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Report From The Clerk Craft Conference (NEW - 11/20/07)
Warren Wright, President Bill Burrus, Joe Paul


Report from the Clerk Craft Conference

November 15, 2007


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you at the Clerk Craft Conference held in Las Vegas at the beginning of November. Over 3,000 delegates from around the country attended this informative conference.  Most every National Officer was present and former President Bill Clinton spoke to a packed house of delegates.


I will try to give a synopsis of the issues discussed that effect our day-to-day situations here in Florida.


Casuals:   Across the country, the USPS is still utilizing casuals in lieu of career bargaining unit employees. Casuals are to be used as a ‘limited term supplemental workforce, but may not be employed in lieu of full or part-time employees.’  It is appropriate to hire casuals for heavy workload, heavy leave periods, temporary service conditions, and intermittent service conditions.  Arbitrators have been rejecting casuals that are hired during hiring freezes, flexibility, and long-term coverage of specific vacant duty assignments. We should challenge every casual hire and never assume that they were correctly hired. When a grievance is filed on a ‘casual in lieu of....’ one of the remedies sought by the APWU will be that all employees be paid for the hours that the casual(s) were working!  Congratulations to the Manasota local for its recent successful arbitration of a $4 million dollar settlement of a 1994 grievance. This goes to show that the APWU never gives up!!  There are some Step 4 grievances in headquarters concerning a couple of other casual issues regarding the use of casuals working between 0500 and Noon and that the Union maintains that no casual can work in skilled positions within the bargaining unit.


Postmaster Reliefs (PMR):   As I reported in a previous issue, there are approximately 13,000 to 15,000 PMRs scattered around the country.  The average amount of work they are performing is approximately 30+ hours per week!  These PMRs should only work in the absence of the Postmaster and are not supposed to work along side of the Postmaster! PMRs are only supposed to be in level 15 and below Post Offices, but now the USPS is telling us at the National level that they will be incorporating them into level 16 offices as well.  We are in the process of challenging this practice at the National level.  We have been seeing improper uses of PMRs such as being hired to replace career employees in Level 15 and 18 offices, to cover absences of bargaining unit employees, and for use in other offices to replace Clerk hours or to reduce overtime hours.  A casual and dual appointee PMR can only work the window in the home office when the Postmaster is gone, but cannot work the window as a casual when the Postmaster is present and cannot be used as a supplemental workforce in another office.  If you see this practice happening, let the APWU know as soon as possible. 


PTF Conversions:    PTFs in offices of 200 man-years will be a thing of the past after this December.  Hooray for that, but we still have our work cut out for us concerning the conversion of PTFs in fewer than 200 man-year offices.  The APWU at the National level has employed the help of one of our own, Ben Solis, out of Austin, Texas.  Ben has developed a program that will make it easier to track PTF hours for maximization.  What will be happening now is that the local APWU will request from management all of the TAC (clock) rings for the PTFs in a PDF file format.  We will ask for 14-16 pay periods so we do not miss anything for the previous six-month period.  Ben will put this information into a new software program that will sort it according to TAC rings.  This should save the APWU valuable time and effort and make this process a whole lot easier. 


Preserving Function 4 work:    I will dedicate an article next month to the do’s and don’ts for the Sales and Service Associates jobs.  Some of the things that we need to do as an SSA or SSDA is to always utilize your non revenue keys!!!  We were told during the conference that when you are told to go to another operation you need to hit ‘stand by’ and then clock over to the correct operation regardless of the amount of time you will be away from the window.  Scanning things individually instead of using the quantity key helps to preserve our jobs (i.e., if you sold three books of stamps, you should scan each separately as opposed to using 3 quantity scan.) The three non-revenue keys that are used the most are un-numbered insured parcel, PO Box overflow, and vacation hold mail pickup.  The ones that are not used as they should be used are non-automated mail pickup, CFS issues, summon supervisor at customers request, change of address, job applications, directions, hold mail form, and requesting various forms.  Management’s new system shows that the USPS is overstaffed by 9,000 window jobs.  They obviously will not do away with that number of positions, but streamlining is definitely their intent.  So let’s keep our eyes open and do what we must to protect ourselves and our work. 


Bid Blocking:   This is now a thing of the past.  Article 37.3.F.7 (page 188-189 of CBA) has essentially stopped this for the jobs listed therein. 


In closing, I hope that each and every one of you has a wonderful, safe, and joyous holiday season.  As always, speak to a non member when you get the opportunity.  


 In Solidarity,


Joe Paul