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Clerk Craft Information
Dec 13, 2017

Clerk Craft Successfully Stops “End of Day” Button

Arbitrator Das sides with union for arbitration victory
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #: 

119-2017

12/12/2017 - Arbitrator Shyam Das found in favor of the APWU again in the union’s on-going efforts to enforce the Global Settlement Memorandum of Understanding (GSMOU) and the Global Settlement Remedy Agreement (GSRA) for implementing the GSMOU.

In an award issued December 8, 2017, Das found that the “End of Day” button – a function the Postal Service added into the Retail System Software (RSS) point-of-sale system allowing postmasters to enter and exit the system without fully closing out – did not satisfy the requirement in the Global Settlement Remedy Agreement that postmasters are allowed to perform bargaining unit work for only 15 hours per week, to be counted from the start to the “end of day.”

The Global Settlement Remedy Agreement requires the postmaster/supervisor to fully close out by conducting the four-step “End of Day” process. The four-step process includes, (1) an advance deposit, (2) a final remittance, (3) verifying supporting documentation, and (4) submitting a daily PS Form 1412 closeout. The USPS new “End of Day” button for postmasters, requires nothing more than a press of a button. The Postal Service button bypasses proper financial accounting and allows postmasters/supervisors to hit the button after every transaction and thereby improperly reduce their recorded time on the window.

Das relied on the APWU’s unrebutted evidence that the full four-step End of Day process was what the parties agreed to use as the endpoint; when the clock would stop on a postmaster performing bargaining unit work on the window when a clerk was also present in the office. He noted that “until the Postal Service's development of the PMEOD (Postmaster End of Day) button in late 2015, there was only the one four-step End of Day process. If a postmaster performed more than one End of Day in a workday, this entire process had to be completed on each occasion just as if it were the final End of Day for that individual.” But when the Postal Service unilaterally deployed a “Postmaster End of Day” button in RSS, it put in place a function that “takes a second to push, in contrast to the approximately five minutes (the Postal Service's estimate) needed to perform a full four-step End of Day.”

“This is an important victory for the Clerk Craft and all APWU members,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “This is especially a significant decision for PTFs (Part-Time Flexibles) and other bargaining unit employees in smaller offices across the country. In management’s attempts to redefine ‘15-hours,’ clerks were not getting the hours that they should.” 

For the remedy, Das stated, “The Postal Service is directed to cease use of the PMEOD button absent an agreement with the Union that permits its continued use. As soon as practicable, appropriate software changes are to be made to disable the PMEOD function.”

 “The Postal Service’s actions at USPS headquarters in this case were highly unethical.  I am glad that the arbitrator saw through the Postal Service’s superficial arguments and ruled accordingly,” said Clerk Division Director Clint Burelson. “Local and state organizations can utilize the hours improperly worked by postmasters and supervisors to assist in gaining additional hours for all employees (especially PTF employees in the Level 18 offices), creating duty assignments, and preventing excessing in the small offices.”

“Congratulations to Assistant Clerk Division Director Lamont Brooks, who was the case officer and main witness,” said President Dimondstein. “Also to [Director Burelson], Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lynn Pallas-Barber and Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman for their assistance.”

Director Burelson continued, “We’d also like to thank the APWU members who served as witnesses and/or assisted in preparation – Mike Barrett (Buffalo NY Local), Michael Macho (Radcliff KY Local), Sylvia Crane (Gadsden AL Area Local), Pam Smith (Birmingham AL Area Local) and Cora Spratt (Virginia Postal Workers Union). Their participation greatly contributed to our success.

“Finally, much thanks to the locals who filed grievances on this issue.” Director Burelson added. “Their actions assisted their members as well as contributing to the national efforts for the good of all.” 

Latest Win in a Series of Wins

The win is the latest big win in a series of big wins for the Clerk Craft and the APWU on national cases involving blatant and willful violations by the Postal Service.  The other recent national cases decided in our favor are:

12/18/2016 - Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg ruled that the Postal Service violated the contract by failing to post jobs for the clerk craft in the Sales Retention Centers they created.

04/21/2017 - Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg ruled that the Postal Service violated the contract by failing to post 362 jobs for the Clerk Craft per the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU.

06/07/2017 - Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg ruled that the Postal Service violated the contract by failing to comply with the POStPlan award and fill jobs with bargaining unit employees.

Attachments
 Global Settlement Summary (40.82 KB)

Sep 13, 2017

'Ongoing, Willful, Contractual Violations'

(This article first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2017 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

By Clerk Craft Directors

The APWU won another important victory in a national arbitration case regarding violations of POStPlan agreements.

The violations were twofold: The Postal Service’s improper use of Postmaster Reliefs (PMRs) working in Level 4 and Level 6-hour Remotely Managed Post Offices (RMPOs) and the use of Postal Support Employees (PSEs) instead of career employees in Level 18 offices. The Postal Service admitted to these violations of the POStPlan agreements. Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg held that the USPS owed the bargaining unit for all the hours improperly worked by PMRs and PSEs.

The victory on the PMRs and PSEs is the latest in a series of arbitration wins where the Postal Service engaged in willful and blatant violations of the contract and the main focus of the arbitration was remedy. Management regularly makes cruel and calculated decisions to violate the contract on the premise that they will benefit more by violating the contract than the cost of breaking it.

Eliminating Jobs and Potential Excessing

One of the Postal Service’s current ongoing, willful, contractual violations is the practice of eliminating duty assignments, despite clear evidence the duty assignments are needed. The USPS is mostly eliminating duty assignments that are temporarily vacant (reversions), but in some cases are eliminating duty assignments that are filled (abolishments). In eliminating duty assignments, the Postal Service avoids the conversion of PSEs to career because if there are not enough duty assignments, the PSEs have no duty assignment they can convert to.

In addition, management is threatening the excessing of employees, claiming they are overstaffed by over 12,000 Clerk Craft duty assignments. However, the long lines and delayed mail are a testament to the fact that more workers are needed, not less. Even if excessing did not actually occur, wielding the threat of excessing allows the Postal Service to withhold vacant duty assignments for potentially excessed employees. The withholding of duty assignments means that Part-Time Flexibles (PTFs) and PSEs are not converted to full- time career duty assignments, as again, there are not duty assignments available to fill.

APWU Fighting Back

Once a contract is agreed upon, the grievance procedure is in place to handle honest disagreements, which should be rare. Management is instead willfully violating the contract when it is to their selfish advantage to do so. While we must be even more vigilant in filing grievances, we also must engage in other creative actions so management loses more by violating the contract than when they honor it.

The APWU has been implementing a plan to fight back against the elimination of duty assignments that are clearly needed and any resulting cuts in service. We are meeting with management at every level, providing stewards with training on how to demonstrate new duty assignments, and assisting with the grievances.

It is very important to shine a light on management’s bad behavior. Locals in Baltimore, Seattle and Charlotte held events to inform the public about the Postal Service’s plans for more cuts in service. National officers at APWU headquarters will continue to actively lend support in public relations and organizing for local and state organizations which decide to hold press conferences, rallies and other events to inform the public that our Postal Service is under attack.

As postal workers, we deserve and expect management to treat us with respect, to honor their contracts with us and to provide good service to the American people. We are not going to wait for some in management to change their dishonest behavior. Instead we will work together, with all four postal unions and our community allies, to provide the necessary motivation for everyone in postal management to honor the contracts made in good faith with postal workers and to provide consistently excellent service to the public.




Page Last Updated: Dec 13, 2017 (07:51:58)
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