My disagreements with the tentative agreement have been chronicled on this site and repeated on occasion by others. The source of my criticisms have been centered on the severe reduction of pay for new employees without providing them a voice; the significant increase in non-career employees who will be fully integrated in the work force and regressive modification of the 40 hour work week. While others have the right to disagree with my conclusions, these are in contributable facts.
I also find serious fault with the wording of the document. A labor contract is a permanent recording of the agreement governing wages, benefits, hours and conditions of employment and its construction should be exact in its composition. It will be reviewed and interpreted for years to come by individuals and legal entities that have no independent knowledge of postal affairs so it is improper to record shop floor phrases or imprecise wording in the final draft of the national agreement. In the achievement of this objective, this document fails miserably.
Following are some examples of the inadequacies that do not meet the standards of labor contract construction:
Page 8 (4.) Although the agreement does not specificallyprovide the employment status of contract employees placed in the bargaining unit it does make specific reference to their exclusion from the PSE cap limitations. Does the modification of Article 12 mean that “all” of the PSEs, including the former contract employees “to the fullest extent possible” must be separated before excessing career employees from a Section, Tour or Installation?
How will this obligation to separate PSEâ€™s work if the work week of career employees in a traditional 40 hour position is changed to fewer hours and the employee does not bid and the residual vacancy is opted by a PSE? Since no career employee can be involuntarily placed in a non-traditional assignment can management apply Article 12 in the reassignment of the employee before separating the PSE who succeeded in being awarded the assignment?
What happens to a vacancy that is posted in the Section because it has been converted to non-traditional and the career employee does not want the changed assignment and does not bid? Is the residual posted installation wide and what happens to the unassigned employee?
Page 12 – What does “beginning 2 years from the effective date of this agreement” mean and what significance is its omission from Function 4, Maintenance and MVS? Are the PSE caps deferred for a period of 2 years in Function1, and if so what are the rules during that period?
Paragraph 4. – Provides that PSEs who work the window may work in relief of “employees” holding duty assignments. Through the residual postings, PSE may hold duty assignments on the window so such employees would be included as those “who work the window” and those who hold “duty assignments.”
Page 19 – Since the January 2012 COLA is not paid until the “second full pay period after release of the January 2013 Index” what happens to the January 2013 COLA? Do employees get 2 COLAs in January 2013 or is the January 2013 COLA lost? If it is lost, that means that no COLA will be paid for January 2011, July 2011, January 2013 and July 2013 (total of 4). The January and July 2013 COLAs will actually be controlled by the 2012 indexes, or do employees get 4 COLAs in 2013?
Page 20- How doyou apply the clear language of Section 7 that lists the wage increases for PSE Employees “in addition to” the Article 9.1 increases? The phrase “in addition to” is clearly defined as a separate increase. Applying the language verbatim will mean that PSEs will receive “twice” the increase of career employees.
Page 34 – (Section 2) In that the agreement provides that the leave regulations will “remain in effect for the life of the agreement” and â€œthe Employer shall continue the current leave earning level” how do you make the adjustments necessary for the non-traditional schedules? Does management have the right to make a unilateral change pursuant to Article 19? Or does management have the right to do nothing?
Page 41 – Second Paragraph- I trust that the 4th line includes a “typo” that has been identified. It presently reads “present installation, the date….”
Page 80 – Section 6 Are contract employees who are put in the APWU bargaining unit included as “non-career” for the purpose of union orientation?
Page 166 – (7) Obama Health Reform legislation requires the USPS in 2014 to contribute to employeesâ€™ health care insurance. Is this fund intended to supplement this legal obligation or is it intended that all USPS contributions required by law will be laundered through this fund and how much is the USPSâ€™ obligation per individual? If management will be required by law to provide health insurance and the employerâ€™s payment comes from the Fund, how much is left assuming management maximizes its allocation of PSEs?
Page 167 – (f) What rules will apply to casual and transitional employees during the interim period prior to their elimination, and how will they be counted during the phase in period?
Page 174 – (F Paragraph 3) This paragraph does serious damage to the proper use of the English language.
Page 174 – (F Paragraph 4) What??? Does this mean that when the PSE has the annual service break that his/her assignment will be posted during the 5 day break and since the service is not continuous across breaks in service, the returning PSE has no seniority? Does anyone believe that Shared Services can post an assignment in 5 days?
Page 177 – Who invented the term â€œseep out” and where is it defined?
Page 177 – (2nd Paragraph) I guess we would write another entire contract listing what â€œwe are not agreeing to.â€
Page 177 â€“ Operating Services will be placed in Article 1 Section 1, and Handbook EL-912. Which is it guys?
Page 178 – It would have been nice to have included the pay grade, career status and seniority rights of these returned employees. What if the “nearest postal installation” is an office with fewer than 50 APWU represented employee – installation and the call center has 500 employees? Would it be intended to merge the bid cluster?
Page 180 – (4)How does the Employer “provide” 800 administrative and technical jobs?” Webster defines ‘provide’ as to “furnish, supply/make ready etc.” None of them fit.
Page183 – (1) What does the term “if applicable” mean? If applicable to what? 2nd paragraph What is a designated installation and how does one write a paragraph that refers “to the following” and “above” in the same sentence?
Page 184 3)a. This is a new standard for English Composition one sentence 82 words; now that is ground breaking.
Page 185 – It is contradictory to agree to conduct an audit to determine “the amount of such work, that may be performed by a postmaster in these offices” and then agree on Page 186 how much work can be performed. Does the agreement permit postmasters to perform bargaining unit work or will the audit make that determination?
If I understand this correctly, management steals over one (1) million bargaining unit work hours in violation of previous contractual restrictions, reassigns thousands of clerks and the union agrees to legitimize for the first time in 40 years the right of supervisors and postmasters to perform our work. Where is the back pay for past violations? The agreement does not state that the permitted hours in the new contract will be applied retroactively.
Page 188 NTFT Duty Assignments. This breaks the previous record with an astounding 85 words in one sentence. Didnâ€™t anybody comprehend sentence structure and limitations?
Page 188, 189 and 190 – This compilation of disparate issues does serious damage to the construction of the English language. It is titled “Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT)â€ duty assignments but proceeds to include a variety of subjects totally unrelated to the heading.
Page 191 – (3rd and 4th Paragraphs) Letâ€™s see if I have this right. Management has the right to establish non-traditional duty assignments up to the caps, where they exist; decide the hours and days; permit the career employees to bid and the PSEs to opt, and if the Local union has a “concern” he/she after having the opportunity to review, comment, make suggestions and propose alternatives, can refer them to the appropriate Business Agent and any unresolved issues will be forwarded through the ADRP for appeal to arbitration. Local management has not made a written decision at the local level so what is there to arbitrate?
If one were to re-write this paragraph perhaps it would be: “management can do what they want” and if you don’t like it you can pound sand.
Page 193 – (Paragraph 5) Why not just say that management can revert a vacant assignment when “it is determined that they no longer need it to be withheld”. Put a PSE into the assignment for X years and then declare that there is an excess of career employees and revert the withheld assignment.
The more I read it the more frustrated I get, but I don’t have time to perform a more exhaustive review because I have to mow the lawn.
In union solidarity,