August 17, 2020
Today, pursuant to Article 15, Section 3.F of the National Agreement, NALC initiated a national-level grievance regarding the Postal Service’s unilateral implementation of the delivery initiative called Post Office Sortation Equipment Reconciliation (SER).
On July 31, 2020, USPS notified NALC of the SER initiative and characterized it as a “review” which would solicit “feedback” from employees. However, subsequent documentation shows that the Postal Service has instructed local management to reduce the number of city letter carrier cases and to change their configurations. We have received reports from the field confirming that significant changes are being implemented.
The SER initiative substantially alters letter carrier cases and work methods codified in the Handbooks M-39 and M-41. These changes directly impact terms and conditions of employment of city letter carriers in violation of Article 19 of the National Agreement.
The language in Sections 117.2b and 117.4d of Handbook M-39 and Sections 221.41 and 221.42 of Handbook M-41 limits the number of deliveries in each separation to two in normal circumstances; however, under no circumstance does this language permit more than three deliveries. Under SER, 1-inch cells containing CBU and centralized deliveries may have more than the maximum number of deliveries allowed.
M-39 Section 117.2f establishes standards for required pieces of equipment based on the number of deliveries. Under SER, routes with 660 or more deliveries will have the equipment reduced without consideration of these standards.
The language in M-39 Sections 117.2c and 117.2f also requires 15 separations in the letter carrier cases to be set aside for central markup and 15 to be used for other purposes, such as expansion of high-volume delivery points and hold mail. The SER initiative allows local management to reduce or eliminate these hold mail spaces in the carrier cases without regard to the M-39 requirements. NALC has received reports from delivery units around the country in which the letter carriers have been informed the number of separations reserved for central mark-up will be reduced to seven 1-inch separations from the required 15.
NALC has requested a meeting with the Postal Service to discuss this interpretive dispute.