Postal Window Clerks
Shopper Dispute Settlement
September 23, 2008
The APWU and USPS resolved a national-level grievance on
Sept. 15, 2008, stipulating that, “Evaluations generated
through the Mystery Shopper or similar programs shall not be
used as the basis for discipline.” The
settles a Step 4 dispute, filed in 2007, which challenged
management’s policy of issuing discipline to employees as a
result of programs that are similar to but not technically
part of the “Mystery Shopper” program.
U.S. Postal Service Selects
NCR for Hardware Technology Refresh
NCR workstations to
be installed at 16,000-plus post offices utilizing NCR POS
ONE software platform
July 7, 2008
Ohio –The U.S.
Postal Service (USPS) has
selected NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) as the exclusive
provider of retail point-of-service (POS) hardware for
thousands of postal counters across the United States.
Under the three-year,
multimillion-dollar contract, the USPS will install NCR
RealPOS™ 80XRT workstations at larger, high-traffic post
office locations currently running the NCR POS ONE postal
software solution. This comprehensive solution from NCR,
designed to deliver improved operational efficiencies and
streamlined customer service, is expected to be installed
beginning in the second half of 2008. NCR will also provide
services, including help desk, project management and
“This contract is an
affirmation of the successful relationship NCR has shared
since 1996 with the world’s largest postal service,” said
Jim McMullen, president of NCR Government Systems, LLC.
“NCR’s industry-leading solution is delivering dramatic
improvements in performance and efficiency, enabling the
USPS to better manage expenses while enhancing the customer
The NCR RealPOS 80XRT is
NCR’s most advanced workstation. Employing next-generation
architecture, this device delivers industry-leading power,
scalability and systems management capabilities to the point
of service. Coupled with the NCR POS ONE software, NCR’s
solution allows the USPS to focus on accommodating customers
with faster service and better information during visits to
local post offices.
Need to Know: The Postal
Service notified the NAPUS National office that the
Point-of-Sale (POS) and the Web Box Activity Tracking System
(WebBats) will be integrated in August. Automated Postal
Centers (APCs) will also be integrated with WebBats to allow
customers to pay their post office box fees from an APC.
Limit for Packages
new decal prohibiting stamped mail weighing more
than 13 ounces from being deposited in collection
boxes began appearing this month.
Currently, customers using collection boxes are greeted by a
familiar label instructing them to take stamped mail
weighing 16 ounces or more to a retail service counter at a
Post Office. Starting July 30, that weight
limit changes from “16 ounces and over” to “over 13 ounces.”
USPS is distributing a new decal for collection boxes
announcing the change. The decal also reminds customers that
any mail placed in the collection box that weighs more than
13 ounces and bears only postage stamps as postage will be
returned to the sender. The change was made to reflect the
threshold between First-Class Mail and Priority Mail as well
as for heightened security reasons.
The Postal Service also is eliminating the “Known Customer”
designation. That means city carriers and rural carriers as
well as contract and delivery service suppliers — highway
contract carriers — will no longer be allowed to accept
stamped mail weighing more than 13 ounces from a customer or
a customer’s mailbox.
Rural carriers and contract and delivery service suppliers
will, however, be able to accept mailpieces more than 13
ounces that require a retail transaction and that have a
return address matching the point of pickup. (USPS News
Link - 7/17/07)
Mystery Shopper Evaluations Should
Not Be Used to Discipline Window Clerks -
Gary Kloepfer, National APWU Assistant Maintenance
Director : "This is a summary of Arbitrator Michael Wolf’s decision
is a summary of Arbitrator Michael Wolf’s decision in case C00C-4C-D-05085599.
The issue in this case involved the discipline of an employee
under the mystery shopper program. The Union took the position
that the discipline was improper in light of the Postal Service's
position that the Mystery Shopper program was only to be used
as a diagnostic tool and not the source for disciplinary action."
USPS OIG Audit
Management of Retail Workhours in Relation to Workload
- From January through May 2005, retail managers could
not justify approximately 46% of their retail associates' window
service workhours in the NY Triboro District. Local postal managers
said they did not consider retail counter activities a primary
focus and directed their work efforts to the delivery side of
operations. The Postal Service is in the process of developing
reporting tools to generate exception reports that will rank
opportunities to reduce retail workhours, based on actual performance
versus earned workhours
- Finally: The Polo Shirt
APWU members made fashion statements at the Clerk Craft Conference,
modeling new polo shirts that window clerks will be able to
wear starting on Nov. 18. The long- and short-sleeved shirts
have been the subject of long and short discussions, tests,
and reviews since 2003. Vendors will begin taking orders on
these shirts early in October. One of the last issues to be
resolved grants retail clerks the right to wear this style any
day of the week that the window is open. They can be purchased
using the Sales and Service Associate uniform allowance. The
cost is expected to be in the $30-$35 range:
APWU 18th Biennial Convention News Bulletin
Single Source Solution
In March, the Postal Service finalized a single source for Point-Of-Sale
units at retail counters by using only machines manufactured
by NCR. When the USPS allowed only three hours of familiarization
training for the conversion, the APWU objected, saying that
the training was inadequate due to the memorization of the screen,
which proved difficult to “unlearn” in a short period of time.
