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APWU 133

    USPS/APWU Reach Final Remedy Settlement on Major Clerk Craft Jobs MOU National Dispute

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

    USPS/APWU Reach Final Remedy Settlement on Major Clerk Craft Jobs MOU National Dispute

     

    January 14, 2022

    Clerk Division Director Lamont Brooks signed a settlement agreement to resolve the outstanding issue of the remedy in Case # Q10C-4Q-C 15174956. This issue remained pending based on the decision of Arbitrator Goldberg’s April 21, 2017 arbitration award. The parties were unable to resolve the remedy issue and the matter was rescheduled for January 19-20 2022 before Arbitrator Goldberg. As a result of the award, the Postal Service posted Level-7 Human Resources (HR) Clerk Craft and Training Technician duty assignments on September 17, 2017. The monetary portion of the award, the ripple effect, and the dispute over the Training Technician jobs posted for application remained unresolved.

    This settlement agreement resolves those outstanding settlement issues.

    “I congratulate Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks and everyone involved in the success of this case,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “It is another important union victory in protecting Clerk Craft work and Clerk Craft jobs.”

    “This settlement agreement enforces the rightful gain of the 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement Clerk Craft Jobs MOU which required the Postal Service to create an additional eight hundred (800) administrative and technical jobs to the APWU bargaining unit”, stated Lamont Brooks. 

    Brooks further stated, “It also provides for a minimum of an additional fifty-four (54) newly created duty assignments, involving various government service, which is essential to expanding the craft work opportunities, as it relates to new products and services.”

    The settlement agreement memorializes the “ripple effect” issued by Goldberg dating back to August 1, 2013, grants out-of-schedule pay to the successful bidder or employees awarded the bids, make whole in pay levels differences, and a make whole remedy for PSE conversions to career. 

    Some of the highlights of this settlement agreement are as follows:

    1.    The monetary remedy for the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU will be administered at the national level. Within 14-days the USPS will provide the APWU with the list of employees who were awarded the HR Clerk and Training Technician duty assignments. This list will also include the successful bidders on subsequent vacancies up to an including PSE conversion.
    2.    No later than 60 days the parties will identify the make-whole for those employees identified above.
    3.    Any reversion grievances that were filed related to subsequent vacancies will be processed in accordance with Article 15. The parties at the national level will identify the appropriate payee and monetary remedy based on cases adjudicated in the Union’s favor.
    4.    In accordance with Article 19 within 90 days, the USPS will create new Clerk Craft job descriptions and qualification standards related to handling various government services.
    5.    The USPS will establish and post a minimum of 54 new duty assignments as agreed to in #4 above by 9/31/22.

    “I would like to thank Assistant Clerk Division Director Lynn Pallas-Barber who was the officer assigned to the initial dispute, Assistant Clerk Division Director Sam Lisenbe, and Michael Barrett of the Buffalo Area Local for their valuable assistance,” stated Clerk Division Director, Lamont Brooks.


    The Gift That Keeps on Giving...

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

    The Gift That Keeps on Giving...

     

    Mark Dimondstein

    January 14, 2022

    (This article first appeared in the January/February 2022 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

    One of the greatest gifts ever given to postal workers was not one delivered by Santa. It is our right to collective bargaining over our wages, benefits and conditions of employment. It was won and passed on to us by the courageous actions of our foremothers and forefathers in the Great Postal Strike of 1970! It is these hard-won rights that laid the foundation for the GOOD NEWS of our new tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement, our Union Contract.

    The new “Tentative Agreement” (TA) is very positive and achieves many of the union’s goals: annual wage increases, continuation of full Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), more opportunities for conversion to career status, addressing the needs of PTFs and protecting job security. It represents advances for every group of APWU-represented workers and every single member.

    I am extremely pleased the TA has the unanimous approval of the National Negotiations Committee and the support of the National Executive Board. The TA received the unanimous approval of the Rank-and-File Bargaining Advisory Committee for a membership ratification vote.

    Since many of the pages of this magazine will delve into details of the TA, I will simply share some observations. First, unlike management of non-union workplaces who are free to dictate almost every aspect of employment, postal management must meet us at the bargaining table and negotiate over wages, benefits and working conditions. Provided the union leadership organizes, mobilizes and unifies the membership and community allies and refuses to engage in concessionary bargaining, the results of collective bargaining are a "gift" that indeed keeps on giving.

    Second, the success of negotiations comes down to building and exercising power and leverage. Our power begins with you, the member, and is amplified through the union activism of thousands of postal workers. The contract campaign many of you participated in included a strong “kick off” rally, union gear days, buttons/stickers, and “talking” union. All these activities helped send the message to management, from the workroom floor to postal headquarters, that postal workers are united in the struggle for a good contract. The APWU and its leadership has established itself as a strong force to be reckoned with. That was reflected in the outcome of these negotiations.

