In Memory of Robert “Bob” Pritchard

Michael O. Foster

September 12, 2019

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

This article is dedicated to the memory of Brother Robert C. Pritchard, MVS Director, who served from 1995 to his retirement in 2013. Bob Pritchard, of Trenton, NJ, was virtually unknown in parts of the country when he teamed up with Joe Williams of Houston, TX to defeat the two incumbent MVS National Officers.

Bob and Joe’s campaign was basically about protection of the Transitional Employees (TE’s) and capturing work being performed by the Highway Contractors.

These two brothers, as local leaders from the workroom floor with no national union experience, were not greeted warmly when they arrived in Washington, D.C. It was virtually unheard of to defeat National Officers in the MVS Craft, and Bob and Joe had a hard time in the beginning with both the APWU and the USPS.

They worked hard, earned the reputation of dedicated and competent unionists, and began to make gains in the Craft.

Among their achievements were:

Replacement of the 7 leaf springs on Mack Tractors.

  • Lead Automotive Technician and Automotive Mechanic Level upgrades.
  • Air-conditioning and AM-FM Radios in PVS vehicles.
  • Clarification of DOT Drug and Alcohol testing rules.
  • DSI postings installation wide without exceptions.
  • A comprehensive system for tracking and challenging HCR’s.
  • Challenges to the USPS attempts to contract out PVS in California and in 162 PVS sites.

Upon his retirement in 2013, Bob noted, “There is still a great deal of work to be done…”

At the time of his passing, he was still a full dues-paying member of the Trenton Metropolitan Area Local. He was a true unionist. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by the APWU family.

MVS Director Michael O. Foster stated, “I am privileged to have known and worked with Bob Pritchard for many years and his contributions will benefit MVS members for years to come.”

“I first met Bob in 1999, at an MVS Day the Sacramento Area Local was hosting,” said MVS Assistant Director Javier Piñeres. “One of the things that struck me the most about Bob was his honesty and straight talk as he answered members’ questions. His demeanor with our members has stuck with me all this time, and is one of the many things we will miss about Bob Pritchard.”

Rest in Peace Bob, from the MVS Division.

Recently Filed MVS National Disputes

A19V20190093 – Article 19 dispute filed March 19th. APWU received a USPS “general notice” of changes to Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) 831.332, Driver’s Responsibilities, which incorporate a cell phone policy currently contained in Handbook EL 801, Supervisor’s Safety Handbook.

HQTV20190130 – PSE Salary Exceptions dispute filed April 26th. USPS has inappropriately relied on ELM 422.125 in unfreezing the step progression of PSEs receiving pay exceptions who were converted to Grade 8 TTO positions but accepted a Grade 7 MVO position. MOUs take precedence over any conflicting language in ELM.

HQTV20190139 – DOT requirements for CDL employees filed May 13th. DOT qualification standards are work rules that directly relate to the working conditions of MVS drivers. USPS is obligated to provide the Union with notice of any changes to applicable DOT Qualification Standards under Article 19, and is prohibited from such unilateral actions under Article 5.

HQTV20190162 – HCR renewal notification violation filed June 13th. By letter dated April 24, 2019, USPS notified the APWU of 239 HCRs that met the Article 32.2 criteria and were due for renewal on July 1st. With the notice, they provided a CD supposedly containing each HCRs Statement of Service, pertinent information. Upon review, the Union discovered the CD only provided the Statements for 206 HCRs. Their failure to provide the agreed upon information in a timely manner, and to follow Arbitrator Das’ directive to cease and desist such ongoing violations, is a continued abrogation of Article 32.2 


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