Knowledge, Awareness, and Vigilance

July 25, 2019

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

While our leaders continue fighting for a fair contract, we must continue enforcing the current language still in effect. The Local Memorandum of Understanding (LMOU) For Offices Without a Local Union Structure applies to USPS offices where there is no local union structure, or state/district wide LMOU, and there are APWU represented employees. It contains provisions and 12 sections that cover various employee rights, from the formulation of the local leave program, to seniority, reassignments and postings. The timeline of the agreement is the same as our current CBA. If you work in one of these offices, be aware of these rights or at least know where to find them.

Section 11, Seniority, Reassignments, and Posting, states: “When it is necessary to change, abolish and/or revert a duty assignment, the installation head/designee shall notify the APWU Regional Coordinator/designee, in writing of this determination.”

Management notifies me when reverting a position in offices without local representatives. I would say rarely, but the truth is management never provides any documentation to support why a position is eliminated – usually providing only a one-line explanation. Normally the job is vacant, so they want to revert it, case closed. There are time limits management must meet when submitting a request to revert that differ based on the craft.

When I receive a notice to revert, I reach out to that office’s representative to get all necessary documentation and input prior to making a decision. Usually after our discussion, there is no agreement. Then I notify the appropriate APWU representative to file a timely grievance. I also keep the National Business Agent in the loop.

Excessing/Article 12

When management violates Article 12 of the CBA by improperly notifying employees directly that their duty assignments, within a section/installation will be abolished and they may be subject to excessing within the installation, prior to any notification to the local union, we cannot ignore the notification.

Notifying the employee directly violates Article 12.5.A.4 and 12.5.B.3. Once the local is aware procedure was not followed, management should be contacted immediately, notify them of the error and the correct procedure. A meeting at the local should be scheduled. We shouldn’t wait until the employee is actually moved/excessed from the section. The most important issue is stopping the process and forcing management to follow the contract.

I received a call from a local where management has expressed their intent to separate and off-site a facility from the existing installation and create a new installation. This facility has clerk and maintenance employees in duty assignments there. I had received no such notification, which is required, along with several other provisions.

There is a section of the CBA, Article 12.5.C.3.a, titled: Transfer of a Classified Station or Classified Branch to the Jurisdiction of Another Installation or Made an Independent Installation. This section lists several requirements. It is not a simple process.

Management is already wrong because they didn’t contact me first. Since I have worked with management on several occasions implementing Article 12, I am painfully aware how they make mistakes and our people pay the price. I knew forewarning was necessary, and contacted my Article 12 counterpart with my concerns. She was not aware and contacted her people to investigate.

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

Let me take this opportunity to personally thank John Dirzius and Mike Gallagher for their many years of APWU dedication and service.

It has been an honor and a pleasure to learn from your years of knowledge and experience, and to serve with you for several years on our National Executive Board. I know my fellow Coordinators – Kennith Beasley, Omar Gonzalez, and Ron Suslak – join me in wishing you all the best in the future. Friends forever.

“Live Long and Prosper.”

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