The Reality of Non-Traditional Full-Time Assignment

From 21st Century Postal Worker

San Diego (California) Stations & Branches to Post Hundreds of NTFT Jobs.
Tammy Yorysh
San Diego Area Local 197
Clerk Director
Thursday, January 12, 2012

We are now neck deep into the decimation of our traditional full time clerk bid staffing. On Friday the 13th of January, a 72 page vacancy notice will be posted, with a handful of traditional positions, and hundreds of NTFT jobs. The majority are 6 day 30 hour positions. The plant jobs are mostly 5 day, 35 hour positions. My question: For a 7 hour a day position there is a lunch. But how many breaks are the clerks entitled to? The contract is silent of course, except for the “foot-in-the-door” statement in the NTFT memo about 9 hr assignments including a 3rd break. Anyone out there who already has a 7 hour job–are you getting 1 break or 2 in addition to a lunch.

see 21st Century Postal Worker

From APWU:

The Reality of Non-Traditional Full-Time Assignment

Non-traditional full time (NTFT) duty assignments have caused confusion in some offices, and to understand what they are, how they should work, and how they came about, we have to review some recent history.

These new assignments were born in May 2011, when 76 percent of the members of the APWU ratified the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Prior to that, the Postal Service was excessing clerks at an astounding rate. When employees were notified they were about to be excessed, they had to choose between accepting a new duty assignment — sometimes hundreds of miles away — or remaining in their installation as part-time regulars (PTRs) or part-time flexibles (PTFs). Thousands upon thousands of clerks received excessing notices with no more than 60 days to make the life-altering decision.

There were plenty of horror stories: Some clerks opted to remain in the installation as PTFs — and then were scheduled just two or four hours per pay period, depending on the size of their office. Some who were excessed lived out of their cars, others commuted hundreds of miles a day each way. Some rented apartments because they did not want to sell their homes in a poor housing market. Others were excessed to new installations only to be excessed from the new installation.

In cases where grievances were filed and the union prevailed, clerks were frequently returned to their former installation only to be excessed again. Some of the excessing led to family separations and divorce. Some people lost their homes.

In short, excessing was having a devastating effect on union members.

Replaced with Casuals

All too frequently, after clerks were excessed, management backfilled their assignments with casuals, who worked six hours per day. But the union was unable to challenge the replacement of the career employees with casuals because the casuals weren’t working fulltime schedules.

As excessing continued unabated, the membership sent union contract negotiators a stern message: Stop the pain of excessing!

To accomplish this goal, the union negotiated a provision that limits excessing to no more than 40 or 50 miles. That goes a long way toward easing the inconvenience and disruption.

However, during negotiations management argued that in most excessing situations, work remained in the losing installation, but it didn’t amount to 40 hours per week or it didn’t match the limitations on scheduling in the old Collective Bargaining Agreement.

So the APWU and USPS negotiated a provision that gave potentially excessed employees another option: nontraditional full-time duty assignments that would provide the USPS the flexibility to create jobs that would reduce or eliminate the need for excessing.

How It Works

Before creating NTFT duty assignments, the Postal Service should notify the APWU of potential excessing outside the craft or installation. Then, to reduce the impact, management should discuss with the union the potential for creating NTFT duty assignments.

Once the NTFT duty assignments are created, clerks who were full-time as of May 23, 2011, have the option to bid on schedules of less than 40 hours rather than face excessing. Employees who are not impacted may choose the non-traditional schedules for other reasons, and that would also reduce the number of affected employees.

What is a NTFT duty assignment? It’s not a traditional duty assignment, which consists of five 8-eight hours. NTFT assignments can range from six to 10 hours per day and 30-48 hours per week.

In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding on NTFT assignments, which can be found on pages 188-190 of the contract, in Function Four (retail), the Postal Service may create as many clerk NTFT duty assignments in a facility as are operationally necessary. In Function One (mail processing), up to 50 percent of the duty assignments may have non-traditional full-time schedules.

In all instances, the Postal Service must make every effort to create “desirable duty assignments” using all available work hours.

Operational Needs

There is nothing confusing about the requirement. It doesn’t give the USPS the right to totally revamp the workforce in order to meet a savings goal or conform to a computer-generated staffing model.

Some examples of valid operation needs are: The USPS cannot provide proper service to retail customers without making a scheduling change; cannot get mail to carriers early enough without a schedule change; is unable to finish processing mail in time to meet transportation needs without a schedule change; or there is an operational window to complete a task that requires a schedule change.

Another important operational need might be that excessing is likely, and creating NTFT duty assignments would afford potentially excessed employees an opportunity to bid on NTFT positions and avoid excessing. In other words, if there is not enough work for eight hours per day for five days per week but there is enough work for at least 30 hours per week, there may be an operational need to create NTFT assignments to reduce or eliminate the excessing.

