Improper Article 12 Notification

Idowu Balogun

January 23, 2020

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

We have received information from all parts of the country regarding letters proposing excessing in the Maintenance Craft. Affected occupational groups include Electronic Technicians, MPE Mechanics, Maintenance Mechanics, Maintenance Support Clerks, Custodians, etc. Some of these proposals are for excessing outside of the installation. The rationale given by the USPS in one of the letters was:

The excessing is necessary as a result of the MS-1 Handbook Revisions resulting from national arbitration cases Q10T-4Q-C 14171644 and Q10T-4Q-C 16481407 settlement agreement regarding MS-1 Handbook Revisions. Further, the staffing changes referenced in the settlement regarding Handbook MS-1, TL-5, and TL6 Revisions and Related Maintenance Management Orders signed by the parties on August 8, 2019.


The Postal Service is required to provide a copy of valid staffing package(s), impact reports and sound justification for said proposed excessing.

Here are the required Article 12 steps from the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

1. Maintenance Craft Discussions Per Article 38.3.K (Excessing)

When the USPS proposes to involuntarily reassign APWU Maintenance Craft employees out of the installation in accordance with Article 12.5.C.5.b, the USPS and the Maintenance Craft agree to meet at the national level to address certain issues related to and arising from the excessing. These meetings will occur only when a proposed excessing event in an impacted installation involves multiple occupational groups within the APWU Maintenance Craft or when more than half of any existing occupational group within the APWU Maintenance Craft is proposed to be involuntarily reassigned.

2. Area/Regional Notification (Article 12, Section 5)

The union at the area/regional level will be given notice when technological, mechanization or operational changes impact the bargaining unit no less than 90 days in advance – six months in advance whenever possible. This notice shall be in the form of an Impact/Work Hour Report. Involuntary reassignment of employees outside their craft/installation requires an area/regional labormanagement meeting. It’s in the interest of both parties to meet as soon as possible and to develop an ongoing flow of communication to ensure that the principles of Article 12 Reassignment are met. The first area/regional labor-management meeting must be held no less than 90 days prior to the involuntary reassignment.

3. Proposed Excessing

Field managers and/or supervisors should not discuss with bargaining unit employees proposed excessing outside the craft or installation until the area/regional parties have held their discussions. This should prevent employees from receiving erroneous information from management or the union, and control the appropriate flow of information.

A local in receipt of an Article 12 proposed notification must be prepared to challenge the validity of the new staffing package by requesting supporting data, emails, rationale, all submitted, denied and approved packages, etc. Do not hesitate to contact your Maintenance NBA and Regional Coordinator for assistance. Your National Maintenance Resident Officers, Regional Coordinators and Maintenance Business Agents are working together with your local officers to combat this new assault on our craft.

A step in the right direction

In March 2019, I wrote an article called “Custodian Team Cleaning (CTC): Doomed to Fail” that raised several concerns regarding TL 5 equipment, chemicals and allocated cleaningtime standards. Subsequently, the USPS reached out to the union for a meeting. We discussed over two hundred emails from Maintenance employees across the country regarding CTC product shortcomings, and agreed to jointly visit post offices for observations. On Oct. 16, 2019, we visited the Kansas City Processing Plant. The visit was productive. The USPS is currently testing cordless backpack vacuums and reevaluating the current cleaning chemicals, tools, allocated time and more. We will keep you posted. This is a step in the right direction.

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