Seniority Concerns?

The following letter was attached to a petition that has been circulated within the Portland Installation.  It has been re-written here exactly as it was presented to the employees who signed.

 

To Whom It May Concern:

We currently work in the Portland District and we are having some restructuring happen here.  However, it appears that there is some inconsistency in this restructuring. Please allow me to explain.

A number of years ago, there were two facilities that had been set up in the Portland area, but neither one was assigned to the Portland District.  Their names were Sunset and Mt. Hood. A few years ago, Sunset was disbanded and the people working there were absorbed into the Portland District. At that time, all the employees in Sunset were “transferred” to Portland and placed at the bottom of the seniority roster.  This was agreed to by both the APWU and the USPS as the correct manner in which to handle this manner.

Currently, we are, again, shuffling the Mt. Hood employees into the Portland District. As per past activities, they should be “transferred” to Portland and placed at the bottom of the seniority roster.  However, the APWU is planning on shuffling them into the seniority roster with their current dates.

Some are saying this is to protect a APWU official, and some say it is to protect a APWU official’s girlfriend.  I do not know, nor do I care. My concern is that the Mt. Hood people are being afforded preferential treatment. If it was correct to “transfer” the Sunset people to the bottom of the list, then it is equally correct to “transfer” the Mt. Hood people in exactly the same fashion.

I, and all the others that have signed this paper, are requesting that Mt. Hood be treated the same as Sunset and be “transferred” into their proper standing in the Portland District.

Thank you,

This petition has not been provided to the Portland Oregon Area Local by the author or any of those who signed it.  The Local received a copy from a shop steward when it was first being circulated. Having received that copy, I went to the PACC  and discussed the issue with the clerk who claims to have authored the petition. Nothing more was heard of this until June 27, 2018. On June 27, a letter from the National APWU was received at the local office with eight copies of the petition.  The petitions were sent to the National President of the APWU, and as far as I know with no further discussion with the local officers.

Let us get some facts straight:

Sunset DDC was discontinued in accordance with Art. 12.5.C.1 of our contract with the USPS.

Mt. Hood P&DC was consolidated in accordance with Art. 12.5.C.2 of our contract with the USPS.

No local union officer or steward has brought the issue of Mt. Hood P&DC, Sunset DDC and Portland installations seniority or this petition to any executive board, executive council or membership meeting.

Some of the signers of the petition are not members of the APWU and do not have a voice or vote.

Some of the signers of the petition are mailhandlers, who are not members of the APWU and do not have a voice or vote.

The petition refers to the “Portland District.”.  The Portland District includes all of Oregon and SW Washington.  I believe that when the author was referring to the Portland District, the proper reference should have been the Portland Installation.  Sunset DDC, Mt. Hood P&DC, and Portland were separate installations in the Portland District. They are all now the Portland Installation inside the Portland District.

When I spoke with the author, I asked for a few clarifications and provided some evidence and facts.  The author stated they did not know the names of the “APWU official” or “APWU officials girlfriend” referred to in the letter.  The author did not know the names, and could not provide any evidence that this was true, yet chose to include it in the petition with a claim of “I do not know, nor do I care”.

The evidence I provided to the author included copies of our contract with the USPS that determines how mail processing facilities are consolidated and discontinued and how seniority is determined when these actions take place.  I provided a copy of the Sunset DDC seniority roster, prior to the discontinuance of that installation. I provided a portion of the Portland seniority roster, showing that the Sunset employees who were involuntarily reassigned, not transferred, into Portland, carried their seniority with them.

The petition states “At that time, all the employees in Sunset were “transferred” to Portland and placed at the bottom of the seniority roster.”  The employees were not transferred, they were involuntarily reassigned.  Some may have been placed at the bottom simply based on their seniority, some were PTF’s at Sunset DDC, but the employees who were involuntarily reassigned, not transferred, to Portland came, and were placed, with their Sunset DDC seniority and is evidenced by the seniority rosters of both installations.  

The petition states “However, the APWU is planning on shuffling them into the seniority roster with their current dates.”   The APWU and the USPS have, and are, in constant discussion of the appropriate application of seniority in accordance with the contract.  The APWU has, and will continue to, enforce our contract and ensure that the language of the contract is followed. The Articles and sections that pertain to seniority in the clerk craft during the consolidation of installations were provided to the author of the petition.

Art. 12.5.C.1.b Involuntary reassignment of full-time employees with their seniority for duty assignments to vacancies in the same or lower level in the same craft or occupational group in installations within 100 miles (Portland) of the of the discontinued installation (Sunset),….

Article 12.5.C.2.a  “When an independent postal installation (Mt. Hood P&DC) is consolidated with another postal installation (Portland), each full-time or part-time flexible employee shall be involuntarily reassigned to the continuing installation without loss of seniority in the employee’s craft or occupational group.    

We are willing to provide evidence and explain the how’s and why’s of seniority during an involuntary reassignment/excessing event to any member. I would refer any members who have concerns, call the local office, come to a local membership meeting, read Art. 12, sections 4 and 5, and Art. 37, Section 2 of our contract and the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual, both available at the local office, with your steward or at apwu.org.

I fully understand that change is hard.  I understand that many employees are concerned with where they are on the seniority roster.  I ask that the membership have the discussion with me, Vice-President Bill Martin or any of the craft directors.  We are the APWU representatives that are meeting with the service on a regular basis. We are willing to provide evidence and explain the how’s and why’s of seniority during an involuntary reassignment/excessing event to any member.  The suggestion that any of our representatives would abuse their positions to protect a steward or a steward’s girlfriend by violating the contract or through the manipulation of contract language at the expense of all people represented by the APWU is simply offensive to all who uphold our contract.

Joe Cogan-President

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