MVO/TTO Qualification Standards Settlement

(This article first appeared in the July-August 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine) By Motor Vehicle Service Craft Directors 

The APWU and the Postal Service finalized a settlement on May 9, 2017 resolving national case A19V20021, concerning the 2002 changes made to the Motor Vehicle Operator (MVO) and Tractor-Trailer Operator (TTO) Qualification Standards. The union filed an appeal to arbitration in 2002 in response to unanswered questions and concerns with the changes that had been made, including increasing the experience requirement from one year to two and the elimination of the language, “those who pass the Postal Service road test on a tractor-trailer will be considered the meet the six month requirement.”

It was the APWU’s position that the Postal Service’s changes went far beyond their claim that the only revisions to the MVO and TTO Qualification Standards consisted of “removing outdated language.” It was also our position that the elimination of this language made it virtually impossible for an MVO with no prior TTO experience to be promoted to TTO.

The settlement affirms that the subject changes to the Qualification Standards will remain in effect, but significantly it provides clear guidance as to the circumstances under which an MVO may be awarded a TTO position, including the providing of TTO training per the language in Article 39.1.B.9. The terms of the settlement are as follows:

  • An MVO may bid for a TTO position with a valid commercial driver’s license, air brakes certification for relevant work vehicles from their state of residence, and two years of general driving experience with at least one year full-time, or equivalent, of driving 7-ton trucks and/or buses with a minimum of 16 passengers;
  • At least six months of the required driving experience must be operating a tractor-trailer;
  • An MVO who holds a state license to operate a tractor-trailer and qualifies for a certification on a Large Truck Skills Course will be considered to meet the six month requirement;
  • When tractor-trailer assignments are established, MVOs who are not qualified to drive tractor-trailers will be given on-the-clock training, starting with the senior MVO (Article 39.1.B.9 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement);
  • An MVO who obtains the proper state issued permit to operate a tractor-trailer may receive USPS training in accordance with Article 39.1.B.9 to prepare for the state licensing test. An MVO who then qualifies for certification on a Large Truck Skills Course as part of this training will have met the six month qualification;
  • In addition to these guidelines for MVOs looking to bid on a TTO position, the settlement reaffirms that it is not the policy of the Postal Service to require the tractor-trailer driving test for an MVO position, as is stated in the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM). The question asks, “Are Motor Vehicle Operators required to have a Class A commercial driver’s license?” The MVO qualification standards do not have any requirements for the applicants to be TTO qualified.

The intent of this settlement is to enable interested MVOs without the six month’s experience to be trained and to further have the opportunity to exercise their right pursuant to Article 39.1.B.7.b and seek a promotion to TTO. This settlement provides guidance to the local parties to establish training practices and procedures.

PSE Salary Exception Issues Resolved with Recent MOU

Postal Support Employee (PSE) salary exception issues have been ongoing causes of concern and disputes for the Motor Vehicle Service (MVS) Craft. Different Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) have been issued throughout the past several years in an attempt to correct the numerous oversights and missteps occurring when a PSE is converted to career status.

On March 10, the APWU signed an MOU with the Postal Service that remedies the situation where Motor Vehicle Service PSEs who had been granted a salary exception were converted to career status within the same craft, but to a lower level and received a starting salary rate in accordance with the June 6, 2014 MOU “Re: Resolution of Postal Support Employee (PSE) Salary Exception Issues,” and its April 3, 2015 addendum.

The MOU protects both newly-converted PSEs and established career employees by achieving the following:

  • Restores the salary rate of Level 8 PSEs who were converted to a career Level 7 position within the Motor Vehicle Service Craft and subsequently forced to take the Level 7 salary rate.
  • Upgrades the salary rate of any Level 7 MVS employee who is senior to the newly converted PSE but is receiving a lower salary rate.
  • Preserves the principle of step progression.
  • Rescinds any Letter of Demand that was issued to a PSE receiving a higher rate of pay based on their salary exception after being converted to career.
  • Resolves national dispute HQTV20160071.

The parties agreed to address any issues as a result of this MOU at the national level. If local management is not in agreement or compliance with the terms of this MOU, local officers should bring this to the attention of the national MVS Directors.

This MOU should provide stability and equitable pay for all employees impacted from the salary exceptions and the conversion to career.

MOU Signed on the Implementation of 110 Routes Das Award

On May 17, 2017, the APWU and the Postal Service signed an MOU on the implementation of Arbitrator Das’ award in Case Q06C-4Q-C 11182451, on the 110 HCR routes to be converted to PVS.

