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Clerk Craft Information
Apr 20, 2023
Parties Agree to Allow PTFs/PSEs in Level 4 RMPO Offices to Decline Conversion April 12, 2023 On March 29, 2023, the APWU and USPS agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will immediately begin to allow PTFs or PSEs assigned to Level 4 Remotely Managed Post Offices (RMPOs) to decline a career or full-time conversion opportunity if they choose to do so.
Mar 28, 2023
APWU Files National Dispute Over New Employee Orientation Lamont Brooks March 16, 2023 The COVID-19 pandemic caused numerous problems for the Postal Service and the postal unions, but more importantly, the employees.
Feb 22, 2023
Bulk Mail Tech and Mailer Requirement Clerk MOU & Higher-Level National Dispute Lamont Brooks January 17, 2023 Share this articleThis MOU originated during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been extended on several occasions, leading to the latest agreement, which continues it for one year from the signing of the agreement.
Oct 26, 2022

Reporting Back On Four Years And Looking To The Future

Lamont Brooks

September 10, 2022

Where We’ve Been

Since 2009, the USPS has wanted to cut our workforce and reduce the retail footprint using Contract Postal Units (CPUs), approved shippers, and reducing or closing retail operations, which, if successful, would have reduced mail processing and retail/customer service clerks to under 50,000 clerks in each case. However, the clerk complement was 154, 061 in 2011; as of 2022, there are 155,895 employees in the craft -- an increase of 1,834 clerks.

We fought off plant consolidations, attempts to contract-out retail operations, the subcontracting of mail processing, and attempts to reduce or close retail operations. We must face the reality that we are not writing letters, mailing bills, or buying postage like we used to and must shift to customer service, packages, and alternative products and services. We must take back non-managerial and non-supervisory work from EAS employees to create more work opportunities and higher paying jobs.

Where We Stand

Article 37.3.A.1 states, “Every effort will be made to create desirable duty assignments from all available work hours for career employees to bid.” This language has resulted in the creation of new duty assignments, the maximization of PTF clerks, overturning reversions and abolishments, the creation of more desirable duty assignments, and defeating the excessing of clerks.

Article 37.3.A.1 has changed the way the USPS performs Function-4 audits based on earned hours. The USPS is relying on clerk observations. It is very important for clerks to properly perform all of the duties in their position description. The USPS is switching from the timeclock method to utilizing sensor technology and scanners, for more accurate operational moves.

It is important that we apply the Enhanced and Expanded Services MOU, Job Audits MOU, Clerical Work MOU, New Positions and New Work MOU, and the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU to expand our work opportunities. The new 2021 CBA resulted in the Article 8 Task Force MOU, which provides the necessary language to challenge understaffing. The Filling Residual Vacancies MOU provided for all the improvements requested by the delegates at the 2018 convention. PSEs now have automatic conversion rights in all offices except level-4 RMPOs in POStPlan. In exchange they were given 26 hours of additional annual leave. PTF clerks received a one-time opportunity for full-time conversion.

Currently, there are no national-level RI-399 disputes. The parties are waiting on an arbitration decision for the final dispute involving the Automated Delivery Unit Sorter (ADUS). And with the assistance of NBA Bernie Timmerman, we have developed a training manual to assist locals with RI-399 jurisdictional matters.

In Function 7, we negotiated a pilot Telework Agreement at the Customer Care Centers, Customer Retention Team sites, and for the Mailing Requirement Clerks (MRCs). We are pursuing pay upgrades for MRCs and other work opportunities for BMEU clerks, resulting from the reduction of work from Seamless Acceptance.

In Function 4, we are pursuing additional products and services, including passport duties, where we have been negotiating for a higher-level duty assignment. The USPS proposed a new retail clerk position to perform these duties, however it was for level-6 pay. We will challenge the pay-level under sections 233 and 234 of the ELM.