While discussions are ongoing, the APWU is encouraging locals
to file grievances on any shortages that may be the result of
the insufficient training. The American Postal Workers magazine
Postal Window Clerks Protect Your
By Al Ross, APWU Clerk Craft Director, East Bay Area
Local #47 - With the
Postal Service’s intent to downsize a lot of window clerk positions
based on recorded POS-ONE downtime, it is now crucial for all
window clerks to start following certain procedures to reflect
accurately exactly with function that you are undertaking. Within
the POS-ONE system, that are a number of codes that can be used
to record what type of operational function you are doing so
the system won’t record you on downtime. Downtime is one of
the key elements that the Postal Service is using to eliminate,
what they consider, excessive Window Clerk positions. Downtime
can cause a station that has five clerks to be down sized to
2.5 clerks based on the data that the POS-ONE system records.
Therefore, extreme care should be used to accurately record
all window clerk functions. (6/14/06)
" At their chapter convention in St Simons Island, Georgia Postmasters
expressed their concerns to a USPS Headquarters representative
over the way the Mystery Shopper program was being conducted.
Specifically, GA Postmasters echoed the concerns that many of
the nation’s Postmasters have on their inability to challenge
scores received during Mystery Shopper visits, as well as the
quality of some of the procedural requirements. The USPS representative
told Postmasters “I hear you” and pledged to check into their
New Window Staffing
and supervisors now have a new staffing tool to help them better
manage and staff their retail windows.
Earned/Actual Staffing Graph”
takes the guess work out of how many employees are needed at
the retail window throughout the day. With one mouse click,
“WOS Earned/Actual Staffing Graph” compares the earned staffing
level to the actual staffing level for each 30-minute interval
within a business day and recommends the number of employees
needed to staff windows at different times of the day. Senior
Operations Vice President Bill Galligan calls it the best tool
available to field managers to manage their unit.
how can you start using it? It’s simple. The report is available
in the Retail Data Mart (RDM) in the “Shared Folder” under the
“RDM WOS” folder. For instructions and additional details on
the tool, follow this
link from the Delivery and Retail website:
USPS Revamps Retail Training Program
Rob Strunk, APWU Assistant Director, Clerk Division, released
the following memo on USPS’ New Retail Training Program, "The
United States Postal Service has instituted a new retail training
program wherein the classroom training program has been changed
to exclude POS training, which will be solely taught by on-the-job
instructors." On the following page are some basic questions
and answers about the program.
New Point of Service
software deployment begins
Deployment has begun to transition all USPS Point of Service
(POS) systems to the same software.
By the end of July, all POS systems — both NCR and IBM — will
run NCR software. Pilot users have turned in positive reports,
saying the screens are easier to read, and “end of visit” and
closeout procedures are faster. Moscow, ID, Retail Associate
Marci Jones says log-on and log-out also are easier. “This makes
changing associates on the customer counter for breaks and lunches
much faster.” Her advice to new users: “Be patient and follow
the prompts on the monitor.” Employees who use IBM terminals
are being trained with printed transition guides and instructional
video clips. There also are quick reference guides to have on
hand at their terminals. There’s onscreen help, too. “The User
Interface is very easy to use, and ‘Help’ is only a click away,”
says Roebling, NJ, Retail Associate Bruce Kafer, who has used
the system for more than four months. Conversion to the NCR
software will save USPS more than $100 million over five years
— and provide consistent service at all POS sites nationwide.(4/18/06)
From APWU Executive
It’s looking like 2006 will
be a good year for resolving several long-standing and lingering
disputes. I expect four cases that I appealed to arbitration
more than 10 years ago to be scheduled for national arbitration
in the next few months
Contracting Window Work
— In this case, we are
contesting situations in which the Postal Service contracted
out only the labor in a so-called Contract Postal Unit: The
property used is leased to the Postal Service, and the USPS
pays all utilities, but the USPS contacts for labor separately
through a so-called Contract Postal Unit. Our position is that
these duty assignments must be posted to the APWU bargaining
unit. Furthermore, the contract employees utilized in these
circumstances were employed in lieu of career employees. Our
position is supported by the Das awards on “Kelly Girls” and
casuals hired in lieu of. March/April
2006 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine
Management Issues Mandatory Mystery
According to Dennis Enderson, President, Denver Metro Area Local
APWU, he was recently provided a copy of a document distributed
to window clerks called “Denver Post Office Mystery Shopper
Script.” Apparently, management is instructing window clerks
to read this script verbatim to each and every postal customer.
