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      Craft Determination, Single Induction Process Sorter(SIPS), Small Delivery unit Sorter (SDUS) (pdf)

      We enclose a copy of a November 14, 2022 letter, just received in the National Office, that sets forth the Postal Service’s determination of craft jurisdiction for employees operating the Single Induction Parcel Sorter (SIPS) and the Small Delivery Unit Sorter (SDUS).  The SIPS and SDUS are currently deployed throughout the country in both Function 1 and Function 4 facilities..

      As set forth in the attached letter, the Postal Service has determined that jurisdictional assignments on the SIPS and SDUS should be divided between the Mail Handler Craft and the Clerk Craft similar to the determination used for the Automated Delivery Unit Sorter (ADUS).  For those facilities in which Mail Handlers are present, mail handlers have been assigned in Function 1 (F1) operations to the staging of packages and equipment, to the sweeping of packages (removal of full containers and replacement with empty containers) including “sort plan switch out,” and to the transportation of full containers to dispatch.  A different rule has been established for Function 4 (F4) operations.

      Under the Update MOU, the National Office has precise deadlines for challenging this determination, for discussing the issues at the NDRC, and for appealing any remaining disputes to National arbitration.  The NPMHU will comply, to the extent necessary, with all of these procedures, which are reprinted here for ease of reference:

      12.    Either Union may initiate a dispute at the National level within twenty-one (21) calendar days from the date of receipt of a National craft determination made by the Postal Service; otherwise, that craft determination will be final and binding on the parties.  The NDRC shall have sixty (60) calendar days after receipt of the dispute to attempt to resolve the dispute.

      a. If the dispute is resolved, a tripartite settlement agreement will be signed by the three parties.

      b. If the dispute is unresolved at the end of the sixty (60) calendar day period, a tripartite decision will be written by the NDRC setting forth the position of each party.  The moving party may appeal the dispute to National RI-399 arbitration within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the receipt of the written decision of the NDRC.  Copies of the appeal must be provided to the other parties through the NDRC within the twenty-one (21) day timeframe.

      c. Disputes concerning National craft determinations may be initiated only at the National level.

      *    *   *

      f. Any National-level case disputing a craft jurisdictional determination will be arbitrated within six (6) months of the implementation of the determination.

      The National Office will begin the process of disputing the craft jurisdictions through the RI-399 Update MOU.

      Should you have any questions about this letter or its implementation in any particular facility, please contact the National CAD.  Please note that, as stated in the USPS letter, any ADUS machine that currently is operational should be adjusting assignments, if necessary, within 90 days from the November 14, 2022 date of the USPS letter, and this jurisdictional determination will go into effect no sooner than 45 days from the November 14, 2022 date of the USPS letter.

      National Arbitration Decision on Automated Delivery Unit Sorter (ADUS) (pdf)

      We are enclosing a copy of National Arbitrator Joseph Sharnoff’s long-awaited decision in the RI-399 jurisdictional dispute concerning the Automated Delivery Unit Sorter or ADUS.  The arbitrator has rejected the NPMHU’s attempt to correct the Postal Service’s ADUS determination, as well as the APWU’s attempt to expand its work jurisdiction. 

      At bottom, the arbitrator concluded that neither Union could meet the “heavy burden of proving” that the Postal Service had improperly exercised its discretion or had acted in a manner which was arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable when issuing its ADUS determination: 

      For all of the reasons discussed herein, the Arbitrator concludes that the claims made by each of the Unions, as noted above, have not been supported by sufficient evidence to meet the heavy burden of demonstrating that the craft determinations and related decisions made by the USPS with respect to the introduction of the ADUS machines was arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, or otherwise constituted an abuse of the discretion afforded the USPS by the RI-399 guidelines and principles to make craft determinations and the decisions related to the Implementation Criteria set forth in RI-399.  For these reasons, the respective claims made by each of the Unions are denied in all respects. 

