APWU Web News Article 097-2013, Aug. 14, 2013
The American Postal Workers Union achieved a significant victory on Aug. 13, with the signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that strengthens and clarifies the seniority rights of Postal Support Employees (PSEs), Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris has announced.
The Memorandum of Understanding on PSE Reappointment [PDF] stipulates that after their break in service, PSE reappointments must be based solely on the PSEs’ relative standing — their seniority — on the installation’s PSE rolls.
In some parts of the country, the USPS had claimed that PSEs who have completed a 360-day appointment had no contractual right to be reappointed based on their seniority. The Postal Service asserted that management was free to retain more junior PSEs — or even hire new PSEs — rather than reappointing more senior PSEs who had completed a term of appointment.
“This Memorandum of Understanding makes clear that PSEs enjoy protection against favoritism and arbitrary decisions by management,’” Morris said.
“PSEs may not be bypassed for reappointment as a substitute for discipline,” he added. “They must be reappointed upon completion of their 360-day term based on their seniority.” (The 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement [PDF] says that PSEs enjoy “just cause” protection and a Feb. 27 Memorandum of Understanding on PSE Discipline [PDF] elaborates on that protection.)
The MOU clarifies several points that had been in dispute as follows:
- PSE separations due to lack of work must be implemented installation-wide by juniority.
- PSEs who are separated due to lack of work must be reappointed ahead of more junior PSEs.
- PSEs who are separated due to lack of work must be reappointed before management hires new PSEs if the need for hiring arises within one year of the separation.
- When a PSE’s five-day break occurs and the USPS determines there is a need to reduce the number of PSEs, the PSE with the most seniority must be reappointed and the most junior PSE in the installation must be separated instead.
“This agreement clarifies and cements the fact there is indeed a path for PSEs who wish to become career employees,” Morris said. “Clearly, for PSEs as well as career employees, it pays to belong to APWU!”