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AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION AFL-CIO

"What's New..." From Exec. VP Joe Paul

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This is a new column on the Citrus Center Area Local's website that features Executive Vice President Joe Paul.  Brother Paul will present information that will be of interest of all our membership.

‘What’s New’

September 15, 2007

 

 

We have finally received our new Collective Bargaining Agreements (the ones with the light brown covers)!!  The new JCIM is still at the printer, but you can download a copy at www.apwu.org. 

 

Now to bring you up to date on the hottest issues:

 

Maximization:  Several offices are still having problems with maximization, so I want to give you some information to help you focus on how to adequately defend your position. In many cases, management has tried to deny the grievance based solely on the fact that a PTF is not “working 8 hours within 10, on the same 5 days each week and the same assignment over a 6- month period.”  You will hear from management that this is the only way that a PTF can be converted in an office under 200 man-years.  We have successfully attacked this argument and demonstrated the need for a full time position by combining the hours during any given day for all PTFs on the clock in that same position.  We are constantly working to get as many PTFs converted as possible. 

 

Letters of Warning:  Letters of Warning for attendance have moved to the front burner again. Be careful out there—and give me a call when you get into a predicament!  Make sure that you grieve disciplines like Letters of Warning as every Letter of Warning that you do not grieve stays in your record for 2 years and could be used as a building block for future discipline. 

 

Here are my answers to questions received last month:

 

Saved Grade:  Will an employee in a saved grade level be upgraded to another level when the new level increases go into effect in February?  The answer is YES.  If you are a saved grade level 6, and through the new level increase a level 5 goes to level 6, then you will be increased to level 7.  In December 2006, this question was posed to President Burrus in the Ask the President section of the National website.  He stated that “the Postal Service has provided verbal confirmation and he was awaiting written confirmation”. 

 

Bidding for Window Positions:  How does the process work if I bid a window job, but am not the senior bidder?  Article 37...3.F.7 (pg.188-189 in the CBA) lists 18 positions.  These positions, which include the SSA job, fall from first to second to third bidder all the way down until someone either qualifies or is qualified. 

 

I recently attended the State of Florida fall seminar in beautiful Pensacola where we were treated to great hospitality, great food, and great information.  National Officers in attendance were President Burrus, Vice President Guffy, Clerk Craft Officers Jim McCarthy and Mike Morris, Southern Region Coordinator Bill Sullivan, Legislative Assistant Steve Albanese, and Assistant Director of Maintenance Greg See. The National Business Agents (NBAs) in attendance were Bob Bloomer, Marie Robbins, Pat Davis-Weeks, Charlie Robbins, Terry Martinez, and Ulysses Coneway.  (On a side note, did you know that our NBAs represent 19,559 members in the tri-state area of their responsibility and that Florida is the fourth largest state in number of APWU represented employees?  And that the attrition rate at USPS is less than one percent and our no-lay off clause is unparalleled in the industry?)

 

Bill Sullivan indicated that Shared Services will be taking over the bidding process as of September 19, 2007.  As such, we need to keep a keen eye on the bids that are posted.  These bids used to be handled in house, but now that they are being farmed out, there have been and will probably continue to be some discrepancies. Remember that the principal assignment areas and all other pertinent information need to be included. The Postmaster in each respective office will receive a draft of the upcoming bids 24 hours in advance.  Stay alert regarding these postings!  St. Petersburg will be excessing 222 employees to Tampa in the upcoming months.  Mike Sullivan, the Local President of St. Petersburg, is staying on top of this and is in constant contact with our national officers to help police this proposal.   Good luck, Mike. 

 

Jim McCarthy spoke about Mail Handlers who are still trying to take our work and how we are standing strong against that!  He said that the USPS is still having a dispute with the APWU concerning the use of casuals during the ‘0500-1200’ window of operation.  The USPS is still contending that casuals can work on machines and positions that require formalized training although our stance on this issue is to the contrary.

 

Mike Morris spoke about the USPS using PMRs (Postmaster Reliefs) in level 13 and 15 size offices. Most of us were under the impression that PMRs were used about 5-10 hours per week; however we found out that the average PMR works 30+ hours per week and that there are 13,000 to 15,000 scattered around the country!  PMRs should not be used in offices to work along side of the Postmaster.  They are to serve as relief when the Postmaster is not there! Mr. Morris indicated that the PAA (Principal Assignment Area) on bids should be considered ‘truth in advertising’ and not a ‘bait and switch’.  The PAA needs to be specific and accurately define the work we will be doing on a daily basis, i.e. manual letters, manual flats, etc. 

