Update on Consent Form and Program Dispute

Michael O. Foster

January 11, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

We previously reported on the dispute filed on the Postal Service’s unilateral Consent Form and Program, created as a result of the Clearinghouse regulations mandated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The Postal Service was requiring MVS Craft CDL employees to sign a consent form, titled “Consent for Limited Queries of the (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse” – which contained several provisions not required by DOT, FMCSA rules and regulations, the Collective Bargaining Agreement, or properly promulgated postal policy. These provisions of the form therefore must be bargained for with the APWU. After much discussion, the parties reached agreement on November 23.

A new form was negotiated, and is the official form to be used for the Clearinghouse. It will be effective for two years, the same as the DOT physical. Further, if an employee is not in a safety sensitive position, the Limited Query will not be run, and the USPS commits to continue following DOT Regulations. No postal policy will violate the settlement in Case No. Q15V-4Q-C18046276/ HQTV20170529.

2020 JCIM Update

The 2020 APWU/USPS Joint Contract Interpretation Manual has been updated by the parties. Listed below is the cover page and some of the new language of Article 39 issues that have been resolved since the last printing of the JCIM:

The 2020 APWU/USPS Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM) update is provided as a resource for the administration of the National Agreement. Jointly prepared by the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, and the United States Postal Service, this manual provides a mutually agreed upon explanation on how to apply the contract to the issues addressed.

When a dispute arises, the parties should first go to the JCIM to determine if the issue in dispute is addressed. If it is, the parties are required to resolve the dispute in accordance with this manual. The JCIM will continue to be updated with additional material as we continue to narrow our differences and expand our joint understanding of the National Agreement. We encourage you to use the JCIM to ensure contract compliance and to foster more professional working relationships...

82. Is the Schedule Examiner bargaining unit work?

Response: The Schedule Examiner is bargaining unit work, and supervisors (and EAS employees) cannot perform bargaining unit work unless one of the exceptions provided for in Article 1.6 applies...

84. Is it permissible for a Supervisor to perform the duties of a Clerk Vehicle Dispatcher?

Response: It is permissible for the Supervisor, Transportation Operations (STO) to perform dispatch duties intermittently for the purpose of providing relief or for unforeseen circumstances. However, a Supervisor should not perform dispatching duties for more than one (1) hour per day, including lunch and breaks. It is appropriate to post these jobs for bid when there are sufficient workhours and in the event there are insufficient workhours to justify a full-time assignment, these duties must be performed by bargaining unit employees of the MVS Craft.

85. Are USPS Drivers exempt from certain DOT requirements?

Response: USPS drivers holding a CDL are required to self-certify to their state that they operate or expect to operate in “in excepted interstate commerce”… which will result in PVS drivers being exempt from the interstate requirements.

A USPS driver excepted from the interstate requirement, after self-certification will still be allowed to cross state lines in the course of performing their driving duties with the USPS. In addition, the Postal Service will instruct the medical contract unit performing the DOT medical examinations that all PVS drivers holding a CDL are excluded from the DOT interstate requirement and the only requirement for MVS positions is an intrastate CDL, provided the driver has self-certified to their state.

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