|Taking the MVS Craft Forward One Step at a Time
Taking the MVS Craft Forward
One Step at a Time
September 16, 2020
(This article first appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
The MVS Craft continues to grow. It is by no accident that our craft is taking positive strides. The struggles the Craft has faced over the years are no secret, but they have never been a deterrent for our members or prevented us from engaging in a fight to save the craft. It is important to recognize where we have been, to know the direction we are taking. Approximately eight years ago, PVS was on the verge of elimination. It all started in California.
California CARB Case
On June 7, 2012, the Postal Service notified the APWU that after carefully considering the relevant factors under Article 32, the Postal Service had made the decision to subcontract PVS in all Pacific Area mail facilities in the state of California. The Postal Service cited a 2008 law by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as the reason for their decision.
On March 4, 2013 after a lengthy arbitration, Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg decided that Article 32.1.B applied to the California mode conversion, and the MOU on Contracting or Insourcing of Contracted Services applied to all highway transportation, including the service controlled by Article 32.2.
Mode Conversion of 162 PVS Sites to HCR
Shortly after Arbitrator Goldberg’s Award regarding the California CARB case, on April 26, 2013 the USPS notified the APWU that the Postal Service was considering the subcontracting of the highway movement of mail in approximately 162 PVS sites nationwide.
After the APWU filed a national dispute, the parties went before Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg again. This time, he ruled the USPS may not contract PVS work, or engage in Article 32.1.B consideration of contracting out work, that had a significant effect on the bargaining unit without first complying with the Motor Vehicle Craft (MVC) Jobs MOU. Additionally, he found the Postal Service had violated Article 32.1.B and the MOU by failing to comply with the procedural requirements of those provisions when considering the contracting out.
APWU Seeks Transparency in VMF Labor Cost
The struggle for transparency the Motor Vehicle Service Division has been waging with the Postal Service regarding vehicle maintenance labor costs goes back more than ten years. In March 2014, the APWU requested the current VMF labor cost per hour rate when determining the feasibility of subcontracting.
In response to the union’s inquiry, the USPS took the position that the methodology and policy for calculating the VMF labor cost per hour rate was based on local fact circumstances and on a case-by-case basis.
After NLRB charges and subsequent Step 4 settlements, the USPS informed us that VMF managers could use four different labor rate sources when preparing a cost comparison. The manager could use the Workhour Rates for that Fiscal Year published by Finance, the rate in SEAM system, the rate in Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), or a rate calculated by the local manager.
These rates used by each facility can be found in the thumb-drives provided at the ACC. They should be used to challenge any decision by local management to outsource VMF bargaining unit work.
KENNETH PRINZ NEW NATIONAL MVS CRAFT DIVISION ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
The MVS National welcomes Kenneth Prinz as our new Assistant Director. Brother Prinz comes to Headquarters after serving as Eastern Region MVS National Business Agent, since 2010. He also served the Philadelphia Area Local for over 25 years and as the Motor Vehicle Craft Director for the Pennsylvania Postal Workers Union for over 20 years.
“I have had the privilege of working with brother Prinz for many years and have always found Ken to be of the highest integrity, and passionate towards MVS issues and the labor movement,” said Director Foster. “Ken’s commitment, work ethic, and dedication will be immeasurable in continuing the tradition of the hard-working Assistant MVS Directors. I look forward to protecting the future of MVS members, and their families, with Ken Prinz and the rest of the MVS Council.”
|MVS Craft Initiates National Dispute Re: Unilateral Implementation of FMCSA Clearinghouse Consent Form and Program
MVS Craft Initiates National Dispute Re: Unilateral Implementation of FMCSA Clearinghouse Consent Form and Program
Since May, the Union has been requesting information pertaining to the Postal Service’s new consent form entitled, “Consent for Limited Queries of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.” The USPS finally submitted a copy of the form to the Union on August 14, after its implementation. The Postal Service is requiring Motor Vehicle employees to sign a consent form as a term and/or condition of their continued employment. These changes and the new program significantly impact working conditions, which requires bargaining between the parties.
The Union was not consulted in the creation or implementation of the form, the program, or new requirement, all of which are clear violations of Article 1, Article 5 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Local and Regional cases that are filed should be held in abeyance pending APWU Case Number HQTV20200376.
|MVS Tell the OIG: What do you think about the new lift gates?
MVS Tell the OIG: What do you think about the new lift gates?