We have also enforced crossing-craft grievances related to injured employees from other crafts, have won Lead Clerk and TACS grievances, including the return of TACS work to the clerk bargaining unit, and were successful with the Jobs MOU, where the USPS failed to post 400 duty assignments, for the PMR/PSE violations in the small offices, Postmasters in level-18 offices, and the improper use of the End of Day button. We will continue to work with Industrial Relations to provide a good, safe, and healthy work environment, free of hostility and harassment, and with dignity and respect.

Sep 10, 2022

Arbitrator Sharnoff Issues National-Level Award on ADUS Craft Jurisdiction

September 9, 2022 

On September 1, 2022 Arbitrator Joseph M. Sharnoff issued his latest national-level RI-399 award, this one concerning the Automated Delivery Unit Sorter (ADUS). The ADUS award was the last in a series of four RI-399 craft jurisdiction awards that the APWU, NPMHU (Mail Handlers Union) and the Postal Service had presented at the national-level. In the ADUS case, Arbitrator Sharnoff found that the Postal Service had “acted appropriately and within its right to exercise discretion in making craft determinations in accordance with the RI-399 guidelines and principles”.  

Sharnoff rejected both the Mail Handlers’ and APWU’s challenges to the Postal Service’s craft determinations. Sharnoff, as he has done in his recent previous awards, upheld the Postal Service’s jurisdiction decisions and left the status quo in place. This means that both the APWU and Mail Handlers will continue to perform certain duties on the ADUS that were originally awarded to the craft in the Postal Service’s initial craft jurisdiction determination. 

The arbitrator did, however, conclude that in facilities where Mail Handlers are not present, the Postal Service properly designated the Clerk Craft as the primary craft for operation of the ADUS. The NPMHU had argued that the addition of an ADUS in a facility with no Mail Handlers would result in four consecutive hours of Mail Handler work, but Sharnoff rejected that assertion. In facilities with both Clerks and Mail Handlers, Sharnoff confirmed that both crafts would continue to perform specific duties as initially decided by the Postal Service. It should also be noted that the Postal Service has taken the position that craft jurisdiction for the ADUS applies to the Small Delivery Unit Sorter (SDUS) and the Single Induction Package Sorter (SIPS).  

This was the last in a string of four RI-399 decisions in recent years that the parties arbitrated at the national level. These awards were on the Advanced Facer Canceller System (AFCS), the Universal Sorting System (USS), the Small Parcel Sorting System (SPSS), and now the ADUS. For the first time, there are no remaining RI-399 cases pending at the national level. The ADUS award can be viewed in the Contract Database by clicking here.

Aug 16, 2022

Additional Function 1 Staffing MOU Leads to 2,404 PSE Conversions to Career

July 28, 2022 

The parties agreed on July 27, 2022 to an additional Function 1 Staffing MOU that will convert 2,404 PSEs in 157 Installations to career status. PSEs “will be converted based on their relative standing on the PSE rolls” within the affected installations. The converted PSEs will become unencumbered full-time regulars in Function 1 in these installations.

Moreover, the MOU also states, “If there are former PSEs in the 157 facilities identified by the Postal Service consistent with the attached table that were converted to full-time flexible (FTF) or part-time flexible (PTF) positions due to the 24-month automatic conversion and placed in Step GG, such FTFs or PTFs will be moved to Step FF no later than September 10, 2022”.

“This agreement is another in a series of staffing MOUs that are securing more career positions and potentially improving service to the public,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “These conversions will be life-changing for the PSEs affected. It’s an outstanding example of the union at work and I salute Industrial Relations Director Charlie Cash and Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks for their tremendous work winning this agreement.” 

The MOU also includes a list of the 157 affected installations and the number of PSEs that will be converted to career status in each of them. The MOU, the list of installations, and a set of Questions and Answers are attached to this article for access.

Aug 16, 2022

Q&A For Clerks on New Collective Bargaining Agreement

July 13, 2022 

(This article first appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

1. Question: Does a Postal Support Employee (PSE) hired in an Administrative Post Office (APO), that allows for the 24-month automatic conversion to career, maintain that right and benefit if they are involuntarily reassigned as a PSE to a Level 4 Remotely Managed Post Office (RMPO) in the same bid cluster?

