If There Is No Work For Me, Why Are You Doing It?
by Stephen Lysaght, President, APWU East Bay Area Local
As has been the case every year, the Local has been very busy processing grievances in 2009. We see management violating the same contractual provisions over and over, but certain disputes have escalated. Grievances concerning supervisors performing bargaining unit work and Carriers assigned Clerk craft duties have increased dramatically.
Perhaps it has to do with the current financial plight of the Postal Service. Because mail volume and revenue have decreased, Clerks are not replaced when they retire or separate for other reasons. Their duty assignments are reverted and PTF’s hours are reduced. Clerks are being excessed outside their installations to other offices or crafts. FTR’s have been detailed to other Post Offices. Employees on limited duty are being told there is less than 8 hours of work within their medical limitations, or in some cases no work at all is available.
At the same time, supervisors and Carriers are waiting on customers at will-call windows or the screenline. They are unloading mail from arriving trucks down for distribution and spreading it to Carrier routes. Managers and Carriers are setting-up the equipment and moving it to the dock, and preparing mail for dispatch. Supervisors and Carriers are assigning accountables to other Carriers, and then clearing them in the afternoon.
What is wrong with this picture? Clearly there are not enough Clerks in these offices to perform our work and/or management does not want to pay them the overtime needed to accomplish it. While Clerks are being told that they will be involuntarily reassigned up to 200 miles away because CSV (Customer Service Variance) data shows they are “excess” to the needs of the office, supervisors are performing their work. While Clerks are told that there is no work for them because of their medical restrictions, Carriers are assigned work they are fully capable of doing.
I contend that management’s actions constitute theft. They are stealing work hours from the bargaining unit and the Clerk craft. Even if you are not a PTF, on limited duty, or on the Overtime Desired List, management’s conduct threatens your duty assignment and possibly future employment at your Post Office. If we allow the employer to get away with taking our work from us collectively, we may each be harmed individually.
Every time you see a supervisor perform bargaining unit work (i.e., work that a bargaining unit employee should perform), you should write a statement for the Union. Each time you witness an employee of another craft being assigned work in the Clerk craft, you should similarly record your observations. Such statements should include the name of the supervisor or Carrier, the date and time during which the work is performed, and the specific duties he or she does. With your help, the Union will combat these egregious violations of our Contract and seek compensation for the affected Clerks.