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Oct 06, 2021

Maintenance: 50 Years Later

Idowu Balogun

August 27, 2021 

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

In 1971, five independent and separate unions representing several thousand postal workers merged to become the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO as we know it today. The five unions were the United Federation of Postal Clerks (UFPC), National Postal Union (NPU), Motor Vehicle Service Employees (NFPOMVE), Special Delivery Messengers (NASDM), and the National Association Union of Post Office and General Service Maintenance Employees (NAPO & GSME).

The July 1971 joint statement on mergers into APWU stated: Your Officers now pledge to do everything possible to carry out your mandate. Every effort will be made to achieve unity in spirit and in action. We now are one union and we must think and act as one. We intend to live by majority rule as defined by the APWU constitution because only if all respond affirmatively to the will of the majority can democratic procedures prevail.

NAPOGSME President Monroe Crable became the first National Maintenance President, now known as APWU National Director of the Maintenance Division; with Bill Kaczor and Richard Wevodau as his Assistants.

Richard Wevodou became the next National Maintenance Director, followed by Director Thomas Freeman.

James (Jim) Lingberg, from Dallas, TX, became Maintenance National Director in the early 1990s. Brother Lingberg previously served as Bulk Mail Center (BMC) Coordinator prior to becoming the National Craft Director. Among other notable victories, in 1993 Brother Lingberg was instrumental in job consolidation and seniority becoming the determining factor in promotions, outstanding union achievements. Notable resident officers that served with him were Edgar Williams, Randy Sutton, Jake Jackson, Malcolm Smith, Bobby Donelson and Gary Kloepfer.

Steve Raymer, from Madison, WI, became Maintenance Director in 2001. He was responsible for multi-milliondollar MS-47 settlements before Arbitrator Das. Under his leadership, Maintenance agreed on the creation of the MS-47 TL-5 that brought in millions of dollars on Line H settlements year after year, as well as the establishment of an all-career workforce in the Maintenance Division. Notable Maintenance resident officers that served with him were Gary Kloepfer, Jake Jackson, Gregory See and Idowu Balogun.

Idowu Balogun, from Los Angeles, CA, became the National Maintenance Director in 2018, after the untimely passing of Steve Raymer. The other current Maintenance Resident Officers are Jimmie Waldon, Assistant Director A, and Terry B. Martinez, Assistant Director B. Together, they were responsible for the POStPlan enforcement, Individual Open Season instead of every three-year open season, Building Equipment Mechanic MS 1 settlement, ET 11 2021 Local Memorandum of Understanding and several COVID- 19 MOUs. We are also currently being represented by nine National Maintenance Business Agents and three All Crafts Business Agents, working throughout the country.

National Negotiations Are Underway

The 2018 National Collective Bargaining Agreement with the USPS will expire September 20. Negotiations opened on June 22, three months prior to the expiration of our current Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Maintenance Negotiation Craft Table participants are: National Maintenance Director Idowu Balogun, National Assistant Director A Jimmie Waldon, National Assistant Director B Terry B. Martinez, NBA Northeast Region Dave Sarnacki, and NBA Eastern Region Jason Treier.

Your Maintenance Team met the with Postal Service immediately after the Opening Day of Contract Negotiations. To say the least, we were fired up and ready to go. We are currently scheduled for a weekly meeting via Zoom and once a month negotiations in person in Washington, DC, until the final weeks of negotiations in September, when we will start meeting daily in person at a lock down location.

The Maintenance resolutions from past conventions are the backdrops of our proposals. Our goal is to continue the growth of the Maintenance Division, increase your standard of living, protect your jobs and ensure our future as a craft.

It is an honor of a lifetime to be your voice and your advocate in the 2021 Craft Negotiations. We are looking forward to delivering to you a negotiated contract. As this issue was being finalized for press, Assistant Director Waldon announced his planned retirement (See page 27). His replacement will be announced in the next issue of The American Postal Worker.


Sep 27, 2021

Jason Treier to Serve as Maintenance Division Assistant Director

September 27, 2021  

In accordance with Article 21 of the American Postal Workers Union Constitution & Bylaws, Jason Treier will serve as Maintenance Division Assistant Director, President Mark Dimondstein announced.