The script walks the clerk through a process of attempting to
persuade the customer to utilize more expensive delivery services
and to purchase other postal products. (3/11/06)
Transformation Plan 2006-2010
The Postal Service will continue to focus on standardization
to ensure consistency in retail locations. A retail standardization
initiative introduced in 2005 will improve employee product
knowledge and management of merchandising and promotion. Workload
standards developed from the Retail Data Mart Window Operations
Survey (WOS) will improve productivity and staffing efficiency.
WOS uses retail transaction data to calculate required staffing
in half-hour increments. This allows managers to schedule
the right number of counter personnel and optimize cost per
retail revenue dollar. In 2006 WOS workload standards will be
applied to all 15,000 offices equipped with Point of Service
terminals. The Postal Service will also expand its Customer
Service model office concept in 2006. This model applies workload
standards to manual distribution, dispatch, and other backroom
activities in Post Offices.(12/03/05)
APCs - “Axing Postal Clerks”
USPS Plan to Cut
Window Clerk Jobs -
internal postal management memo, leaked to the APWU but legally
obtainable, is hard evidence that Automated Postal Centers (APCs)
will be used to try to cut clerk jobs, specifically those of
Sales and Service Associates, or window clerks. At a June
15th management teleconference, the “Pilot APC Project”
was announced: “APCs will be deployed ‘in
the counterline’ and will be utilized in much the same way as
the automated check-in machines are used at the airport (two
or three machines staffed with one person…). For counterlines
with 6 retail stations, 2 APCs will be deployed and staffing
adjusted accordingly . Article by David Yao,
Greater Seattle Local APWU
(This article is published
in the January/February 2005 issue of the American Postal Worker
magazine.) After two
years of discussions, the inclusion of polo shirts as part of
a window clerk’s uniform is nearing reality. Late last year,
following discussions with the APWU, management finally authorized
polo-type shirts as part of the official uniform program.
Details regarding what type of shirt will be authorized
and whether all employees in an installation must wear the shirt
on specified days were released in November; the shirts will
first be worn during the spring at the earliest – uniform manufacturers
will need a few months’ lead time to arrive at proper uniform
specifications and to be able to guarantee costs and delivery.
From the July August American Postal Worker: APWU
Requests Polo Shirt Program to Go Nationwide-" The pilot
polo shirt has been concluded with extremely successful results.
Our sales associates love them and the Mystery Shopper scores
demonstrate that there is a good reason to make these shirts
part of the uniform program." (7/26/04)
Polo Pilot Shirt Program
The pilot program that is testing
polo shirts for Sales and Service Associates continues in seven
districts throughout the United States. Currently, window clerks
are testing the shorts for wear-ability, durability, and comfort.
The test concludes in May.
Several options will be
weighed at the conclusion of the test. These options include:
* Expanding the test to other locations;
* Considering other shirts for
a test; Including polo shirts in the uniform program.
* We will keep you informed on
the progress of the program.
source: American Postal Worker-May/June
shirts for Retail Clerks-"The
union and management are about to embark on a pilot program
at five stations that will permit retail clerks to wear open-
collared polo style knit shirts. This is a pilot program the
union enthusiastically endorses, because we believe a comfortable
window clerk is a better window clerk. We hope it will be a
huge success. "The shirts for the pilot will be provided by
the APWU and will include the USPS and the APWU logos. The shirts
are extremely well made and, because they are union made, you
can be union proud to wear them."-
American Postal Worker Jan/Feb
2003 pg 17
& A: APWU position on deployment and use of Automated Postal
in articles and reports to the Clerk Craft Conference, Automated
Postal Centers (APCs) are being deployed throughout the United
States. The automated equipment is designed to reduce lines
at the windows and provide customers another way to mail items
and purchase special services.
answers to frequently asked questions present the position of
the American Postal Workers Union on the deployment and use
of this equipment.
|Step 3 Decision:
Casuals & Transitional Employees Cannot Work the Window
I have posted (11/30/04)
on the Clerk Craft page on
info regarding the postal service's CURRENT position on the
use of casuals and TEs on the window. I believe this info
will save many, many thousands of hours for the clerk craft
What came out from our national clerk craft was an e-mail on
11/24/04 from assistant director Rob Strunk to the other craft
directors, regional coordinators and NBAs.
It has untold potential for saving work hours for the clerk
"Following a Step 3 settlement from the San Francisco Region,
I have had discussions with Rodney Lambson of the USPS Labor
Relations regarding whether Casuals and TEs can be assigned
window. Management takes the position that casuals and TEs cannot
work the window."
And I am proud to say that the Step 3 decision that Rob is referring
to is from Glendora, California (California Area Local). One
NBA told me that the initial grievances leading to the Step
3 and the other pre-arb settlements - with the "straw that broke
the camel's back" citation - were put forth by my appointed
business agent David Gordillo. The F-1 Handbook, Section 141
"The postmaster or responsible manager consigns postal funds
and accountable paper to other career employees."
