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Motor Vehicle Service

Dave Cook - Craft Director
Steve Henjum - MVS Trustee

  MVS Members:

 I hope the New Year is treating you all well.  Your MVS Stewards continue to fight for our rights and enforce the contract.  I would like to update you all on a couple issues.

PVS: Since November, we continued discussions with management on the 2014 bidding of PVS runs.   We made the commitment to our members during our MVS only Craft meeting to voice your concerns to management and to do our best to improve the 2014 bid package. 

After much pressure from all of you and the hard work of your stewards, I believe we have been successful in greatly improving the bid package.  Although the package is not perfect, we successfully increased the hours of the Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) bids.  If you recall the original package had eleven (11) thirty (30) hour bids.  The 2014 bid should occur within the next couple weeks.  The following is a quick breakdown of the bids:
Bids 40 hours/week- 34
NTFT bids 38 hours/week- 1
NTFT bids 36 hours/week- 2
 NTFT bids 35 hours/week- 9
NTFT bids 32 hours/week- 1
Total jobs for 2014 = 47 

 I would like to remind all TTO’s that end up holding Non-Traditional bids under 40 hours/week, if you work over the bids daily hours you must notify a steward so a grievance can be filed.  Per the contract you will receive 50% more pay (out of schedule premium) for all hours worked over the daily.  In essence you will receive overtime.  Filing these grievances also helps your stewards show that the NTFT bids aren’t working and need to be raised back to 40 hours/week

VMF- The struggles with Manager Ekholm continue.  Virtually all grievance issues brought to his attention get appealed up the chain.  He refuses to comply with previous bargained settlements and clearly believes he is above the contract.  His actions can only delay the inevitable though. 

The contract will be upheld and the APWU will continue to file grievances to enforce the contract.
Also, I recently filed charges on behalf of a member with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  The charges were against Manager Ekholm for denying an employee’s request for a Union Steward to be present during an investigative interview.  The NLRB upheld the charge and stated they believe there was a clear violation of the employees Weingarten rights.  This is a great win for us and should show Manager Ekholm that the APWU intends on taking all steps necessary to uphold the rights of our members. 

We will not be bullied!

In Solidarity,
Dave Cook
MVS Director

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APWU                                                    APWU
Todd Elkerton,  President        St. Paul, MN Area Local               November 21, 2013                                                                                   651-778-1637

             ATTENTION MVS MEMBERS:        

We intend on having a Motor Vehicle Craft only meeting on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.  We encourage everyone to attend.
         Topics will include upcoming bidding and run changes (and any other issues the members want to discuss).        

Where:        APWU Union Office
2261 Waters Drive
Mendota Heights, MN  55120

Dave Cook
MVS Craft Director

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APWU                                                    APWU
Todd Elkerton,  President         St. Paul, MN Area Local                 June 4, 2013                                                                 651-778-1637                                       


Approximately a week ago, I received a letter from the APWU at the National level.  This letter from our National MVS Officers informed me that they had received a notice from the U.S. Postal Service that they were “considering” subcontracting the movement of mail in approximately 162 Postal Service Vehicle (PVS) sites nationwide.  This would be approximately every PVS operation in the country.  The APWU received this notice at the end of April.      

The APWU responded with a letter acknowledging the receipt of the notice and then requested information to start the process of analyzing operations.  At this time the APWU has not received the requested information.  Article 32.2.B. of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) states the USPS must supply the information that was requested (to the APWU) at least sixty (60) days prior to the installation of the service.  Furthermore, if the USPS really intends to shut down all PVS operations, this would result in possible excessing/relocation which would also require an additional ninety (90) day advance notice to the APWU at the National level prior to implementing a relocation plan.

To make a long story short, this is a lengthy process and I would not expect a decision on the consideration of subcontracting at any time soon.  The APWU does not know what the real intentions of the USPS are with this notification, but will treat it as a real threat until proven otherwise.  As a response to this notification, our National MVS Director Mike Foster is in the process of putting together a committee consisting of MVS stewards from around the country.  This committee will be getting together in the near future to develop a plan to consistently fight this possibility of subcontracting around the country if the USPS proceeds.

This is all of the information I have at this time.  Unfortunately, there are still a lot of uncertainties with this notification.  I can assure you that as I become aware of information I will pass it along to all of you in a timely fashion.

In solidarity, 
Dave Cook
MVS Director

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MVS Members 

It has come to my attention that we are going to be having issues with overtime in the PVS operation this spring/summer.  Per management, they intend on forcing employees in Non-Tradition bids (NTFT) to work incidental overtime over their normal daily scheduled hours.  This is in conflict with the NTFT memo which states:

“These NTFT employees will normally work the number of hours (daily and/or weekly) identified in their bid assignment, except in an emergency. These employees are entitled to out of schedule premium for hours worked outside their normal schedule.”  This provision applies to any hours (including OT for an employee on the ODL) outside of the NTFT bid schedule.  If you are in a NTFT bid and are scheduled to work over your daily scheduled work hours, request a steward.  A grievance will be filed and you will receive 50% more pay for those extra hours you are scheduled

Along with this, the employer also plans on forcing non-ODL employees in for overtime.  As management has created Non-Tradition bids (NTFT) in our operation this is also in conflict with the NTFT memo which states:  “Effective 6 months from the signing date of the 2010 National Agreement, full-time career clerk craft and motor vehicle craft employees who are not on the Overtime Desired List and are in an installation with employees working in NTFT duty assignments in the same Functional area, will not be required to work overtime except in an emergency.”Once again, if you are not on the ODL and are forced to work OT, you need to request a steward so a grievance can be filed on your behalf.  You will receive 50% more pay for all overtime hours you work (which would equal double time).  What ever you do, DO NOT volunteer to work the OT if you are a Non-ODL employee. 

If you volunteer to work the overtime you are not entitled to the financial remedy.  Make them force you. 
The shortage of staff in the operation which is causing scheduling issue is a direct result of management’s failure to hire/convert employees to career in a timely matter and the reduction of career employees over the last 6 years.  I have made management aware of the actions that will be taken if they improperly schedule overtime as stated above.  Now I need your help so I can follow through with this.  Request a steward so together we can enforce our contract.

In solidarity

Dave Cook

MVS Director


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APWU            St. Paul, MN Area Local        APWU
Todd Elkerton , President                            2/27/13                    651-778-1637

It has recently been brought to my attention that the Postal Service has a job posting up for three (3) Ad-Hoc Drivers Trainers in the St Paul installation.  This job falls under the jurisdiction of the Motor Vehicle Craft.  As such, the USPS must give first consideration to Motor Vehicle Craft employees who apply (if no qualified MVS applicants, other craft employees will be awarded jobs).         

These jobs are used on an as needed basis when drivers’ training exists.  You would not vacate your current full-time bid if awarded one of these Ad-Hoc positions.  These positions will help provide drivers’ training (both classroom & behind the wheel) to new carriers and all other postal employees (career & non-career) who are required to drive as part of their job duties (Automotive Technicians, Tractor Trailer Operators, building maintenance, etc.).  

The types of vehicles you may train in include LLV, FFV, 2-Tons, Dodge Caravans, administrative vehicles, maintenance vehicles and Tractor Trailers.  You must be licensed to drive all of the above vehicles when you apply for these jobs.  This is why MVS employees are perfect for the job.  The overwhelming majority of us already have a commercial driver’s license.

I know several people who have held these positions in the past and they all have liked this work.  The posting is up from February 27, 2013 thru March 13, 2013.  The application must be received by 10:00 AM March 13, 2013 in the District Safety office.  You can find this posting on employee bulleting boards in your facility which includes instructions on how to apply for the job.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at the Union office and I would be more than happy to assist in any way possible.  I would like to see MVS employees keep this work within our craft.
In solidarity,

Dave Cook
MVS Director                                                                                                                                     

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APWU            St. Paul, MN Area Local        APWU
Todd Elkerton , President                          2/12/13                    651-778-1637 


It has recently been brought to my attention that the Postal Service has a job posting up for three (3) Ad-Hoc Drivers Trainers in the St Paul instillation.  This job falls under the jurisdiction of the Motor Vehicle Craft.  As such, the USPS must give first consideration to Motor Vehicle Craft employees who apply (if no MVS aplicants, other craft employees will be awarded jobs).

