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APWU,USPS Announce Freeze on Excessing While Contract Talks Continue

The APWU and the Postal Service have agreed to a freeze on excessing while contract negotiations continue, union President Cliff Guffey has announced. “Throughout the bargaining process, the APWU has sought to negotiate a contract that would protect jobs and lessen the pain of excessing for our members. We are pursuing those goals,” he said.

In the meantime, the moratorium on excessing is a demonstration of good faith that will make the holidays a lot brighter for many of our members,” Guffey said. “The freeze will remain in effect as long as bargaining continues, and will apply to excessing outside of a craft or installation.”

Such excessing was imminent in hundreds of locations, and would have affected thousands of employees. The excessing will be halted at all sites while bargaining goes on, the union president said.

“Union negotiators will persevere in our efforts to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that meets our long-term goals,” Guffey added. “We have been working diligently to reach an agreement that will benefit postal workers and the Postal Service. We will continue our efforts until we reach a settlement – or it becomes clear that an agreement cannot be reached. If we conclude that a contract is not within our grasp, we are prepared to proceed to arbitration.

“One of our top priorities is to restore work that has been contracted out or assigned to supervisory personnel. This would bring stability to APWU members who have suffered severe hardships due to long-distance reassignments caused by excessing,” he said.

“The proposals we have submitted to achieve this objective also would benefit the Postal Service,” Guffey said. “Our proposals would save the USPS money, because our members can perform these duties more efficiently and less expensively.”

In addition to job security and alleviating the pain of excessing, the parties are discussing wages, benefits and issues related to workforce structure.

Mediation, Arbitration

The contract was originally scheduled to expire Nov. 20, but the union and management extended the deadline. The 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in effect until a new agreement is reached through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.

Under the terms of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, if the union and management fail to reach agreement on a successor contract and do not agree on an alternate procedure, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) appoints a mediator. If a settlement is not reached within 60 days of the expiration of the contract, both parties submit all outstanding issues to binding arbitration.

If arbitration becomes necessary, the APWU will appoint an arbitrator, as will the USPS. The two party-appointed arbitrators will work with a neutral arbitrator to ensure that each side’s interests are clearly understood.

“The APWU will continue our efforts to negotiate a contract that benefits postal workers and the Postal Service,” Guffey said. “I ask union members for their continued support as this process unfolds.”

The APWU will continue to provide frequent updates regarding the status of collective bargaining. For the latest developments, please visit www.apwu.org. Members are also encouraged to follow the union on Twitter and Facebook to receive up-to-the-minute alerts by e-mail or text message.


 Re: Excessing

In recognition of the parties’ efforts to respond to the need to reposition the workforce by jointly seeking an approach that is consistent with the principles of minimizing employee dislocation, consistent with the needs of the service, it is agreed that the Postal Service will petition the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for the purpose of implementing Section 8336(d)(2) (voluntary early retirement -CSRS) and Section 8414 (b)(l)(B) (voluntary early retirement - FERS) of Title 5, United States Code for all eligible APWU represented employees, subject to the limitations imposed by OPM. The Postal Service will petition OPM no later than February 1, 2003 and the union will be provided a copy of the petition request.

The Postal Service will place a temporary moratorium on excessing and the reassignment of employees through May 15, 2003. The plan to consolidate installations will be provided to the union in December 2002. This moratorium will not apply to current or future excessings and reassignments, where the APWU and the affected employees receive notice in accordance with Article 12 of the 2000 National Agreement, provided that the impacted employees will be reassigned within the local commuting area of their installation (a 50 mile radius). If a need still exists to reassign employees after termination of the moratorium, employees given notice of reassignment pursuant to Article 12 prior to the date of this agreement will be reassigned.

In light of the need to prepare for the possibility of employee reassignment, the parties agree that the Postal Service will immediately begin withholding all residual vacancies. The need for withholding these residual vacancies is provided by the consolidation plan and recognized pursuant to this memorandum.

Any disputes arising out of this memorandum will be handled in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding Re: Administrative Disputes Resolution Procedures . This memorandum expires for all purposes on November 20,2005.

download PDF file of APWU/USPS excessing and ADRP MOUs prepared by Don Cheney

Moratorium on Excessing Extended

Having failed in a timely manner to provide the APWU with a list of USPS facilities that are to be consolidated or closed, the Postal Service has agreed to extend the moratorium on excessing beyond May 31. The deadline for providing the finalized list of plant consolidations was Dec. 31, 2002. This target date had been set by the two-year contract extension.

