2023: A Year Review

Idowu Balogun

January 8, 2024

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Happy New Year! 2023 brought many changes and introduced several pilot programs to the Maintenance Division. Your national Maintenance Division officers met with the Postal Service and tackled these challenges head on, including the initiation of national disputes. This article will summarize the changes and pilot programs introduced in 2023.

Maintenance Craft Conference: We successfully completed the 2023 APWU All-Craft Conference in Las Vegas, NV. It started on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, and lasted for three days. We attended the Maintenance Council meetings on Sept. 30. The general session took place on Oct. 2, and continued with regional breakouts and workshops on Article 32 Subcontracting and Line H in small offices.

Bulk Mail Center Conference: The BMC Conference convened on April 17, 2023, in Riverside, MO. It was chaired by Assistant Maintenance Director (A), Terry Martinez and was hosted by the Kansas Kaw Valley Area Local. All 21 BMCs were represented by over 120 delegates.

FMO Restructuring and Work Ticketing Pilot: The Postal Service made the decision to split field maintenance operations (FMO) away from Maintenance, and into Customer Service and Delivery Operations in an effort to increase efficiency. In addition, FMO no longer assigns and tracks work in eMARS. A new program was developed in RADAR to collect more information than eMARS, track work assignments, and identify problem areas across the country. This created a nightmare for our Area Maintenance Technicians with changes to finance numbers leaving domicile office and local union affiliation in disarray.

955 Exam Employee Discussions: USPS has begun conducting working sessions with employees to revise the Maintenance Examination (Exam 955) and Maintenance Interviews (Exams 970 - 974). The sessions will be conducted with employees, supervisors, and managers. Their purpose is to generate assessment content and develop test items, such as examinations and structured interviews. Ratings of job-related employee behaviors may also be gathered for use in correlation with developing the test items. Critical to note is that participation in these activities will be voluntary.

Shared Community Tool Pods: The Postal Service notified the APWU about plans to standardize maintenance work areas and reduce the number of large rolling toolboxes by implementing multiple “pods.” These maintenance pods would be strategically located on the workroom floor to provide coverage for all equipment in its general vicinity. They would require badges to enter and access. Affected employees would each be provided a tool bag containing the most commonly used tools on a daily basis.

MS-47 Handbook Revisions and Self-Laundering Pilot: The Postal Service initiated a Self-Laundering Pilot program that ultimately was approved and formally implemented. The pilot gives local maintenance management the opportunity to insource previously subcontracted work involving the cleaning and laundering of custodial rags and mop heads. Insourcing details can be found in MMO-095-23. Several unilateral changes were made to the MS-47 handbook that removed negotiated language and added unnecessary glossary terms. We recently filed national disputes.

e4776 Pilot Program: This program has been limited to the state of Maryland so far, and is testing the use of an electronic tablet to track information normally written on paper Form 4776. The tablet contains the same information as the paper 4776. It allows operation moves and tracks driving time. However, the back of Form 4776, which recorded whether the route was completed in whole or in part, was removed. That is problematic for Line H calculation.

$59 Per Diem while attending NCED

Effective Nov. 7, 2022, APWU-represented bargaining unit employees attending training at the National Center for Employee Development (NCED) will receive the full per diem rate of $59 per day, current GSA rate. Employees who do not have an individually billed travel card may request an advance of money to pay for travel, in accordance with Handbook F-15, Travel and Relocation, Section 4-2, Getting Advances. ■

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