These jobs are used on an as-needed basis when drivers’ training exists.  You would not vacate your current full-time bid if awarded one of these Ad-Hoc positions.  These positions will help provide drivers training (both classroom & behind the wheel) to new carriers and all other postal employees (career & non-career) who are required to drive as part of their job duties (Automotive Technicians, Tractor Trailer Operators, building maintenance, etc.).  

The types of vehicles you would train in include LLV, FFV, 2-Tons, Dodge Caravans, administrative vehicles, maintenance vehicles and Tractor Trailers.  You must be licensed to drive all of the above vehicles when you apply for these jobs.  This is why MVS employees are perfect for the job.  The overwhelming majority of us already have a commercial driver’s license.

          I know several people whom have held these positions in the past and they all have liked this work.  The posting is up from February 12, 2013 thru February 22, 2013 @ 10:30 AM.  You can find this posting on employee bulletin boards in your facility which includes instructions on how to apply for the job.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at the Union office and I would be more than happy to assist in any way possible.  I would like to see MVS employees keep this work within our craft.

In solidarity,

Dave Cook

MVS Director

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This past year has been trying and filled with change for the MVS craft, especially for Postal Vehicle Services (PVS). 

As most of you are aware, the Postal Service intended on subcontracting all PVS work in the State of California (approximately 800 jobs).  The Union at the National level filed a grievance which was Arbitrated on November 27 & 28, 2012, however the Postal Service intended on moving forward with the subcontracting of the work in the beginning of November 2012 (prior to Arbitration occurring).

In an effort to stop the Postal Service from causing irreparable harm prior to the Arbitration occurring, the Union filled for a  injunction in federal court pending the arbitrator’s ruling.  During the hearing, the Postal Service filed a sworn statement with the court stipulating that it would not excess career employees or terminate Postal Support Employees (PSEs) prior to Jan. 26, 2013.  This was a huge win for the APWU and its members, but the war has not been won yet. 

We still wait for the ruling by the Arbitrator as to whether the subcontracting of all PVS work in the State of California is contractual.  I will keep you all informed as information becomes available.

Along with the changes in 2012, local PVS management has taken advantage of the creation of Non-Traditional-Full-Time (NTFT) bids consisting of less than forty (40) hours per week.  Although these bids are not ideal, they do come with some new protection.  Per the NCBA, the Postal Service can not force Non-ODL employees in on overtime in any section that has  NTFT bids.  If this occurs, the Non-ODL employee is to receive 50% more pay for all hours worked.  The only way the employer can get around this is if the Non-ODL employee volunteers to work the overtime. 

If you are not on the ODL and are forced in on overtime, do not agree that you are volunteering to work.  Ask for a steward so the appropriate grievance can be filed.  This will force the employer to staff properly.
On the VMF side, the hiring process for Automotive Technicians is still in full swing.  Although we have filled four (4) of the vacant positions, there are approximately three (3) more vacant jobs in St Paul needing to be filled.  Also, due to the early out offer, there will be approximately six (6) more vacant Automotive Technician jobs effective the end of January. 

If you know of anyone who is mechanically inclined, have them go to and apply for the job.

Another major change at the VMF is the presence of a new Manager (Jim Ekholm).  Unfortunately, the new Manager has decided to challenge the union on all fronts.  He has decided he is going to rewrite the book!  This is proving to be very time consuming and is resulting in a huge increase in requested Union time. 

I have recently been informed that the manager has gone on the work room floor harassing/telling employees that they do not need to cooperate with the Union and answer questions during grievance investigations!  This is not only a violation of postal policies it is in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. 
If the manager is harassing you or trying to intimidate, interfere with, restrain, or coerce you in the exercise of the rights guaranteed by law, ask for a Union Steward. 

Let’s remind the Manager that the Union & its members stand together and will not be bullied.  The Union is here to stay whether he likes it or not!
I hope the holiday season has treated you well.

In Solidarity,

Dave Cook

MVS Director  

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USPS War on Motor Vehicle Workers

What started in California with USPS plans to contract out all 840 of its truck driver jobs over the summer have now moved to New York/New Jersey.  In California, the USPS cites environmental regulations as the reason for this. 

The National APWU quickly called its bluff by President Guffey offering to pay for the retrofit to be compliant with environmental regulation.  The USPS says not a chance. 

Similarly, in New York/New Jersey the USPS produced a trumped up study claiming it is cheaper to the work with Contractors.
These moves by the USPS are blatant violations of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  In the 2010-2016 Agreement, management agreed to bring back 600 highway contract routes.  Instead of returning this work they are proceeding to do just the opposite and moving quickly to subcontract large groups of TTO’s. 

The National APWU has been involved from the beginning.  A hearing is scheduled for November 9 on the APWU request to grant an injunction to stop the USPS from implementing this plan in California.  The USPS has indicated that they intend to replace postal truck drivers with driver employed by contractors on November 17. 

According to Motor Vehicle Director Bob Pritchard, “We are pursuing every avenue to protect our members jobs.” Further, “We will do everything we can to prevent the Postal Service from proceeding with this assault on our postal drivers.This should be a clarion call for all APWU member to stay vigilant in protecting our work in all crafts. 

This could be a slippery slope if the USPS is successful in these regards.  We need to support this fight to protect these jobs.

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Whose Job Is It Anyways?

            It has been brought to my attention recently that non Motor Vehicle Craft employees have been seen performing vehicle maintenance work on Postal owned vehicles at stations, branches and associate offices.  This is a clear violation of the contract, even if it is a station that contracts out the repairs to its vehicles.  It does not mater how minor the repair is.  The route cause of this cross craft violation usually involves a carrier who doesn’t want to be without “their” vehicle or a supervisor who wants to save the station money or fails to report the needed repair to the VMF.  The only acceptable practice for non-MVS employees is to check fluid levels on vehicles and add some air to a low tire.  All other repairs require the assistance of a trained and qualified VMF employee.  This is their job!  If you witness this occurring, please help your union brothers & sisters & request a steward or call the Union office at 651-224-2639 and report it.

            Also, stations & branches are still transporting mail that misses the final station dispatches in the evening to the P&DC on a daily basis (or another station that bring it to P&DC).  This work is mostly being assigned to station carriers and supervisors.  The transportation of mail between postal facilities is strictly that of the MVS Tractor Trailer Operators (when being performed by Postal employee).  The APWU has been actively filing grievances (when made aware) on this since 2006.  Management has recently become creative at hiding this violation from the APWU.  We need your help!  If you are aware of mail at your station that didn’t make the final truck, chances are it was brought down to the P&DC by a non MVS employee.  Please ask for a steward or call the union office at 651-224-2639 to report it (who transported, quantity and type of mail would help if known).  

Dave Cook

MVS Director

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APWU                                             APWU

Todd Elkerton,  President       St. Paul, MN Area Local        9/26 /12                                                     651-778-1637  

As a result of the
 September 25, 2012 Trustee Election: 


Congratulations Doug!


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MVS Members         

Due to a vacancy, the St. Paul APWU MVS Craft is seeking volunteers interested in learning about and becoming a union steward.  Specifically, a tractor trailer operator working tour 3 or tour 1 (however any tour would be greatly appreciated).  As I always have, and will continue to represent all members of the MVS craft to the best of my ability, I believe it is important to have a steward from both MVS Crafts.  No one knows the operation better than those of you who work in it every day.  The union needs your help defending our contract and your support in preserving our jobs.  Those interested can stop by the union office and talk with Todd Elkerton (President), Jerry Jacobson (Vice President) or myself or call 651-778-1637 (President’s Office).  I will ensure that you will be provided with all of the needed support to become a knowledgeable union representative.

I have also recently been made aware that in the next couple of weeks, the USPS is sending a representative from Denver to audit our operation.  The purpose of this audit is to see if there are any avenues/restructuring of runs that can make our operation more efficient.  These audits are a common thing and are currently being performed at PVS operations all over the country.  As more concrete information is made available, I will keep you informed.