Answer: Yes. However, upon conversion to a career (PTF), the newly converted employee will be reassigned to the APO. Conversely, if the PSE voluntarily elects to be reassigned to the RMPO, he/she will not be eligible for the 24-month automatic conversion while assigned to the Level 4 RMPO.

2. Question: If there is an opportunity for a new hire PSE in an APO, will current PSEs in the Level 4 RMPO(s) within the bid cluster (installation) have an opportunity to be reassigned to the APO before external hiring?

Answer: Yes. PSEs in the installation will be provided the opportunity, in their order on the PSE relative standing list, to be reassigned to the APO. Following reassignment to the APO, the PSE will be eligible for the 24-month automatic conversion.

3. Question: In order to meet the 24 hours per pay period guarantee for part-time flexible (PTF) employees, can a PTF be assigned outside his/her installation?

Answer: Yes, if necessary, after every effort is made to assign work within the installation. This does not prohibit an employee from volunteering to work outside the installation and/or the Postal Service providing transportation, in accordance with the PTF Clerks Working in Other Installations Agreement Questions and Answers and the Use of Privately Owned Vehicles MOU.

4. Question: Can a PTF be assigned two lunches, or a lunch and spilt shift in a single service day?

Answer: No.

5. Question: Must a PTF be guaranteed four hours of continuance/consecutive work?

Answer: To the extent practicable, the four hours should be consecutive. This not intended to supersede any local past practice or LMOU agreement.

6. Question: How is the PSE 24-month automatic conversion date determined?

Answer: The 24-month automatic conversion is triggered 2 years from the PSE’s relative standing date in the installation. Example: A PSE hired on 4/28/2020, triggers the 24-month
automatic conversion on 4/28/2022. The conversion to career would be the first day of the third full pay period after the 24-month requirement is met, in accordance with the Residual Vacancies – Clerk Craft MOU Questions and Answers #24, dated March 30, 2022.

7. Question: How are PSEs ranked on the relative standing list if hired on the same date in a bid cluster (installation)?

Answer: When PSEs are hired in an installation on the same day, their ranking on the relative standing list in the installation is based on their test score. When converted to career, the same ranking order will continue to apply to the career seniority list.

8. Question: What is the seniority date for eligible PSEs who were converted to career pursuant to the initial 24-month automatic conversion following the effective date of the 2021-2024 National Agreement?

Answer: April 23, 2022.

9. Question: Is the Postal Service required to schedule full-time clerks assigned to NTFT duty assignments a minimum of four-hours a day based on the 2021-2024 contractual provisions?

Answer: No. The four-hour daily work hour guarantee negotiated as part of the 2021-2024 National Agreement was specific to PTF employees. Exception: This does not waive any other applicable contractual provisions, agreements, past practice, and LMOU language (e.g., NTFT MOU, 2 Hours or Less of Custodial Work MOU, Article 37.3.A.1). The NTFT MOU requires before implementing any new nontraditional assignments in Function 4, the Local Union will have the opportunity to review, comment, make suggestions and propose alternatives.

Jun 21, 2022

Parties Agree on Q&As to Clarify PTF, PSE, & NTFT Issues

June 16, 2022 

On June 8, 2022, the parties signed a set of Q&As that further explains the parties’ intent regarding certain contractual provisions of the 2021-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The Q&As clarify issues such as PSEs in Level 4 RMPOs receiving opportunities for promotion to career under the 24-month automatic conversion language, PTFs’ 4-hour (daily) and 24-hour (pay period) work guarantees, and Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) assignments, among other issues. 

A copy of the Q&As is attached with this article for easier access. Any questions related to these Q&As should be addressed to Lamont Brooks, APWU Clerk Craft Director. 


Page Last Updated: Apr 20, 2023 (08:18:57)
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