Retail / Sales & Service
APWU, USPS Revamp Window Training
(12/13/12) The APWU has made significant progress recently on revamping window training — a long-term union goal, Clerk Craft officers are reporting.Last summer, after years of struggle, the USPS finally allowed the APWU to be involved in training — and even paid for the travel expenses of clerks who participated, they note.
The APWU team, which was selected by the union, included active and knowledgeable Sales and Service Associates and Lead Sales and Service Associates from around the country, who presented new ideas and concepts to improve training for retail clerks. This is an ongoing project. “We are committed to keeping the ‘boots on the ground’ concept alive as we to deal with the changing post office,” said Clerk Craft Director Rob Strunk. [read more]
Automated Postal Centers
The USPS began deploying Automated Postal Centers (APCs) in February 2004, and plans to install them throughout the country. APCs are designed to reduce lines at windows and provide customers an alternate way to send mail and purchase services. They provide many of the services currently available at full-service windows, including:
Bulk Mail Acceptance Duties
Sales and service clerks are entitled to higher-level pay when they perform bulk mail acceptance duties, and they must receive training. An article in the March/April 2006 edition of The American Postal Worker magazine outlines the issue.
Bulk Mail Acceptance Duties
Documenting Work for Upgrades
In the event you find it necessary to file a grievance seeking to upgrade a duty assignment because of bulk mail acceptance duties, you will need specific documentation to support your case. If your office does not qualify for a full-time Level 6 position, clerks performing bulk mail work are entitled to Level 6 pay for hours they spend performing the work. Documentation will be needed to support grievances seeking higher-level pay. [read more]
The expansion of private Contract Postal Units threatens USPS owned-and-operated post offices, stations and branches. Many of the CPUs violate postal regulations, and are vulnerable to challenge. A CPU Checklist provides a guide for evaluating whether the locals should demand the closure of the CPUs.
For more information on challenging CPUs, click here. See also the APWU Station & Branch Consolidation 'Tool Kit' [Members Only - PDF]
APWU, USPS Agree on New Position Description:
Delivery/Sales Services and Distribution Associate
(10/31/11) The Postal Service and the APWU have finalized the position description and qualification standards for a new Level 6 Clerk Craft position: the Delivery/Sales Services and Distribution Associate. The new position will be filled by the senior-qualified bidder in the Clerk Craft, and will include the existing duties and responsibilities of Sales Service and Distribution Associates and Clerk/Special Delivery Messengers. [read more]
Enforcing the Contract in Small Offices
(07/12/11) The USPS has begun implementing several policies in small post offices that violate the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Although many of the disputes may eventually be decided at the national level, Clerk Craft Director Rob Strunk is advising locals that it is important that to challenge violations properly at the local level. [read more]
Function 4 Audit Training DVD
(12/19/08) A new APWU-produced DVD about Function 4 audits shows how window clerks can protect their jobs by working the window consistent with their training and the standards that management has established.
The goal of the DVD is to help retail clerks understand how the Postal Service determines workload and staffing. The DVD can be ordered through the APWU Store, and can be reproduced as often as necessary for distribution to stewards and window clerks.
Lobby Director Program
The Lobby Director Program [PDF] may be utilized in locations where lobby traffic is extremely high in order to reduce the customers’ time in line. The guidelines recognize this exclusively as a function of the Clerk Craft.
Mystery Shopper Evaluations
Mystery Shopper evaluations have been a source of contention between the union and management since the program's inception.
An undated letter [PDF] from USPS headquarters indicates that Mystery Shopper Evaluations cannot be used to justify disciplinary action. Local projects similar to the Mystery Shopper program cannot be used to justify disciplinary action either. The letter was sent to all Area Labor Relations Managers at the request of the APWU.
Employees must follow the instructions of their supervisors, however, and may be subject to discipline based on the independent personal observations of their supervisor. They cannot be issued discipline based on the hearsay evaluation of a mystery shopper or similar third party.
Mystery Shopper Changes
(12/30/2010) After years of APWU complaints, the Postal Service has notified the union that the Mystery Shopper Program will be altered beginning in January 2011. Retail Associates (RAs) will no longer be required to follow a precise script when waiting on customers; instead they will be permitted to “customize their questions to best address individual customer needs.” [read more]
(09/23/08) The APWU and USPS resolved a national-level grievance on Sept. 15, 2008, stipulating that, “Evaluations generated through the Mystery Shopper or similar programs shall not be used as the basis for discipline.” The agreement [PDF] settles a Step 4 dispute, filed in 2007, which challenged management’s policy of issuing discipline to employees as a result of programs that are similar to but not technically part of the “Mystery Shopper” program.
The Position Descriptions and the Qualification Standards [PDF] for Lead Sales & Service Associates, Sales & Service Associates and Sales, Service & Distribution Associates are provided.
Questions and Answers
About the Sales and Services Associate Exam
This series of Questions and Answers about the Sales and Services Associate (SSA) Exam [PDF] dated Sept. 17, 2003, lists agreements between the union and management at the national level. The APWU and USPS are bound by the terms of this document at the local level.
WOS Time Factors
The Postal Service uses Window Operations Surveys (WOS) to analyze staffing in retail units. In October 2007 management established new time factors [Excel file - updated 01/07/13) ] for use in evaluating the number of workers needed for an operation.
Self Service Postal Centers
A July 15, 2004, letter [PDF] from management outlines USPS plans for stamp vending machines as Automated Postal Centers (APCs) are deployed. The letter reviews the previous correspondence between the union and management on the subject, and provides lists of vending machines that will be eliminated, by model number and location.