APWU, USPS Sign Agreement on Limited Duty Assignments

(09/27/12) The APWU and Postal Service have signed an agreement that will strengthen seniority and help protect work in APWU-represented crafts for employees in those crafts, APWU President Cliff Guffey has announced.

The settlement limits temporary assignments, reassignments or re-employment of injured employees to “residual vacancies” or “uniquely created assignments consisting of duties that would have been properly performed by non-career employees.” Residual vacancies are jobs no regular employee selected when the jobs were posted for bid. “Uniquely-created assignments” refers to duty assignments – non-scheduled days and hours of work – that could have been properly occupied by Postal Support Employees (PSEs).

The Memorandum of Understanding requires that duty assignments that are created – and that were reserved for light- and limited-duty employees in the past – must be posted for bid. This will give career employees an opportunity to exercise their seniority and bid for these assignments, many of which have been desirable duty assignments.

“This agreement is significant because it honors the seniority of our members by providing them additional opportunities to gain desirable jobs that had been previously denied to them,” Guffey said. “Many of these jobs were day-work jobs with weekends off,” he said.

From now on, uniquely created duty assignments must consist solely of duties that would otherwise be properly performed by non-career employees. This means that Article 37.3.A.1 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which states, “Every effort will be made to create desirable duty assignments from all available work hours for career employees to bid,” requires the Postal Service to use all hours (including hours worked by Postal Support Employees, overtime hours, hours that were previously worked by injured employees – including “uniquely created” assignments – to create desirable duty assignments for clerks.


Under the terms of the agreement, when excessing occurs, “Whether an employee in the affected craft is recovering from either an on- or off-the-job injury would have no bearing on his/her being excessed.” Light- or limited-duty employees will receive reasonable accommodation if necessary in their new assignments.

Existing assignments in the Clerk Craft that were uniquely created to fit the work restrictions of light- or limited-duty employees may remain in place until employees vacate the assignment or until the assignment is changed – either because the employee’s restrictions change, service needs change, or operating conditions in the work unit change.

The Memorandum of Understanding is accompanied by a set of Questions and Answers that stipulate that the agreement does not restrict the current practice of accommodating or assigning employees to light- or limited-duty in their own crafts and does not change light-duty assignments that were negotiated locally under the terms of Article 30 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.