The Assistant Director B position is located in Washington, D.C. Jason Treier was selected by Maintenance Division Director Idowu Balogun and received unanimous concurrence by the Maintenance Council. He started serving in the new position on Sept. 25, 2021.

In 2005, Jason was hired by the USPS as a PTF Clerk at the Lancaster, PA P&DC. He entered the Maintenance Craft in 2007 as a Level 4 Custodian.

In 2008, he became a Maintenance Steward and the local Maintenance Craft Director in 2009. Since 2014, Brother Treier has served as the Director of Industrial Relations for the Lancaster Area Local. Currently, he still holds this position.

In 2018, Brother Treier was appointed to the position of National Business Agent for the Eastern Region Maintenance Division, where he remained until his recent appointment to HQ Maintenance Division.

“Brother Jason is already a member of 2021 National Maintenance Negotiation Team,” Said Director Balogun. “I look forward to working with him at the headquarters level. Welcome to Washington, DC!”


Aug 26, 2021

National Maintenance Assistant Director “A” Jimmie Waldon Retires

August 24, 2021  

National Maintenance Assistant Director “A” Jimmie Waldon announced his retirement in August 2021 after over 14 years as a national officer. Prior to being elected to this position on July 18, 2018, he served as the Western Region Maintenance National Business Agent for eleven years. He also served as the Vice President of the Sacramento Area Local.

Jimmie Waldon was a tenacious defender of the Maintenance craft, leading many craft trainings and conferences. He specialized in non-discrimination, leave, staffing assignments, discipline, safety and injury issues; and also served as the BMC Coordinator.

“Brother Jimmie’s presence will be missed at the Maintenance Council,” Maintenance Director Idowu Balogun stated. “We thank him for his many years of service to the APWU Maintenance Division and wishes him a joyful retirement.”

“On behalf of the entire membership, I thank Brother Waldon for his years of dedication and service to the American Postal Workers Union. I wish Jimmie and his family the very best, and a long, happy and healthy retirement,” shared President Dimondstein.


Aug 04, 2021

Mail Processing Equipment Arbitration

Idowu Balogun

July 9, 2021 

(This article first appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

The Maintenance National Officers arbitrated a section of Electronic Work Hours Estimated Program (eWHEP) on May 18-19, before a newly selected National Arbitrator, Margo Newman. The union framed our primary issue as:

Did the Postal Service at the HQ Level violate the CBA when the they unilaterally changed the process in which the number of operational tours for mail processing equipment is entered into eMARS (Electronic Maintenance Activity Reporting System) by local management for staffing purposes?

Background: The total overall amount of annual staffing hours allotted for operational maintenance in eWHEP staffing packages are controlled by (1) the quantity and type/model of all mail processing equipment within the installation, and (2) the staffing/ preventive maintenance MMOs (Maintenance Management Order) for that particular type/model of mail processing equipment and (3) the number of tours of operation (and days of operation) that mail processing equipment is entered as being in use.

Before 2018, as required by the CBA and several accompanying MMOs, the responsibility of entering the number of tours of operation for mail processing equipment properly fell under the purview of local maintenance management. This was based on local fact circumstance and firsthand knowledge of operations and maintenance needs within their installation. Local maintenance managers were required to manually enter the number of Tours (1, 2, or 3) in a field next to each piece of mail processing equipment contained in the eMARS inventory within the installation. Since each installation is open for 24 hours a day, local maintenance managers would always choose three tours. The issue affects every plant and distribution center in the country. It first became known to the APWU in January 2018 when the Central New York Area Local was provided a copy of the then-current, approved eWHEP staffing package and immediately observed that it identified an inexplicable reduction of maintenance craft duty assignments.

APWU Position: It is the union’s position that the Postal Service violated the CBA, including but not limited to Articles 5, 15, and 19 when it unilaterally implemented this formula/software change and automated process, and that this unilateral change has adversely affected wages, hours and working conditions. Specifically, it has reduced the number of maintenance craft duty assignments authorized in eWHEP staffing packages. This in turn resulted in the reversion of maintenance craft duty assignments and the involuntary reassignment of maintenance craft employees across the country.

At no point in time was the National notified or furnished any information regarding the unilateral implementation of this change. Indeed, when the APWU questioned USPS HQ, Director Balogun was told no changes were made. This is a fatal flaw.

