In what could possibly become one of the biggest blunders in USPS craft jurisdictional assignments, disputes, arbitration, lawsuits, reversals and ______________ fill in the blanks cases, APWU has submitted a dispute to the National Dispute Resolution Committee (NDRC).
This saga began with a letter from USPS dated June 1, 2015 to the APWU and Mail Handlers Unions. USPS notified both unions that it was assigning the craft jurisdiction of the work being performed on the Small Parcel Sorting System (SPSS) to the Mail Handler Craft.
“…..the primary craft for all duties associated with the operation of the SPSS is the Mail Handler Craft.”
“The assignment of the mail handler craft to all duties on the SPSS includes retrieval of packages from staging areas, operation of a container dumper and dumping packages onto an incline belt, the singulation or separation of all packages, the facing and feeding of packages to an induction belt, all sweeping (removing full containers and replacing with empty containers), and transporting all full containers to a staging area. The standard configuration on the SPSS includes five induction stations and 196 discharge chutes, although different configurations are possible.”
The duties performed on the SPSS are similar to those performed on the Automated Package Processing System (APPS) and the Automated Parcel Bundle Sorter (APBS), with one distinct difference. On the APBS, the employees slngulatlng and facing the mail also perform keying dutles~ Where keying is involved, the work Is normally assigned to the Clerk Craft. However, the SPSS, with OCR and VCS capability, eliminates the need for any keying whatsoever. Therefore, the duties performed on the SPSS are most similar to those performed on the APPS, where no keying Is Involved.
….. the Postal Service has determined that all duties performed on the SPSS are most similar to the duties performed by a Mall Handler. Accordingly, the primary craft for all duties associated with the operation of the SPSS Is the Mail Handler Craft.
In a letter dated August 7, 2015 USPS informed the Mail Handlers and APWU that they were modifying previous jurisdictional assignment award [letter dated June 1, 2015] for the new Small Parcel Sorting System (SPSS). USPS wrote that the duties of “Singulating/separating packages & facing/feeding packages onto induction belt” will be performed by [“APWU”] Clerk Craft employees and not [“NPMHU”] Mail Handlers.
The Postal Service based this decision on the fact that the work performed at the SPSS induction stations are very similar to work performed on the Small Parcel Bundle Sorter (SPBS) and the Automated Parcel Processing System (APBS), which are staffed with mail processing clerk craft employees.
It is the position of APWU that Mail Handlers are still the “primary” craft assigned to the SPSS:
Personnel assigned to perform sweeping duties in addition to the minimum number required to implement the subject rotation is still being performed by the primary craft, the Mail Handler Craft
The issue of the dispute:
The APWU maintains that the SPSS is involved in mail processing and/or distribution of mail and this work and the essential allied work is the work of the Clerk Craft. All mail processing and/or distribution of mail on automated equipment is the work of the Clerk Craft.
Is the USPS decision to assign the work performed on the SPSS machine in violation of the National Agreement, RI-399, and the historical application of jurisdictional rules of the parties? If so, what is the remedy?
In addition, the wage level of the position assigned to operate this machine (whether an existing position description or one which is newly created under Article 1, Section 5) is not a proper issue for resolution by the NDRC.