      *   *   * 

      The Arbitrator concludes, for the reasons set forth above, that the USPS acted appropriately and within its right to exercise discretion in making craft determinations in accordance with the RI-399 guidelines and principles, and in a manner consistent with prior Jurisdictional Arbitration Awards and other relevant considerations including the Primary Work Designations – Operations and Functions listed in RI-399, in making the determination that the Mail Handlers were the Primary Craft designated for the work functions on the ADUS, nos. 1, 2, 5 and 7, each of which is subject to the single asterisk [quoted in the Opinion], and that the Clerks were the Primary Craft designated for work functions nos. 3, 4, and 6, the last subject to the double asterisk [quoted in the Opinion].  The Arbitrator finds that the USPS, in making these craft designations appropriately utilized the single asterisk for each Mail Handler work function and the double asterisk for work function 6, based on the operational requirements and other considerations in Function 1 – Plant Units as compared to those in Function 4 – Delivery Units. 

      One of the issues advanced by the NPMHU was the Postal Service’s failure to apply or even acknowledge the so-called Four-Hour Rule in its ADUS jurisdictional determination.  For that reason, Arbitrator Sharnoff also used his Award to discuss the four-hour rule that appears as Section B of the Implementation Criteria listed in RI-399.  To quote RI-399:  “Four (4) Hours Criteria, If there are four (4) or more hours of continuous work consisting of one or more work functions in one or more operations designated to the same primary craft, the performance of which should be assigned to an employee of that primary craft.” 

      Importantly, Sharnoff quoted testimony by the Postal Service’s NDRC Representative and witness Shannon Richardson, who acknowledged that, if a “facility had [three] hours of Mail Handler work loading/unloading trucks and installed a machine which involved two hours of Mail Handler duties, for a total of five ‘continuous’ hours, the facility would be required to employ a Mail Handler employee.”  In these circumstances, Sharnoff continued, the question “whether the requirements of the Four-Hour Criteria have been met, such that the employment and assignment of an employee in the Mail Handler Craft is required in a particular facility on a particular shift, necessarily is dependent upon the analysis and evaluation of the particular facts and circumstances involved in such facility on a particular shift or hours of operation on a shift,” possibly to include issues relating to efficient operations. 

      In so holding, Sharnoff stated that there was an insufficient evidentiary basis presented for the Arbitrator to make a national determination which would be applicable to the operation of all ADUS machines in all facilities, including all Function 1 and Function 4 Units, during all hours/shifts of operation.  At the same time, Sharnoff clearly held that there is no dispute that “the Four-Hour Rule, as one of the Implementation Criteria established in RI-399, Section II.B, constitutes a necessary consideration for the USPS in making work assignments on the ADUS at each facility, on each shift, and during all hours of operation, and that the USPS’s implementation of such work assignments, insofar as they depart from the primary craft designations for such duties set forth in the ADUS Craft Determination letter, are subject to consideration and review at the local level through the appropriate RI-399 procedures, if such assignment changes from the default craft designation are challenged by either Union.” 

      Should you have any questions about this decision, please contact the National CAD.  Also, please disseminate this memorandum and the attached decision as you deem appropriate.

      Memorandum to Local Presidents re: National Arbitration Decision: Article 32 and the Subcontracting of the Kansas City STC We are extremely pleased to announce that the NPMHU has prevailed in National arbitration concerning the Postal Service’s decision to subcontract Mail Handler work at the Kansas City Surface Transportation Center or STC.  A copy of the decision is attached.

      Memorandum of Understanding Re: Additional Mail Handler Staffing Q&As on the MOU: Re: Additional Mail Handler Staffing - June 26, 2022

      Attached to this memorandum is a new MOU signed by the NPMHU and the Postal Service to provide for additional Mail Handler staffing by converting 2702 Mail Handler Assistants to full-time regular career employment no later than September 10, 2022.  Also attached is a chart listing the 197  installations in which these conversions will take place and the number of conversions that will take place in each listed installation. The parties have also agreed in this MOU that the MHA peak season exception period for the 2022 peak season will be expanded by one (1) pay period.

      Additionally, the parties have agreed to a Joint Question and Answer document addressing and affirming the parties’ mutual understanding and interpretation of the provisions contained in this MOU, which is also attached.

      National Arbitration Decision on Universal Sorting System (USS) (pdf)

      We are pleased to report that the NPMHU has prevailed in its National RI-399 dispute concerning jurisdictional assignments on the Universal Sorting System or USS.

      In an award dated May 24, 2022, National Arbitrator Joseph Sharnoff concluded that the jurisdictional determination originally issued by the Postal Service in 2019 was consistent with the principles of RI-399, and that the Mail Handler Craft is the proper craft for performing all operations on the USS, including the reject keying station.  In a lengthy, 82-page decision, the Arbitrator agreed with the arguments presented by the NPMHU and the Postal Service, and rejected each argument put forward by the APWU.

