In the 2010 contract negotiations, the American Postal Workers Union was finally successful in eliminating both the casual employee workforce category and the Transitional Employee workforce category. They were replaced with a new category of worker, covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, called Postal Support Employees (PSEs).
PSEs will earn more in wages than the TEs and, in most parts of the country, considerably more than the casual employees they are replacing. They also are guaranteed raises totaling 7 percent over the life of the contract.
The new contract contains numerous benefits for PSEs that were not available to casuals or TEs. Unlike casual employees, PSEs will earn annual leave and have access to the grievance procedure. While PSEs may be terminated for lack of work, once they have passed their probationary period, discharge for any other reason must be for “just cause.”
Although PSEs are initially hired as non-career workers, the new contract contains a very important benefit for our new category of bargaining unit employee: A path to career employment. The contract states, “When the Postal Service determines in accordance with contractual provisions that it has needs to fill vacancies with new career employees, available and qualified PSE employees will be converted to fill such vacancies on a seniority basis.” [Emphasis added.]
This is a tremendous benefit to those PSE employees who would like to make a career with the United States Postal Service.
In order to clarify these new rights, on June 28, 2011, the APWU and the USPS jointly agreed to a list of 65 questions and answers about the new contract. Several items address the rights and protections afforded to PSE employees:
Question 20. How does management determine which PSE to terminate during their term when there is a lack of work?
ANSWER: Clerk and Maintenance craft PSEs will be terminated for lack of work based upon craft standing on the roll in the installation. MVS Craft PSEs will be terminated for lack of work based on inverse occupational group standing on the roll in the installation.
Question 21. When needed, how does management determine which PSE to bring back to work?
ANSWER: PSEs will be returned based upon their craft standing on the roll in the installation, or in the MVS Craft by their occupational group standing on the roll, for up to a one-year period from their break in service.
full article: Welcome, Postal Support Employees – September/October 2011 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine