The APWU 480-481 Area Local

Kevin Osak

Clerk Craft Director

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Paulkosak@apwu480.org

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Roscoe Woods
  President

Steve Wood
  Executive V.P.

Gary Thomas
  Vice President

Kevin Osak
  Clerk Craft Director

Joe Wrobel
  Motor Vehicle Craft Director

Mike Gordon
  Maintenance Craft Director

Joe Gordon
  Secretary-Treasurer

Elaine Dunlap
  Editor

John P. Smeekens
  Veterans Director

Lucy Morton
  OWCP Director

Heather Gerst
  Human Relations Director

Tracey Kolossa
  Legislative Director


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Full Time/Ptf Transfer Time

Kevin Osak

I just wanted to let everyone that has been upset over the conversion of Pse’s over transfers to know the time is now to act. When the new contract began, the transfer to conversion ratio starts over. That means that career transfers are given first before conversions. Everyone that has been trying to transfer needs to make sure that they are current in eReassign. This is the chance that many people have been waiting for, so go online and make sure you are current in the offices you’d like to transfer to, and put in for the new choices you have made. Hopefully a lot of you with whom I have talked to over the last few years will get that opportunity you’ve been hoping for. I wish you all good luck.

Next Year/New Contract

It’s hard to believe that the New Contract will expire next year on September 20, 2018. We all need to start thinking of what we’d all like in the next Contract. Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. No Pse’s-Convert them all to Full Time.
  2. No 2 Tier wages-Put everyone back to 1 pay Schedule.
  3. Better raises for all levels and crafts.
  4. More sick leave-Increase it by 25% or more.
  5. More Annual leave for employees that have worked for the USPS over 25 years-Add 4 more days to make it 6 Weeks Annual leave a year. The years could also be negotiated for after 30 years. The employees who have put up with all the changes and nonsense through the years should be rewarded for their loyalty.
  6. All Clerks upgraded 1 Level.
  7. Automatic penalties for Management signing off on the Contract, then refusing to follow it. Or as they like to say “I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree”.
  8. A marathon grievance shake out for all outstanding grievances.
  9. Lower Health care premiums-My share doubled this year, or USPS pays for all of it.
  10. Pay for performance bonuses for employees, instead of management getting money for our hard work.
  11. Union Leave counting for FMLA purposes so as not to penalize stewards and officers for performing Union work.
  12. Mandatory Union/Contract training for all new Management, so they will know how to treat employees and learn what the Contract is and how it works.

I have more, but you get the idea. We, the employees are the ones that keep the USPS going. We should be properly compensated. Let’s hope our national officers are watching and listening to our concerns. The time is now to express your concerns and want lists to national. Don’t wait, write them down and send them in now. Together we can change the future. Don’t stand and watch it pass you by, get involved today.

Please read this article: Inside Alabama’s Auto Jobs Boom: Cheap Wages, Little Training, Crushed Limbs; The South’s manufacturing renaissance comes with a heavy price by Peter Waldman. Please read it. It is a very good article. Thanks.

Until next time - The fight continues!

Kevin Osak
Clerk Craft Director

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Arbitration Award Announced!
We Have a New Union Contract!

APWU Web News Article #140-2016

07/08/2016 - The big news is in – 200,000 postal workers represented by the APWU have a new union contract!

On July 8th, Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg issued his arbitration award that sets the wages, hours and conditions of employment in our new union contract. This award concluded a two-year struggle for “Good Service, Good Jobs, Good Contract” that included contract negotiations, mediation, arbitration hearings – and solidarity actions on work floors and in communities around the country.

“We have gained many positive results in these difficult times,” APWU President and lead negotiator Mark Dimondstein said. “We, as a union, should be proud of the results. We made some real progress on most of our major goals. We gained an all-career workforce in our Maintenance and Motor Vehicle Crafts. We secured real general wage increases. We preserved our COLA and no lay-off protections. We strengthened conversion opportunities for PSEs and improved PSE wages and benefits. We strengthened job security by limiting subcontracting, particularly in relation to MVS. We achieved a temporary moratorium on new plant closings and consolidations. We laid the basis for better protecting retail services and for expanding postal services. While we were unable to stop management’s demand that employees pay a greater share of health insurance premiums, we successfully fought back the main concessionary demands of postal management-- for increased percentages of non-career employees, a new tier of lower- paid career employees, the elimination of COLA and the weakening of our no layoff protection.”

Below is a summary of the main highlights of the new award (for a full copy click here.) All provisions of the previous contract that remain unchanged carry forward into our new contract including seniority and bidding rights, the grievance procedure, protection against unjust discipline, annual and sick leave, holiday and overtime pay and all the other important union benefits we have won over many decades of struggle.

Length of the Agreement

May 21, 2015 - September 20, 2018 (40 months)

Career Employee General Wage Increases

There will be across-the-board pay increases of 3.8% for career employees over the life of the Agreement:

  • 1.2% effective November 14, 2015 (Retroactive)
  • 1.3% effective November 26, 2016
  • 1.3% effective November 25, 2017

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)

The COLA for career employees is maintained under the current formula. Cost of living adjustments will be made in March and September of each year of the Contract.

PSE Wage Increases

PSEs (who do not receive COLA raises) will receive wage increases as follows:

  • 2.2% effective November 14, 2015 (Retroactive)
  • 2.3% effective November 26, 2016
  • 2.3% effective November 25, 2017

In addition to these general wage increases, PSE wages will be increased by fifty cents per hour over the life of the Contract as follows:

  • $0.09 per hour effective November 14 2015 (Retroactive)
  • $0.20 per hour effective May 13, 2017
  • $0.21 per hour effective May 26, 2018

No Lay-Off Protections for Career Employees

The no lay-off protections of Article 6, for employees with more than six years of service, remain in full force. In addition, no lay-off protection is extended to all career employees who are on the rolls as of July 8, 2016. This protection covers the 32,000 postal workers recently converted to career who have not yet achieved the six year threshold of no lay-off protection.

Job Security Provisions

  • There will be no new subcontracting of PVS driving work during the life of the contract.
  • For a minimum of the first year of the contract, the postal service will not expand contract stations, village post offices and approved shipper programs. (The fight over Staples is not affected by this moratorium.)
  • There will be no further plant closings and consolidations until at least April 2017.

Workforce Structure

  • All Maintenance Craft PSEs will be converted “in place” to career within 60 days of the Award. Thereafter the PSE category of employee will be eliminated in the Maintenance Craft.
  • All Motor Vehicle Service Craft PSEs will be converted to career - either full-time or PTF - within 60 days of the Award. Thereafter, the PSE category of employee will be eliminated in the MVS Craft. However, in the future PSEs could be authorized as part of a package to bring back currently subcontracted MVS work.
  • PTF employees are reintroduced into the MVS craft, not to exceed 20% of the MVS career workforce.
  • Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) duty assignments are eliminated in Function 1 (mail processing) and Function 3 (MVS) and will be reposted as traditional full-time duty assignments. NTFTs cannot be introduced into the Maintenance Craft. Current four day a week/ ten-hour a day duty assignments may remain in place if the local parties agree. Local parties may mutually agree upon more such assignments under the Modified Work Week Memo.
  • Non-Traditional Full-Time employees in Function 4 (Retail) are now capped at 8%, excluding NTFT assignments in POStPlan offices. (Previously there was no cap.) The rules concerning schedules and postings in the NTFT memo remain. However, the restriction on assigning mandatory overtime to non-OTDL employees is narrowed from installation wide to the facility.

