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Maintenance Craft Information
Oct 21, 2020

POStPlan Implementation’s

Questions and Answers

Idowu Balogun

September 16, 2020 

(This article first appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

On July 13, 2020, the parties at the Headquarters level agreed to the following Q and A regarding POStPlan Installation:

What are the timelines from February 10, 2020, the date the agreement was signed?

April 10, 2020 – postmaster has to provide calculations of APO/RMPO to local or state union president who represents the installation. Current custodial employee has to opt-in or out of having driving requirement added to position

May 10, 2020 – post custodial job vacancy or new custodial duty assignment(s)

August 8, 2020 – process complete

What is the formula for the computation in the MOU, Re: Subcontracting Cleaning Services?

The interior square feet of the APO and all associated RMPOs are added together and the results are divided by 18,000.

The exterior paved and unpaved square feet of the APO and all associated RMPOs are added together and the results are divided by 500,000.

Add the final numbers from 1 and 2. If the number is 1 or more, the installation will be cleaned by Maintenance Craft Custodial employees.

If the calculation is 1 or more, does that require a full-time custodian in the installation?

The number of full-time or part-time regular custodial hours for the installation can be found on Form 4852, Workload Analysis Summary. The determination on whether to hire a FTR or PTR equivalent to the number of hours on the 4852 is management’s discretion. FTRs must be hired to the greatest extent possible.

When the calculation in the MOU is less than 1, is the postmaster still required to provide the computation to the local or state union president?

Yes, the calculation must be provided.

What is the process of filling custodial vacancies in the APO/RMPO environment?

Filling vacancies must be done in accordance with Article 38 and the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM).

Once a new maintenance job is created, who can apply for it?

The job must go through the normal process of filling vacancies in the Maintenance Craft.

Can a current custodian be required to drive and use his/her own vehicle?

No. The custodian can elect to have duties added to their duty assignment and must have informed the postmaster by April 10, 2020, of the decision. After April 10, 2020, the option to elect to have the duties added is no longer available.

If the current custodian opts out to having driving and POV added to qualifications, what happens to the additional hours at the facilities where the custodian is not domiciled?

Hours will be assigned to other bargaining unit employees in accordance with the MOU regarding two hours or less of contracted out custodial duties. Once the position is vacated, the notice of intent for the custodial position should be posted with a driving requirement and the custodial duties returned to the Maintenance Craft.

If the current custodian decides not to opt in for driving and POV requirements, will Line H requirements and/or remedy apply to APO/RMPO?

Line H requirements and/or remedy only apply to offices maintained by Maintenance Craft custodial employees.

What is the involvement of local/state presidents who represent the installation in this process?

Presidents should be proactive in creation and area coverage of duty assignments.

How is travel time accounted for when developing a staffing package?

Annual travel time will be listed as a line item on PS Form 4852, Table C – Supplemental Project Hours, but will not be used when determining if Line H obligations were met at the end of each fiscal year.

What compensation will custodians receive for driving between facilities?

Employees will receive higher-level pay when driving a Postal Service vehicle. Mileage reimbursement is added when driving a POV. When the tour is ended, custodian will continue to be paid in accordance with the Agreement.

Are driving and POV requirements applicable to non-POStPlan installations/facilities?

No. This agreement applies to POStPlan Installation/ facilities ONLY.

Jun 03, 2020

COVID-19 Emergency Considerations for Fiscal Year 2020


Idowu Balogun

June 1, 2020 



(This article first appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parties agree the following conditions will be applied when determining any MS-47, TL-5 Line H liabilities for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20):

Custodians should be utilized to the maximum extent possible, including overtime, in order to ensure all necessary cleaning is completed.

Due to custodians needing to complete regular custodial team cleaning (CTC) routes and the cleaning requirements as stated in MMO-031-20, Influenza and Coronavirus Cleaning Contingency, each day a custodial employee worked his/her duty assignment between March 3, 2020, and May 17, 2020, will be given full Line H credit for the hours worked.

While a facility, or portion of a facility, is closed due to non-usage in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a custodial route is subsequently suspended, the workhours associated with the suspended route will be deducted from the Line H liability.


Any custodial routes that are suspended in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic will be suspended through the Custodial Workloading (CW) Software and will be unsuspended once the facility, or portion of a facility, is operational, but no later than the expiration of this agreement.


In FY20, once a custodial employee exceeds sixty (60) hours of sick leave, any COVID-19 related absences between February 29, 2020, and May 17, 2020, will reduce the Line H liabilities for that facility by seven (7) hours for each day the employee was unavailable.