 

There is some interesting literature sent out by our legislative department.  Did you know that when unions negotiate a contract to provide benefits and pay increases for everyone that everyone benefits, but only the dues-paying members pay the costs for that negotiation?  The APWU is exploring opportunities to have Congress pass Fair-share legislation. As quoted from Legislative Priorities for the APWU, “The difference between enjoying full membership and paying a fair share is that members are entitled to full benefits and participation, whereas employees who pay a fair share are paying for services related directly to collective bargaining.  Fair-share payers can’t vote or hold office, and they can’t take advantage of the union’s insurance benefits or discounts offered to members.”  If this type of legislation passes, then non-members may be required to pay a fee for union representation, among other things.  The funds generated via this plan would be giving the APWU a greater ability in representing everyone in the bargaining unit. 

 

Make an opportunity to speak to a non-member to highlight some of the following benefits they have because of the union, including job security, great health care benefits, leave sharing and bereavement leave, dependent care sick leave, annual leave and sick leave, and top notch bargaining power for every one of our rights as presented in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

 

Your Stewards and Officers are working for you.  Let us know right away if you have any questions or concerns. 

 

In Solidarity,

Joe Paul 

WHAT’S NEW

By Joe Paul, Executive Vice President

 

 

Is it just me or does everyone think this year is flying by?  It seems as though the summer just started and I just wrote an article a few days ago.

 

As of August 11, 2007, we have not yet received our new Collective Bargaining Agreements, but we have heard they are on the immediate horizon!  The covers for the new contract are brown, so you will be able to distinguish them from the current orange version.  The new JCIMs are printed and are on their way to the locals.   

 

I want to be available to help you understand the new language in the contract.  If you want more information on a certain topic, email me your request to gottabjoe@tampabay.rr.com and I will cover it in an upcoming article. 

 

Here are a few highlights from the Collective Bargaining Agreement: 

 

  • Pursuant to Article 37, PTFs and PTRs are eligible for mutual exchanges within the same status (i.e. FTR to FTR, PTR to PTR, and PTF to PTF).  Previously, the mutual exchanges were limited to FTR to FTR. 
  • An important change in Article 37.3.A.1.a (3) is that residual vacancies must be posted to PTRs within 28 days!  This is very nice as the old contract listed no specific periods for postings.
  • Under the old Article 37.3.A.8, management was able to return a 204B to the craft for one day solely for bidding a job.  Under the new contract, the 204B must return to the bargaining unit for a period of not less than five working days prior to bidding a job. I hope that this change will help management curb their abuse of using 204Bs because of their own staffing issues. 
  • Regarding Information on Notices in Article 37.3.E.8, management must now give full information describing duty assignments up for bid in order to give employees the proper information to make a qualified and informative decision.  For an example, when posting “Mail Processing Clerk”, the information must include the duty assignments (e.g., manual letters, manual flats, box section, etc.).  This language should prevent management from moving MPCs (Mail Processing Clerks) out of their PAAs (Principal Assignment Areas).
  • An important change has occurred in Article 37.4.C.5.a(1).  In the old contract, residual assignments were offered to qualified employees by seniority.  If the employee was qualified on more than one of the residuals, then the employee was given a choice based on seniority. But, if the assignments remain unfilled for which there were qualified unencumbered employees, these assignments could be filled by involuntarily assigning these employees by inverse seniority.  In the new contract, the word inverse has been deleted, meaning that these involuntary assignments now apply to senior employees instead of junior employees. 
  • An explanation on the “200 man year” – The term ‘man year’ is now being referred to as ‘work year’, is comprised of 2,080 hours, and covers the following crafts:

 

National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO-City Letter Carriers

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO-Maintenance Employees

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO-Special Delivery Messengers

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO-Motor Vehicle Employees

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO-Postal Clerks

National Post Office Mail Handlers, Watchmen, Messengers

       and Group Leaders Division of the Laborers' International

       Union of North America, AFL-CIO-Mail Handlers

 

            To calculate the work hours, add the total number of paid hours (including straight time,             overtime, and all types of paid leave, holiday pay) and divide it by 2,080 to determine the            number of work years.

 

The maximization issue is still one of the most prevalent issues in the filed. As you know, if you work in an Associate Office or a Members at Large Office (not included in a larger local), you are doing more work with less people.  In many offices, the PTFs have been working well over 40 hours per week for months with no end in sight and still have not been given an opportunity to be converted to Full Time.  We are working to correct that situation.   

 

Remember to MAKE an opportunity to recruit a non-member!  Our jobs and futures are dependent upon every employee joining our ranks. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Joe Paul 


‘WHAT’S NEW’

 

By Joe Paul. Executive Vice President

May 13, 2007

 

 

  Here we are into May already…can you believe that?  In my last article I caught some grief over the fact that I was a bit critical over the fact that we have yet to receive any Hardback Collective Bargaining Agreements (contracts) yet.  Well, that was last month.  Actually, we still don’t have them yet!! Hopefully they will be forthcoming or in our hands prior to my next article anyway.

