USPS will no longer require ‘scheme qualifications’ on postal clerk bid duty assignments

USPS will no longer require 'scheme qualifications' on postal clerk bid duty assignmentsScheme Training Will Not Be Required For Any Clerk Duty Assignments

“Many postal clerks work a scheme for at least 30 hours per accounting period (month). Postal Clerks need scheme training to be fast and productive. Passive Adaptive Scanning System (PASS) systems scanners are slow and few in number.”

February 20, 2015

As a matter of general interest, the Postal Service intends to eliminate the Specialized Operations Networking Integrated Keyboard Systems (SONIKS) after March 31, 2015.

The current SONIKS application does not meet Advanced Computing Environment Ill (ACE Ill) compatibility standards and currently resides on the ACE II platform. In addition, the Postal Service has implemented enhanced technology to the Delivery Schemeless Sortation (DSS) and Passive Adaptive Scanning System (PASS) systems which will assist with the reduction of manual scheme sortation requiring scheme knowledge.

In addition, the Postal Service intends to eliminate scheme qualifications on Clerk bid duty assignments after March 7, 2015. This is due to the continuing reduction in mail volumes requiring manual scheme knowledge. Furthermore, eliminating scheme qualifications on Clerk bid duty assignments will reduce the substantial annual costs for scheme training. There will be no impact to employees within the Clerk Craft who currently occupy a duty assignment with a scheme requirement.

Local management will have the discretion to provide scheme training to employees to support operational needs. However, the training will not be required for any bid duty assignments.


Patrick M. Devine
Contract Administration (APWU)

USPS Scheme M-5 Handbook

23 thoughts on “USPS will no longer require ‘scheme qualifications’ on postal clerk bid duty assignments

  1. The letters & flats aren’t barcoded. Who’s going to sort them if these clerks aren’t being scheme trained? What if they want to work O.T? If you can’t sort the mail, you can’t do distribution. And the computer isn’t 100% effective. It has inaccurate scans, it disconnects frequently & gives generic scans. Not being scheme trained is a bad idea.

  2. I recently got a bid that does not require a scheme due to these new rules and i think its great..i was willing to learn it but yes am glad it was taking off the table..if a senior bidder wanted it, scheme or not they should of went for it..i went for the bid so i can be a part of all sides of my job, i have worked my tush of for 5 years on the dbcs’s..and i feel if i pass window training i deserve the job no matter my seniority. .usps is changing we are trying to advance oursrlves into the future for better business.. its not fair to say it should go back up for bid, when i was willing to do what it takes to get it, while others choose not to..just my opinion..but i feel the new ways will work once the glitches are all figured out.

  3. I just passed a scheme for a day bid at a station. ln my window training class, I was the ONLY one who had passed their scheme (also the only regular in the class). The rest were PSE’s being converted to full time regular and they all failed the scheme, but the post office gave them the bids anyway to convert them. All they had to pass was the window training part. That is why they are dropping the schemes, the new people all fail the schemes after training on the clock. Who is going to take those bids when they are already residual? I was told by a PSE I had no business taking a spot in the window class when I already have a job and they were trying to get hired. Prior to that a couple did pass the scheme and window training, then bid back to the plant once they were hired. Just the continuing “dumbing down” of the post office.

    • This has been their idea from the start. We haven’t had any scheme training in NW Iowa for several years. PSE get to do everything Full times employees don’t want to do. And believe me they EARN their pay in this part of the country! And for the PSE making that commit, they wouldn’t make the probation period!

  4. It sucks for people who bid scheme jobs in February and have to struggle through scheme training. Wonder if they have to finish or just be pulled from training and awarded the job.

  5. they did away for tests for supervisors years ago and look at the trash they now have…………now they just scheme to get the next higher position. us postal circus………….UPS & FDX tremble in their boots lol. hey they took energy and food out of the consumer price index…………for “core inflation”….we don’t need no stinken schemes. like we need a phony cola.

  6. So “glad” to see so many obvious junior postal employees whining about seniority!
    Are you Union members? Most likely not! The one thing we have is SENIORITY! When job descriptions and requirements change they should go up for bid again. When you become a senior employee and a “special” junior management favorite gets
    special treatment you will be singing a different tune but by then you will probably
    be working for less and hoping you will still have Social Security when you can retire!

  7. As a clerk that learned numerous schemes in Irving, Dallas, Ft Worth, Lewisville and Coppell Texas as well as Hastings and Grand Island Nebraska I cannot imagine this is a good idea. How can they (mgt.) expect someone to do their job if they are not trained?