In solidarity,

Dave Cook

MVS Director

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My Fellow Motor Vehicle Employees

  The fruits of our labor have finally paid off.  as of May 18, 2012 we have settled our most recent and last casual in lieu of grievance.  we started tracking the usage of casuals in the MVS operation in September of 2009.  As there was a vast amount of casual work hours at that time, an ongoing grievance was initiated and the casuals' work hours were continually tracked.  Casuals continued to work in the operation about and beyond a supplemental need until the end of August 2011, at which time language in the new contract took over and casuals were replaced by Postal Support Employees (PSE's).  I was not able to settle this grievance locally, so it was appealed up the grievance chain.  This case was scheduled for arbitration on 5/22/12.  Our business agent was able to reach an agreement prior to the Arbitration taking place.  It was determined that the employer was in violation of using casual TTO's in lieu of career TTO's and a monetary remedy of $75,000 was awarded.  I have been left to divide the money up amongst the career TTO's working during this time frame in question, and will do so as soon as I have been provided all of the required information.

     On the VMF side, we are still waiting to fill the vacant automotive techinician jobs. We currently have six (6) applications that I am aware of that have passed all tests and have had an interview already.  (I do know that there are several other applicants in the testing process, but I am unaware of their current status.)  For some reason, the hiring of these applicants  has stalled due to the alleged approval needed by the Western Area to hire these applicants.  This is not contractually correct and I will continue to push management until these bids are filled.  Management has yet to give a list of contracted out work that will be brought back in house (due to creation of 6 technician jobs) but I am being told I will get this information once we have the vacant bids filled.

     As always, thanks for your support.  have a great summer and I will write or see you at the GMM in June or September.

  Dave Cook, MVS Director

Do you know someone looking for a job? 

Do you know someone looking for a job?  If so, the St Paul Motor Vehicle Craft might be able to help.  I am happy to report that the Postal Service is actively searching for qualified Automotive Technicians.  The Fleet consists of delivery vehicles (including Semi Tractors & Trailers) and administrative vehicles.  Due to an increase in work load and gains made in the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement, career jobs consisting of 40 hours/week are available.  Between the St Paul and Minneapolis Vehicle Maintenance Facilities, a total of 19 Automotive Technician jobs have been created.  To qualify for the positions applicants must have graduated from high school or have an equivalent degree and pass a written and hands on bench test (once they apply) relating to Automotive repair knowledge.  You do NOT need to have any ASE certifications or any proof of Automotive repair training.  To apply for one of these jobs, applicants must go to and scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the careers link.  In the new window that opens find the “search our latest job openings” link.  In the text field box type “Automotive Technician” and then find the Location field and scroll until you find “Minnesota” and click on it.  You now may push start and it will search for all Automotive Technician jobs available in the state of Minnesota.  Once the search results are available click on one of the postings and it will give applicants all of  the information needed to apply for the job.  They must follow the directions exactly as stated or their application will be disqualified.  If the search does not provide any results, have the applicant check back every couple of days.  These hiring notices are posted in 2 week intervals, so they might have to wait a couple of weeks for a new posting.Also, the St Paul Motor Vehicle operation is looking for non-career Postal Support Employee (PSE) Tractor Trailer Operators (TTO).  Working one of these jobs may lead to a career job when one comes available as Career hiring is done from the PSE rolls.  You may also apply for this job using the above mentioned process.  If there are any questions regarding the application process please feel free to call the Union office at 651-224-2639 and ask for a MVS Steward.

Dave Cook

MVS Director
(from the May 2012 Postmark)

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Have you done your part….As I am writing this article, the battle to save the Postal Service rages on.  If you watch the news or read the paper you are reminded almost daily of the financial woes of the Postal Service.  It seems that every politician has their own idea of how to “save” the Postal service.  So which legislation should you support?  According to APWU National President Guffey, we as postal employees need to urge our senators to support S.1789, as amended, regardless of your political preferences or agendas.  The amended version will:

-Maintain current service standards
-Allow the USPS to recover overpayments the Postal Service made to its retiree pension funds.
-Adequately address the requirement that forces the USPS to pre-fund future  retiree health benefits
-Establish new ways to generate revenue-Prevent the closing of small post offices
-Protect six-day delivery

For those of you that have not been involved, now is the time.  You must contact your senators and urge them to support S.1789, as amended.  After you have done that, talk with your family, friends and neighbors and urge them to support S.1789, as amended.  Provide them with the facts of the Postal Services financial crisis. Do you know all the facts regarding the financial status of the Postal Service?  If not, is a great resource.  You will find a vast amount of information that will aid you in saving the Postal Service.  So don’t sit on the sidelines and wait for fate to decide your future, get involved!

Dave Cook, MVS Director

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I would like to start off by thanking the membership for sending me to the National APWU All-Craft conference in October.  It was a great chance to speak with our National MVS officers face to face.  I now understand the Union’s stance on the language bargained in the new National Collective Bargaining Agreement (contract) that affects the MVS craft.  It has also been made clear that much of the language achieved in regards to the returning of work will be an uphill battle.  We have been told that a lot of this language seems like it will likely not be followed until an Arbitrator gives a decision in the Union’s favor.  I would like to reassure you that the St Paul Area Local APWU will continue to fight for every opportunity to return work to our TTO’s.
As many of you know our PVS operation has had six (6) rotating off day bids since approximately 2007.  The only way management was able to achieve these types of bids was by agreement by the APWU Local MVS Director (Chris Stage & Dave Cook).  For many years these bids were agreed upon in an effort to minimize down-time and help make our operation become as efficient as possible.  We were led to believe that by doing so we would remain off the radar and retain what work and jobs we had left in the operation.  Well this has not been the case.  Over the past several years we have seen an increase in downtime which has resulted in management once again tracking and reporting this downtime to the area level.  It seems clear once again that management’s goal is to cut work hours once again at any cost.  Per language in the new contract, the APWU has proposed a package to management that returns some of the work currently performed by HCR Postal Fleet Services.  The APWU was able to show that by adding this work to runs with current downtime there would be a cost savings of approximately $400,000/year to the Postal Service.  Unfortunately, local management rejected this proposal.  In their written response management stated more or less that the Postal Service does not envision the filling or creating of forty (40) hour bids any more.  Instead, they plan on the creation of Non-Traditional Assignments of less than forty (40) hours/week and an increase in Postal Support Employee (PSE), which are bids that are guaranteed only two (2) hours of work on any scheduled day.As such, I have notified Manager Raddatz that the APWU will not continue to agree to the letter of intent which allowed the creation of six (6) bids with rotating off days.  At this time I do not see any gain for our members if we continue those bids.  All we are doing is aiding management by allowing them to take their time planning the demise of our operation.  The employer has made it very clear they are going to take steps towards creating a temporary work force, rather than returning work to the bargaining unit that can show true cost savings. During this years’ re-bidding of TTO jobs each current full time TTO will be guaranteed a job of forty (40) hours/week with consecutive off days.  We do expect management to repost current residual vacant bids as Non-Traditional Duty Assignments of approximately thirty-five (35) hours/week.  The intent of these bids will be to convert current PSE’s to full time employee status.  We fully intend to appeal those bids up through the Alternative Dispute Resolution Process (ADRP) and show that there is work available to maintain bids closer to forty (40) hours/week.  I would also like to remind you that management can not force any TTO who was full-time at the signing of the new contract (end of May 2011) to take a bid of less than forty (40) hours per week! If you are considering bidding on a NTFT assignment please see a union steward first so we can explain the possible effects this choice would have.  If you are told otherwise or have any other questions ask for a steward.In Solidarity,Dave Cook  MVS Director  

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         It has been brought to my attention that someone who is un-educated in the matter is spreading negative & false information in regards to the posted list of 330 segments of HCR routes being returned nationally to MVS operations.
   These assignments are part of the 600 HCR routes that the union and management agreed would be turned over to the APWU bargaining unit during negotiations over the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Although none of these segments include our operation at this time (but it does give me hope that we could get some work back in the future), this should be a time for us to be happy for our brothers & sisters across the country.  Not to turn this great information into something negative and try to create hate and discontent for your union.  The main goal of this new contract was to gain work back for our bargaining unit employees and that is exactly what these 330 segments will do.            

If you look closely at the list, you will notice that each segment being returned will result in the creation of thirty (30) to forty-eight (48) hours of work each week!  This is exactly what the MVS operations getting routes back need.  This work will allow management at these locations to split those work hours up and add work to current runs which have down time.  This will greatly reduce the tracking of down-time and is guaranteed to save some current forty (40) hour a week MVS jobs!
How is this a bad thing?  Those who are spinning this into a bad thing must not know what is good for them.  If we are fortunate enough to gain some of this work back for our operation would you turn it down? 