The above identified emergency considerations will expire on May 17, 2020. The parties will revisit this issue immediately prior to this MOU’s expiration to determine if extension is appropriate. This agreement does not establish precedent in any future negotiations regarding Line H liabilities.

Maintenance: 2020 National Interest Arbitration Summary

The Maintenance Tentative Agreements listed below from the Craft Table are incorporated into the Award and 2018-2021 Contract:

Article 38.6. A.2: The local APWU President will be provided a copy of the training allocations before solicitation of volunteers.

Article 38.5.B.6: Waiving of 30-day limitation currently placed time frame to request to be placed on Promotion Eligibility Registers (PERs) for new employees.

Article 38.B.7: Elimination of the three-year Open Season. Now, Maintenance employees may request to be placed on PERs at any time and the results will be generated no later than 60 days, instead of the previously existing 150 days.

Article 38.5.B.4.B: Electronic Technician ET-11 will be filled from Electronic Technician ET-10 with at least two years of experience.

Article 38.6.A.1: Involuntary selections for training will be made by inverse seniority on a rotating basis.


Line H Summary of Award

The Line H remedy was remanded to the parties at the National Level for a narrowly focused negotiation to define the terms “fully staffed” and “long term” absence, as written below:

“The types of leave or situations in which this Line H adjustment can be made are limited to the five situations proposed by the Postal Service: military leave; FMLA-covered absences; leave under USERRA; OWCP leave; or court leave. I will also permit the Postal Service to adjust the Line H hours to account for the hours in a staffing package of a custodial position that has been properly withheld as a custodial residual vacancy under Article 12 […]”

DO NOT engage in Line H negotiations with local management using the above exceptions until the conclusion of discussions on the remand at the HQ level.

Apr 14, 2020

Download: COVID-19 SUT 23_ALL EMPLOYEES_Families First Coronavirus Response Act.pdf

Mar 02, 2020

USPS Announces Potential Breach in

Maintenance Exam 955 Materials

February 28, 2020

Recently, the Postal Service informed APWU of a potential breach in testing materials related to Maintenance Selection System Exam 955, stating the following:

As a precautionary measure, a temporary hold on Exam 955 test scheduling has been issued until a full investigation has been completed. Individuals currently in process to complete testing will be rescheduled for a later date.

According to a follow-up conversation at the headquarters level between the National Maintenance Craft Division and Postal Service, the hold is expected to last until March 1, 2020.

“This is important for members who were recently tested, are scheduled to be tested, or are in the process of updating their test results about this new development,” said Maintenance Craft Director Idowu Balogun.

Each local must decide based on Individual situation when to enter into the grievance process.

The Maintenance Craft is currently scheduled to meet with the Postal Service, and will keep the membership updated accordingly.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact your Local Officers or your Maintenance National Business Agent.

Click here to view the original notification. 

Jan 29, 2020

Improper Article 12 Notification

Idowu Balogun

January 23, 2020

We have received information from all parts of the country regarding letters proposing excessing in the Maintenance Craft. Affected occupational groups include Electronic Technicians, MPE Mechanics, Maintenance Mechanics, Maintenance Support Clerks, Custodians, etc. Some of these proposals are for excessing outside of the installation. The rationale given by the USPS in one of the letters was:

The excessing is necessary as a result of the MS-1 Handbook Revisions resulting from national arbitration cases Q10T-4Q-C 14171644 and Q10T-4Q-C 16481407 settlement agreement regarding MS-1 Handbook Revisions. Further, the staffing changes referenced in the settlement regarding Handbook MS-1, TL-5, and TL6 Revisions and Related Maintenance Management Orders signed by the parties on August 8, 2019.


The Postal Service is required to provide a copy of valid staffing package(s), impact reports and sound justification for said proposed excessing.

Here are the required Article 12 steps from the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

1. Maintenance Craft Discussions Per Article 38.3.K (Excessing)

When the USPS proposes to involuntarily reassign APWU Maintenance Craft employees out of the installation in accordance with Article 12.5.C.5.b, the USPS and the Maintenance Craft agree to meet at the national level to address certain issues related to and arising from the excessing. These meetings will occur only when a proposed excessing event in an impacted installation involves multiple occupational groups within the APWU Maintenance Craft or when more than half of any existing occupational group within the APWU Maintenance Craft is proposed to be involuntarily reassigned.

