A Fair Day's Wages

Michael O. Foster

June 3, 2019

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(This article first appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

A Fair Day’s Wages for a Fair Day’s Work is an objective of the labor movement – trade unions and other workers groups – to increase pay and adopt reasonable hours of work.

Many Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) operators, especially Postal Support Employees (PSE) or Part-Time Flexibles (PTF) hired with improper salary exceptions, were not properly paid a fair wage for entirely too long. The APWU and USPS, through a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and Step 4 settlements, attempted to resolve these pay problems, and ensure senior employees are at a higher wage level than junior employees. This problem has occurred in various installations throughout the country.

The MVS Craft effective April 26, initiated a Step 4 dispute regarding these PSE Salary Exceptions. We will keep you apprised of our efforts to resolve this problem.


The parties entered into a MOU on June 6, 2014, following an arbitration decision.

The parties agreed, relevant to PVS, that where PSE salary exceptions had been implemented previously. However, this MOU left out those employees previously converted to career who were paid a salary exception, and when they were converted were not placed in the proper salary rate in consideration of the salary exception.

On April 3, 2015, an addendum to the June 6 MOU was subsequently signed. It addressed the situation where employees previously converted to career were not given the salary exception rate, that resulted in junior employees making more money than senior employees.

The parties agreed that, limited to those installations where the situation described above exists, any career employee in the same craft and level who is senior to the newly converted PSE, but receiving a lower salary rate, will be placed in a pay step with a salary rate not less than the rate established for the newly converted PSE granted a special salary rate exception. In installations where more than one salary exception has been granted, the most recent PSE salary exception will apply.

Additional MOUs

As issues began surfacing, two more MOUs were signed. The first, signed on May 12, 2016, addressed the issue of whether PSEs hired under a salary exception were entitled to contractual increases. The parties agreed that where a salary exception exists, PSEs were also entitled to any negotiated contractual increases, even for those hired after the contractual increase.

The second MOU, signed on March 10, 2017, addressed the issue concerning PSEs who had been granted a salary exception and subsequently converted to career status within the same craft but to a lower level. The parties agreed that Level 8 PSEs with a salary exception converted to a career Level 7 position within the MVS Craft would be placed in the first step of the Level 7 position, but would receive the salary associated to the step closest to, but not less than the rate, they were receiving as a Level 8 PSE.

It has taken entirely too long to ensure that our members receive a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, and we will continue fighting for our demands.

Safety Concern: Peterbilt Trucks

On March 22, the APWU received notice from the Postal Service regarding the suspension of delivery of the Peterbilt Model 520 11-ton cargo vans from the manufacturer, due to a potential fire hazard.

Specifically, the wire that supplies current to the cab body has exhibited an overheating condition that is believed to have the potential to cause a vehicle fire. The issue is only related to the Model 520 11-ton cargo van, and all other cargo vans will remain in operation.

The Peterbilt 520s previously received and in use will be taken out of service. Vehicles currently en route will be delivered to the Vehicle Maintenance Facility (VMF) as scheduled. We will continue to update the membership when delivery resumes.

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