The Mail Handlers Union has announced that the USPS has dropped plans to outsource the handling of non-machinable parcels (NMOs). The USPS had contracted with United Parcel Service to perform originating and destinating sortation of NMOs from the Des Moines and Chicago Network Distribution Centers in 2013. The USPS referred to the contract as a “pilot test”, but the union contended that the “test” violated the National Agreement, and filed a grievance. That grievance has now been withdrawn:
In a memorandum to all Local Presidents, NPMHU President Paul Hogrogian and CAD Manager T.J. Branch disseminated information relative to the NPMHU’s National-level grievance over the possible subcontracting of sorting and processing Non-Machinable Outside (NMO) parcels.
As set forth in the attached agreement, the NMP pilot test has ended; the NMO parcel operation is back to its normal operating procedures; and the Postal Service has ceased further evaluation of outsourcing for NMO parcels.
12/04/2015 – Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled on Dec. 3, 2015, that the American Postal Workers Union and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union may now go forward with their Step 4 grievances challenging the Postal Service’s decision to close or consolidate approximately 82 mail processing facilities starting January of 2015. The grievances had contended that the consolidations violated the PO-408 Handbook, Closures and Consolidations Area Mail Processing (AMP) Guidelines.
The USPS challenged the grievances stating the PO-408 was not a handbook covered by Article 19. The arbitrator agreed that the PO-408 has a direct relationship with “wages, hours or working conditions” and the hearing on the merits can go forward.
The hearing took place on April 6, 2015, brought forth by the NPMHU with the APWU as an intervenor.
APWU President Mark Dimondstein pointed to “the great work and preparation that the National Mail Handlers Union put forth as well as the essential efforts by the APWU team led by case officer Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy.”
Szeredy noted, “This is an enormous win, and we are now eager to get the merits heard before any further consolidations occur.”
The National Office is pleased to report that the parties have come to an agreement on the procedures for filling residual vacancies. On August 17, 2015, the USPS and NPMHU entered into a Memorandum of Understanding providing for a specific pecking order when filling residual vacancies.
The MOU only applies to those installations that are not subject to withholding pursuant to Article 12. In those installations, the MOU provides a specific pecking order for filling residual vacancies that most prominently includes the right to return to the installation for those with active retreat rights, the conversion of PTF and PTR Mail Handlers, transfers through e-Reassign, and the conversion of MHAs to career status. Overall, this MOU should provide greater opportunities for our MHAs to achieve career status.
In a separate but related matter, the parties have agreed that the MOU Re Filling of Residual Vacancies does not change current rules or practices on the demotion of EAS/management employees or the reinstatement of employees into the mail handler craft. For clarity on this point, the parties have reached agreement by way of a separate MOU Re Demotion of EAS/Management Employees or Reinstatement of Former Employees into Mail Handler Craft, through which the parties agree to refer unresolved matters of demotion or reinstatement to the Article 12 Task Force.
Late Thursday, August 13, 2015, the NPMHU National Office filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service, claiming that the USPS breached its binding contractual obligations when it unilaterally announced a reversal of its earlier determination that the primary craft for operating the Small Parcel Sorting System is the Mail Handler craft. The NPMHU is seeking a declaration that the Postal Service has breached the tripartite agreement on jurisdictional craft assignments, as well as injunctive and monetary relief to remedy this breach. The APWU also has been named in the suit, as a required party to any litigation on this subject. The suit is now pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Legal actions raising related, but distinct challenges also have been initiated under the RI-399 Dispute Resolution Procedures and through unfair labor practice charges at the National Labor Relations Board.
The NPMHU National Office has filed an appeal to arbitration concerning the disputed work on the Small Parcel Sorting System (SPSS), as well as an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board. The latter seeks injunctive relief under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act.
In a decision that’s sure to worsen its relations with the unions, the postal service yesterday reversed the decision it made just two months ago to assign work on the Small Parcel Sorter System (SPSS) to the mail handler craft. The work will now be done by employees represented by the APWU- which is surprising, since the APWU didn’t appeal the original decision! To add insult to injury, USPS Headquarters notified the Mailhandlers Union of the decision by email, late yesterday afternoon.
They’re not happy.
From the Mailhandlers Union:
The Postal Service issued its reversal of position by email to the NPMHU National Office at 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon. This is nothing less than a cowardly act of disrespect to the NPMHU and all mail handlers.
In a stunning move that defies the tripartite RI-399 Dispute Resolution Procedures, the requirements of RI-399, Article 1.5 of the National Agreement, and any concept of good faith bargaining, yesterday afternoon the Postal Service formally notified the NPMHU of its decision to reverse the June 1, 2015 jurisdictional craft determination that previously identified the mail handler craft as the primary craft for all duties associated with the operation of the Small Parcel Sorter System (SPSS). Instead, the Postal Service has announced “that the hands-on induction, including the singulating/separating and facing of individual packages, on the five induction stations of the SPSS is similar to the induction stations on both the Small Parcel Bundle Sorter (SPBS) and the Automated Package Processing System (APBS), which are staffed with mail processing clerk craft employees.” The Postal Service’s August 7, 2015 announcement further determines that clerks assigned to the induction system should be rotated to sweeping duties in the “minimum number required.”
