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Friday, July 26, 2019

USPS Issues Craft Determination on the Enhanced Package Processing Sorter (EPPS)

  USPS Issues Craft Determination on the Enhanced Package Processing Sorter (EPPS)



In a letter dated July 12, 2019, the Postal Service issued their Craft Determination on the Enhanced Package Processing Sorter (EPPS). The EPPS is currently installed in 1 postal facility, and given its enormous size, is likely only to be added to at most a handful of locations.

The Postal Service has determined that, with the exception of the so-called supplemental induction stations, the induction and sweeping duties performed on the EPPS are most similar to those on the Automated Package Processing System or APPS. For the supplemental induction stations only, the Postal Service likens the EPPS to the Automated Parcel Bundle Sorter or APBS and the Small Parcel Sorting System or SPSS.

Read President Hogrogian's Memorandum to Local Presidents and the USPS National Craft Determination (pdf)

Reference: www.npmhu.org  

USPS Issues Craft Determination on the Universal Sorting System (USS)

  USPS Issues Craft Determination on the Universal Sorting System (USS)



In a letter dated July 12, 2019, the Postal Service issued its national craft determination for the USS or Universal Sorting System. The USS is currently in 8 postal facilities, with the Postal Service planning to add 15 more locations in the next year.

The Postal Service has determined that "the primary craft operation of the USS is the Mail Handler Craft." The actual number of employees required to perform the duties associated with the USS at any time will be determined based on local configuration and operational needs.

Read President Hogrogian's Memorandum to Local Presidents and the USPS National Craft Determination (pdf)

Reference: www.npmhu.org  

Friday, July 19, 2019

2019 Contract Update #3

 
2019 No. 3 - July 19, 2019 PDF
2019 Contract Update #3

You are reading the third Contract Update produced and distributed by the NPMHU during the course of 2019 negotiations. These updates, along with the Union’s magazine and monthly bulletins, will keep mail handlers throughout the country informed about the issues raised during this round of bargaining.

Bargaining is underway—at the time of this writing, the NPMHU has presented about half of its proposals, covering more than 40 pages of new or revised contract language, during Main Table meetings with the Postal Service. The Postal Service has stated they do not expect to introduce proposals of their own until later.

During July and August, the Union will continue meeting with postal management representatives several days per week. Some of these meetings are on-the-record, called “main Table” meetings, while others take place off the record in the form of smaller, informal subcommittees where focused discussions can be held at length. Subcommittees which have formed thus far focus on expanding coverage under Article 2, making adjustments to Article 8 on overtime, dealing with various issues concerning Mail Handler Assistants, and subcontracting as authorized under Article 32. Articles 12 and 15 also have warranted early-formed subcommittees, especially as Article 12 outlines the complexities of seniority, bidding, and reassignments, and Article 15 forms the foundation of our grievance and arbitration rights. Our intention in forming these subcommittees is to allow for open and frank discussions while upholding those aspects of the National Agreement that the NPMHU believes are most critical. There will certainly be other subcommittees formed as we progress through the remainder of both parties’ proposed changes.

Throughout this round’s on-the-record meetings, President Hogrogian has outlined the non-economic demands of the unit clearly and repeatedly. The NPMHU proposals this year relate to most of the Articles and Memoranda contained throughout the National Agreement. Piece-by-piece, the Union aims to improve protection for all our current members and the fruits of their labor. In the last round of bargaining in 2016, the Union presented over 100 proposals. This round, the National Office is honing its efforts on a smaller number of total proposals so that we can perfect those which are most urgent. Many things have changed in three years, and we are both reflecting and looking ahead in our decision making to protect and enhance the benefits that the Mail Handler workforce needs.

Ultimately, the NPMHU cannot know with precise certainty what will happen before the next round of contract renewal that is years away. The amendments we seek would increase the Union’s flexibility to weather any change.

Bargaining: What Happens in a Week?

The bargaining schedule is made up of formal, on-the-record meetings and less formal, off-the-record meetings. Main Table sessions are where all proposals are officially introduced by each party—under the ground rules for negotiations, no proposal can be considered until it has been presented to both sides in this formal setting. Meanwhile, subcommittees have been created—by mutual agreement—to address specific concerns more extensively.

