What About the Level 7’s, Mike and Ken?

Michael O. Foster

January 6, 2022

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

The tentative agreement will now be mailed to each APWU member for their vote to approve or reject this agreement. The opportunity to ratify the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has not occurred since the 2010-2015 Contract. This means that the Union and the Employer have not agreed on the wages, hours, and working conditions of APWU members for the last six years. The two agreements in between were decided by an Interest Arbitrator.

The right to vote on your contract and your future is very important and every member should exercise this right. The MVS Craft made some advances in this difficult round of bargaining. The USPS once again demanded work rule concessions that the Craft could not agree with, so many of each parties’ proposals were unachieved.

Among the MVS highlights of the tentative agreement:

• The elimination of the Double Steps FF-AA for Level 8 employees and the addition of Step P. The level eight (8) employees’ average salary projected increase is about $ 7,635. With this three (3) year contract, the Level seven (7) employees’ average salary projected increase is $6,620 with the cost of living and the 1.3% general wage each year over the term of the contract.

• The renewal of the Highway Contract Limitation MOU (No contracting of PVS operations for the life of the agreement 2021-2024). Renewal of the parties’ commitment to establish the Pilot Programs in Louisville, KY and Tacoma, WA. In this MOU, management retains the 80% Full Time, 20% Part Time ratio, and up to 20% split off days. • The establishing of a Training Committee to address MVS training that includes VMF members, Mechanics, Lead and Automotive Technicians, Stockroom personnel, and General Clerks. The goal will also be to try and develop additional training for the MVOs, TTOs, and the DSIs.

• The opportunity for the Craft to submit recommendations and be involved earlier in the development of new vehicles prior to the specifications being sent to contractors and before manufacturing and development of the vehicles. The opportunity for more involvement in the development of future purchases should be able to avoid problems such as the 7 leaf springs, seat problems, and seat and steering wheel clearance issues with the old Mack tractors that were on a dump or garbage truck frame.

• The requirement to convert and promote eligible and identified PTFs within 28 days, except for the month of December, and conversion of MVS PSEs who have been on the rolls for twenty-four months to PTFs.

• The rollover of the unused amount of the Uniform Allowance into future years’ allotments. This is a provision that we have been trying to achieve for at least three previous contracts.

As we entered into negotiations, among our main objectives was seeking upgrades for positions within the Craft due to the USPS problems with hiring and retaining drivers and Technicians. The USPS rejected our efforts to raise the Level 7 positions because they were not having problems hiring MVO’s and Mechanics. We are committed to fighting for the rest of the Craft and Union, including Level 7s in the next and future negotiations.

Although we were not able to achieve these contractual provisions for the Level 7 members during this round of negotiations, we must take advantage of any opportunity to improve the lives of postal employees and continue to fight for everyone. It was because of the shortage of Tractor Trailer Operators and the difficulties in hiring drivers to comply with the Das 110 Award that the USPS was willing to make adjustments to the Level 8 pay scale that affected over 9,000 APWU members. We will continue our fight for equality for all members.