    • If you “ignore” the PASS system you are only shooting your self in the foot! (No, not literarily!!)
      Throw as told by PASS otherwise NOTHING will change. We is it so hard for people to stand up for their selves? Postal Mgt. needs to account for the misguiding they have imposed. Once the carriers start to complain MAYBE the PASS system with be corrected… they can hire a bunch of monkeys off the street for $18 an hour to do your job! Deal with it cause it’s coming like it or not!

  8. I sort parcels in an office with a PASS system, our scheme crew simply ignores it, due to the fact it only scheme sorts about 75% of DelCon mail, gives incorrect routes on as much as 5% of what it does read, system communication slowdowns will sometimes make you wait up to 5 seconds before it returns a route. We have a non-career employee who is regularly sent to the parcel area to “sort” city mail. She simply scans a parcel and then either asks a scheme clerk the route or hands it off to a scheme clerk to sort, either because the PASS doesn’t give a route for the package, or she can’t determine which route supplied by the system in the succession of routes named belongs to the parcel in hand. I’m also a bit dubious of Heather’s claim that she can look up addresses more quickly than a scheme clerk can sort. First thing that comes to mind is “Your scheme clerks don’t care and aren’t trying.” In the situations that we’re addressing here, my position will always be that an unskilled worker operating what is purported to be high level technology can never match the quality of work achieved by skilled workers conscientiously applying their abilities. Quantity, maybe. Quality, never.

    • I agree with you I’ve seen in my office when they bring in PSE’s to do the parcels when someone in our office is on vacation.It takes more time then when the regular is there.I would hate to see the on loose letters and flats looking them all up.This person is living in a dream world of how efficient they think they are or as you said they have some real lazy regulars who dont care anymore.

  9. Bad idea! Just opening the door for even more people who could not qualify, or have the integrity for the job! Bad enough they are making supervisors out of new hires with only a few months with the P.O.!

  10. the only reason i made career was because i was converted into a residual position at a station. thank god i didnt have to be scheme qualified and can now work days as a normal person!! (i can find the carrier on the chart faster then those who were scheme qualified.)

  11. Yes it will affect employees. Some local mous require that all bids must be reposted when schemes are removed.

    This so-called cost saving move will also make it easier to place non career employees in positions.

    Plus employees will be hard-pressed to complain about management working them out out of their bid.

  12. Old clerks know what schemes are like and had to pass, often several, when clerks had to be able to speak English and have an IQ above single digits

  13. My office just went through the rebidding of all jobs due to the new delivery standards. Many of the senior clerks would have opted for F4 jobs and hours if not for the city scheme requirement. In fact, the Local Union unsuccessfully negotiated with management to post non-scheme jobs for the exact reasons as stated in the article. If the scheme is being removed from these jobs, then the jobs should be reposted for the senior most clerks to consider. We now have clerks with 20 -30 years of service stuck on Tour 1 because they opted not to go through city scheme training, and clerks with 4-5 years on Tour 2 because they got the “left over” jobs with scheme. Taking scheme off of these jobs without reposting just doesn’t seem right.

    • Seniority only comes into focus when it’s something a “senior” person wants. If they don’t want it then they fight like hell NOT to be forced into that position. If you wanted it when it was up for bid then BID on it…if you didn’t and someone junior to you gets it then that’s the way it goes. You don’t get to choose everything you want. For God’s sake people grow up. You have a damn good job with benefits that any private employeed person would fight for. I’m so sick of “I’M SENIOR YOU CAN’T GIVE THAT JOB TO SOMEONE JUNIOR TO ME”~~~even though I didn’t bid on it~~I’m so tired of this line (go work in a private industry environment and let’s see how long YOU have a job)

    • If those clerks didn’t want to learn the scheme back then for better hours, they shouldn’t be rewarded now ! Yrs. Ago I bid a job with the hardest scheme on night shift , crappy days off, no one senior bid it or wanted it…..a few yrs later, I got a day shift job ahead of sr. People as next senior qualified, the people that didn’t want that suckey scheme or job were mad at me, really?

      • I feel for you, I’m in the same boat….closed the P&DC I’m in a “Best Qualified” bid (I’ve had for 9 years prior to plant closing. I have 27 years in and now the Jr. person here. Level 7 not effected by P&DC closing, kept my position while other senior people above me had to move 100 miles north. Of course those above me who lost their position now wanted mine. Didn’t happen…..and I’m the bad guy who took a job no one else wanted 9 years earlier?

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