The Step 3 and the other pre-arbs from California Area Local
"In accord with discussions with the Area office it was agreed
Management is to cease and desist assigning cash and/or fixed
credits to Casuals. It was also agreed Casuals shall not work
Regardless of management's many contentions which they felt
they would never have to part with, management is bound by the
handbookds and manuals which they actually composed, as provided
for in Article 19; for example, Handbook DM-901, Section 721.22
with respect to registry, states, "Use only career employees
in the registered mail function."
I hope this helps everyone.
Terry Stoller <Stoller4635@verizon.net>
California Area Local
According to Denver APWU - "The Postal Service
is pursuing plans to establish contract retail services in Hallmark
and Office Depot stores across the country. This represents
a serious threat to jobs in customer service offices. The APWU
will do everything in its power to resist these initiatives.
We believe retail services are best performed by genuine postal
employees. " (6/22/04)
USPS, Hallmark join forces -to
offer customers added convenience The Postal Service and Hallmark
Gold Crown Stores are teaming up to serve their mutual customers
better. Hallmark stores sell cards and gifts. USPS sells stamps
and mailing services. Customers can now do their shopping and
shipping at the same location. “USPS and Hallmark Gold Crown
are highly respected brands that customers know and trust,”
said USPS Chief Marketing Officer Anita Bizzotto. “This partnership
is about expanding access, increasing customer convenience,
and generating new revenue,” — important Transformation Plan
strategies. Selected Hallmark Gold Crown stores will offer postage
stamps, special services, and package services. Customers can
send First-Class Mail and Priority Mail cards, letters, and
packages up to 20 pounds. Special services offered include certified
mail, insured mail, return receipt, Delivery Confirmation, and
Signature Confirmation service. USPS employees collect mail
from the stores each day.
(USPS April 2003)
is seeking information for potential sources to provide a hand-held
pen, wand or similar portable device that will be used for determining
the length, width, and height as well as the combined length
plus girth on parcels that qualify for additional rates and
What You Should
Do When Issued A
Letter Of Demand
Sharpley, Chief Shop Steward Stations Oakland Ca. #78 APWU Local
The Preamble of Article 28 of the Collective
Bargaining Agreement (CBA) requires management to inform an
employee in advance in writing of any money demand, and
the demand must include the reasons therefore. The procedures
that management must adhere to in order to collect a debt are
found in section 462.2 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual
(ELM) and Article 28, Section 4 of the CBA.
If you are issued a “Letter of Demand”,
and believe that you are not in debt to the Postal Service,
you should contact your shop steward immediately and file a
grievance. If you fail to initiate a timely grievance or the
union fails to make a timely appeal, or you receive a partial
settlement of your grievance, or your grievance is declared
nonarbitrable by an arbitrator, you have a right to petition
for a hearing, pursuant to the Debt Collection Act. Sections
452.336 and 462.22 of the ELM provide the procedures an employee
should follow when petitioning for a hearing. If a grievance
is initiated and advanced through the grievance-arbitration
procedure or a petition has been filed pursuant to the Debt
Collection Act, regardless of the amount and type of debt, collection
of the debt will be delayed until disposition of the grievance
and/or petition has (have) been had, either through settlement
or exhaustion of contractual and /or administrative remedies.
(Article 28, Section 4 of the CBA)
If you are issued a Letter of Demand
for the recovery of pay that was erroneously paid , you may
request a waiver of the debt by submitting a PS Form 3074 in
triplicate to the installation head within 3 years immediately
following the date on which the erroneous payment of pay was
discovered. (Section 437 of the ELM) However, the submission
of a Form 3074 does not stay the collection of the debt. (Section
451.6 of the ELM)
To effect the collection of a debt,
management must complete a PS Form 3239 in triplicate, and submit
copy 1 to the Postal Service’s Accounting Service Center in
Minnesota, copy 2 to Personnel and copy 3 to the employee. (Section
462.5 of the ELM)
The incorporation of the retail floor
stock concept under the Segmented Inventory Accountability (SIA)
has virtually eliminated the need to issue window clerks Letters
From PostalReporter.com Question & Answer
April 7, 2004
Question : I am a SSA in an office with POS ONE terminals.
Is there a certain number of transactions or a formula used
to determine how many SSA's should be on the window, or how
many hours are needed on the window in a day ?
Answer: PM 21- Yes, a WOS report. Your supervisor can
pull this for you. Key thing to remember if your a window clerk
is to hit the non transaction button whenever you collect hold
mail, answer a question, or do something that does not require
a transaction. Its a great report. Of course it must be utilized
with some common sence. Have your supervisor check it out for
betz:-Jim, any ssa authorized to
consolidate can run the report. make sure your ssa's are entering
the nonrevenue transactions--hold mail, passport requests, coa's
and parcel pickups, otherwise the report will show you only
need 1.1 clerks and not reflect heavy pickup volumes.