Veteran Hiring

Preference Eligible Veteran hiring will be greatly enhanced with the creation of the all- career workforce in the Maintenance and MVS Crafts where Veterans will now be hired directly into career positions.

Career Employee Health Benefits

The Health Plans and benefits for career employees remain in effect. Over the next three years, the employees’ portion of the health premium will increase 1% a year. For the APWU Consumer Driven Health plan, the Postal Service will continue to pay 95% of the premium.

PSE Health Benefits and Holiday Leave Pay

  • PSEs will now receive six paid holidays. (PSEs had no holiday leave.) The holidays are the six major holidays of New Years, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
  • The number of hours paid for the holiday will vary by size of office: 200 Man year offices – 8 hours. POStPlan offices – 4 hours. All other offices – 6 Hours.
  • PSEs who work on a holiday will have the same option as career employees to have their annual leave balance credited in lieu of holiday leave pay.
  • The 75% contribution of the USPS to the premiums of the APWU Consumer Driven Health Plan, available after one year of service, remains in effect. In addition, PSEs will now have access to a USPS sponsored health plan upon employment with the USPS contributing $125.00/pay period.

Limits on Excessing

During the life of the CBA, no employees can be excessed beyond a 50 mile radius.

Bereavement Leave

Clarification on expanded bereavement leave coverage to “in-laws.”

Enhanced and Expanded Services

Parties established a joint Service Enhancement and Innovation Task Force authorized to discuss research, and consult experts with a goal of agreeing to programs including pilots to implement agreed upon services and practices. At least one pilot program must be implemented within 12 months.

Uniform and Work Clothes for Eligible Career Employees

Allowances for uniform and work clothing programs will be increased

  • Effective May 2016, increase of 5%
  • Effective May 21, 2017, increase of 2.5%
  • Effective May 21, 2018, increase of 2.5%

Eligible PSE Employees

PSEs employed in retail for the first time will receive an annual uniform allowance for three shirts, subject to the normal eligibility requirements.

Clerk Craft

  • Incorporates successful MOU “Re: Filling of Residual Vacancies” into the Contract.
  • New pecking order for full-time vacancies allows for a possible PTF transfer and conversion of PSEs within a 50-mile radius.
  • New pecking order for PTF vacancies provides for conversion of PSEs within the installation, the transfer of PTFs within 50 miles and conversion of PSEs within a 50-mile radius.
  • PTFs can express a preference to work outside their installation.
  • One-time conversions of all Clerk Craft PSEs in 200 work year installations with over 2.5 years of service as of July 8, The conversions will be completed as soon as practical but no later than 60 days from July 8, 2016. One year from the award, the parties are ordered to discuss the possibility of another one-time conversion.
  • New language in Article 37.5.D that streamlines process for PSE conversion to career.
  • eReassign Task Force established to explore improvements to the posting and placement process.
  • Employees can now exercise retreat rights without regard to level.

Maintenance Craft

  • All Maintenance Craft PSEs converted to career and the PSE category eliminated.
  • Maintenance Jobs MOU eliminated except for provisions related to pending disputes over “Unit Clarification”.
  • Significant improvements to excessing provisions in Article 38.3.K.
  • New provisions for ET-11 issues including a nationwide PAR for ET-11s and negotiations for LMOUs with MTSC.
  • Retained the Subcontracting Cleaning Services MOU with entire installation in the 18K sq. ft. formula.
  • Retained the 50-mile rule on excessing.
  • New pecking order putting APWU bargaining unit employees ahead of non-APWU employees for in-service register selections.

Motor Vehicle Craft

  • All MVS Craft PSEs converted to career and the PSE category eliminated except when part of package to bring in contracted work.
  • Numbered paragraphs 1, 3, and 4 of the 2010 Motor Vehicle Craft Jobs MOU terminated Paragraph 2 remains and includes the evaluation of 8,000 HCR routes for possible return to PVS.
  • No new subcontracting of PVS driving work during the life of the contract.
  • Because of the loss of flexibility with conversion of all PSEs, elimination of NTFT assignments and restriction on sub-contracting, the Award provides for the return of PTFs with a 20% cap.
  • Clarification of policy regarding Vehicle Maintenance Agreements (VMAs) in offices with vehicle maintenances.
  • All Full-Time Regular Motor Vehicle Craft employees – not just operators – will use their seniority for vacation scheduling.
  • Bids for Examination Specialist (SP-2-188) and Vehicle Operations – Maintenance Assistant (SP-2-195) are open to all full-time regular MVS employees.

Have a great summer everyone!

Until next time - The fight continues!

Kevin Osak
Clerk Craft Director

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Zero (no tolerance)

Lately there has been a lot of discipline issued. All of a sudden there seems to be a new kind of Zero Tolerance. Every time a craft employee makes any type of mistake, no matter how minor, management seems to think it’s the end of the world and issues the employee discipline.

I don’t remember seeing anything at orientation or having a service talk in the last 25 years mentioning this. Management has never posted anything, or had us all read and sign something. No mention of it in the monthly newspaper from the USPS. So can anyone tell me when this happened?

How is it possible that we have to be perfect, but it’s O.K. for management to make mistakes and nothing happens to them? Even the EXFC scores and the Overnight and Priority scores don’t have to be perfect. In the scheme you only need a 95 to pass. The machines can even make mistakes, but by God, you make a mistake, and it’ll be on your record for years. Management needs to lighten up, this new Zero tolerance has gotten out of hand. Regardless of what management thinks, we are only human. We will make mistakes.

It always makes me grimace when I am In a Pre-D with management and an employee, and they read the line “This might lead to possible discipline, and or removal from the postal service”. They should change that line to “This will lead to discipline”. That is more like the truth. I have only seen 1 time in hundreds that a Pre-D has not led to discipline. Remember, if anytime you feel a conversation with your supervisor could lead to discipline-ask for your steward. Or as I like to say “when in doubt, ask for a steward”.

I only know that all of a sudden management is over reacting to everything. This needs to stop. Management needs to be working with the employees, not against them. That brings me to my next article. (See below).

New breed of supervisors

The new supervisors coming onto the workroom floor are getting a lot of training from the USPS. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working. I swear there must be a class called “My way or the Highway-101”. The young supervisors that I have encountered lately are very good at paperwork, and issuing discipline. But that is where their training seems to end. I can’t believe the words that come out of these supervisors mouth. Here are a few examples:

  1. LMOU, I don’t care about what that says.
  2. I can do that; I’ll just get something from Labor.
  3. I don’t care if that employee is not in his job, he’s not messing up that other area.
  4. I only put that nasty comment in there to get his attention. (In a L.O.W. issued to an employee).
  5. Contract, I don’t agree. (With what’s written in plain English).
  6. I’m glad you’re out here. I will be seeing you a lot more often for more of these. (Pre-D’s).

There are so many more, but that would turn this article into an encyclopedia.

It seems that new and nasty seem to be the qualifications of the new breed of postal supervisor, and unfortunately this holds true all over the district. I am not management bashing when I say this. There are some very good Supervisors, Postmasters and Upper management. There are also some good new supervisors, but they are getting harder and harder to find. Why do they have to be so adversarial all the time? Why won’t they listen to reason? I don’t know.

The USPS needs to add new classes to their list for the new supervisors. Hell, some of the old ones could probably use them too. Here are a few titles of the classes I think they need to add:

  1. How to management your employees with dignity and respect.
  2. Encouraging teamwork, diversity and ethics in the workplace.
  3. Effectively running the workroom floor (without issuing “direct Orders” or saying “because I said so”.)
  4. Managing the unit while following the Contract.
  5. Admitting that you’re wrong (Without saying: I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree).
  6. Working with the Union to make the USPS a better place to work.

I could go on, but you probably get the gist of what I am trying to say.

The Union could make the Postal Service a lot better place to work if Upper management would let us. I think it needs to start with proper training for the new supervisors. They need the Union to get involved to make sure these people get some insight into what they are getting into. Kind of like a Union Orientation. I know the perfect person to teach this class, Executive V.P. Steve Wood. He would love to teach that class.

Something has to change. This type of behavior is becoming the norm, and it’s only going to get worse unless we do something. Here are a few ideas:

  • Maybe the USPS should only hire supervisors from the outside.
  • People with college degrees.
  • People that have had the proper training to lead employees.
  • People that would lead by example, not by a nasty stare or by intimidation.
  • People that would take the time to learn the contract, and LMOU, besides all the rules and paperwork.
  • People that would take the time to not only learn about their employees, but learn to lead them. Give them not only the tools they need to do their jobs, but also the help they need when they need it.

What the new breed of supervisors don’t seem to understand is, they need to learn to manage not babysit (as they like to call it).

Also, we are all in this together. It’s not them against us.

We have come too far, over 240 years to let this all go by the wayside. We as an organization need to improve and go forward into the 21st century. Not go sliding back to the 19th.

So let’s all get together to make this the kind of workplace we would all Love to come to everyday.

I know, in a perfect world. I can only Dream.

Postal Pulse Update

The scores have come out on the 2nd round of the postal pulse. It was just as dismal as the first round. Only 47% of the 595,000 employees sent in their surveys. The number seems high, and this is why. There was a box at the top for employees to check “I do not wish to participate in the USPS Employee Survey at this time.” This opt-out box does not seem to be typical for the Gallup Q12 survey. The USPS probably put it in and then counted the returned surveys with this option checked to boost their participation numbers.

Also as expected the USPS scored in the bottom 5-10% for all companies on how the employees feel. The employees know what's expected of them, but they don't get enough recognition or encouragement from their supervisors, they feel that their opinions don't count for much, and they don't get much feedback about their progress.

The USPS scored a grand mean of 3.16 on the survey. The Postal News looked online for any surveys on Gallup’s poll that mentioned a grand mean, and the Postal Service’s grand mean of 3.16 was the second lowest of all the scores they could find, and it was significantly lower than the overall average for the other 55 organizations which was 3.96.

The Postal Pulse was not only a major waste of time, but it was also a major waste of money at a cost of 1.8 Million dollars.

They could have saved all that money had they contacted any officer in the APWU. I could have told them the results before they even sent them out. Unlike the USPS, the Union and its members already know that management doesn’t care about us or what we think. They only care about awards and bonuses.

The VOE had a higher participation rate of 51% and it was free. It had the same results, but the USPS couldn’t receive an award for that one. Well guess what USPS, you won’t be receiving an award for this one either.

If you want an award, I guess you’ll have to start caring about the employees instead of your numbers.

Give them some respect and stop treating them as a replaceable. Show them you care about the great work they do, the work that makes the USPS the best Postal Service in the world. Then just maybe you will get that award.

Until next time-The fight continues!

Some of the information used for this article was obtained from Postalnews.com

Kevin Osak
Clerk Craft Director

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Boycott Postal Pulse

I can’t emphasize that enough. Do not under any circumstances fill the survey out and mail it in. Instead give the unopened envelope to your steward, or mail the unopened envelope directly to the hall. Then you can win $75.00 from the local when we do a drawing at one of the local’s monthly Union meetings.

You ask how will I know which letter I receive from the Post Office is the survey. It will say The Postal Pulse right on the front.

It used to be called “The Voice of the Employee”, and we all know how management listens to their employees.

The APWU is boycotting any survey the USPS sends out, because they have used the information against us in negotiations.

The Postal Service explains that it switched from the VOE to the Gallup Q12 because it is "far superior to the VOE survey as an instrument for measuring employee engagement. The USPS is paying Gallup $1.8 Million dollars to administer the survey and tally the results. Gallup gives out a Great Workplace Award “to recognize organizations worldwide for their extraordinary ability to create an engaged workplace,” and one of the criteria is a minimum response rate of 80 percent.

The only reason the USPS is doing the survey, in my opinion, is to get the award.

This is round 2 of the survey, with round 1 only getting a 51% response rate. We need to make sure that the percentage for round 2 is even lower.

Help Us, Help You by not taking your Postal Pulse.

Until next time – The fight continues!

Some of the information used for this article was obtained from Postalnews.com

Kevin Osak
Clerk Craft Director

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R.S.S. = Really Slow Service

There’s a New Retail Systems Software (RSS) being deployed nationally. The USPS reports that “More than 17,700 sites will receive the new Retail Systems Software (RSS), which replaces Point of Sale (POS) One software. RSS offers improved data recovery, easier access to top transaction functions and reduced training time”.

“This system allows the Postal Service to be flexible and adaptable to the consumers’ evolving needs while helping to reducing cost,” said Retail and Customer Service Operations VP Kelly Sigmon.

Now, onto the reality of the situation. It’s a nightmare. I should have seen the writing on the wall when taking the training. I had the training 3 months before it was installed. We got pushed back several times. I actually forgot most of the training by the time we got it. The computer training was: hurry up and wait, I spent 40% of the 2 hour training class, waiting for the program to download. Then there is supposed to be a 1 hour training the day of. The supervisor had trouble getting into the tutorial simulation and I only got around 20 minutes.

Here are the problems as I see them so far:

  1. It’s slow. So slow, the customers are leaving.
  2. It takes 2-4 times as many buttons to do the same functions as POS ONE.
  3. Glitches galore.
  4. Keyboard malfunctions.
  5. Repetitive questions:
    Choose letter, then it asks you again “is it a letter” and requires you to read a paragraph ending with the maximum dimensions of a letter.

I think it’s the USPS’s software, that’s why it’s cheaper and reduces cost. They don’t have to pay whoever owns the POS ONS software. Also there is less training. That is B***S***! New management gets tons of training. Newly minted 204b’s get 6 weeks training, and they also get to go to several other classes throughout their first year. The clerks now get less and less. So I guess it takes longer to learn how to mismanage? This new program is too complicated, and needs to be reduced to a manageable level. Also the speed needs to be about 5X times faster. The horrible results so far are typical of USPS involvement. It’s slow, with lots of glitches, and discourages customers from coming in to the retail unit at your local post office.

