Some tasks typically performed by postmasters, supervisors, and carriers could be shifted to clerks and other employees represented by the American Postal Workers Union -- in some cases, lower-paid non-career employees. Most of the changes would apparently be triggered by attrition of non-APWU employees rather than pushing them out of their jobs.
New roles for APWU-represented employees would include filling in for absent postmasters, delivering Express Mail and Priority parcels, performing supervisory functions, taking on some "craft" duties now performed by postmasters, and manning corporate call centers.
USPS claims it would save $3.8 billion during the course of the 4.5-year contract but has not spelled out where those savings would come from or what assumptions go into its calculations. APWU members will start voting on the contract tomorrow.
"The contract will give the Postal Service the right to employ a substantially larger percentage of temporary workers who will be paid relatively low wages," APWU President Cliff Guffey told a Congressional panel on Tuesday.
He also noted that a majority of the job cuts at USPS the past five years have involved APWU-represented positions. For more on how the contract might bolster APWU's thinning ranks, see Postal Service Agrees To Big Incentive For Employees Who Join Union and More on the APWU Health Insurance Deal.
Among the sections that would allow, or require, more duties to be assigned to APWU-represented employees:
- USPS "shall return duties and responsibilities from Executive and administrative Schedule (EAS) positions within Mail Processing and Customer Service to the APWU bargaining unit based upon an audit" to determine whether they belong with non-supervisory employees.
- Creation of new positions, Lead Processing Clerk and Lead Sales and Services Associate, "to provide oversight, direction and support, in the absence of Supervisory presence to bargaining unit employees in both Mail Processing and Retail operations." Every facility with at least five clerks would be required to have at least one lead clerk.
- Stricter limits on the amount of bargaining-unit work that can be done by supervisors and postmasters in facilities with fewer than 100 APWU-represented employees.
- Establishment of a new position, Delivery/Sales Services and Distribution Associate (level PS-6), which will combine the existing roles of Sales Services and Distribution Associate with those of Clerk/Special Delivery Messenger. The jobs would be filled by employees in the clerk craft. These employees will apparently deliver Express Mail and parcels on days when the local post office is closed.
- The Postal Service "shall staff Call Center locations with no fewer than a total of 1,100 Clerk Craft duty assignments during the term of the 2010 Agreement. These duty assignments will be filled by a mix of 70% career and 30% rehabilitation status employees."