Maintenance Craft Arbitration Testimony

Idowu Balogun

November 19, 2019

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

The following is a shortened version of the introductory testimony given by Maintenance Craft Director Balogun, before the Maintenance Craft witness panels, during the arbitration hearings on Sept. 24. Director Balogun’s testimony is attached above.

The Maintenance Craft Officers would like to thank those who participated on the two Maintenance Craft arbitration panels: Wayne Greenside, Jason Shively, Jeffrey Stagner, Kevin Baughman, Jason Behrens-Magner, David Donahue, Grisel Ana Marrero, Steve Shamburg, and Parker Rauch. Their testimony detailing the daily tasks, working conditions, and challenges faced by maintenance craft postal employees was well received by the Arbitration Panel.

Positions and Work in the Maintenance Craft

I’d like to give you an overview of the Maintenance Craft. Maintenance tasks can be divided generally into five main sections: custodial, mail processing equipment maintenance, building equipment maintenance, area maintenance, and administrative.

Currently there are nearly 30,000 maintenance employees nationwide. Maintenance employees are responsible for maintaining the building structures and the mail processing equipment at postal facilities. We do everything from cleaning facilities to changing locks, to keeping heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems running.

We maintain and repair dozens of different types of mail processing equipment that keep the mail flowing. The work of the craft is so vast that there are thousands of handbooks, manuals, and management instructions describing our work and duties. As a group, maintenance employees are exceptionally well-trained, highly skilled, and dedicated employees, and they are required to continuously attend trainings, in-house and outside, to maintain their skills. Some maintenance craft employees can even be away from home for several weeks in a given year for training. There is no end to our training…

There are approximately 35 positions [job types] in the Maintenance Craft, from ET-11s (also known as National Support Technicians), Electronic Technicians (ET 10), Mail Processing Equipment Mechanics (MPE 9), Area Maintenance Technician (AMT 9), Maintenance Mechanics (MM 7), and Maintenance Operations Support Clerks (MOS 7), Labor Custodian (Level 4)…

We have many veterans in Maintenance, with 12,452 of maintenance employees having served in the military – that is 42 percent of our craft… custodial positions are set aside for preference-eligible veterans for external recruitment.

Concerns of the Craft

A major concern for the Maintenance Craft is understaffing. In the past few years we have seen the Postal Service not fill many maintenance positions, especially BEMs, MMs and Custodians positions. This has created additional stress on the Craft, who are up to the challenge but are often faced with increased overtime as they make up for the reduced workforce.

In conclusion, I would like to address a part of Postal Service’s opening statement. The Postal Service mentioned Line H in its opening. I do not know exactly where they plan to go with that issue. Line H MOU was a quid pro quo agreement entered into outside of negotiations and we believe is not properly before the panel.

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