I almost think R.S.S. = Retail Service (at) Staples, because if they don’t fix it fast, many of our customers will go online or to Staples. Or is that what they really want? Only time will tell.

Condolences

I would first like to offer my condolences to MVS Director Joe Wrobel and his family, on the recent passing of his son.

I would also like to offer my condolences to Executive Vice President Steve Wood and his wife Lori’s family, on the loss of her sister.

They are both in my prayers, as well as all of you in this very difficult time.

President Woods asks that you send any cards or condolences to the hall, and they will be forwarded to them.

Until next time-The fight continues!

Kevin Osak
Clerk Craft Director

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BOYCOTT
Office Depot/USPS B.S.

I guess when you make a deal with the devil, you can make a lot of money. It was announced today that Staples is buying Office Depot for 6.3 Billion. I guess they are raking in the dough through their deal with the USPS, and can buyout the competition. The USPS wants our customers to go to Staples so bad that they are constantly issuing coupons for discounts on mailing packages if the customers go to Staples. Does the USPS do that for their window operations? H*** NO! I’ve even heard that USPS locations near a Staples with a Postal operation within it are closing early with signs on the door saying go to Staples. I was going to Office Depot due to our boycott of Staples, but I guess I will have to find an alternative source for my office needs.

What really makes me sick is their website which states “Enjoy the same secure, reliable service and low prices you get from the Post Office”.

As Executive Vice President Steve Woods would say “Really”?

How dare they say that, it’s an insult to you and me. They use un-trained, minimum wage employees, who did not take an oath to safeguard the mail.

I hope that the boycott helped with the last PMG’s departure. I can’t believe the lost revenue that this deal is costing us. If the customers stop coming into the retail units, think of all the lost revenue in greeting cards, packaging products, gift cards, and most important of all-The USPS retail experience. The USPS retail experience is our SSA’s knowledge, commitment to excellence, oath to safeguard the mail, and finding the best solutions to our customers mailing needs. You think a minimum wage Staple employee cares? I’ve seen Postal Stores and have witnessed the employees that man them. They skip the Hazmat Questions, tell customers to go to our competitors, and sell down (Parcel/Standard Post), instead of our premium products such as Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. They are even telling customers to send their packages Media mail because it is cheaper, even though their articles do not qualify for that rate. They are so desperate to kill jobs, that they chase our customers away. First it was with ridiculously low internet prices. Then they cut staffing so low, that management is creating a hostile work environment. Everyone is so stressed out by the increased and unfair workloads thrown upon us, I’d be really surprised if a lot of our fellow Union brothers and Sisters don’t start having stress related health issues.

The USPS turns 240 years old this year. I know, we don’t look over 200-LOL. Sorry. I was listening to the radio on the way in to the hall, and heard a commercial about the D.A.V. (Disabled American Veterans). It said that the veterans made a commitment to defend our nation, and that we owe them a commitment to support them, and help them out for their service to our country. The USPS was supposed to be one of those commitments to our veterans. The USPS is one of, if not the largest agency that hires Veterans. As far as I am concerned, if the USPS is privatized or destroyed, it will be seen by me and a lot of other people as a declaration that America doesn’t care about their veterans, and that the sacrifices that they and their families have made were in vain. You think whoever ends up picking up the pieces of the USPS will pay a decent wage, or care about filling a large portion of their workforce with veterans-NO. These politicians should be ashamed of themselves with their petty jealousies of a large Union/Veteran workforce that operates without tax dollars, and is the public’s favorite Federal institution. Everyone needs to tell these politicians that they should be ashamed of themselves and that they should immediately pass legislation that not only fixes the long term financial situation of the USPS, but also restores service standards and hires more employees to properly staff our offices. It would be America’s loss if the USPS were dismantled. We must all stand up and fight before it’s too late.

Until next time-The fight continues!

Kevin Osak
Clerk Craft Director

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Don’t Think Fast Food $15,
Think $15 for Everybody

As my wife and I were talking about this important issue the other day, I realized that everyone was thinking about this issue incorrectly. I am not saying that I am this wise visage of a person, but I do see this issue in a different and I think more positive light. A lot of people do not believe that someone working at a fast food restaurant should be making $15.00 an hour. That the job is not a skilled job, and that it is only a temporary job until a better one presents itself. That used to be true, but it’s still a very wrong idea. Everyone is focusing on fast food workers making $15.00 an hour. No one is thinking about new Police Officers in the city of Detroit making a whopping $14.00 an hour to start. If they did, it would further fuel the fire.

I quickly pointed out to my wife that if fast food workers made $15.00 an hour, then so would everyone else. Then the Police officers of Detroit could start at maybe $23.00 an hour, and so on. It would be a domino effect. Then everyone else’s pay would go up exponentially.

The point of the argument is not: Do fast food workers deserve a $15.00 an hour starting wage?

The real point of the argument is: Do workers in the United States of America, the greatest nation in the world, deserve a living wage?

No one is talking about that. Everyone is bashing fast food workers, calling them greedy. You know who is calling them greedy: The Rich, and the Republicans.

This may sound hard to believe but a Republican Senator from Oklahoma, Tom Colburn stated on MSNBC that not only should we not raise minimum wage, but he went on to argue that the Federal Minimum wage should be abolished. By the way, he wasn’t the only Republican to voice this opinion.

If these Senators got their way, this would mean when you applied for a job after this was done, they could offer you $3.00 an hour to start. How would you or anyone else make it on that? You couldn’t. They would also get away with it, because we would let them. You don’t believe me, then let me prove it to you.

During the last 3-5 years the economy was tough and jobs were scarce. People had a hard time finding work. Everyone, but me, was saying “I am just happy to have a job”. That’s all big business needed to hear to cut wages and eliminate benefits. They had everyone hooked, line and sinker. I bet if you looked back at the last 3-5 years, the pay scale dropped significantly. If we let them off the hook, we could set this nation back 100 years, and eliminate all the progress that was achieved through the blood of our fellow Union Brothers and Sisters throughout the years. I was not just happy to have a job, the USPS should have been happy to have me. A dedicated and hardworking employee. I was not going to let them off the hook. I’ve held their feet to the fire and demanded that they take care of us. To rid us of that Giant burden of prepayment and restore us to financial security.

What most rich people don’t realize is that if you grind us down and pay us nothing, then who is going to buy your products and services. If more and more companies have more machines and fewer people, then how will the future generation of workers survive?

The model here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited, they were consumers too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.

What a great idea. My suggestion to you is, let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic ideas of less pay, more machines and less people is what is destroying America. If you continue to destroy the Middle Class, then there will be no America. We would then fall back to the Middle Ages of Kings and serfs. The 99% would be at the mercy of the 1%. Do we as a people, and as a country as a whole want this? I hope the answer is a great big NO.

