APWU Web News Article #036-14, Feb. 27, 2014
The USPS has declared war on custodial staffing — again — reports Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer. Management notified the APWU on Jan. 22 of an attempt to modify the MS-47 Handbook, which establishes guidelines for housekeeping and determines the number of custodians that will be assigned to facilities.
National Maintenance Craft officers are urging locals to prepare to defend proper staffing.
The Jan. 22 notification is the latest in a protracted battle that has raged since 2001, when the USPS sought to make extensive changes to the handbook. In 2006, Arbitrator Shyam Das sustained the union’s grievance and directed the Postal Service to reinstate the previous version of the MS-47 Handbook, which was issued in 1983
The Jan. 22 notice informed the APWU of changes to the handbook based on a pilot program that was initiated a year earlier in three locations — Salt Lake City, UT; Columbus, OH, and Zanesville, OH. The trial program was devised by ManageMen, a USPS consulting group, and has been referred to by various names, including OS-1 or Team Cleaning.
The Postal Service initially advised the APWU that the pilot would test new methods, equipment and supplies, with the expectation that the program would result in a cleaner, healthier work site; improve efficiency due to better supply management, and improve esprit de corps amongst our custodial ranks.
“These all seem to be commendable goals, which do not, on the surface, target staffing levels or employees,” Raymer said. The Postal Service also provided assurances, when asked by the APWU, that where the program required additional work hours to accomplish a task that such additional time would be counted, he said.
The USPS has not provided a schedule for implementation of the program, Raymer said, but it cannot begin until at least 60 days after the union was notified.
“If your local has not yet acquired the current custodial staffing package (Forms 4852, 4869 and 4839) for your installation, we encourage you to obtain them in electronic format only,” he said.
“The job you protect could very well be your own!”