Would you rather sit on management created down time and wait for your job to be eliminated!   
If you know who is spreading this inaccurate information, hate & discontent, confront them.  Let them know that the Union is the only reason they still have good benefits & are working forty (40) hours per week (even if they are a non-dues paying member).  

If they still are so against the gains this union has provided them, I challenge them to step up and get involved with the Union.  Also, remind them that the union starts with YOU.

In Solidarity,
Dave Cook
MVS Director

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Motor Vehicle Report

First off I would like to welcome our three (3) new Postal Support Employees (PSE) to the APWU and the MVS Craft.  If you see one of these employees please introduce yourself and welcome them aboard.  With all of the attacks on Unions lately it is always a breath of fresh air to gain members who support the same goals as us, retain a middle class job that can support the American dream.  

I am sure you all are aware of the ongoing attacks on public Unions and Labor as a whole.  We as Postal employees are not exempt from these same attacks.  As we speak, there is legislation in Congress that seeks to remove Postal employees from the Federal Employees Health Benefits program (FEHB), Federal retirement plans and seeks to lay off 120,000 middle class postal workers!  This is NO JOKE!  I encourage all Postal employees to contact their representatives and demand that they support H.R. 1351.  H.R. 1351 would allow the USPS to use the billions of dollars in pension overpayments to meet its financial obligations. It would address the cause of the USPS financial crisis without cutting pay, reducing benefits, eliminating collective bargaining rights, or slashing service to postal customer.  I would also suggest that employees visit on a regular basis to keep up on political action affecting Postal employees and working families.

The attack on or jobs is not just limited to the politicians in Washington DC.  The same attacks are being made by local USPS management.  It has become very apparent that the Postal service has no intent on returning work to the bargaining unit as was agreed upon in our new contract.  As recent as 2 weeks ago, your PVS Manager made a bold statement to myself and another MVS steward.  He informed us that he had been directed to never post another 5 day/40 hour/week bid again.  As bids become vacant he will be reposting them as new Non-Traditional Full-Time Assignment (NTFT, less than 40 hours/week).
 To take this another step further Manager Raddatz also intends on turning all current PVS bids into NTFT assignments (less than 40 hours/week) at the bidding of jobs in December.  Manager Raddatz acknowledges that he will still be required to pay the current Full Time employees forty hours per week.  It is just easier to take this step at the time of job bidding.  I immediately informed Manager Raddatz that this action would be in conflict with the contract and the appropriate grievance would be filed.         

Only time will tell what actions management follows through with.  I can  assure you that I am working closely with our Union representatives at the national level and will continue to vigorously attack this misguided anti-union agenda.  Once again PLEASE get politically involved help save our jobs.  Also, attend our General Membership meeting September 27th at 6:45PM.  There is so more to talk about than can be discussed in this POSTMARK.

 In Solidarity,
Dave Cook
MVS Director

APWU            St. Paul, MN Area Local               APWU
Todd Elkerton,  President                                                      9/8/11                                                   651-778-1637 

            As some of you might not be aware, the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement states that the USPS will return some VMF work that is currently being performed by contractors.  Per the contract the returning of this work will result in the creation of 740 duty assignments in the VMF’s Nationwide.           On August 30, 2011 the APWU at the national level was provided with a list of locations that will be receiving some of these 740 VMF duty assignments, per the USPS.  According to this list, the St Paul VMF will be receiving 6 new Level 9 Lead Automotive Technician bids.  This is great news for our VMF!  After preliminary discussions with VMF management, the addition of these bids will almost definitely result in the creation of a Tour 1 at the VMF.  The addition of this Tour will help us better the services we provide to our customers.           Now I am sure the first question you have will be “Why are they creating all Level 9 Lead Automotive Technician bids?”  This is the first question I asked and as of the writing of this bulletin I still do not have an answer.  I have spoke with VMF management and the National officers of the APWU and no one has a clue as to how or why those levels were chosen.  Nonetheless, we are still more than happy to be receiving an increase in VMF staffing.  This is definitely a good sign when you consider all of the doom & gloom being preached to us on a weekly basis.            A plus of the creation of the above 6 bids is the chance for current technicians to advance their careers and apply for one of these Level 9 Lead Automotive Technician bids.  So if you might be considering one of these bids, now is the time to start preparing to fill out PS Form 991.  The hiring for this position requires a written application as the Lead Automotive Technician positions are filled on a “Best Qualified” basis.  If you have any questions in regards to this process please feel free to ask one of your union representatives and we will assist you in any way possible.            The other plus in the creation of the 740 VMF bids nation wide is the opportunity for transfers.  As part of the filling process, employees who have properly submitted an eReassign request will be given access to these bids before people are hired off the street.  You can submit a standing eReassign request (by location and job type) by going to  You will need your Employee ID # and 4 number password to log-in.  Once you are on the page for liteblue find the “Employee Apps-Quick Links” bar.  You should see the eReassign button.  Click on that and follow the instruction to submit a request.  Some of the possibly desirable locations that will be getting technicians are as follows: San Juan (2), Tampa (2), Nashville (9), Denver (2), Phoenix (14), San Diego (15), Honolulu (1) & Dallas (11).  These is only a few of the locations available.  To see the full list of VMF’s available and the number & type of bids go to or ask a union steward. In solidarityDave CookMVS Director           

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OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW                        On 5/23/11, both parties signed the ratified National Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Although there are definitely going to be changes to the Postal Service as we know it, I believe the majority of our members are happy to have a settled contract. The new contract is sure to bring plenty of headaches with it.   On 5/20/11, I was able to receive some training in regards to new contractual language that will affect the MVS Craft.  The issue that is foremost in my mind is the returning of work to our craft.  As of 5/11/11, the Postal Service should have provided a copy of each individual HCR contract to the APWU at the National level.   The auditing of HCR trips and the decision to bring certain routes back is going to be done between the parties at the national level.  Unfortunately, this does not give me the power locally to request copies of HCR contracts and perform my own audits.  I have been assured though by the national APWU that I will be contacted to provide input before decisions are made in our operation.  We have been told this will be a slow process and we probably won’t gain work back until around October 2011. Below are some of the other deadlines for implementing new contractual language: Effective 5/23/11 new article 32 language implemented “If the service can be performed at a cost equal to or less than that of a contractor, when a fair comparison is made of all reasonable costs, the work will be performed in-house.”  This will allow the MVS craft the competitive edge to compete against the contractors when it comes to considering/contracting out bargaining unit work. Effective no later than 8/23/11 all casual TTO’s will become Postal Support Employees (PSE).  They will have the opportunity to become a member of the APWU and will receive some benefits.  When filling residual vacant bids management has to go to the PSE roster first.   Posting of Non-Traditional Full-Time Employee assignments will start no later than 7/23/11.  These bids will consist of 3/12hr workdays, 4/10hr workdays, 4/11hr workdays, etc.  No current FTR can be forced to work a bid of less than 40hrs. /week or more than 44hrs. /week, with 2 off days.  The parties at the national level will identify worksites that can benefit from these types of bids and the locals will be given a chance for input.  These types of bids would allow our PVS operation to capture work that we previously couldn’t perform due to time constraints.            Only time will tell what the strengths and weaknesses of this contract will be.  As always, I am sure our members will find ways to utilize this contract to their benefit. In solidarityDave CookMVS Director 



VMF employees:


 As most of you are aware, VMF Management has proceeded to contract out vehicle maintenance/repairs (PMI’s & Tags).  On March 4, 2011 the APWU local President received a notice that the post office was “considering” contracting out the above mentioned work.  This letter offered local APWU input prior to a decision being made.  I and  steward Doug Peterson met with VMF management on 3/24/11 and 3/31/11 to give our input on this proposal. 


During both meetings the APWU pointed out many inefficiencies with managements proposal.  Management more or less informed us that they can not afford to pay the bargaining unit employees at the 1 rate of pay to address the backlog of PMI’s but they could afford to pay the contract a higher rate of pay (more than our OT rate of pay) to address the backlog of PMI’s.  With the financial problems currently plaguing the USPS, how does it make sense to pay contractors more money for repairs than the work could be done for less in-house?


