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Industrial Relations Web Articles Archive

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Excessing, Job Withholding
Due to Consolidations on ‘Indefinite Hold’
(02/20/14) Union members are sure to breathe a sigh of relief following a recent notice from the Postal Service to the APWU. Excessing related to Area Mail Processing events has been placed on “indefinite hold,” according to a Feb. 14 letter from Postal Service to the APWU. As a result, the Postal Service is now releasing “residual vacancies” that were being withheld. [read more]

Article 1.6.B ‘Global Settlement’
Finally! USPS Provides Documentation
(02/18/14) Ten months after the APWU won an arbitration case protesting violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the USPS has provided the APWU with documentation — thousands and thousands of pages of documentation — necessary to determine the remedy, announced Director of Industrial Relations Tony McKinnon Sr. The documentation is in reference to violations of the “Global Settlement,” which limits the number of hours managerial personnel may perform window duties in small offices. [read more]

PSEs Not in Clerk Complement for Lead Clerks

(01/16/14) In a decision issued Jan. 10, Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that Clerk Craft PSEs should not be included in the Clerk Craft complement for the purpose of determining whether Lead Clerk positions must be created in a facility.

The Postal Service initiated this dispute, arguing that the phrase “clerk craft complement” is limited to the “career craft complement” and that the ratios outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement do not specifically mention PSEs. [read more]

Union Wins ‘Global Settlement’ Remedy Case
Clerks in Small Offices to Receive Back Pay
If Supervisors Worked in Excess of Limits in Contract

(10/17/13) In a decision issued Oct. 16, Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that APWU members are entitled to retroactive pay for time postmasters or supervisors performed craft duties in excess of limits outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. “This decision is an important victory for the APWU,” said Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris. “We have fought long and hard to protect jobs and increase work hours for clerks, especially in small offices. This decision will result in back pay for union members who were denied work opportunities as a result of contract violations. I hope postal managers take note of the cost of their failure to honor the contract,” he added. [read more]

Arbitrator Rules on USPS Refusal to Compensate Employees for Time Spent on a USPS-provided Shuttle

(09/05/13) In a decision [PDF] dated Aug. 30, Arbitrator Shyam Das denied the union’s grievance protesting management’s refusal to compensate employees for time spent on a USPS-provided shuttle that transported workers between USPS lodging and a training facility before and after their workdays or during their meal periods while they were at the National Center for Employee Development (NCED) in Norman OK.  Click here for a summary of the ruling.

Another Ricin Incident Hits Spokane

(05/15/13) Preliminary lab tests indicated the presence of ricin on two suspicious letters in Spokane WA, the Postal Service told the APWU on May 15. The letters are being analyzed and tested further for hazardous material, according to a Mandatory Stand-Up Talk management presented to workers. One letter was addressed to the Spokane Post Office; the other was addressed to a federal judge in Spokane. [read more]

Union Challenges POStPlan, Demands Jobs

(05/01/13) The APWU challenged management’s “POStPlan” at an arbitration hearing that began on May 1. The union charged that the plan, which resulted in a drastic reduction in the hours of operation at thousands of post offices, also deprives the APWU members of thousands of jobs, in violation of the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement. [read more]

PSEs Have Rights When Issued Discipline

(03/13/13) The APWU and USPS have reached an agreement that clarifies the rights of Postal Support Employees (PSEs) when discipline is issued, Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris has announced. In accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), management has the right to discipline or remove PSEs for “just cause,” and PSEs have the right to file grievances protesting such discipline. [read more]


OSHA Issues Citations,
Fines in Charlotte

(01/31/13) OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has issued citations and fines of $16,500 against the USPS for safety violations at the Charlotte NC postal facility. The citations, which were related to work on grinding machinery, were classified as “repeat” violations because the USPS was previously cited for the unsafe practice at a workplace in Raleigh NC. [read more]

Union, Management
Clarify Diabetes Policy

(01/28/13) The Joint Labor Management Safety and Health Committee (JLMSHC) has agreed that the Postal Service must accommodate diabetic employees, including, if necessary, with “a private area to test blood-sugar levels or to take insulin.” [read more]

OSHA Cites USPS
For Safety Violations in RI

(01/16/13) The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the USPS for safety violations at its Providence, RI operation including three violations concerning the organization’s failure to protect employees from multiple potential hazards from using powered industrial trucks. [read more]

 

APWU Expands
Electronic Grievance Pilot

(11/26/12) The APWU is expanding a pilot program for the Electronic Grievance System (EGS), APWU Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris has announced.  Two hundred APWU locals are currently participating in the program, which is the result of an August agreement with the USPS. [read more]


Penalty Overtime Exception

(11/01/12) In accordance with Article 8 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, penalty overtime regulations are not applicable for a four-week period each year during December. This year, the period begins with Pay Period 26-12 (Dec. 1, 2012), and ends at the conclusion of Pay Period 01-13 (Dec. 28, 2012). [read more]


Arbitrator Rules on Protection Against Layoffs

(08/10/12) Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg ruled on Aug. 1 that employees represented by the APWU who transfer to or are excessed into non-APWU crafts may not carry the protection against layoffs they have earned under the APWU Collective Bargaining Agreement to their new crafts. Career employees in all crafts currently earn lifetime protection against layoffs after six years of “continuous service,” but all career employees represented by the APWU enjoy protection against layoffs, regardless of their length of service — provided they were on the rolls as of Nov. 21, 2010. [read more]

APWU, USPS Agree on
Das Award Implementation

(07/26/12) The APWU and USPS have reached agreement on implementation of an arbitration award on retreat rights for Clerk Craft and Motor Vehicle Craft employees, Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris has announced. In an award issued June 29, Arbitrator Shyam Das sustained the APWU’s grievance protesting the Postal Service’s refusal to allow excessed employees to retreat to Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) duty assignments that were posted in August 2011 after approximately 9,000 part-time flexibles and part-time regulars were converted to full time. [read more]

Arbitrator Das Sustains
APWU Grievance On Denial of Retreat Rights
Dispute Over Assignment
Of Unassigned Regulars to NTFT Schedules Denied

(07/02/12) In an award issued June 29, Arbitrator Shyam Das sustained the APWU’s grievance over the denial of excessed employees’ retreat rights, but denied it in a dispute over the assignment of unassigned regulars to non-traditional full-time (NTFT) schedules. The issue in the first case was the USPS’ refusal to permit excessed employees to retreat into NTFT duty assignments posted for bid subsequent to the conversion of part-time regulars (PTRs) and part-time flexibles (PTFs) in August 2011. [read more]

POStPlan in Direct Conflict
With APWU National Agreement

(07/02/12) The APWU has put the Postal Service on notice that their plan to replace Postmasters at small, rural post offices with Postmaster Reliefs (PMRs) is a direct violation of our 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The USPS announced their POStPlan (Post Office Structure Plan) on May 9, 2012. The plan calls for reduced staffing and work hours at 13,900 small post offices, moving the Postmasters in these offices to an Administrative Post Office to manage their former post office remotely, and replacing the postmasters in those reduced-hour offices with PMRs. [read more]

Grievance Time Limits Extended
During National Convention

(06/07/12) The APWU has reached an agreement with the Postal Service to extend the time limits for grievances and appeals to arbitration during the weeks surrounding the APWU National Convention, Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris has announced. [read more]

Revised FMLA Forms

(05/31/12) The union has posted revised FMLA forms for use by healthcare providers to certify serious illnesses of APWU members and their family members. The forms the union created in 2009 “ solicit all of the information required under law,” Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris noted in a May 28, 2011, letter to USPS management. However, the APWU revised the forms based on suggestions made during a recent meeting with USPS officials to discuss the implementation of an arbitration award that stipulated that the Postal Service cannot require employees to use the Department of Labor’s WH-380 FMLA forms. [read more]

Changes of Address
For Grievance Appeals

(05/17/12) The Postal Service has notified the APWU of several changes of address for grievance appeals, effective June 1, 2012, Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris has announced. “I encourage locals to make a note of the new addresses and adjust their grievance appeal procedures accordingly,” he said. [read more]

APWU Forms Available for FMLA Medical Certification

(05/02/12) The APWU FMLA Forms are once again available for employees to use when submitting medical certification for leave under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In accordance with an April 18, 2012, award by Arbitrator Shyam Das, the Postal Service cannot require employees to use the Department of Labor’s WH-380 forms. Arbitrator Das recognized that the DOL Forms are optional forms. The USPS must accept an employee’s medical certification in any format — provided it contains all of the information required under the law. [read more]

APWU Wins Important FMLA Arbitration

(04/23/12) The APWU won an important arbitration on April 18, when Arbitrator Shyam Das upheld the right of postal employees to use forms developed by the union when submitting certification for leave under the provisions of the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Das’ ruling overturned a Postal Service policy, announced on July 6, 2010, that required employees to use forms developed by the Department of Labor (DOL). [read more]

Union Wins Settlement
In Accident Report Privacy Dispute

(04/05/12) On March 28, the APWU reached a Step 4 settlement with the Postal Service that requires management to better protect employees’ privacy when workers report accidents. The dispute arose when the union learned that the USPS had replaced the paper version of the Accident Report form (PS Form 1769) with an electronic version of the document, e-1769. [read more]

OSHA Affirms Whistleblower Protection
For Employees Reporting Workplace Injuries

(04/03/12) Reporting work-related injuries and illnesses is “a core employee right,” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has pointed out, “and retaliating against a worker for reporting an injury or illness is illegal discrimination.” [read more]

Union to Develop New
Web-Based Grievance System
100 Locals Needed to Participate in Pilot

(03/14/12) The APWU is developing a new web-based grievance system to improve the efficiency of our grievance procedure, and plans are underway to begin a pilot to test the program in August. The goal of the program is to eliminate the need for paper grievances at the earliest steps of the process, reduce repetitive data entries, and encourage “green” initiatives. [read more]

‘Dual Appointments’ to End in January

(12/16/11) After several months of discussion with the APWU, postal management has agreed to eliminate the use of “dually appointed” Rural Carrier Associates and Postal Support Employees (PSEs). In accordance with a letter dated Dec. 7, the dual appointments will end no later than Jan. 13, 2012. [read more]

2011 Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Set
(11/17/11) The December period during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable consists of four consecutive service weeks, as referenced in Article 8, Sections 4 and 5, of the National Agreement. This year, the December period begins Pay Period 26-11, Week 1 (December 3, 2011), and ends Pay Period 01-12, Week 2 (December 30, 2011). (See Why Is the Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Only 28 Days?)

