American Postal Workers Union representing Portland, Astoria, Aurora, Banks, Battleground, Beaverton, Boring, Brush Prairie, Canby, Columbia City, Estacada, Gladstone, Gresham, Hillsboro, Kelso, Lake Oswego, Longview, Marylhurst, McMinnville, Moro, Mosier, Newberg, Oregon City, Rufus, St Helens, Sherwood, The Dalles, Troutdale, Tualatin, Wasco, West Linn, Wilsonville, Woodburn, Woodland
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The APWU was notified by the USPS that they will be attempting, again, to take your “Postal Pulse!” The survey period is schedule from May 11, 2021 to June 11, 2021. We must once again clearly state our objections. Do not let the Postal Service take your Pulse!
Postal employees can expect to have postcards promoting the Postal Pulse survey sent to their homes. Copies of the survey will be sent to employees at work and home. Employees with regular access to usps.gov email addresses will be blitzed with messages to take the survey. Messaging monitors, bulletin boards, etc. will make sure you see something from the Postal Service encouraging you to participate every day during the survey period.
Management may hold “stand up talks” to push the survey on employees. Some supervisors and managers may even insist employees take the survey. You are not required to take the survey and you cannot be forced to take the survey!
Why does management even pretend to care or how you answer the survey? Local supervisors and managers are not rewarded for how well they score on a survey, but for how many people take the survey. Even if you do the survey and answer every question as negatively as allowed, your “participation” counts the same as the employee who gives them a perfect score. Remember, even if you send in a blank survey—that is considered a “participated” survey!
“The surveying of employees has been going on for years,” said Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman. “Has it led to improvements at worksites? Has it led to better wages, hours, or working conditions? The answer is simply no. Management is still cutting staffing, they are still demanding postal workers work faster and harder with less resources.”
How about the new Emergency Federal Employee Leave? Are your direct supervisors and management being understanding? Are they helping to approve your leave or does it seem the answer is always “denied” when you apply? The Postal Pulse will not help solve these issues and has not solved the issues for years. Only union negotiating, filing grievances, and fighting for adherence to our contract has improved our wages, hours, and working conditions.
Management Routinely Uses Surveys Against Workers
The Postal Service in the past has used the surveys to argue in arbitration to cut your wages and benefits. In the past postal management asked 27 questions in this survey. The first 26 was about listening to you and making the workplace better while the 27th question was about your wages and benefits. They took the first 26 questions and ignored them. They then used the 27th question against the employees in interest arbitration.
And now, in 2021, the survey is being pushed immediately before the APWU will begin contract negotiations with the Postal Service to establish a contract. Will the Postal Service use the Postal Pulse against the APWU in negotiations? That is a question that must be pondered.
“I implore all postal workers to not assist management in stripping your pay, benefits, and working conditions by participating in the survey,” said Director Zimmerman. “Stand with your union and boycott the surveys!”
Only collectively demanding compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and speaking together with one voice, will we force management to change their ways. Stand united – and do not be fooled by these “Trojan horse” initiatives, created to divide us.
Management may also ask people to join focus groups and participate in management-initiated events to make the workplace more “engaging” or more “efficient.” These are not sanctioned nor approved by the union. They were not negotiated and use of them violates the union’s right as the sole representative of the bargaining unit employees under Article 1. Do not give in to the cheap participation incentives like pizza, gold stars, or pictures in magazines to get you to participate. Survey participation does not benefit you. It only benefits management.
We have a negotiated grievance process and a negotiated labor-management cooperation process to address workplace issues. Management needs to be following our contract, dealing with the grievances already filed and making sure hostile frontline supervisors are dealt with. Your union knows the “pulse” of those we represent. If a local supervisor or manager cannot see the problems without a survey, then they are part of the problem.
Today, Postal Service management issued a 10-year plan they are calling Delivering for America. The plan lays out a number of steps management hopes to take to bridge the projected $160 billion financial shortfall projected over the next ten years. There are elements of this plan the APWU will support and there elements of the plan we will oppose.
For generations, postal workers and the United States Postal Service have fulfilled the postal mission of “binding the Nation together” by providing the “prompt, reliable and efficient” services the law requires. Postal workers are justifiably proud of our commitment to service and our role in connecting every home, business and civic institution in the country.
Our experience of the past year amidst the pandemic has only underscored the essential role the Postal Service plays in every community across the country. However, the Postal Service is at a critical juncture and the future of the Service itself, hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining postal jobs and a critical national institution, lay in the balance. The Postal Service’s finances, squeezed by more than a decade of a congressionally-manufactured crisis and a lack of much-needed investment in people, processes and equipment, are in a dire state. On-time mail delivery is at unprecedented and unacceptable low levels.