2. Area/Regional Notification (Article 12, Section 5)

The union at the area/regional level will be given notice when technological, mechanization or operational changes impact the bargaining unit no less than 90 days in advance – six months in advance whenever possible. This notice shall be in the form of an Impact/Work Hour Report. Involuntary reassignment of employees outside their craft/installation requires an area/regional labormanagement meeting. It’s in the interest of both parties to meet as soon as possible and to develop an ongoing flow of communication to ensure that the principles of Article 12 Reassignment are met. The first area/regional labor-management meeting must be held no less than 90 days prior to the involuntary reassignment.

3. Proposed Excessing

Field managers and/or supervisors should not discuss with bargaining unit employees proposed excessing outside the craft or installation until the area/regional parties have held their discussions. This should prevent employees from receiving erroneous information from management or the union, and control the appropriate flow of information.

A local in receipt of an Article 12 proposed notification must be prepared to challenge the validity of the new staffing package by requesting supporting data, emails, rationale, all submitted, denied and approved packages, etc. Do not hesitate to contact your Maintenance NBA and Regional Coordinator for assistance. Your National Maintenance Resident Officers, Regional Coordinators and Maintenance Business Agents are working together with your local officers to combat this new assault on our craft.

A step in the right direction

In March 2019, I wrote an article called “Custodian Team Cleaning (CTC): Doomed to Fail” that raised several concerns regarding TL 5 equipment, chemicals and allocated cleaningtime standards. Subsequently, the USPS reached out to the union for a meeting. We discussed over two hundred emails from Maintenance employees across the country regarding CTC product shortcomings, and agreed to jointly visit post offices for observations. On Oct. 16, 2019, we visited the Kansas City Processing Plant. The visit was productive. The USPS is currently testing cordless backpack vacuums and reevaluating the current cleaning chemicals, tools, allocated time and more. We will keep you posted. This is a step in the right direction.

Aug 13, 2019

New MS-1 Settlement and Implementation

On Aug. 8, the Maintenance Craft reached a settlement with the USPS regarding Handbook MS-1, TL-5 and TL-6 Revisions and Related Maintenance Management Orders, originally grieved by current Maintenance Division Director Idowu Balogun.

On Sept. 13, 2017, Arbitrator Goldberg remanded the MS-1 revisions case nos. Q10T-4Q-C-14171644/ Q10T-4Q-C-16481407 back to the APWU and USPS for resolution, directing the Postal Service to provide the APWU with all data and data analysis collected by the Postal Review Team.

The new settlement designates that maintenance work in stations and branches transitioning to Field Maintenance Operations (FMO) as a result of MS-1/TL-6 will continue to performed by the employees currently performing those duties.

It also stipulates that:

When attrition at the installation results in a staffing level below the authorized complement, management may determine the occupational group of the employee(s) that will continue to perform the work in the stations and branches… due to the transferring of maintenance work of stations and branches from plant maintenance to FMO, the FMO authorized staffing may increase in order to provide maintenance for the stations and branches. For FMO staffing increases that exceed the available plant LDC 37…those positions shall be posted and filled under the FMO in accordance with Article 38 and the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM).

The Postal Service will publish the final versions of MS-1 TL 6 and MMOs on Aug. 8, 2019.

Click here to see the full settlement on Q10T-4Q-C-14171644/ Q10T-4Q-C-16481407.

Register today for MS 1 TL5/TL 6 Settlement and Implementations on Monday Aug 19, 2019 2:00 PM EDT. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

May 23, 2019

Custodian Team Cleaning (CTC): Doomed to Fail

(This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

By Maintenance Division Director Idowu Balogun

Beginning in 2012, The US Postal Service embarked on a “Pilot” program to replace the 1983 Housekeeping Handbook MS 47 TL 3 with Custodian Team Cleaning (CTC). The CTC concept was created by a Utah based company called Manage Men. The new handbook was titled MS 47 TL 5.

By the end of 2014, USPS rolled out the Pilot program nationwide as the new standard of operation. Under CTC, four custodians are jointly responsible for completing all assigned tasks. The four specialists include the Restroom Specialist, Vacuum Specialist, Light Duty Specialist and Utility Specialist. Three of the four specialists visit each room, with the exception of the Restroom Specialist, creating the Team Cleaning Concept. Each specialist’s duties are as follows:

In our opinion, the Vacuum Specialist’s daily duty is the most challenging task of all. They are responsible for carrying a 10-15-pound vacuum machine and dirt around for up to eight hours per day. This is a daunting task for anyone, let alone our aging workforce.

