The following are excerpts from two APWU Regional Coordinators addressing the issue of USPS excessing:
It is no secret that low mail volume has led to massive excessing. The APWU has responded by fighting relentlessly to protect our members’ rights.
The battle is complicated enough without the addition of other parties. Recently, however, the installation of Flat Sequence Sorter (FSS) machines has affected members of our sister union, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).
Unfortunately, the NALC recently filed a Step 4 Dispute, which asserts that no Clerk Craft employee should be excessed into a Letter Carrier position unless all APWU positions have been filled — in every installation from Maine to Guam. Needless to say, the APWU disagrees.
In March, a Clerk Craft employee was excessed 150 miles from his facility into another installation where the only open positions were residual vacancies in the Letter Carrier Craft. After the excessed clerk settled in as a carrier, the local NALC filed a grievance.
After a period of time, a Clerk Craft residual position became available in the installation. The local NALC and the Postal Service agreed that the excessed clerk, who had been working as a carrier, would be moved into the clerk vacancy by the end of the year.
This, of course, is a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The NALC and the USPS do not have the right to arbitrarily reassign an employee from one craft to another. The clerk position was not available in the installation when the employee was excessed, and even if it were, according to the CBA, the employee had the right to choose his position. This USPS-NALC agreement also raises a question: What would happen to the employee’s seniority after the switch?
This problem is being addressed at both the local and Area levels. The APWU also is challenging the authority of the USPS to make arbitrary decisions dealing with issues covered by our CBA without the intervention of the APWU.
Bill Sullivan, former APWU Southern Region Coordinator
Gut-Wrenching Tales of Excessing
In a recent facility closure, management — in a mad rush to excess employees — relocated some employees as far as 500 miles away from their home office.
One of the employees was a single parent who owned a primary home and a vacant rental property and ended up being excessed 350 miles away. She moved into a small apartment in the new location, but could not afford to continue to pay two mortgages and the apartment rental. She was forced to put both houses up for sale, but could not sell them fast enough. The bank ended up foreclosing on both properties, essentially destroying the woman’s credit.
Several married couples ended up being excessed to distant locations because of differences in seniority: The senior spouse could have remained local, while the junior spouse would have been excessed hundreds of miles away. To keep the family together, the senior employees chose undesirable jobs in undesirable locations so they could be assigned to the same workplace as their husband or wife.
One single parent with primary custody of her children who was excessed to a different state ended up in a custody battle with her estranged husband. The husband insisted that she could not take the children out of the state.
There also were a number of employees who, due to personal circumstances, just could not follow their job to a new location and were forced to quit.
APWU Eastern Region Coordinator