Retail Lobby and Employee Observations-Effective February
5, 2004, PS Form
4000-A, Retail Lobby Observation, and
PS Form 4000-B, Retail Employee Observation, have
been revised. The purpose of a lobby observation is to review
the total retail environment. Actions on the lobby observation
will result in additional revenue opportunities and increased
customer satisfaction. The purpose of the employee observation
is to observe interactions between retail associates and customers
to determine the level of the employee's sales skills and product
knowledge. Both forms have been revised to reflect changes made
to the Mystery Shopper Program for FY 04. Both observations
should be conducted at least once a month. (source: Postal
Senate Approves Extension
for Breast Cancer Research Stamp -The
U.S. Senate today (January 22, 2004) voted to authorize
the USPS to continue selling the Breast Cancer Research Stamp
for at least two more years
Excerpts of a letter dated 11/14/03 from John W.
Dockins Manager Contract Administration
"Business success includes controlling
funds through a system of internal controls including controlling
revenues........, a Retail Data Mart' Revenue Unit report will
.soon be made available. This report will help individual field
management spot patterns that are known to Indicate a loss of
revenue control. A prototype is attached with column headings
that show what a postmaster/manager or supervisor should be
monitoring. In addition, a Random Operation Count worksheet
is attached. Conducting random counts on a regular basis In
accordance with the F-1 is expected to result In retention of
more retail revenue."
"Offices will be monitored for progress concerning revenue retention.
Those offices that continue. to show a need. for improvement
will be visited by an SIA support team made up of Area, District,
and Headquarters employees for the purpose of assisting under
performing units In gaining control of their revenue."
Mystery Shopper Results Are
In:' Questionable Retail Practices to
DURING THIS PAST SUMMER, THE
POSTAL SERVICE CONTRACTED WITH the
Gallup Corporation to survey customers, sales and service associates
and supervisors regarding the effectiveness of the Mystery Shopper
program. The results are in - there
will be changes.
If nothing else was revealed by the survey, it
was firmly documented that the American public believes that
workers offer professional service. We knew that.
surprising result of the survey, however, is
that USPS customers want to know their options and want our
sales associates to ask the questions.
The survey also showed that the public wants
continued access to the retail postal services upon which it
relies. What the public doesn't want is long lines.
We Do Windows
In a recent meeting with
postal managers from retail, marketing, and labor relations
informed the union that window-staffing practices would be a
focus for increasing revenue and customer satisfaction.
Management acknowledged that staffing cuts at
retail facilities can hurt the Postal Service and if the USPS
wants to "grow the business," increased staffing must be considered.
Postal Service managers told us that other products and services
are being contemplated as well and cited pilot programs in
Miami, Denver and Dallas that have resulted in an increase in
revenue and customer satisfaction.
As to the
Mystery Shopper program, the methods for scoring window clerks
The survey demonstrated that our sales associates
didn't like the program's requirement that made them seem so
robotic when asking customers questions. From now on, sales
associates can use their own methods of phrasing to meet the
requirements of the program. No longer will saying "thank you"
be such a rigid requirement - as long as the transaction is
closed with some variant on "have a great day" or other acceptable
The associates will not be obligated to ask the
customer the "debit card/credit card" question, and making eye
contact with a customer will no longer be a requirement.
The changes to the scoring system will be distributed
to all offices and will be provided on the APWU Web site once
it becomes available.
Postal management recently issued new instructions to the
field regarding discipline under the Mystery Shopper program.
The USPS Manager of Labor Relations and Policies stated
in an undated letter to all Area labor relations managers
that the program "was implemented to improve the level of
customer service and generate revenue by ensuring customers
are aware of the numerous postal services available."
The USPS Labor Relations Department instructed managers
that localized Mystery Shopper programs should not be used
as a basis for discipline or to intimidate APWU-represented
employees: "The focus of these local initiatives should
concentrate on encouraging positive behaviors."
A copy of this letter can be seen on the Clerk Division
page of the APWU Web site (www.apwu.org/departments/
clerk), in the section
containing "Information and Documents."
are not to be used
as a basis for discipline
or to intimidate
Agreement Reached on Compromised Exam
The APWU recently reached an
agreement regarding sales associates who were in training on
or around Aug. 22, when the retail examination was compromised
because copies of the qualifying test and/or the answers
,ere made available around the country.
APWU subject-matter experts
have been working with management to formulate a new exam that
is to be validated and tested by mid-November. The affected
tail associates will be allowed to continue in the hours and
days off of the duty assignment that they bid until they receive
a chance to take the new test.
Immediately prior to the
test date, those trainees will be given another 40 hours of
classroom training. Employees will be allowed to maintain their
training materials during this period,
which will be considered an extension of the training on a one-time
basis. However, the training materials must be stored at the
retail unit; employees will not be allowed to take them home.
The APWU negotiated this agreement
to ensure that all our members would be granted a full opportunity
to qualify for these important duty assignments. In the meantime,
sales associates who have completed training and are working
the window will be held accountable for the amount of their
fixed credit if they fail to exercise reasonable care in the
performance of their duties.
