Management’s use of PET doesn’t change the fact that it cannot be used as the determinant of a letter carrier’s daily workload projections. Letter carriers are still responsible for estimating the amount of time it will take to complete their assigned duties, and management still has a responsibility to manage that workload within the confines of the handbook language as well as national-level settlements regarding the use of any such time-projection tool.
Performance Engagement Tool (PET) is the most recent computerized data generating program, in a long list of previous efforts, designed by the Postal Service for supervisors to use for projecting the daily workload of letter carriers. PET attempts to compare a letter carrier’s past street time performance and mail volumes with the current daily situation, and then uses that information to determine how long it may take a letter carrier to perform his or her duties on that day.
The office time projection generated by PET only considers how long it would take to case and pull down the day’s volume of letters and flats, based on 18 pieces per minute for casing letters, eight pieces per minute for casing flats, and 70 pieces per minute for pulling down letters and flats combined. PET’s office time projections do not allow for any fixed office time to perform such necessary daily functions as vehicle inspections, standup talks, retrieving mail from the throwback case, withdrawing mail, and retrieving or signing for accountable mail, just to name a few.
Street time is also projected differently in certain locations. In some offices, supervisors will select one of four different options and apply that time to today’s equation for PET to use in projecting the street time for that day. The four options are:
- The average street time for the same day of the week for the previous six weeks.
- The average street time for all delivery days during the previous six-week period.
- The most recent PS Form 3999 time.
- The base street time.
While USPS has instructed its supervisors to compare the mail volume for previous days to the current day when deciding which street time to select for PET, none of these projections take into account daily situations such as weather, parcel counts, traffic, construction, etc.
What hasn’t changed is NALC’s ability to challenge the use of any such projection as the determinant of a carrier’s daily workload or its use as the basis for disciplinary actions. These issues have been settled many times in the past in national-level settlements.
National-Level Settlement M01664 states in relevant part: “… DOIS projections are not the sole determinant of a carriers leaving or return time, or daily workload. As such, the projections cannot be used as the sole basis for corrective action.”
Despite this fact, we still have too many offices where these settlements are ignored, and workload projections create a breeding ground for disputes when a letter carrier fills out a PS Form 3996 requesting auxiliary assistance or approval to work overtime in order to complete their daily assignments.
** Condensed from NALC Activist 2017 Issue One.
Your supervisors, in many instances, will continue to harass you with this latest toy. Remain strong! Provide your supervisor with an honest estimation of your workload for the day and wait for clear instruction.
If management wishes to discuss your job performance, ask if discipline may result. If yes, REQUEST A STEWARD IMMEDIATELY!