 

  I will be a bit brief this month since many of the issues out in my ‘neck of the woods’ still deal with some of the very same issues as the previous couple of months.  Those issues are the ‘maximization’ of PTF’s to Full Time and ‘reversions’ of just about every job that is vacated for whatever reason.

  

  The Local Memorandums of Understanding (LMOU) are being looked at everywhere.  The National is in the process of creating a somewhat ‘generic’ LMOU that will be filtered out to the State and Local Officers shortly.  I have looked one over and it looks workable with some minor ‘tweaks’ here and there.  There are some AO’s  that do not even have a LMOU in their respective office.  We hope to rectify that within the next month or so. 

 

  I just returned back from the Florida State Spring Seminar held in West Palm Beach.  I believe that it was a success.  We had many of our National Leaders in attendance such as President Burrus, Terry Stapleton. Judy Beard, Sue Carney, Steve Raymer, Health Plan Representative Kazor, Bill Sullivan, and many NBA’s such as Bloomer, Pat Davis-Weeks, Marie Robbins, and Charlie Robbins.  I am sure I missed a couple of names but it was merely an accident so forgive me if anyone is offended. 

 

  I want to highlight a couple of things that President Burrus spoke about briefly.  Not a whole lot of contract issues were discussed during his address to the attendees though.  He did say that Vice President Cliff Guffy was the point man for all of the AMP studies and/or problems going on around the country concerning this issue.  He spoke about the ‘boycotting’ of Circuit City for their firing of Senior Sales Reps solely to hire ‘new’ people so they could pay them less.  Imagine that?  Thank God for our Great APWU!  He also spoke about the possibility of having ‘retired’ APWU members working contract stations, i.e.: in the Malls and etc.  I guess the USPS would pay the APWU some sort of amount of money and then the APWU would hire retired ‘members’ and so forth.  We will read more about this in the months to come.  This is in discussions at the present time.    Terry Stapleton, Secretary Treasurer, gave a couple of facts that I thought were noteworthy.  The APWU is over 3 million dollars in the black, and this have never happened before in a Convention year!  He also expects a 6-7 million dollar surplus this year.  The APWU Health Plan generates over 5 million dollars per year for the APWU also. 

 

  Remember that we all work for YOU the member and if and when you have any questions and/or concerns let us know!    In Solidarity…….Joe Paul

 

What's New...

March 18, 2007

By Joe Paul, Executive Vice President

 

 

It is hard to believe that March is half over.  We still have no printed Collective Bargaining Agreement…unless you consider the flimsy paperback that appears to be typed with the smallest type known to man.  We may get the hardback contract this month. We have been told that the new JCIM is at the printer and we should see it shortly. 

 

The new Questions and Answers concerning the conversion of the PTFs and the supplemental workforce (casuals) can be found on the National website (APWU.org) and tells how the new contract will deal with both categories of employees. The new contract sets some limits on the usage of the casual employees limiting them to no more than 6% of all the APWU craft employees in that district.  The National will keep a keen eye on this and report to the locals.  This will help all of our locals.  The FTRs on the OTDL (Overtime Desire List) will be given priority scheduling for overtime work before the casuals.  This may not be a great bonus since the casual does not go into an overtime status until they hit (40) hours in a week. Casuals should not be working Tour 2 hours unless the facility does not have a Tour 1 or 3.  Out in the associate Offices, they usually just have Tour 2.  You can refer to my article last month to see which positions casuals cannot work, most of which are positions that require formalized training and testing.

 

Some of the highlights of the new contract can be found on the National website. By now most of you know that in 200-man year offices PTFs will be over by December of 2007.  My guess is that management will wait until the very last minute to convert the PTFs to FTRs.

 

As I was browsing various sites on the new language of the CBA, I came across some interesting perspectives.  Since we have been trying to get the PTFs converted to FTRs in the smaller offices for some time now, but not with the best results, the National thinks that we should attempt to get PTRs (Part-time Regulars) as opposed to FTRs.  We will still continue our quest to convert to FTR, it is just that this is another viable option if we come up short of hours when we chart for conversion.  The language in Article 7 resulted from the APWU’s longstanding position to have an all-regular workforce.

 

April is the month that the Local Memorandums of Understanding can be opened for negotiations.  Most of you have seen copies of your office’s LMOU and may have some input for your Local Officers to consider.  If you have ideas, you need to approach your Stewards or Officers. It has been quite a few years since the LMOU’s have been opened and it could be a while until we get the opportunity to do so again.  Many LMOU’s only need a ‘tweak’ here and there, but some need some overhauling.  Take some time to get familiar with your own LMOU.