Posting Non-Traditional Full-Time Assignments
In Customer Service Operations
(11/10/11) An agreement [PDF] between the APWU and USPS dated Nov. 10, 2011, outlines the procedure for posting Non-Traditional Full-Time duty assignments in Customer Service operations. The agreement lists the steps that must be taken before management can post the assignments, as well as the information the Postal Service must provide to local union representatives.

New APWU Search Online Now

(10/25/11) A new version of Search, the APWU’s online database of arbitration awards, Step 4 settlements, USPS handbooks, and CBRs, is now available at w3.lexis.com/clients/apwu. The new APWU Search has a revised look and many new features. If you were proficient with the old Search, you can use those same skills on the new version. But, if you had difficulty using the old Search, some of the new features will make this version much easier to use.
[read more]

Questions and Answers On the Contract

(10/20/11) The APWU and the USPS have agreed to a set of Questions and Answers regarding the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement, Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris has announced. The Questions and Answers, dated Oct. 20, 2011, cover an array of topics, including Postal Support Employees (PSEs), supervisors performing bargaining unit work in small offices, Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) assignments, excessing, lead clerks, acting supervisors, and the grievance procedure. [read more]

Q & A on Non-
Traditional Assignments

(10/06/11) The APWU and the USPS have agreed to a set of Questions and Answers regarding Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) duty assignments. The agreement, dated Oct. 6, 2011, covers topics such as posting, bidding, assignments, leave and holidays. Ten of the 30 questions and responses relate to NTFT assignments in the Motor Vehicle Service Craft.
[read more]

APWU, USPS Establish Guidelines for
Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures

(10/06/11) The APWU and USPS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding dated Oct. 5, 2011, that establishes guidelines for the use of Alternatives Dispute Resolution Procedures. [read more]

Instructions for Witnesses In Arbitration

(09/12/11) The APWU has prepared an explanation of what to expect if you are called to testify in an arbitration hearing and how to prepare for an respond to questioning.
[read more]

Thousands of Part-Timers to Be Converted Aug. 27
(08/25/11) Thousands of Part-Time Flexibles and Part-Time Regulars in the Clerk and Motor Vehicle Crafts will be converted to regular Aug. 27 under the terms of the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement. “This is an important achievement of our contract,” Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris said, “although we are continuing to battle with the Postal Service to ensure that management adheres to the rules we agreed upon during negotiations.” [read more]

APWU Initiates Step 4 Disputes

(08/18/11) The APWU initiated four Step 4 disputes on Aug. 17, 2011, protesting violations of the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement concerning: Denial of Retreat Rights, Unencumbered/Unassigned Regulars, Consecutive Days Off, and Non-Traditional Full-Time Assignments in Function 5 and Function 7. [read more]

NTFT Assignments Cannot Exceed
The Number of Employees to be Converted

(08/17/11) At a meeting between APWU officers and USPS officials in Washington DC on Aug. 16, the Postal Service acknowledged that local managers have no authority to post more Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) assignments in Customer Service areas than the number needed to accommodate Part-Time Flexibles and Part-Time Regulars when they are converted to full time on Aug. 27, Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris has reported. [read more]

Questions and Answers, Staffing Tool

(07/06/11) The APWU has posted a series of Questions and Answers regarding the recently-negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement, Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris announced July 6. The Industrial Relations Department also has posted a map that shows staffing for Level 15-and-above post offices. [read more]

New Address For Grievance Appeals
(04/29/11) Beginning May 15, APWU officers will have to send grievance appeals to a new address, Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris has reported. The Postal Service will close five USPS grievance processing centers and will handle all Direct Appeals to Arbitration, Step 3 Appeals and Appeals to Arbitration from Step 3 and from Employee Claims at a single National Grievance/Arbitration Processing Center. [read more]

Union Encourages Members
To Use DOL Forms For FMLA Leave

(12/17/10) The APWU is encouraging members to use Department of Labor forms when requesting Family & Medical Leave, while the union pursues a dispute with the Postal Service over employees’ right to use APWU forms or other equivalent documentation. [read more]

FY 2011 Casual Exception Period Set

(10/22/10) Article 7.1.B.5 of the National Agreement provides exceptions to the six percent and 11 percent casual caps during accounting periods 3 and 4. For Fiscal Year 2011, the casual exception period will be from Nov. 20, 2010 through Jan. 14, 2011.

2010 Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Set

(10/22/10) The December period referenced in Article 8, Sections 4 and 5, of the National Agreement, during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable, consists of four consecutive service weeks. (See Why Is the Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Only 28 Days?) This year the period begins Pay Period 26-10, Week 1 (Dec. 4, 2010) and ends Pay Period 01-11, Week 2 (Dec. 31, 2010).

2011 COLA for CSRS, FERS and Social Security Recipients
Will Be Zero

(10/18/10) Monthly benefits for CSRS, FERS and Social Security recipients will not increase in 2011. As determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2008 (the last year a COLA was paid) to the third quarter of 2010, therefore, under existing law, there will be no COLA in 2011. See the Pay Information page for more detailed information.

Annual Leave Exchange Option, PTF Employees - Remedy

(10/13/10) In a recent national-level arbitration award by Arbitrator Byars on the remedy for depriving part-time flexible employees of the Annual Leave Exchange Option (ALEO), the arbitrator granted the union a remedy in an amount equal to interest, at the Federal Judgment Rate, on what the Postal Service would have paid to 26% of eligible PTF employees for each year they were excluded from the ALEO benefit.

Click here for a summary and a copy of the award.

Contract Negotiations Underway

(This article was first published in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Contract negotiations began on Sept. 1, and bargaining sessions are scheduled every week during the months of September, October, and November. The current contract expires at midnight on Nov. 20, 2010, and a lot of hard bargaining will take place between now and then. In this round of contract talks, we will face some of our toughest challenges ever: Many issues that have threatened us in the past are looming again, and we will have to fight to retain some of the gains we made in years past. [read more]

Decision on Sunday Premium While on Administrative Leave

(09/08/10) In a recent national decision, Arbitrator Byars denied the APWU’s grievance challenging management’s refusal to pay Sunday premium pay to an employee while on administrative leave.  Arbitrator Byars ruled that an employee who is on administrative leave is not entitled to Sunday premium pay for hours he or she would have otherwise worked on Sunday.

Click here for a detailed summary along with a copy of the award.

Eighth and Final Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Under the
2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement

(08/16/10) In July, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) rose to 637.138, still well below the July 2008 index of 644.303 (upon which the last COLA increase was based). The CPI-W needed to rise above 644.303 before another COLA was due. After the final month of the six-month measuring period, the eighth and final COLA under the 2006 National Agreement and the Operating Services Agreement is zero. [read more]

Safety & Health Resource Kit CD Now Online

(08/10/10) The Safety and Health Resource Kit CD that has been distributed at the last three APWU conventions has been updated and placed online on the APWU website. To view the S&H Resource Kit, click on the "S&H Resource Kit" link on the left hand navigation menu on the Safety and Health Page. The kit is intended as a resource to assist APWU officers, stewards and safety reps in carrying out their duties related to safety and health issues. Click here to go to the S&H Resource Kit Online now.

APWU Reminds Everyone of Standing Policy to Boycott VOE Surveys

(08/09/10) In a letter to local presidents dated Aug. 6, 2010, APWU Director of Industrial Relations Greg Bell reminded everyone of the APWU’s long-standing policy, adopted by the National Executive Board, to boycott all employee surveys. The USPS recently notified the APWU of a new employee survey that they are conducting.  We do not believe that it is a coincidence that this survey is being conducted just as contract negotiations are about to begin.  In the past, the Postal Service has used these surveys to undermine the union in collective bargaining, and we have every reason to believe they will attempt the same trick again. We need everyone's continued support in reminding members not to participate in employee surveys. 

Click here for a copy of the letter to state and local presidents

DOL Files Motion to Consolidate Electrical Safety Complaints

(08/09/10) On August 3, 2010, the Department of Labor filed a "Motion of Complainant for
Consolidation of Cases and Stay" related to APWU complaints over electrical safety hazards. The motion follows a complaint filed by the DOL on July 6 requesting “enterprise-wide” relief for the safety violations. The complaint asks the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to order the Postal Service to correct the violations; uphold the fines and penalties; conduct training on safe electrical work practices; provide personal protective equipment to affected employees; and withdraw flawed management orders and instructions regarding safe electrical work practices. The “stay” would hold proceedings in abeyance to allow the parties to pursue negotiations at the national level without being hampered by discovery issues or mandatory settlement proceedings.  The stay would not prevent OSHA from conducting inspections or filing additional complaints.

Click here for a copy of a Letter to Local Presidents

Arbitrator Issues Decision in Dispute Over Two-Tour Initiative

(07/29/10) Arbitrator Das denied the union’s grievance challenging the Postal Service’s two-tour initiative. Das accepted the Postal Service’s argument that “Article 3 of the National Agreement grants the Postal Service the authority to unilaterally adopt and implement the ... initiatives at issue, without further bargaining with the Union.” He cited language in Article 3 that states the Postal Service “‘shall have the exclusive right’ to ‘assign … employees,’ to ‘maintain the efficiency of the operations entrusted to it’ and to ‘determine the methods, means, and personnel by which such operations are to be conducted.’” Das also cited a 1977 national award in which Arbitrator Garrett stated that the Postal Service isn’t obligated “to engage in ‘collective bargaining’ as to whether or how it should exercise its authority under Article III of the National Agreement.” In addition, he referred to a 1973 national award in which Arbitrator Gamser stated that the right to change tour complements “appear[s] [to be] specifically reserved to Management under Article III of the Agreement as well as dictated in enabling legislation, Section 1001 of the Postal Reorganization Act.” (USPS #Q06C-4Q-C 09051867; 7/27/2010)

Click here for a summary and copy of the decision

OSHA Slams USPS for Safety Violations

(This article was first published in the July/August 2010 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has charged the USPS with a series of citations in multiple cities for “willful and serious” safety violations. As of mid-June, OSHA had issued citations to the Postal Service at 12 facilities, and ordered it to pay fines of more than $2 million. The violations, all related to electrical hazards, were discovered after OSHA inspectors visited the sites as a result of complaints filed by APWU locals. The Postal Service “ignored long-established safety standards and knowingly put its workers in harm’s way,” OSHA said. [read more]

Follow Up Concerning Ergonomic Issues Related to DBCS & Consolidation of Tour 2 Mail Processing Operations

(06/24/10) We have had ongoing discussions with the NLRB (Region 5) over the posting requirements of the NLRB Settlement Agreement concerning ergonomic issues related the DBCS and the consolidation of Tour 2 operations. We have been informed by the NLRB that in light of the large number of facilities where posting must occur, the Postal Service was required to provide the Region a list of the facilities, in advance of posting, it believes meet the requirements for inclusion. The Region provided the APWU with the Postal Service’s proposed list and now requests that the APWU review it and inform the Board whether there are any deletions or additions that we believe should be made to the list. In addition, if the APWU identifies a facility that should be included and is not, we must specify the location of the facility, the type of facility and why the Union believes posting at that location is required by the settlement agreement.

