The Latest Developments in USPS Technological Or Mechanization

April 30, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: APWU, automation, postal, usps 

APWU Clerk Division Officers met with the Postal Service regarding “implementation of technological or mechanization changes” that affect jobs. The parties discussed several ongoing and new developments.

FSS Program

As many of you are already aware, the Flat Sequencing Sorter is the latest Postal Service automation program. Designed to facilitate delivery-point sequencing (DPS) of flat mail, it will have a significant impact on the craft and the number of jobs for career employees. FSS deployment is scheduled for later this year.

But like everything else, this program has been impacted by the decline in mail volume. As a result, the number of zones (ZIP codes) expected to be included in Phase 1 has been increased by about 50 percent. The nearly 15 percent decline in volume will also affect the deployment of Phase I FSS machines.

We are awaiting more information on this program and the specific changes to the schedules for implementation.

DBCS (Phase 7)

A pilot test has begun on the next-generation Delivery Bar Code Sorter. The Postal Service projects that this machine has the operational capacity to sort more than 50,000 pieces per hour, twice what the current DBCS can do.

Although the deployment is scheduled for late this year or early next year, mail volume and the economic situation may impact DBCS placement as well.

LMS Technology

The Enterprise Learning Management System (LMS) will consolidate several of the electronic systems that deliver and track USPS training programs. The resultant single technology will automate and standardize the administration of these systems.

LMS deployment is scheduled to begin in June, and we anticipate that this will have a significant impact on the current number of Training Technician positions. We will pass along information that is specific to the impacted areas as it becomes available.

Tour 2 Impact on Mail Processing

The APWU is pursuing several disputes over the Postal Service’s nationwide program to eliminate or drastically reduce Tour 2 assignments and employees. One Step 4 dispute (HQTG200820) focuses on management’s violation of Article 17.5.B.4, which requires joint discussions on new initiatives during the development stage, and obligates the USPS to bargain in good faith.

In addition to filing local grievances regarding excessing and prior notification under Article 12, as well as abolishments, reversions, and repostings under Article 37,we should also be diligent in ensuring that no violations of Article 7.2, which covers cross-craft assignments, are taking place. For instance, Mail Handlers clearly should not be performing Clerk Craft work. And supervisors are prohibited from performing our work under Article 1.6.

source: APWU

Arbitrator Grants Postal Nurses Raises, Job Security

April 30, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: APWU, contract, postal clerks, usps 

APWU News

An arbitration panel finalized a five-year contract for postal nurses on April 28 — the first since the National Postal Professional Nurses merged with the APWU. The ruling [PDF] came more than 20 months after the nurses’ independent Collective Bargaining Agreement with the USPS expired.

Neutral Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg rejected USPS proposals for lump-sum raises for the first two years of the contract only, and awarded annual pay increases in the amount of the annual percentage increases in the Employee Cost Index (ECI) for each year of the five-year contract.

The nurses will receive retroactive raises of 3.3 percent effective Aug. 18, 2007, and 3.1 percent effective Aug. 16, 2008. Wage increases for 2009, 2010, and 2011 will be based on the ECI.

Job Security

Another key point in dispute was the Postal Service’s attempt to close all postal Medical Units, and to reduce the complement of nurses from more than 130 positions to 41.

The APWU proposed to maintain the status quo regarding the complement of nurses, and to keep the existing Medical Units open. In addition, the union proposed strict limitations on the use of contract nurses, as well as the continuation of no-layoff protection.

The ruling permits the USPS to stop providing walk-in patient care to postal employees who become ill while at work. For that reason, existing Medical Units will be replaced with Occupational Health offices, where the nurses will perform non-clinical work, including “case management” duties for employees who suffer job-related and non-job-related injuries. However, if the Postal Service provides direct patient care, the panel ruled, the work must be done by bargaining unit nurses.

The arbitration award created a Memorandum of Understanding that maintains the status quo regarding the complement until the parties can agree on a new staffing plan. In the event that the parties are unable to agree on a plan, the dispute will be returned to the Goldberg panel for final resolution. The award also established a new job description [PDF] for the “case management” duties.

The panel retained the provisions of Article 6, which grants protection against layoffs for nurses who have achieved six years of continuous service. In addition, the new contract contains a Memorandum of Understanding that extends the prohibition on layoffs for the term of the contract to nurses who were on the rolls as of Aug. 18, 2007.

