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.
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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.
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.
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.
After more than a decade of working with our union brothers and sisters, postal management, Democrats, and Republicans, the NPMHU is pleased to announce that the House of Representatives passed the Postal Service Reform Act, H.R. 3076, on February 8, 2022.
Because of dedicated and collaborative work between and among stakeholders, we are now one step closer to fiscal stability for the United States Postal Service.
While the bill is narrow in scope, it addresses the largest financial burdens of the USPS.
First, it repeals the 2006 mandate requiring the Postal Service to prefund its retiree healthcare benefits. No other private sector business or federal agency uses this practice, and it is the cause of annual losses of $5 billion a year for over a decade. In the 116th Congress, members of the House passed a standalone bill to address this onerous issue.
Second, it provides Medicare integration for future postal retirees and their annuitants. The majority of postal retirees already participate in Medicare, and postal employees have contributed $34 billion to the program since 1983. USPS estimates integration as well as the repeal of the prefunding mandate would generate savings of $40 billion over ten years.
Additionally, H.R. 3076 helps to stabilize service and provide avenues for revenue growth by codifying six-day delivery and allowing for agreements with state, local, and tribal governments to provide noncommercial services. Furthermore, the bill offers greater transparency to postal customers to ensure that service meets the demands of American households and businesses.
This bill does not fix every problem with the Postal Service. But it shows the dedicated work of elected officials, recognizing the value of the Postal Service and its dedicated workforce.
I urge the Senate to now act, and take up the House-passed legislation, to protect the viability of this invaluable institution.
The NPMHU National office sent a letter to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, letting them know of our support, and they also sent a joint letter with the other Postal Unions to members of the House asking them to vote yes on this important legislation.
As you are aware, H.R. 3076 would repeal the mandate for USPS to prefund its retiree healthcare benefits; require future retirees to enroll in Medicare when eligible; codify six-day delivery; and, offer greater transparency on operations. It is estimated the legislation would create a savings of $458 million over the next ten years.
We ask you to reach out to your representatives, let them know you support this legislation, and they should vote “YES” next week.
You can find a prepared letter at the NPMHU Action center, https://npmhu.quorum.us/, with this message. Please share this request and link with your local members and encourage them to participate as soon as possible since it’s such a tight schedule.
While participating in these grassroots efforts, please keep in mind the restrictions that are imposed by the Hatch Act. Postal and federal employees are allowed to participate in a wide range of political activities. However, no political activity can be done while on postal property or on postal time. This includes using the NPMHU Action Center.
As complete resolution of the case, the Parties agreed that the Safety Ambassador program will be discontinued. Formal notification of the discontinuation will be provided to the NPMHU by Labor Relations, Policies and Programs. In addition, all materials concerning the Safety Ambassador Program will be removed from circulation.
- MOU – Temporary Expanded Sick Leave for Dependent Care During COVID – 19
- MOU – Temporary Exception Period – COVID – 19 * Revised March 19, 2021
- Liberal Changes of Schedule and Leave Letter dated March 23, 2020.
- MOU – Temporary Additional Leave for MHAs – Newly hired MHAs, hired after the signing of this agreement, will be permitted to use up to 80 hours of paid leave for the reasons provided for in the original March 18, 2020 MOU – Temporary Paid Leave for MHAs, it does not provide an additional 80 hours for existing MHAs. Those MHAs already hired prior to the signing of this extension who only used a portion or none of the 80 hours leave from the original MOU, will be entitled to utilize the remainder of the 80 hours that was left over.
- Re: Reappointment Opportunities for MHAs Separated for Lack of Work** Revised December 20, 2021
- Temporary Extension on Step 3 and Arbitration Appeals