The APWU 480-481 Area Local

Joe Wrobel

Motor Vehicle Craft Director


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Roscoe Woods

Steve Wood
  Executive V.P.

Gary Thomas
  Vice President

Stan Porter
  Clerk Craft Director

Joe Wrobel
  Motor Vehicle Craft Director

John Diem
  Maintenance Craft Director

Joe Gordon

Elaine Dunlap

John P. Smeekens
  Veterans Director

Lucy Morton
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Richard Dale
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*Director Position Vacant*
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A Thesis on the
Contracting Out of VMF Work

All MVS/VMF members please review this PDF regarding the subcontracting of our work.

View/Download A Thesis on the Contracting Out of VMF Work.

Wrobel’s Wheels and Wrenches

Joe Wrobel

Another summer has passed I hope everyone enjoyed it while it lasted. I don’t need to say this but we really need to watch out for school buses and kids since school is back in session. We have had a couple of accidents this past couple of months; thankfully none were chargeable. Remember since we’re not carriers we have to report all accidents as soon as they happen. It is still unbelievable how many of the carrier vehicles come through all of the VMF’s with the unreported damage on them. The mechanics must remember that we are auto tech’s and not body and fender repairmen. Stay within your job abilities, stop doing other occupational code work. The subject of shuttling arose again; there is not any job description that states this is part of the job. All of the VMF’s are now paying Level 8’s higher level to do PMI’s, the individual mechanics must keep their time while doing higher level work and turn it into the supervisor for the higher level pay. The ELM says if the employee works more than 50% of their tour doing higher level work, then they must get paid higher level for the entire tour. I have been working to get all of the empty positions filled in all of the VMF’s. The district has started hiring new mechanics and posting all of the vacancies. Hopefully in the very near future these positions will be filled. The stewards in transportation have been actively filing grievances for numerous violations of the contract. The HCR’s have been using the post office’s trailers; this is currently being challenged, management is not charging back for the use of our equipment. We are going to challenge some of the returned work and try to get our NTFT employees up to or more than the 32 hours they are now getting. The grievance for the return of the Saginaw run has been appealed to arbitration and I hope it will be before the arbitrator soon.

I would like to thank Larry Anderson and John Smeekens for all of their dedicated service as stewards for the APWU and all that they have done for this Local. They have retired now and gone on to new adventures. I would also like to congratulate all of the other retirees from the past 6 months that have retired from our craft, I wish you all a long and happy retirement.

In closing I would like to remind everyone that it is not the union who changes bids, runs, or hours of operations –it is management that does these things. It is our job to police that contract and make sure it is adhered to. We may not like some of the regulations, or rules but if there is not a violation of the National or local agreement then there is no grievance. There is a big difference between a gripe and a grievance. If you have a question ask so that it can be explained to you why something is being done. You may not like the answer, but at least you will be able to understand a bit more.


Wrobel’s Wheels and Wrenches
Contract Changes

As the contract is getting implemented a bit at a time we find ourselves going through a lot of changes. PSE’s are slowly being hired in our craft and NTFT assignments are being created as the HCR’s are being canceled a piece at a time. The former PTF’s who were thrown into the 32 hour NTFT jobs last September recently got the shaft again with Arbitrator Das’s ruling that they weren’t aggrieved during the transition. I don’t agree with the ruling for the following reasons. First, these employees were unassigned regulars last August when the PTF’s were done away with in our craft. As unassigned regulars the TTO’s could bid on temporary hold downs, but now as NTFT’s they are full time employees they cannot bid on hold downs. That being said a PSE can be put in a hold down at 40 hours a week while our NTFT’s are getting only 32 or 36 hours a week. So how in the hell does that make sense?

Secondly, the former PTF’s are losing money since they are now restricted to a 32 hour a week bid; as a PTF they could work up to 40 hours a week with OT. Cutting hours? What were our National Officers thinking of when they made such an asinine agreement? Don’t get me wrong I am not criticizing the advocates that put on the case at the national step 4; I am really trying to figure out where the arbitrator’s head was when he made the decision. And I’d like to know why this guy is still an arbitrator since most of his decisions suck - it’s a mystery to me. Hopefully with the National Convention coming up in August I will be able to get some answers from our national officers.

Management at the Royal Oak & Dearborn VMFs had been doing the auto tech’s bench test for a number of new hires. This does not mean that we will be seeing any new employees soon because we all know how screwed up things are since Detroit District took over. I personally didn’t things could run any worse, but the Detroit management team proved otherwise. The incompetence runs wild, not one manager that we work with knows what the hell the Detroit team has on its mind, let alone how its day-to-day operations work. I currently have labor charges pending for delay of information requests. To prove my last statement the attorneys for the Post Office stated in their affidavit that information requests have to go through the installation head. Meanwhile the manager of the VMF says that he has a directive from the Detroit Ops manager/District manager that all information requests from the union now have to go through a labor rep to be filled. Does anyone know when the Labor Relations Dept. became the installation head of the Metroplex or the VMF? This just shows that they don’t have a clue as to what is happening and don’t give a damn. This is just one of the issues we’ve had to address.

We have also been concentrating on hiring and filling vacant positions at the VMF’s (until Detroit took over) that are no longer authorized. It is now the position of Detroit management is that the field tech’s are the missing VMF auto techs and so we do not need any more mechanics for the VMF. The Detroit management team is also holding up adding more auto techs to the field. Once again Right hand/Left hand and not a clue among the elite management team of the Detroit District.

As we move along the future looks bleak for the USPS. I am asking all of our members to be diligent when it comes to our legislative agenda. We have to keep informing all of our representatives that we are keeping tabs on what they are doing. For anyone who thinks that their opinion or vote does not count just look at the last mid-term elections and ask yourself this. Are you happy with the results? Either way we need to keep up with the ever changing bills on the hill. If some of these bills pass and become law we are screwed, so watch the union bulletin boards for updates. Visit your representatives and ask them how they feel about the post office and the closures that are to come. Let them know how you feel and that you are a voting voice. Look to our national web site for talking points that can help you get you view across to them. Write a letter expressing your concerns. All of us need to take an active roll in preserving our jobs and our future. Have a safe summer.

Joe Wrobel


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, Pinckney, Plymouth, Pontiac, Port Huron, Richmond, Rochester, Rockwood, Romeo, Romulus, Royal Oak, South Lyon, South Rockwood, St. Clair, Sterling Heights, Trenton, Troy, Troy Customer Care Center, Union Lake, Utica, Walled Lake, Warren, Washington, Waterford, Wayne, Westland, Willis, Wixom, Wyandotte and Yale.

The Union office is normally open from 7:00 AM to 3:00 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.