(This article was first reported in the November 2018, Local Newsletter)
Written by: Frank Bollinger, Business Agent of APWU, SJAL #0526
The South Jersey Local is dedicated to both properly converting PSE’s into career positions as well as looking for opportunities to advance our PTF’s and sub 40-hour NTFT’s into better positions (aka Desirable Duty Assignments). There is a fine balance in figuring who is entitled to positions under our current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Previously it was reported by me that there was some controversy regarding who is entitled to a residual vacancy once we hit item 6 of the Residual Vacancy MOU. Management took the position that they were allowed to jump ahead to item 7 without fulfilling requests that are covered under item 6. That was explained in more detail at our previous General Membership Meeting.
Now, however, some new issues have come about and they came to us from our members. In the first situation, a PSE was not afforded the opportunity to bid on a PTF preference position. This happened due to an oversight by the individual’s local management who never posted the available list. Obviously, this violated the PSE’s rights as a job they would have taken was awarded to an individual with a lower relative standing. This was corrected through negotiations at which time it was agreed that the current office the PSE was domiciled at had the ability to add a PTF position to their compliment. As such the individual was converted to a PTF there.
We received some concerns from the other employees that it may impact the hours of the other PTF’s at the office. It was explained that they were allotted two PSE’s and management was, more likely than not, going to revert to only having one PSE at the office due to the additional PTF position. Being as it seemed like a 1 for 1 situation the hour impacts should be minimal if any. At the same time an individual was afforded their proper opportunity to convert to career status. The members who had the concerns about hours seemed to understand that the Union had an obligation to correct a violation.
Second situation is a little different. We had a sub 40-hour NTFT at an office, the work showed management should add the hours to make it a 40-hour a week job. Management agreed without much pushback to add hours to bring it up to 40 though over 6 days still. Of course, the job will be put up for bid internally for all clerks (more likely than not) though this individual will get it.
In comes a call from a member at that office questioning why we increased the hours of the job. It was explained that the work hours showed the need and it is the Union’s duty to fight for desirable assignments and 40 over 6 was much more desirable then 36 over 6. The individual had a few more seeming negative concerns/comments about it. The truth came out later that making the job 40 hours would probably impact the overtime of the FTR who was calling. It was explained that overtime is not guaranteed and again the Local’s priority was to move as many members as possible into 40 hours jobs. It was explained that unfortunately, though we realize individuals like overtime, when it is overtime versus a 40-hour job the Union will always go for the 40-hour job. The individual in this case refused to accept that fact.
I am sorry if this seemed more like a rant than a report but honestly, we are supposed to be bonded as a Union Family. The first situation is understandable, people can have some questions at time and once explained they understood. The second situation seriously frustrates me. We are supposed to be a Union Family yet individuals would willingly step on their Union Brother/Sister so that they can get some scraps of overtime for themselves. We wonder why Unionism is dying in the U.S., if we are willing to throw each other to the wayside for a pittance then we don’t stand a chance against those that wish to destroy us.