The end of year calculations for custodial work was to take place at the end of the fiscal year. That meant that the USPS was obligated to provide documentation to the APWU to show that the hours worked by custodians in their base operation was used to fulfill the obligatory work shown on the staffing package summary sheet (PS Form 4852 – line H). The Service, instead of providing that doucmentation to the Union, simply provided a report which showed the amount of hours used by custodians in their base operation.
These hours are calculated as Labor Distribution Code (LDC) 38. This report showed every single faciltiy having met their obligation. Of course we know this is false. However, just because we know something is false does not mean we don’t need to prove it. So, how can we do that? There are two main areas that are looked at. The first are those locations covered by the eMARS system. This stands for Electronic Maintenance Activity Reporting and Scheduling system. We only have three locations, though, that are covered by this system of record keeping.
They are the Phoenix and West Valley P&DCs, and the Rio Salado Facility. Everywhere else within the city of Phoenix, the Associate Offices, and even the areas covered under the State, do not fall under eMARS. Which means there are no records. Looking at those sites covered by eMARS first; we find that we can request records from eMARS showing how many hours were spent on routes. Since the PS Form 4852 is the summary sheet, it is made up from the other forms in the package. One of these forms is called a PS Form 4776. These are the routes.
The program that builds the staffing package also builds these forms; which means if it is on the package, it is on the form, and thus there should be a route to cover this work in the eMARS system. So we asked for these records, because if a custodian performs work that is not on the package, that work should not be counted. This is why over the last year I have requested that custodians fill out their paperwork properly, annotating work that is being done on work orders (which are not included on the staffing packages) or other tasks that are not custodial in nature like driving express mail and changing locks.
Why do I ask this if the records can be compared? Because of accuracy. If you are given a daily work assignment sheet and it lists seven hours of work for you to perform, but, during that shift, you are told to mop up a spill – something not on your assignment sheet – and it takes you ten minutes to get the mop and bucket, clean up the mess, and replace the mop and bucket, and you don’t include that time on your assignment sheet via a code 21 work order; you are hurting yourself.
Those ten minutes will be applied to the work on your sheet, that work is factored against the line H. So if every custodian at the P&DC has one spill a day, that would be 10 minutes x 30 custodians x 365 days = 1825 hours a year that is given away. That number is greater than the amount of hours factored for a single employee to work in a year. Which means that ten minutes a day is one full time duty assignment that does not exist. Now yes, I understand that not every custodian works every day, that is why it is an example, but the principle holds true.
If those numbers were accurate, then those 1825 hours should not be attributed to line H; and thus, if the work was properly documented, would not be able to be counted against the line H total. If those line H totals are not met, the custodians are the ones who get paid. The Service must maintain 90% of the line H hours. If they do not, then the first year they must pay the amount of hours they are short of the 90% to the custodians who should have done that work, at the overtime rate.
If the service had to fulfill 10,000 hours of line H work and they only did 8700 hours of work, they would have to pay 300 hours to the custodians at the overtime rate. The next year, if they did it again, they would have to pay up to 100%; so if they hours were the same, the second year, and every year after, they would be paying based on 1300 hours at the overtime rate. This is why the Service is refusing to provide the real documentation. While that may seem complex, and have a lot of reliance on the custodians to record what they do, it is much harder in those facilities without eMARS.
That is because there is nothing to show that any work was performed by the proper custodians towards line H. The Union, therefore, is at a huge disadvantage in policing this. What we are left with is basically a strike off option. We are requesting reports to try to show that the work performed was done by the proper custodians, and that if anyone other than the custodians from that facility worked – even if clocked in to LDC 38 – that those hours are not counted.
There is only one exception, and that is if an employee is out sick and another employee is sent from the Main Office to work; but those hours should show up as loaned hours and there should be a PS Form 3971 showing an absence. We all know that management pulled employees from one site and sent them somewhere else. We just have to find them. Other than that, there is very little the Union can prove if an employee had not filed a grievance earlier in the year to document a loss of work.
If you never cleaned the look out galleries and you never filed a grievance, I can’t argue that they were not cleaned now. For the record, only one station had that grievance get filed. Please note a major difference from the years past: we can’t simply say that since nobody was there they owe us 8 hours. We have to identify what work on the staffing pacakge was not done. You may say that there was nobody working on a Saturday and wish for 8 hours like the old days, but that is no longer proper.
We would need to go over the staffing pacakge and look at those PS Forms 4776 to see what work was not done. You may find that there is only two hours of work scheduled on a Saturday because that is when management schedules the senior routes (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc) Those senior routes are not bypassed until the end of the time frame. A monthly route must be performed within the month, a quarterly in a quarter, etc. What this means is that if you are in a station, you have a lot more that you need to do if you wish to get a remedy.
Your Union is here to help you. I held a class on November 6 at the Union Hall to go over the strategy on how to defend our work at the Stations. While no one from the Associate Offices showed up, what I say here can and should be applied out there as well. We created a book for every single station. In that book will be the staffing package (PS Forms 4852, 4839, and 4869). It will also include the route sheets (PS Form 4776), and Chapter 4 of the MS 47 TL-3. This chapter explains how things are to be cleaned, the tools needed, etc. Also included will be a spread sheet.
This spreadsheet will list all the daily work based on the PS Form 4776. It will also include all the Senior Routes, again from the PS Form 4776. Lastly, it will have another area left vacant for additional items to be handwritten in; like lock changes, or spills, or doing work in the lobby areas on a Saturday. The custodians will need to document the hours they spent on those tasks; and I request that each week those sheets get faxed in to the Union hall so that we can keep a copy of each station for the whole year, to be ready for next year’s end of year calculations.
Nobody can force you to do this; but at the same time, nobody can do it for you either. Stewards James Agnew and Andrea Summers have been working on making those spreadsheets for the books; and they, along with Lamont Green, have offered to make sure those books are taken to the stations. The Union will also keep an electronic copy on hand, so that if something happens to your book we can send a new one. If you don’t like the spreadsheets we are making, then feel free to make your own. It just needs to show the amount of hours of work that are being done by the custodians towards Line H work.
I have included in this article an example of what one of those spreadsheets may look like. I hope that being proactive, and by getting the custodians involved at an early stage, we will have a much better opportunity to prevail in these matters. Ultimately though, it relies on each custodian to ensure they are doing their part. This is one of those things that is ‘all for one and one for all’; because if someone cuts corners, or tries to line their own pockets, they are hurting their brothers and sisters.