The Postal Service issued its reversal of position by email to the NPMHU National Office at 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon. This is nothing less than a cowardly act of disrespect to the NPMHU and all mail handlers. A National-level jurisdictional determination for new equipment is made within the Dispute Resolution Process only after following a specific protocol: the unions are notified about the new equipment, including meetings with postal officials in charge of deploying and operating the equipment; the three parties participate in site visits to observe the new equipment and new jobs resulting from it; each union has the opportunity to submit its written position on the jurisdictional assignment; and then the management representatives appointed to the National Dispute Resolution Procedure apply the principles of RI-399 to issue the Postal Service’s jurisdictional determination, with either union having the right to appeal that determination to National arbitration. In this case, the contractually binding procedure was fully and properly implemented, resulting in the June 1, 2015 determination. The American Postal Workers Union did not file an appeal by the required deadline, meaning that the Postal Service’s June 1, 2015 determination has been final and binding and fully controlling for some time. Under RI-399, moreover, the June 1, 2015 determination may be changed only upon new work, new or consolidated facilities, or an operational change. In the absence of such circumstances, the June 1, 2015 determination is final and binding, and any attempt to reverse that determination is null and void.
But now that contractually binding process has been hijacked, apparently by a higher level of USPS management. The Postal Service’s unprecedented and untimely reversal of its prior written jurisdictional determination casts a heavy shadow of doubt on every signed management document and every signed labor-management agreement. Such contempt for our mutual obligation to bargain in good faith, and our mutual commitment to settle or resolve matters at the lowest possible level within the agreed procedures, will resonate throughout the Postal Service. With this action, USPS Labor Relations has sent a clear message to the NPMHU – that a written position is not worth the paper on which it is written.
In addition, based on the June 1, 2015 determination, many mail handler bids involving the SPSS have been posted and/or awarded in accordance with the National Agreement, and others are scheduled for the coming weeks. There is absolutely no basis for disrupting the work lives of these hundreds of mail handlers who are likely to be adversely impacted by this improper and unlawful reversal of position.
The NPMHU will do everything within its authority to find out why this craft determination was reversed, and to challenge this reversal in every permissible arena with every resource at our disposal.
Additional information will be distributed as it becomes available. The National Office appreciates, in advance, the assistance of the Local Unions when called upon for information, documentation, and testimony.
On August 7, 2015, the USPS notified the NPMHU of their decision to reverse the craft determination for operation of the Small Parcel Sorting System (SPSS).
May 22, 2015- The USPS announced significant changes to the Phase II-2015 USPS Network Rationalization Consolidation initiative. With the exception of the Houston P&DC and Queens P&DC, the USPS has suspended all remaining closures and consolidations to a date to be determined. The National Office of the NPMHU has requested a meeting to discuss the implications of this decision. Additional information will be disseminated as it becomes available.
As it does on most Friday afternoons, the USPS announced its most recent changes to the Phase II-2015 USPS Network Rationalization Consolidation list, in a posting dated April 24, 2015. This is the fourth consecutive week that the Postal Service has made modifications to the Network Rationalization Consolidation list. These most recent modifications affect Akron P&DC, Asheville P&DF, Central Mass P&DC, Kalamazoo P&DC, Lancaster P&DF, Queens P&DC, South Bend P&DC and Wausau P&DF. This public list is disseminated by way of the USPS RIBBS website and is the most current information available, but of course is subject to further change. The National Office of the NPMHU is seeking clarification from the Postal Service on this new list to establish exactly what this means for the “move dates” for employees in impacted plants. Additional information will be disseminated as it becomes available.
November 7, 2014- We are extremely pleased to announce that the NPMHU has prevailed in its National arbitration against the Postal Service over the ability of the Postal Service to allow Lead Clerks to supervise or in any way to assign or direct the work of members of the Mail Handler craft.
Arbitrator Das’ Award makes two important findings:
First, Arbitrator Das stressed, as the Postal Service was forced to concede, that Lead Clerks “are not authorized to perform supervisory functions … including decisions about hiring, promotion, discipline, approval of leave, the resolution of grievances, and employee evaluations.”
Second, Arbitrator Das made clear that, absent negotiations between the Postal Service and the NPMHU, the Postal Service cannot utilize Lead Clerks to direct or guide the work of Mail Handlers.
Effective on November 15, 2014, all career Mail Handler craft employees are scheduled to receive the second of three guaranteed wage increases, as outlined in Article 9.1 of the 2011 National Agreement. Specifically: “the basic annual salary schedule, with proportional application to hourly rate employees, for all grades and steps for those employees covered under the terms and conditions of this Agreement shall be increased as follows: Effective November 15, 2014 — the basic annual salary for each grade and step of Table One and Table Two shall be increased by an amount equal to 1.5% of the basic annual salary for the grade and step in effect on February 15, 2013.” Please note that all Mail Handler Assistant (MHA) employees will receive an additional 1.0% increase, for a total increase of 2.5% effective on November 15, 2014. These updated wage charts are now available at the Wage Chart link in the Member Resources tab, and will be printed in the Fall 2014 Mail Handler magazine, which is currently at press, and will be mailed shortly.