Assault on Jobs
(This article first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2017 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Eastern Regional Coordinator Mike Gallagher
As you may know, the USPS embarked on a strategy of reducing the number of duty assignments in an installation to correspond with their earned work hours, not with the actual hours that people are working. Management’s actions will lead to a wholesale reduction in the number of jobs in an installation.
They are reverting vacant duty assignments, claiming to abolish jobs but leaving individuals in the same hours, duties and non-scheduled days. This is not an abolishment as defined in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Postal Service is also sending your Regional Coordinators excessing notices claiming the need to reassign clerical employees outside of craft and/or outside of their installation, while retaining the same complement of Postal Support Employees (PSEs) and working the same high rates of overtime. These are clear violations of our contract.
In the Eastern Region, I received 100 notices impacting 545 employees. In the Northeast Region, Coordinator John Dirzius, has an incredible 650 excessing events impacting 3,254 employees. Western Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez reports he received 42 events with 477 employee impacts. Central Regional Coordinator Sharyn Stone reports of 621 events impacting 1,096 employees. Finally, Kennith Beasley, the Southern Regional Coordinator has 579 events involving 996 people.
This is madness.
My fellow Coordinators and I challenged the Postal Service by filing Step 3 Direct Appeals on a number of issues. One is, the USPS did not provide six months notification at the Regional level of these excessing events. It can designate a shorter period of time if there is a clear reason that they cannot provide the appropriate advance fication. No such rationale has been expressed by the employer at point.
Following their mad rush to give us regional notifications, they then insisted that we have Regional/Area meetings within the very week they provided us the notices. The contract provides there will be Regional/Area Labor/ nagement meetings related to Article 12 excessing event a imum of 90 days in advance of next Area Move Date.
The Postal Service originally designated the next Area Move Date as Sept. 16. Therefore, the Regional/Area meetings had to take place by June 16. Yet, we were receiving excessing notices at the Regional level right up to that very date, June 16. So having Regional/Area meetings prior to that date was impossible. Your Regional Coordinators filed Step 3 Direct Appeals on this violation as well.
After the APWU fought back against these improper reversions, abolishments and excessing, the Postal Service agreed to push the move date to Feb. 2018. However, this issue is far from over.
It is clear that the Postal Service’s overall plan is to identify thousands of excessing events throughout the U.S., so the entire country will essentially be under withholding of all residual vacancies, in all crafts for placement
of the employees from impacted installations.
This scheme will preclude PSEs, Mail Handler Associates and City Carrier Associates from being converted into these withheld assignments and from achieving career status, thereby saving the Postal Service the increase in salary and benefits that would come with these individuals being converted to career.
We are fighting this assault on jobs at every level – the local level, the regional level and at the national level.