More or less what it comes down to is Management has been mismanaging the VMF work load for years.  We currently have one (1) residual vacant  Automotive Technician bid that has been costing us forty (40) hours of productive work each week for a little over 1.5 years.  What has management done to address this shortage of hours; nothing.  It is easier for them to contract out the work than it is to take steps to correct the problems. Union steward Doug Peterson is in the process of filing a grievance on the contracting out of this VMF work.


A rumor has been spread out there alleging that I  and the National APWU have approved and condoned the contracting out of this work (PMI’s & Tags).  I am also being told that VMF Management is contributing to this rumor.  This could not be further from the truth.  Your Motor Vehicle union representatives always have and will continue to fight ALL CONTRACTING OUT OF VMF WORK.  This is my job and I will do everything in my power to preserve our work/jobs well into the future.


When rumors spread in the future, remember to consider the source of the rumor.  If management is involved, something is fishy!  If anyone has questions please ask a union steward.  We have nothing to hide.  Remember a Union starts with you.  If you have any information on contracted out work please tell a Union steward.  There are only a couple of us and we do not know everything that goes on in the shop.


In Solidarity,

Dave Cook

MVS Director


APWU                                                   APWU     

Dawn Ecker,  President     St. Paul, MN Area Local                        December 1, 2010__                                                               651-778-1637__





          As most of you are aware, Manager Raddatz has proposed adding 12 more rotating off day bids (total of 18) to our operation.  If agreed to, these bids would take effect January of 2011.  The reason for these requested changes is due to the amount of unproductive time on Sundays in conjunction with the move to Eagan.  Steward Henjum and I have spent a lot of time trying to come up with a solution that would benefit both management and our members.  As of today, we have been unsuccessful in finding this perfect solution, but this does not mean we have given up.  We will continue to brainstorm and try to find a solution that will be beneficial to both parties.


          As your Director, I am left with the task of deciding if accepting the proposal of adding 12 more rotating off day bids is in the best interest of you the members.  Let me assure you that I have not taken this decision lightly.  At this time I do not believe it is in the best interest of the members to accept this proposal.


          Since 2006 (and prior to) PVS management has been slowly picking apart the work performed by the members and turning it over to contract drivers.  As a result of the contracting out of your work, we have seen jobs lost and accepted six (6) rotating off day bids.  These concessions were all placed on the shoulders of the bargaining unit employees.  Yet what has management given in return for your sacrifices?  Their answer is another 12 rotating off day bids which would once again affect the lives of you the members and your families.


          Some of the loss of work on Sundays is a direct result of the contracting out of your jobs and the moving of our P & DC, which was all controlled by postal management.  Management created the problem and now they expect us to give again.  We have proposed that it is now management’s turn to give concessions and bring some of this contracted work back to the bargaining unit.  This would help us balance the burden of concessions.  Wouldn’t this be the true meaning of bargaining in good faith?


          PVS management, for the first time, had stated that the returning of some contracted work was a possibility down the road (some time after the Hub closes).  We had extensive discussions recently regarding reinstating trips to and from the LDC and THS.  We had even reached a tentative agreement on bringing this work back.  Unfortunately, at the last minute, Senior Plant Manger Erica Brix shot down the agreement.  The only way management would agree to bring back some of the work contracted out to Postal Fleet Services is if I would kill the grievance up at Step 4 that was filed in 2006 when work was initially contracted out to Postal Fleet Services.  This is not acceptable!


          I have recently seen proposed staffing packages for when the Twin Cities Metro Hub closes.  The initial numbers from management once again indicate that at the time the Hub closes, our operation will once again be approximately two jobs heavy (beyond the requested 12 rotating bids asked for now).  Management insists that some of this unproductive time will be reduced by the





need to retrieve equipment from the stations which is necessary to keep the FSS machine operating for the next morning dispatch.  Unfortunately, that will still leave us short on work to perform.  At that time, I am sure management will once again want the bargaining unit to give more concessions.


          I believe that accepting management’s current proposal would only put a band aid on the current staffing issues until the Hub closes.  This will not do us any good and we are almost guaranteed to be going through the same process in March or April and potentially with more TTO’s being excessed by management into our installation.   I want to ensure all of you that  I am committed to finding an agreeable resolution to this staffing problem and will continue to bargain in good faith with management.


          I am confident that if management decides to come to the table and address our current staffing and the closure of the Hub as one issue, a resolution could be reached.  This would only impact our operation once.  Management must be willing to give concessions in this process also.



In solidarity,


Dave Cook

MVS Craft Director

St. Paul, MN Area Local

American Postal Workers Union



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Out with the old in with the new…

                TTO’s, by the time you read this article your bids will have started in Eagan at the new P&DC.  With this move will also come unwanted changes.  As you all are well aware, you will now be parking your tractors outside in Minnesota’s harsh winter elements.  This stupid managerial decision is sure to cause problems for each tractor assigned to the operation.

                For now, VMF management intends on our technicians providing all of the support for the tractors parked in Eagan.  As VMF management has already ordered and received voyager cards for each tractor (used to pay for maintenance), I do not expect this to last.  Only time will tell.  Do not let this move dissuade you from writing up problems with your truck.

                If anything, it is now more important than ever to report problems with your truck and trailers and refuse to drive them until repairs are made.  Without VMF staff onsite, I am sure management will try to push TTO’s to continue to drive the truck’s (regardless of problem) until the end of your tour.  I would strongly suggest that you do not allow this to happen.  Management can not force you to drive a truck that is not road worthy (lights, tires, brakes, etc.).

                I would like to remind you all, about 1 year ago one of your fellow St Paul TTO’s received a ticket by local police for failure signal while turning (although the TTO was emphatic that the signal was used).  Further immediate investigation confirmed that the trailer being utilized had an out tail light, which was repaired by a VMF technician. 

This information and a copy of the vehicle repair order was provided to the county at the court date.  This did not matter to the public defender or Ramsey county.  The TTO was still issued the ticket and expected to pay the $100 fine and the violation is on his personal driving record.  The TTO went to your Manager to request reimbursement for the ticket which was caused by faulty Postal equipment.  Manager Raddatz refused to pay the fine.

As such a grievance was initiated on the employees behalf.  Six months later and at step 2 of the grievance procedure, I was able to get the money reimbursed to the TTO.  I however do not have the power to clear the employees driving record.  Moral of the story, if you get a ticket for inoperative postal equipment, you will get stuck with the fine and violation on your driving record!  If it isn’t working, DON’T DRIVE IT.

If this isn’t enough to show were managements allegiance lay, I have been informed by Manager Raddatz that as our future TTO bids become vacant due to retirement, his plan is to try and capture them under a withholding again.  His intention is to hold the bids for TTO’s being excessed due to the closing of the Twin Cities Metro Hub.  As I did the last time, I will do everything in the Union’s power to ensure our members interests are protected and don’t expect any help from Manager Raddatz!

Last but not least, we need our TTO’s to keep an eye out for trailer moves to and from our dock doors.  We have filed a grievance and are aware of NDC jockeys spotting our doors.  This was not agreed to by the APWU.  If you see it happen write down the trailer number, jockey truck number, dock door and the date & time.  Then please get this info to an MVS stewards.  We need your help protecting your work.


In solidarity,


Dave Cook

MVS Director


APWU                                                                         APWU

Dawn Ecker, Acting President       St. Paul, MN Area Local            July 28, 2010                                                        651-778-1637


AC Questionnaire


It has been brought to my attention that VMF Management has been handing out a questionnaire in regards to air conditioning repairs.  This questionnaire is the result of a grievance filed by your Union to gain the equipment necessary to evacuate and re-charge motor vehicle air conditioning systems.  As bargaining unit employees perform the repairs on the A/C systems, it is the Unions/contracts stance that the postal service must provide the tools and equipment necessary to perform the rest of the duties associated with repairing air conditioning systems.  The simple purchase of an automated charging system would improve the efficiency of our operation and greatly reduce the financial burden associated with these repairs

          I would like you to know that this questionnaire is NOT mandatory for you to fill out or sign.  The questions on this form are designed to give management the answers they want.  Management’s plan is to use these completed questionnaires against the bargaining unit employees in the grievance procedure.  Management hopes that they can refrain from purchasing the appropriate equipment necessary for us to perform our duties as Automotive Technicians, which just keeps our operation more susceptible subcontracting of our job duties.

