(This article was first reported in the February 2018, Local Newsletter)
Written by: Mike Wright, Director of Associate Offices of APWU, SJAL #0526
Before I start, I hope all our members and their families had a great holiday season in 2017. With the way package service has exploded over the last couple years, it’s been very trying on all of us.
Labor Management Meetings
Apparently, my “Dog and Pony Show” reference rattled more than one cage at the district. I stood by my words at the South Jersey Labor Management Meeting (SJ LMM) and if they didn’t know before, they do now, I don’t backpedal on anything I write in these articles. Unfortunately, I was under the assumption that district received our newsletter. When I write these articles, I write them with the intent that management reads them.
On a positive note, since my reference was made, the IMIP (Climate Survey) in Voorhees was finally finished, I sat in on it myself along with Labor. The offices where getting requested information had been an issue, seems to be getting addressed (minus Hammonton, see below). Working with the appropriate POOM for the office seems to light a fire under the rogue managers back side as well. We are still waiting for Labor to assist us with getting the TACS responsibilities to the Lead Clerks. However, the Local has been trying to get TACS duties addressed since the August SJ LMM, maybe if the district reads this article as well, they’ll get on the parties who have been advised, emailed, and spoken to by the current District Manager at the August meeting, to finally get our clerks their work which they were awarded and entitled to.
Also at the SJ LMM, I addressed why when jobs are being reverted and/or abolished left and right, does the District find a need to chastise the Lead Clerks to apologize for Wait in Line Time (WILT) failures. While I agree that it’s a part of Customer Service, if WILT is an issue, let’s staff the windows properly. I brought up Management’s concern of a 20% increase in overtime from Same Period Last Year (SPLY) along with WILT failures, maybe we should create positions rather than revert/abolish jobs, there’s was no clear answer from Management on that, just some dancing around the subject and falling back on the “people need to come to work” crutch.
Getting back to Lead Clerks and TACS, I’ve sat in on Labor Management Meetings in Vineland, Mount Laurel, and Hammonton since my last article. Local Management is on board, at least at the meetings, on getting the Lead Clerks to start having TACS responsibilities. Also, we will be sending out Requests for Information to the Associate Offices soon as well, to make sure it’s being done in every office. This is our work as awarded in 2016 and only possibly 20% of the offices are compliant. If the Lead Clerk is performing TACS, this frees up other work for the PTFs and PSEs to help them get hours in the AOs. If you are a Lead Clerk reading this and have concerns on “when am I going to have time for this?”, that’s managements issue to find time to both properly train and perform work that should have been given to us when awarded.
On December 8, 2017, Arbitrator Das ruled in our favor that the Postmaster End of Day (PMEOD) button was not consistent with the parties’ agreement in Paragraph 2.A of the December 5, 2014 Global Settlement Remedy Agreement. What that means for us, in the Level 18 Offices, the PMEOD which basically was a pause button to get around the fifteen-hour work restriction, is no longer to be used. When Management performs their fifteen hours weekly in their office and they’re working the window, they must perform a full 4 Step (advance deposit, final remittance, verification, and 1412) Close-out. At the February General Membership meeting, I’ll break this down further with an example.
We have already found one office where not only was the OIC going over their fifteen hours while using the PMEOD button, but with the Arbitrators decision, now three hours over had turned into thirteen plus hours for the week. This is in the grievance procedure as I write this. We will be sending out RFIs to other Level 18 offices to make sure they’re compliant.
Somewhat related, we need to keep an eye on non-window hours which are a little more difficult to track, i.e. dispatch, box section, lobby sweeps, etc. The PMEOD was a big win by our National and management is going to look for their pound of flesh elsewhere. We don’t have many stewards in our Level 18s, so we need to rely on our members to inform the Local if they are suspicious if management is going over their fifteen-hour limitations.
Much like Mount Laurel earlier this year where I made so many visits I was given a code and offered a locker, Hammonton has now become an issue. I briefly touched on this in my last article, but it hasn’t gotten any better.
We’re still, as of December 30, 2017, as I’m writing this, waiting for a Request for Information that was originally submitted back in Late September. Yes, there is an additional non-compliance to go along with this issue. Since the initial request, we’ve been given the wrong report, report with missing employees, report with too many employees (they threw in Postmasters, Supervisors, and carriers). The POOM has stayed on top of the current team, but the comedy of errors locally trying to get these reports for our MDAT keeps happening. Amazingly, one of the requests was filled by District and they made the announcement at the Labor Management meeting that the reports we requested took “two minutes”, so why does the Union have to send multiple requests and continuously have to include district in their emails just to get a response, even if it isn’t the correct one?
Business Agent Frank Bollinger and I were there for a Labor Management Meeting where we walked into a stack of NOVM buckets stacked taller than I am and four feet across which had been piling up for well over a week. We received reports that the current OIC (as of December) allegedly instructed the custodian to “just get rid of this”, rather than have our clerks properly collect and verify this mail. This also is being investigated.
There were reports that management attempted to PDI one employee without notifying the Union and another employee was told that the next time they speak to a Union representative that “It’d better be outside those gates”, both were brought up at the meeting, both were said to have never happened. Maybe if more time were spent on gathering requested information and less time spent on attempting to intimidate and bully employees, Hammonton wouldn’t be the dumpster fire that it’s turned into in recent months which has resulted in numerous successful grievances.
Also on the day we were there, the NALC was also there and informed us that the OIC “tossed aside” a 1767 for the proper treatment of the asbestos floors, hearing this I advised our clerks that if this were the case, to also start filling 1767s. This again is what I meant in trying to get all four Unions to work together and address the “problem” offices.
An update since I started this article, the OIC that was cancelling Labor Management Meetings last minute, not providing information, and responsible for most of the above listed shenanigans had been pulled in early January. The POOM has reached out to us to set up a meeting in which likely will be late January/early February, hopefully the new team will try and work with the APWU rather than against us.
We did find another Level 21 APO in our Local who thought they could sneak a PTF into one of their RMPOs, I use the word sneak in confidence because they have already been prone to giving us misinformation (my politically correct work of the day). The issue was grieved, and clerks were paid. Again, Offices Level 21 and above, no PTFs, regardless of what the District “Champions” (the job title given to people who move around PTFs) would like you to believe. We had this issue in other offices in 2016 and 17.
I’ve kept up my Amazon Sunday visits though not as frequently, for the most part it’s been quiet. Our visits are more than just making sure it’s our clerks distributing mail and getting treated with dignity and respect, it’s about making our presence known and getting a pulse on offices without a steward. Even though most of the AO clerks are off on Sundays, the contract and its language doesn’t get a day off.
In Mount Laurel, I’ve submitted another Article 37.3.A.2 (improper reversion/abolishment) grievance for Mount Laurel. This is the third, with two in arbitration, hopefully district will see that between the great number of Article 1.6 and 7 grievances out of this office in 2017 along with the over 20% jump in overtime usage within the district stated by management at the SJ LMM, reposting some of the jobs that just “vanished” off the books over the last couple years would help resolve some of these issues.
As always, make sure we’re on the right function(s) in our AOs and make sure it’s only clerks doing clerk work. I’ll give the most recent function codes again at the February GMM. Finally, it’s easy to say nothing, do the right thing and don’t be intimidated from reporting contract violations, there’s language in place in the ELM section 910 that protects employees from participating in Union activities.
If you’re not on the information line, in which I put out information almost weekly, send me an email mjwrightAPWU@hotmail.com. Go to the meetings, read our contract, visit both the Local (www.apwusjal0526.org) and the National sites (www.apwu.org), and know your LMOU. An informed and knowledgeable membership is our best weapon in our constant struggle.