The ‘Revamped Maintenance Selection System’

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As a result of several rounds of intense discussions, the APWU and the USPS have agreed to modify the Maintenance Selection System (MSS), the process by which many Maintenance Craft duty assignments are filled.

We feel that the Revamped Maintenance Selection System maintains employee protections that are important to the craft, and that it establishes a selection process that is far more objective than the old system. The RMSS also should result in a more timely return of results, and the elimination of several troublesome issues.

The June 3 agreement necessitated changes to Article 38 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the development of a new Maintenance Selection System Handbook (EL-304).

The USPS began reviewing the MSS in 2006, citing changes in technology and equipment, as well as difficulty in maintaining selection registers and recruiting new hires, under the old MSS, which had not undergone a complete review since 1984. As part of the review process, the Postal Service surveyed hundreds of current craft employees and supervisors, and evaluated the work associated with each of the Maintenance Craft occupational groups.

When the Postal Service notified the APWU of proposed changes to the EL-304 Handbook early this year, we initiated serious discussions.

New Procedure

Management was reluctant to expand previously negotiated initiatives that provided developmental training to employees to help meet the qualifications for the selection registers, such as the Maintenance Skills Development Program and the ET Trainee Program, saying that doing so would be too expensive.

The changes include:

  • Candidate Supplemental Application books have been eliminated; 
  • Supervisor Evaluations have been eliminated; 
  • A change has been made to the banding of scores, giving seniority more weight;
  • Employees wishing to update their ratings will not need to address individual KSAs (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities); they will only need to wait 120 days from the date of their last testing; 
  • Individual KSAs will be graded as part of the new job competencies; 
  • There will be a single written exam, Test 955, which will be taken online in two parts — one with a proctor and the other without. Employees who pass Test 955 will be scheduled for a review panel, which will give a rating on a pass/fail basis; 
  • Employees who are ranked ineligible will be able to identify whether Test 955 or the review panel was the reason for the rating; 
  • Employees can be on the clock for the testing.

Article 38 Changes

Language in Article 38 has been changed to implement the new Revamped Maintenance Selection System. Specifically, there is a new subsection “c” in Article 38.5.B.8 which reads: The provisions in Section 5.B.8.a and Section 5.B.8.b above do not apply to employees under the Revamped Maintenance Selection System. The employer will convert all employees’ achieved scores into banded scores as indicated below and all employees who are determined to be eligible under the Revamped Maintenance Selection System shall be ranked on the appropriate PER by their banded score. All achieved scores within a listed band will be considered as a tie (or the same score) for all successful applicants within each specific band: 90.0–100.0; 80.0–89.9; 75.0–79.9; 70.0–74.9.

The two items in Section 5.B.8 have been re-lettered “d” and “e,” respectively.

A change also was required in Article 38.5.D. It now reads (with bold type showing the new passage) in its entirety: Employees under the Revamped Maintenance Selection System shall be permitted to update by retaking the in-craft RMSS process no earlier than 120 days from the generation of their last MSS rating. This is applicable to both eligible and ineligible ratings obtained under any current or previous MSS process. Upon such employee update request, the employer shall have thirty-seven (37) days to complete the process, including notification of the result to the employee. The promotion eligibility register shall not be updated during the period of time a vacant position is in the process of being filled. Employees shall be listed on this register in order of qualifications, and all listed positions for promotion shall be awarded to the best qualified applicants, except those positions set forth in Section 5.B.2 of this Article.

A provision in the RMSS Memorandum of Understanding requires that for any existing grievances, the sentences that were deleted will remain in effect until resolution of any pending grievances to which Article 38.5.D would be citable.

Unchanged in the RMSS

  •  KSAs will be retained as listed in the qualification standards. A minor change in wording was made to implement the new rating method; 
  • Standard position descriptions; 
  • Job task and/or occupational group work assignments; And 
  • Make-up of the review panel. (No 204Bs or immediate supervisors will serve.)

MSS applications that were started prior to May 27, 2009, will be processed under the old system. Applications submitted in March for the 2009 Open Season will be processed under the revamped procedure. (Maintenance Craft jobs that are not filled by the MSS process will be unaffected by the agreement.)

The RMSS does not rate KSAs as individual items. Instead, it covers the KSAs through the Test 955 and the review panel. Because of the differences in how the ratings are developed, the RMSS rating results do not allow a comparison to MSS (old system) rating results.

Under the old system, the resulting score used for ranking consisted of a combination of ratings from the written exam, the review panel, and the supervisor evaluation. Employees did not know their specific exam scores, and even though they were able to request review-panel and supervisor evaluations, did not know if either was the reason they passed or failed a particular KSA element. This is changed with the RMSS. The exam score is known and is in fact the score that will be used for ranking on the PER if the review panel result is “eligible.”The review panel is now an “eligible” or “ineligible” determination and the supervisor evaluation no longer exists.

Questions and Answers about the Revamped Maintenance Selection System, Aug. 10, 2009.Click here to view Questions and Answers about the Revamped Maintenance Selection System that the parties agreed to on Aug. 10, 2009.

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