Accounting Service Center Labor Management Meetings Summary

Arrion Brown

January 8, 2024

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The APWU Support Services national leadership and local Information Technology/Accounting Services (IT/AS) leaders participated in two days of Labor-Management meetings with the Postal Service. The purpose of these meetings was for your union officers to ask postal management questions in areas the union has concerns, and for management to share information on future projects and initiatives that can have an impact on the bargaining unit. The union and management consider these meetings important venues to share information and express concerns.

The Division leadership requested input from IT/AS local leaders for our agenda items. Our local leaders offer the best vantage point to understand issues that bargaining unit employees experience on the work floor. The issues that we considered the most important to address with management were payroll modernization, telework training, and intra-branch transfers.

We expressed our concern about the USPS payroll system, which needs a modernized update. The USPS payroll system is responsible for compensating all postal service employees on a biweekly basis. The current payroll system has been in existence for nearly 50 years. It needs to be replaced. Issues with the system are repaired with “patches” that allow the system to function without performing a massive overhaul. Management recognizes the problems with the system and is engaging in a multi-year initiative to modernize and optimize the payroll system, but cost is a major concern.

Our position is that payroll modernization is long overdue and needs to take place before a mishap causes massive payroll issues. In September, a payroll issue caused 53,000 Rural Letter Carriers to either receive partial checks, or no checks at all. It was a devastating event for those employees, and was a news story that cast a negative image on the Postal Service, resulting in a Department of Labor investigation. Those are the types of events that can happen with the current USPS payroll system. Any upgrades or changes to the system must be negotiated with the union to protect bargaining unit work and jobs.

Another topic that we discussed was Accounting Service Center (ASC) telework training. The language in the ASC Telework MOU states that participation in the telework program is limited to those who have completed the required training. For newly hired employees, management has been changing the number or required training courses that would allow the new ASC employee to telework. This is an unfair practice by management that creates an undefined amount of time before an employee can participate in the telework program. We insisted that management should not be able to add extra required courses for an employee to be deemed telework-capable after the worker’s date of hire. Any additional courses added should be taken while the employee is under the telework MOU. We will continue to discuss this subject with management and make it a priority in negotiations for the new ASC telework agreement next spring.

Our disagreement with management on intra-branch transfers was not resolved at the meeting. We contend that intra-branch transfers are still available for employees to transfer into positions within their group when vacancies occur. Once all intra-branch transfers within the group have been completed, the remaining vacancies will be posted for bid. Management does not agree. This is an issue that the union members, stewards and officers will have to grieve on a case-by-case basis.

The APWU is your union and will always represent your concerns about the workplace and work-related issues to management in labor management meetings. Your voice deserves to be heard and respected in everything that involves your work. ■

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