With its failure to meet its contractual obligation to let APWU members know which plants are slated for consolidation, the Postal Service has agreed to extend the moratorium on excessing proportionally with the delay in providing the list of consolidations and closings.

In a related matter also covered under the extended agreement, management is obliged to petition the Office of Personnel Management for early retirement opportunities by Feb. 1.

In effect since Dec. 19, the contract extension was formally signed by both parties on Jan.16.

(source: APWU )


Re: Layoff Protection
Each employee who is employed in the regular work force as of November 20, 2000, and who has not acquired the protection provided under Article 6 shall be protected henceforth against any involuntary layoff or force reduction during the term of this Agreement. It is the intent of this Memorandum of Understanding to provide job security to each such employee during the term of this Agreement; however, in the event Congress repeals or significantly relaxes the Private Express Statutes this Memorandum shall expire upon the enactment of such legislation. In addition, nothing in this Memorandum of Understanding shall diminish the rights of any bargaining-unit employees under Article 6.

Since this Memorandum of Understanding is being entered into on a nonprecedential basis, it shall terminate for all purposes at midnight, November 20, 2005, and may not be cited or used in any subsequent dispute resolution proceedings.



(1) Each employee who is employed in the regular work force as of the date of the Award of Arbitrator James J. Healy, September 15, 1978, shall be protected henceforth against any involuntary layoff or force reduction.

It is the intent of this provision to provide security to each such employee during his or her work lifetime.

Members of the regular work force, as defined in Article 7 of the Agreement, include full-time regulars, part-time employees assigned to regular schedules and part-time employees assigned to flexible schedules.

(2) Employees who become members of the regular work force after the date of this Award, September 15, 1978, shall be provided the same protection afforded under (1) above on completion of six years of continuous service and having worked in at least 20 pay periods during each of the six years.

(3) With respect to employees hired into the regular work force after the date of this Award and who have not acquired the protection provided under (2) above, the Employer shall have the right to effect layoffs for lack of work or for other legitimate reasons. This right may be exercised in lieu of reassigning employees under the provisions of Article 12, except as such right may be modified by agreement. Should the exercise of the Employer's right to lay off employees require the application of the provisions of Chapter 35 of Title 5, United States Code, employees covered by that Chapter with less than three years of continuous civilian federal service will be treated as "career conditional" employees.

The Employer's right as established in this Section shall be effective July 20, 1979.

The following terms as to the employees' and Employer's rights and the rules and procedures to be followed in the implementation of Article 6 are a part of the September 15, 1978 Final Resolution and shall be final and binding upon the parties:

A. Coverage

1. Employees protected against any involuntary layoff or force reduction.

Those employees who occupy full-time, part-time regular or part-time flexible positions in the regular work force (as defined in Article 7) on September 15, 1978, are protected against layoff and reduction in force during any period of employment in the regular work force with the United States Postal Service or successor organization in his or her lifetime. Such employees are referred to as "protected employees."

Other employees achieve protected status under the provisions of A.3 below.

2. Employees subject to involuntary layoff or force reduction.

Except as provided in A.1 and A.3, all employees who enter the regular work force, whether by hire, transfer, demotion, reassignment, reinstatement, and reemployment on or after September 16, 1978, are subject to layoff or force reduction and are referred to as "non-protected employees."

3. Non-protected employees achieving protected status.

(a) A non-protected employee achieves protected status upon completion of six years of continuous service in their regular work force. The service requirement is computed from the first day of the pay period in which the employee enters the regular work force. To receive credit for the year, the employee must work at least one hour or receive a call-in guarantee in lieu of work in at least 20 of the 26 pay periods during that anniversary year.

Absence from actual duty for any of the following reasons will be considered as "work" solely for the purposes of this requirement:

(1) To the extent required by law, court leave, time spent in military service covered by Chapter 43 of Title 38, or time spent on continuation of pay, leave without pay or on OWCP rolls because of compensable injury on duty.

(2) Time spent on paid annual leave or sick leave, as provided for in Article 10 of the Agreement.

(3) Leave without pay for performing Union business as provided for in Article 24 of the Agreement.

All other unpaid leave and periods of suspension or time spent in layoff or RIF status will not be considered work. Failure to meet the 20 pay period requirement in any given anniversary year means the employee must begin a new six year continuous service period to achieve protected status.

(b) Temporary details outside of the regular work force in which the employee's position of record remains in the regular work force count toward fulfilling the 20 pay periods of work requirement per year.