Number of Failures
The APWU has initiated a national-level grievance
on a previous test that was deployed beginning in late March
that resulted in a higher than normal number of trainees failing.
Although we received a commitment from
management that no one was terminated due to this test, the
APWU has challenged the training and testing that took place.
We have met with dozens of workers who believe the test was
flawed, and we have received dozens of completed questionnaires
echoing that sentiment.
Any other members who
have not yet come forward and who feel they were impacted by
this test should complete the form on the Clerk Craft page on
the APWU Web site, ("Sales and Service Test Score Survey," posted
July 25, 2003). We will continue to collect the data until the
case is heard.
Answers" about the retail exam issue are available on the "Information
and Documents" page in the Clerk Craft pages at
source: The American Postal Worker Nov/Dec
2003 pg. 24-25
and Services Associate Exam
Questions & Answers
The parties understand that the
Sales & Services Associate exam (CBT 421) has recently been
subject to a security breach. As as result of the breach, the
exam and related training have been suspended. Exams taken after
close- of- business August 22, 2003 are considered invalid and
the score will not be considered for any purposes.
This document represents the mutual
understanding and agreement of the parties concerning employees
who have completed the Sales and Services Associate (SSA) training,
however, have not taken the qualifying exam or their exam was
invalidated by the suspension.
Question: What is the status
of the employees who have completed the SSA classroom and on-the-job
training, however, due to the pending exam revisions, have not
taken the exam or their exam was invalidated by the suspension?
Answer: Employees who completed
their SSA classroom and on-the-job training, will remain in
the window position that they bid and are seeking qualification,
however, permanent assignment to the position will be deferred
until successful completion of the testing. The employees will
continue to perform window duties in the hours of this assignment
until the test results are received, provided the employee's
on-the-job training rating was acceptable.
Question: Will SSA employees
who have completed training and are working the window be accountable
for the amount of their fixed credit?
Answer: Yes. An employee
shall be financially liable if the employee does not exercise
reasonable care in the performance of duties.
Question: Will the employee
be entitled to out-of-schedule compensation?
Answer: No. Out of schedule provisions
will not apply because this is an extension to the training
Question: When will the employees
Answer: The employees referenced
above will be tested by close of business on November 19, 2003
Question: Will employees
be entitled to any type of brush- up training?
Answer: Yes. Employees will
receive 40 hours of classroom training.
Question: Will employees
be allowed to maintain their training materials during this
Answer: Yes. This will be
considered an extension of the training on a one-time basis
but the training materials will be stored at the retail unit
and not allowed to be taken home.
Doug A. Tulino
Labor Relations Policies
James "Jim" McCarthy
Workers Union, AFL-CIO
PDF file: Sales and Services Associate Exam
Q & A:
September 5, 2003 - This was
added late yesterday afternoon about the sales and service window
training test. This came from National
Just to keep you informed on this issue, we discussed
with management details regarding those employees who are in
the middle of training or scheduled for training.
There is no agreement between the parties as of this date. Because
employees must be tested immediately following OJI training,
the union must agree with any deviation of that policy. We have
sent management a letter outlining our position absent
any agreement. We hope that an agreement can be made but
until we engage in honest and straightforward discussions we
will not allow
management to unilaterally establish special rules for these
Regarding the issue
of the former test and the high amount of failures, we have
sent management an information request for the names of those
who constructed the test, a copy of the test, names of who validated
the test, etc. Management has not responded to our request.
We moved forward with an NLRB charge, and a national
grievance. President Burrus has also informed the Inspector
General due to the financial and personal waste caused by this
inspection service is conducting an investigation. The
delay will be from 7 to 8 weeks before training can begin.
letter came from the American Postal Workers Union, National
August 28, 2003
The APWU has been notified that the most recent
Test 421 for Sales and Service Associates has been compromised
due to the answer sheet being published on a internet site.
Therefore, the Postal Service has suspended all retail training
until a new test is developed.
The APWU has provided a list of Subject Matter Experts who will
participate in the formation of the new test. Those SME's
will work in the test development from September 8th until September
22nd. The APWU will then make final recommendation of
the developed questions in Washington.
Following the final review, the new test will be field tested
by Sales and Service Associates in the field. After this
test is validated, the new test will be used which should take
place the last week of October. All employees in window
training will have that training suspended after the first week
of classroom training. The issue of whether those in training
will receive the full training or brush-up training is yet to
be resolved but it is the position of the APWU that full training
must be given due to the gap in the training process.
The APWU will notify all locals immediately upon receipt to
any change to this problem.
USPS Letter on Mystery
The Mystery Shopper Program was
implemented to improve the level of customer service and generate
revenue by ensuring customers are aware of the numerous postal
services available. The Program consists of lobby evaluations
and retail employees observations. AS stated in previous correspondence
from the Chief Operations Officer, dated April 30, 2003, the
Mystery Shopper evaluations are not be used as as source for
have arisen throughout the Postal Service that emulate the "Mystery
Shopper" program. Once again, discipline should not be the focus
of these programs and they should not be used as a method of
intimidation. The focus of these local initiatives should concentrate
on encouraging positive behaviors. Reviewing scores with employees
and explaining why the questions are asked helps employees understand
the purpose of the program and their role in improving retail
operations. Coaching employees based on observations provides
employees a chance to gain additional knowledge that can be
applied in the future when performing their duties.
