Temporary Resources for COVID-19 Related Cleaning Requirements

Idowu Balogun

July 1, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

In order to accommodate those installations staffed by Maintenance Craft Custodians where supplemental cleaning resources are needed due to COVID-19 related absenteeism, or where postal custodians decline to do COVID-19 related required cleaning, the parties at the HQ level agreed to the following provisions in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU):

1. Available postal career custodians, either Full-Time Regular, or Part-Time Regular, within the facility shall be utilized up to the maximum hours allowed by Article 8. Postal custodians may volunteer to be utilized outside the facility after completing their regularly assigned duties.

2. Due to COVID-19 related absences, the Postal Service may utilize temporary contract cleaning services where postal custodial staffing within the facility is not sufficient to provide the necessary cleaning as required by MMO-031-20, Influenza and Coronavirus Cleaning Contingency, and/or MS-47, Housekeeping Postal Facilities, up to the identified frequencies.

3. When there is a confirmed positive COVID-19 case, and the postal custodians assigned to that facility decline to do the necessary cleaning out of personal concern, the Postal Service may utilize contract cleaners to ensure that the facility has been properly cleaned in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and related Maintenance Management Orders (MMOs). Following such cleaning, postal custodians will be utilized in the facility for normal cleaning (MMO-031-20 and MS-47).

4. This temporary contract cleaning will not impact postal custodial staffing or reduce work hours of Maintenance Craft custodial employees that are available for work at the facility. Available postal custodians will be scheduled in accordance with item 1 above. Postal custodians who decline to do the positive COVID-19 cleaning as stated in item 3 above, will not be considered available for the duration of such cleaning.

5. Where temporary contract cleaning services are used, the following will be provided to the local APWU president: copy of the contract (including the statement of work), duration of the services, name(s) of the contract custodians, and weekly schedule (subject to change based on local need).

6. This temporary agreement does not modify or alter in any way the provisions of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), including the MOU Re: Subcontracting Cleaning Services.

7. Any modifications to this agreement must be between the parties at the USPS Headquarters, and APWU National offices.

These provisions were applicable beginning March 3. This MOU will now expire on July 17, 2020. The parties are discussing the MOU as this issue goes to press, go to apwu.org to see what, if any, extension has been reached.

This agreement does not establish precedent in any future negotiations regarding contract cleaning.

Promotion Pending Qualification Timeline Extended Due to NCED Closure

On March 18, the USPS closed the National Center for Employee Development (NCED) in Norman, Oklahoma due to COVID-19 concerns. With hundreds of employees pending qualification, the parties entered into the following agreement:

  • Due to the Postal Service’s COVID-19 travel restrictions and the temporary closing of the NCED in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the time between March 18 and ninety days following the re-opening of NCED, will not count towards the Article 38.5.C.3, one year period for Maintenance Craft employees to be in a promotion detail assignment pending the satisfactory completion of the necessary training.
  • As of the signing of this agreement, NCED is scheduled to start offering classes within thirty (30) days of June 15, 2020. If NCED is not open within thirty (30) days of this date, the parties will revisit this issue to determine if extension is appropriate.
  • This agreement does not establish precedent in any future negotiations regarding pending qualifications.

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