Taking the MVS Craft Forward One Step at a Time

Michael O. Foster

September 16, 2020

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

The MVS Craft continues to grow. It is by no accident that our craft is taking positive strides. The struggles the Craft has faced over the years are no secret, but they have never been a deterrent for our members or prevented us from engaging in a fight to save the craft. It is important to recognize where we have been, to know the direction we are taking. Approximately eight years ago, PVS was on the verge of elimination. It all started in California.

California CARB Case

On June 7, 2012, the Postal Service notified the APWU that after carefully considering the relevant factors under Article 32, the Postal Service had made the decision to subcontract PVS in all Pacific Area mail facilities in the state of California. The Postal Service cited a 2008 law by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as the reason for their decision.

On March 4, 2013 after a lengthy arbitration, Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg decided that Article 32.1.B applied to the California mode conversion, and the MOU on Contracting or Insourcing of Contracted Services applied to all highway transportation, including the service controlled by Article 32.2.

Mode Conversion of 162 PVS Sites to HCR

Shortly after Arbitrator Goldberg’s Award regarding the California CARB case, on April 26, 2013 the USPS notified the APWU that the Postal Service was considering the subcontracting of the highway movement of mail in approximately 162 PVS sites nationwide.

After the APWU filed a national dispute, the parties went before Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg again. This time, he ruled the USPS may not contract PVS work, or engage in Article 32.1.B consideration of contracting out work, that had a significant effect on the bargaining unit without first complying with the Motor Vehicle Craft (MVC) Jobs MOU. Additionally, he found the Postal Service had violated Article 32.1.B and the MOU by failing to comply with the procedural requirements of those provisions when considering the contracting out.

APWU Seeks Transparency in VMF Labor Cost

The struggle for transparency the Motor Vehicle Service Division has been waging with the Postal Service regarding vehicle maintenance labor costs goes back more than ten years. In March 2014, the APWU requested the current VMF labor cost per hour rate when determining the feasibility of subcontracting.

In response to the union’s inquiry, the USPS took the position that the methodology and policy for calculating the VMF labor cost per hour rate was based on local fact circumstances and on a case-by-case basis.

After NLRB charges and subsequent Step 4 settlements, the USPS informed us that VMF managers could use four different labor rate sources when preparing a cost comparison. The manager could use the Workhour Rates for that Fiscal Year published by Finance, the rate in SEAM system, the rate in Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), or a rate calculated by the local manager.

These rates used by each facility can be found in the thumb-drives provided at the ACC. They should be used to challenge any decision by local management to outsource VMF bargaining unit work.

Kenneth Prinz New National MVS Craft Division Assistant Director

The MVS National welcomes Kenneth Prinz as our new Assistant Director. Brother Prinz comes to Headquarters after serving as Eastern Region MVS National Business Agent, since 2010. He also served the Philadelphia Area Local for over 25 years and as the Motor Vehicle Craft Director for the Pennsylvania Postal Workers Union for over 20 years.

“I have had the privilege of working with brother Prinz for many years and have always found Ken to be of the highest integrity, and passionate towards MVS issues and the labor movement,” said Director Foster. “Ken’s commitment, work ethic, and dedication will be immeasurable in continuing the tradition of the hard-working Assistant MVS Directors. I look forward to protecting the future of MVS members, and their families, with Ken Prinz and the rest of the MVS Council.”

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