Motor Vehicle Division Officers
For MVS Employees
Motor Vehicle Division Director
Mike Foster, Assistant Director
(This article was first published in the April-June 2011 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
The Motor Vehicle craft made a lot of progress during this round of contract talks. We are especially proud of the advances we made in protecting work.
The biggest improvement was in Article 32, which governs subcontracting. The new language is simple: If APWU members can perform the work at the same cost or less than subcontractors, we get the work. That is a monumental victory and could give a big boost to the Vehicle Maintenance Facilities. Currently, a lot of preventive maintenance and towing is performed by contractors at a higher cost.
We expect resistance from some local managers, but if the Tentative Agreement is ratified, a lot of work could be brought back in-house. By the cost standard alone, we could make significant gains in replenishing our ranks.
Another change – one that may go unnoticed at first — is that the Tentative Agreement gives us the right to “perfect” APWU proposals for work that management proposes to subcontract. If necessary, we can include a bigger percentage of Postal Support Employees, which would make our proposals less expensive.
According to the Tentative Agreement, we will immediately get 600 Highway Contract Routes (HCRs) back; a minimum of 25 percent of the duty assignments will be for career employees. Under the new terms, we also have the opportunity to review 8,000 additional HCRs — which is roughly half of all the routes the USPS has released to HCR subcontractors — and we will be able to submit proposals for the work. These provisions will greatly increase MVS work opportunities.
Another highlight of the agreement is that MVS employees will no longer be restricted to eight-hour days. We will have the flexibility to establish bids with 12-hour days. We won’t be locked into 40-hour weeks, but no current 40-hour per week employee will be required to take a job with fewer hours than 40 hours.
After our 2006 contract negotiations, some members were disappointed that we did not convert part-time flexibles in the MVS Craft to full time, as the Clerk Craft did. At the time we didn’t think the Motor Vehicle Craft could survive without any flexibility. Postal Support Employees will now provide needed flexibility. The PSEs will be part of the Motor Vehicle Craft’s bargaining unit and they will be hired into career duty assignments by seniority. We essentially traded 10 percent PTFs for 10 percent PSEs. We think that was a fabulous swap.
We are looking forward to a new contract that will reinvigorate the Motor Vehicle Craft and the APWU. We hope that you will exercise your right to vote on the contract. We believe this is an excellent outcome, and we sincerely hope you agree.
MVS Activist Wins Major Case
A member of the Motor Vehicle Craft won a major victory over the Postal Service when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) slammed management for its refusal to provide information to the union about subcontracting.
Jerome Pittman, former director of the MVS Craft for the San Francisco Local, filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge that resulted in one of the strongest Consent Orders ever issued against the USPS by the NLRB — and which the USPS ultimately agreed to.
As a result of Brother Pittman’s charge, the NLRB instructed the USPS to keep precise records of union requests for information, and to train management personnel on their obligation to provide such information. Furthermore, the Board provided for monetary penalties in the event the Postal Service failed to adhere to its directives.
The NLRB ordered the Postal Service to create a log of all requests for information, listing the name of the person making the request and the date the Postal Service responded to it. The Board also instructed the USPS to provide copies of the logs to the Contempt Ligation and Compliance Branch of the NLRB within 14 days of any requests.
In addition, the NLRB ordered the USPS to:
The NLRB also directed the Postal Service to conduct training for all managers and supervisors, including temporary supervisors, on an annual basis for at least 10 consecutive calendar days at all San Francisco facilities. The training “shall reference the Postal Service’s intolerance for unreasonable refusals to provide or delays in providing relevant information to labor organizations and possible discipline for such infractions.”
The Postal Service will be audited on a semi-annual basis to make sure it is in compliance with the Board’s instructions. Management is required to post the Consent Order for a 60-day period and mail the notice to each bargaining unit employee who works at the San Francisco installation.
The NLRB will also fine the USPS up to $17,500 for every future violation of the Consent Order, and up to $300 daily for as long as violations continue.
Thank you to Brother Pittman and the San Francisco Local for their dedication and hard work on this case. As many union activists know, San Francisco management’s refusal to provide information is not an isolated incident.
A case in point: Only after exhaustive attempts by the national union and a settlement from the NLRB that cited the Postal Service for unreasonable delays were we able to get information about Ad-Hoc Driving Safety Instructors (DSIs), Road Test Examiners (RTEs) and Road Test Scorers (RTSs).
On Dec. 6, 2010, an NLRB Administrative Judge approved a settlement agreement between the APWU and the Postal Service (Case 5-CA-35727) concerning our requests.
The settlement notice in the national-level case should be posted in each MVS location nationwide for the 60 days.