The Function One Fiasco
(This article first appeared in the July-August 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Eastern Regional Coordinator Mike Gallagher
The USPS embarked on a mission to staff all Function One Mail Processing operations using a program that sets up staffing based on a time and work measurement system (earned hours) rather than hours actually used. This program has been the basis for a substantial number of Regional Notifications for clerks to be reassigned out of craft and/or out of installation nationwide.
When reassigning career employees, the employer is contractually obligated to minimize their use of Postal Support Employees (PSEs) and reduce or eliminate overtime (OT) work hours.
My office has received notices for reassignment of employees from 10 Processing and Distribution Centers and one Network Distribution Center (formerly BMC) announcing the reassignment of 371 clerks.
At the contractually required Regional/ Area meeting, I pointed out that the post excessing work hour data, which showed an incredibly high number of PSE and OT workhours, would be a contractual violation.
Management agreed that the post excessing profile showed high PSE work hours, but claimed PSEs would only work four to six hours concurrently a night and therefore would not be a violation. We knew they would not be able to process the mail with this arrangement and would work the PSEs full-time while reassigning full-time career employees out of craft/installation.Thankfully, the Eastern Area agreed with me, complied with the contract and cancelled Function One events. Unfortunately, the Capitol Metro Area would not listen to reason and insisted on reassigning a number of employees to residual vacancies.
They reassigned quite a few of these clerks to carrier jobs that the employees were not physically qualified to perform. This is a violation of the recent Goldberg award, in which the arbitrator defined our contract as providing for employees to meet the minimum qualification for a cross craft assignment prior to reassignment. Almost comically, a few clerks were reassigned to carrier jobs that required driving even though they did not have driver’s licenses.
After a reassignment, the union is entitled to a Comparative Work Hour Report (CWHR) which shows the hours before and after the excessing of employees. If the CWHR establishes that work hours are still there for full-time employees, employees are granted the right to return to their original craft and installation.
In Cap Metro events, I am sorry to say we were proven right. The PSEs were worked as full-time employees after the employer reassigned career employees and management was required to return all employees from every one of the installations from which they had been reassigned. I signed an agreement returning all the employees back to their craft and installation.
This is a substantial victory for our union and workers who were displaced. It would have never have happened if the employer in the Cap Metro Area just listened to reason and complied with our Collective Bargaining Agreement.
It has been my privilege over the past 12 years to serve with one of the finest National Business Agents the APWU has had. Bill LaSalle has announced his retirement and we wish him and his family the very best. Bill is one of the sharpest people in our organization and he will be dearly missed for his drive, capability and dedication to this union. I will miss him personally as a close friend.
For many years I have served on the National Executive Board with Northeast Regional Coordinator John Dirzius, who represents the best in what a union representative can possible be. He is a man of character and high intelligence and it has been my honor to have served our union with him for many years. John is retiring and with my fellow coordinators Sharyn Stone, Omar Gonzalez and Kennith Beasley, I wish John and his wife Diane a long, happy and healthy retirement. For me, the union will not be the same without John as he is like a brother to me.