Filling Maintenance Vacancies - Part 1
(This article first appeared in the July-August 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)
By Maintenance Craft Directors
With great sadness, we share news of the passing of Steve Raymer, former president of the APWU Madison (WI) Area Local and director of the APWU Maintenance Division. Our hearts go out to his family for their tragic, unexpected loss. During the last days of his life, Steve was putting the finishing touches on this column about enforcement of the APWU contract. We publish it in honor of his life and work as a fierce and dedicated advocate for APWU members and for all working people.
The Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM) is the mutually agreed upon explanation on how to apply our contract to filling vacant maintenance positions.
The May 2017 JCIM included the Order for Filling Vacant Maintenance Positions. The contractual definition is to duty assignments. Within the craft, we referto this as the “pecking order.”
The preamble paragraph is frequently overlooked: The appropriate PAR and PER must be exhausted before considering other hiring options. To be considered qualified an employee must either be eligible under the current in-craft process for the position in question or be a Maintenance Craft employee in the same level and occupational group as the vacancy.
To be qualified, one must qualify for placement on the Promotion Eligibility Register (PER). The following addresses filling of vacancies and the proper way to merge in consideration of retreat rights.
Once a notice of intent (NOI) is posted and closed for a vacancy duty assignment, the pecking order is in play. First, it must be determined if there are any retreat rights outstanding, as these rights may become effective during different stages of filing the vacancy posted or any subsequent vacancies.
For instance, if there are outstanding retreat rights as the result of a local level excessing, then the determination must be made if the present vacancy is within the section where the retreat rights attach. If the vacancy is an ET on tour 3, for example, and tour 3 had previously excessed ETs, then the NOI would be posted to a “closed section.” This allows the preferred assignment register (PAR) to be applied only to those ETs remaining in the section (tour 3 ETs). Once the closed section PAR is completed, the remaining vacancy on tour 3 is then offered to the employee with retreat rights to the locally identified section. The vacancy created by the retreat of the employee to tour 3 as an ET then goes back to step 1 and is filled following the same pecking order.
Note that it is not possible to have an unassigned regular in a local section where there are retreat rights.
If there are no retreat rights, the initial NOI will result in the ranking individual on the PAR being chosen. Once all members of the occupational group have the PAR applied, a vacancy will remain and we move on to #2.
If an unassigned regular exists within the occupational group, that person should be assigned and everything is then complete as all available vacancies are filled.
Normally, step 2 isn’t applied and we go to step 3. Consideration of retreat rights from a previous excessing action are applied if that excessing occurred under Article 12.5.C.4.
Under step 4, higher level “qualified” employees can request change to lower level, and, the vacancy will now be in the higher level occupational group. This will NOT result in a new NOI. The process will continue by going back to step 1 (PAR), this time applying it to the higher level occupational group.
The next step is #5, the promotion eligibility register (PER), which will be covered with the other steps in Part II in the next edition of The American Postal Worker.