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Department & Division News

A Technological Advance: Bid Tracking System Helps Locals Protect Jobs

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2016 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

"BTS was created with the members in mind. The goal of BTS is to ensure that locals have the means to accurately and efficiently track job postings in their facilities. Together with the Electronic Grievance System, BTS will take the union a step forward in the age of digital technology."

The industrial relations department launched the bid tracking System (BTS), which helps local unions ensure that jobs are filled, on March 9, 2016.

To ensure that jobs are filled, once a bid sheet comes in from management, local users enter the new position into BTS to easily track all the job’s data and results, including Vacancy Notices and Award Notices.

The best feature of BTS is its ability to capture bid information in a secure online format that is accessible from any computer, tablet, or smartphone with web access. Thus, users can access BTS at work, at the office, or on the go. Users can easily search and retrieve job information by conducting a search of the database by job posting or job ID number.

Other benefits of BTS include:

  • No hardware or software needs to be installed.
  • BTS tracks bid clusters.
  • BTS tracks vacancy postings.
  • BTS tracks award postings.
  • Users have the ability to upload additional documents related to each job posting.
  • Multiple users can access BTS at the same time.
  • Users can export reports into Excel spreadsheets with ease.
  • Due to cloud technology, BTS data is always backed up.

BTS was created with the members in mind. The goal of BTS is to ensure that locals have the means to accurately and efficiently track job postings in their facilities. Together with the Electronic Grievance System, BTS will take the union a step forward in the age of digital technology.

I would like to thank Harry Burrell, president of the Birmingham Area Local 303, and National Business Agent Billy Woods for their assistance in creating the BTS. I also would like to thank President Mark Dimondstein for his continued support for technological advances in the administration of the grievance procedure.

FMLA Forms, Training Material

The Industrial Relations Department has also spearheaded major updates to FMLA forms and training material, which should be posted on the APWU website by the time you read this article. I would like to thank Kathleen Kaplan, FMLA and OWCP representative for Florida, and Tony Neri, Florida Postal Workers Union Maintenance Craft Director, for the work they put into this project on behalf of the national union.

This dynamic duo tirelessly researched new regulations affecting the Family and Medical Leave Act to help create the new forms. With the assistance of our attorneys, our team created an excellent PowerPoint training program that will be a major asset in educating local and state officers. This project has been a labor of love for me as the updated FMLA training will directly benefit our members. We could not have achieved this without their hard work.

Kathleen has been working with me to develop FMLA coordinators for each of the union’s five regions. If you are currently working as an FMLA representative in your local and wish to volunteer, please contact me so we can continue to empower our members.

Safety: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

A major weakness in the Postal Service’s safety program is that it is based on a “one size fits all” structure, which doesn’t adequately protect our members’ health and well-being.

We are working to transform management’s one-size-fits-all approach into a more customized safety program. We propose to develop guidelines for the following categories: NDCs (National Distribution Centers, also known as Bulk Mail Centers), Plants and Distribution, Customer Service Stations and Branches, and Small Area Offices.

I believe this configuration will better reflect our members’ varied needs. The different work environments can affect everything from what makes an appropriate topic for a stand-up talk to the safety issues workers encounter.

I will be sending an overview of how the program will work and how we will be better able to protect our members in the field. Stay tuned.

I would like to thank Steve Vaughn, who has been working diligently on many safety and health issues on behalf of the Industrial Relations Department. He has accompanied me to many meetings with management and OSHA, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, and he was recently certified as an OSHA trainer.

Veterans and the USPS

As you may know, I am a disabled veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division. Since coming to Washington, I have discussed with top management on several occasions my concern about the hiring process that is currently in place.

I am absolutely ashamed that Walmart and Home Depot are hiring more veterans than the U.S. Postal Service.

I long for the days when the men and women that serve this country could come home and get a good job at the post office like I and many others did in the past. I shudder when I think about homeless veterans – both men and women – who are unable to get jobs with the Postal Service. They have no benefits, no retirement, and no real ability to take care of their family.

When you’re in the service you learn to rely on your buddies, to trust the person next to you – especially in combat – and, most importantly, never to leave a man or woman behind. I will never leave my brothers and sisters behind: I will continue to question and challenge the hiring procedures that deny veterans good jobs.

Holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day shouldn’t be the only time we celebrate our veterans; rather, let’s celebrate them by providing them with living wage career jobs at the USPS.