May 4, 2020
The USPS Office Inspector General (OIG) recently announced a solicitation for postal employee comments on the lift gates of the latest purchased Peterbilt 18’ and 24’ cargo trucks.
On April 30, MVS Director Michael Foster and Assistant Director Javier E. Piñeres teleconferenced with the OIG regarding their concerns with the cargo truck lift gates and the comment solicitation. Director Foster commented, “This is a significant comment solicitation by the OIG because the inquiries and concerns came from the MVS members who operate these lift gates on a daily basis.”
The USPS OIG has agreed to accept concerns until June 15, 2020.
“We’re going to continue discussions with the OIG audit team during the comment solicitation and up to the audit report. We will keep you updated accordingly,” assured Assistant Director Piñeres.
In February of 2018, the MVS national officers and members participated in the First Article Testing (FAT) of the Peterbilt 18’ and 24’ cargo trucks, as agreed to in Article 39.3.B. Numerous comments were made and safety concerns were identified to postal management and the manufacturer - including issues with the lift gates. Click here to view Director Foster’s letter on the original FAT.
“Since the USPS OIG has been willing to review the potential safety issues on the lift gates, it is important that we make our safety concerns known.” Director Foster further remarked, “if you have any experiences, injuries, testaments, ergonomic issues, technical problems, or other information operating or repairing these lift gates, we encourage you to participate in the comment solicitation and make your voices heard.”
Click here to submit your comment.
A full USPS OIG report is expected sometime after August.
|MVS Updates: Mercedes First Article Testing Concerns, CBD Impacts on Drug Testing & DOT Clearinghouse for Drug & Alcohol Testing Violations
MVS Updates: Mercedes First Article Testing Concerns, CBD Impacts on Drug Testing & DOT Clearinghouse for Drug & Alcohol Testing Violations
February 28, 2020
Just two months into the new year, and the Motor Vehicle Service Craft Division has been hard at work with several updates for the membership. Of primary issue are the Department of Transportation’s changes impacting MVS Operators with Commercial Drivers Licensing. More information will be provided, pending further discussions and meetings with the USPS.
Here are the notable updates:
FAT Testing Concerns for Mercedes Metris RHD Van
In mid-January, MVS APWU representatives attended the First Article Testing of the Mercedes Metris Right Hand Drive Van resulting in several concerns. The main issue for the testers was visibility. On January 28, MVS Director Michael O. Foster sent a detailed list of concerns that must be addressed by the USPS, per Article 39.3.B. The USPS responded on February 12, 2020. They provided an explanation for each issue and committed to making appropriate adjustments. Special thanks to MVS National Business Agent Bruce Amey, PVS Operator & South Carolina Postal Workers Union President Nate Walker, and VMF Lead Tech Timothy Schwarzbauer from the Upper Piedmont Area Local.
Click here for the specific concerns.
USPS Warns Employees to “Use caution when considering whether to use CBD products”
On February 20, the MVS Division received a general interest notice regarding the Department of Transportation’s announcement concerning the use of Cannabidiol products. In pertinent part, the letter states, “DOT requires testing for marijuana and not CBD. However, the use of CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result…employees should use caution when considering whether to use CBD products.”
Click here to view the full letter and the full DOT Compliance Notice.
Congress creates a “Clearinghouse” impacting MVS Operators with CDLs
By notice dated February 20, the USPS informed APWU of its compliance with a recent act of Congress that has established a drug and alcohol "Clearinghouse". The Clearinghouse is a secure online database providing employers, state licensing agencies, and enforcement officers with real-time information about commercial driver's license (CDL) holders' violations of the Department of Transportation (DOT) drug or alcohol testing rules. The USPS notice states:
The Postal Service is required to query the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees' drug and alcohol violations. The Postal Service is required to annually query the Clearinghouse for each driver they currently employ. Employees will be required to sign a consent to allow the Postal Service to run the annual query. (See 49 CFR 382. 701 (b)). The Postal Service anticipates to run the first query in late 2020.
Click here to view the notification.
More information will be forthcoming. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the MVS National Office or your MVS NBA.
|FMCSA - DOT Disputes Resolved
FMCSA - DOT Disputes Resolved
January 23, 2020The APWU and Postal Service’s history regarding the Service’s decision to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations dates back to 1995.
Despite policy stating that DOT physicals would be scheduled by postal management, occur on the clock at a Medical Unit or Contract Medical Facility, and be paid for by the USPS, issues surfaced from the field concerning payment and scheduling of the different tests required to certify PVS driver eligibility to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
Additional problems surfaced when USPS area doctors and local transportation managers started implementing unilateral changes to the FMCSA regulations for CDL employees.
