02/18/2015 - The Postal Service and APWU settled a custodial staffing dispute in July, with staged gradual implementation as one of the requirements.
How to Get a Custodial Staffing Review
A staffing review is an important tool for protecting Maintenance Craft jobs, and we encourage locals to request reviews if there is a valid reason to believe that your office is understaffed.
Staffing packages in the Maintenance Division can be broken into two general categories: Custodial staffing and mechanized staffing.
Custodial staffing is determined by following the step-by-step process outlined in the MS-47 Handbook, Housekeeping Postal Facilities. Management is required to abide by the handbook and to maintain the results of a proper staffing package. Three basic forms are involved:
- PS Form 4869, Building Inventory
- PS Form 4839, Frequency of Cleaning
- PS Form 4852, Work Hour Analysis
Mechanized staffing determines the number of non-custodial positions (for example, ET, Maintenance Mechanic, Building Equipment Mechanic and Maintenance Control Clerk) in an installation, using a program called e-WHEP, the electronic Work Hour Estimator Program. Thee-WHEP was designed principally for use in the mail processing plant environment, but it also includes sections for building equipment, administrative, and field maintenance staffing.
Paperless Review Requests
To have your staffing package reviewed by a national staffing advocate — remotely or by a field visit — you must do the following:
- Request a complete copy of the most current staffing package in an electronic format (PDF) from your local manager. Your request should indicate whether you are interested in custodial staffing, mechanized staffing, or both.
- Once you receive the information from management, you must review the Form 4869, Building Inventory, for accuracy, and complete a list of discrepancies. (See below.)
- Your local president must submit an “e-Request to Review” letter by sending an e-mail message to MaintStaffing@apwu.org. Please be sure to specify what you are requesting and who the local point of contact (POC) will be. Please include phone numbers and an e-mail address.
- Attach an electronic copy of the staffing package (PDF) and the list of discrepancies to your request.
- If you have a previous staffing package, attach that as well for comparison purposes.
A complete list of discrepancies is essential to conducting an accurate and effective staffing review. The list is generated by verifying the accuracy of PS Form 4869, which itemizes inventory. Follow the guidelines below.
- If an item is missing you must add it to your list.
- If a frequency of cleaning differs from what is listed on Form 4839, you must note it on your list.
- If the square footage of a location has been reduced, you must note it on your list.
- If the building has been expanded, you must note it on your list.
- If custodians are performing non-custodial duties in addition to their custodial work, identify the tasks, and indicate the number of minutes per day and the number of days per year the tasks are being performed. Examples include delivering Express Mail, raising or lowering flags, recycling duties, etc. It is not enough to simply identify the tasks.
Including all the information listed above is crucial.
If you have any questions, or if you want to inquire about the status of a request, feel free to contact us at MaintStaffing@apwu.org, or call us at 202-842-4213.
Using the Custodian Staffing Program
A MS-47 Staffing Program developed by Maintenance Craft officers is designed to enable staffing advocates and/or local union officials to verify the custodian staffing packages given to them by local management in three simple steps. The program was created in July 2008 and was updated in July 2011. [MS47 Tutorial]
To utilize it, follow the instructions below:
- After carefully reviewing all forms, create a "discrepancy list" that includes omitted units, square feet, and frequencies.
- Input agency Form 4852 date “as is” onto the Form 4852 comparison.
- Use the data entry tab to correct discrepancies and add omitted items.
The Staffing Worksheet Program is designed to help the APWU recapture lost work-year hours. It enables locals to verify information provided by management and to input omitted cleaning items and cleaning frequencies.
USPS Cleaning Standards (Unit performance represents engineering standards that apply to each custodial task.)
We hope it also will reduce the number of hours locals must spend completing Forms 4839 and 4869. The program automatically calculates totals; it also gives locals line-by-line comparisons, showing both the USPS and APWU Staffing Report side-by-side on Form 4852. The worksheet will also stamp the date and time on the finished product when you are ready to print it.
For questions, concerns or suggestions, contact Idowu Balogun at 202-842-4213 or send an email to MaintStaffing@apwu.org.
12/23/2014 - Hopefully, every local applied the procedures outlined in the July 9, 2014, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding implementation of the MS-47 - TL-5 Handbook at the conclusion of fiscal year 2014.
The agreement includes an automatic remedy for violations of custodial staffing requirements: In facilities maintained by USPS custodians, if staffing fell short of 90 percent of the work hours shown on Line H of PS Form 4852, management must compensate custodial employees identified by the local union at the overtime rate. (In fiscal year 2014, the first year of implementation of the MOU, the comparison period was prorated.)
10/27/2014 - The APWU and Postal Service have reached an agreement that prohibits management from subcontracting cleaning services based on an employee’s voluntarily transfer from an office where USPS custodians are employed. The Oct. 27 agreement settles a Step 4 dispute.
Union Disposes of Another 'Red Herring'
10/14/2014 - Maintenance craft officers recently settled an important dispute, stipulating that the Postal Service cannot declare an installation “non-maintenance capable” and then use the designation to justify excessing Maintenance Craft employees who work on Building Equipment. The work at issue was primarily that of Building Equipment Mechanics (BEMs), although occasionally the duties are performed by other occupational groups, such as Level 7 Maintenance Mechanics (MM-7s) and Level 5 Building Maintenance Custodians.
09/11/2014 - The APWU and USPS signed a major settlement on July 9 that resolved a long-standing dispute over custodial staffing and resulted in the conversion to career of all Maintenance Craft Postal Support Employees.
It was not an agreement we entered into lightly. The agreement stipulates that the MS-47 Handbook-Transmittal Letter 5, which governs custodial work and staffing, will be implemented as amended by our negotiations.
07/11/2014 - The APWU and USPS signed a major settlement July 9 that resolves a long-standing dispute over custodial staffing and results in the conversion to career of all Maintenance Craft Postal Support Employees, Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer has announced.
07/01/2014 - The Maintenance Craft has made significant progress recently on issues of concern to Postal Support Employees (PSEs). The Memorandum of Understanding on Filling Residual Vacancies, which was signed by President Dimondstein on March 20, solidified the timing of the opportunity for Maintenance PSEs to convert to career status.
Floor Deduction Dispute Resolved, Duty Assignments Restored
05/25/2012 - The APWU and the USPS reached a settlement on May 25 that will protect staffing, Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer has announced.
11/20/2006 - The APWU won a major victory last week when Arbitrator Shyam Das sustained a grievance protesting USPS custodial staffing policies. “This landmark award will help the APWU protect the custodial workforce,” said Maintenance Division Director Steve Raymer.
The award, dated Nov. 16, requires postal management to rescind the Maintenance Staffing Handbook (MS-47) issued in 2001, which outlined new staffing procedures, and reinstate the 1983 version. It also requires the Postal Service to “reinstitute or prepare staffing packages as soon as practicable.” Arbitrator Das remanded discussion of a remedy for the intervening period to the parties, but retained jurisdiction if the parties are unable to agree on that portion of the remedy.