It is no exaggeration that the future of our national treasure, the public Postal Service, will be determined by the actions of Congress, the Postal Service, postal workers and the mailing public in the months to come.
Some elements of the plan are welcome proposals which reflect the enormous dedication of postal workers and the Postal Service’s unrivaled network and its unmatched presence in communities across the country. We share management’s optimism in the Postal Service’s potential to grow new lines of business, capitalize on the booming package market, connect everyone more closely with all levels of government, and to increase and improve services offered to business and household mailers alike.
The APWU will continue to work to ensure the Postal Service succeeds in expanding and enhancing service to the public. We welcome those proposals in the plan and will also continue to advocate for other enhanced services, like expanding postal financial services.
There are parts of the plan that raise deep concerns to the APWU and our members. At a time that the public is demanding faster delivery of mail and packages, proposals that would slow the mail and reduce retail services – such as changing service standards, plant consolidations and reducing operating hours at post offices – will only have a negative effect on postal workers and the public. We will proactively engage with management, the PRC, Congress and the public to address areas of concern and defend the jobs and living standards of APWU members. As always, the APWU is united with the people of the country in our demand for prompt, reliable and universal postal services.
The APWU considers management’s introduction of the plan an opportunity to debate and discuss the future of the United States Postal Service and the jobs and livelihoods of the postal workers who make it the most trusted agency in America. We have a vision for the future of the Postal Service that shares some of the proposals in this plan, and departs from it in other areas.
Above all else, the plan underscores the urgent need for Congress to act swiftly and boldly to provide the Postal Service with critically-needed relief from the financial constraints of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, funding to make the Postal Service whole from COVID-related losses and funding to allow the Postal Service to invest in the people and infrastructure needed to improve and expand postal services for generations to come. The last year has emphasized the vital role of reliable, speedy and universal postal services for all communities. Congress has an important role to ensure the Postal Service and postal workers have the resources needed to deliver on our promise to the public.
The American Postal Workers Union will continue to advocate for postal workers and the people of the country who rely on the essential service we proudly provide each and every day.
SELS is the pilot project system that was implemented in the Portland Oregon P&DC in January 2021. Commonly referred to by the employees at the Plant as “the tracking system”. In October of 2019 the USPS put out a standard operating procedure (SOP) manual. At that time, the USPS stated the reasons for this system is “to improve processing operations, automatically capture operational zone work hours, and to locate high value competitive products within mail handling and processing environments”.
The 2019 SOP claims that the Electronic Badge Readers or EBR’s (Time Clocks) that are currently in use are nearing a point of needing replacement. The badges/tags issued will be used in conjunction with timecards during this pilot program. Allegedly the buttons on the badges will be able to call a supervisor or maintenance. I have yet to speak with a member who has been given instructions on how to use the badge for those purposes and do not believe that the Portland tags are able at this time. The service has stated that this system will not be used for disciplinary purposes, does not generate, store or use “Personally Identifiable Information”, and that bathrooms and administrative offices will be left out.
The APWU has submitted a dispute regarding SELS at the national level. Lamont Brooks, Director, Clerk Craft Division requested information (RFI) that resulted in answers to 48 questions submitted by the APWU.
Question #8. Can there be any discipline issued to APWU represented bargaining unit employees as a direct and/or indirect finding, related to sensor technology? USPS Response: This is still a proof of concept. No disciplinary actions will be taken at this time.
Question #12. What information is being captured on the sensors/tags during the pilot?
USPS Response: The sensor tags being used in the SELS pilot do not currently have the ability to capture and store information. The sensor technology system tracs items such a battery performance, button press, zone presence accuracy and precision, durability, sensor enabled calculated work hours, and the location of high value assets.
The SOP and RFI for the pilot project have been provided to the stewards at the Portland P&DC. A local request for information for Motor Vehicle Services has been submitted. Contact the local office or a steward if you have any questions.
Except as designated in labor agreements for bargaining unit employees or in emergency situations as determined by the postmaster general (or designee), employees may not be required to work more than 12 hours in 1 service day. In addition, the total hours of daily service, including scheduled workhours, overtime, and mealtime, may not be extended over a period longer than 12 consecutive hours. Postmasters and exempt employees are excluded from these provisions.
434.11 General In emergencies or as the needs of the service require, the postmaster or installation head may require employees to perform work that is in excess of 8 paid hours in a day or 40 paid hours in a week. a. The overtime limits in 432.32 may not be exceeded.
Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM)
The overtime limits in Article 8.5.G apply only to full-time regulars and full-time flexible employees. However, Part 432.32 of the Employee & Labor Relations Manual (ELM) provides the following rule: Except as designated in labor agreements for bargaining unit employees or in emergency situations as determined by the PMG (or designee), part-time flexible employees may not be required to work more than twelve hours in one service day. In addition, the total hours of daily service, including scheduled work hours, overtime, and mealtime, may not be extended over a period longer than twelve consecutive hours. Because the above referenced regulation limits total daily service time to twelve hours, including work and mealtime, an employee is effectively limited to twelve hours (minus mealtime) per day of work. The collective bargaining agreement creates exceptions to the general rule established under ELM 432.32. The only exception to this rule in the APWU National Agreement is for full-time employees on the overtime desired list who, in accordance with Article 8.5.G, “may be required to work up to twelve hours in a day.” Since “work” does not include mealtime within the meaning of Article 8.5.G, the “total hours of daily service” for full-time employees on the overtime desired list may extend over a period of twelve hours plus mealtime. This exception does not apply to full-time regulars who are not on the overtime desired list. The restrictions of Section 432.32 of the ELM also apply to Postal Support Employees.
Our original intent was to post the latest information regarding our upcoming membership meetings. After having had four recent reports of positive Covid-19 tests in offices that our local represents and speaking with a member who has been quarantined, that information can wait. We had very few cases of positive Covid-19 tests in the Portland District up until recently. We believe we are now in excess of 20 cases.
We spoke with one of our members who is now in quarantine. Through no fault of their own this member is now at home, awaiting a test to see if they contracted the virus. It is our understanding that the employee who tested positive was not interested in wearing a mask while at work and did not follow the instructions of our employer. The instruction is, masks must be worn when at work. No matter your position on the virus or masks, we ask that you put yourselves in the shoes of your co-workers. Put yourself in the shoes of a co-worker who may be at risk and finds out that another co-worker has tested positive. Consider how you would feel if you became exposed by a co-worker who came to work sick and/or chose not to wear a mask. Please, if you are sick, STAY HOME! Wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash your hands frequently. Your Union has been able to negotiate several agreements that can help with employees taking leave during the current pandemic in which we currently live. We must continue to look out for our sisters and brothers.
September Membership meeting shall be held via Zoom. Details will be posted here soon.
We have been fighting to save the Postal Service for years. From Stop Staples to US MAIL NOT FOR SALE, we have been hard at work spreading the word to protect this vital service to the American People and to protect our livelihood
We are in dire straights – with predictions coming that the USPS could run out of money in as little as a few months. If you have not already done so, please sign the letter to Congress.
In Oregon we are fortunate that many of our congressional representatives are steadfast supporters. This letter gives those steadfast supporters solid backing.
In addition, please share the message far and wide with your family, friends, and social media networks, and most importantly, get your co-workers on the workroom floor to do the same.
All members of Congress, including those that already love us, need to hear our urgent message.
Add your name. Email Congress now. Here is a direct link:
Our local executive board would like to take the opportunity to thank every APWU member and all Postal Workers for the work you are doing during the COVID-19 crisis. No matter what your craft, you are making a difference during these uncertain times. Clerk, Motor Vehicle Service, Maintenance, Carrier, Rural Carrier or Mail Handler, all are contributing to keep the citizens of the country informed and supplied with necessary medicines, pay checks and supplies that allow them to stay home. There is no doubt many citizens of this country are contributing at different levels. Doctors, nurses, emergency response workers, grocery clerks and others are showing great courage and unselfishness. While we hear of their efforts the employees of the USPS are often forgotten. There is no doubt that you are contributing. You are showing courage and unselfishness.
With more and more Postal Workers testing positive for COVID-19, you are continuing to step up. Our brothers and sisters in the maintenance craft, and sometimes from other crafts, are cleaning our offices. The importance of us working in a clean, sterile and safe workplace is more evident than ever. This group is tasked with cleaning and disinfecting so we can work in safe environments.
Maintenance employees are keeping our machines running and our buildings operating. Clerks are processing mail, MVS workers transport the mail and carriers are delivering so we can continue to serve our customers. Our Sales and Service Associates are out front assisting our customers in a position that may be the most COVID-19 exposed job in the Postal Service.
What a different time we are living in today. Please take care of each other. Consider exchanging phone numbers and committing to report any COVID-19 symptoms to each other and management. If you have symptoms, don’t wait for management, USPS nurses or doctors. Take care of yourself, your family and friends. Stay Home, Save Lives. We will continue to keep you informed. Let us know if one of your coworkers is going above and beyond.
We are proud to call you our brothers and sisters. We are honored to represent you. We are humbled by your service. Stay safe!