(c) If a non-protected employee leaves the regular work force for a position outside the Postal Service and remains there more than 30 calendar days, upon return the employee begins a new service period for purposes of attaining six years continuous service.

(d) If a non-protected employee leaves the regular work force and returns within two years from a position within the Postal Service the employee will receive credit for previously completed full anniversary years, for purposes of attaining the six years continuous service.

B. Preconditions for Implementation of Layoff and Reduction in Force.

1. The affected Union(s) shall be notified at the Regional level no less than 90 days in advance of any layoff or reduction in force that an excess of employees exists or will exist at an installation and that a layoff and reduction in force may be necessary. The Employer will explain to the Union(s) the basis for its conclusion that legitimate business reasons require the excessing and possible separation of employees.

2. No employee shall be reassigned under this Article or laid off or reduced in force unless and until that employee has been notified at least 60 days in advance that he or she may be affected by one or the other of these actions.

3. The maximum number of excess employees within an installation shall be determined by seniority unit within each category of employees (full-time, part-time regular, part-time flexible). This number determined by the Employer will be given to the Union(s) at the time of the 90-day notice.

4. Before implementation of reassignment under this Article or, if necessary, layoff and reduction in force of excess employees within the installation, the Employer will, to the fullest extent possible, separate all casuals within the craft and minimize the amount of overtime work and part-time flexible hours in the positions or group of positions covered by the seniority unit as defined in this Agreement or as agreed to by the parties. In addition, the Employer shall solicit volunteers from among employees in the same craft within the installation to terminate their employment with the Employer. Employees who elect to terminate their employment will receive a lump sum severance payment in the amount provided by Part 435 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, will receive benefit coverage to the extent provided by such Manual, and, if eligible, will be given the early retirement benefits provided by Section 8336(d)(2) of Title 5, United States Code and the regulations implementing that statute.

5. No less than 20 days prior to effecting a layoff, the Employer will post a list of all vacancies in other seniority units and crafts at the same or lower level which exist within the installation and within the commuting area of the losing installation. Employees in an affected seniority unit may, within 10 days after the posting, request a reassignment under this Article to a posted vacancy. Qualified employees will be assigned to such vacancies on the basis of seniority. If a senior non-preference eligible employee within the seniority unit indicates no interest in available reassignment, then such employee becomes exposed to layoff. A preference eligible employee within the seniority unit shall be required to accept such a reassignment to a vacancy in the same level at the installation, or, if none exists at the installation, to a vacancy in the same level at an installation within the commuting area of the losing installation.

If the reassignment is to a different craft, the employee's seniority in the new craft shall be established in accordance with the applicable seniority provisions of the new craft.

C. Layoff and Reduction in Force

1. Definition. The term "layoff" as used herein refers to the separation of non-protected, non-preference eligible employees in the regular work force because of lack of work or other legitimate, non-disciplinary reasons. The term "reduction in force" as used herein refers to the separation or reduction in the grade of a non-protected veterans' preference eligible in the regular work force because of lack of work or other legitimate non-disciplinary reasons.

2. Order of layoff. If an excess of employees exists at an installation after satisfaction of the preconditions set forth in (B) above, the Employer may lay off employees within their respective seniority units as defined in the Agreement.

3. Seniority units for purposes of layoff. Seniority units within the categories of full-time regular, part-time regular, and part-time flexible, will consist of all non-protected persons at a given level within an established craft at an installation unless the parties agree otherwise. It is the intent to provide the broadest possible unit consistent with the equities of senior non-protected employees and with the efficient operation of the installation.

4.Union representation. Chief stewards and union stewards whose responsibilities bear a direct relationship to the effective and efficient representation of bargaining unit employees shall be placed at the top of the seniority unit roster in the order of their relative craft seniority for the purposes of layoff, reduction in force, and recall.

5. Reduction in force. If an excess of employees exists at an installation after satisfaction of the preconditions set forth in (B) above and after the layoff procedure has been applied, the Employer may implement a reduction in force as defined above. Such reduction will be conducted in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements that prevail at the time the force reduction is effected. Should applicable law and regulations require that other non-protected, non-preference eligible employees from other seniority units be laid off prior to reduction in force, such employees will be laid off in inverse order of their craft seniority in the seniority unit.