When is everyone going to wake up and realize that when you have a strong and healthy Middle Class, the country is thriving. It’s time to stop the backslide and start demanding more, and it starts with the fast food $15. I think that this is a no brainer, and I hope that we get 100% of all Americans to come around to this way of thinking, and that will help this country get back on track to the greatness it once was, and still could be.

Until next time-The fight continues!

Kevin Osak

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Solidarity - You Sure?

I was looking at the July-August issue of Solidarity Magazine from the U.A.W. It’s a well written and thought provoking magazine. Then I came upon an article called “Saving trees and members dollars”. It was telling the U.A.W. members that at the 36th U.A.W. Constitutional Convention, they decided that “Due to the advances in technology, the mandatory mailing of a printed version of the Solidarity magazine is unnecessary”. They took this action to help save the union hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the members still want to get the magazine by mail, they would have to go online and opt-in.

My dad was an auto worker. He worked for over 30 years for FORD. My dad was a proud Union member. During his time at FORD motor, the U.A.W. went on strike several times to get a decent contract from FORD motor. I wish we could. Unfortunately I think he would not be happy by the decision made at the 36th Constitutional Convention. How can one of the greatest, if not the greatest Union in the country vote to hurt another one. I know it was not intentional, but it still has dire consequences. As an officer of the 480-481 Area Local, I know and understand that we, as officers, have a fiduciary responsibility and must try and save the local money whenever possible. But, not at the expense of another Union.

We all try to buy American products. It’s getting harder and harder these days because of all the cheap imported products from overseas. I recently bought 6 coffee cups for $10.00 each, just because they were now made in America in a new factory in Ohio. I am willing to pay more for American goods and services. We must all support each other. I am not the moral compass for the A.P.W.U., or any Union, or even the country. All I am asking is that in our time of need, don’t forget about the U.S. Postal Service.

It seems that when everyone looks to cut costs and save money, we are one of, if not the first thing, that everyone looks to reduce or eliminate. The U.S.P.S. is over 200 years old. We are always at the top of the favorite U.S. Government agency list. We provide a necessary service for the entire U.S. Of A. All without receiving any Tax Dollars. Thanks to the Union, this organization is run Tax Free. Now, at the time when we are at our greatest danger of going under, or privatized, everyone is jumping ship.

I ask, no make that challenge, every Union in the entire U.S.A., please do not use us as a cost cutting option. Find something else to cut costs. Use us because we are a fellow Union organization. Use us because if you don’t, we won’t survive. How would the U.A.W. feel, that if at our next Convention, we voted to save money, and only buy Hondas because they are cheaper? Or vote to stop buying cars, and only buy bicycles because it’s greener?

As for saving trees, trees are a renewable resource and can be replaced. In these trying times of the one percent running amok, good paying Union jobs can’t.

As Union members, every decision we make must be for the overall good of not only our Union, but every Union. I ask the U.A.W. to reconsider using the USPS, and help a fellow Union out.

Until next time-The fight continues!

Kevin Osak

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Seamless Acceptance
or Seamless Reduction?

The USPS is implementing seamless acceptance with commercial mail acceptance transformation (CMAT). The purpose of CMAT is to automate Bulk Mail Entry Units, and reduce work hours and employees.

Seamless acceptance, according the USPS: “will maximize opportunities to leverage automated processes to reduce errors, improve efficiencies and improve revenue assurance capabilities”. It will also: “Automate mail preparation, acceptance and verification to strengthen the business to customer channel, reduce costs, improve revenue assurance (SOX compliance) and improve the customer experience.”

It will be available for the following classes and categories:

  1. First Class: postcards, letters and flats.
  2. Standard Mail: letters and flats.
  3. Periodicals: letters and flats.
  4. Bound printed matter: flats.

Essentially, the seamless acceptance vision is to fully automate verification of commercial mailings performed during postal processing of the mail. Their goal is to streamline all aspects of the acceptance, verification, payment and induction.

The main goal from what I see is fewer Clerk jobs. This even affects the SSA’s at the Window. They want the customer to pay online, do all their paperwork online, and then come in and verify their own mail on the Merlin machine. This means no BMEU Clerks and less work for the SSA’s on the Window (because the customer will pay online instead of coming up to the Window with a check). I also don’t believe the less errors comment. Have we all seen the DPS these days? Or how accurately the scanners or the PASS cart perform?

Since the USPS is going to realize dramatic cost savings (eliminate a lot of jobs and save a lot of money), they are very rapidly driving and forcing companies to adapt to the system A.S.A.P. in 2014. They will even make mailers that are unable to accurately prepare and electronically document their mail pay additional postage costs up to 30 days after the mailing takes place. So, not only will the employees suffer, but the customers may also have to bear the brunt of the USPS’s greed.

How many $$$$$$$ is enough for the USPS to stop dismantling the Post Office and ruining customer service? What will it take to stop the madness and get us back on the right track?

We don’t need more machines and the headaches that come with them. What we need are more Clerks. If the USPS just stopped giving Pitney Bowes, and the other companies like them, huge discounts for putting barcodes on the mail, and hired more Clerks to do the job, we would all win. The National APWU has done a study and proven that, if the USPS took back the work, gave it back to the Clerks, and stopped the discounts to the big mailing companies, they would make more money. It’s a proven fact that we could do the work cheaper and the USPS would realize the savings. Then we would have more employees, the USPS would make more money and possibly (dare I mention it), hire more employees for the Plants and A/O’s.

It would be a win/win situation. Unfortunately, the USPS and their cronies don’t see it that way. Sometimes I think they would love to have all supervisors and zero employees. Then again, who would they harass and fire?

Until next time, the fight continues!

Kevin Osak

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Point of Sale (POS) Survey Initiative

Recently the USPS started printing a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) on the bottom of the customer receipts.

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.

The questions will cover:

  • Overall satisfaction with the local Post Office visit
  • Knowledge, courtesy and attitude
  • Wait time in line

They also want the SSA’s to circle the URL at the bottom of the receipt and encourage the customers to participate.

They claim that the survey results will only be used to help build customer loyalty, to increase revenue and to grow our business. Can anyone figure out and explain to me how they can achieve this with an online survey? I can’t.

If you look at a little section on the stand up talk sheet that they passed around for no one to read (it was just taped on the wall by the window). You will see this “By drawing the customers attention to the survey website, we can increase the RESPONSE rate and gain ACTIONABLE feedback to help the organization improve. I highlighted the 2 words that really tell the story.

  • RESPONSE=numbers=$$$$=Bonuses for management
  • ACTIONABLE=Discipline=Grievances

Management only uses numbers when it comes time for their bonuses. They never care about service or customers. Only their pay for performance or whatever they call their many bonuses these days. If they really cared about customer service, they would properly staff the A/O’s and Plants.

I fear the word ACTIONABLE only for the reason that I know management will attempt, let me repeat, attempt to use the survey to issue discipline. I say attempt because the APWU and your local officers and stewards will have none of this. I have had supervisor’s attempt to issue discipline for the mystery shop in the past, and fail miserably. I will be calling the national to find out their take on this issue I can only guess that management will issue discipline to SSA’s based on the customers complaint, and try to tell us that it is not related to the Mystery shop.