In every round of bargaining, the smallest subcommittee group is focused on editing any cosmetic issues in the contract, such as amending typographical errors and ensuring that dates are updated to reflect the new contract cycle. The goal is to ensure that our National Agreement is as clear as possible for years to come. We will update you on subcommittee developments as bargaining progresses.

Altogether, even when meetings are scheduled two-to-four days a week, the negotiations schedule becomes a full-time endeavor. In addition to Main Tables and subcommittees, members of the NPMHU’s Contract Administration Department and legal team are collaborating and meeting continuously to draft and revise proposals, to research facts and arguments, and to ensure an efficient and productive bargaining process.

Reference: National Postal Mail Handlers Union  

Thursday, July 11, 2019

2019 Contract Update #2

 
2019 No. 2 – July 11, 2019 (pdf)
2019 Mail Handler Contract Update #2 (PDF) 2019 Contract Update #2
You are reading the second Contract Update produced and distributed by the NPMHU during the course of 2019 negotiations. These updates, along with the Union’s magazine and monthly bulletins, will keep mail handlers throughout the country informed about the issues raised during this round of bargaining.

In its first Contract Update, the NPMHU provided a brief overview of the bargaining process, with a focus on the opening session of June 27, 2019. To keep mail handlers informed about the negotiation process, here are more details about the controlling procedures.

The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 (PRA) continues to govern the way the U.S. Postal Service engages with the postal unions. Under the provisions of this law, bargaining generally progresses as follows:

Collective bargaining is initiated when one party to the contract serves the other a written notice of an attempt to modify the current agreement. Article 39 of our National Agreement requires this notice to be served “not less than 90 nor more than 120 days” before contract expiration. Note that our current contract is scheduled to expire on September 20, 2019, and the NPMHU thus notified the USPS about our desire to modify the contract in early June. The goal of both parties will be to agree in a timely manner, through good-faith negotiations, to changes to the existing contract proposed by one or both sides.

Should a tentative agreement be reached between the parties, it will then be subject to ratification in a vote (through mail ballot) by the membership of the NPMHU. If a tentative agreement is reached in September, the mail ballots would likely be distributed in October 2019. In the words of President Hogrogian during the opening of bargaining: “If management makes reasonable proposals and counterproposals at the bargaining table, we certainly will recommend ratification to our membership. We also hope for and expect the same attitude from postal management – that reasonable proposals from the Union will be met with acceptance.”

However, if the parties are unable to reach a tentative agreement to amend their contract, the PRA provides the parties with several pathways for moving forward. The most common course of action taken by the parties is to adopt dispute resolution procedures on their own. In the ground rules for 2019 bargaining, both parties agreed to have their respective lawyers discuss the adoption of dispute resolution procedures. If the parties cannot agree on these, then they must defer to the provisions in the PRA.

    The PRA procedure contains several steps, summarized here:

1. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) will establish a 3-person fact-finding panel. The NPMHU and USPS will each select a member from a list of 15 names provided by the FMCS. The third person will be jointly selected, or, if an agreement cannot be reached, by the Director of the FMCS. The fact-finding panel has 45 days in which to investigate the disputes of bargaining and issue a report of its findings.

2. Should an agreement not be reached after fact-finding, the PRA requires that an arbitration board be established within 90 days of the contract’s expiration. This board also typically consists of 3 members – one appointed by the Union, one by the Postal Service, and a neutral member. The neutral member is appointed either by agreement of the two other members, or by the Director of the FMCS in the case of disagreement.

3. The arbitration board holds a hearing in which both parties present evidence. It must make a decision 45 days after its appointment, unless mutualy extended. So, a final arbitration award would not be issued until at least 135 days after the contract expires—no earlier than February 2020. Arbitration decisions are “binding” and “conclusive,” meaning that both parties must accept them. This is why the NPMHU’s National President convenes a meeting of the Local Unions before even agreeing to enter the arbitration process.

Continue to watch your bulletin boards and the National website for the latest information.


Reference: National Postal Mail Handlers Union

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