An inspector general audit has found that during fiscal 2015 through 2021, Postal Service employees filed 2,975,721 overtime-related grievances, resulting in $337 million in grievance costs despite the existence of a system designed in part to cut down on such grievances.
It said that since the start of that period the USPS has had a web-based system called OT Admin “designed to simplify” administering and tracking overtime for craft employees in order to comply with terms of union contracts and reduce grievances. It tracks employee workhours, overtime, and make-up overtime and provides details on employees willing to work overtime on different tours, overtime opportunities, and overtime hours used.
However, the IG said there was “no written requirement to use OT Admin – only an internal best practice – and managers and supervisors were not encouraged to use the application. Additionally, managers and supervisors stated that they were unfamiliar with the application and did not complete OT Admin training. Further, supervisors identified several challenges regarding OT Admin, such as time-consuming entry procedures and inaccurate information in the application.”
It said that in a review of one recent calendar quarter, more than a third of facilities with more than 10 craft employees did not use the system.
“Instead, managers and supervisors used a variety of manual processes to assign overtime rather than using the application. These manual processes included posted sign-up sheets, printed work schedules with annotations, and handwritten notes containing color coding and symbols to monitor and track overtime opportunities and assignments. The handwritten notes and symbols were sometimes difficult to read or interpret,” it said.
“When managers and supervisors manually record overtime instead of using OT Admin to make overtime assignments, they may assign overtime inappropriately or incur unnecessary penalty overtime. In addition, when managers and supervisors are not properly trained and OT Admin is not timely updated to reflect employees who have signed up on the OTDL, managers and supervisors may improperly pass over employees when assigning overtime,” it said.
However, Postal Service management disagreed with the report’s recommendations, saying that “a blanket requirement to use OT Admin is not appropriate as overtime administration may involve differences relating to union involvement and local memorandums of understanding that have unique variances.”