Consequently, the APWU filed several Step 4 National Disputes.
On Oct. 23, 2019, the parties entered into a Step 4 Settlement Agreement with respect to the Postal Service’s administration of the DOT and FMCSA policy regarding annual physicals for employees holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) as a requirement of their position.
The following are notable excerpts from the Settlement: The Postal Service will follow Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations regarding the administration of CDLs. Postal employees whose position requires a CDL must maintain their medical certification in accordance with DOT and the FMCSA…
When required, medical exams related to an employee’s CDL will be scheduled with a DOT/FMCSA certified examiner at no cost to the employee. Any additional medical testing and/or exams, required to determine an employee’s suitability in connection with a DOT/FMCSA medical exam, will be paid for by the Postal Service until an initial determination is made. If the employee is found medically unfit, the employee will be responsible for the cost of any treatment and/or medical test or appointments he/she obtains, including medical information used to dispute the determination. If the employee is found medically fit by the certified examiner there is no further review necessary.
An employee may appeal an adverse result of a certifying examination as outlined in the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM), Article 39.
The FMCSA does not require the medical examiner to provide a copy of the medical examination report to the employer, therefore employees will not be required to sign a release for medical records…
An employee’s Social Security Number will not be required during employees DOT/FMCSA medical exam process.
Schedule Examiner Vehicle Runs (SEVR) is Bargaining Unit Work
In Case No. Q10V-4Q-C 15292655 Arbitrator Das upheld that there is no dispute between the parties over the fact that SEVR work is bargaining unit work, which the Employer may not assign to non-bargaining unit personnel. Accordingly, it violates the National Agreement for the USPS to permit supervisors in the field to shift SEVR work to non-bargaining unit personnel.
During pre-arbitration discussions, the APWU and the USPS entered into a Step 4 Settlement Agreement. The following are notable excerpts:
In the national arbitration case Q-10V-4Q-C 15292655, the Postal Service confirmed that, “…Schedule Examiner work is bargaining unit work, and that supervisors (and EAS employees) cannot perform bargaining unit work unless one of the exceptions provided for in Article 1.6 applies.”…
Accordingly, the parties agree that the Schedule Examiner Vehicle Runs position is a best qualified position within the Motor Vehicle Craft bargaining unit whose primary duties and responsibilities are listed in the Positions Description and Qualification Standards. It is appropriate to post these duty assignments for bid when they become vacant when there is sufficient work hours to justify a full-time assignment. In the event that local management determines that there are insufficient work hours to justify a full-time duty assignment, these duties must still be performed by bargaining unit employees of the MVS Craft.
|Good Contract, Good Jobs
Good Contract, Good Jobs
November 19, 2019
(This article first appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) â
Motor Vehicle Service members are joining in the fight, protecting the craft, and demanding proper pay and work rules during the APWU’s interest arbitration proceedings.
During the session from Sept. 24 through 26, Director Foster explained that both Tractor Trailer Operators (TTOs) and Motor Vehicle Operators (MVOs) are required to maintain a commercial driver’s license and must comply with federal Department of Transportation (DOT) rules and regulations. TTOs are also required to have a Class A endorsement to operate a combination vehicle, while MVOs are required to maintain a Class B endorsement for vehicles five tons and above with air brakes.
PVS drivers are required to undergo random urinalysis drug and alcohol screenings at DOT clinics. MVS employees are some of the safest commercial drivers in the United States.
Director Foster further testified that vehicle maintenance employees work at Vehicle Maintenance Facilities (VMF and maintain the entire postal fleet of approximately 232,602 vehicles.
The majority of VMF employees are automotive technicians found on levels 8, 9, and 10 of the pay scale. They perform routine and complex repairs and maintenance on all types of motor vehicles used in the postal fleet, from tractor trailers to sedans. Because they repair, maintain, and test drive tractors and large cargo trucks, many of our automotive technicians maintain CDLs with air brake endorsement. VMF technicians are supported by a range of employees, from Mechanics, Garagemen, Body and Fender Repairmen, Tire Repairmen and their own clerical employees.
Following Director Foster’s presentation and testimony, he introduced ten MVS members who traveled from around the country to Washington, DC to testify in the proceedings. They are Motor Vehicle Operators, Tractor Trailer Operators, Lead and Automotive Technicians and Storekeepers.