Click here for a Memo to Local Presidents and the USPS list of included facilities

Decision of Federal District Court on AMS Work

(06/01/10) In a recent decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia regarding the enforceability of a 2003 award by Arbitrator Snow in which he ruled that it is a violation of the National Agreement to exclude the Address Management System Specialist (AMS) position, and the disputed work, from the APWU bargaining unit (Q94C-4Q-C 98117564, 4/29/2003), the court rejected APWU’s request for an order enforcing the award’s finding that the AMS Specialists’ work falls within the APWU bargaining unit, and instead ruled that the award was unenforceable. (Civil Action 04-01404 (HHK), 5/24/2010) The APWU will be appealing this ruling.

Click here for a copy of the decision and an expanded summary.

Award on Appeal Date for Dispute Over Contract Postal Units

(05/12/10) In a recent national arbitration award, Arbitrator Linda Byars rejected management's claim that our dispute over Contract Postal Units wasn't required to be placed on the national arbitration docket using the date the original grievance was appealed in accordance with the parties' 2004 MOU "Re: Review of Pre-1998 Grievances Referred or Appealed to the National Level." She specifically ruled that the grievance should be placed on the national arbitration docket with the original appeal date of March 16, 1995, rather than the date of our subsequent appeal to arbitration involving the same grievance.

Click here for a copy of the award and a memo to the field.

Dispute Filed Concerning USPS Failure to Bargain Over Safety and Ergonomic Issues

(05/04/10) The APWU has initiated a national dispute over the Postal Service's failure and refusal to meet and bargain in good faith the the Union about safety and ergonomic issues associated with the Delivery Bar Code Sorter (DCBS). As previously reported, the APWU filed an unfair labor practice charge in December 2008 over the Postal Service's refusal to bargain over safety and ergonomic issues. A portion of that charge concerning information requests was settled, but the NLRB deferred the complaint on the issue of bargaining to the grievance procedure. This national dispute will be given priority scheduling under the terms of the NLRB deferral and placed at the head of the arbitration docket pursuant to Article 14.2

Click here for a copy of the Union's National Dispute Letter

NLRB Settlement on Information Requests Concerning Ergonomics & Tour 2 Consolidation

(05/03/10) The APWU and the USPS recently settled a portion of an unfair labor practice charge concerning information requests related to ergonomic issues and Tour 2 consolidations. The settlement agreement requires the Postal Service to provide the union with requested information that is relevant and necessary to the performance of its duties as an exclusive collective bargaining representative. In addition, the USPS is required to post the agreement in all facilities where there is a DBCS machine and in facilities where the consolidation of Tour 2 mail processing operations has taken place. The notice must be posted for 60 consecutive days. [read more]

Parties Agree to Extend Grievance Time Limits During APWU National Convention

(04/19/10) The APWU has reached an agreement with the Postal Service regarding time limit extensions for all grievances and appeals to arbitration during the weeks surrounding the APWU National Convention. The APWU requested the extension of time limits due to the APWU's National Convention taking place during the third and fourth weeks of August 2010. During that time period, all national officers, and many local stewards and officers from around the country will be attending the National Convention and/or the convention workshops and Division Conferences in Detroit, MI. We have made similar requests during previous national conventions.

Click here for a copy of the agreement

APWU Reminds Everyone of Standing Policy to Boycott VOE Surveys

(08/09/10) In a letter to local presidents dated Aug. 6, 2010, APWU Director of Industrial Relations Greg Bell reminded everyone of the APWU’s long-standing policy, adopted by the National Executive Board, to boycott all employee surveys. The USPS recently notified the APWU of a new employee survey that they are conducting.  We do not believe that it is a coincidence that this survey is being conducted just as contract negotiations are about to begin.  In the past, the Postal Service has used these surveys to undermine the union in collective bargaining, and we have every reason to believe they will attempt the same trick again. We need everyone's continued support in reminding members not to participate in employee surveys. 

Click here for a copy of the letter to state and local presidents

DOL Files Motion to Consolidate Electrical Safety Complaints

(08/09/10) On August 3, 2010, the Department of Labor filed a "Motion of Complainant for
Consolidation of Cases and Stay" related to APWU complaints over electrical safety hazards. The motion follows a complaint filed by the DOL on July 6 requesting “enterprise-wide” relief for the safety violations. The complaint asks the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to order the Postal Service to correct the violations; uphold the fines and penalties; conduct training on safe electrical work practices; provide personal protective equipment to affected employees; and withdraw flawed management orders and instructions regarding safe electrical work practices. The “stay” would hold proceedings in abeyance to allow the parties to pursue negotiations at the national level without being hampered by discovery issues or mandatory settlement proceedings.  The stay would not prevent OSHA from conducting inspections or filing additional complaints.

Click here for a copy of a Letter to Local Presidents

Arbitrator Issues Decision in Dispute Over Two-Tour Initiative

(07/29/10) Arbitrator Das denied the union’s grievance challenging the Postal Service’s two-tour initiative. Das accepted the Postal Service’s argument that “Article 3 of the National Agreement grants the Postal Service the authority to unilaterally adopt and implement the ... initiatives at issue, without further bargaining with the Union.” He cited language in Article 3 that states the Postal Service “‘shall have the exclusive right’ to ‘assign … employees,’ to ‘maintain the efficiency of the operations entrusted to it’ and to ‘determine the methods, means, and personnel by which such operations are to be conducted.’” Das also cited a 1977 national award in which Arbitrator Garrett stated that the Postal Service isn’t obligated “to engage in ‘collective bargaining’ as to whether or how it should exercise its authority under Article III of the National Agreement.” In addition, he referred to a 1973 national award in which Arbitrator Gamser stated that the right to change tour complements “appear[s] [to be] specifically reserved to Management under Article III of the Agreement as well as dictated in enabling legislation, Section 1001 of the Postal Reorganization Act.” (USPS #Q06C-4Q-C 09051867; 7/27/2010)

Click here for a summary and copy of the decision

Follow Up Concerning Ergonomic Issues Related to DBCS & Consolidation of Tour 2 Mail Processing Operations

(06/24/10) We have had ongoing discussions with the NLRB (Region 5) over the posting requirements of the NLRB Settlement Agreement concerning ergonomic issues related the DBCS and the consolidation of Tour 2 operations. We have been informed by the NLRB that in light of the large number of facilities where posting must occur, the Postal Service was required to provide the Region a list of the facilities, in advance of posting, it believes meet the requirements for inclusion. The Region provided the APWU with the Postal Service’s proposed list and now requests that the APWU review it and inform the Board whether there are any deletions or additions that we believe should be made to the list. In addition, if the APWU identifies a facility that should be included and is not, we must specify the location of the facility, the type of facility and why the Union believes posting at that location is required by the settlement agreement.

Click here for a Memo to Local Presidents and the USPS list of included facilities

Decision of Federal District Court on AMS Work

(06/01/10) In a recent decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia regarding the enforceability of a 2003 award by Arbitrator Snow in which he ruled that it is a violation of the National Agreement to exclude the Address Management System Specialist (AMS) position, and the disputed work, from the APWU bargaining unit (Q94C-4Q-C 98117564, 4/29/2003), the court rejected APWU’s request for an order enforcing the award’s finding that the AMS Specialists’ work falls within the APWU bargaining unit, and instead ruled that the award was unenforceable. (Civil Action 04-01404 (HHK), 5/24/2010) The APWU will be appealing this ruling.

Click here for a copy of the decision and an expanded summary.

Award on Appeal Date for Dispute Over Contract Postal Units

(05/12/10) In a recent national arbitration award, Arbitrator Linda Byars rejected management's claim that our dispute over Contract Postal Units wasn't required to be placed on the national arbitration docket using the date the original grievance was appealed in accordance with the parties' 2004 MOU "Re: Review of Pre-1998 Grievances Referred or Appealed to the National Level." She specifically ruled that the grievance should be placed on the national arbitration docket with the original appeal date of March 16, 1995, rather than the date of our subsequent appeal to arbitration involving the same grievance.

Click here for a copy of the award and a memo to the field.

Dispute Filed Concerning USPS Failure to Bargain Over Safety and Ergonomic Issues

(05/04/10) The APWU has initiated a national dispute over the Postal Service's failure and refusal to meet and bargain in good faith the the Union about safety and ergonomic issues associated with the Delivery Bar Code Sorter (DCBS). As previously reported, the APWU filed an unfair labor practice charge in December 2008 over the Postal Service's refusal to bargain over safety and ergonomic issues. A portion of that charge concerning information requests was settled, but the NLRB deferred the complaint on the issue of bargaining to the grievance procedure. This national dispute will be given priority scheduling under the terms of the NLRB deferral and placed at the head of the arbitration docket pursuant to Article 14.2

Click here for a copy of the Union's National Dispute Letter

NLRB Settlement on Information Requests Concerning Ergonomics & Tour 2 Consolidation

(05/03/10) The APWU and the USPS recently settled a portion of an unfair labor practice charge concerning information requests related to ergonomic issues and Tour 2 consolidations. The settlement agreement requires the Postal Service to provide the union with requested information that is relevant and necessary to the performance of its duties as an exclusive collective bargaining representative. In addition, the USPS is required to post the agreement in all facilities where there is a DBCS machine and in facilities where the consolidation of Tour 2 mail processing operations has taken place. The notice must be posted for 60 consecutive days. [read more]

Parties Agree to Extend Grievance Time Limits During APWU National Convention

(04/19/10) The APWU has reached an agreement with the Postal Service regarding time limit extensions for all grievances and appeals to arbitration during the weeks surrounding the APWU National Convention. The APWU requested the extension of time limits due to the APWU's National Convention taking place during the third and fourth weeks of August 2010. During that time period, all national officers, and many local stewards and officers from around the country will be attending the National Convention and/or the convention workshops and Division Conferences in Detroit, MI. We have made similar requests during previous national conventions.

