Tuesday, June 16, 2009

APWU, USPS Agree To Revamped Maintenance Selection System

APWU Web News Article #068-09, June 12, 2009

After intensive discussions, the APWU and the USPS have agreed to modify the Maintenance Selection System (MSS), the process by which many Maintenance Craft duty assignments are filled.

“The Revamped Maintenance Selection System maintains employee protections that are important to the craft, and establishes a selection process that is far more objective than the old system,” Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer said. “The RMSS also should result in a more timely return of results, and the elimination of several troublesome issues.” The June 3, 2009, agreement necessitated changes to Article 38 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the development of a new Maintenance Selection System Handbook (EL-304), Raymer said.

The USPS began reviewing the MSS in 2006, citing changes in technology and equipment, as well as difficulty maintaining selection registers and recruiting new hires. The MSS had not undergone a complete review since 1984. As part of the review process, the Postal Service surveyed hundreds of current craft employees and supervisors, and evaluated the work associated with Maintenance Craft occupational groups.

In early 2009, when the Postal Service notified the APWU of proposed changes to the EL-304 Handbook, the APWU initiated serious discussions with management on the subject.
The USPS was reluctant to expand previously negotiated initiatives that provided developmental training to employees to help meet the qualifications for the selection registers, such as the Maintenance Skills Development Program and the ET Trainee Program, saying it would be too expensive.

A partial list of changes includes:
  • Candidate Supplemental Application books have been eliminated;
  • Supervisor Evaluations have been eliminated;
  • A change has been made to the banding of scores, giving seniority more weight;
  • Employees wishing to update their ratings will not need to address individual KSAs (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities); they will only need to wait 120 days from their last testing;
  • Individual KSAs will be graded as part of the new job compentencies;
  • There will be a single written exam, Test 955, which will be taken online in two parts — one with a proctor and the other without. After passing Test 955, employees will be scheduled for a review panel. The review panel rating will be made on a pass/fail basis;
  • Employees who are ranked ineligible will be able to identify whether Test 955 or the review panel was the reason for the rating, and
  • Article 38 language has been changed to implement the changes.
Things that did not change:
  • KSAs will be retained as listed in the qualification standards. A minor change in wording was made to implement the new rating method;
  • Standard position descriptions;
  • Job task and/or occupational group work assignments, and
  • Make-up of the review panel. (No 204Bs or immediate supervisors will serve.)
The parties are developing a set of Questions and Answers regarding the RMSS, which will be disseminated as soon as it is complete.

MSS applications that were started prior to May 27, 2009, will be processed under the old system. Applications submitted in March for the 2009 Open Season will be processed under the revamped procedure.

Maintenance Craft jobs that are not filled by the MSS process will be unaffected by the agreement.

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