This MOU achieves the following:

1. The Postal Service will convert 110 routes from HCR to PVS service no later than Sept. 1, 2017.

2. The Postal Service will begin the staffing process and any necessary hiring immediately. It will give the APWU written notice concerning the transfer of routes, identifying each route and stating the date on which a transfer was completed and the postal employees assigned to the route, and PS Form 4533’s.

3. If for any reason, any of the routes identified in Exhibit A cannot be converted by Sept. 1, 2017, the Postal Service will notify the APWU as soon as reasonably practicable of the reasons therefore. The parties will discuss possible alternatives.

This MOU does not modify the Arbitrator’s retained jurisdiction.

Maintenance Defines Custodial Staffing in POStPlan Clusters

(This article first appeared on the Web News Article #: 67-2017)

On June 30, Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg issued a national award for Case No. Q10T-4Q-C 15206030 concerning custodial staffing in POStPlan office clusters (a group of postal facilities consisting of at least one Remotely Managed Post Office [RMPO] directly reporting to the postmaster located at the Administrative Post Office [APO]).

Arbitrator Goldberg’s award certified that a POStPlan office cluster, is an installation as defined in Article 38.2.B and the custodial staffing formula outlined in the Maintenance Craft “Subcontracting Cleaning Services” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) applies. This means the USPS cannot continue to freely subcontract out bargaining unit work in these small offices.

“This MOU requires applying a formula which adds together the gross interior and exterior square feet of all facilities within an installation to determine if the Postal Service can subcontract custodial work,” Maintenance Director Steve Raymer explained. “Locals and state organizations representing POStPlan ‘clusters’ should determine whether the MOU is being complied with. If the result of applying the formula is 1 or greater, then management is prohibited from contracting out the Maintenance Craft’s work.”

Article 38.2.B of the CBA defines an installation as, “a main post office, airport mail center or facility, terminal, bulk mail center, processing and distribution center or facility, Maintenance Support and Repair Facility or any similar organizational unit under the direction of one postal official, together with all stations, branches and other subordinate units.”

“As the Union points out, the POStPlan office structure is almost identical to the main post office – station/branch structure described in Article 38.2.B,” confirmed Arbitrator Goldberg. “Simply switch the names from APO to main post office and from RMPO to station or branch, and the management and operational structure of the POStPlan and non-POStPlan offices are exactly the same.”

If you have questions or concerns, contact your Maintenance National Business Agent for help.

POStPLAN CUSTODIAL STAFFING.6-30-2017

Favorable Decision from Administrative Law Judge of the NLRB

APWU Leadership Northeast Region;

Please see attached documents below the post. This is a very favorable NLRB decision.

On May 19, 2017, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Andrew S. Gollin of the National Labor Relations Board found multiple Postal Service policies that restrict the ability of its employees to record, photograph; use copyrighted or trademark materials, or speak to the media to be in violation of employees’ legal right to work together for better wages, hours, and working conditions.

The ALJ determined that the following regulations were overly broad and violated the National Labor Relations Act:

1. Employee and Labor Relations Manual Section 667.2, which restricts the use of recording devices on postal property without the permission of management;

2. Administrative Support Handbook 805 Section 5-5(s), which prohibits the use of cameras, cell phones with cameras, and other personal imaging devices in all Postal Service areas without management permission;

3. Administrative Support Manual Section 663.4, which requires that any employee who wishes to use Postal Service trademarks or copyrighted materials must seek permission

The ALJ determined that the first two provisions overly restricted an employee’s right to use photography and recording devices to document unsafe conditions and demonstrate unfair treatment by management.

The third regulation was viewed as potentially restricting postal unions from using USPS trademarks and copyrighted materials as part of picketing or other collective activities. .

The ALJ ordered the Postal Service to rescind all of the provisions at issue.

The APWU, NALC, and NPMHU put on a united front and participated in the hearing in support of the Board’s contentions that these provisions violated the law. APWU Director of Industrial Relations Vance Zimmerman participated as a witness at the hearings. He delivered testimony as to why Postal Workers may need to use photography or recording devices to protect themselves, their coworkers, and why the Postal Service’s restrictions were unjustified.

The ALJ’s decision now must be approved by the National Labor Relations Board. The Postal Service may appeal the ALJ’s decision and ask the Board to overturn it in part or completely. Until the Board has issued a final decision, the handbook and manual provisions at issue should be treated as still in effect.

John H. Dirzius

Coordinator, Northeast Region
American Postal Workers Union