APWU Fights Scheduling Abuses In the Clerk Craft
After the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was signed, USPS management had the opportunity to post duty assignments with work schedules that fit the workload.
Some postmasters posted assignments with four 10-hour days, which were very popular.
Conversely, many small-minded postmasters posted duty assignments with 30-hour work-weeks spanning five or six days. The result has been an increase in overtime, an increase in out-of-schedule (OOS) pay, and an increase in the number of hours worked by Postal Support Employees (PSEs) that could have been worked by career employees.
Hiding the Truth
Managers have the ability to track OOS pay, but rather than expose the inefficient and unpopular 30-hour schedules they posted, many postmasters told their subordinates not to authorize OOS pay. These directives have forced employees to file grievances in order to receive proper payment for work outside their schedule. They also hide the amount of OOS pay management is incurring, because grievance settlements do not show up in the accounting system the same way authorized OOS pay does.
When the union alerted high-level postal officials to this falsification of time records, the response was clear. “This falsification is a dischargeable offense,” replied one senior manager. The union’s response was, “Then fire them.”
We doubt that anyone will be fired for such actions, but this scenario raises an important question: What is the difference between employees falsifying their own time records and managers falsifying the records of hundreds of employees? Aren’t the managers falsifying records for personal gain? Aren’t they trying to improve their standing and thus increase their pay?
Who Is Responsible?
There are hundreds of managers who have hidden behind the statement, “We were told to post these schedules by headquarters.” Headquarters management has maintained that no such order was given. But both statements can’t be true.
The APWU provided headquarters-level managers with examples of post offices where 30-hour schedules have been posted and employees have been scheduled for extreme amounts of overtime and OOS pay and PSEs are working excessive hours.
Management responded by giving the APWU data that purported to show that our assertions were wrong or that there was an anomaly during the time period covered by the union’s information.
The APWU researched the information postal management provided and, with help from the locals cited in our original examples, found numerous discrepancies in the USPS material. We submitted additional evidence that local managers were hiding OOS pay; that “loaned” PSE hours were not counted against the gaining office; that such offices had excessive overtime, including penalty overtime, and that, as a result, the USPS would be unable to realize the savings expected from the use of Non-Traditional Full- Time assignments. We are fully prepared to take this issue to arbitration.
The APWU’s analysis has proven one simple fact: When given the opportunity to mess things up, hundreds of managers will jump at the chance.
Clerk Division Director