Even in these scenarios, if done correctly, it may be necessary to change or repost only one or two jobs occupied by junior employees.

What Is ‘Desirable?’

Whenever the Postal Service creates NTFT duty assignments, management must make “every effort” to create “desirable” duty assignments from “all available work hours.”

Local managers cannot be excused from the requirement to post desirable schedules simply because someone above them in the management hierarchy insists that all NTFT assignments must be limited to 30 hours per week.

To create the desirable assignments, all work hours — including overtime, hours worked by Postal Support Employees (PSEs), hours worked by parttime flexibles from other offices, hours spent by supervisors improperly performing bargaining unit work, crosscraft hours, etc. — must be considered.

Prior to posting NTFT assignments, management must meet with local union officers and give them the opportunity for input in the creation of the assignments. We have developed an online tool to assist local presidents in these efforts.

In many cases, the Postal Service missed an opportunity to improve employee morale by violating the contract. Instead, management has created unnecessary employee anxiety and generated numerous potential grievances.

15 thoughts on “The Reality of Non-Traditional Full-Time Assignment

  1. All the far right does is blame everyone else and can’t come up with any ideas except war and evading taxes. You will see that in 2012 when all the politicians that the Koch brothers bought and paid for are recalled or replaced. Just look at the 10 states with the highest unemployment they are the states with the lowest corporate taxes. So much for the rich creating jobs. We all blame the republicans 100% since 2000 and Reagan for outsourcing all our good middle class jobs. Privatizing will not save our country it will destroy our middle class. As long as we have people like “Issa and Ross” blindly following the republican tea bagger beliefs that the government is our enemy the longer we will be in this mess.

  2. Unhappy with APWU? Unhappy with the contract? Unhappy with the level of representation you’re getting? Unhappy with loss of 40 hour jobs?

    OCCUPY APWU at the 2012 Convention in Los Angeles (August 20-24) at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel (404 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA)


    Shut up and keeping paying dem dues! And, by the way…stay in line all you lemmings!

  3. Another bozo that has too much free time. How bout post the lyrics to “your mama’s boy is an idiot” now.

  4. Hey Tammy…you ever heard this song?

    Turn out the lights
    The party’s over
    They say that
    All good things must end
    Call it tonight
    The party’s over
    And tomorrow starts
    The same old thing again

    But the crazy crazy party
    Never seen so many people
    Laughing dancing
    Look at you you’re having fun
    But look at me
    I’m almost cryin’
    That don’t keep her love from dyin’
    Misery cause for me the party’s over
    Turn out the lights…

    Once I had a love undyin’
    I didn’t keep it but I tried
    Life for me was just one party
    And then another
    I broke her heart so many times
    I had to have my parting wife
    I had to have my party
    Why broke her heart so many times
    But one day she said
    Sweetheart the party’s over
    Turn out the lights…

    Your clerk craft is done hon!

  5. Royster you need help! 1st- If the union had went to arbitration our old contract would have carried over until adjudication and we would have received the cola. 2nd- If you’re an active employee you must be a member to have union benefits, the reason it was agreed upon to only offer APWU health plan was because both the union and post office make money on it. 3rd- The concept of NTFT jobs was seriously flawed! NO union gives up a 40 hour work week…PERIOD!
    Anyone with half a brain could see where this contract was going. Now National wants to lay this NTFT crap in the members lap…unbelievable! We were sold out so National can hold off restructuring…after all they haven’t for 30 years.

  6. Navy/Postal Veteran, As a 76%er as you call us, I fell the need to point out your flawed logic. First of all, you say we should have gone to arbitration, then you say we gave up thousands in COLAs. You can’t have it both ways, if we had gone to arbitration it would not have been heard in time to earn that COLA and no arbitrator has ever awarded us a retroactive COLA. Raises yes, but COLAs no.

    You also state that it was wrong to agree PSE’s could get the APWU health plan paid, but no other. That is because the USPS would only agree to pay for the cheapest health care option, but that is still better than casuals or TE’s who were never able to get ANY healthcare. Also, PSE’s will NOT be required to join the union in order to enroll in the health plan. That is true for regulars but since PSE’s have no other option they can’t be required to join in order to get those benefits.

    Last but not least, the biggest problem with the NTFT assignments is not their existance, but the execution. Management is not following the contract when creating NTFT assignments, and while you can say that the union should have known they wouldn’t, that doesn’t mean that the concept was flawed. Nobody who was a FTR as of May 20, 2011 can ever be forced to take a NTFT position, and although management might try to tell you different, you can’t be excessed as a FTR, while a junior NTFT at the same level remains in the facility. Excessing is still by juniority, not by bid.

