entrance registers, during the suspension period. The order of filling Maintenance Craft vacancies as listed in the JCIM is unaffected.

The agreement does not apply to Article 12 excessing situations in which impacted employees may be moved without taking the Test 916. The parties retain their respective positions on excessing into or out of APWU-represented crafts. Voluntary transfers from other installations will still be handled under the transfer memo, except that the Test 916 is not required. Finally, the transfer-in-lieu-of-excessing MOU is still applicable, except that affected employees will not need to pass Test 916.

The APWU and USPS will meet prior to the expiration of the suspension to discuss whether to renew or lift the suspension. If a decision is reached to require Test 916 as the minimum qualification, employees who have obtained a custodial duty assignment during the suspension period will be considered qualified on the exam.

 

Article 38 - Improper Withholding of a Vacant Maintenance Craft Preferred Duty Assignment. 

This is a summary of Arbitrator Michael E. Zobrak’s decision in case K00T-4K-C-03210020 in a case in which the Postal Service failed to either post a Maintenance Craft vacancy within thirty days or notify the Union in writing that the position was being withheld. The arbitrator sustained the Union ’s grievance by awarding a monetary remedy for the lost work hours caused by the failure to fill the vacancy. Briefly, on December 1, 2002, a custodial employee at the facility resigned, thereby creating a Maintenance Craft vacancy. The resigning employee's last day in pay status was October 29, 2002. The custodial position remained unfilled until it was filled on or about December of 2003.  

The Union claimed the USPS violated the CBA by failing to timely post the vacancy and by providing inappropriate custodial coverage. As such, it claimed a violation of Article 38 Section 4. 

The arbitrator noted in his decision: 

In five subsections, Article 38, Section 4.A of the Agreement outlines how Maintenance Craft vacancies are to be filled. The language utilized indicates that the requirements are mandatory in nature, as it is stated that “all vacant duty assignments shall be filled as follows”. . . . .  Significantly, with this language, the Postal Service is not required to post and fill a Maintenance Craft position within a certain period of time. Rather, it has two options. It must either post the position within thirty days of the vacancy, or advise the Union in writing as to the reasons why the assignment is being withheld.

 

Gary Kloepfer
Assistant Director
Maintenance Division
 

SMP’s installing software, etc. on CSBCS is a Violation of Article 7 

In Software Modification Order, SMO-001-08 - Carrier Sequence Bar Code Sorter System Version 5.10, the Postal Service assigned duties and responsibilities that are exclusive to the Maintenance Craft bargaining unit to Senior Mail Processors (Clerk Craft) or an Operations Support Specialist (OSS). Specifically the SMO lists the scope of the software installation as: 

This document provides information and instructions for the installation of the Carrier Sequence Bar Code Sorter (CSBCS) System Software. This includes three systems: the Station PC (SPC), CSBCS (also known as the CSBCS Runtime Machine), and the Remote Test Diagnostic System (RTDS). Only the CSBCS and the SPC will receive a new version of software. The RTDS will continue to use version 5.00.

 

These installation instructions describe a full baseline installation for the CSBCS and the SPC. For the CSBCS and the SPC, version 5.10 is a new install. The installations of the Windows based SPC requests an Electronic Technician (ET) for the software installation and a Senior Mail Processor (SMP) or Operations Support Specialist (OSS) to setup and configure all required sortplans. The CSBCS instaallation requires an ET for installation. 

The SMO, beginning on page 30 and ending on page 41, describes the software maintenance tasks that will be performed by the SMP. The following is a synopsis of the maintenance tasks these non-maintenance employees will be performing:

Setup of sort plans after the basic configuration and setup has been completed by an Electronic Technician.

·         Downloads and installs sortplans

·         Installation for the CSBCS Runtime Software Version 5.10 and Wide Field of Vision

(WFOV) software v 6.1 or higher and CSB CS software 5.00 with WFOV Ethernet.

·         CSBCS Version 5.10 is 8 NEW INSTALL but relies on some system settings from the v 5.00 installation.

Prior to installing software on the CSBCS verify operation by using the SORT test deck (NSN 3915-03-000-5959) to verify mail processing and machine functionality.

·         Install v 5.10 software

·         After the software has been installed, check the configuration and verify CSBCS operation by using the SORT test deck to verify mail processing and machine functionality.

·         Test the communication.

·         Verify the Current Sorter Operation

Load sortplan from the LOAD SORTPLAN menu and select DPS.
Verify machine throughput is at least 36000 and the GAR is at least 99% in the report. If this is the case, proceed with the installation. If t he machine does not meet this minimum standard, maintenance must be performed before proceeding with the installation.

·         Calibrate the Wide Field of Vision camera

·         Verify sorter operation by loading sortplan and run the sort test deck for three (3) passes

Verify communication with SPC

The assignment of this work to a Senior Mail Processor or an Operations Support Specialist rather than a Level 11 or 12 Electronic Technician (ET) is a violation of eeither Article 1 Section 6, if assigned to the OSS , or a violation of Article 7 if assigned to the SMP. The appropriate remedy is compensation to the appropriate ET at the appropriate overtime rate. In the event that local management assigns such work to either a SMP or an OSS then the Union must file a grievance at the local level. 

Gary Kloepfer
Assistant Director
Maintenance Division

Article 32 – Subcontracting of Snow Removal (Post Das Decision)

 

This is a summary of Arbitrator Lamont E. Stallworth’s decision in case J00T-4J-C-06057240 regarding the Postal Service’s decision to subcontract maintenance bargaining unit work, snow removal. The arbitrator sustained the Union ’s grievance; He found that the Postal Service failed to demonstrate the existing maintenance workforce could not perform snow and ice removal expediently and its decision to subcontract snow removal services, as it was unilaterally made in violation of Article 32, the ASM, the Das Award, and related handbooks and manuals had to be overturned and the bargaining unit be made whole. The snow removal work was returned to the bargaining unit; the staffing package be adjusted, and all affected bargaining unit members be made whole where appropriate as a result of the improper actions of the Postal Service.  

The facts in the instant grievance were generally not in dispute. According to the Union , prior to the filing of this grievance, the bargaining unit task of snow plowing/removal were performed by the career bargaining unit employees holding the positions of Level 3 Laborer-Custodial, Level 5 Maintenance Mechanic, and Level 7 Building Equipment Mechanic. The Union states that these career bargaining um employees plowed and removed snow from the parking lots, sidewalks, and also spread salt and sand; a truck equipped with a snowplow and snow blowers, tractors and shovels was used to plow and remove the snow. The Union further states that the snow plowing and removal assignments were made in accordance with the MS-10 and MS-47 Handbooks as well as the appropriate bargaining unit position descriptions as found in the P-1 Handbook which is now Handbook EL-201. The service contracts signed by the Postal Service are for snow falls over two inches, two to three inches or more as stated in the contracts; snow falls that are less than two to three inches do not call for the contractor to remove snow. 

The Union argued that the instant grievance presented a dispute over the contractual right of the Postal Service to subcontract out snow removal work. The Union asserted that Article 32 sets out the basic circumstances and guidelines for subcontracting cleaning services. The Union submitted that arbitrators have long held that this provision requires Postal Service management to give genuine consideration to the enumerated factors provided in Article 32. In the instant grievance, the Union noted that Postal Service management's 2609 Step 2 denial did not mention or cite each of the five Article 32 subcontracting factors of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the five factors of Article 32, the Subcontracting Cleaning Services Memo, ASM Snow and Ice (Grounds Maintenance) subcontracting provisions, MMO's or the MS-47 grounds maintenance or snow cleaning provisions. The Union pointed out that the Postal Service's 2609 Step 2 denial never claimed that the in­house Maintenance Craft workforce could not perform snow removal work expediently; there was no claim in the Step 2 denial that it was economically advantageous to subcontract or that cost was a factor. The Union states that it was important to note the Step 2 denial claimed that contractors had previously been used to remove snow and it does not say to plow snow. The Union further maintained that at the conclusion of the Step 2 process, the Service did not submit any documents to establish that any cost considerations were anything but arbitrary; there was no written Article 32 review detailed analysis with factual, actual, cost comparisons, prices, bids, estimates, data, with supporting documentation submitted by Management at the time addressing each and every one of the five factors of Article 32. The Union emphasizes that the Postal Service submitted no hard documentary evidence; no proof that the Service gave proper good faith due consideration to: (1) public interest, (2) cost, (3) efficiency, (4) availability of equipment, and (5) qualification of employees when evaluating the need to subcontract. The Union further contended that even if the Postal Service had conducted an Article 32 cost evaluation, the relevant Administrative Support Manual ("ASM") supersedes Article 32 and is co trrolling. The Union notes that Section 535.23 of the ASM provides: "535.23 Window Cleaning and Snow and Ice Removal Contract service may be authorized only when the work cannot be done expediently by the existing maintenance workforce. Lobby windows are washed weekly. Other exterior windows are washed as scheduled." The Union reiterates that the Postal Service was required to produce hard, documentary evidence and demonstrate that snow and ice removal actually could not be done expediently by the existing maintenance workforce, which the Postal Service failed to do in the instant grievance. Notably, the Union contended that the record evidence demonstrates that the snow plowing and removal work had been performed by career bargaining unit employees. The Union submitted that the improper subcontracting resulted in career custodial bargaining unit employees losing work opportunities that rightfully belonged to them all. The Union maintained that the record evidence further demonstrates that the Postal Service made an arbitrary decision to subcontract the disputed bargaining unit work of snow plowing and removal, which are recognized cleaning services in the Housekeeping MS-47 Manual. The Union noted that the Level 3, Laborer-Custodial job description lists work duties that include "cleans sidewalks and driveways and removes ashes, snow and ice." The Union pointed out that numerous arbitrators have upheld and ruled that all custodial work, including snow removal, lawn care and grounds maintenance is custodial cleaning or building services work, which is not limited to interior work only. 

