P.O. Déjà Vu is Not a Good Thing

January 1, 2018

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(This article first appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

By Western Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez

The more postal changes occur, the more they remain the same - a mess! Mismanaged repeated schedule/tour realignments and excessing will continue through 2018.

Bosses use Mail Processing Schedulers/Customer Service Variance Reports from inaccurate data to disrupt service and lives of employees continually abolishing reassignments and excessing.

Why doesn’t the union stop them? Pursuant to law (Postal Reorganization Act/Postal Accountability Enhancement Act) management determines the methods, means and personnel to operate USPS. However, such rights must be exercised in accordance with the contract, applicable laws, regulations and arbitrations.

We have no magic wand to stop realignments/excessing (otherwise we would wave it). What the law permits, under our contract, is to lessen the impact and ensure seniority rights compliance.


Schedule changes are being repeated quarterly by wayward bosses following the dictates of D.C. bosses, and they still can't get it right. CBA Article 37.3.A.4 (Reposting) spells out when clerical assignments are to be reposted:

  • When the fixed schedule day(s) in the basic work week are permanently changed.
  • When the starting time change is more than one hour.
  • When the cumulative changes in starting time during the life of the CBA (May 2015-Sept. 2018) move the starting time outside a circle having the starting time as the center and the agreed upon time as its radius. 

Incumbents have the right to accept the new reporting times, if negotiated at the local level.  Far too often local bosses make repeated, stupid mistakes causing sectional excessing (Article 12.5.C.4) unnecessarily. This is policed by the local union with violations grieved and appealed (no extensions).

So-called “Expedited Bidding/Canvassing” deviating from normal processes may be negotiated locally but cannot be imposed unilaterally.

Repeated, stupid schedule changes cause morale issues affecting service. Postal history is latent with managerial projects. But what’s new?


Reports indicate D.C. bosses have targeted 14,496 clerical duty assignments for elimination. Management plans to continue to issue involuntary reassignment notices. There will likely be some excessing in February 2018, followed by more involuntary reassignments in May through November 2018.

Following the Area/Regional Article 12 meeting, locals should be approached by District management to discuss the actual impacts and related issues:

  • Attrition is effective the date of withholding notice to the region, ALL attrition must be counted to reduce the impact number.
  • PSE reductions are required IF their hours equate to full time equivalents. (PSEs are not the enemy their conversions will be hard to come by). There is a formula that helps determine FTEs. Reductions take place BEFORE actual excessing.
  • Non-APWU craft employee on light/limited duty must be returned to their craft.
  • Seniority is the sole criteria determining who is excessed. Locals must ensure seniority lists are up to date and accurate. Senior clerks must be solicited to volunteer in lieu of junior clerks and take their seniority with them. ALL clerks must be advised of their transfer rights to apply via 21-day eReassign taking their seniority with them. Junior clerks must be advised of retreat rights.
  • Retreat rights should be explained and employee written submissions allowed and accepted.
  • Preferencing for available assignments likewise should be explained and awarded based on seniority.

Refer to the CBA (on apwu.org). For clarification, contact your regional office.

Persevere This Year

Fellow Coordinators Sharyn Stone, John Dirzius, Mike Gallagher, Kennith Beasley and I wish you a prosperous year but, we know we’ll face major challenges – contractual and otherwise.

A major event is midterm elections which will have consequences! In the balance is your postal career, benefits and job security. Social/cultural issues must not be your sole focus. DO NOT VOTE AGAINST YOUR INTEREST – otherwise we will be forced to relive postal déjà vu over and over again!

We must persevere as we fight today for a better tomorrow. God bless you and the APWU! 

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