Additionally, it is the position of the union that the Postal Service’s unilateral creation and implementation of a formula/software change that auto-populates the number of tours mail processing equipment is in operation, by design, violates Article 19 insomuch as it bypasses local maintenance management from the process of exercising their authority to determine staffing needs based on local fact circumstance and firsthand knowledge of operations.

It is also the position of the union that each eWHEP MMO contains controlling language that states: “Local Management, with Area Maintenance concurrence, can adjust work hour allowances provided in the eWHEP program in response to local conditions. For mail processing equipment, adjustments can be based on factors such as: number, age, general condition of the machines; the usage by mail processing operations; the maintenance window’s length and, the variety of non-standard processing equipment.”

As a remedy, the union requests that the Postal Service return to the practice of allowing the manual entry of the number total number of tours in eWHEP in accordance with the CBA and accompanying MMOs, as was the case before 2018, and to make the bargaining unit whole for any staffing hours affected by the automatic population of tours.


May 17, 2021

Custodial Team Cleaning Failed the COVID Test

Idowu Balogun

March 1, 2021 

(This article first appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

In the March-April 2019 issue, we raised the alarm that the Custodial Team Cleaning Program (CTC), along with its chemicals, was doomed to fail. We raised the alarm that CTC drastically reduced custodial staff employees by over 30 percent across the country. Cleaning Frequencies were gutted to bare bones and cleaning chemicals and tools were “standardized.” We loudly warned the USPS in private and during the national interest arbitration that the safety and well-being of our employees is a serious concern and is at stake. Unfortunately, the warning and our efforts fell on deaf ears as postal management marched forward blindly towards the cliff.

Unfortunately, since inception, the CTC program deteriorated and management failed to make necessary suggested changes after our Kansas City joint meeting, during which they promised to do better. No wonder when the pandemic hit in March 2020, the Postal Service was not prepared for the COVID-needed cleaning.

The lack of adequate custodian staffing led to the creation of several emergency “bandage” measures to meet the daunting tasks required of COVID-19 cleaning, including the unilateral creation of MMO-31-20, aka “Deep Cleaning.” The creation of “Deep Cleaning” is proof that CTC does not currently provide for necessary, regular extensive cleaning.

The CTC chemicals, sold to the Postal Service as “good enough to drink,” did not meet the standard that is required of the CDC. MMO-31-20 is management’s temporary solution to a permanent CTC problem. The APWU at all levels worked with management to jointly combat the national COVID-19 outbreak, which requires additional cleaning frequencies.

The APWU, like other unions, agreed to temporary exemptions to help with the pandemic, temporarily allowing the usage of “Contract Custodians.” Other noncustodial personnel were allowed to cross the occupational group to keep all postal employees safe. However, the CTC Program problem will not go away via a temporary bandage measure.

It is time that the USPS revisit its Custodian Team Cleaning once again. It is time to upgrade the chemicals, as promised, and abide by CDC cleaning requirements at all times, not just during a pandemic.

It is unfortunate to report that at the time of writing this article, thousands of fellow postal employees are infected with COVID-19, and 150 of our fellow brothers and sisters have died since the beginning of the pandemic from COVID-19.

It is our collective, humble opinion that the pandemic should be seen as an opportunity to completely overhaul CTC, return to the bargaining table and seriously negotiate with the union, using a new acceptable Center for Disease Control (CDC) Cleaning standards that will meet the test of safety going forward.

Since our 2019 article, we have received several emails and telephone calls concerning blatant safety violations, that not only puts our custodians’ safety in jeopardy, but also the safety of all postal employees. Let’s face it: CTC failed miserably, with a grade of “F minus.” As usual, we would love to hear from you at Maint-HQ-Update@apwu.org.

CDC RECOMMENDATIONS: CLEANING AND DISINFECTING YOUR FACILITY

Areas unoccupied for 7 or more days need only routine cleaning. Maintain existing cleaning practices for outdoor areas.

Consider the type of surface and how often the surface is touched. Prioritize disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Keep in mind the availability of cleaning products and personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for cleaners and disinfectants.

Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- approved disinfectant against COVID-19 and read the label to make sure it meets your needs.

Continue or revise your plan based on appropriate disinfectant and PPE availability. Dirty surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. Routinely disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily.




Page Last Updated: Oct 06, 2021 (08:29:20)
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