      Here are some of the key paragraphs:

               The Arbitrator concludes, for the following reasons, that the APWU has failed to meet its heavy burden of proving that the USPS acted improperly and in a manner which has been demonstrated by the protesting Union to have been arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, and that the craft determination constituted an abuse of the USPS’s discretion with regard to its issuance of the Craft Jurisdiction Determination letter for the USS, dated July 12, 2019, in favor of the Mail Handler Craft for all positions on the USS, including the employees performing the dumping, singulating, keying, and removing/sweeping of parcels/packages from the USS, with the exception of the staffing of the “Scan Where You Band” operation when present, which work was awarded to the Clerk Craft, with allied work on that operation assigned to the Mail Handler Craft.

      *     *     *

      The Arbitrator, based on the above, finds that the USPS has demonstrated that the USPS, in evaluating relevant factors in the formulation of the craft determination for the USS, found highly significant that the USS was intended and designed for the purpose of processing NMOs, i.e., parcels/packages which could not be processed on other machines, such as the HSUS or LCUS. The Arbitrator recognizes, as did these USPS officials, that there remain some NMOs which exceed the dimensions of parcels/packages which can be processed on the USS and which, therefore, must be processed manually and that a significant amount of the parcels/packages processed on the USS includes priority mail and other smaller parcels which could be processed on the other machines but are dumped onto the USS and processed together with the larger NMOs which the USS was designed and intended to process.

      The Arbitrator notes that, in the Opinion and Award of Arbitrator Howard Gamser, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, and National Post Office, Mail Handlers, Watchmen, Messengers, and Group Leaders Division of the Laborers International Union of North America, AFL-CIO, Case No. AD-NAT- 1311, dated October 13, 1981, Arbitrator Gamser denied claims by the APWU regarding the assignment by the USPS of outside parcels and NMOs to the Mail Handler Craft. This Arbitrator notes that Arbitrator Gamser stated, with regard to the determination by the USPS in favor of the Mail Handler Craft as the primary craft for Function 4 or Operation 100: “manual distribution of parcel post, without scheme knowledge”. This Arbitrator notes that Arbitrator Gamser stated: “[i]n the past, it is true, much of the parcel post operation was worked by Clerks.” Arbitrator Gamser stated, “[w]ithout scheme knowledge presently being required, the rational[e] for making [the parcel post operation] a primary clerk assignment no longer exists.” Arbitrator Gamser concluded that the evidence presented did not support a finding of a national practice. Arbitrator Gamser also found, with respect to the handling of non-machinable outsides, that such packages, which are too large, bulky or heavy to be processed by machine:

      . . . are distributed, at present, through Bulk Mail Centers. The present method employed for their distribution does not require nor employ scheme knowledge. The testimony did indicate that such ‘parcels’ are brought to the distribution point by Mail Handlers and they are physically taken away by Mail Handlers. Requiring the intervention of a Clerk to direct the flow of such NMOs would interrupt the integration of such operations which may be achieved by having the same individuals handle the whole process of non-scheme NMO sortation.

      Finally, this USS Award by Arbitrator Sharnoff contains several other rulings that should prove useful in future jurisdictional disputes.  For example, the award contains extensive comments on the keying function performed by Mail Handler employees for rejected parcels on the USS.  Similarly, the award concludes that the placement of parcels from the USS into appropriate containers matching the Zip Codes on each parcel – when completed by Mail Handlers without exercising any scheme knowledge – is appropriate sweeping of the USS that was appropriately assigned to the Mail Handler craft.

      Attached is a full copy of the Sharnoff Award on USS jurisdiction.

      Please disseminate this information as widely as you deem appropriate, and please do not hesitate to contact the National Office should you have any questions.

      Memorandum of Understanding Re: Additional Mail Handler Staffing &
      Q&As on the MOU: Re: Additional Mail Handler Staffing - June 26, 2022 (pdf)

      Attached to this letter is a new MOU signed by the NPMHU and the Postal Service to provide for additional Mail Handler staffing by converting 230 Mail Handler Assistants to full-time regular career employment no later than July 22, 2022.  Also attached is a chart listing the 17 installations in which these conversions will take place and the number of conversions that will take place in each listed installation.

