Union Partially Resolves Software Dispute

September 20, 2012

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The APWU and USPS settled a dispute on computer software installation on Sept. 13, 2012, agreeing that on-site computer software installation for postal equipment will be performed by Level 10 and Level 11 Electronic Technicians, Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer has announced. “This is the clearest language we have achieved on on-site software installation,” he said.

A grievance on remote software installation remains in dispute. The dispute over remote software installation arose when the USPS issued new Software Modification Orders (SMOs) indicating that supervisory employees would install software at multiple sites from a remote location. SMO-013-12 and SMO-024-12 outlined procedures for software installation for MERLINs; SMO-021-12 covered remote installation on the Mail Processing Equipment Watch (MPEwatch) and on all Data Collection Servers (DCS) and National Remote Personal Computer (NRPC) servers.

The union asserts that the Postal Service violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement as well as Section 535.111 of the Administrative Support Manual when it assigned contractors and/or supervisory employees to perform remote installation of the software.

The union maintains that the change in technology that permitted software to be downloaded remotely from one location to multiple facilities had an adverse impact on the bargaining unit and therefore constituted a technological and mechanization change as described in Article 4 of the contract.

In addition, the union contends that software installation falls within the Standard Position Descriptions of Level 10 and Level 11 Electronic Technicians; as such the union asserts that the Postal Service’s decision violated Article 1.6, which requires bargaining unit work to be performed by the appropriate bargaining unit employee except under certain limited circumstances.

Neither party’s position on the remote installation of computer software was prejudiced by the settlement on onsite installation, Raymer said.

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