Here are links for the August posting for regular eReassign for FTR residual vacancies and PTF vacancies. There are 742 FTR/NTFT residual vacancies posted per Steps 5, 6.a and 6.b of the MOU on filling Clerk Craft Residuals. There are 553 PTF vacancies posted per paragraph B of the MOU on Filling Clerk Residuals. It is extremely important that the locals keep track of their residual vacancies and PTF vacancies. Any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Lynn Pallas-Barber, National Assistant Clerk Craft Director.
(This article was first reported on January 4, 2018 on the National website Web News Article #: 2-2018)
On January 4, 2018, the APWU was notified by letter that the USPS is offering voluntary early out retirement (VERA) for eligible clerk craft employees.
This letter was received with no advance notification to the union or negotiations with the APWU over who the VERA applied to and under what conditions.
The APWU immediately initiated information requests to USPS management regarding this VERA and demands for bargaining over its scope and impact.
“It is concerning that employees who are now faced with such a serious consideration regarding their work and retirement future, have not been given sufficient advance notification and needed information,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “Such a life changing and irrevocable decision should not be forced to be made in a rush due to management’s lack of consideration.”
Click here for the 2018 VERA Questions and Answers, provided by the USPS.
Click here for the 2018 VERA “Steps At-a-Glance,” provided by the USPS.
The APWU will provide further information and education material as it becomes available.
The decision to retire is among the most important you will ever make. Employees contemplating retirement are eligible for retirement counseling and should take advantage of the opportunity. The APWU encourages you to consider the decision carefully and urge you to participate in USPS-sponsored counseling so you can make an informed decision. Employees requesting additional help after a group session will be accommodated on an individual basis. In accordance with a 2009 pre-arbitration settlement, local management must arrange reasonably private space for employees who wish to receive individual counseling on the clock.
Right below, is the letter APWU National received.
Mike Gallagher, our Local MBA, provides us with this information:
The Postal Service will extend voluntary early retirement (VER) offers to eligible mail handlers and clerks, beginning Jan. 8. The offers will contain three retirement-effective dates from which eligible employees may choose: Jan. 31, Feb. 28 and March 31.
While USPS has been taking aggressive steps to cut costs and increase efficiencies, additional operational changes are necessary. The Postal Service is exercising the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) delegated to it by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. This VERA action is part of ongoing efforts to rightsize the Postal Service’s workforce and reposition its network through attrition to match current workloads.
Employees who accept the offers will be able to retire before they reach the standard requirements for age and years of service.
Eligible employees will receive their offer letters and annuity estimates at their addresses of record. Employees can change or update their addresses on LiteBlue.
Eligible employees who decide to accept an early-retirement offer can apply by completing and submitting the required documents by the deadline specified in their offer letters. For eligible employees who decide not to accept the offer, no response is required.
The Postal Service is not offering separation incentives to accept the early-retirement offer.
Here is some information from the OIG on incentives since 2010.
History of Separation Incentives
Table 1: U.S. Postal Service Separation Incentives Offered to Employees (Fiscal Years 2010–2013)
|Fiscal Year Initiated||Employees Affected||Monetary Incentive per Employee||Number of Employees||Total One Time Expense|
|2010||APWU Members and Mail Handlers||$15,000||20,800||$312 million|
|2013||APWU Members||$15,000||22,609||$339.1 million|
On June 27, 2014, the Postal Service announced a $10,000 separation incentive for 3,817 postmasters affected by the POStPlan. As of September 30, 2014, 1,380 employees had accepted the incentive. USPS estimates the cost of this incentive to be approximately $14 million.
Source: 11/13/2014 GAO USPS – Status of Workforce Reductions and Related Planning Efforts (original source: USPS. | GAO-15-43)
STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION
(This article first appeared in the July-August 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine) By Clerk Craft Directors
The APWU took a significant step forward in holding the Postal Service accountable for violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), as a result of Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg’s award in the dispute regarding the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Clerk Craft jobs.
The decision provides a remedy for all employees harmed when the Postal Service fails to post duty assignments in a timely manner. As a national award, this ruling can be applied to all crafts in similar situations, such as the reversion (elimination) of a vacant duty assignment.
