Arbitrator Sustains APWU’s Position on Clerk Craft Jurisdiction over Parcel Sorting Work

On December 1, 2020, Arbitrator Joseph M. Sharnoff issued a decision confirming Clerk Craft jurisdiction over operation of the Small Parcel Sorting System (SPSS) machine.  The Award soundly rejects arguments made by the Mail Handlers Union which claimed that Mail Handlers should be assigned all the work on the machines. The Postal Service had issued a decision in 2015 designating the Clerk Craft as the primary craft for performing the work of “singulating/separating packages & facing/feeding packages” at the induction stations on SPSS machines.  Clerks also rotate to sweeping duties after performing induction station work.  Mail Handlers are assigned jurisdiction over retrieving and dumping packages and transporting full containers to a staging area.  When sweeping assignments are not needed to provide rotational relief for Clerks operating the machines, sweeping is assigned to Mail Handlers.

Both the APWU and the Mail Handlers filed disputes claiming jurisdiction over all work on the SPSS machines.

“This decision secures important job protections for our members, and provides a strong basis for protecting our jobs against future challenges,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “We appreciate the good work of all the people involved in securing this important award.”

Arbitrator Sharnoff held that the Postal Service reasonably determined that singulating and facing duties on the SPSS “constituted significant aspects of the distribution function which historically and traditionally have been assigned to Clerks, as the Primary Craft”; and that the Postal Service also properly awarded sweeping duties to Clerks for rotational purposes.


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