Good Contract, Good Jobs

Michael O. Foster

November 19, 2019

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

Motor Vehicle Service members are joining in the fight, protecting the craft, and demanding proper pay and work rules during the APWU’s interest arbitration proceedings.

During the session from Sept. 24 through 26, Director Foster explained that both Tractor Trailer Operators (TTOs) and Motor Vehicle Operators (MVOs) are required to maintain a commercial driver’s license and must comply with federal Department of Transportation (DOT) rules and regulations. TTOs are also required to have a Class A endorsement to operate a combination vehicle, while MVOs are required to maintain a Class B endorsement for vehicles five tons and above with air brakes.

PVS drivers are required to undergo random urinalysis drug and alcohol screenings at DOT clinics. MVS employees are some of the safest commercial drivers in the United States.

Director Foster further testified that vehicle maintenance employees work at Vehicle Maintenance Facilities (VMF and maintain the entire postal fleet of approximately 232,602 vehicles.

The majority of VMF employees are automotive technicians found on levels 8, 9, and 10 of the pay scale. They perform routine and complex repairs and maintenance on all types of motor vehicles used in the postal fleet, from tractor trailers to sedans. Because they repair, maintain, and test drive tractors and large cargo trucks, many of our automotive technicians maintain CDLs with air brake endorsement. VMF technicians are supported by a range of employees, from Mechanics, Garagemen, Body and Fender Repairmen, Tire Repairmen and their own clerical employees.

Following Director Foster’s presentation and testimony, he introduced ten MVS members who traveled from around the country to Washington, DC to testify in the proceedings. They are Motor Vehicle Operators, Tractor Trailer Operators, Lead and Automotive Technicians and Storekeepers.

Both TTOs and MVOs gave testimony explaining that they are more than just delivery van drivers, and that they perform a wide variety of work with vast responsibilities. Much of their work is performed with little to no supervision at all, trusted to make daily decisions that ordinary delivery drivers rarely do.

In addition, our Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) drivers testified that besides safety, one of their main concerns is the Postal Service and its customers as they transport a significant amount of mail and revenue in the back of their trucks. As previous PVS panels have done, they left the Interest Arbitration Panel with a clear sense of the value PVS is to the Postal Service and the communities it serves.

Following the PVS panel, Director Foster introduced panelists from the Vehicle Maintenance Facilities. VMF employees testified that they work with vehicles of all makes and models. Their work is so diverse that one day they might be working on the transmission of a Ford and the next day the engine of Dodge Ram. Additionally, much of the postal fleet is so old that replacement parts are often difficult to find, making the work that much more challenging.

Without the testimony of our APWU panelist members, the Postal Service would paint a picture less favorable to the union’s position. There is no question, after hearing testimony from Postal Service’s Chief Operating Officer, that the Postal Service would prefer to portray the Motor Vehicle Craft as nothing more than delivery drivers and Jiffy Lube oil-changers.

There is no question that the diversity and professionalism of the MVS Craft members represents a bargain to the Postal Service as the Motor Vehicle Service Craft is the essential link that ties mail processing and customer service together.

The MVS Division officers would like to commend the Motor Vehicle Service Craft panelists for their presentation and willingness to assist our craft in the integral process of interest arbitration.

Many thanks to those who testified: Tiwanna Rogers, Michael Nazzaro, Auvelio Connor, Christina Smith, William Santiago, Michael McDonald, Luis Fabila, Mervin Gooch, Wade Jackson, and Leo Wesolowski.

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