Dispute Over 90 Day Notice of Excessing Appealed to Arbitration

(04/07/10) The union recently appealed to national arbitration an issue concerning the employer's obligation to meet with the union at the regional level no less than 90 days prior to involuntarily reassigning bargaining unit employees outside their craft or installation. The dispute arose when the APWU learned that management at the regional level was taking the position that the Postal Service would no longer provide the Union a 90 day notice when excessing occurs outside the craft or installation. In addition, it was reported that this decision was made at the headquarters level.

Click here for a copy of the Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' 15-day statements

Dispute Initiated Over 60 Day Excessing Notice to Employees

(04/07/10) The union recently intiated a national dispute over management's failure to adhere to an agreement between the parties that when employees are excessed outside their craft or installation, such employees will be provided notice of a minimum of 60 days. In addition, this notice must include relevant information informing the employee of when and where they will be reassigned. Basic information informing such employees that they will be reassigned to an undetermined location do not meet requirements of the notice.

Click here for a copy of the Union's national dispute letter

Award on Subcontrating of Associate Office Infrastructure Work

(02/24/10) In a recent national award regarding the APWU’s challenge to management’s subcontracting of Associate Office Infrastructure (AOI) installation and maintenance work, Arbitrator Das sustained the APWU’s grievance and ruled that management violated Article 32.1.B by not giving the union an opportunity to meet with it regarding AOI installation and maintenance work involving cabling and AOI servers. Das ordered that the Postal Service assign maintenance of “AOI servers – to the extent they remain in operation – and the LAN cabling within the AOs to the maintenance craft.” In addition he directed that the parties discuss “the possibility of additional LAN maintenance work in the AOs being assigned to the bargaining unit.” With regard to a retroactive remedy, Arbitrator Das ordered that the issue be returned to the parties for discussion of a remedy. The arbitrator retained jurisdiction if the parties are unable to agree on a retroactive remedy. (USPS #Q94T-4Q-C 97031616).

Click here for a copy of a memo to the field and the arbitration award.

NLRB Settlement on Information Requests Concerning Ergonomics & Tour 2 Consolidation

(05/03/10) The APWU and the USPS recently settled a portion of an unfair labor practice charge concerning information requests related to ergonomic issues and Tour 2 consolidations. The settlement agreement requires the Postal Service to provide the union with requested information that is relevant and necessary to the performance of its duties as an exclusive collective bargaining representative. In addition, the USPS is required to post the agreement in all facilities where there is a DBCS machine and in facilities where the consolidation of Tour 2 mail processing operations has taken place. The notice must be posted for 60 consecutive days. [read more]

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Update

(02/22/10) In January, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) rose to 633.176, well below the July 2008 index of 644.303 (upon which the last COLA increase was based). The CPI-W must rise above 644.303 before another COLA is due. After the final month of the six-month measuring period, the seventh COLA under the 2006 National Agreement and the Operating Services Agreement which would have been effective March 13, 2010 (pay period 07-10, pay date April 2, 2010), will be zero. [read more]

Previously Adopted Labor Management Resolutions (2010 Edition)

(01/20/10) To assist APWU locals and state organizations as they prepare for their state conventions and the national convention, the Industrial Relations Department has compiled a book of Previously Adopted Labor-Management Resolutions [pdf - 1.95MB]. Delegates to state conventions can use this book to determine whether resolutions they are considering may have already been adopted and are therefore standing resolutions.

2009 Articles

Arbitrator Rules 'Separation of Casuals' Language in Article 12
Applies Only to Casuals in the Impacted Craft

(11/18/09) In a recent National Association of Letter Carriers’ (NALC) national arbitration award, Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that “[t]he provision in Article 12.5.C.5.a (2) for ‘separation of all casuals’ applies to casuals in the affected or losing craft, and not to casuals in other crafts.” (USPS # Q94N-4Q-C 99052344, 11/11/2009) This case arose after the NALC initiated a grievance regarding the meaning of the term “all casuals” in Article 12.5.C.5.a.(2) of the 1994-1998 National Agreement. The APWU and the Mail Handlers Union intervened in this case since our contracts contain the same provision.

Click here for a summary and a copy of the award.

Arbitrator Rules Maximization Provision Only Applies to Work Hours of PTFs

(11/17/09) A recent national arbitration award by Arbitrator Linda Byars found that the Postal Service does not have an obligation to combine the hours of all non-full-time employees, i.e. part-time regular, part-time flexible, transitional and/or casual employees, as well as the regularly scheduled overtime hours of full-time employees, in order to maximize full-time positions pursuant to Article 7.3.B of the National Agreement. The arbitrator found that this provision “applies only to the relationship between full-time employees and part-time employees with no fixed work schedule.” (USPS #Q94C-4Q-C 96096822 and 96096823, 11/11/2009.

Click here for a summary and a copy of the award.

2010 Annual Leave Exchange Option Open Season to Include PTFs

(11/12/09) In accordance with Arbitrator Byar's award in Case Number Q98C-4QC
00062970, the MOU Re: Annual Leave Exchange Option applies to APWU-represented part-time flexible (PTF) employees, in addition to all full-time employees. Although the parties have been unsuccessful so far in reaching a mutually agreeable remedy for alleged missed opportunities for PTFs in prior years, the Postal Service has provided advance notification of the manner in which it intends to implement the Annual Leave Exchange Option for APWU-represented PTF employees for leave year 2010. Specifically, eligible PTF employees will be afforded the opportunity to receive a lump sum payment in exchange for a portion of the annual leave the PTF employee is expected to earn in leave year 2010. Eligible PTF employees will be sent a letter about the Annual Leave Exchange Option prior to the 2010 Open Season period. This letter will explain, among other things, the terms and conditions for participation, including the eligibility criteria, allowable amounts for leave exchange, and deadlines for participation.

APWU Urges Locals to File OSHA Complaints Over Electrical Hazards

(10/27/09) The APWU has sent a letter to local presidents in regard to electrical hazards related to the Postal Service's failure to comply with OSHA Subpart S Electrical Standards. The letter explains the Union's efforts to force the Postal Service to comply with these standards, and includes a complaint package that contains everything locals need to file OSHA complaints regarding these hazards. The union is urging locals whose members are exposed to these hazards to file complaints with their local OSHA offices.

Click here for a copy of the letter, the complaint package and a fillable OSHA-7 complaint form.

FY 2010 Casual Exception Period Set

(10/22/09) Article 7.1.B.5 of the 2006 National Agreement provides exceptions to the six percent and 11 percent casual caps during accounting periods 3 and 4. For Fiscal Year 2010, the casual exception period will be from Nov. 21, 2009 through Jan. 15, 2010.

2009 Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Set

(10/22/09) The December period referenced in Article 8, Sections 4 and 5, of the National Agreement, during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable, consists of four consecutive service weeks. (See Why Is the Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Only 28 Days?) This year the period begins Pay Period 26-09, Week 1 (Dec. 5, 2009) and ends Pay Period 1-10, Week 2 (Jan. 1, 2010).

1.2% Raise Effective Nov. 21, 2009

(10/19/2009) Postal employees covered under the APWU-USPS 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement and the 2006-2010 Operating Services Agreement will receive a 1.2 percent increase in annual salaries effective Nov. 21, based on the grades and levels that were in effect on Sept. 6, 2006. The raise will be reflected in paychecks issued Dec. 11.

Click here for the Nov. 21, 2009 Pay Scale

Additional Information on Cross-Craft Reassignments

(10/14/2009) The union has sent a follow up letter to the Postal Service about APWU bargaining unit employees being reassigned to city letter carrier positions for which they did not meet the qualification requirements.  The main purpose of the letter is to further articulate the APWU’s position and to reference other relevant regulations in support of the APWU’s position. More information will be provided as it becomes available. In the meantime, grievances should continue to be filed at the local level when an APWU employee is reassigned across crafts before meeting the qualifications for the new assignment.

Click here for a copy of the latest correspondence

Minimum Qualifications for Cross-Craft Reassignments

(10/7/2009) It has been brought to the union's attention that APWU bargaining unit employees may have been improperly reassigned to city letter carrier positions for which they did not meet the minimum qualifications (driving test), and may have been subsequently disciplined for failing to meet those qualifications. It is the Union's position that an APWU bargaining unit employee must meet the minimum qualifications before being reassigned to a letter carrier position. Below is a link to a letter sent to the Postal Service seeking assistance in resolving this issue, and to determine whether there is a disagreement between the parties regarding Article 12.5.C.5.a(4) and similar provisions of the National Agreement. Where a violation occurs, local grievances should be filed. 

Letter to USPS Regarding Minimum Qualfications for Cross-Craft Reassignments

Decision in RI-399 Small Parcel & Bundle Sorter (SPBS) Case

(10/6/2009) This case involved a dispute over the Postal Service’s decision awarding allied duties on the SPBS, beyond those associated with the keying rotation for clerks, to the mail handler craft. It was the APWU’s position that all duties involved in mail processing on the machine, within the immediate vicinity (or footprint) of the machine, have historically been assigned to the clerk craft. For example, like the FSM machines – all duties, including allied duties, associated with operating the FSMs are assigned to clerks, and the FSMs are staffed with clerks above the minimum required to effectuate the rotation of keyers. On September 7, 2009, Arbitrator Joseph Sharnoff rejected the APWU’s reasoning and concluded that the determination to assign primary craft jurisdiction to the mail handlers on assignments other than those awarded by the Postal Service to clerks (i.e., distribution of IPPs, newspapers, rolls, letter or flat bundles or slugs and inserting labels, and pulling containers, containerizing and transporting to the extent necessary to implement rotation) was appropriate under the principles and guidelines of RI-399.

Click here for a copy of the arbitration decision

Settlement Reached in Individual Retirement Counseling Dispute

(09/22/09) On September 21, 2009, the APWU and the Postal Service reached a pre-arbitration settlement over a dispute concerning management’s responsibility to provide individual retirement counseling for employees. In 2007, the Postal Service centralized its individual retirement counseling process by conducting such counseling primarily by phone utilizing retirement specialists at the Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC). The intent of the change is that postal employees receive consistent information and retirement processing nationwide. The settlement provides that local management must arrange reasonably private space for employees who wish to have individual retirement counseling on the clock. The employee is also entitled to have their spouse and/or advisor present during this process. In addition, employees who cannot begin or complete the process of obtaining counseling from HRSSC without assistance have to be offered assistance by local management. Whether an employee is unable to start or complete the retirement counseling will be determined jointly by local management and the local union on a case-by-case basis.