In determining competitive levels and competitive areas applicable in a force reduction, the Employer will submit its proposal to the Union(s) at least 30 days prior to the reduction. The Union(s) will be afforded a full opportunity to make suggested revisions in the proposal. However, the Employer, having the primary responsibility for compliance with the statute and regulations, reserves the right to make the final decision with respect to competitive levels and competitive areas. In making its decision with respect to competitive levels and competitive areas the Employer shall give no greater retention security to preference eligibles than to non-preference eligibles except as may be required by law.

D. Recall Rights

1. Employees who are laid off or reduced in force shall be placed on recall lists within their seniority units and shall be entitled to remain on such lists for two years. Such employees shall keep the Employer informed of their current address. Employees on the lists shall be notified in order of craft seniority within the seniority unit of all vacant assignments in the same category and level from which they were laid off or reduced in force. Preference eligibles will be accorded no recall rights greater than non-preference eligibles except as required by law. Notice of vacant assignments shall be given by certified mail, return receipt requested, and a copy of such notice shall be furnished to the local union president. An employee so notified must acknowledge receipt of the notice and advise the Employer of his or her intentions within 5 days after receipt of the notice. If the employee accepts the position offered he or she must report for work within 2 weeks after receipt of notice. If the employee fails to reply to the notice within 5 days after the notice is received or delivery cannot be accomplished, the Employer shall offer the vacancy to the next employee on the list. If an employee declines the offer of a vacant assignment in his or her seniority unit or does not have a satisfactory reason for failure to reply to a notice, the employee shall be removed from the recall list.

2. An employee reassigned from a losing installation pursuant to B.5 above and who has retreat rights shall be entitled under this Article to exercise those retreat rights before a vacancy is offered to an employee on the recall list who is junior to the reassigned employee in craft seniority.

E. Protective Benefits

1. Severance pay. Employees who are separated because of a layoff or reduction in force shall be entitled to severance pay in accordance with Part 435 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual.

2. Health and Life Insurance Coverage. Employees who are separated because of a layoff or a reduction in force shall be entitled to the health insurance and life insurance coverage and to the conversion rights provided for in the Employee and Labor Relations Manual.

F. Union Representation Rights

1. The interpretation and application of the provisions of this Award shall be grievable under Article 15. Any such grievance may be introduced at the Regional level and shall be subject to priority arbitration.

2. The Employer shall provide to the affected Union a quarterly report on all reassignments, layoff and reductions in force made under this Article.

3. Preference eligibles are not deprived of whatever rights of appeal such employees may have under applicable laws and regulations. However, if an employee exercises these appeal rights, the employee thereby waives access to any procedure under this agreement beyond Step 3 of the grievance-arbitration procedure.

G. Intent

The Employer shall not lay off, reduce in force, or take any other action against a non-protected employee solely to prevent the attainment of that employee of protection status.

Principal Assignment Area (PAA)

What follows is information, documentation and arbitration awards which support the requirement in Article 37.3.E.5 that a PAA be included on all posted duty assignments.

The PAA must include the duties as well as the area. It is not sufficient to merely state a station or a branch as the PAA.

The settlement of case Q90C-4Q-C-C 93034647 makes it clear the reason for a PAA is "to provide relevant information to employees who are interested in bidding for jobs in order that they make an informed decision when deciding to bid jobs."

That position is clearly supported by the Q & A on Mail Processing Clerk and the attached regional awards and handbook citations.

Our members deserve to know more than the hours and off days of a duty assignment when they are bidding. We must enforce the agreement and require that all duty assignments are worked the way they were bid. Otherwise our bidding procedure is nothing more than a sham.

 Other Duties as Assigned

Problem: The Union grieved the inclusion of the phrase "other duties as assigned" on duty assignments postings when it is not in the Standard Position Description. There was abuse by some supervisors who viewed this phrase as giving then the ability to assign any work they chose to employees e.g. adding window duties to a mail processing clerk.

The Union has taken the position that when work is assigned to clerks for duties not in their position description, it must be done in accordance with Article 7, Section 2 and other applicable provisions of the Agreement.

This settlement reiterates the posting requirements in Article 37.3.E, including "principal assignment area" This allows clerks to make an informed decision when bidding for jobs.

Finally the settlement makes clear the phrase "other duties as assigned" cannot conflict with the Agreement and other memoranda, e.g. "day to day seniority" for mail processing clerks. 

Pre-Arbitration agreement  Q90C-4Q-C-C 93034647 dated 10/29/02

source: APWU

RE: Grievance Reviews & Arbitration Scheduling Procedures

The parties agree to conduct a review of all pending arbitration cases and Step 3 grievances for a ninety (90) day period beginning on March 1, 2003 and ending on May 30, 2003. This review may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties at the Area/Regional level.