The decision includes new language that limits the use of contract nurses to a three-month term, provided that when a nurse is out of work on disability, the period may be extended to six months.

Uniforms

The award modifies the Article 26 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which governs nurses’ uniforms, by giving them the option of purchasing colored uniform-style pants and tops, as an alternative to white uniforms, and by increasing the uniform allowance in each of the last three years of the contract.

Duration

The contact will cover the period from Aug. 18, 2007, to Aug. 10, 2012, except that health benefits for 2013 will follow the pattern of the APWU National Agreement for that year.

‘Excellent Job’

APWU President William Burrus praised the award. “In the face of the Postal Service’s financial crisis, Arbitrator Goldberg rejected management’s assertion that the USPS is unable to grant the nurses fair pay. Our negotiating team did an excellent job,” he said.

The Negotiation Committee consisted of Support Services Craft Director Bill Manley, NPPN President Idell Mitchell, Vice President Maria Hicks, and Executive Board members Jane Freeman, Emily Jones, and Suzanne Deweese. Rich Edelman, an attorney with O’Donnell, Schwartz and Anderson, served as the APWU advocate during the hearings.

In addition to Goldberg, the three-member arbitration panel consisted of APWU-appointee Darryl Anderson and USPS-appointee Kevin Rachel.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the National Postal Professional Nurses Union and the Postal Service expired on Aug. 17, 2007. Shortly thereafter, the NPPN merged with the APWU.

Full story

Postal Workers Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) May Be ZERO Again?

April 30, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: APWU, COLA, NALC, postal 

APWU
In March, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) rose to 617.239, still well below the July 2008 index of 644.303 (upon which our last COLA increase was based). The CPI-W must rise above 644.303 before another COLA is due. After the second month of the six-month measuring period, and assuming the adjustment were based on the March index, the sixth COLA under the 2006 National Agreement and the Operating Services Agreement would be zero. However, the next COLA will be based on the July 2009 index point and will be effective Aug. 29, 2009 (pay period 19-09, pay date Sept. 18, 2009)

The fifth COLA, which would have been effective March 14, 2009, was zero.

NALC

There was no projected accumulation toward the fifth regular cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for letter carriers under the 2006-2011 National Agreement in April following the release of the March Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The next COLA will reflect the increase in the CPI between January and July 2009.

USPS Board Of Governors Approve Summer Sale Program For Mailers

April 29, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: mailers, postal, usps 

According to PostCom : “The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors have authorized postal management to move on with the filing of its proposed Standard Mail ‘summer sale’ experiment.”

Postal Managers In New York Tackle Employees Sick Leave Usage

April 29, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Benefits, postal, postal managers, usps 

Postal Managers In New York Tackle Employees Sick Leave Usage
 

Lean Six Sigma (LSS) may prove to be just the right medicine to cure sick leave usage at the Buffalo, NY, P&DC.

Misused or excessive sick leave can lead to increased overtime, increased power usage due to additional machine and plant runtime, production delays, and poor employee morale. In March, the Buffalo P&DC’s sick leave rate for FY 2009 was 5.72 percent, well above the 4.95 percent rate at the end of FY 2007.

The team decided to use LSS methodology to study sick leave usage at the plant. First, team members developed a list of interview questions for supervisors and managers. Next, the team conducted a brainstorming session on the causes of inconsistent policy administration and cataloged primary causes.

The team decided that employee awareness and responsibility, along with policy administration, should be more effectively and uniformly communicated to everyone in the organization. Team recommendations included increased and consistent communication about sick leave policies and improved training for supervisors.

To monitor changes in sick leave use, the team created metrics charts for each manager and supervisor, along with a service talk for employees. The team’s goal is to reduce the plant’s sick leave rate to 3.5 percent this fiscal year.

Source: USPS News Link

USPS Response To Swine Flu

April 29, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: postal, usps 

 From USPS News Link and PostalReported Reader Don Cheney

You’ve heard the news that U.S. health officials are investigating a number of cases of swine flu in several areas of the United States, and a Public Health Emergency has been declared by the federal government. All of these U.S. cases have been mild — all of the patients have recovered.

Federal health officials are working to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible, about this flu. Mexico has reported a more serious outbreak, which has resulted in numerous deaths.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of regular human influenza. These include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised the USPS it had no information to suggest that influenza-contaminated mail would pose a significant transmission risk.

