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Department & Division News

Motor Vehicle Service Division

We Don’t Always See Eye-to-Eye, But We Always Remain United

(This article appears in the September/October 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

By now the 22nd Biennial National Convention is a thing of the past, but just in case you missed it, let us recap:

Just prior to the start of the convention, a committee of MVS members reviewed resolutions submitted by local and state unions relating to contract proposals for our craft. The committee consisted of Boston’s Michael McDonald (Chairman), Tampa’s Greg Dixon, Houston’s Ramsey Charles, Nation’s Capital/Southern Maryland’s Rudy Ford and Michelle Elliott from the convention’s host-local, Chicago.

The committee reviewed resolutions covering a wide range of topics, including filling residual vacancies, nontraditional full-time duty assignments, desirable duty hours, e-Reassign, preferred-duty assignments, 204B assignments, Vehicle Maintenance Operations Assistant positions and Postal Support Employees. The MVS Committee concurred with nine resolutions and rejected seven.

After a day of debate, the MVS Craft Conference reached consensus with the committee. Convention delegates adopted all of the conference’s recommendations.

In addition to resolutions regarding contract proposals, the MVS conference also debated and exchanged crucial information on a range of issues, including trepidations about the renewal of Commercial Driver’s Licenses by the Department of Transportation, sleep apnea testing, residual vacancies, PSE conversions, policing PSE salary exceptions and recent Memorandums of Understanding.

Throughout our deliberations we kept one motto in mind, “We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but we always remain united.”

Continuing the Fight

Directly upon our return from the convention, we began preparing for our much-anticipated hearing before the National Labor Relations Board regarding the Postal Service’s refusal to provide the union crucial information (Form 7463A) that is necessary to determine if management performed a fair comparison of all reasonable-costs before renewing Highway Contract routes (HCRs). The case, No 05-CA-122166, which was filed on Feb. 7, 2014, was heard on July 29. We will keep you posted on the outcome.

We also continued meeting with management on several recently filed national disputes, such as:

HCR Renewals (HQTV20140264) – The USPS renewed HCRs in violation of the MVS Jobs Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Section 2.C and Article 32.2.E.1 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The union asserts that management renewed HCRs regardless of the fact that the Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) offered a better value. The USPS managers claim they considered all fully-loaded cost-comparison factors. The APWU contends that the controlling language regarding these specific contract routes is clearly dictated in the aforementioned articles and that management’s attempts to consider costs outside of the agreed upon factors is inappropriate.

HCR Segment Renewals (HQTV201 40265) – The USPS violated the MVS Jobs MOU, Section 2.C and Article 32.2.E by renewing an HCR regardless of the better value of PVS running a segment for Highway Contract Route 27542. The MVS Jobs MOU and Article 32.2.E articulates that if PVS provides a better value for a contract or segment, the work should be returned in-house. We met with the USPS regarding HCR Route 27542 from the Raleigh NC Processing & Distribution Center to Bunn, NC. Two segments of the route could be performed by the PVS at a lower cost. This simply couldn’t have been proven without utilizing local fact circumstances and knowledge.

HCRs Awarded as Temporary Contracts (HQTV20130698) – This dispute, which was initiated on Dec. 5, 2013, asserts that the USPS violated Article 32.2 when management notified the APWU that “listed routes are all currently operating under temporary contracts in order for the Postal Service to complete the Article 32 process.” This is a recurring issue. Once again management is attempting to circumvent USPS obligations that were agreed upon in the 2010-2015 CBA. This newly filed case is quite similar to a dispute from 2011 in which the USPS utilized the term “Short Term Regular Contracts” instead of “Temporary Contracts.” The aforementioned dispute (HQTV20110200) is set for arbitration later this year.

Non-Notification of an HCR Renewal (HQTV20110200) – This dispute, which was initiated April 19, 2011, is similar to HQTV20130698. It says, “The USPS has sought to circumvent the contract by issuing short-term regular contracts.” We’ve spent numerous hours dissecting this case and discussing the recurring issues. This case will be crucial in establishing that Arbitrator Das’ Jan. 20, 2004, remedy in case Q94V-4Q-96044758 should be re-evaluated. In that case Arbitrator Das ruled that the remedy should be decided at the local level based on the USPS claim that HCR renewal fallacies were a rarity – which is clearly not accurate.

Another concern involves the Postal Service’s notification to the union that management is considering the mode conversion of 162 PVS sites – essentially all of PVS. The parties negotiated in the 2010-2015 CBA to bring work back in-house for MVS. The last thing the USPS should be doing is considering mode conversions of this magnitude.

Mode Conversion of 162 Sites (HQTV20140248) – This dispute, which was initiated March 27, 2014, asserts that the USPS violated Articles 31.3, 1.A, 32.1.B, the Contracting or Insourcing of Contracted Service MOU, the Consideration of National Outsourcing Initiatives MOU, the MVS Craft Jobs MOU and the parties’ agreement to bring PVS work in-house. This case is expected to be one that will have a huge bearing on the future of the MVS Craft. As recently as July 17, 2014, the USPS offered to finally disclose crucial information and their draft comparative analysis on this initiative, pending the execution of a non-disclosure agreement.

Back Pay Issue

It has been brought to our attention that a relatively new Management Instruction (MI) regarding back pay is cause for concern. The Employee & Labor Relations Manual (ELM) requires employees who challenge disciplinary actions to make a reasonable effort to obtain employment while their cases are adjudicated.

In addition to requiring employees to provide documentation of their efforts to find other jobs, the Nov. 1, 2012, MI instructs managers to write to businesses where claimants say they sought employment, asking for verification. Falsification of employees’ efforts to secure other employment may result in disciplinary action, even removal, if the employee is reinstated.

The APWU has protested the change in policy, appealing the issue to arbitration. If there are local disputes about this issue, please consult your National Business Agent.