Applying excellent analytical interpretation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement; the arbitrator dismissed the Postal Service’s argument that a long standing practice existed which permitted it to subcontract this work; in addition he dismissed the Postal Service’s position on the merits. Regarding the past practice issue he stated: 

In the instant matter, the Undersigned Arbitrator notes that the Service essentially argues that it had made a practice of subcontracting out snow removal for the last twenty-five years. The Service also argues that because the Union has not grieved this practice in the past, the defense of laches, applies i.e. the Union sat on its rights too long. It is the opinion of the Undersigned Arbitrator that the record evidence does not indicate that the Service held a single contract with one subcontractor for the entire past twenty-five years that went unchallenged. Rather, the record evidence demonstrates that the Postal Service engaged in a series of renewable contracts with various contractors over this time period. It is the opinion of the Undersigned Arbitrator that the instant grievance is in the nature of an alleged continuing violation as new snow removal contracts are signed and executed each time. Thus, the Arbitrator cannot find that the Union is barred from bringing the instant subcontracting violation claim forward. The Arbitrator notes that it is well-settled that contract violations are appropriately and traditionally considered to be of a "continuing nature" when they involve acts repeated from day to day or the daily recurrence of the alleged infraction.  

On the merits he provided the correct contract analysis: 

It is the Arbitrator's opinion that the snow removal work at issue in the instant grievance must be viewed within the context of what is at stake in all subcontracting contract violation cases i.e. wages and job security. . . . With regard to the position of the Service that Article 32 allows subcontracting of snow removal, the Union asserts that the only exception under the language of the ASM, Section 535.23 is that subcontracting may occur when the work cannot be done expediently by the existing workforce. The Union argues that it need only show that the existing work force can perform this work in order to show a violation of the National Agreement. The Union asserts that as it has clearly done so, the instant grievance should be sustained and that the affected employees be made whole. The Undersigned Arbitrator must agree with the position of the Union . First, the Arbitrator finds the argument of the Union persuasive that the Service failed to fulfill any of the five factors listed in Article 32 persuades this Arbitrator. . . The Undersigned Arbitrator finds that in addition to the Service violating Article 32 violation, the Service failed to demonstrate that the appropriate provision of the Administrative Support Manual was duly considered. The Undersigned Arbitrator must concur with the Union that even if the Postal Service had conducted an Article 32 cost evaluation, the relevant Administrative Support Manual ("ASM") supersedes Article 32 and is controlling. . . The Arbitrator must agree that the record evidence demonstrates that the snow plowing and removal work had been performed by career bargaining unit employees and thus improper subcontracting resulted in career custodial bargaining unit employees losing work opportunities that rightfully belonged to them. It appears that the Postal Service made a unilateral decision to subcontract the bargaining unit work of snow plowing and removal, which are recognized cleaning services in the Housekeeping MS­47 Manual. . . The Level 3 Laborer-­Custodial job description lists work duties that include "cleans sidewalks and driveways and removes ashes, snow and ice." . . . Numerous arbitrators have upheld and ruled that all custodial work, including snow removal, lawn care and grounds maintenance is custodial cleaning service or building services work, which is not limited to interior work only.

 

Gary Kloepfer
Assistant Director
Maintenance Division