Also I can only imagine at what management will try to do with this information. If it’s anything like the V.O.E. (Voice of the Employee) Survey, they will take, and twist the information and try to use it against us at contract talks next year.

Until next time-The fight continues!

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Please Do Not P.A.S.S. The Work

It has come to our attention that management, in some offices, is inputting non scan-able packages address’s into the passive adaptive scanning system. That is a violation of the C.B.A. P.A.S.S. work is designated as clerk work. Therefore only clerks should be performing the work. This is a violation of Article 1.6 which states:

A. Supervisors are prohibited from performing bargaining unit work at post offices with 100 or more bargaining unit employees, except:

  1. In an emergency;
  2. For the purpose of training or instruction of employees;
  3. To assure the proper operation of equipment;
  4. To protect the safety of employees; or
  5. To protect the property of the USPS.

Absent any of these conditions, management is violating the contract. The proper remedy is to pay the grievant/grievants proper compensation for the lost work opportunity at the appropriate rate of overtime pay.

Remember management will always have some excuse or another when violating the contract and performing bargaining unit work. I have found over the years that 99.99% of the time, management has no viable excuse to perform our work, and therefore should cease and desist, and pay the grievance.

Sunday Delivery = Clerk Work

The U.S.P.S. has recently announced that they will start delivering packages on Sunday. The first test sites will be in L.A., San Diego, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Cincinnati. The U.S.P.S. will start with one company to start, I’ve heard it is Amazon, then as the infrastructure grows for the Sunday Delivery, more companies will hop on board. It will be heading our way soon , if not already open in some areas.

This New Work is Clerk Work, and this is why:

  • The C.B.A. dated November 21, 2010 thru May 20, 2015 gave us a new position called a-Delivery/Sales services & Distribution Associate. This new job can deliver mail.
  • The U.S.P.S. obviously knew that this work was coming back in 2010, otherwise they would not have agreed to award us this new position. Therefore I believe that they had already made up their mind on who should get the work.
  • If you look at the work that is to be done, most of it will be done by Clerks. It would only make sense to award this new work to the Clerk craft and save time and money. (Because we all know we can do the work faster, cheaper and better.)

The A.P.W.U. will vigorously fight for this new work, and your officers at the 480-481 Area Local will be at the forefront of this fight.

Settlement in Hartland

On Tuesday February 28, 2014, President Woods called me at my office and asked me to go out and check out the situation at the Hartland Post Office. The new PTF Clerk Greg called, and said that they were doing construction on the counters at the window, with the window open, and there were heavy chemical smells that were making not only the clerks ill, but also the customers. I immediately drove out there and went into the building. As soon as I walked in I started to get a headache. There was a strong chemical smell, also wood dust from the construction. The contractors had the left side of a 2 window operation torn up, with tools, dust, chemical smells and equipment all over the place. The customers had to play dodge ball to get around and up to the window. The customers were complaining of the smell and one stated “How can you stand the smell in here. I’ve only been here a few minutes and I’ve already got a headache”. The clerk answered that he couldn’t, and that he was feeling ill. I looked around and spotted open cans of an adhesive that were causing the terrible smell, and I was shocked at what I found. The chemical stated in large print. “Use only in properly ventilated areas only”. That consumption is deadly, and that the fumes are flammable and long term exposure can attack your central nervous system, and oh, by the way, it can kill you.

I immediately called President Woods and told him that we needed to shut down the office and send the employees home. We both contacted the P.O.O.M. and advised him what was going on. The Postmaster decided to not have the construction take place on Sunday when no one would be around, but to do it on a Tuesday. The Postmaster then left after a short time for the rest of the day for a doctor’s appointment. The Postmaster would not open the windows, because of the heat loss. The P.O.O.M. sent another Postmaster form another office to check out the situation. In the meantime I opened some windows. When the other Postmaster arrived, he opened the door and put a fan he found in the door. I asked him about sending the ill employees home, and that they should be paid Admin pay for the rest of the day, and he said “No”. I again called the P.O.O.M. and President Woods and after some convincing the office was shut, and the sick clerks were sent home and paid for the rest of the day on Administrative Pay. I have to give some kudos to the P.O.O.M. for dealing with this hazardous situation in a fast and professional way. The P.O.O.M. , after accessing the situation, acted on the best behalf of his employees and the public by shutting down the office, and safe guarding everyone. Thanks Sid. A few days later I immediately filed a Step 1 grievance, and was denied at Step 1 by the Postmaster. I immediately appealed it to Step 2, and I am happy to say that the 2 clerks will be splitting $1000.00 ($500.00 each), plus a M.S.D.S. (Material Safety Data Sheet), will be placed in their respective e-OPF’s so that in case anything happens down the road, there will be documentation in their files to let anyone know what they were exposed to, and any possible side effects. I was there for almost 2 hours, and when I left my head was spinning, and I had a headache. I can just imagine how the employees who were there most of the day felt. I also asked that the Postmaster be removed, but they didn’t do that. I am still working on that. President Woods is demanding a revue of the contractor that was used, and wants to make sure that this total breech of safety never happens again in this local. If you ever experience anything like this, or have any other potential safety hazard arise. Tell management immediately. If they do not do anything, or there is no supervisor available-call the local immediately.

Until Next Time-The Fight Continues!

Kevin Osak

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Update On Free Tracking

After my investigation last month, I talked to President Woods and he agreed with me that this was a problem. So as soon as I wrote my article, I emailed it to President Woods and he sent it to the National APWU and Retail. I went to Premier Post Office training on September 26, 2013, and during a break I talked to the man from retail who was giving the training. I am happy to announce that Management not only listened, but are working on a solution that will hopefully be in place sometime in November. They plan on still putting a barcode on non-purchased items, but they will do one of the following:

  1. Take the number off the receipt, so the customer won’t have it.
  2. Make it only track able in-house, so only the USPS can track it.
  3. Or they may do both.

It sounded to me like they might do both. I am glad that the USPS listened, and soon our fellow SSA’s (Sales and Service Associate’s) will be under a little less stress at the window.

I am always looking for ways to improve the quality of work for our fellow Union Brothers and Sisters, as are my fellow officers. So remember if you are experiencing any problems on the job, contact your steward immediately. If one is not available or your office doesn’t have one, please feel free to call the local and talk to President Woods or any of the officers about your problems. We are here to help.


Clerks to Management:
Stop the Giveaways!

A few months ago, the USPS started a new barcoding system up at the window. Earlier this year the USPS started to have the SSA’s (Sales and Service Associates) put a barcode on every package, regardless of whether or not the customer purchased it. The barcode came out of the P.V.I. (postage validation imprint) machine. The postage would come out first, and the barcode would come out second. The number was printed on the customers receipt. The USPS told us that the non-purchased barcode was only available in system, and the customer could not track it.

Fast forward to today, the USPS changed Delivery Confirmation to Tracking, and we now have label 400, a separate sticker barcode the size of a priority mail sticker. We put it on every package, again, whether or not the customer pays for it. I began my investigation by tracking several packages that did not pay for the service as a test, and was shocked to find out that the customer could still track the package online. Since starting my investigation about a month ago, I have received several complaints from SSA’s around our Local (including my office). They are getting yelled at by the customers, accusing the SSA’s of “ripping them off”, by charging them the 90 cents for the tracking number, when they can get it for free. The USPS now gives free tracking on Priority Express Mail, Priority Mail and now Parcel Post. The last one doesn’t make any sense. They now want us to charge the customer 90 cents for First Class Parcels and Media Mail. The customers are starting to figure out that the tracking is free, and are mad at us for trying to charge them for it.

Enough is enough. It’s bad enough that the USPS gives big discounts for online shipping customers and bulk mailers, but the worst one is the ComBas pricing discount that is so huge, I think we actually lose money on them. The USPS keeps giving away more and more and expects the SSA’s to make it up at the window. Well guess what USPS, you are giving away discounts so fast, that we can no longer make it up.

The USPS has got to change this policy of free tracking for the customers. They need to do one of the following:

  1. Stop putting a barcode on the packages of customers that do not purchase the service.
  2. Go back to a bar code from the P.V.I. machine for non-purchased packages. Make it only trackable in system.
  3. Also, start charging the 90 cents for Parcel Post.

If they do this, we can recoup millions of dollars of lost revenue annually, and our SSA’s will stop being harassed by our customers for “trying to rip them off.”

Until next time: The fight continues!

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PSE’s and the 12 Hour Rule

I noticed while I was looking through the charts for one of several Maximization grievances that I am filing, that in several offices management had been working PSE employees over 12 hours in a service day. The ELM states:

432.32 Maximum Hours Allowed
Except as designated in labor agreements for bargaining unit employees or in emergency situations as determined by the postmaster general (or designee), employees may not be required to work more than 12 hours in 1 service day. In addition, the total hours of daily service, including scheduled work hours, overtime, and mealtime, may not be extended over a period longer than 12 consecutive hours. Postmasters and exempt employees are excluded from these provisions.

I found 3 employees that were forced to work split shifts up to almost 16 hours, and filed a grievance for these employees and got them paid. Their awards totaled $446.00. I wasn’t even looking for this, so I was surprised, and so were the 3 employees. They didn’t know their rights, and hadn’t even asked to file a grievance. So to get a cash settlement they weren’t expecting shows that we care for our new Union Brother’s and Sister’s. These 3 PSE’s are hardworking members of this local, and I was glad to give them the justice they deserved. This is just how we, as officers, work at the local. If we see a grievance, we file one. We are always on the alert for your rights. I am proud to be able to represent you, the member. As I go around from the A.O’s, to the Call Center and the MetroPlex, I see the amazing work you provide for our customers. You work harder, faster, longer and more efficient, than any time in the history of the U.S.P.S. The amazing part is, with less people. You carry a burden and pride that management cannot even understand. That customer service is job #1, and we do it regardless of how much upper management gets in our way. I am proud of the work we all do to make the U.S.P.S., the best Postal Service in the world. Keep up the great work.

Thank-You To A World War 2 Vet

On a trip to the casino in Ohio on Saturday August 3, 2013, my wife and I stopped in for breakfast at Bob Evans. On the radio just before I got out of the car was a story about World War 2 and V - J Day. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it stands for “Victory over Japan day”. When we went in to the restaurant it was crowded, so we went and sat at the counter. I sat next to an elderly gentleman whose hat was on the counter, and when I went to sit down, he grabbed it and said “take a seat buddy”. I noticed that his hat said ‘World War 2 Veteran”. I starting to talk to him, and asked where he’d served. He told me he served in Europe. I then told him that I would like to pay for his breakfast, to honor him for serving our country. The kind gentlemen was a little embarrassed, and told me I didn’t have to, but I insisted. I introduced myself to him, and told him I worked for the American Postal Workers Union, and that our local supported veterans. I told him it would be my honor and pleasure to buy him breakfast as a way of saying thank you for his service to our country. After he thought about it for a few seconds, he said O.K. His name is Len, and he was drafted right out of high school at the ripe old age of nineteen. He served from Omaha Beach (D-Day for those who don’t know the reference) all the way through Europe, until the end in Europe in 1945. I also found out that tomorrow on Sunday August 4, 2013 it was Len’s birthday. He is going to be 89 years young. At first I was nervous and didn’t want to intrude on this vets breakfast, but I thought about a story I read on the internet the day before. Authorities identified the remains of Sgt. Dominick Licari, a World War II airman, whose remains will be flown home to Albany New York nearly 70 years after his plane and two others failed to return to their base in the South Pacific. An honor guard will meet him at the airport to carry his coffin, and people will line the road with flags to celebrate and honor his service. It’s great that we honor and celebrate those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who fought and died for their country. But what about those who fight and live? I personally think it took way too long to build the World War 2 memorial, it opened in May 2004. Too many of the World War 2 veterans had passed before it opened. It is estimated that almost 1000 World War 2 vets die a day, and at this rate it won’t be long before they are all gone. They call their generation ‘The Greatest Generation”. "The Greatest Generation" is a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the generation [1] who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II, as well as those whose productivity within the war's home front made a decisive material contribution to the war effort, for which the generation is also termed the G.I. Generation. These people fought and died all over the globe. They freed the world. If it wasn’t for them, we might not be around. We owe them everything.

After a few minutes of conversation I let him eat his breakfast, and I finished mine. I called the waitress over and told her to give me his bill with ours. I paid and before I left I went back to Len, and told him once more “Thanks for your service to our country, and Happy Birthday”, and then I left. As I walked out the door I felt good and thought “Buying him breakfast was the least I could do, for someone who had helped save the world”.

At first I didn’t want to write about this, but after discussing this with my wife I changed my mind. I didn’t want to write about this because I didn’t want people to think I was writing this to get a pat on the back. That was the furthest thing from my mind. I am writing about this because we all need to not only thank a vet, but buy them a Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Beer or whatever, before it’s too late.

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$15,000.00 Settlement
In Plymouth

Here is some background information from the National A.P.W.U. website: Arbitrator Das Sustains APWU Grievance on Denial of Retreat Rights. In an award issued June 29, 2012, Arbitrator Shyam Das sustained the APWU’s grievance over the denial of excessed employees’ retreat rights. The issue in the this case (Case#Q11C-4Q-C11322494) was the USPS’ refusal to permit excessed employees to retreat into NTFT duty assignments posted for bid subsequent to the conversion of part-time regulars (PTRs) and part-time flexibles (PTFs) in August 2011. Arbitrator Das rejected all of the Employer’s arguments, finding that “[t]here is no contractual provision that supports the Postal Service’s action in precluding employees from exercising [their] retreat right until initial local placement of converted part-time employees was completed.” Noting that the Postal Service failed to raise, let alone obtain the Union’s agreement to, such a restriction on the right of excessed employees to exercise their acknowledged retreat rights during negotiations, Arbitrator Das determined that the Postal Service’s unilateral determination to disallow the exercise of retreat right under these circumstances violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The issue of remedy was remanded to the parties and the arbitrator retained jurisdiction to resolve any remedial disputes. This grievance was filed in 2011, and held in abeyance until the outcome of the binding arbitration national case. So back on July 2, 2012 I began negotiating with management in Plymouth. After almost 1 year of continuous negotiations, I am proud to announce that 2 employees, who were improperly denied their retreat rights, will receive $7500.00 each. Also 1 employee will be offered immediate retreat rights back to Plymouth.