So, as federal health officials continue to investigate the swine flu cases, there are common-sense steps all of us can take to help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like the flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the elbow area of your arm.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Flu viruses can spread that way, too.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.
  • Try to avoid close contact (six feet or less) with people who are ill.
  • If you get flu-like symptoms and are worried about them, contact your health care provider.
  • If you get sick with influenza or similar symptoms, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Additionally, CDC recommends that your family members in the household limit contact with others.

For the most recent information about the human swine flu investigation and to view frequently asked questions and answers, click here to visit the CDC’s Swine Influenza (flu) website.

Thanks to Don Cheney for the following information:

CDC advice: “Avoid close contact” and “Stay home when you are sick”

Do Flu Sufferers Qualify for FMLA? Click Here

Employees With Cold or Flu May be Entitled to FMLA Leave Click Here


FMLA: “Serious Health Condition” Being Redefined – Click Here

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Questions and Answers (USPS & APWU) – Click Here

18. Q . Can the flu be considered a serious health condition under the FMLA?
A. Yes, if it complies with the definition of a serious health condition under the FMLA.Source: 825.114 (c)

USPS Joins MasterCard Easy Savings Program

April 29, 2009 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: postal, press releases, usps 

MasterCard Program Provides Automatic Savings for Small Businesses and Helps Participating Merchants Attract New Customers

PURCHASE, N.Y., April 29  — MasterCard Worldwide today announced that the U.S. Postal Service(R), the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation — including residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes(TM), and Dunkin’ Donuts, the largest coffee and baked goods chain in the world, have joined the growing list of merchants to provide small businesses with automatic discounts and savings through the MasterCard Easy Savings Program. Eligible MasterCard business credit and signature debit, U.S. cardholders enrolled in the program will now receive an automatic 5 percent rebate on Click ‘N Ship purchases made with the United States Postal Service (USPS(R)) at usps.com, and an automatic 5 percent rebate on purchases at Dunkin’ Donuts.
“The MasterCard Easy Savings Program saves enrolled MasterCard small business cardholders money on the qualifying purchases they make, while helping financial institutions that issue small business cards acquire new customers, generate revenue and build loyalty,” said Bruno Perreault, Senior Vice President, Small Business Services, MasterCard Worldwide. “MasterCard data shows that from 2007 to 2008, small business cardholders participating in the MasterCard Easy Savings Program increased the overall spend on their MasterCard Business cards by an average of 33 percent, indicating that MasterCard is becoming their preferred way to pay,” he said.
In addition, the MasterCard Easy Savings Program may have benefits for merchants, helping them generate additional revenue and, more importantly, attract new customers. MasterCard data shows small business cardholders enrolled in the MasterCard Easy Savings Program increased their spend by more than 60 percent at MasterCard Easy Savings Program merchants from 2007 to 2008, and nearly 70 percent of MasterCard Easy Savings cardholders were new customers for MasterCard Easy Savings program merchants.
New Small Business Savings on Shipping Services with the U.S. Postal Service

MasterCard small business cardholders enrolled in the MasterCard Easy Savings Program can now enjoy a 5 percent rebate for shipping services purchased online at the Postal Service website: usps.com. While there, they can plan a shipment, order supplies, print shipping labels, order free expedited shipping boxes or envelopes, request package pickups, look up ZIP Codes(R) and more. This offer includes savings on Express Mail(R) and Priority Mail(R) shipped in the U.S. or internationally. The MasterCard Easy Savings rebate is in addition to the Postal Service’s online shipping discounts of 4.7 percent on Priority Mail, 5 percent on Priority Mail International(TM), 5 percent on Express Mail and 8 percent on Express Mail International(R). MasterCard Easy Savings enrollees’ rebates will appear automatically on their statements for purchases made at usps.com.

“The U.S. Postal Service is committed to helping our business customers save time and money when they need to ship items crucial to their businesses,” said Gary Reblin, Expedited Shipping Vice President, U.S. Postal Service. “MasterCard helps small-business owners manage their funds, and the Postal Service helps them manage their shipping. It’s an ideal combination.”
Automatic Small Business Discounts from Dunkin’ Donuts

MasterCard small business cardholders can also enjoy a 5 percent rebate on all items purchased (except online purchases and Dunkin’ Donuts Card purchases) with an enrolled MasterCard small business card at the nearly 6,500 Dunkin’ Donuts locations across the United States.
About the MasterCard Easy Savings Program

In addition to savings from the U.S. Postal Service and Dunkin’ Donuts, the MasterCard Easy Savings Program provides MasterCard small business cardholders with automatic savings through rebates, applied to their statements, at business-relevant merchants across fuel and maintenance, business services, travel and entertainment, and printing and shipping. Automatic, ongoing savings are available from leading merchants including Tires Plus and Firestone, Avis, Budget, DHL, Microsoft adCenter and Microsoft CRM Online Pro, Monster, Administaff, Inc., HRTools.com, Midwest Airlines, Maggiano’s Little Italy, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mimeo.com, SurePayroll, Web.com, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.

