Automated Postal Centers (from National APWU)
The USPS began deploying Automated Postal Centers (APCs) in February 2004, and plans to install them throughout the country. APCs are designed to reduce lines at windows and provide customers an alternate way to send mail and purchase services.
They provide many of the services currently available at full-service windows, including:
Weighing and rating letters, flats, and parcels up to 70 pounds
Dispensing variable rate postage
Providing mailing options and special services
Express mail forms
ZIP Code lookup
The USPS and APWU agree that a window clerk or sales and service associate will perform the routine duties associated with this equipment. These duties may include restocking paper, PVI tape, and stamp books. The clerk may also clear minor paper jams.
The APWU Maintenance Division has filed a national-level grievance over the maintenance work on the machine which is currently performed by the company that designed and installed the APCs. Because this piece of equipment is automated rather than mechanical, it is clear the work is not exclusive to the Self-Service Postal Clerk. We have been informed that the maintenance on the APC is "plug and play," and will not need the level of service that traditional vending machines that accept coins and cash tend to require.
During initial testing, the Lead Sales and Services Associates were assigned the restocking duties. In the absence of an LSSA, the duties may be assigned to another window clerk who has stamp stock . This clerk will also be responsible for replacing paper and strip rolls.
The Postal Service may designate APC Customer Advisors to educate customers on various aspects of the equipment during the first 90 days following deployment. The USPS APC Customer Service Advisor Guide is also attached. Management maintains the right to select any employee to perform this simple task. However, it is advisable to select Lobby Directors or window clerks, so that APC Customer Advisors do not cross over and perform the duties of Lobby Directors or window clerks.
The Lobby Director Program Guide will help locals ensure that the employees who serve as APC Customer Advisors during the 90 days following installation do not perform bargaining unit work unless they are in the bargaining unit.
A USPS letter dated July 16, 2004, responds to questions raised by the APWU concerning safety issues and site selection.