          We would request that you refrain from filling out any questionnaires from management regarding vehicle maintenance repairs (and A/C) without seeking input from your MVS stewards first.  If you feel management is forcing you to fill out the form please request a steward immediately!



In Solidarity,


Dave Cook

MVS Director


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MVS members-

 On 4/22/10 thru 4/24/10 the APWU had its Minnesota State Convention.  This convention gave delegates an opportunity to submit and vote on resolutions.  These adopted resolutions will go to the APWU National Convention in August and some will hopefully be adopted.  The resolution process is the only means we as state and local organizations have to suggest improvements/changes to our National Contract. 

A resolution was brought forward by the Minneapolis Area local regarding MVS in-service exams and training and was adopted by the state convention.  Currently there is no contractual process that allows MVS employees to train and become qualified for different occupational groups within the MVS craft.  This would be a huge win for MVS if adopted at the National convention and then bargained into the new contract.  This new process would allow MVS employees to pre-qualify for other job duties in the MVS craft and have more flexibility in qualifying for a local bid if future excessing were to occur.

I also have some great news regarding the withholding of 5 vacant TTO bids in St Paul.  As of 4/20/10, the APWU was officially notified that the withholding of St Paul MVS bids due to excessing in Detroit and Chicago (MVS) was being canceled.  As such, I have filed a grievance to convert our 5 senior PTF’s to the vacant FTR TTO bids.  This does not mean it is time for a celebration yet.  At this time it is not known if management will work with me to achieve this goal.  I can assure you if management does not comply with my request, the grievance will be appealed up the grievance chain expeditiously.  At minimum, this is a step in the right direction for the MVS craft.  If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me or one of your stewards.

In solidarity,

Dave Cook

Motor Vehicle Craft Director




APWU                                                                         APWU

Thomas Edwards, President    St. Paul, MN Area Local         March 16,    2010                                                        651-778-1637



            MVS Members               



Election Results



       The results are in.  On Saturday, March 13, 2010, the Local held a special craft election per Article IX, Section 5 of the Local Constitution for the Motor Vehicle Services Craft Trustee.  At the close of business on March 12, 2010 there were no written nominations from members of the Motor Vehicle Craft filed with Local Secretary Jesse Lopez.


       Steve Henjum was nominated by Cook, and as there were no other candidates present at the nomination meeting, it was moved and seconded that Mr. Henjum be duly elected by white ballot.  Motion carried.


       Thanks and appreciation to the Election Committee Chair, Mr. Pat Hawkins for a job well done!


       Congratulations Steve!

APWU                                                                         APWU

Thomas Edwards, President           St. Paul, MN Area Local  February 16,   2010                                                         651-778-1637




Motor Vehicle Service Craft Members




Craig Carroll has resigned as Motor Vehicle Craft Trustee, effective 2/9/10.  The Local’s Constitution (Article IX, Section 5) provides that in the event of a craft vacancy, a special craft meeting shall be held and those members present will elect a Motor Vehicle Services Craft Trustee.


          Nominations will be accepted from the floor at the meeting.  Candidates wishing to be nominated in writing must file a signed written notice with Local Secretary Jesse Lopez.


          The meeting will be held at the 6th St Union Office, 654 E. 6th St, St. Paul on Saturday, March 13, 2010, at 10:00 a.m.


          Article VII, Section 7 of the Constitution of the St. Paul, MN Area Local APWU states:


          Section 6. The Craft Trustee shall have general supervisor of the property of this local and shall take a yearly inventory of same.  All records of the secretary and the treasurer shall be subject to examination by the trustees upon their request. Unless otherwise notified by this Local, they shall audit the books and records of the officers as of the close of business of each calendar quarter and submit a written report at the next general membership meeting.


          The trustees shall prepare a list of eligible voters of this Local and list of those members legible as candidates for the regular election of officers and delegates to conventions. A copy of said lists shall be furnished to the chairman of the election committee for the purpose of mailing ballots to the voters in all referendum elections.



Jesse Lopez, Secretary

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APWU                                                                         APWU

Thomas Edwards, President   St. Paul, MN Area Local         February 9,   2010                                                        651-778-1637



            MVS Members               



Excessing Update


          I have recently been made aware of some changes in the excessing of TTO’s from the Eagan BMC.  The Eagan BMC will no longer be excessing any full time regular TTO’s into the St. Paul MVS installation.  This is due to retirements and the placement of these employees in other locations.  However, in accordance with Article 12 of the NCBA, the St. Paul MVS installation will be receiving one part time flexible TTO, Greg Johnson from the Eagan BMC.  This employee is being involuntarily reassigned into our installation.


          Greg’s official start date in the St. Paul MVS will be February 13, 2010.  Upon his arrival he will be put at the bottom of the part time flexible seniority roster.  Once Mr. Johnson is able to change to a full time regular TTO; he will regain his seniority he had earned at the Minneapolis-St. Paul NDC, augmented by his part time flexible service in St. Paul MVS.  My understanding is Mr. Johnson’s merge into our seniority roster should have little to no effect on the current St. Paul MVS seniority roster.


          Please give Mr. Johnson a courteous welcome into our installation as I am sure this mandatory change has caused him many inconveniences.


          Also, as of this time, I am still waiting for a final answer as to if excessing at the Chicago and Detroit NDC’s will be affecting our installation.  I will update you all as more information becomes available.  If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me.


In solidarity,


Dave Cook

MVS Director

St. Paul Area Local, APWU


Have you requested a steward lately?

          All too often, your union stewards hear about contractual violations well after our members were made aware.  In many of these instances the contractual 14 day deadline to file a grievance has come and gone.  This makes it extremely hard for your union representatives to grieve the violation and make the represented employees whole.

          The most important factor in all unions is its members.  We need your help policing the contract.   If you witness a violation or believe you might have witnessed a violation you must request a steward from your supervisor as soon as possible.  Do not wait until your 14 day deadline has arrived and do not assume someone else has reported the violation to the union.

          To often members inform stewards of an issue while the steward is not released on official steward time.  Although we appreciate the notification, this is not the proper way to report a grievance.  You must request a steward from your supervisor.  By doing so it does two things; first management will be required to release a steward from their bid to deal with the employees request, second management will then be forced to release the employee to write a statement for the union.  This will leave the sections impacted short on manpower which will make it harder for management to meet their workload goal (which we all know bothers them).  If there is a penalty for violating the contract that directly affects your supervisor they may think twice before creating a violation.

          So if you see a contractual violation or think you may have witnessed a violation, don’t tell a steward in passing, don’t leave a note on a steward’s time card, ASK YOUR SUPERVISOR FOR A STEWARD.

In Solidarity, Dave Cook MVS Director.

Have you requested a steward lately?

          All too often, your union stewards hear about contractual violations well after our members were made aware.  In many of these instances the contractual 14 day deadline to file a grievance has come and gone.  This makes it extremely hard for your union representatives to grieve the violation and make the represented employees whole.

          The most important factor in all unions is its members.  We need your help policing the contract.   If you witness a violation or believe you might have witnessed a violation you must request a steward from your supervisor as soon as possible.  Do not wait until your 14 day deadline has arrived and do not assume someone else has reported the violation to the union.

          To often members inform stewards of an issue while the steward is not released on official steward time.  Although we appreciate the notification, this is not the proper way to report a grievance.  You must request a steward from your supervisor.  By doing so it does two things; first management will be required to release a steward from their bid to deal with the employees request, second management will then be forced to release the employee to write a statement for the union.  This will leave the sections impacted short on manpower which will make it harder for management to meet their workload goal (which we all know bothers them).  If there is a penalty for violating the contract that directly affects your supervisor they may think twice before creating a violation.

          So if you see a contractual violation or think you may have witnessed a violation, don’t tell a steward in passing, don’t leave a note on a steward’s time card, ASK YOUR SUPERVISOR FOR A STEWARD.

In Solidarity, Dave Cook MVS Director.

APWU                                                                                          APWU   

Tom Edwards, President               St. Paul, MN Area Local         September 9, 2009                                                               651-778-1637__


VMF Members


            The restructuring of the Postal Service and the ups and downs of our economy have made for an interesting year.  We are guaranteed to see more changes to Postal Operations in the near future.  I am confident that the professional and efficient services the VMF bargaining unit employees provide will get us through these tough times.