A standardized sales
skills process was implemented in FY 2000. This process includes
supervisory follow-up through ongoing lobby and employee observations,
utilizing the PS Form 4000-A for retail lobby observations and
PS Form 4000-B for retail employee observations (both
forms can be found in the Postal website blue page under forms).
Supervisors should be making independent personal observations
of retail associate interaction with customers to ensure they
are performing all aspects of their duties. If deficiencies
exist coaching sessions and discussions relating to the
employee's responsibilities are needed. if these coaching sessions
and discussions fail to provide the desired behavior
change, then discipline may be appropriate. As with all employee
performance observations, however, supervisors should ensure
positive performance as well as less than satisfactory performance
is recognized. Recognizing good performance can motivate employees
and encourage others who are not performing as well.
Please share this
information wit Labor Relations personnel and Retail Operations
personnel. Feel free to contract Cindy M. Wheeler at (202) 268-4356
if you have any questions or need additional information.
Doug A. Tulino
Labor Relations Policies and Programs
PDF file : USPS Letter on Mystery Shopper
Clerks, regardless of whether you have individual financial
accountability or have shared stock (segmentation) or if
you work in a retail store, you should read and do the following:
and enter every sale item, even a one-cent stamp, a single
37 cent stamp, or a retail envelope. Input every item
into your POS ONE, IRT, etc., because you never know whether
or not that friendly customer is a Postal Inspector. Although
you may make your adjustment later, the Postal Inspector
doesn't know that. They will immediately suspect that
something suspicious is going on. Is your job worth it?
your POS ONE cash drawer. If you don't you may be suspected
of manipulating funds.
DO NOT make any change from your personal funds. Always
go to your supervisor, T-6, or another clerk. Make the
even exchange of money visible and return to your window
immediately to place the money back into the drawer.
many "GL Adjustments", "Error Corrects", "No Sales", etc.
This may give the appearance that funds are being manipulated.
all credit/debit transactions into your POS ONE & IRT
at the time of sale.
not retain more than $100 in your drawer. This is a violation
of the F-1. Is your job worth not complying with Postal
rules and regulations?
on PVI's. Fill out Form 3533 and submit it on the same
day. Don't try to use it on your next transaction.
Always give your customer their receipt. Do not input
"postage affix" to reuse a PVI or to place stamps on the
package. Again, you may be suspected of manipulating funds.
have IOU's in your stock for any reason.
hold any checks for any reason.
use your own drawer to buy stamps, cash a check or buy
a money order for any reason!
reasonable care at all times. Take the time you need to
do the job correctly. Don't let management rush you and
don't take any shortcuts. This is really important in
light of the downsizing of window clerks.
ever talk to a Postal Inspector without Union representation!
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!!
conduct yourself as though you are being observed. Chances
are, you are being observed. Take reasonable care and
follow all postal procedures. The use of shortcuts may
lead to your postal career being cut short!
Please take the time to do your job right. Don't forget
to make a written record of security violations at your
workplace. Follow the regulations established by the Postal
Service. Always report faulty equipment as soon as it malfunctions.
THAT YOU SHOULDN'T TAKE
result in losses of money and JOBS!
out each task on the window as you were taught in window
certain you witness the verification of monies you turn
in and obtain a signed receipt.
the appropriate terminal key when retrieving accountable
mail or otherwise assisting customers in non-revenue transactions.
accept stock while on window - take time to count!
accept or swap stock without a form 17.
retrieving a certified or registered item, you should
log off (if using retail equipment) to "non-revenue" prior
to leaving the window and lock your drawer.
THE UNION CAN BEST PROTECT YOU FROM DISCIPLINE AND PAYING
FOR SHORTAGES IF YOU HELP PROTECT YOURSELF BY FOLLOWING
from the Southern Oregon Area Review.)
Last month's Retail Coaches Corner
included information on the mandatory HAZMAT question at retail
- "Does this article contain anything fragile, liquid, perishable,
or potentially hazardous?" Several readers had additional questions:
What do retail acceptance employees
do if the customer answers "yes" to the mandatory question?
If customers answer yes, they must
state the contents. Following identification of the article's
contents, the retail associate should consult the HAZMAT-1,
Quick Reference poster; DMM C020-024; Publication 52, Hazardous,
Restricted, and Perishable Mail; or the IMM to determine
mailability of the material and required packaging, labeling,
documentation, and any mail class restrictions. If the package
meets the requirements, then the item should be accepted.
can we get HAZMAT shipper's declarations and hazardous materials
The materials used in shipping
HAZMAT are the responsibility of the mailer. The Postal ServiceTM
does not provide or sell hazardous materials labels or shipper's
declarations. Mailers should be directed to stationery stores
or other businesses where mailing supplies are sold.
