How many rehabilitation postal employees will end up in USPS Call Centers?

All Corporate Call Center jobs will be turned over to the APWU bargaining unit by May 11, 2013, under the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU in the CBA (pages 375-376). They will become part of the bid cluster for the nearest postal installation. These formerly outsourced duty assignments will be filled with a mix of 70% career and 30% rehabilitation employees.

I’m wondering how many rehabilitation employees will end up in these Call Centers?  It looks like a new dumping ground for rehabs and a way to avoid paying workers compensation.  Those that refuse to go could lose workers comp.  APWU Director of Human Relations Sue Carney and I have had a dispute about the wisdom of limited duty job offers outside the local commuting area.  Her Step 4 grievance and USPS response is attached.  With about 230 mail processing plants closing and hundreds of post offices and stations downsizing, I think it’s ludicrous to think many local limited duty jobs will be available.

In 2006, when the economy was better, Sue Carney asked the Postal Service to reassign injured employees outside the local commuting area if suitable work is not available locally.  “There is no language which limits such assignments only to the local commuting area.”  “The availability of such assignments should be assessed agency wide.”   She did not ask that the limited duty job offers outside the local commuting area be VOLUNTARY.  I find that unbelievable.  In her grievance, Carney asked that any OWCP or OPM rule to the contrary be overturned.  She may get her wish starting next year.

Limited duty job offers outside the local commuting area do not fall under the 50 mile restriction in Article 12.  Most injured employees, I think, would refuse limited duty work assignments more than 50 miles away and would take disability or discontinued service retirements instead, thus saving the Postal Service a ton of money.  Many have spouses with jobs, and kids that don’t want to change schools.  It would be hard to sell their homes and come up with a down payment for a new one.  The Postal Service pays minimal relocation expenses to bargaining unit employees forced to relocate over 50 miles.  I hope the APWU reconsiders this grievance.

Don Cheney
Auburn WA

APWU Step 4 Dispute on Limitation to Local Commuting Area