Click here for a copy of the settlement

Dispute Over Reassignment of Non-Bargaining-Unit Employees
To Bargaining-Unit Positions Appealed to Arbitration

(09/10/09) The Union has appealed to arbitration a dispute over whether the Postal Service violates the collective bargaining agreement when it reassigns non-bargaining-unit employees to bargaining-unit positions in an installation or craft where (1) there is a planned reduction of bargaining-unit employees, (2) bargaining-unit positions are being withheld or captured to accommodate impacted bargaining-unit employees, and (3) where bargaining-unit employees have retreat rights or other contractual rights to bargaining-unit positions pursuant to Article 12 and related provisions of the national agreement.

Click here for a copy of the Appeal to Arbitration, the parties' 15-Day Statements, and the Initiate National Dispute Letter

Dispute Over Sunday Premium When on Administrative Leave
Appealed to Arbitration

(08/31/09) The Union has appealed to arbitration a dispute over whether employees on Administrative Leave are entitled to Sunday Premium pay for any eligible hours they would have worked if not for being placed on administrative leave. According to the ELM, administrative leave is defined as "absence from duty authorized by appropriate postal officials ... without loss of pay." It is the union's position that this is no different than earning night differential when on administrative leave, a position that the union won in national-level case J90M-1J-C 95057374 by Arbitrator Philip Parkinson.

Click here for a copy of the Appeal to Arb and the parties' 15-Day Statements

Dispute Over Consolidation of Districts Appealed to Arbitration

(08/11/09) The APWU has appealed to arbitration a dispute over the Postal Service's unilateral consolidation of six USPS Districts. By letter dated May 12, 2009, the union was informed that six district offices had been consolidated and that effective July 4, 2009, the casual reports used by the Union to monitor compliance with Article 7.1.B.5 will reflect the new structure as specified in the letter. On July 1, 2009, the union challenged the authority of the Postal Service to make this unilateral change as contrary to the 2006-2010 National Agreement, which applies the casual limitations to the Districts as defined on the effective date of the agreement. It is the union's position that this is a mid-term modification of the collective bargaining agreement, prohibited by Article 5, that allows the Postal Service to evade the casual caps and thereby employ more casuals than it otherwise might have under the pre-existing district structure.

Click here for a copy of the Union's Appeal to Arbitration

Arbitrator Issues Decision in ELM 13 Dispute

(08/11/09) In a recent national-level award, Arbitrator Das sustained the union's grievance challenging the Postal Service's publication of ELM 13. The arbitrator agreed that management failed to provide the union with timely and appropriate Article 19 notification of certain changes to ELM 13, and gave the union 60 days to challenge those sections for which appropriate notice was not given and that the union believes adversely impact wages, hours or working conditions. The arbitrator retained jurisdiction to consider those specific challenges.

Click here for a Memo to the Field and a copy of the Award

Clarification on Use of APWU FMLA Forms

(07/14/09) In response to a letter from the Postal Service stating that the APWU's FMLA forms are not equivalent to the Department of Labor's FMLA forms, the union has written the Postal Service clarifying our position on the use of the forms. Some managers have interpreted the USPS's comments to mean that the APWU's FMLA forms are unacceptable. This is not true. FMLA regulations do not require that certification be provided on any particular form, or in any particular format, as long as the information is complete and sufficient. Management must make a case-by-case determination if the documentation provided is complete and sufficient. If it's not, they are required to explain to the employee, in writing, what they must do to make the form complete and sufficient. They cannot require the use of the optional DOL forms. In addition, the optional DOL forms contain space for doctors to provide information that is not required by the regulations. The APWU continues to encourage our members to use the APWU forms.

Click here for exchange of correspondence on FMLA forms and here for correspondence containing additional clarification.

Vehicle Maintenance Estimated Repair Times Cannot Be Used for Discipline

(06/04/09) In a recent national arbitration award, Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that the Postal Service was not required to provide Article 19 notice to the union before implementing a 1998 Vehicle Maintenance Bulletin (VMB) that included Estimated Repair Times (ERTs), but sustained the Union's position that the ERTs in the VMB cannot be used to discipline employees, evaluate work performance, gauge work pace, or to require employees to document the reasons for exceeding ERTs "as a matter of course."

Click here for a copy of the arbitration award

Dispute Initiated Over Revisions to Contract Postal Unit Handbook

(05/08/09) The Union has initiated a national dispute over the issuance of a new Publication 156, "Postal Employees Guide to Contract Postal Units", that replaces the Handbook AS-707-F, "Contracting for Contract Postal Units." The provisions of Handbook AS-707-F are utilized by the Union in regard to the enforcement, administration and/or interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement, and have been the subject of disputes at both the field and national level. It is the APWU's position that the Postal Service has unilaterally made revisions, replaced or renamed the Handbook AS-707-F, in an attempt to circumvent its obligations under the collective bargaining agreement.

Click here for a copy of the National Dispute letter.

APWU FMLA Forms Revised

(04/30/09) The APWU's revised FMLA forms that were issued in February 2009 to meet new federal regulations have been modified slightly for clarity after input from locals and field officers. APWU FMLA forms #1 and #2 were revised as follows: 1) a change to the section regarding medical facts to include treatment, if any; 2) a clarification regarding what constitutes a chronic condition (i.e. the new regulations stipulate that to qualify as a chronic condition, the employee must require treatment at least twice a year, and 3) a place for the HCP to print their name, above where they place their signature. This last change also applies to form #4. Form #3 is unchanged. While the February 2009 version of the forms should still be acceptable when properly completed, these revisions add clarity and should, therefore, reduce the number of instances where the Postal Service finds the forms “insufficient” or “incomplete.”

Dispute Initiated Over USPS Failure to Furnish Notice of Changes to PS Form 1723

(04/21/09) The APWU has initiated a national-level dispute over the Postal Service's failure to provide the union notice of proposed changes to PS Form 1723, Assignment Order. It is the APWU's position that the use of Form 1723 directly relates to wages, hours and working conditions, and that management's issuance of this form without proper notice to the union is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

Click here for a copy of the dispute and related correspondence

Reinstatement of Grievances Withdrawn Pursuant to 2006 MOU

(04/03/09) In a letter to the USPS, the APWU has notified management that we are reinstating any and all grievances that were withdrawn or considered withdrawn pursuant to the 2006 MOU re: Limited Duty and Rehabilitation Assignments Within APWU Crafts Involving Workers from Other Crafts. As previously reported, Arbitrator Das invalidated the MOU in a recent national-level arbitration decision of a grievance initiated by the NALC.

Click here for a copy of the letter reinstating these grievances

Response to Inquiries from Field Regarding Ergonomic Risk Reduction Program (ERRP)

(04/03/09) In response to numerous inquiries from the Field, headquarters has sent a clarification to Local Presidents regarding local participation in the ERRP program. The APWU does not ask or recommend that locals withdraw from the Local Ergonomic Risk Reduction Program (ERRP), either as part of a nationwide endeavor or in conjunction with the filing of OSHA complaints over ergonomic hazards on the DBCS machines.

Click here for a copy of the memo to Local Presidents

APWU Urges Locals with DBCS Machines to File OSHA Complaints

(03/30/09) The APWU has sent a letter to local presidents in regard to ergonomic issues related to Delivery Bar Code Sorter (DBCS) operations. The purpose of this letter is to explain the attached information and the APWU’s intent to have multiple OSHA complaints simultaneously filed by locals with DBCS machines, nationwide. APWU has made many attempts to discuss and correct known ergonomic risks and hazards associated with the operations of the DBCS machines. Although we have had some success, the Postal Service continues to refuse to discuss identified ergonomic risks and hazards. [read more]

Arbitrator Rescinds ELM 546 Changes Agreed to in
APWU-USPS 2006 MOU

(03/26/09) Arbitrator Das, ruling in an NALC grievance in which the APWU intervened, ordered the Postal Service to rescind changes agreed to by the APWU and the USPS in a 2006 MOU "Re: Limited Duty and Rehabilitation Assignments Within APWU Crafts Involving Workers from Other Crafts." The MOU provided that the reassignment or reemployment of an employee injured on duty was required to be "accomplished through Article 13 of the National Agreement applicable to the craft to which the employee is being reassigned." The NALC objected that the change would adversely affect language in Article 13 of the NALC agreement, and that the Postal Service could not make these changes without negotiating with the NALC.

Click here for a copy of the arbitrator's decision

Dispute Filed Over USPS Failure to Create Bargaining Unit Jobs at Greensboro HRSSC

(03/20/09) The APWU has filed a national-level dispute over the Postal Service's failure to create bargaining unit positions at the Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC) in Greensboro, NC. The union contends, among other things, that this is work that was performed by APWU bargaining unit personnel in other facilities that are engaged in customer services and mail processing as defined in Article 1.3 prior to the migration of that work to Greensboro.

Click here for a copy of the national dispute letter

Disputes Over Contract Postal Units Filed, Appealed to Arbitration

(03/18/09) The APWU has initiated one dispute, and appealed another to national arbitration, over whether a contract postal unit (CPU) may exist in a facility when the Postal Service has use of the property by consignment or other special agreement, for example, on military bases, in national parks and in government buildings, or the Postal Service pays the contractor's rent. It is the APWU's position that such a facility must be staffed by bargaining unit employees.

Click here for a copy of the dispute, the appeal and the parties' 15-Day Statements.

Maximization Dispute Appealed to Arbitration

(03/18/2009) The APWU has appealed to national-level arbitration a dispute over whether the Postal Service is obligated under Article 7.3.B to maximize the number of full-time regular duty assignments by combining all regularly scheduled work hours of non-full-time employees, including part-time regulars, transitional employees and casual employees.

Click her for a copy of the appeal and the parties' 15-Day Statements

Dispute Over VER and Severance Pay Appealed to Arbitration

(03/03/09) The APWU has appealed to national-level arbitration a dispute over bargaining unit employees' entitlement to severance pay when they accept voluntary early retirement (VER) benefits.