    Third, management and the union generally have opposing goals. The union strives to advance the general well-being of postal workers and the cause of all labor. Since we are not negotiating with ourselves, hammering out an agreement is always difficult. This holds true even when postal management comes to the negotiating table in good faith, as they did in this round of bargaining. We should judge the results of any TA in its entirety.

    Fourth, planning is vital to success. Led by our chief spokesperson, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, immense preparation and coordination went into negotiations. Economic analysis on wage trends, assessing the history of collective bargaining, research of other union contracts, study of Convention resolutions, development of proposals, and much internal discussion and debate within the negotiating committee took place over the last year and more. Throughout this process the Craft Directors, members of the negotiating committee, officers and union staff worked extremely hard and effectively in the necessary planning and preparation, as well as in the negotiations themselves. Kudos to a job well done!

    Lastly, I am extremely honored to have been your lead negotiator and proud to have worked alongside the entire negotiating committee. In addition to myself and Vance Zimmerman, the committee included Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy, Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell, Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks, Motor Vehicle Service Craft Director Michael Foster, Maintenance Craft Director Idowu Balogun and Support Services Director Stephen Brooks.

    Throughout the battle, you, the member, proudly stayed “Union Strong All Day Long!” The ratification vote is now up to you. Our negotiating team encourages you to let your voice be heard and urges you to “Vote Yes!”


    ATTENTION MEMBERS

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

     

    ATTENTION MEMBERS

     

    Due to not having a Quorum for the January 15, 2022, Regular Monthly Meeting there will not be any minutes for the Month of January.

     

    The Charleston WV Area Local #133 will be conducting the Regular Monthly Meeting on February 19, 2022 @ 7:00 PM.

     

    According to the Charleston, West Virginia Area Local #133 Constitution, we will be voting for delegates for the State Convention at the February 19, 2022, Regular Monthly Meeting @ 7:00 PM.

     

    The meeting will be held at 711 Bigley Ave.

    Charleston, WV 25302

     

    There will be a $25.00 door prize.

    The bonus drawing is $375.00.

     

     

    ALL MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND

    ATTENTION MEMBERS

    Of the

    Charleston Area Local #133

     

    Important Announcements

     

    President Craig Brown has appointed Dan Akers as Assistant Clerk Craft Director and Tom Accord as Trustee.

     

    We will be having an election for Assistant Clerk Craft Director and Trustee to permanently fill the positions which will take place at the February 19, 2022, Regular Monthly Meeting @ 7:00 PM.

     

    According to the Charleston, West Virginia Area Local #133 Constitution, we will be voting for delegates for the National Convention at the March 19, 2022, Regular Monthly Meeting @ 8:00AM.


    Biden Administration Taps USPS and Postal Workers for Distribution of COVID Test Kits

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

    Biden Administration Taps USPS and Postal Workers for Distribution of COVID Test Kits

     

    January 13, 2022

    The Biden Administration has announced a program to mail at-home COVID test kits to every household that requests them. These kits could be mailed to as many as 160 million addresses. APWU members will be critical to the success of the program. 

    “The APWU is excited and fully supports this plan,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “It is in the interests of the health and wellbeing of the general population as this dangerous pandemic continues. It underscores the invaluable role of the public Postal Service in the lives of the people. It shines a light on the importance of maintaining universal service to every address and person. It opens up the opportunity for similar expanded ‘fulfillment’ work in the future.”

    APWU President Mark Dimondstein, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman and Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks jointly worked with the Postal Service to secure a Memorandum of Understanding that defines the project as “new work” and ensures that the “fulfillment” work associated with packaging and labeling the packages for this temporary project is determined as clerk work. At the same time, the MOU gives the USPS the flexibility to keep holiday temporary workers on the rolls so as to increase the workforce capacity to make this project a success.  The fulfillment work will be performed at 43 existing postal facilities throughout the country.

    “APWU-represented clerk craft bargaining unit employees boldly accept the ‘new work’ opportunity to fulfill the distribution of the COVID test kits authorized by the Biden Administration’s call to action,” said Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks. “This is just another example of clerks, as part of the Postal Service institution, rising to the challenge of connecting the public during these difficult times while still carrying out our mission of processing the mail.”

    “This is an amazing opportunity to once again show the American people that we are here to serve them and how important the Postal Service is to this country. This proves we are ready and able to offer expanded services” stated Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman.

    The APWU is ready to do our part. It will be up to the Biden Administration to ensure that the necessary number of test kits are quickly manufactured and that the ordering process for these kits is easily accessible for the people. 
     


    How to File an OWCP Claim When Diagnosed with COVID-19

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

    How to File an OWCP Claim When Diagnosed with COVID-19

     

    January 10, 2022

    Currently, there is a spike of COVID-19 diagnosis throughout the United States. Postal Employees are not exempt from contracting COVID-19. Following national trends, there is also a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases at the Postal Service. Not knowing how COVID-19 can affect any one person whether it is a mild illness, a severe case, a case of “long” COVID-19, what the long-term effects might be, or sadly even death, it is vital that those who contract the virus understand that it is their right to apply for worker’s compensation benefits to protect themselves and their families.