For small businesses with an eligible MasterCard small business card from nearly 50 participating business card issuers, enrollment in the program is free and easy at www.easysavings.com. After enrollment, small businesses can see and track their savings either on their cardholder statements or on the MasterCard Easy Savings website. A full listing of participating merchants and offers can be found at www.easysavings.com. Cardholders must be enrolled at time of purchase. Rebates are available for qualifying eligible purchases. Participating merchants and offers are subject to change. Certain terms and conditions apply, see www.easysavings.com for more details.
About MasterCard Worldwide

MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes approximately 21 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial-institution customers and merchants. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R), MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to www.mastercard.com.

Senate to Consider Legislation Giving Sick Leave Credit to FERS Retirees

April 27, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: APWU, Benefits, FERS 

APWU News

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has placed on the Senate calendar legislation that would give retirement credit for unused sick leave to postal and federal employees enrolled in the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS). The legislation is part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1256), which passed the House of Representatives on April 2, by a vote of 298-112.

In addition to authorizing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products, the bill includes a number of provisions affecting postal and federal employees:

  1. The legislation would credit postal and federal workers with unused sick leave when determining the amount of their FERS annuity. Currently, only employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) receive credit for unused sick leave. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has found that FERS employees approaching retirement use significantly more sick leave than CSRS employees. A recent OPM study concluded that this costs employers approximately $70 million in lost productivity each year. The change would reduce the incentive for employees to use sick leave as they near retirement.
  2. The act would automatically enroll newly hired federal employees in the Thrift Savings Plan, and make them eligible for matching contributions from their employer.
  3. The bill also requires the establishment of a “qualified Roth contribution” option for the TSP. This option, previously available only in the private sector, permits employees to contribute to their TSP account after paying taxes on the contribution, and allows them to withdraw the money tax-free upon retirement.

Although supporters of the bill hope to pass it before Congress’ Memorial Day recess, because of objections to the tobacco provisions, Republican senators are expected to filibuster the legislation.

“The APWU has sought sick-leave credit equity for FERS employees for many years,” said APWU Legislative & Political Director Myke Reid. “We have an opportunity to accomplish that goal in the coming weeks.

“I encourage all APWU members to contact their senators and ask them to support this important legislation.”

In an April 1, 2009, “Statement of Administration Policy” the White House expressed strong support for the bill.

Appeals Court Overturns MSPB Decision To Uphold Postal Worker’s Removal

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: legal cases, mspb, removals, usps 

Could the tide be turning in MSPB cases?

Here is the (non-precedential) decision from the Court of Appeals For the Federal Circuit

Anthony D. Cunningham appeals from a decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“Board”), Cunningham v. United States Postal Service, 109 M.S.P.R. 402 (2008), sustaining his removal from the Postal Service. Because the Board erred in overturning a demeanor-based credibility finding by the Administrative Judge (“AJ”), we reverse and remand.

BACKGROUND
Mr. Cunningham served as a Mail Handler at the Processing and Distribution Center in Cleveland, Ohio. On February 11, 2007, Mr. Cunningham and another Postal Service worker, Mr. Melvin Allmond, were involved in a physical altercation on postal property after work. Neither Mr. Cunningham nor Mr. Allmond sought medical treatment that night for their injuries. After an investigation, Mr. Cunningham was issued a Notice of Proposed Removal based on charges of Improper Conduct/Violation of Zero Tolerance Policy. Mr. James Hostetler (“Deciding Official”) issued Mr. Cunningham a Letter of Decision, sustaining the charge and removing him from the Postal Service effective June 16, 2007. Mr. Cunningham appealed the decision to the Board, which assigned the case to an AJ.