Click here for a copy of the appeal and the parties' 15-Day Statements

New APWU FMLA Forms Available

(02/24/09) The APWU's FMLA forms have been updated to meet revised certification requirements that took effect Jan. 16, 2009. The forms have also been renumbered. APWU Form 1 is for leave for an employee's own serious health condition and APWU Form 2 is for leave to care for a family member's serious health condition. APWU Forms 3 and 4 are new and are for employees who are requesting military family leave under the new regulations. [read more]

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Update

(02/20/09) In January, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) rose to 612.719, still well below the July 2008 index of 644.303 upon which our last COLA was based. After the final month of the six-month measuring period, the fifth COLA under the 2006 National Agreement and the Operating Services Agreement will be zero. [read more]

Dispute Over USPS Two-Tour Initiative Appealed to Arbitration

(02/17/09) The union's national-level dispute over the Postal Service's unilateral implementation of a nation-wide two-tour initiative, which is intended to eliminate or greatly reduce existing day shift Tour 2 assignments, has been appealed to national-level arbitration.

Click here for a copy of the appeal and the parties' 15-Day Statements

Award on ELM Sex Offender Reporting Requirement

(02/17/09) In a recent national-level arbitration award, Arbitrator Syam Das denied the union's grievance challenging revisions to ELM Section 665 which added a new section on Reporting Requirements for Sex Offenders. The new provision states that employees who are required by the law of any jurisdiction to register as a sex offender must report this to management within ten (10) calendar days after the employee first registers as a sex offender. Arbitrator Das found the new reporting requirement fair, reasonable and equitable.

Click here for a summary and copy of the award

National Award on Validity of Step 2 Decision
After Progression to Step 3

(01/26/09) In a national-level award over the validity of a USPS Step 2 grievance decision letter issued after the grievance has progressed to Step 3, Arbitrator Dana Eischen sustained the Mail Handler Union's position that the decision letter has no validity under the last sentence of paragraph 2 of Article 16.5 of the USPS/NPMHU agreement. Though this was a Mail Handler grievance, the APWU intervened because we have a similar dispute pending national-level arbitration. Though the arbitrator did not rule on the precise issue involved in the APWU's grievance, the award will enhance our case should it be necessary to go to arbitration.

Click here for a summary and copy of the award

New FMLA Rules Effective January 16

(01/16/09) The APWU has been meeting with the Postal Service regarding the implementation of changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – changes the Bush Administration implemented just four days before President Bush leaves office. The changes, announced in November, make it harder for workers who are covered by the law to use FMLA leave. The APWU is also updating our FMLA materials (including APWU’s FMLA medical certification forms) to reflect the changes. Those updated materials will be distributed as they become available. [read more]

2008 Articles

Disputes Filed Over USPS Two-Tour Initiative

(12/19/08) The APWU has filed two national-level disputes protesting the Postal Service’s nationwide program to eliminate or drastically reduce Tour 2 assignments and employees. The disputes, both filed Dec. 16, recap many of the allegations made by the union in an Unfair Labor Practice Charge [PDF] filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Nov. 25. [read more]

Award on Casuals Working Tour Two

(12/03/08) In a national-level award, Arbitrator Shyam Das has ruled that Tour 1 casuals may continue to work past 5 a.m., concluding that the intent of the 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement is to prevent management from assigning casuals starting times between the hours of 5 a.m. and noon.

Click here for a summary and copy of the award

Award on Annual Leave Exchange Option

(12/02/08) In a national-level arbitration award, Arbitrator Linda Byars sustained the union's grievance protesting management’s decision to exclude part-time flexibles (PTFs) from the negotiated Annual Leave Exchange program.

Click here for a summary and copy of the award

Arbitrator Orders USPS to Revise Certain FMLA Form Letters

(10/30/08) In a recent national-level arbitration award, arbitrator Dennis Nolan ruled that certain form letters that the Postal Service planned to use when employees seek family and medical leave violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The arbitrator ordered the Postal Service to revise the form letters as necessary to comply with the law.

Click here to view a summary of the award, and the complete award.

USPS Proposed Revisions to ELM Sections 512, 513 and 515
Appealed to Arbitration

(10/28/08) The APWU has appealed to national-level arbitration an Article 19 Notification concerning USPS proposed changes to ELM subchapters 512, 513 and 515. The proposed revisions to subchapters 512 and 513 involve completion of PS Form 3971 through the Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) and the Enterprise Resource Management System (eRMD). Proposed changes to subchapter 515 involve the forwarding of documentation related to a request for FMLA to the FMLA Coordinator. The APWU's position is that Article 10, Section 2.A. of the CBA prohibits changes to ELM Chapter 510 that affect wages, hours or working conditions for the life of the Agreement.

Click here for the Appeal to Arbitration and the Union's 15-Day Statement of the Issues and Facts.

2008-2009 Casual Exception Period Set

(10/20/08) Article 7.1.B.5 of the 2006 National Agreement provides exceptions to the six percent and 11 percent casual caps during accounting periods 3 and 4. For Fiscal Year 2009, the casual exception period will be from Nov. 22, 2008 through Jan. 16, 2009.

2008 Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Set

(10/20/08) The December period referenced in Article 8, Sections 4 and 5, of the National Agreement, during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable, consists of four consecutive service weeks. (See Why Is the Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Only 28 Days?) This year the period begins Pay Period 26-08, Week 1 (Dec. 6, 2008) and ends Pay Period 1-09, Week 2 (Jan. 2, 2009).

Dispute Over Notification to Locals of Subcontracting
Appealed to Arbitration

(10/01/08) The APWU has appealed to national-level arbitration a dispute over the Postal Service's obligation pursuant to Article 32, Section 1.C., of the National Agreement, to furnish the Union at the local level notification of subcontracting of bargaining unit work within their respective installations. It is the APWU's position that Article 32, Section 1.C., requires notification to the local union of subcontracting of bargaining unit work at local installations.

Click here for the Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' 15-Day Statements of the Issues and Facts

Dispute Over Time Spent Undergoing Medical Evaluation
Appealed to Arbitration

(10/01/08) The APWU has appealed to national-level arbitration a dispute over compensation to employees for all time spent undergoing medical evaluation or examinations at the employer's request, including travel expenses. The APWU's position is that all time spent by an employee to undergo medical evaluations or examinations requested by the Employer "constitutes hours worked," regardless of whether the time spent is during normal work hours, outside normal work hours, or on non-scheduled work-days.

Click here for the Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' 15-Day Statements of the Issues and Facts

Dispute Over Management's Untimely Step 2 Answers
Appealed to Arbitration

(10/01/08) The APWU has appealed to national-level arbitration a dispute over the Postal Service's untimely issuance of Step 2 denial letters. The issue in this dispute is whether, in the absence of a mutually agreed to time-limit extension, the Postal Service may issue a Step 2 decision beyond the time limits prescribed in Article 15, Section 2, Step 2(f) of the National Agreement between the APWU and the Postal Service.

Click here for the Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' 15-Day Statements of the Issues and Facts

APWU Representatives Gain Access to USPS PolicyNet

(09/22/08) The APWU has reached agreement with the Postal Service on a method for granting union representatives at the state and local levels direct access to USPS PolicyNet. PolicyNet is the portion of the Postal Service intranet (Blue) that contains handbooks, manuals, Management Instructions, publications, Memorandums of Policy, forms, posters, notices, Vehicle Modification Orders, and Vehicle Maintenance Bulletins. The agreement on the method of providing access to PolicyNet is a result of ongoing discussions related to implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on “Electronic Access to Information,” which is part of the 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement. [read more]

Click here for a copy of the Memo to Local Presidents and the form for requesting access.

Dispute Over Data Security Breaches/Missing USPS Laptops Appealed to Arbitration

(09/15/08) The APWU has appealed to national-level arbitration a dispute over the Postal Service's security breaches of sensitive postal employee data resulting from missing or stolen postal laptop computers. It is the APWU's position that sensitive employee data (e.g. social security numbers) should not be stored on portable computing devices. In addition, the union is asking, as a remedy, that the Postal Service provide Identity Theft Insurance to impacted employees.

Click here for a copy of the union's Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' Statements of the Issues and Facts

Dispute Over Individual Retirement Counseling Appealed to Arbitration

(08/18/08) The APWU has appealed to national-level arbitration a dispute over the Postal Service's unilateral decision that resulted in the discontinuation of established local methods of providing individual retirement counseling to bargaining unit employees.

Click here for a copy of the union's Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' Statements of the Issues and Facts.

Excessing Dispute: Separation of Casuals, Regardless of Craft, Appealed to Arbitration

(08/18/08) The APWU has appealed to national-level arbitration a dispute over the Postal Service's obligation to separate all casuals, regardless of craft, to the extent that it will minimize the impact of excessing on regular (full-time or part-time) work force employees.

Click here for a copy of the union's Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' Statements of the Issues and Facts

Aug. 30, 2008 COLA Update

(08/14/08) In July, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) rose to 644.303. The fourth COLA under the 2006 National Agreement will be $1,477 per year, which works out to $56.80 per pay period or 71 cents per hour. The COLA will be effective Aug. 30, 2008 (pay period 19-2008, pay date Sept. 19, 2008. [read more]

Dispute Over USPS FMLA Recertification Requirements Appealed to Arbitration

(08/11/08) The APWU has appealed to arbitration a dispute over the Postal Service's policy of requiring employees to automatically submit new medical certification for an FMLA-covered condition simply because the leave year has ended and a new leave year has begun. It is the APWU's position that this policy violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement, FMLA regulations and the mutually accepted past practice.

Click here for a copy of the Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' Statements of the Issues and Facts

Dispute Over Restrictions on Casuals Hired for Dual Assignments Appealed to Arbitration

(08/11/08) The APWU has appealed to arbitration a dispute concerning whether the provisions of Article 7.1.B.3 of the National Agreement that prohibits casuals from performing assignments that require training and testing includes PMRs (Postmaster reliefs) with dual appointments when used as casuals, and also whether these restrictions are limited to 200-man year installations.

Click here for a copy of the Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' Statements of the Issues and Facts

Dispute Over USPS Refusal to Accept FMLA Medical Certification Appealed to Arbitration

(08/01/08) The APWU has appealed to arbitration a dispute over the Postal Service's refusal to accept medical certification for chronic conditions covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act if not submitted at the time of the absence. It is the APWU's position that employees may submit medical certification notifying the employer of a serious health condition before an absence or leave begins. It is the APWU's position that this fulfills th employees obligation under the FMLA to provide the employer with notice as soon as practicable.