    If you are a postal employee, no matter if you are a career employee or non-career employee, you are entitled to file a claim with the Office of Workers Compensation Programs. The one caveat is that you must have worked at the Post Office at some point during the 21-days prior to your COVID-19 diagnosis, and are required to complete an approved form of COVID-19 testing to prove you are sick. Employees that have claims approved are entitled to have their medical costs and lost wages paid. Approved Claimants are also entitled to request that any annual sick or annual leave used be “bought back” and redeposited to their leave balances. Also, should a postal employee pass away due to COVID- 19, their survivors are entitled to benefits under the compensation programs if there is an approved claim.

    As previously reported, under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed into law on March 11, 2021:

    Section 4016 of the law provides that a federal employee who is diagnosed with COVID-19 and carried out duties that required contact with patients, members of the public, or co-workers, or included a risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus during a covered period of exposure prior to the diagnosis, is deemed to have an injury that is proximately caused by employment.

    In simple terms, this means that if you are diagnosed with (have a positive test) and you file an OWCP claim, it will be more than likely approved. You are not required to prove you contracted the disease at work. In order to receive benefits, those diagnosed must submit a claim. Do not expect management to do this for you and do not expect them to inform you that you have the right to file a claim.

    When you file a claim for COVID-19 you are entitled to request continuation of pay (COP). This is pay at your regular rate of pay paid to you by the postal service during your COVID-19 illness absence. You are entitled to COP if you file your claim within 30-days of your diagnosis. If you are filing more than 30-days after your diagnosis, you are not entitled to COP. Please note, that for the first three days, the law requires a “waiting period” that you must use sick, annual, or leave without pay (LWOP) before COP kicks in. However, if your absence lasts longer than 14-days, the first three days will be converted to COP. Any non-scheduled days also count towards the three day “waiting” period. COP can be paid for up to 45 calendar days after which any additional missed time will be paid as worker’s compensation payments by OWCP.

    In order to file a claim, it is recommended that you do so through e-COMP. You must register at https://www.ecomp.dol.gov

    Doing so ensures that OWCP receives your claim form, receives the necessary laboratory reports because you upload the documents. They system automatically forwards documents to your supervisors to complete and tracks whether or not the Postal Service has done their part. Using e-COMP gives you tracking and you can hold management accountable because you can see what they have and have not done. It should be noted that you can register on e-COMP at any time — whether you have an injury or not. In fact, it is a good idea to register and establish an account in case you need to use it anytime during your career for any at-work injury. It is also one thing less to worry about if you are diagnosed with COVID-19.

    The instructions below are not all inclusive and do not guarantee claim approval. To file a claim and to receive COP:

    • Notify your supervisor that you are sick with COVID-19

    • Get an an approved form of COVID-19 testing to prove you are sick. 

      • The best form of testing for proof of illness is a laboratory PCR test.

      • A positive Antibody or Antigen COVID-19 test result, together with contemporaneous medical evidence and documentation from a medical professional, may also be accepted.

      • If no positive laboratory test is available, a COVID-19 diagnosis from a physician together with rationalized medical opinion supporting the diagnosis and an explanation as to why a positive test result is not available may also be accepted. 

      • AT HOME & RAPID TESTS ALONE ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO SERVE AS PROOF OF ILLNESS - they require an accompanying statement from a doctor.

    • Submit a PS-Form 3971 and check COP as the reason

    • Register on e-COMP if you have not done so: https://www.ecomp.dol.gov

    • Once registered on e-COMP, login to your account

      • Click on new claim on top right of page

      • On next screen, make sure "Federal Employee" is selected

      • Make sure to select Postal Service as the agency

      • Click “File Claim”

      • Click “next”

      • Select the COVID-19 Claim and enter information requested in the online form

      • Once requested information is entered, upload a copy of the positive laboratory COVID-19 results or other relevant medical documentation

      • After uploading, make sure you select “continuation of pay”

      • It is recommended you save a copy of your claim or at least write down the ECN number for your claim

    Here are some links to references for OWCP claims due to COVID-19:

    Register for e-COMP
    Video Tutorial on Registering for e-COMP
    Video Tutorial on Filing COVID-19 Claim through e-COMP

    Additional Resources:
    Now It Is Easier to File FECA COVID Claims | American Postal Workers Union
    Claims under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) | U.S. Department of Labor
    FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) | U.S. Department of Labor (these are the instructions claims examiners must follow)

    You have the right under the law to file an OWCP claim for COVID-19! Do not let management discourage you from filing a claim. Do not let them tell you that you have to prove your sickness was contracted at work as this is not a requirement of the law. It is in your best interest to file for the benefits. You protect yourself and your families by doing so. If you follow the steps and have a laboratory test confirmed case of COVID-19, you will likely be approved. However, the APWU cannot guarantee claim approval.


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