            As you all know, I have been working with Supervisor Bohach and Manager Peterson to address the possibility of a 4/10 modified work week.  This process has gone on for several months now.  I have spent numerous hours writing up a memorandum of understanding and addressed every concern brought to my attention in order to try and implement the modified work week.  Throughout this process I was reassured that if I addressed management’s concerns with the modified work week that at a minimum the program would be given a trial to see if it would work.


            Well, unfortunately after all the time I spent bargaining over this issue, your manager decided to deny any implementation of the modified work week.  I have not been given any explanation as to why this program was not going to be implemented. I do not know why I was surprised with this response from management as this has been a common practice used by them.  It has become all too common for me to spend extensive time trying to address the issues that affect our operation and members, only to end with the same bold “NO”.  It seems clear that your management has no regard for the bargaining unit employees who make this operation work.


            As the willingness to bargain in good faith by your supervisor/manager has declined, your MVS stewards have been forced to address the many violations of our contract through the grievance procedure. Unfortunately, this is the only way to get any resolution.  Your representatives have been filing an unprecedented amount of grievances, in an attempt to retain the work that keeps us employed.


            The amount of VMF work that is being contracted out is at an all time high.  Such things as the replacement of engines at AO’s, tag repairs and the rebuilding/remanufacturing of transmissions, are just a few duties taken from our members. There have been grievances filed on all of these issues, but it is a slow process to the final resolution.  Almost all grievances filed over the contracting out of your work have been appealed to higher levels of the grievance procedure, as locally they refuse to address the issue. I am sure we can expect management to attempt to take away more work in our near future.


            Your MVS stewards need your help. There are only a few of us and we do not know everything that is going on in the VMF.  We need our members to notify us of any changes to our operation to include the contracting out of vehicle maintenance.  This includes any changes to the PMI inspection process (or failure to perform a scheduled PMI).  If you see or know of any of the above issues occurring, ask for a steward immediately or leave a note for one of your stewards.  Remember, there is no such thing as a minor repair.  All maintenance work is important to the security of our jobs.  The determination of whether our operation will continue far into the future depends on each and every one of us. If you have any questions, feel free to contract me.


In solidarity,


Dave Cook, MVS Director



APWU                                                                                          APWU   

Tom Edwards, President               St. Paul, MN Area Local         September 9, 2009                                                               651-778-1637__


PVS Members



            As we are all aware, due to the decline in mail volume and thus the decline in revenue, the USPS is taking major steps to try and improve the efficiencies of the Postal work force.  Unfortunately, some of these steps include the reduction of the bargaining unit work force.  As such with most USPS operational changes, rumors of all kinds are flooding the work room floor.  I am going to try and address some of the rumors to the best of my ability with all the information I currently have.


            I’m sure you have all heard that the BMC is reducing its MVS staffing (and other crafts) due to the operational implementation of the Network Distribution Center (NDC) initiative.  Once the NDC implementation is complete it will greatly reduce the amount of mail received by the Eagan BMC.  This mail will instead be transferred down to a BMC in Iowa.  In order to accomplish their goal of reducing the staffing at the BMC, the USPS will be implementing the excessing procedures.


            As of last week, the St. Paul Area Local has been notified that the BMC will be eliminating two (2) Motor Vehicle TTO Part Time Flexible (PTF) positions and four (4) Motor Vehicle TTO Full time regular (FTR) bids.  This action has placed a withholding on all MVS (and other crafts) residual bids within a 350 mile radius of the Eagan BMC.  This means that any residual vacancy TTO FTR Bids and TTO PTF positions in St. Paul (and Minneapolis) may not be filled.  FTR TTO’s may still bid on vacant FTR bids within the St. Paul PVS operation.  It means that once a TTO bid has been determined as a residual vacancy, after applying the voluntary bidding process, it will no longer be placed up for conversion.


            The excessing of the BMC MVS employees could affect our facility.  By putting a withholding on our bids, this will prevent our current PTF TTO’s from converting to a FTR TTO.  This could potentially allow the excessed BMC MVS employees to be excessing into our PVS operation.  I know the first question I will be asked is “How does this affect our seniority roster?”  At this time, it is difficult to give an exact answer.  There are several different scenarios that could play out with this withholding.  One scenario is that the BMC TTO’s would maintain their seniority and be merged into our seniority roster.  But once again, it is too early to give a definite answer.


            Another topic of interest is the move to our new facility in Eagan.  The St. Paul PVS operation will be moving to Eagan.  The good news is that it will stay as a bargaining unit of the St. Paul Area Local APWU.  Also at this time, there isn’t a parking garage, so the tractors will be parked outside all year long.


            I have been informed that PVS management has started to write the run contents for the move to Eagan.  At this time, I have not been able to review these runs but have been assured I will be allowed to once they are complete.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.


In solidarity,


Dave Cook, MVS Director

Dear Members, below is a letter from...Addressing idling of our for more

Letter to Robert Pritchard from Peter Sgro


Getting Credit for What We here for more


Click here to open MVS Arb Award!

The "click here for MVS award" is an arbitration settlement in which the
arbitrator makes it clear that drivers are not to be , in this case, putting motor
oil in their tractors.  It is our postition that drivers should not be putting any
fluids in the vehicles.  We as drivers should not be performing duties that belong
to the technicians, just as we would not want them to do our work.

I posted the latest bulletin on our boards.  Pat congratulates us for getting a
substantual pay raise.
Due to the fact that we have a Union to bargain for us, we have been able to keep
our Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA)when most of the private sector has never had
or has lost theirs.  It takes our DUES in order to pay for all of the negotiating
that is required to gain and keep our benefits, which are many.  The next time you
are talking to one of our fellow drivers who do not belong, remember they have not
helped to accomplish this, yet they enjoy the benifits of your sacrifices.  Ask
them to join.  Tell them how you really feel about the fact that they do not share
in the responsibilies but still get the prize.

Thanks Members


I have received and continue to receive reports of the type of work some of the postal fleet drivers are doing.  I was getting written information, fairly often, about how they drive and handle the mail.  It has been awhile since I have received anything in writing.  All of this information is included in the grievance to show the Postal Service made a bad choice.

          As I have mentioned in the past, the grievance process can be a slow one if it goes beyond step 2.  there are a lot of grievances sitting at step 2 that are being discussed and the Postal Service Labor Reps are often times waiting for information from you supervisors in order to decide how to proceed.

          The VMF has a lot of contracting grievances which will be coming to a head in a few weeks.  Dave is doing a great job in protecting your contractual rights.

          Most of you have liking for Steve and Chris and probably have a good rapport with them.  When they talk about what ramifications could come from all of these and other grievances, they really don’t have a clue.

          When they (this will include Troy and the dispatchers) talk about how me or Dave may not bargain, you need to remember when they violate the contract there are proper remedies and there are good reasons for those remedies.  Just because they don’t agree with them, that does not mean we are being hard asses.  On the contract, they are the ones who are being hard asses. They are simply trying to play let’s make a deal.  Most of these violations occur over and over again. They are just trying to lessen the burden they have created by doing our work or contracting it out, or having someone from another craft transport mail.

          We have all been told and can imagine what our working conditions would be like if we did not have a contract. Those who negotiated it believed that the Postal Service can operate within the confines of our “agreed to” contract or they would not have created it.

          Over the years, I have had supervisors tell me that this happened or that happened which created a grievance and there was nothing they could do to avoid it.  They think that if it doesn’t happen that often, it’s no big deal and there should not be a grievance. 

          On the other side of the coin, I have had members who have been issues a letter of warning for an accident or sick leave usage or whatever, who say the same.  But management will say they gave the member plenty of time to correct their behavior so the letter will stand unless your union rep can get it rescinded.

          The same applies with the contract violation.  They have had years of living with this contract and yet on a daily basis it is violated.  Why should we play let’s make a deal? Sick leave abuse is sick leave abuse and supervisors doing our work is just that, a supervisor doing our work and a contract violation, and there is a remedy for it, just like they have a discipline for you.

          Do not let them convince you that the union is causing the problems.  They are the people who are supposed to staff enough employees in order to get the work done.  If they cut corners and get bit, so be it.  Remember they will bite you without thinking twice.

          That will bring me to another subject I have mentioned before, “Working too hard in order to catch up.”  If something happens, crash, injury, it will be your fault.  Don’t do it.  Again, the Postal Service in all likelihood created the problem or perpetuates it.