Click here for a copy of the Appeal to Arbitration and the parties' Statements of the Issues and Facts

Dispute Filed Over USPS Failure to Provide Notification of Subcontracting to Locals

(06/05/08) The APWU has initiated a national-level dispute over the Postal Service's failure to comply with their obligations under Article 32.1.C of the National Agreement to furnish notification to locals of subcontracting of bargaining unit work at the local level. The dispute follows the Postal Service's response to an earlier inquiry regarding management's understanding of their obligations under Article 32.1.C.

Click here for a copy of the union's inquiry, management's response, and the national dispute.

OSHA Releases Ergonomic Strategic Partnership Report for Denver P&DC

(05/21/08) The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Strategic Partnership Program has released their Ergonomic Verification Report for the Denver P&DC's Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process. The Verification Team visited the Denver site on Oct. 25-27, 2007. The overall evaluation of the process as it is functioning at the Denver P&DC was overwhelmingly positive. You can read the OSHA report and an APWU Summary of the report by clicking the preceding links.

Parties Agree to Extend Grievance Time Limits During APWU National Convention

(05/05/08) The APWU reached an agreement with the Postal Service regarding time limit extensions for all grievances and appeals to arbitration during the weeks surrounding the APWU National Convention. The APWU requested the extension of time limits due to the APWU's National Convention taking place during the second and third weeks of August 2008. During this time period all national officers, and many local stewards and officers from around the country will be attending the National Convention and/or the convention workshops and craft conferences in Las Vegas, NV. We have made similar requests during previous national conventions.

Click here for a copy of the agreement

Unfair Labor Practice Charges and Grievances Regarding Weingarten Violations

(05/05/08) This is a follow-up to the memo posted on April 15, 2008. (See APWU Opposes NLRB/USPS Settlement Agreement Related to Weingarten Violations.) When filing an unfair labor practice charge regarding Weingarten violations, two separate charges should be filed differentiating between those based on interference with the steward and those depriving employees of their Weingarten Rights. In addition, an individual grievance should be filed on behalf of the employee whose Weingarten Rights were violated, and a separate class action grievance should be filed by the union on behalf of the steward whose rights to participate in an investigatory interview were violated.

Click here to see the May 5, 2008 Memo

New USPS "Observation of Work Practices" Forms Appealed to Arbitration

(05/05/08) The APWU has appealed to national level arbitration the creation of two new USPS "Observation of Work Practices" forms. It is the union's position that the observation forms are redundant and also conflict with Chapter 8 of the ELM and Section 8-14 of the Handbook EL-801, Supervisors Safety Handbook. Furthermore, it is the union's position that these forms are records covered under the Privacy Act; however, the Postal Service was unable to identify the System of Records under which these forms would be protected.

Click here for a copy of the Appeal to Arbiration and the Union's 15-Day Statement

Implementation Process Agreed To For Off-Site Safety and Health Inspections

(05/06/08) Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding MOU Re: Off-Site Safety and Health Program found on page 324 of the 2006 National Agreement requiring the National Joint Labor Management Safety and Health Committee to create an implementation process to ensure employees in off-site locations are fully protected by the Postal Service’s Safety and Health Program, the parties agreed to the following implementation process ... [read more]

Click here for a list of detached mail units (DMUs)

APWU Opposes NLRB/USPS Settlement Agreement Relating To Weingarten Violations

(04/15/08) On February 28, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) notified the APWU of its decision to implement a settlement agreement with the U.S. Postal Service establishing a pilot program to address current and future Weingarten violations by the Postal Service. A Weingarten violation occurs when the Postal Service fails or refuses to provide you with a union representative – if you request one – in any management-conducted interview that you reasonably believe could lead to discipline. According to the NLRB, the purpose of the pilot program is to explore a method of resolving Weingarten disputes without resorting to litigation and to obtain meaningful remedies that are not currently available through administrative proceedings before the NRLB. The APWU disagrees. [read more]

Notification of Subcontracting at Local Level

(03/17/08) The APWU has written a letter to the Postal Service to determine if there is a disagreement between the parties regarding management's obligation, pursuant to Article 32, Section 1.C of the National Agreement, to furnish the union at the local level with notification of subcontracting of bargaining unit work. If there is a disagreement between the parties, the union will file a national-level dispute.

Click here for a copy of the correspondence.

Dispute Filed Over USPS Data Security Breaches/Missing Laptops

(03/06/08) The APWU has filed a national-level dispute over the Postal Service's data security breaches involving missing or stolen laptop computers containing personal and confidential information of APWU bargaining unit employees. It is the union's position that the Postal Service has failed to take the necessary corrective action to eliminate these data security breaches by ensuring that sensitive employee information is not stored on portable computing devices. It is also the APWU's position that when a data breach occurs, the Postal Service should provide impacted employees with identity theft insurance.

Click here to view the National Dispute letter.

Dispute Filed Over Automatic Recertification Requirement for
FMLA-Covered Condition

(02/25/08) The APWU has filed a national-level dispute over the Postal Service's practice of requiring employees to automatically provide new medical certification (recertification) for a serious health condition with the first absence in a new leave year, simply because the old leave year has ended and a new leave year has begun. It is the APWU's position that once an employee has provided the Postal Service with an FMLA medical certification, it is improper for the Postal Service to automatically require recertification simply because a new leave year has begun.

Click here to view the National Dispute letter

March 15, 2008 COLA Update

(02/21/08) In January, the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) rose to 615.828. The third COLA under the 2006 National Agreement will be $479 per year, which works out to $18.40 per pay period or 23 cents per hour. The COLA will be effective March 15, 2008 (pay period 07-2008, pay date April 4, 2008. [read more]

Dispute Over Priority Scheduling for Overtime Is Appealed to Arbitration

(02/21/08) The APWU has appealed to arbitration a dispute over whether it is a violation of Article 8, Section 5.H, of the National Agreement when the Postal Service does not schedule full-time employees on the Overtime Desired List (OTDL) for overtime work prior to scheduling casual employees for overtime work and, if so, what is the appropriate remedy. 

Click here to view the Appeal to Arbitration and related documents

Dispute Over Limitations on Casual Employee Assignments
Is Appealed to Arbitration

(02/21/08) The APWU has appealed to arbitration a dispute involving the provisions of Article 7, Section 1.B.3 of the National Agreement that prohibit casual employees from performing assignments requiring training and testing. The issue concerns whether the restriction is limited to positions contained in Article 37.3.F.5 and 37.3.F.7 of the National Agreement.  The APWU's position is that the language in Article 7.1.B.3 that references Article 37.3.F.5 and 37.3.F.7 is illustrative in nature and not intended to limit the scope of the prohibition against casuals working jobs that require training and testing. 

Click here to view the Appeal to Arbitration and related documents

Dispute Filed Over Sunday Premium for Administrative Leave

(02/21/08) The union has initiated a national dispute over whether an employee who is on administrative leave is entitled to Sunday Premium pay for hours he/she would have otherwise worked on Sunday.  The APWU's position is that an employee on administrative leave is entitled to be paid for all hours he/she would otherwise have worked during a scheduled tour that includes any part of Sunday.

Click here to view the National Dispute letter

Dispute Initiated Over New Electronic Form For Reporting Accidents

(02/21/08) The Postal Service's improper creation, handling and utilization of a new electronic PS Form 1769 for reporting accidents is the subject of a recently initiated national dispute.  The new electronic form, which is completed by postal supervisors, includes confidential and restricted information such as the employee's social security number and medical diagnosis.  The APWU's position is that the recording of an employee's social security number and diagnosis are not necessary for the purpose of reporting an accident, and therefore should be removed from the form.  The APWU has also filed an unfair labor practice charge over the Postal Service's failure to provide the union with requested information regarding this form.

Click here to view the National Dispute letter

Dispute Over PMRs with Dual Appointments as Casuals
Working in Skilled Positions

(02/21/08) A national-level grievance has been filed concerning the use of non-bargaining unit employees (PMRs) with a dual appointment as a casual being utilized in assignments requiring training and testing in violation of Article 7.1.B.3 of the National Agreement.  The APWU's position is that the Article 7.1.B.3 restrictions on casuals performing assignments requiring training and testing apply to all casuals, regardless of the installation size as well as to any non-bargaining unit employees with a dual appointment as a casual. 

Click here to view the National Dispute letter and related correspondence

Upgrades and New Pay Schedule Effective Feb. 16, 2008

(02/02/08) All APWU-represented employees covered by the 2006-2010 APWU-USPS collective bargaining agreement will be upgraded one pay level effective Feb. 16, 2008. The upgrades are being implemented via new pay schedules. The new pay schedules reflect pay increases of approximately 2.6 percent from the old levels to the new ones. [read more]

Previously Adopted Labor-Management Resolutions Book Available

(01/24/08) To assist APWU locals and state organizations as they prepare for the national and state conventions, the Industrial Relations Department has compiled a book of Previously Adopted Labor- Management Resolutions [pdf - 1.05MB]. Delegates to state conventions can use this book to determine whether resolutions they are considering may have already been adopted and are therefore standing resolutions.

2007 Articles

Information Regarding Electronic Delivery of Employee Net-to-Bank Earning Statements

(12/06/07) In response to an APWU inquiry concerning Electronic Delivery of Net-to-Bank Earning Statements, the Postal Service has advised us that the Union will be notified if and when a plan for implementation of electronic net-to-bank earnings statements for bargaining unit employees is finalized. For now, electronic delivery of net-to-bank earnings statements applies to PCES and EAS employees only.

Click here for the exchange of correspondence

Protected Rate COLA Correction

(10/12/07) The salaries for employees in a protected rate were not increased by the COLA effective September 1, 2007 (PP 19-2007).  The Postal Service will fix this error in PP 22-2007 (effective October 13, 2007, pay date November 2, 2007).  The back pay adjustment for September 1 through October 12 should follow in PP 24-2007.

Union Raises Concerns Over Instructions for Managers Regarding Weingarten Rights

(09/20/07) The APWU sent a letter to the Postal Service raising concerns about a draft notification to supervisors and managers instructing them how to apply employees’ rights under the Supreme Court's Weingarten decision. The Postal Service’s instructions were finalized on a laminated, wallet-size card which was mailed to supervisors and managers, as well as other PCES and EAS employees it determined have a need to know about employees’ Weingarten rights. The union’s specific concerns are set out in detail in the letter, and the Postal Service’s response will be made available upon receipt.

Click here for a copy of the APWU's letter detailing concerns about the Weingarten wallet card.