Both TTOs and MVOs gave testimony explaining that they are more than just delivery van drivers, and that they perform a wide variety of work with vast responsibilities. Much of their work is performed with little to no supervision at all, trusted to make daily decisions that ordinary delivery drivers rarely do.
In addition, our Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) drivers testified that besides safety, one of their main concerns is the Postal Service and its customers as they transport a significant amount of mail and revenue in the back of their trucks. As previous PVS panels have done, they left the Interest Arbitration Panel with a clear sense of the value PVS is to the Postal Service and the communities it serves.
Following the PVS panel, Director Foster introduced panelists from the Vehicle Maintenance Facilities. VMF employees testified that they work with vehicles of all makes and models. Their work is so diverse that one day they might be working on the transmission of a Ford and the next day the engine of Dodge Ram. Additionally, much of the postal fleet is so old that replacement parts are often difficult to find, making the work that much more challenging.
Without the testimony of our APWU panelist members, the Postal Service would paint a picture less favorable to the union’s position. There is no question, after hearing testimony from Postal Service’s Chief Operating Officer, that the Postal Service would prefer to portray the Motor Vehicle Craft as nothing more than delivery drivers and Jiffy Lube oil-changers.
There is no question that the diversity and professionalism of the MVS Craft members represents a bargain to the Postal Service as the Motor Vehicle Service Craft is the essential link that ties mail processing and customer service together.
The MVS Division officers would like to commend the Motor Vehicle Service Craft panelists for their presentation and willingness to assist our craft in the integral process of interest arbitration.
Many thanks to those who testified: Tiwanna Rogers, Michael Nazzaro, Auvelio Connor, Christina Smith, William Santiago, Michael McDonald, Luis Fabila, Mervin Gooch, Wade Jackson, and Leo Wesolowski.
|USPS is Testing Self-Driving Trucks
USPS is Testing Self-Driving Trucks
June 14, 2019
Recently, the USPS conducted an automotive mail haul pilot program test for a 1,000-mile trip between Phoenix and Dallas. From Bloomberg to NPR, headlines read, “USPS is Testing Self-Driving Trucks.”
The results of this pilot have not been shared with the public or the Union, something that the MVS Department is greatly concerned about and have demanded a meeting on. Furthermore, the Postal Service has said that “this pilot is just one of many ways the Postal Service is innovating and investing in its future.”
Currently, regulations are in place that limit the testing and use of automated vehicles. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are considering changes to the rules that would allow driverless vehicles on the road. They announced an “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” (ANPRM) in the May 28, 2019 Federal Register.
Automated commercial vehicles and hauling is not an investment in the safety of citizens on the road, professional TTO/MVO drivers, or an investment in the future of USPS skilled labor.
But there is something you can do about it: Submit a comment or concern to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calling for for regulation of automated vehicles for the safety of drivers, citizens, and the future of our jobs!
Comments will ONLY be accepted on or before July 29, 2019, and can be submitted using docket number FMCSA-2018-0037 or NHTSA-2019-0036 at regulations.gov.
“Big corporations are attempting to substitute automation for skilled and professional drivers. It is up to all of us: Members, officers, the Grand Alliance and the whole community, to request the FMCSA take a serious review,” said Motor Vehicle Service Director Michael O. Foster, “The requirements for these tests should be at least as stringent as the requirements for a professional driver operating commercial vehicles on the streets with our families and the public at risk.”
“When the USPS requested an exemption for the Hours of Service (HOS), that the Highway Route Contractors (HCRs) could operate - on the same streets and highways that these driverless vehicles propose to operate on - we asked our friends and network to comment and list their concerns - they did and it made a difference,” Director Foster continued.
“These changes will affect people’s lives and the safety of our streets. The rules and conditions that would allow an automated driverless commercial motor vehicle to operate must be thoroughly investigated and regulated,” he cautioned.
|'Keep on Truckin' Baby Again
'Keep on Truckin' Baby Again
(This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By MVS Division Director Michael O. Foster
In early 2018, the USPS began deploying new cargo trucks and spotters, on a one-for-one replacement of the trucks in use at the time. The Postal Service continues to replace its aging fleet, and tractors are next in line. Many of the current tractors have over 1 million miles and are on their last leg.
On Jan. 29-31, in South Bend, IN, the APWU attended the First Article Testing (FAT) the Postal Service conducted on the Cab-Behind-Engine (CBE) tractor trailers, built by Navistar International Trucks, formerly International Harvester Company.
