The APWU has put the Postal Service on notice that their plan to replace Postmasters at small, rural post offices with Postmaster Reliefs (PMRs) is a direct violation of our 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The USPS announced their POStPlan (Post Office Structure Plan) on May 9, 2012. The plan calls for reduced staffing and work hours at 13,900 small post offices, moving the Postmasters in these offices to an Administrative Post Office to manage their former post office remotely, and replacing the postmasters in those reduced-hour offices with PMRs.
In a letter to the USPS Vice President of Labor Relations [PDF], APWU President Cliff Guffey wrote: “Some of the details of the plan raise serious questions about how the Postal Service intends to reconcile POStPlan with the Postal Service’s commitments in the APWU National Agreement.”
The APWU notified management that we expect them to adhere to provisions of the National Agreement that eliminate PMRs in Level 15, -16, and -18 post offices (including rural offices that were at those levels on Nov. 10, 2010) and limit the amount of bargaining unit work that Postmasters in those offices perform.
“POStPlan violates and conflicts with some of the most critical terms and assumptions of the APWU National Agreement,” Guffey wrote.
POStPlan also conflicts with the Postal Service’s own rules, policies, arbitration awards, and settlement agreements that require:
- That the Postal Service maintain a one-to-one ratio of PMRs to Postmasters;
- That PMRs relieve Postmasters on a temporary basis to do the Postmaster’s work while the Postmaster is not at work.
- That PMRs are not to be utilized in the absence of clerical employees.
Of particular concern, the POStPlan has multiple PMRs covering for one Postmaster; has the PMRs working as permanent replacements rather than temporarily filling in for the Postmaster; and has the PMRs doing work that is neither supervisory nor managerial.
“This plan to cover window hours in solely retail operations at the impacted rural post offices with non-bargaining unit, non-supervisory and non-managerial PMRs is a blatant rejection of key underpinnings of the National Agreement, as well as the law,” Guffey said.
The plan violates our agreement in a number of ways, including:
- That “when non-managerial or non-supervisory work, not otherwise excluded by Article 1.2, which was being performed by supervisors, is not longer performed by supervisors, then it must be assigned to clerk craft employees (MOU re: Clerical Work [PDF])
- That all new positions and new work that is non-supervisory and non-managerial “shall be assigned to the most appropriate bargaining unit position” under Article 1.5 (MOU re: New Positions and New Work).
- That there are specific limits on the number of hours of work a postmaster can perform in the Postal Service’s smaller offices (GLOBAL SETTLEMENT – [PDF]).
- And that whether or not non-supervisory and non-managerial work performed by a supervisor “seeped” out of an APWU craft, the Postal Service would assign such work to a bargaining unit craft and NOT an EAS position (MOU re: Job Audits [PDF]).
“This effort to undercut the APWU must be revised before the POStPlan goes any further,” Guffey wrote.