      Additionally, the parties have agreed to a Joint Question and Answer document addressing and affirming the parties’ mutual understanding and interpretation of the provisions contained in this MOU, which is also attached.

      A copy of these documents will also be posted on the NPMHU website.  Please do not hesitate to contact the National CAD should you have any questions.

      Washington, D.C. (April 6, 2022) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement (pdf)

      LIUNA commends Congress and President Biden on passage of the Postal Service Reform Act into law, which will bring the Postal Service a step closer to fiscal stability and ensure greater security for the tens of thousands of Mail Handlers, who are members of LIUNA’s sister union, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU). The successful passage of this critical legislation is thanks to the tireless advocacy and determination of NPMHU National President Paul V. Hogrogian, the NPMHU National Executive Board, and all of the unions representing postal workers.

      Over a decade of advocacy in the making, the Postal Service Reform Act will repeal the onerous 2006 mandate requiring the Postal Service to pre-fund its retiree healthcare benefits. No other private sector business or federal agency uses this practice, which has caused losses of $5 billion annually for over a decade. Second, it provides Medicare integration for future postal retirees and their annuitants. Most postal retirees already participate in Medicare, and postal employees have contributed $34 billion to the program since 1983. USPS estimates that integration combined with the repeal of the pre-funding mandate will generate savings of $40 billion over ten years.

      Additionally, the Postal Service Reform Act helps to stabilize service and provide avenues for revenue growth by codifying six-day delivery service and allowing USPS to make agreements to provide non-commercial services. The bill will also give greater transparency to postal customers to ensure that service meets the demands of American households and businesses.

      LIUNA commends Congress and President Biden for recognizing the value of the Postal Service and its dedicated workforce by taking these crucial steps to protect this vital institution.

      The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build the United States and Canada.

      The National Postal Mail Handlers Union and its allies have worked for well over a decade to bring comprehensive, bipartisan postal reform to the halls of Congress. This work resulted in the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, H.R. 3076. As my NPMHU brothers and sisters remember, the bill passed with overwhelming support in the House of Representatives by a vote of 342-92 on February 8. The Senate followed suit, and passed it on March 8, with 79 Senators voting in favor of it.

      The Postal Service Reform Act repeals the burdensome 2006 mandate for the USPS to prefund its retiree healthcare benefits and aligns retiree healthcare with the best practices in the private sector that lower premiums for NPMHU members and our fellow postal employees as well as safeguarding benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the legislation will save the federal government over $1.5 billion over the next ten years.

      Senators Gary Peters and Rob Portman worked tirelessly and fervently with Democratic and Republican members alike to reach consensus on this important and necessary legislation. I am grateful for their work, as well as that of Representatives Carolyn Maloney and James Comer, who ushered H.R. 3076 through the House.

      I look forward to President Biden signing this bill into law, and providing the Postal Service with much needed fiscal stability.

      Statement of National President Paul V. Hogrogian on the Senate Passage of the Postal Service Reform Act (pdf)

      Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) set at $1,331 Effective February 26, 2022 (Pay Period 06-2022), all career Mail Handler craft employees are scheduled to receive a cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment as outlined in Article 9.3 of the 2019 National Agreement. This is the fifth of six possible COLA increases under the terms of the current agreement.

      Following years of debate to build consensus, it is time to pass this vital and carefully constructed legislation, a bipartisan compromise bill that will bring financial stability to the Postal Service.

      The legislation includes key provisions of importance to the men and women who are the backbone of the Postal Service. First, H.R. 3076 eliminates the mandate that the Postal Service pre-fund its retiree health care benefits decades in advance, a requirement asked of no other public or private agency. Second, this legislation adopts private-sector best practice by maximizing the integration of postal annuitants into Medicare—a program to which the Postal Service and its workers have contributed more than $34 billion.

      Additionally, the legislation benefits the public by codifying the mandate to provide six-day mail delivery, which has been required by an Appropriation rider since the 1980s. Some 159 million business and residential customers rely on six-day delivery.

      The Postal Service is a vital public institution, self-sustaining and non-taxpayer-funded. Enactment of this legislation will restore and strengthen its financial stability, allowing it to improve service and respond to the evolving needs of American businesses and the families it serves.

      Add Your Name: Pass H.R. 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act, in the Senate


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