Management Must Abide by the Collective Bargaining Agreement

Vance Zimmerman

September 16, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

It has been a different summer for all of us. Every member of the APWU has been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another. Yet all of you continued to provide essential postal services to the public admirably and with dedication. The USPS also got a new Postmaster General who implemented changes and policies that severely degraded the services we provide. But you were not deterred; you still worked hard for the public.

The public recognized us for our dedicated work and stood up against the degrading of the service we provide and of our jobs. If we were all in the same room, I would ask you to give yourselves a round of applause for what you have done during the pandemic and the fight to protect the people’s Post Office!

With Postmaster General DeJoy taking the reins of the USPS, the people saw their service degraded and the mail slowed down. We work hard to get all the mail out every day, but PMG DeJoy put policies and procedures into place without understanding how we do our jobs and how the mail is processed, moved and delivered. PMG DeJoy also made these changes without consulting with the unions or getting any feedback on how the changes could impact our collective bargaining agreement with the USPS. Let us be clear – not a single decision he makes or policy he implements can usurp the tenets of our contract.

For example, overtime. All of us know that overtime was reduced. We also know that no manager or supervisor in the Postal Service would make such a decision without a higher directive – in this case from the PMG’s office. Just because he said “no overtime” does not mean the Post Office can ignore the overtime pecking orders of our LMOUs or Article 8. It does not mean that the Postal Service can ignore and violate the employee classification limitations of Article 7 and the various Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that are in place as part of the collective bargaining process.

In some locations where overtime was reduced, the USPS started using temporary assistants in all crafts in lieu of overtime, even if there were not COVID-19 related absences. The contract does not allow for this! The overtime desired list (OTDL) still must be used before these assistants are used and COVID-19 absences must be occurring. PSEs cannot work more than 8 hours in day without using the OTDL, and PSE caps still cannot be exceeded. No matter the PMG’s “cost cutting, post office saving” policies – the contract cannot be violated.

We all must watch for violations and insist the contract be enforced. Grievances must continue to be filed and postal management, including the PMG, must be held accountable!

New Local Memorandum of Understanding for Members at Large

In the last few months, the Local Memorandum of Understanding for Offices Without a Local Union Structure was finalized and signed. This LMOU provides significant rights to those employees whose offices are not represented by a local – often known as Members At Large.

The LMOU is especially helpful regarding leave. For example, it guarantees at least one person off on annual leave per APWU craft, per week (excluding December).

This is especially important if management tries to deny leave because the postmaster of the small office is also on leave. The LMOU requires that requests for incidental leave be acted upon within 72 hours. If not, the leave is considered approved. The LMOU also defines a specific pecking order for backfilling of bargaining unit employees on leave. The LMOU can be found on the APWU website under “Frequently Requested Resources" on the “For Locals” tab.

The 2018-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement is also now available on both the website as well as in print form. Copies of the spiral bound book can be purchased on apwu.org through the “APWU Store” link. Register to vote and then do it! Solidarity!

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