 

On May 18, 2007 (pay period 10), we are to receive retroactive back pay from November 25, 2006 thru February 2, 2007.  It will reflect a 1.3% increase for the previous 5 pay periods.  I believe this back pay will be included in your regular paycheck. 

 

The problems in my district are never ending. The reversion of just about every vacated position is so commonplace that we now have a template from the Tampa Local to combat this at every step. Management is attempting to get twice the work out of half the workforce in most every office.  I guess this is to be the wave of the present and future.  We will do our very best to fight the fight for our members at every step---that is a promise!

 

 

In Solidarity,

 

Joe Paul

WHAT'S NEW !!!

by Joe Paul, Executive Vice President

 

 

This last month has flown by.  In my last article, I reported that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified by an overwhelming margin.  No contracts are available for distribution to our membership yet, but I have been informed that they will go to print once some additional language has been confirmed.  Although some of our Craft believe that the language was already agreed upon in its entirety, conversations with our National Business Agents assure that the language that we voted to ratify is being tweaked in our favor prior to the final print.  The Questions and Answers, which I believe is the JCIM (Joint Contract Interpretation Manual), has already been sent to print.  As you may know, we rely on that manual more than the actual contract. 

 

I just came back from a seminar on the LMOU (Local Memorandum of Understanding) held in Gainesville.  Let me say thank you to the host local for all of their hospitality.  Some of the National Officers in attendance were Bill Sullivan, Pat Williams, Bob Bloomer, Charlie and Marie Robbins, and Pat Davis-Weeks.  This LMOU training is important because for the last several years we have not had the opportunity to open the LMOU for negotiation. Your local officers are all working diligently toward trying to get the most for every member. Most all of the locals in attendance submitted a copy of their respective LMOU and we compared them and shared ideas.  Talk to your local Stewards and Officers if you have any questions or would like to suggest items for consideration. 

 

The Associate Offices are still having issues with the maximization of PTFs to FTR status.  Apparently, management seems to have only partially read some of the agreed upon contractual language.   The casual cap has been increased around the country, and now management believes they can start bringing them on board at a whim. Well…not to the detriment of the PTFs!  As I previously mentioned, the PTFs in 200-man year offices will be converted to FTR no later than December 2007.  So, what about the offices that are less than 200-man years?  I personally think that the contract was not as strong on that issue, but overall we did well and our stance has not changed in that Casuals will not be utilized to the detriment of the PTFs!  It does not necessarily mean that the PTF must get 40 hours per week prior to using a casual.  Here is the example of how it should work:

 

1.      If a PTF does not get 40 hours that week and a Casual was working, then we go back and look at each day that the PTF did not get (8) hours.

2.      If the PTF and Casual were working at the same time, then there is not much we can do. But if the PTF came in at 8 am and worked until 3 pm (7 hours), and the casual came in at 6 am and worked (4) hours then we would file for the (1) hour from 7am-8am saying that the PTF was available for that work!

3.      I will still pursue the maximization issues regarding the charting of the work hours of our PTFs.

According to Articles 37.3.F.5 and 37.3.F.7, Casuals are not to be working any type of job that requires formalized training.  These positions include the following:

        Air Records Processor

        Clerk Stenographer

        Self-Service Postal Center Technician

        Window Clerk

        Distribution and Window Clerk

        Distribution, Window and Markup Clerk

        Window Services Technician

        Clerk -- Finance Station

        Bulk Mail Clerk

        Bulk Mail Technician

        Mail Classification Clerk (SP 2-464)

        Mail Classification Clerk (SP 2-465)

        Mailing Requirements Clerk (SP 2-468)

        Mailing Requirements Clerk (SP 2-469)

        Postage Due Clerk

        Postage Due Technician

        Senior Mail Processor

        Sales & Services Associate

        Sales, Services, & Distribution Associate

        Lead Sales & Services Associate.

Unfortunately, in offices that are smaller than 200 man-years, there are some jobs that casuals can perform that do require testing and formalized training.  After talking to one of our National Business Agents it was determined that in these smaller offices the casual that is training on a scheme, under the DAS award, should only be performing that function if they are replacing an employee that is out long term, and that career employee actually had that scheme.   The ‘theory’ behind this is that management should not be hiring a casual and training him/her on a scheme for a short term peak mail volume.

One of my biggest concerns right now has to do with reversions of jobs!  I believe we need to preserve any bid that becomes vacant for whatever reason.  When there is a consideration for a possible reversion, management is obligated per Article 37.3.A.2 to follow the guidelines.  If you know of a job that may be in danger of being reverted, we need to know about it.  Out in the Associate Offices management seems to conveniently forget to notify the APWU on these issues. 

Well, remember to talk to a non-member when you get the chance and let them know that we all need them to join our ranks. 

In Solidarity…Joe Paul