  7. Yo Moe-you hit it right on the head. They will continue to wallow in thier lavish lifestyles, while the members languish. Full Time is 40 hours, PERIOD.

  8. @Wolfgang. Everyone but our union officials knew………………they knew they just don’t care. They don’t have to ever work in a PO again. They all are retired or eligible for retirement

  9. Create a new t6 position for daily operations and have the 6 most senior carriers switch off every day. This way we will be managed by our peers and not make work inbred micro- managers. The current management scam has no accountability and think the postal service needs them. WE DON’T! The other crafts can do the same.
    Eliminate 110,000 managers equals 7 billion 150 million dollars in savings. Create 10k new t6’s to replace management costs only 500 million. It can be done. This is what our union should be pushing for. Then we won’t have to negotiate with a middle man like we are with management. It will be with an arbitrator. It goes to arbitration every contract anyway.

  10. Union and management struck a deal creating these part/time jobs in the name of full time!……after the deal, after they got what they wanted the same management goes to “congress” and is asking for right to layoff!…. even a 3rd grader will agree this is crafty and greedy!….basically the “worker” has nothing. Even if congress does not approve any layoff, it will send a bad message!
    (There are 575,000 workers and 50 management personnel who make decisions for rest!)

    a) Those bad hearted “law makers” are using diversity in USPS work force to keep the work force separated…making union decisions weak. I mean, veteran/ non veteran, career/non-career, male/female, young/middle aged/ old. White/black/ hipanic/asian and other races. I say if you DONT get greedy and work even in the advent of inconvenience “together”, justice will prevail.

    What message does this send to the future?! of contracts…..break free of all these “unnecessary threats in the forms or regulations eg: 2006 paea act in the form of “prefunding”… they are supposed to give freedom not exile you.

    Note: a) law making is a privilege not a right, b) law making does not only require a degree from a “big ivy school”, or a great “resume!”, but requires “good heart”. (Latter is required, while the former is disposable.)

  11. The REAL reality of NTFT assignments is that there was an EPIC FAIL on the part of union leadership in rushing ahead with this pig of a contract that 76% of you knuckleheads ratified. We have ALWAYS done better in arbitration vs. postal management for one simple reason: the inept postal management team was no better at proposing contracts than it has been at running the postal service. At arbitration, logical impartial minds always sided with the most reasonable proposals, which inevitably came from union negotiators.

    With absolutely NO imperative to negotiate in the now obvious bad faith agreement management was putting forth, Guffey and his band of idiots sold out the entire union membership to benefit union coffers at the national level flush with new money from PSE dues and health insurance.

    Didn’t ANY of you 76%ers see the obvious flawed logic in union and management agreements that paid health care premiums for ONLY the union health plan, and NOT all health plans for new hires? Or that to get this plan, ALL new PSE hires would first HAVE TO join the union? Of course not. Your only “logic” in ratifying this contract was, at least you had a job. Well, how you like me now?

    Before the ink was even dry on this contract, APWU members lost almost a thousand dollars in COLA raises; another giveaway by APWU leadership. Well done, morons. The saddest part is, you did this to yourselves. There was NO REASON to ratify this contract. It was even ratified while they were still negotiating parts of the contract !

    Now, as President Obama once told Republicans, it’s time to eat your peas. You don’t get to overwhelmingly ratify this contract and then whine about the aftermath. SURPRISE ! Postal management is proceeding in bad faith. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Iowa were the ONLY states that VOTED DOWN this contract. Everybody else said, Yes…..give it to me now ! Well, now you got your wish. As Pogo famously once said, “We have met the enemy, and it is us.”

  12. Know what would be nice? Instead of parking and watching me work for an hour EVERY day, train these moronic supervisors to know the contract and do their job properly. Obviously they do not have enough actual work to keep them busy all day. Meanwhile I am harassed about “wasting” two minutes. Weather doesn’t take longer. Heavy DPS doesn’t take longer. Averaging over half an hour overtime is “washed” to 7 minutes over when the “abnormalities” are taken out of the numbers. Hello, the abnormalities are what this job is about. We have no leadership…..

  13. Strange, everyone cutting but the upper Union and management, these jobs NTFT were an appeasement to Hitler the PMG, that will never work, the PMG and his hordes, had no intention to honor the CBA, so all this NTFT was a figment of Cliff Goofey’s imagination, some places excessed in November and will in March. checking around, where did it help, in fact USPS is still on the slash and burn road,
    offering the VER with the Union in on it , would have prevented many from losing homes and family, the CNBA was not in the best interests of its'[ members.

  14. Everyone except our union officers knew that management would abuse the NTFT loophole. On our last bid cycle in Boston only 4 of over 30 bids were for 40 hours.
    NTFT will force clerks to choose to either work a 30 hour schedule or to be unassigned. Great work APWU.

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