2 Out Of 3 In South Lyon

On January 31, 2013 almost 25,000 employees took the V.E.R. (voluntary early retirement). In South Lyon at this time were 3 PTF’s. Management did not want to replace the fulltime custodian that retired. I had to convince the postmaster that he had to, with the help from President Woods. Since then 1 PTF has been converted and allowed to take that fulltime position, and another PTF, through a grievance settlement, has been converted to fulltime in another office that is closer to where she lives. I am going to track the hours for the 3rd PTF, in hopes to make it 3 in a row.

Maximization

For the past few months we have been using and testing a new charting program from the national. It works great. President Woods and all the officers have been requesting all PTF, PSE & overtime hours in almost every office. President Woods has been putting them into the new program and making great charts. This new system takes minutes, as compared to the old method of using paper and markers that took days on end. I am using the charts to file maximization grievances in several of the offices I cover, and over the next few months I will be filing in as many of my offices as possible. Our goal, at the local, is to increase staffing in as many of our offices as we can, with as many fulltime positions as the charts show. Then after we settle these grievances and create some jobs, we will wait another 6 months and we will request the hours again, and create new charts. If the charts show we still need more positions, we will file again. Our goal is to get all the offices we represent, as close to proper staffing as we can get. Not the understaffing management wants. Stay tuned.

PTF Conversion's On The Rise/PSE Hiring On The Horizon?

Our goal since the withholding was lifted is to see as many PTF’s, in the offices we represent, be converted to fulltime by any means possible. All the officers have been telling the PTF’s to go on eReassign and transfer into fulltime jobs in other installations. President Woods has also faxed information about this to every office in our local. In the last few months we have seen numerous PTF’s transfer and get promoted to fulltime. In the last few weeks I had 1 PTF in each of 2 offices, Union Lake & Hartland, transfer to the Call Center. After we get all the transfers out of the way, we will start tracking PTF & PSE hours and filing grievances to create positions for PTF’s to be converted into. After all the PTF’s are converted then we can start to see if management will start to hire some of the PSE’s.It is our desire to see the conversion of the PSE’s and we hope that by converting the PTF's we can create a need for them to do the obvious?

They know they are over the PSE cap, and by converting them to career, they will get under that cap. Hopefully this and the maximization grievances we are filing will get the associate offices the much needed help they deserve.

Japanese postal worker dies at 116

You heard it right, Jiroemon Kimura, was born in 1897. He was a retired postal worker in Japan. He was certified by the Guinness as being not only the oldest person in recorded history, but also the last known man to live across three centuries.

Premier Post Office Program;
New Product Names

The USPS, in their ultimate wisdom, is coming out with a 3 tier program to supposedly improve the customer experience, maximize revenue & improve cost efficiency. Gold, Silver & Bronze. Basically from what I see is that they want the understaffed offices to jump through hoops so someone, somewhere can get a bonus. They also let the offices self-certify, so, obviously, there won’t be any cheating. They want each office to commit to perform all sorts of cleaning, have a Lobby Assistant; make sure the p.o.box section has the mail up on time, stock the lobby, all with no staff. The USPS complains that they always want to improve the customer experience and retain revenue. I for one can tell them how to do that. Stop giving away huge discounts for putting a barcode on letters, or by customers printing their own label, and bring back the work to the clerks who would not only do it faster and better, but cheaper. That would save the USPS a lot of money. If you want to enhance the retail customer experience-then properly staff the window.

Also in July the USPS is renaming the Priority and Express brands, the following is the new names:

  1. Priority mail 1 day
  2. Priority Mail 2 day
  3. Priority Mail 3 day
  4. Priority Express Mail - 1 day guaranteed

What I don’t understand is why? We will now tell the customer that their package will be a 1, 2 or 3 day, but guess what, it’s not guaranteed. Also they changed Express to Priority Express. The customers are now going to get so confused; it’s going to take months or longer for the average customer to figure this all out. All I know is that someone/somewhere kept a high paying job to create this fiasco. Good luck to all the window clerks who are going to have to help sort this out.

Customer Call Center

Hopefully, by the time you read this, we will have some good news about the National Arbitration on the higher level grievance that was filed for the Call center. The USPS posted the jobs at the Call Center with 3 levels. They ignored the contract and made them Levels 4, 5, & 6. The APWU contends that they should be levels 6, 7 & 8. I hope that we get the news sooner than later, and that all the hardworking clerks at the Call Centers nationwide get a well-deserved raise. Plus some back pay with interest.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, and as always - Until next time - The fight continues!

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Backfill OR B.S.

As of January 31st the V.E.R. took place, and over 20,000 fellow A.P.W.U. employees took the buyout. On February 1, 2013 management is allowed to backfill all vacant jobs that they are going to fill, at a later date within the 90 days, with P.S.E.’s. It has come to my attention at several of my offices that management is bringing in a 90 day PSE, even when they are planning to revert the position. I pointed it out to management that they are in violation of the agreement. They couldn’t understand why. If you revert a position, how can you backfill, a non-position, with a 90 day PSE? You have to have a position to fill, to backfill. So management is in clear violation of the agreement between the APWU and the USPS.

I am urging every steward across our local, even across the country, to file a grievance on this issue immediately. As a remedy I am asking that the O.T.D.L. (overtime desired list) be compensated for every hour worked by the 90 day PSE, at the overtime rate of pay (1 ½ X). If there is no one on the OTDL, then pay every employee in the office, split equally. Remember we only have 14 days to initiate our step 1, so that means we have until February 15th to file on this issue.

Kevin Osak
Clerk Craft Director
480-481 Area Local

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E-Mail links are intended for questions of a general nature and are not for formal administration of the grievance procedure. Individuals with specific questions and or problems must contact their steward within 14 days in order to protect grievance time limits.

The 480-481 Area Local maintains offices at 810 Livernois in Ferndale, Michigan 48220 and represents all APWU members in the following USPS installations: Almont, Allen Park, Anchorville, Belleville, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Brighton, Carleton, Chelsea, Clarkston, Clawson, Davisburg, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Fair Haven, Flat Rock, Garden City, Grosse Ile, Hartland, Hazel Park, Highland, Keego Harbor, Lake Orion, Marine City, Marysville, Michigan Call Center, Michigan Metroplex, Milan, Milford, Mt. Clemens, New Baltimore, New Boston, New Haven, New Hudson, Novi, Oxford, Pickney, Plymouth, Pontiac, Port Huron, Richmond, Rochester, Rockwood, Romeo, Romulus, Royal Oak, South Lyon, South Rockwood, St. Clair, Sterling Heights, Trenton, Union Lake, Utica, Walled Lake, Warren, Washington, Waterford, Wayne, Westland, Willis, Wixom, Wyandotte and Yale.

The Union office is normally open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday and the telephone numbers are (248) 543-3262/3263/3264. The 24 hour number is (248) 543-3262. FAX: (248) 543-2750.