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Change is Continuous
Posted On: Feb 06, 2018

Change is Continuous

(This article first appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

By Maintenance Craft Directors 

On Oct. 17, we attended a national Tech & Mech joint committee meeting with the USPS. APWU Maintenance, Clerk and MVS Officers, as well as representatives from the Mail Handlers were present. The USPS attendees included program managers over many of the new or changed equipment systems and, of course, labor relations.

The majority of this Tech & Mech agenda was presented by Assistant Director Terry B. Martinez during his report to the Maintenance Division General Session at the recent All-Craft Conference in Las Vegas. The Postal Service gave us the current status of their initiatives:

  • Automated Parcel & Bundle Sorter Infeed (APBS) – This included both the semi-automatic singulator and development of pallet box alternatives.
  • Automated Delivery Unit Sorter (ADUS) – as the name implies, this is another attempt to put sortation equipment in stations. Testing has been in the FDR station since 2015 and management wants to try it in four different locations. Installation and training should have already occurred (absent any sliding in the deployment) at Chelsea, MA; Paschal, PA; JCTM in DC; and Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
  • Advanced Letter Processing System (ALPS) – The Postal Service’s replacement for the Delivery Bar Code Sorter (DBCS). Testing is ongoing at Richmond, VA and Oklahoma City, OK.
  • Expanded Package Processing System (EPPS) – An update to Automated Package Processing System (APPS) being tested in Portland, OR. Local Maintenance is trained on this machine.
  • High Throughput Package Sorter (HTPS) – Testing in Denver, CO and Queens, NY. It is intended to leverage other parcel sorting designs and subsystems.
  • Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGV) – A self-driven powered industrial vehicle being tested at Penwood Place P&DC (Warrendale, PA) and Queens P&DC, NY. This concept can be an impact to both tuggers and pallet moving equipment.
  • Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) – a new delivery vehicle.
  • High Density Staging System (HSFF) – This is an upgrade to the Flats Sequencing System (FSS) machines that replaces existing four feeders with two high speed feeders. Currently utilized at Dulles P&DC (installed 2013); Philadelphia P&DC (2014); and Royal Palm P&DC (2015). Maintenance personnel are trained on this modification.
  • SPSS Keying System (SPSS) – a keying station to be installed by Maintenance on console 1 at sites with a small package sorting system. It is intended to provide SPSS sites the ability to finalize No-Read mail at the SPSS.

If we are notified at the headquarters level of the Postal Service’s decision to contract this work out, we will challenge it and file a dispute.

As always, do not take as gospel any management assertion that there is a national contract between the USPS and a vendor to justify the contracting out of our work. Always proceed to file a local grievance with the facts for your specific circumstance. The Maintenance Division provides local officers and our National Business Agents with regular updates of subcontracting challenged under Article 32 at the headquarters level.

As always, please say “Hi” and “Happy New Year” to your friendly floor steward.


June 26, 2018 marks the official opening session for negotiations on our next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Maintenance Division Officers are, once again, geared up for our struggle to improve the working lives of our membership. We are certainly up to whatever the Postal Service will throw at us.

As members of the APWU, your thoughts and input are always welcome. Please bear in mind that not every concern or idea ends up as an actual proposed change to the CBA. Sometimes, it is a matter of enforcing the existing language. In that regard, your input on what you believe we should strive to maintain is important.


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