Beginning immediately after the signing of this memorandum of understanding, APWU/USPS teams will be created for the express purpose of reviewing all pending arbitration cases and Step 3 grievances. To the extent possible, these teams will be responsible for advocating the cases not resolved during the review. The Area/Regional parties will meet with all individuals designated to participate in the review to outline expectations surrounding this review.

Removals, continuances, and other issues as agreed to by the USPS Area Manager, Labor Relations and the APWU Regional Coordinator will continue to be scheduled during the 90-day review period.

At the conclusion of the review process, the parties agree to an arbitration scheduling process (as outlined below) for a period to end no later than December 30, 2003, unless the national parties mutually agree to extend the time frame.

1. The following principals regarding the arbitration process will be adhered to during the above-referenced time frame:

a. Area/Regional parties will jointly determine the dates and locations for cases to be scheduled for arbitration, prior to soliciting dates from arbitrators.

b. A scheduling letter will be generated and dates assigned no later than 90 days prior to hearing.

c. The parties at the Area/Regional level will share a list of advocates no less than 65 days before the hearing.

d. Advocates will meet telephonically, if appropriate, to discuss scheduled cases no less than 55 days before the hearing.

e. Advocates will submit a status sheet to the Area/Regional parties listing both the cases to be heard for that date and the cases pre-arbed/withdrawn, no less than 15 days prior to a scheduled hearing date.

2. It is agreed that when time permits, a minimum of two regular and three expedited arbitration cases will be heard before an arbitrator, per arbitration date.

3. Arbitration cases will be reviewed and scheduled for arbitration as follows:

a. All cases in a facility/installation.

b. All cases in a district by facility/installation. The parties may move to the next facility/installation only after all cases are either settled or scheduled for arbitration within the current facility/installation.

c. Utilizing central locations for arbitration hearings when appropriate and possible, to ensure that the parties arbitrate the maximum number of cases possible.

4. Advocates, with the exception of APWU national officers and USPS area advocates, will not be permitted to move cases from expedited to regular arbitration without advance approval of the APWU Regional Coordinator or the Area Manager of Labor Relations.

5. National level disputes will be jointly identified and disseminated to the Area/Regional parties to ensure that any grievances regarding these disputes are held at Step 2, pending a final decision at the national level.

6. This memorandum of understanding will not disrupt any existing modified grievance/arbitration program, unless mutually agreed to by the parties.

7. The Area/Regional parties will develop programs and devise methods to address the issues of grievance/arbitration backlogs and grievances in-flow.

Doug Tulino


Labor Relations

U.S. Postal Service

William Burrus


American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

Date: 2-21-03

The parties recognize that internal recruitment and development of current bargaining unit career employees for skilled positions is in the best interest of postal employees and the Postal Service.  The parties agree to the establishment of a process and program to allow for developmental opportunities for placement of current APWU bargaining unit career employees in the Maintenance department.

In order to improve the opportunity for career APWU bargaining unit employees to qualify for and establish themselves on the appropriate in-craft and/or in-service register(s), the Postal Service will develop and implement a program in those locations where a need is identified.  The program will include a process whereby APWU career employees will have an opportunity to express interest in entering a developmental program for future opportunities in the maintenance craft.

Once created and implemented, APWU bargaining unit career employees who express an interest will be given an opportunity to qualify for placement in the program and subsequent placement in a position in the Maintenance craft.  Placement into the Maintenance Craft will follow the provisions of Article 38 of the current APWU-USPS collective bargaining agreement.

If the initial placement resulting from successful completion of the training program is to an Electronic Technician (ET) duty assignment, upon placement into the craft duty assignment, employees will commit to a three year lock-in for that craft from the date placed in the assignment.  The employees will not be able to request transfer, in-craft downgrade or bid to a non-skilled position during the lock-in period, but same position designation transfers and in-craft promotions in the installation are permitted. If an employee leaves before the end of the lock-in period, the employee will be responsible for reimbursing the Postal Service for all training costs. 

As skilled Maintenance and Motor Vehicle craft positions are identified, developmental programs will be established where needed.  Non-skilled employees already assigned to the craft for which the developmental training opportunity assignment is intended will have first priority to qualify for the available training.

__________________________              __________________________
Anthony J. Vegliante     William Burrus
Vice President       President

Labor Relations             American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO;    

U.S. Postal U.S. Postal Service 

Date: 12/19/2002



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