07/08/2016 – The big news is in – 200,000 postal workers represented by the APWU have a new union contract!
On July 8th, Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg issued his arbitration award that sets the wages, hours and conditions of employment in our new union contract. This award concluded a two-year struggle for “Good Service, Good Jobs, Good Contract” that included contract negotiations, mediation, arbitration hearings – and solidarity actions on work floors and in communities around the country.
“We have gained many positive results in these difficult times,” APWU President and lead negotiator Mark Dimondstein said. “We, as a union, should be proud of the results. We made some real progress on most of our major goals. We gained an all-career workforce in our Maintenance and Motor Vehicle Crafts. We secured real general wage increases. We preserved our COLA and no lay-off protections. We strengthened conversion opportunities for PSEs and improved PSE wages and benefits. We strengthened job security by limiting subcontracting, particularly in relation to MVS. We achieved a temporary moratorium on new plant closings and consolidations. We laid the basis for better protecting retail services and for expanding postal services. While we were unable to stop management’s demand that employees pay a greater share of health insurance premiums, we successfully fought back the main concessionary demands of postal management– for increased percentages of non-career employees, a new tier of lower- paid career employees, the elimination of COLA and the weakening of our no layoff protection.”
Below is a summary of the main highlights of the new award (for a full copy click here.) All provisions of the previous contract that remain unchanged carry forward into our new contract including seniority and bidding rights, the grievance procedure, protection against unjust discipline, annual and sick leave, holiday and overtime pay and all the other important union benefits we have won over many decades of struggle.
Length of the Agreement
May 21, 2015 – September 20, 2018 (40 months)
Career Employee General Wage Increases
There will be across-the-board pay increases of 3.8% for career employees over the life of the Agreement:
- 1.2% effective November 14, 2015 (Retroactive)
- 1.3% effective November 26, 2016
- 1.3% effective November 25, 2017
Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)
The COLA for career employees is maintained under the current formula. Cost of living adjustments will be made in March and September of each year of the Contract.
PSE Wage Increases
PSEs (who do not receive COLA raises) will receive wage increases as follows:
- 2.2% effective November 14, 2015 (Retroactive)
- 2.3% effective November 26, 2016
- 2.3% effective November 25, 2017
In addition to these general wage increases, PSE wages will be increased by fifty cents per hour over the life of the Contract as follows:
- $0.09 per hour effective November 14 2015 (Retroactive)
- $0.20 per hour effective May 13, 2017
- $0.21 per hour effective May 26, 2018
No Lay-Off Protections for Career Employees
The no lay-off protections of Article 6, for employees with more than six years of service, remain in full force. In addition, no lay-off protection is extended to all career employees who are on the rolls as of July 8, 2016. This protection covers the 32,000 postal workers recently converted to career who have not yet achieved the six year threshold of no lay-off protection.
Job Security Provisions
- There will be no new subcontracting of PVS driving work during the life of the contract.
- For a minimum of the first year of the contract, the postal service will not expand contract stations, village post offices and approved shipper programs. (The fight over Staples is not affected by this moratorium.)
- There will be no further plant closings and consolidations until at least April 2017.
- All Maintenance Craft PSEs will be converted “in place” to career within 60 days of the Award. Thereafter the PSE category of employee will be eliminated in the Maintenance Craft.
- All Motor Vehicle Service Craft PSEs will be converted to career – either full-time or PTF – within 60 days of the Award. Thereafter, the PSE category of employee will be eliminated in the MVS Craft. However, in the future PSEs could be authorized as part of a package to bring back currently subcontracted MVS work.
- PTF employees are reintroduced into the MVS craft, not to exceed 20% of the MVS career workforce.
- Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) duty assignments are eliminated in Function 1 (mail processing) and Function 3 (MVS) and will be reposted as traditional full-time duty assignments. NTFTs cannot be introduced into the Maintenance Craft. Current four day a week/ ten-hour a day duty assignments may remain in place if the local parties agree. Local parties may mutually agree upon more such assignments under the Modified Work Week Memo.
- Non-Traditional Full-Time employees in Function 4 (Retail) are now capped at 8%, excluding NTFT assignments in POStPlan offices. (Previously there was no cap.) The rules concerning schedules and postings in the NTFT memo remain. However, the restriction on assigning mandatory overtime to non-OTDL employees is narrowed from installation wide to the facility.
Preference Eligible Veteran hiring will be greatly enhanced with the creation of the all- career workforce in the Maintenance and MVS Crafts where Veterans will now be hired directly into career positions.
Career Employee Health Benefits
The Health Plans and benefits for career employees remain in effect. Over the next three years, the employees’ portion of the health premium will increase 1% a year. For the APWU Consumer Driven Health plan, the Postal Service will continue to pay 95% of the premium.
PSE Health Benefits and Holiday Leave Pay
- PSEs will now receive six paid holidays. (PSEs had no holiday leave.) The holidays are the six major holidays of New Years, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
- The number of hours paid for the holiday will vary by size of office: 200 Man year offices – 8 hours. POStPlan offices – 4 hours. All other offices – 6 Hours.
- PSEs who work on a holiday will have the same option as career employees to have their annual leave balance credited in lieu of holiday leave pay.
- The 75% contribution of the USPS to the premiums of the APWU Consumer Driven Health Plan, available after one year of service, remains in effect. In addition, PSEs will now have access to a USPS sponsored health plan upon employment with the USPS contributing $125.00/pay period.
Limits on Excessing
During the life of the CBA, no employees can be excessed beyond a 50 mile radius.
Clarification on expanded bereavement leave coverage to “in-laws.”
Enhanced and Expanded Services
Parties established a joint Service Enhancement and Innovation Task Force authorized to discuss research, and consult experts with a goal of agreeing to programs including pilots to implement agreed upon services and practices. At least one pilot program must be implemented within 12 months.
Uniform and Work Clothes for Eligible Career Employees
Allowances for uniform and work clothing programs will be increased
- Effective May 2016, increase of 5%
- Effective May 21, 2017, increase of 2.5%
- Effective May 21, 2018, increase of 2.5%
Eligible PSE Employees
PSEs employed in retail for the first time will receive an annual uniform allowance for three shirts, subject to the normal eligibility requirements.
- Incorporates successful MOU “Re: Filling of Residual Vacancies” into the Contract.
- New pecking order for full-time vacancies allows for a possible PTF transfer and conversion of PSEs within a 50-mile radius.
- New pecking order for PTF vacancies provides for conversion of PSEs within the installation, the transfer of PTFs within 50 miles and conversion of PSEs within a 50-mile radius.
- PTFs can express a preference to work outside their installation.
- One-time conversions of all Clerk Craft PSEs in 200 work year installations with over 2.5 years of service as of July 8, The conversions will be completed as soon as practical but no later than 60 days from July 8, 2016. One year from the award, the parties are ordered to discuss the possibility of another one-time conversion.
- New language in Article 37.5.D that streamlines process for PSE conversion to career.
- eReassign Task Force established to explore improvements to the posting and placement process.
- Employees can now exercise retreat rights without regard to level.
- All Maintenance Craft PSEs converted to career and the PSE category eliminated.
- Maintenance Jobs MOU eliminated except for provisions related to pending disputes over “Unit Clarification”.
- Significant improvements to excessing provisions in Article 38.3.K.
- New provisions for ET-11 issues including a nationwide PAR for ET-11s and negotiations for LMOUs with MTSC.
- Retained the Subcontracting Cleaning Services MOU with entire installation in the 18K sq. ft. formula.
- Retained the 50-mile rule on excessing.
- New pecking order putting APWU members ahead of non-APWU for in-service register selections.
Motor Vehicle Craft
- All MVS Craft PSEs converted to career and the PSE category eliminated except when part of package to bring in contracted work.
- Numbered paragraphs 1, 3, and 4 of the 2010 Motor Vehicle Craft Jobs MOU terminated Paragraph 2 remains and includes the evaluation of 8,000 HCR routes for possible return to PVS.
- No new subcontracting of PVS driving work during the life of the contract.
- Because of the loss of flexibility with conversion of all PSEs, elimination of NTFT assignments and restriction on sub-contracting, the Award provides for the return of PTFs with a 20% cap.
- Clarification of policy regarding Vehicle Maintenance Agreements (VMAs) in offices with vehicle maintenances.
- All Full-Time Regular Motor Vehicle Craft employees – not just operators – will use their seniority for vacation scheduling.
- Bids for Examination Specialist (SP-2-188) and Vehicle Operations – Maintenance Assistant (SP-2-195) are open to all full-time regular MVS employees.