The CTC Program drastically reduced the custodial staff by over thirty percent across the country. Cleaning frequency was reduced, and cleaning chemicals and tools were standardized. The safety and well-being of our employees are serious concerns to us.

Under TL 5, the Postal Service mandated the usage of a specific provider nationwide for its initial setup, daily cleaning materials and equipment for each CTC Specialist’s needs.

Currently, the Postal Service is paying millions of dollars across the country to set up CTC for its In-Out Checkout CTC supply rooms, with a contract for the single source provider to continue to replenish supplies on a regular basis. APWU’s investigation reveals that the new cleaning chemicals are NOT cleaning at all – what a racket!

Our members are forced to resort to desperate measures, with some managers encouraging employee to return to using the TL 3 cleaning supplies. Give me a break!

As your National Maintenance Representatives, we are not happy with USPS’s TL 5 postal experiment. In our humble opinion, TL 5 is doomed to fail. It is time to return to the TL 3 Handbook and Cleaning Standards. What do you think? The Maintenance Division is asking for your thoughts, concerns and input with Custodian Team Cleaning and products. Please email Director Balogun at I would love to hear from you all!

Jun 07, 2018

MS-1 Settlement Reached

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)

By Maintenance Craft Directors 

On Feb. 27, 2018, the USPS and the Maintenance Division reached a resolution regarding the MS-1 Handbook revisions that were remanded to the parties by Arbitrator Goldberg in case Q10T-4Q-C 14171644. The MS-1 Handbook is titled Operation and Maintenance of Real Property and it “prescribes the policies, procedures, and practices governing the operation and maintenance of USPS buildings and leased space.”

There are also other Maintenance Management Orders (MMOs) that can apply and the USPS intended to issue newer versions in place of some of the language from the MS-1. The principle purpose to Maintenance Craft employees was the procedures for the staffing of the “Building-side” occupational groups. These were primarily Building Equipment Mechanics (BEM), Level 9. Some of the identified work could also be attributed to Maintenance Mechanic, Level 7 (MM-7) employees. The method of staffing these positions and the duty assignments is similar to other staffing requirements in Maintenance, such as for custodial, mail processing or field maintenance.

First, an inventory of equipment and work tasks must occur. Then, using the MS-1, frequencies and work performance standards are applied. The result is an amount of work time needed to meet maintenance requirements, provide for safety and health of occupants, and protect the USPS investment in the property. The APWU’s views very seriously take umbrage with management’s budget driven approach, which results in the degrading of our work locations and detrimental impacts on employees and customers when building equipment is not maintained and cared for properly. We waged a years-long battle with the Postal Service on this issue and the February 2018 resolution provides completion on this round.

While the Arbitrator did make some definitive rulings in his Sept. 13, 2017 award, he also decreed that, “The issues of whether the revisions to the MS-1 dealing with (a) preventative maintenance time allowances and frequencies, and (b) space adjustments and miscellaneous work time allowances violated Article 19 are remanded to the parties.”

We had several meetings with the Postal Service on this remand and went through each and every line item in the various staffing forms utilized in the MS-1 – a tedious yet important task. The input from the BEM group of unionists we utilized leading up to, as well as their expert testimony at, the hearing was of great assistance.

In the end, we addressed the remanded items and the implementation of the new process. The February agreement provides that the staffing allowances and frequencies are agreed upon and will be incorporated into an updated MS-1 and applicable MMOs.

Critically, the settlement provides, “The APWU will be provided the final draft(s) for review and concurrence prior to publication.” Not only is this an important protection against any last second deviations, which would lead to another round of dispute processing, but it also ensures that the new procedures and staffing are NOT yet released.

We also went beyond the explicit remand in securing a one-year moratorium, stating that, “There will be a 1 (one) year transition period during which staffing adjustments which impact employees will not take place.” Not to be redundant but a provision also provides, “… any excessing of employees will not occur until at least 1 (one) year from the date of signing of this settlement” (emphasis added).

The final item addressed is the handling of pending grievances in the field. Grievances can be resolved or go forward, depending on the local factcircumstances.

A copy of this settlement is available on the Maintenance Craft page of the APWU website,

Please be sure to communicate with your local Maintenance representatives, as well as your National Business Agents. Looking forward to seeing many of you in Pittsburgh, PA at the National Convention.

Importantly, don’t forget to say “Hi” to your steward.

Page Last Updated: Oct 21, 2020 (08:15:54)
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