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Department & Division News

Union Settles Dispute on CDLs for Technicians

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

The union and management resolved a dispute in august concerning the Postal Service’s decision in April 2002 to waive the Commercial Driver’s License requirement for applicants for Automotive Mechanic/Technician and Lead Automotive Technician positions.

The Motor Vehicle Craft has always insisted that successful applicants or bidders must meet the minimum qualifications of a position before they are deemed qualified. However, the Postal Service’s decision to voluntarily participate in the Department of Transportation’s Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program in 1995 created difficulties recruiting qualified mechanics and technicians. Many applicants had the necessary skills but did not have CDLs.

In settling the grievance, the union’s intent was to create a program that would allow the Postal Service to fill mechanic and technician vacancies, reduce subcontracting, bring management into compliance with the Motor Vehicle Service Jobs Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that is part of the 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement, and protect the minimum qualification standards outlined in Article 39.

Highlights of the settlement:

  • Employees who meet the other minimum qualifications of the mechanic and technician positions may be hired into duty assignments that require CDLs prior to obtaining the license.
  • The USPS will provide on-the-clock training and the equipment for the CDL test.
  • Under certain conditions, employees who do not acquire a CDL within their 89-day probationary period may be retained as long as no other contractual provisions are violated.

Another goal of the MOU is to ensure that employees who are hired into assignments that require CDLs will obtain them and perform the duties associated with them, which will protect senior mechanics and technicians.

The union and management agreed that the settlement does not constitute a waiver regarding the general requirement that applicants for Motor Vehicle Craft positions must meet the minimum qualifications.

The Memorandum of Understanding Re: Commercial Driver’s License training for automotive mechanics and technicians can be found on the union’s website, www.APWU.org.

Recent Disputes

The Motor Vehicle Division has recently initiated the following Step 4 Disputes:

Article 31.3 and VMF Labor Costs at Headquarters: The union filed a dispute regarding the national APWU’s requests for information about the labor- and service-wide costs management assigns to VMF employees when determining the feasibility of subcontracting and the labor rates chargeable to others for reimbursable warranty work.

In response to the union’s inquiry, the USPS acknowledged the APWU’s right to the information but stated that it is “best transacted at the local level.” The Postal Service has refused to provide the aforementioned information, except for cost information purportedly from 11 specific sites on a one-time basis.

The APWU asserts, based on extensive precedent, that the national union is always entitled to request and receive VMF cost information from USPS headquarters. Despite the dispute, local leaders should continue to demand detailed information showing how the USPS assigns vehicle maintenance costs to the penny, and continue to provide information to the national union when management provides the information, fails to provide it, or refuses.

Schedule Examiner Vehicle Runs: The APWU filed a dispute protesting Postal Service policy that has systematically shifted bargaining unit work to management in the best-qualified position of Schedule Examiner Vehicle Runs. Management has also attempted to shift bargaining unit duties to supervisors with a May 26, 2015, notification of the pilot usage of Mobile Delivery Devices at Postal Vehicle Service facilities.

Part 1 of MVS Jobs MOU: The union filed a dispute over management’s failure to comply with the terms in Part 1 of the MVS Jobs MOU negotiated in the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement, where management agreed that work performed by contractors identified as PS-08, PS-09, and PS-10 Technician duties would be established for bid prior to the expiration of each vendor contract, if applicable. The USPS agreed to fill 740 duty assignments with craft employees in the VMFs, including 219 PS 08-Technicians, 459 PS 09 Lead Technicians, and 62 PS-10 Lead Technicians.

Management also agreed in VMFs with body and fender repair operations, to staff the operation with Body and Fender Repairman duty assignments to the appropriate complement.

The USPS has failed to comply with any part of the MVS Jobs MOU, but we intend to enforce it.


Subcontractors Seek Exemption That Threatens Safety on the Roads

Private subcontractors that haul mail for the Postal Service are seeking an exemption from federal safety rules that prohibit commercial drivers from operating a truck after more than 14 hours on duty following a break of less than 10 hours.

In their brazen pursuit of the almighty dollar, these contractors would risk the lives of their employees and tens of thousands of other motorists and pedestrians. The exemption also would make it easier and cheaper to outsource USPS work.

Upon learning of the request, the APWU urged concerned citizens to submit comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, which is considering the request. We also requested a public hearing on the matter. Visit www.apwu.org for more information.