The Wheels of Justice Often Turn Slowly

Michael O. Foster

November 12, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the November/December issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

After over a year of discussions on the Step 4 grievances highlighted in this magazine, the APWU National and the USPS Headquarters parties have resolved three of the numerous outstanding MVS disputes. During the recent and still ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations between the parties, we were also able to discuss unresolved working issues that affect MVS Craft members.

During negotiations, our determination to the members was that the MVS Craft had given back enough of our contractual rights to support the mission of the Postal Service with very little reciprocity or acknowledgement of the value of MVS employees. We had no more concessions to give despite the USPS proposals and demands for more regressive work rule changes. Any MVS gains in the developing agreement will be modest because of our determination for no give backs.

See for future updates on the status of negotiations and the Step 4 settlements.

DOT Physicals Settlement Case number Q18V-4Q-C 21001475 claims that the Postal Service violated previous agreements by permitting or authorizing its contractor, Caduceus USA Medical Services to:

1) compel employees holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to sign medical record release forms at their Department of Transportation (DOT) physical;

2) subject employees to additional levels of medical review even after a medical examiner finds them medically fit;

3) withhold medical examiner certificates from employees; and,

4) require interstate medical examiner certificates in states where they are not required.

An agreement reached on September 21 states that parties will abide by the previous agreements. Employees will not be required to sign a medical record release to receive a DOT physical. The FMCSA does not require the medical examiner to provide a copy of the medical examination report to the employer.

The Postal Service will require DOT/FMCSA certified examining physicians to provide employees the determination of their exam upon completion and to issue a new medical examiner certificate to the employees if they are medically cleared to drive.

The agreement states, “USPS drivers holding a CDL are required to self-certify to their state that they operate or expect to operate in ‘excepted interstate commerce’ in accordance with 49 CFR part 383.71(b)(1)(ii), which will result in PVS drivers being exempt from the interstate requirements.”

The Postal Service will not require DOT physicals where they are not required under the applicable state intrastate standards, provided the MVS employee has completed the self-certification process as outlined above.

Zero Base Settlement

Case number Q18V-6Q-C 21093372 claims the Postal Service was shifting duties of the Schedule Examiner Vehicle Runs to supervisors (and EAS employees) during the Zero-Base review or the national Transportation Logistics Training Program. In the national arbitration case number Q10V-4Q-C 15292655, the Postal Service confirmed that “Schedule Examiner work is bargaining unit work, and that supervisors (and EAS employees) cannot perform bargaining unit work unless one of the exceptions provided for in Article 1.6 applies.”

The settlement states that EAS employees shall not perform bargaining unit work when conducting Zero Base or similar management reviews.

Cell Phone Policy Settlement

Case number Q15V-4Q-C 19168222 claims the Postal Service failed to provide Article 19 notice when they made changes to the Employee and Labor Relations manual regarding the cell phone policy. The policy that the parties agreed to was that due to the size of the vehicles that Motor Vehicle Craft employees operate, the use of a cell phone while driving is impracticable.

Supervisors should only attempt to contact drivers via phone at the driver’s scheduled stops and not while the driver is on the road. Consistent with safe driving practices, Motor Vehicle Service Craft employees may pull off the road to use a cell phone, provided there is a safe location to do so. Employees are not required to use their personal cell phone in the performance of their duties.

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