          If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dave or me so that we can explain in better detail what is happening and why.

          As fuel prices rise, so will the cost of mailing.  Transportation is a huge expense.  Our union at the national level will be watching how postal officials will apply that rate increase.

          With that being said, big mailers will be trying to call in their chips.  This is done through the lobbyist that they give huge amounts of money to apply to whatever will sway the decisions of those in Washington.

          We have our own lobbying effort through our COPA “Committee on Political Action” campaign.  To donate, you can do so through payroll deduction through PostalEASE, Electronic Funds Transfer, on-line or check, or you can stop in the union office to donate. 

          We who donate do make a difference.  Getting the attention of those who will support our efforts to keep our jobs and pay closer attention to how the Postal Service runs our company is not free, it costs money.

          If you can, go the APWU website to read up on COPA and how it works.  Go to and on the upper right is a members only link.  Log in with your employee I.D. and your pin. will be your last name and the last four digits of your SSN.  Check it out.

          For those that have contributed, thanks for joining your fellow contributors and for supporting yourself and your family’s security.

Chris Stage


MOTOR VEHICLE  - from the October 2007 Postmark


            Welcome back Bob and Joel.  It’s good (great) to see that we have a process that allows you to keep your jobs, seniority and benefits.  It doesn’t take much imagination to realize what would have happened if we did not have Union representation.

            As we all do, we’ll be talking to Bob and Joel about what happened to them.  While we do, keep in mind that this stuff could happen to anyone.  Watch what you say and do around your supervisors, not to mention others who might happen to overhear a conversation.

            Heads up!!  Be sure you are not out of bounds while on the clock.  By that I mean, do not be somewhere where you should not be.  The O.I.G. is out to find job security (theirs).  It would be a very good idea to let your supervisor know where you are going to take your break.  If they agree, then you might be safe.  If you do not, you run the risk of facing the same problems Bob and Joel had.  Sorry, there can be no guarantee the outcome would be the same and if the outcome would be the same I do guarantee this, IT WON’T BE FUN GETTING THERE!!!

            I know working around and watching the contractors do our work is frustrating.  If anything, the grievance procedure is slower than we expect it should be.  There can be no way for any steward to be sure how a grievance will ultimately turn out.  The grievance is moving and it will be some time before we have an answer, but do not lose faith in your system – it works.

            I want to welcome Terry Neal and Gary Schwitzer as new members.  Please do the same.  Terry actually joined when he came back, but his paperwork was misplaced.  He realized it when he noticed that his dues were not being withdrawn and brought it to my attention.  While we are welcoming Terry and Gary, we gotta realize why we belong to the Union.  We would not have the benefits we have if we didn’t.

            It was brought to my attention that some Drivers feel that it is more important to get the cages and APCs unloaded at the stations even though they could run the risk of getting hurt.  Remember, if you try to unload a heavy piece of equipment and strain your back or some other kind of injury, you will be at fault.  The Accident Report that is generated will reflect the fact that you failed to follow instructions and will go into your file as an ‘unsafe act’.    We have all been instructed to be safe while working.

            If no one is there to help (Sundays), contact the dispatcher.  DO NOT let them talk you into unloading it.  It’s not going to be their fault, and you will not have been the only one who brought mail back because the equipment is too heavy or rolls hard because of bad wheels (it then should not have been used in the first place).  You know how it goes, they pull it down with a forklift and load it right in or use a pallet jack.  We don’t have that luxury at a station.

            I talked to Troy just today about our dues.  He was under the impression that a portion of our dues go to political funds, Democrats in particular.  That is not true.  None of our dues go to a politician, Democrat or otherwise.  We have the Committee on Political Action (COPA).  The money that is raised from COPA is voluntarily donated by members and others (retirees), and Democrats are not the only ones who benefit.  We support those who will support us as Postal Workers.  If a politician fights for our rights and benefits, that person will get our support, regardless of what party they belong to.  You may not like some of what the politician stands for, but if we don’t support that person and vote our jobs, where would we go?  Our jobs are not bad.  I would like to keep gaining rather than go backwards or lose it all together.  The big mailers who want all the discounts in postage are collectively spending millions to lobby their supporters.  That is, of course, why the mailers get the support.  It’s all about the money.  We have to help the ones who support us in office and their campaign funds are what does that.

            The following was in the August 2nd Local Bulletin.  You will also see those who contribute to COPA in the Postmark.  If you would like to do the same and are not sure who to go about it, contact me or go to the Union Office on the fifth floor to get started.  And thanks .. our future is in our hands and the hands of those who support us.


Starting with the 3rd quarter (July, August, September, 2007) those members contributing to COPA through Postal Ease or electronic fund transfer bi-weekly will be eligible for the drawing.  The drawing will consist of three prizes, one $100.00 winner and two $75.00 winners.


If you haven’t signed up to contribute to COPA through Postal Ease or electronic funds transfer, now is the time to do so.  Once you sign up through Postal Ease or electronic funds transfer for a continuous contribution, you become eligible for this and future quarterly drawings.


            Keep the faith.  All of the Union Reps are working hard to represent you and protect our contractual rights.

            Along with the drawing for COPA contributions, we are drawing for the Voice of the Employee (VOE) as well.  Turn in your VOE (both the sealed and addressed one and the local one) and you will be eligible for those drawings too.

            Keep in mind the addressed VOE is your mail.  You are allowed to/have the absolute right to take that piece of mail and do what you want with it.  Turn it in on the 5th floor Union Office for the drawings.


Yours in solidarity


Chris Stage

MVS Craft Director

St. Paul, MN Area Local


What's the Hurry???


By Chris Stage, MVS Craft Director


While you may feel the pressure to get the mail delivered on time, there's lots of reasons you can't.  You have to leave late because of …?  Pre-load not ready?  Dock is jammed so you can not unload?  Your out-bound mail is still sitting on the dock?  You can't get into a door because everyone else is dealing with a jammed dock?  The Plant dispatches are not down yet and you are held up for 10-15 minutes?


This is almost a daily occurrence and we all have asked, "why does management let this happen?"  I sure can't figure it out, nor am I going to try.


So, what do you do about it?  Because it is our nature to do the best we can in order to get the job done right - and done on time, we take shortcuts in loading or unloading until we stain ourselves rushing to lift a door or move equipment. Then we try to make up time during our in drive time. Hurrying to get a job done is admirable, but it might result in negative consequences.  You won't get a bonus and you won't get a little extra in your stocking at Christmas either.  What you will get is hurt - and it will be your fault.  If you get a speeding ticket or have an accident - it will be your fault.  Then you will get disciplined and receive anything from an official discussion to a removal.  Why hasn't management fixed these problems?  Because we make up for the problems they won't fix by hurrying. Our reward?  Pain, embarrassment and discipline.


Schedules…you might hear that you have not followed your schedule.  Over the years I have heard that the schedule is what we are supposed to follow - not matter what.  Other times I hear that the schedule is just a guide that should be followed as close as possible.  Whichever rule applies is up to the supervisor.  If your schedule is too tight you need to let your supervisor know.  You can request a survey of your run and your supervisor has to respond.  Our LMOU provides that, "Vehicle runs will be checked upon the request of the full-time regular employees assigned to the run."  A supervisor will follow you to check if a stop is too tight.  Do not put yourself or your job in jeopardy.  If you're late you're late - don't let your supervisor know why or what happened to cause it.  It is not our job to make decisions regarding the operation of the Postal Service.  If something out of the ordinary happens - call your supervisor.




As I write this, there is nothing new to report on the contracting out of our jobs.  Grievances have been filed and will continue to be filed.  I have contacted Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Senator Amy Klobuchar.  I have also contacted the VFW and the American Legion.  My reason for this is to impress upon them that the Postal Service is eliminating Veteran Preference Jobs - we cannot allow these jobs to go away.  I encourage you to do the same.   You can contact Congress at the Capital Switchboard 1-800-459-1887.  Locate your state representatives' name, address, phone # and email address at: - use the link to "Who Represents Me" at the top of the page.  If you don't have internet access contact me and I'll get the names and addresses for you. 


Enough is enough with this crap.  They cut costs for big mailers and make up the difference by cutting good jobs and service.  The Vets deserve our support.  We need to put a stop to this.  Thank you in advance for your assistance in this effort.