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APWU: USPS Declares War on Custodial Staffing Again!

APWU Web News Article #036-14, Feb. 27, 2014

apwulogoThe 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!”

  • Retired Postal

    The amount of custodians required in the MS -47 is ridicules. If it was contracted out you would require half the staff, the facilities would actually be clean and save millions. Another example of a worthless union that doesn’t take costs into consideration. Let’s hire three people when the job requires one. The Postal Service wrote the manual and they should have the right to change the staffing levels as long as proper notification is given. The contracts never gave the union the right to run the company.

    • moose

      level 18 offices went from part time regular custodians in the 24 to 32 hr week range. Instead those positions were eliminated and replaced by contract cleaners. Our offices went from being clean and professional to filthy and unkept. They are barely given time to sweep and dump trash.

    • MikeS

      We had contract cleaners in my office. Post Office allotted them 1 hour a day to clean. We are a 30 route office. Now that we have a union custodian back its much, much cleaner….and the custodian isn’t stealing mail like the contractors were..

    • JY

      Three? In my office, we HAD one regular custodian. The place was always clean. We’ve had a contract cleaner since our regular retired a few years ago. Sadly, the office is now disgusting. The bathrooms are barely cleaned, the floor is barely swept (if at all) and definitely not mopped (couldn’t tell you the last time it had been mopped. Personally, I have allergies and I can tell you that the place hasn’t been dusted in at least 3 years. The tops of the cases are caked with dust. Our most recent contractor left because USPS didn’t pay the guy the two years he cleaned the office. We have a new one and only has one good usable arm because had a stroke. How much is really getting done? Even less than the previous one.

      Contracting does NOT mean money is being saved, it means the money is going in someone else’s pockets and a LOT more of it 99% of the time.

    • sickofiidiots

      Allow me to dissect what you just said, ” I hate unions, I blame everything on the unions!” Listen Retired, jobs are created by management, the contract gives them the right to create jobs based on the need and it must be at least 4 hours of work! If they created too many jobs, that is management’s fault, NOT the unions! You say the contract never gave the union to run the company? Well, the contract never gave management the right to change the manual either! and ridiculous isn’t spelled ridcules. Now that you have retired, maybe an English class would help?

  • Dan

    We have 26 routes in a large, modern building. We have one custodian who does all of the cleaning, various maintenance and repairs, opening plugged drains, running snow blower and shoveling, changing box locks around town and helping the clerks with certain things like picking up hundreds of trays, etc. A nearby town recently tried contract cleaners who did ONLY cleaning. They sucked and were gone in 6 months. Just sayin’…….