RI-399 Talking Point: Article 7 Crossing Craft Violations and Protecting Clerk Craft Work

Lamont Brooks

January 8, 2024

Share this article

In a continuing effort to provide as much information as possible to the APWU membership, a meeting was held online on Nov. 30 for participants throughout the country. The meeting was titled, “SDCs/Mail handlers/ Protecting Our Work.” Participants included locals who either already have or are scheduled to receive a Sorting & Delivery Center (SDC) within their representational purview.

Despite the fact that SDCs have been identified by the Postal Service as Function 4 offices, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) has attempted to create inroads to gain additional jobs within these SDCs. The meeting gave APWU officers and stewards important arguments and documentation for the battle to maintain clerk craft work.

The need to secure an RI-399 Installation Inventory for each SDC was stressed. Inventories identify craft jurisdiction in accordance with RI-399 principles. Also addressed was the recent bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) settlement between the Postal Service and the NPMHU that could allow Mail Handler Assistants (MHAs) and Part-time Flexibles (PTFs) to be hired in some SDCs. Locals must always be mindful of attempts to change or alter craft jurisdiction inventories and were provided contact information for assistance. Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lynn Pallas-Barber took participants through several talking points concerning RI-399 procedures, such as the Postal Service’s notification requirements to Local Dispute Resolution Committees (LDRCs) and Regional Dispute Resolution Committees (RDRCs) for any new work or consolidated facilities. She also explained the significance of prior tripartite agreements between the APWU, USPS, and the NPMHU.

Pallas-Barber reminded members not to allow management and mail handler representatives to perform walk-throughs at SDCs without including the appropriate APWU representative. She further noted that mail handlers must be able to meet all implementation criteria of the Mail Processing Work Assignment Guidelines to prove they should be awarded work in a facility in which they are not currently domiciled.

Once an inventory is completed and craft jurisdiction is determined, there remains the very real possibility that cross-craft violations will occur. During the meeting, the Clerk Division officers discussed an Article 7.2 template that was later shared with the field and which furnished relevant contractual arguments. The template is a fillable Step 1 form that allows a steward to add vital information, such as the date of the violation, names of mail handlers who performed clerk craft work, clerks who were available to perform the work, and the inventory operation and function that has been violated. Also shared with the field were documents such as national-level arbitration awards, MOUs, and a request for information form.

The Clerk Division continues to fight for our work and for our members. “Our goal in the clerk craft is to arm our membership with all of the tools necessary to prevent reductions in the craft and continue to expand work opportunities within the craft,” asserted APWU Clerk Division Director Lamont Brooks. He continued, “The SDCs are just the latest issue that must be confronted, among the many that the APWU has faced throughout the history of the Postal Service.”

Dispatch Coordinator

The Clerk Division filed a national-level dispute over the Postal Service’s decision to reassign the proposed Clerk Dispatch Coordinator position to the Motor Vehicle Service (MVS) Division after the Clerk Division challenged the clerk position being posted under Logistics, and our concern that a couple of those duties may have belonged to current MVS positions. The Dispatch Coordinator position is very similar to that of a General Expeditor, which is a clerk craft position. Grieve any abolishment/reversion of any General Expeditor positions where the MVS Dispatch Coordinator is created.

If an MVS Dispatch Coordinator duty assignment is created in your installation, grieve it as being improperly posted to the incorrect craft. This is clerk craft work. ■

Stay in touch with your union

Subscribe to receive important information from your union.