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Oct 06, 2021

MVS Division Settles Step-4 Grievance on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

December 1, 2020 

Earlier this summer, MVS announced a National Dispute on the Postal Service’s unilateral implementation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Clearinghouse Consent Form and Program. 

During the Step-4 meeting, the parties discussed the form, program and issues involved including the Article 1, 5 and 19 violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement which prohibit unilateral actions that directly impact wages, hours or working conditions. 

After much discussion, the parties have come to agreement regarding the dispute, which includes the following form language: 

“By my signature below, I hereby provide consent to the United States Postal Service (Postal Service) to conduct the required annual limited queries of the FMCSA Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) to determine whether drug or alcohol violation information about me exists in the Clearinghouse.”

Click here to view the full Step-4 Agreement. 

“The Consent form negotiated by the parties was substantially different from the original USPS Limited Query Consent form. This form is for a two year period, the same length of time as the DOT physical card,” said MVS Director Michael O. Foster. “The employee still has to give permission for the USPS to run a full query if something comes up in the limited query. There’s also language against running a limited query if the employee is not in a safety sensitive position that requires a Commercial Driver’s License.”

The Clearinghouse is mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. (MAP-21).


Oct 06, 2021

And It’s Got Air

Michael O. Foster

August 27, 2021 

(This article first appeared in the September-October issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

The Motor Vehicle Service Craft members who were around in the 1990s vividly remember the craft’s struggles to have our transportation vehicles equipped with air conditioning. The parties entered into the first air conditioning Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the 1998 – 2000 Collective Bargaining Agreement, and agreed that contracts would specify air conditioning for vehicles domiciled in specific areas of the country.

The parties formed a committee, and the committee was to rely on the heat/humidity index information and industry norms in making their recommendations by no later than March 1999. The MOU Air Conditioning in 9-Ton Vehicles, Tractors, and Spotters was followed in 1999 by the Air Conditioning in Postal Vehicle Service Motor Vehicles MOU, which included air conditioning in all vehicles for all future purchases. The progress and the health and welfare of the employees has advanced a long way since the 1990s due to the concerns and complaints voiced by the APWU and its members.

In the largest capital investment in USPS history, APWU MVS representatives participated in the Production Design Review (PDR) of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV), held on the Oshkosh Defense campus in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in mid-July. Replacing the current fleet with these vehicles, scheduled for completion in the latter part of 2023, will mean that the Postal Service has completely upgraded their transportation and delivery fleet.

The NGDV will replace the Long-Life Vehicle (LLV), first introduced into the postal fleet in the mid-1980s (with the life expectancy of approximately 20 years). The Postal Service awarded the $482 million initial contract to Oshkosh Defense, which is the first stage of a multi-billiondollar, 10-year effort to manufacture a new generation of delivery vehicles. Oshkosh Defense will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 NGDVs in a facility they will set-up in Spartanburg, South Carolina, a so-called “right-to-work” state (read more here).

Production of the NGDV will start rolling off the assembly line in late 2023. The Next Generation Delivery Vehicle will be a right-hand-drive vehicle for mail and package delivery. The vehicles will be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or battery electric powertrains, and can be retrofitted to keep pace with advances in electric vehicle technologies. The vehicles will include heating and air conditioning, 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, air bags, front- and rear-collision avoidance that includes visual and audio warnings, and improved ergonomics, just to name a few of the most advanced vehicle’s technologies.

The APWU already stressed to upper postal management officials responsible for the production of this vehicle the importance of training, equipping of the VMF employees with the proper tools to perform timely repairs, and ensuring the safety conditions of this fleet for years to come. The NGDV will have an increased cargo capacity to maximize efficiency and better accommodate higher package volumes. The main reason for the need for this type of vehicle is from the explosion of packaged mail into the postal network, and the USPS attempt to keep up with competitors in the timely delivery of packages. The Postal Service fleet has more than 230,000 vehicles in every class, including commercial-off-the-shelf vehicles. The NGDV, along with other commercial vehicles, will replace and expand the current 190,000-vehicle delivery fleet. This purchase of the NGDV has allowed meaningful input during the early development stages from the unions of the employees who will be responsible for the driving, delivery of mail, and repair of these vehicles, unlike the purchases of the transportation vehicles where the MVS Craft is only allowed to participate during the final development stages of the assembling of the vehicles known as the First Article Testing (FAT).

Representatives of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA) participated in the PDR, and also participating were the National and Assistant MVS Directors, Eastern Region NBA Garrett Langley, and selected MVS members from the field (William Drew – Boston, Dale Cornelius – Chicago, Mike Crum – Harrisburg, Anthony Morson – Detroit, Faron Williamson – Omaha).


Jun 15, 2021

Das 110 HCRs

Noncompliance Award Issued

June 11, 2021 

In August 2016, National Arbitrator Shyam Das issued an arbitration decision sustaining APWU’s case Q06-4Q-C 11182451. In November, the APWU invoked the arbitrator’s retained jurisdiction, complaining that the USPS had not insourced the 110 HCRs into PVS assignments within 6 months (February 2017) as the Award as ordered. 

On June 4, 2021, he ruled that the USPS had indeed not complied with his August 2016 decision.

Although the parties had entered into two MOUs to effectuate the award, and despite the APWU’s cooperation in attempting to insource this work, the Postal Service still failed to comply with the Award. Based on the evidence presented at the November noncompliance hearing, Arbitrator Das found that:

  • 74 of the 110 HCR routes had been converted to PVS by the end of 2018.
  • Only six additional routes were converted in 2019;
  • By November 20, 2021, ninety (90) of the 110 routes had been converted.

During the November hearing, the APWU asked for a monetary remedy and an order requiring the Postal Service to keep all 110 PVS routes as PVS until four years after all 110 routes had been converted from HCR to PVS. Arbitrator Das agreed with the APWU and rejected the Postal Service’s contention that the union acted unreasonably when it rejected some Postal Service initiative attempts that could have adversely affected our members of the bargaining unit.

Das ruled that “...the PVS bargaining unit as a whole has been harmed by the Postal Service’s failure to convert the work at issue as provided for in the 2016 HCR Award and subsequent May 2017 MOU. The evidence may not establish that the Postal Service has acted in bad faith, but it also has not maximized its efforts to comply over a lengthy period of years.”
 
As a remedy for the Postal Service’s failing to comply with the award, Arbitrator Das ordered the Postal Service to provide the bargaining unit a monetary remedy “based on the number of additional hours that would have been worked on unconverted routes if they had been timely converted during the periods from January 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020, and prospectively, from July 1, 2021 until the conversions are completed.”

He ordered that “[t]he Union will be responsible for ensuring that the amount so paid is expended for the benefit of PVS employees in the bargaining unit.”

He also ordered the Postal Service to:

  • complete conversion of the 110 routes (as soon as reasonably practical);
  • provide the union, within 45 days, a timetable for the complete conversion of the 110 routes; and
  • comply with the commitments made in the parties’ May 2017 and May 2018 MOUs regarding compliance with the 2016 Award.

“The Das 110 Award has been a significant award for the Motor Vehicle Division, and the Craft officers have been committed with compliance,” said Director Foster. “We will continue to enforce this award and extol the virtues of the MVS Craft.”


May 17, 2021
MVS Challenges Zero Base Review Michael O.


Page Last Updated: Oct 06, 2021 (08:35:02)
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