Motor Vehicle Division Officers
Lose the Stripes!
Mike Foster, Motor Vehicle Division Director
(This article appears in the November-December 2013 edition of The American Postal Worker.)
Many motor vehicle craft members will undoubtedly ask, “with all the challenges facing the MVS Craft, why would our national MVS Division officers spend time talking about the stripes on our trousers?” Section 933.111 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual states, “Motor vehicle operator, tractor trailer operator, driving instructor, and examiner trousers are without braid stripe.”
This small factor sets us apart and serves as a unifying identity mark for members of our esteemed craft. Below is an excerpt from an article in the March-April 2002 edition of The American Postal Worker. We believe the issue is as crucial today as when it was initially published.
“While traveling throughout the country, it has become increasingly clear to me that motor vehicle operators and tractor trailer operators in various facilities are performing their duties while wearing letter carrier pants. Brothers and sisters, there is a difference between our uniform trousers and letter carriers’ trousers. The difference is the braid or the stripe on the side of the pants. Years ago, when our uniform pants had stripes, the stripe was a different color than the stripe on the letter carrier uniform.
“Vendors often contribute to the influx of letter carrier pants in the Motor Vehicle Craft. They fail to stock ample quantities of the motor vehicle operator pants, forcing the employees to choose: They can endure delays and make additional trips to the store for the proper pants or accept the wrong pants. We must demand that the vendors provide us with the correct clothing promptly.
“We are requesting that MVS members throughout the country join the effort to restore the pride within our craft by wearing the appropriate pants. This effort is in no way meant to disparage our letter carrier brothers and sisters, or any other employees who perform their duties professionally and with pride in the Postal Service. It is meant to instill pride in the MVS operators who perform a job that is critical to the movement of mail throughout the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
“Some members will undoubtedly resist this request. When I broach this subject, I often receive responses such as, ‘I like my stripes,’ or, ‘If management doesn’t have a problem with the stripes, why should the union?’ To these responses I say, it is our responsibility to ensure that our livelihood remains viable, not management’s.
“Historically, the Motor Vehicle Craft has come to be recognized as a group that is willing to come together and defend our jobs against defective and unsafe equipment and the infringement on our human rights with improper drug tests and alcohol tests. We have fought cross- craft assignments that limit our job opportunities and the gutting of. Motor Vehicle Craft work in favor of highway contractors. Most recently, we have stood up to the latest in the never-ending line of postal acronyms...
“Our effort regarding our uniforms is not the solution for the numerous problems we face. It is simply a rallying cry for members who perform the same duties and have the same concerns to identify with each other in the effort to make the workplace safe, and protect wages, hours and working conditions in the Motor Vehicle Craft.
Union Fights Subcontacting
APWU Wins Major
The Memorandum of Understanding on PSE Reappointment stipulates that after their break in service, PSE reappointments must be based solely on the PSEs’ relative standing — their seniority — on the installation’s PSE rolls.
In some parts of the country, the USPS had claimed that PSEs who have completed a 360-day appointment had no contractual right to be reappointed based on their seniority. The Postal Service asserted that management was free to retain more junior PSEs — or even hire new PSEs — rather than reappointing more senior PSEs who had completed a term of appointment.
“This Memorandum of Understanding makes clear that PSEs enjoy protection against favoritism and arbitrary decisions by management,’” Morris said.
Union Arbitrates PVS
Throughout the entire grievance process, the USPS asserted that management was entitled to implement “mode conversions” — a complete conversion of an installation from PVS to HCR — under Article 32.2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The APWU’s position has consistently been that mode conversions have a significant impact on the bargaining unit. As such, the USPS must adhere to Article 32.1.B when considering converting the Columbus PVS operations.
The hearing has closed and, as we go to press, the parties are reviewing the transcript and submitting post-hearing briefs.
Arbitrator Das upheld the union’s position.
The ruling gives locals a tool to fight for the creation of additional duty assignments by ensuring they are aware of subcontracting decisions.
In the Motor Vehicle Service Craft, notification to locals could result in challenges to the subcontracting of preventive maintenance inspections and repairs, and emergency and temporary subcontracting of Highway Contract Routes, as well as other work.