The dispute was in regard to the proper remedy when the Postal Service failed to provide the 800 administrative and technical jobs promised in the 2010 contract, as part of the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU. The USPS did transfer some work performed by Executive and Administrative Staff (EAS) employees to the Clerk Craft by providing the Mail Flow Controller and the Address Management Systems jobs in 2013; however, they then failed to provide the remaining 362 jobs.
The USPS kept telling the APWU that the remaining jobs were forthcoming all the way up to the day of the arbitration. During the arbitration proceedings the USPS made the amazing argument that management officials in the operations department told them there were no jobs available, and if there were any, they would be going away soon.
However, despite the USPS argument that suddenly there are no longer administrative and technical jobs available, evidence provided by the APWU showed an increase in the number of these jobs performed by EAS employees – and a reduction in those same types of jobs performed by Clerk Craft employees – over the same time frame.
The arbitrator ruled that the USPS should have complied with the award no later than August 2013, and therefore back pay will start from then until the USPS posts the jobs.
Following the award, the USPS identified 362 administrative type jobs which should be posted for bid in the near future.
It is the remedy for the failure to post those jobs by August of 2013 that is most important moving forward. In the past when the Postal Service failed to post a duty assignment in violation of the CBA, a common remedy was out-of-schedule pay for the employee who ultimately was the successful bidder on the job after it was eventually posted. That remedy did not capture the harm to other employees who would have moved up to more desired jobs.
Moreover, the standard remedy was not strong enough to discourage the Postal Service from violating the CBA. USPS was making a calculated decision that it was in their interest to violate the CBA, partly because locals did not file grievances each time it was warranted. Even when the APWU grievance was successful, the standard remedy was not enough of a deterrent for the Postal Service.
In his award, Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg explained employees directly or indirectly affected by the Postal Service’s failure to comply with the MOU “Subject: Clerk Craft Jobs” were entitled to relief:
“One group of employees clearly affected by the Postal Service failure to comply with the MOU consists of those who would have successfully bid on one of the 362 administrative or technical positions at the time that position should have been filled. All such employees are entitled to be made whole in the amount of all pay and benefits they lost as a result of the lapse in time between the date they would have filled one of the 362 positions had the Postal Service filled them in a timely fashion and the date on which they are actually awarded one of those positions.
Another group of employees entitled to remedial relief is composed of those who were indirectly affected by the Postal Service violation. As Mr. Burelson testified, this group consists of employees who would have been the successful bidders on the vacancies created by those employees who should earlier have been placed in an administrative and technical position. There may be more than one employee indirectly affected in this fashion since each vacancy filled later than it should have been may lead to another – all the way down to a PSE whose conversion to career status is delayed by the original violation – and the Postal Service shall be required to make each such employee whole for any loss in pay and benefits sustained as a result of that violation.”
The common understanding of relief is to make the bargaining unit whole, which most remedies fall far short of accomplishing. The award is a significant step in addressing all the harm done to the bargaining unit. Much appreciation goes to Assistant Clerk Craft Directors Lynn Pallas-Barber (lead case officer) and Lamont Brooks, as well as our APWU attorneys Mindy Holmes and Jason Veny.
USPS Attempting to Eliminate Needed Jobs
The award came just in time to assist in the fight to address the Postal Service’s recently aggressive “recommendations” to the field to revert vacant duty assignments based on unrealistic ideas of how many hours they would like to see worked in the installation, instead of utilizing the actual hours worked.
The Postal Service is using a dashboard complement tool that allows the user to see all the relevant local information on one page. However, that dashboard view also shows how ridiculous it is for management to revert a job when the local data confirms PSEs are averaging 35 hours a week and overtime is being utilized on a regular basis.
With Goldberg’s award, the APWU can and should request compensation to all employees directly and indirectly harmed as a result of the Postal Service’s decision to revert a job and, therefore, fail to post a duty assignment for bid.
It is important that the union fight back at the local, area and national level against attempts to squeeze workers and reduce service. Our success in stopping the Postal Service will depend on whether we are able to put enough pressure on them, so they make the calculated decision that it’s not worth messing with the APWU.