The APWU has expressed outrage over the Postal Service’s unilateral decision to shut down online bidding from Jan. 28 until Jan. 31, and for giving the union only 24-hour notice of its plans. The bidding “outage,” as the USPS called it, was prompted by an upgrade to the computer system.
“Please be advised that 24-hour notification to this Union of a scheduled upgrade and anticipated shut-down of the HCES system is absolutely intolerable,” Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris wrote on Jan. 28. “You should be aware that regardless of your notification, the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement as well as many Local Memorandums of Understanding remain in effect as agreed to. You may not unilaterally abridge these requirements simply by notifying the Union of your intent.”
In the past, when computerized bidding was unavailable, the USPS has made manual bidding or some other alternative available, Morris said.
A letter [PDF] announcing the outage of the Human Resources Enterprise System was faxed to APWU President Cliff Guffey on Jan. 27, advising the union that bidding would be unavailable for Clerks, Letter Carriers, Rural Letter Carriers and Mail Handlers beginning at 12:01 p.m. the next day and throughout the weekend. The upgrade is expected to be completed by 6 a.m. on Jan. 31.
“It is expected that employees whose contractual rights were abrogated by the employer’s failure to properly post and/or award bids on vacant assignments consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Local Memorandums of Understanding, and past practice will be made whole,” Morris said.