Conversation with the Clerk Membership: Accountability

Lamont Brooks

January 23, 2020

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

On behalf of the APWU Clerk Division national officers, I would like to express our gratitude in electing us as your APWU Clerk Division Directors. No one individual can face this challenge and succeed alone. We must all unite as a cohesive team, from the members on the floor, to the local and national officers of the APWU.

We all must hold each other accountable, and that includes you, the members on the floor. You are the foundation and the lifeline of the APWU. It is important that every member represents the Postal Service in a manner that will sustain the agency and the union. We must strive to be the best worker we can be and to provide the best customer service we can provide. We have an obligation to do our part as well as an obligation to hold the Postal Service accountable for giving us the tools, resources, and proper staffing to do our job to provide outstanding service to our customers. A part of that process is for the Postal service to abide by the negotiated USPS/APWU Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

DBCS Staffing MOU

The parties agreed to the normal staffing of two Mail Processing Clerks on the DBCS at all times. The exceptions described in the JCIM Q&As must not be considered an alternative to the scheduling of two Mail Processing Clerks on the DBCS. During the exception periods described in the JCIM Q&As, the parties further agree the second Mail Processing Clerk may perform allied duties as assigned in the OCR-BCS-DBCS area.

This settlement agreement addresses minimum staffing, and is not intended to impact those offices where there have been agreements and past practices involving more than two clerks per machine (due to unique rotations or other local factors).

Don’t get caught up in fool’s gold. The Postal Service would rather pay extra money to settle these violations in the short term, with the intention to justify the later abolishment of duty assignments and the eventual excessing of clerk employees with their ill-conceived and flawed F-1 Scheduler.

As members, you can do your part to protect your interests by insisting on the minimum staffing of two employees on a machine, by filing grievances when they fail to properly staff the machines. These monetary settlements will not sustain you and your job security. The APWU national union and NBAs will do our part to fight for proper machine staffing and your job protection.

Supervisors Performing Clerk Bargaining Unit Work

Everyone has a part in protecting bargaining unit work. We can’t allow supervisors to perform work that is rightfully yours. Most of the work that is being performed on the Advanced Computing Environment (ACE) computers is not managerial or supervisory work. Letter carriers deliver and collect mail. Under the many Clerk Work MOUs and Jobs MOUs dating back to the 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement, this work should have been returned to the clerk craft or reassigned to the clerk craft.

It is this work that will allow you to gain sufficient weekly hours to be converted from a PTF clerk to a full-time clerk. A PTF clerk in a small office is only guaranteed two (2) hours of work per pay period. A full-time clerk in a NTFT duty assignment is guaranteed thirty (30) hours per week and sixty (60) hours per pay period. Postmasters in Level-18 offices are violating the 15-hour weekly limitation by underreporting hours and clerks are not notifying their union. This is falsification. Please reach out to your local union by providing them with statements and documentation to determine whether your local can file grievances to protect your work and job.

The Clerk Division will be sending out quarterly updates to the APWU local/state unions starting in 2020.

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