Who Conducts Function Four Reviews (or Scams) in the Middle of a Pandemic?

Lamont Brooks

March 1, 2021

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

The Postal Service intends to conduct 607 Level 3 Function 4 reviews and 8,772 modified Level 2 Function 4 reviews in offices across the country. There will be no change to the way Level 3 Function 4 reviews are conducted.

However, the Postal Service will conduct modified Level 2 Function 4 reviews, which will consist of virtual desk audits of the offices being reviewed.

Performing Function 4 reviews in the midst of a pandemic is not a nice way to tell all of your dedicated employees “thank you” for an amazing job done during the holiday season and throughout one of the most difficult years in postal history. How can anyone be that insensitive? Function 4 reviews are done for the sole purpose of reducing staffing hours. They use invented data and ridiculous formulas to draw the conclusion that an office is overstaffed, instead of using realistic data (actual work hours) to determine proper staffing.

We have reviewed the Postal Service’s staffing data and, based on actual work hours, have concluded that these offices are understaffed, which require the hiring of additional employees (if done correctly). This is a global pandemic and nothing is normal. Earned hours is nothing more than legal fiction, as stated by an esteemed Arbitrator.

Why would there be a need to hire additional Postal Support Employees (PSEs), going over the PSE authorized hiring cap in most Districts?

Why would the Postal Service be disciplining employees on COVID-related attendance matters if they are overstaffed? They should be encouraging clerks to take leave since, according to them, there is a lack of work.

The Postal Service tried this same nonsensical kind of action in Function 1 Mail Processing four years ago using another flawed program called the Function 1 Scheduler (based on earned hours), which has no contractual basis and drew the conclusion that mail processing plants nationwide were overstaffed by over 9,000 employees. These same employees were identified to be excessed outside of their craft/installation.

The American Postal Workers Union members and officers were united throughout the country and fought back. In the end, only 133 employees were displaced. Many returned within months as a result of the grievance- arbitration procedure.

This is an insult to the intelligence of postal clerks. Management is sadly mistaken if they think the Clerk Division is going to sit back and watch. Stay tuned! APWU President Mark Dimondstein is in discussions with higher-level management, in an effort to at least pause these reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I can assure you that by the time you read this article, the Clerk Division will have already filed a national dispute on behalf of the clerks in these Function 4 offices. There are times we get upset, there are times we get bothered, but this is a time we should get mad. How dare the Postal Service make the decision to commit such an egregious action? Many have lost loved ones and close friends over the past year and are still finding ways to come to work, are dealing with the stress, and are admirably performing their job at a high standard.

This is the time for members to band together, while encouraging non-members to join us in this fight for survival. Do not kid yourself, your very job is on the line. At some point you will have to take a stand for what is right. If not now, then when? Young folks, we need you more than ever. This is your future that we are fighting for. You have to get active in your union, you community and legislative matters, locally and nationally. Be safe and wear your mask!

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