Several of our MVS Craft representatives across the country braved record inclement weather to participate in the FAT, which included an opportunity to observe and operate the test vehicles. The opinion of the APWU team members is these vehicles appear to be a welcome improvement to the Postal fleet.
The initial purchase of 1579 CBE vehicles includes 1040 single-axle tractors and 539 tandem-axle tractors. A second purchase order of 221 Cab-Over-Engine (COE) tractors will follow shortly. The replacement of the tractors, as was the case with the cargo trucks, will be a one-for-one replacement beginning sometime in the middle of May 2019.
These vehicles are equipped with a keyless entry system and a separate keyless start system in addition to the oldfashioned key entry and start system. The keyless system will take some time to get used to, as it comes equipped with certain features requiring initial training.
These modern-day tractors are also equipped with an ‘On Command Connection’ (OCC) system which has the capacity to store information in the cloud.
The Postal Service also had the manufacturer install the ‘Bendix Wingman Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control” with collision mitigation and stationary object alert. This system will assist the driver with collision avoidance by sounding a buzzer and a red signal on the dashboard if the driver is too close, or 1.5 seconds from a moving vehicle or stationary object.
The items of concern that the APWU team representatives brought to the Postal Service’s attention for the CBE tractors can be viewed here. We identified a serious concern with the coupling and uncoupling of the tractor and trailer. Navistar and the Postal Service promised to provide the APWU with a video demonstrating the various angles and conditions our drivers regularly experience when coupling and uncoupling the two vehicles.
Electric – Is it the Future?
On Jan. 16-17, First Article Testing was held in Milpitas, CA for the ‘Intermediate Delivery 2-Ton Step’ Van – an allelectric vehicle.
This vehicle is a prototype tested for a one-year period only in California. This is a project between the Postal Service and CALSTART, a non-profit organization working nationally and internationally with business and governments to develop clean, efficient transportation solutions.
This is a regular standard delivery two-ton postal vehicle, where the manufacturer, Cummins Inc. (EDI), replaced the combustion engine with an all-electric direct drive system requiring no shifting other than to go forward or backwards.
This is a high voltage vehicle that operates at over 400 volts. It is equipped with two battery packs; each pack has seven batteries weighing 165 pounds each.
Surprisingly, the vehicle passed all criteria requirements and exceeded its requirements in many areas, despite being fully loaded with over 3700 pounds.
Some of the drawbacks for this particular vehicle were:
- High-voltage batteries requiring 8-9 hours to fully charge
- A total driving distance of only 77-100 miles when fully charged
The vehicles will be tested for a year, before any purchasing decisions will be made.
Participants in the FATs were members and officers from around the country. We would like to thank:
Felix Colon – Puget Sound Area Local
Marvin Smith – Atlanta Metro Area Local
Kermit Chatman – Detroit District Area Local
Ray Scanlon – Baltimore Francis Stu Fibley Area Local
Jerome Pittman – Western MVS NBA
Joseph LaCapria – Northeast MVS NBA
Javier Piñeres – Assistant Director MVS
|Major Win for the MVS Craft - POM 1995 Language Restored
Holiday Peak Exception Period Terms Also Reached
Major Win for the MVS Craft - POM 1995 Language Restored
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #:
09/13/2018 - When the USPS made changes to Chapters 5 and 7 of the Postal Operations Manual (POM) in 1995, APWU challenged the changes as not fair, reasonable, and equitable. While USPS agreed to restore the language in 2007 and again in 2012, they never did. APWU never stopped fighting. On August 28, we reached an agreement with the USPS to restore the language within 12 weeks. "This language is significant because it protects work that is presently being performed in the MVS Craft," said Michael Foster, Motor Vehicle Service (MVS) Division Director.
In addition to winning the fight to restore POM language, APWU MVS teams reached an agreement for the Holiday Peak Season Exception Periods. The previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for MVS was signed as part of the 2015-2018 CBA, and will expire September 20 with the CBA. A new MOU was necessary to ensure our full rights are upheld during the holiday season. APWU negotiators were able to reach a fair deal with the USPS. Under the new MOU, the Peak Season Exception Period will run from November 10, 2018 - Jan 4, 2019, and the USPS is required to "make every effort to ensure that available MVS craft PTFs are utilized at the straight-time rate prior to assigning such work to MVAs."
Page Last Updated: Oct 21, 2020 (08:13:43)