The AJ found that the Deciding Official had not considered mitigating factors in his decision to remove Mr. Cunningham, contrary to the requirement of Douglas v. Veterans Administration, 5 M.S.P.R. 280 (1981). The AJ mitigated the removal penalty to a 30-day suspension without pay, finding, inter alia, that Mr. Allmond was the primary aggressor and that Mr. Cunningham had acted in self-defense. The Postal Service filed a petition for review with the Board. The full Board reversed the decision of the AJ and sustained Mr. Cunningham’s removal, finding that the Deciding Official had considered the Douglas factors such that the Deciding Official’s penalty decision deserved deference.  Mr. Cunningham timely filed this appeal. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(9).

DISCUSSION
Decisions of the Board must be affirmed unless the decision is “(1) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law; (2) obtained without procedures required by law, rule, or regulation having been followed; or (3) unsupported by substantial evidence.” 5 U.S.C. § 7703(c);

It is well settled that a penalty’s reasonableness should be assessed under the twelve factors set forth in Douglas. See, e.g., Webster v. Dep’t of the Army, 911 F.2d 679, 686 (Fed. Cir. 1990). One of the factors is “mitigating circumstances surrounding the offense such as unusual job tensions, personality problems, mental impairment, harassment, or bad faith, malice or provocation on the part of others involved in the matter.” We have held that a failure to consider significant mitigating circumstances constitutes an abuse of discretion. . In addition, the Board has held that an agency may establish a zero tolerance policy that results in automatic removal if the agency has effectively communicated the policy of removing all employees who engage in the prohibited conduct, and if the agency has consistently followed the policy.  Because neither party contends that the policy in the present case has met these requirements, we find that Mr. Cunningham’s penalty must be analyzed according to the Douglas factors.

Mr. Cunningham argues that the Board erred in overturning the AJ’s finding that the Deciding Official had not considered the mitigating circumstances Douglas factor. We agree. The Board is not “free to overturn an administrative judge’s demeanor based credibility findings merely because it disagrees with those findings.” A Board decision does not survive substantial evidence review if its reasons for overturning demeanor-based credibility determinations are not “sufficiently sound.” The Deciding Official testified before the AJ that he was aware of and considered the Douglas factors in his decision to remove Mr. Cunningham. However, he later admitted that in his view, the agency’s zero tolerance policy requires removal for a sustained charge of violence in the workplace. Therefore, the AJ found that the Deciding Official claimed that he applied and considered the Douglas factors, but his testimony in this regard lacked credibility, because he applied the Zero Tolerance Policy, a per se rule requiring removal. The Board overturned the AJ’s finding, citing the Deciding Official’s testimony that he had considered the Douglas factors. Because the Board gives no reason for overturning the AJ’s credibility finding relative to the application of the Douglas factors, the AJ’s determination must stand. The Board thus abused its discretion by granting deference to the Deciding Official’s decision, which, per the AJ’s findings, was not properly based on the Douglas factors.

Finally, we note that the Board’s decision in this case deviates from its standard practice of finding suspension the appropriate penalty in cases such as the present case. The Board has found mitigation of a removal to a suspension appropriate in a charge of physical assault on a co-worker where (1) no serious injury results; (2) no weapons are used; (3) the employee has a history of satisfactory performance; (4) the agency does not rely upon a prior disciplinary record in selecting the penalty; and (5) there is an element of provocation present. Faucher v. U.S. Postal Serv., 41 M.S.P.R. 336, 339 (1989) (finding a 60-day suspension the maximum reasonable penalty when all five of these circumstances were present); see also Quinata v. U.S. Postal Serv., 51 M.S.P.R. 76 (1991) (removal mitigated to a 120-day suspension when the appellant was not the primary aggressor); Lindsey v. Dep’t of the Navy, 9 M.S.P.R. 468, 471 (1982) (removal mitigated to a 60-day suspension); and Grandison v. Dep’t of the Navy, 7 M.S.P.R. 301, 304 (1981) (removal mitigated to a 60-day suspension). It appears from the record that all five of these circumstances are present in this case, and the Board has not held otherwise.

Therefore, the decision of the Board is reversed, and the case is remanded for an appropriate remedy in favor of Mr. Cunningham consistent with this opinion.

Costs shall be awarded to Mr. Cunningham.

Cunningham VS USPS (PDF)

Oakland APWU May Sue USPS Over Improper Involuntary Reassignments

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: APWU, legal cases, postal clerks, usps 

The Legal Firm representing American Postal Workers Union, Oakland (California) Area Local #78 has notified USPS Bay-Valley District Manager Kim Fernandez of their intent to file a lawsuit for the purpose of blocking involuntary reassignments.  The letter points out that some employees have less than one week (instead of the contractual 60 days) to report to their new locations or face termination. ..