What if I cannot determine mailability?
If you have used all available
references and cannot determine the mailability, the article
must be refused for mailing. The customer should be referred
to a rates and classification service center for further information.
A list of the rates and classification service centers can be
found on the back of Notice 107, Some Things Were Never Meant
To Be Mailed.
Due to changes in Express Mail®
and Priority Mail® flat rates that became effective with the
last rate case, there has been confusion about the acceptance
of flat-rate envelopes. These rates offer the customer a predetermined
rate regardless of weight or destination zone of the item mailed.
Any mailable item is eligible, as long as it fits in a Postal
Service-provided 12 1/2" x 9 1/2" cardboard envelope. Flat rates
are $13.65 for Express Mail items and $3.85 for Priority Mail
What happens if customers bring
in the old Priority Mail or Express Mail 2-lb. flat-rate envelopes?
The flat rate is to be afforded
to any customer presenting any version of a Postal Service-provided
Express Mail or Priority Mail 9 1/2" x 12 1/2" cardboard envelope.
This direction applies to the old 2-lb. envelopes and the old
standard envelopes, in addition to the current flat-rate envelope.
Are flat-rate items limited to
just documents or can any item be placed in flat-rate envelopes?
Contents in flat-rate envelopes
may be documents, but may also be all other mailable matter.
A flat-rate envelope does not have to remain flat to be eligible
for flat-rate postage. Any amount of mailable material mailed
using the flat-rate envelope is afforded the flat rate regardless
of the weight of the material enclosed.
Can cellophane or masking tape
be used to close or reinforce packages?
When mailing at the Priority Mail
or Express Mail flat rate, the contents of the flat-rate envelope
must be confined within the envelope with the adhesive provided
on the flap as the primary means of closure. The flap must be
able to close and adhere to the envelope. Tape may be applied
to reinforce the envelope, provided the design of the envelope
is not enlarged by any means.
Where can I order flat-rate envelopes?
Call the Express and Priority Mail
Supply Center at 800-222-1811.
Changes in the F-1
331 Cash Reserves
331 to read as follows:]
The purpose for the
procedure on cash retained in window operations is to provide
for normal cash flow operations that meet the needs of the office.
For the cash portion of the individual stamp credits, retain
$100 or 10 percent of the accountability (whichever is less).
In addition to the cash portion of the existing stamp credits,
units may also maintain a cash reserve to supplement these needs,
Window Clerk Forum (post #37)
Important, Necessary, and Mandatory
a customer presents a parcel or suspicious-looking flat for
mailing, sales and services associates are required to ask:
"Does this article contain anything liquid, fragile, perishable,
or potentially hazardous?" The percentage of retail associates
asking the question is measured through the Mystery Shopper
question is being asked to promote the safety of Postal Service
employees, our customers, and everyone who handles or transports
the mail. The question is not intended to be a deterrent to
any terrorist act.
question is a "first line of defense" against nonmailable or
improperly prepared HAZMAT, liquids, perishables, or fragile
items being entered into the mail stream. Asking the question
is intended to elicit some thought by our customers regarding
the contents of their packages and, if necessary, prompt a dialogue
with the retail associate about mailability, labeling, or packaging.
Many of our customers, particularly those who deposit their
mail at retail counters, are unaware or unsure of what constitutes
Why does the Postal
Service still require the HAZMAT question when airlines no longer
ask a similar question at their counters?
are enhanced security procedures in areas of commercial travel
so travelers are no longer questioned at the ticket counter.
What can my district
do to improve Mystery Shopper scores for HAZMAT?
Florida leads the nation with a score of 90 percent. Employees
there went from a national ranking of 41st in PQ 4, FY 2002,
to No.1 in the nation in PQ 1, FY 2003. How did they do it?
In a series of meetings with executive and administrative schedule
(EAS) employees at year's end, the district manager stressed
the need for the scores to improve for these reasons - protecting
the safety of employees and customers, protecting the traveling
public, and protecting our ability to ship on commercial aircraft.
Hundreds of managers took the message - and the reasons behind
it - back to their employees. The message was repeated in a
series of standup talks and written communications. Retail associates
understood the reasons and appreciated their importance - asking
the HAZMAT question became part of their routines.
Placement of Certified Mail
Retail acceptance employees are reminded that the barcoded
portion of PS Form 3800, Certified Mail Receipt, must
be placed above the delivery address and to the right of the
return address on letters, or to the left of the delivery
address on parcels. Additionally, acceptance employees
should ensure that PVI (postage validation imprinter)
labels, postage, or customer meter strips do not interfere
with the barcode or the taggant - the beige square located
to the right of the barcode of the label. (Note: Newer
versions of PS Form 3800 have the taggant to the left of the
Questions or comments? Submit them via e-mail to Retail
Postal Bulletin 3/6/03