Kim Fernandez
District Manager
United States Postal Service
Bay Valley District
1675 – 7th Street, Room 307
Oakland, CA 94615-9987′

Richard Blancas
Senior Plant Manager
United States Postal Service
Bay Valley District
1675 – 7th Street, Room 307
Oakland, CA 94615-9987
Re: Injunctive Relief for Failure to Give 60 Days Mandatory Advance Notice

Our office represents the Oakland Local of the American Postal Workers Union. We have been asked to seek injunctive relief the federal court for the reasons stated below.
The Local was advised by management that there would be reassignments pursuant to Article 12.5 because of downsizing. Throughout this process, however, the Local and its members were never advised until just very recently of the specific details or reassignments to be imposed upon the employees.

Management waited until Monday, April 20 at 11:00 p.m. to advise a number of employees of the specific detail of reassignment. Some of these employees were not present at 11 :00 p.m. on Monday and did not receive notification until the following day. This meant that it wasn’t until that time the employees were specifically advised of what offices they would be transferred to as part of this process.

The employees were given in some cases less than a week in which to report to new locations. Many of these individuals are being required to report as far away as Sacramento and Fresno and other locations, which will require them to move themselves and their families . The current agreement specifically provides that employees are entitled to not less than 60 days advance notice of such relocation. This is contained in Article 12.5(B)(S) which states as follows:

Full-time and part-time flexible employees involuntarily detailed or reassigned from one installation to another shall be given not less than 60 days advance notice, if possible, and shall receive moving, mileage, per diem and reimbursement for movement of household goods as appropriate if legally payable will be governed by the standardized Government travel regulations as set forth in Methods Handbook F-10 , “Travel.”

That clause makes it plain that employees are entitled to no less than 60 days advance notice. The Joint Contract Interpretation Manual also makes it plain that the 60-day notice provision is mandatory, not permissive. See p. 83 of the JClM 2007 Manual.

The purpose behind that language is to allow employees 60 days in which to move themselves and their families to a new location. It furthermore allows them to obtain relocation management services. Obtaining those services requires advance approval of the new office which they are assigned to. Such approval cannot under any circumstances be obtained with the kind of very short notice that the employees were given of their new detailed or assignment.

The rights of such employees are detailed in the “Bargaining Employee Relocation Benefits” guide, a copy of which is enclosed to this letter. These benefits take time to be approved, implemented and to effectuate the benefits contemplated. Most of the employees involved are covered by these benefits since they are being relocated to a new permanent duty station which is more than 50 miles from their residence.

Among the benefits provided are relocation leave, trip expenses, temporary duty expenses, payment for the movement of household goods and various other benefits and expenses. Most of these expenses require advance approval and there similarly is no way in which these employees can get that advance approval in the very short time provided.

This is illustrated by the specific reference in the Bargaining Employee Relocation Benefit guide to the necessity of generating forms to authorize the relocation benefits. See p. 5 of Bargaining Employee Relocation Benefits guide.

All this demonstrates why the contract makes it mandatory that all employees receive “not less than 60 days advance notice” of the reassignment. It is plain that (these employees in many cases received less than one week. The employees are being told that if they don’t report they are subject to termination.

This is a blatant and unexcused violation of the 60-day notice provision. Moreover, it will impose grave hardship on employees, some of whom have family responsibilities, homes or apartment which will they have to close, transportation problems and other serious issues. This will eventually force a number of these employees to quit or be terminated because of the failure of the Postal Service to do what the contract clearly requires which is to provide 60 days advance notice.

Because the contract contains a mandatory provision requiring 60 days in advance notice, we have been authorized to seek an injunctive relief in  the federal court. We will be seeking that relief early next week unless some arrangement could be made immediately where these employees are given sufficient time to take care of their business and to be allowed those benefits which are promised by the Postal Service where these kinds of relocation occur.

The Local would prefer to resolve this without the need for injunctive relief. There is simply no excuse for this kind of short notice where it has such an adverse impact upon these workers. Some additional time to allow them to take care of these matters would resolve this problem.

Would you please have your lawyer or other representative contact me immediately? If we do not hear from you immediately, we will begin preparing the court papers and will give you notification early next week.

Please contact me immediately.

 

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