Information Regarding Missing USPS Laptops Containing Personal Data of Employees

(09/19/07) The APWU is disseminating information related to a series of notifications the union has received from the USPS concerning missing laptop computers containing personal and confidential information on APWU bargaining unit employees. The personal data included such things as names, social security numbers, home addresses and other personal information. The APWU takes these incidents very seriously and as been meeting and discussing this issue with management at the headquarters level in an attempt to address the serious concerns we have regarding the missing personal information of some of our members. [read more]

USPS Responds to Inquiry Regarding Medical Evidence for Absences of Three Days or Less

(09/19/07) The APWU received a response to a letter sent to the Postal Service seeking to determine if there is a disagreement between the parties at the national level regarding the conditions under which an employee may be required to submit medical documentation or other acceptable evidence for periods of absence of three days or less. The union clearly laid out our position and asked the Postal Service if they disagreed. Their response was that "there is no dispute or disagreement regarding the conditions under which an employee may be required to submit medical documentation or other acceptable evidence for periods of 3 days or less." Further, they write, "the eRMS application does not change Postal Service policy concerning medical documentation for absences when employees call in sick."

Click here for a copy of the USPS letter regarding medical evidence for absences of three days or less.

National Safety-and-Health Program Renewed

(09/10/07) The APWU and USPS announced Sept. 10 that they have renewed their commitment to the Voluntary Protection Program, which is designed to improve safety and health at postal facilities and to reduce accidents and injuries. In an Aug. 30 agreement, the union and management agreed to extend the process for three years. Since the program was implemented three years ago, 134 postal sites have been recognized for exhibiting a dedication to safety and health under a partnership between the APWU, USPS, and OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration .... [read more]

Union Seeks Clarification Regarding Medical Evidence for Absences of Three Days or Less

(09/06/07) The APWU has sent a letter to the Postal Service to determine if there is a disagreement between the parties at the national level regarding the conditions under which an employee may be required to submit medical documentation or other acceptable evidence for periods of absence of three days or less. It appears that in some offices, through the application of the RMD/eRMS, local management may be improperly requiring medical documentation for absences of three days or less. If employees are being improperly required to submit medical documentation or other acceptable evidence for absences of three days or less, grievances should be filed requesting that the grievant be reimbursed for their expense in obtaining medical documentation, including the cost for travel to and from the doctor, and for lost time.

Click here for a copy of the letter to the USPS regarding medical evidence for absences of three days or less.

2007 JCIM Updated

(08/24/07) An updated version of the the 2007 Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM) is now available. The 2007 JCIM update was agreed to by the parties on June 29, 2007. The JCIM is intended to be a resource for the administration of the National Agreement. Jointly prepared by the APWU and the USPS, the JCIM provides a mutually agreed to explanation of how to apply the contract to the issues addressed. When a dispute arises, the parties should first go to the JCIM to determine whether the dispute is addressed and, if it is, the parties are required to resolve the dispute in accordance with this manual.

Click here for a list of the latest revisions and a copy of the updated 2007 JCIM

2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement

(07/19/07) The official 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the USPS and the APWU is now available. Orders may be placed online at the APWU Store or by phone at 800-789-0072, Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST. The contract is available in two formats: a spiral bound edition for $4 per copy, and a traditional paperback version for $3 per copy. The price includes shipping at the “media mail” rate, with delivery taking from one to eight days depending on your delivery zone. Expedited shipping is available for an extra charge and requires that your order be placed by phone. Please be prepared to specify the quantity and format when ordering.

A PDF version of the contract may be downloaded for free from the Collective Bargaining Agreements page.

Supplemental Award on Remedy In Sunday Premium Case

(Jan. 12, 2007) In this award, Arbitrator Das denied the APWU's position that his Sunday Premium Award (see Union Wins Another Sunday Premium Case) should be applied retroactively to all employees on a nationwide basis. He concluded that “the holding in the Sunday Premium Award applies prospectively to all bargaining unit employees, but that only those employees who had filed a timely grievance (or on whose behalf such a timely grievance had been filed by a local union) are eligible for retroactive payment.”

Click here for a copy of the supplemental award

2006 Articles

Union Wins Debt Collection Act Case

(Dec. 9, 2006) In a recent national-level award, Arbitrator Linda Byars ruled that the ELM 460 provision allowing for collection of postal debts by the Postal Service in increments greater than 15% of an employee’s disposable pay or 20% of the employee’s biweekly gross pay per pay period (whichever is lower) violates the Memorandum of Understanding on debt collection and Article 28.4.B of the National Agreement.

Click here for a copy of the award

Arbitrator Sustains MS-47 Challenge

(Dec. 9, 2006) In another recent national-level award, Arbitrator Shyam Das sustained the union's challenge to management's revisions to the custodial staffing handbook (MS-47) and ordered the Postal Service to rescind the 2001 MS-47 Handbook, reinstate the previous (1983) MS-47 Handbook, and reinstate or prepare staffing packages as soon as practicable.

Click here for a copy of the award

Updated 2006 Tentative Agreement Available

(Dec. 12, 2006) An updated PDF version of the 2006 tentative agreement is available for downloading on the Collective Bargaining Agreements page. For information on the contract ratification process, visit the 2006 Contract Negotiations News page.

2006 Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Set

(Oct. 27, 2006) The December period referenced in Article 8, Sections 4 and 5, of the National Agreement, during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable, consists of four consecutive service weeks. This year the period begins Pay Period 25-06, Week 2 (Dec. 2, 2006) and ends Pay Period 1-07, Week 1 (Dec. 29, 2006). See Why Is the Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Only 28 Days below

APWU Initiates Dispute Over Changes
To USPS Handbook AS-805, Information Security

(Oct. 25, 2006) The APWU initiated a national dispute over the Postal Service's announcement of revisions to the AS-805 handbook governing Information Security. The revised handbook restricts employees from bringing personal information resources (e.g. laptops, notebooks, PDAs, handheld computers and USB port devices such as flash memory sticks) into postal facilities. The union is concerned that the new restrictions may adversely impact the union's ability to perform its duties.

Click here for a copy of the national dispute

APWU, USPS Reach Agreement on Transfer Opportunities

(Aug. 12, 2006) APWU-represented employees at installations where excessing is occurring will have an opportunity to be placed on a preferred listing for transfers and will receive other accommodations to minimize the impact of reassignments under an agreement signed recently by the union and management that implements the Sept. 12, 2005, Memorandum of Understanding re: Transfer Opportunities to Minimize Excessing.

Click here for a copy of the agreement

Dispute Initiated Over Improper Use of Casuals
To Fill Withheld Duty Assignments

(Aug. 8, 2006) The APWU has initiated a Step 4 Dispute over the Postal Service's violation of their obligation to minimize to the extent possible the impact of excessing on full-time and part-time (regular work force) employees by the separation of all casuals and their decision to utilize casual employees in lieu of regular work force employees to fill duty assignments withheld pursuant to Article 12.

Click here for a copy of the dispute.

Settlement Reached Regarding Proper Wage Increases
For Protected Rate Employees

(Aug. 8, 2006) The APWU and the Postal Service reached a settlement agreement recently involving an unfair labor practice charge over the Postal Service’s unilateral change to the way general pay increases are calculated for employees in a protected rate status.

Click here for a copy of the NLRB settlement agreement.

Industrial Relations Announces APWU Search Class at National Convention in Philadelphia

(July 4, 2006) The Industrial Relations Department will conduct a training class in APWU Search in conjunction with the National Convention in Philadelphia this summer. The class will take place on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006 from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Registration is not required.

Click here for the announcement of the APWU Search class.

Parties Agree to Extend Grievance Time Limits During APWU National Convention

(June 2, 2006) The APWU reached an agreement with the Postal Service regarding time limit extensions for all grievances and appeals to arbitration during the weeks surrounding the APWU National Convention. The APWU requested the extension of time limits due to the APWU's National Convention taking place during the second and third weeks of August 2006. During this time period all national officers, and many local stewards and officers from around the country will be attending the National Convention and/or the convention workshops and craft conferences in Philadelphia, PA. We have made similar requests during previous national conventions.

Click here for a copy of the agreement

Seventh Circuit Reverses FMLA Ruling

(May 12, 2006) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has reversed its previous landmark ruling that USPS return-to-work requirements following an approved FMLA absence were invalid because they were stricter than the requirements of the Act. A USPS petition for rehearing was supported by the Bush Administration with the Secretary of Labor filing a brief in support of the USPS petition. On review, the Court stated it was “not able to conclude that Congress clearly addressed the question at issue through statutory language.” “Because the Department of Labor’s regulations reasonably interpret [the statute] to allow a [collective bargaining agreement] to impose stricter return-to-work restrictions than those otherwise incorporated into the FMLA, we defer to that interpretation,” the Court wrote.

Click here for a copy of the U.S. Court of Appeals Decision (Harrell vs. USPS, No. 03-4204, May 4, 2006)

Judge Issues Interim Opinion in Suit to Enforce AMS Specialist Award

(April 24, 2006) – On March 23, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. issued an interim opinion finding that Arbitrator Snow's award in the Address Management System (AMS) Specialist case is final and binding. However, a final decision in the APWU's suit to enforce the Snow award is still pending further motions and/or a trial. The Snow award, dated April 29, 2003 (Case No. Q94C-4Q-C98117564) sustained the union's grievance challenging the exclusion of the AMS Specialist position from the bargaining unit. The NALC and the USPS petitioned the arbitrator to review his decision, but he passed away before responding to the parties’ motions. It should be noted that the National Labor Relations Board has yet to rule on a related Postal Service petition seeking to overturn the arbitrator's decision on the grounds that it violates NLRB rules on adding employees to an existing bargaining unit.

Click here for a copy of the opinion

APWU and OIG Exchange Views on Employee And Union Rights in Workplace Investigations

(March 28, 2006) A recent exchange of correspondence between the APWU and the USPS OIG Inspector General highlights some of the issues confronting employees, the Union and the Postal Service in the transition of workplace investigations from the Postal Inspection Service to the USPS Office of Inspector General.

Click here for a copy of the APWU-OIG Exchange of Correspondence

USPS Revises Standard Operating Procedures for Handling Hazardous Materials

(Feb. 23, 2006) The Postal Service has revised its Standard Operating Procedures for the Handling of Hazardous Materials. The new procedures are effective immediately and may not be altered in any way by local management. These procedures apply to acceptance, handling and transportation of mail containing or believed to contain hazardous materials, and provide detailed instructions for the actions that must be taken to minimize potential hazards during processing, distribution and transportation.

Previously Adopted Labor Management Resolutions Book Available

(Jan. 17, 2006) In preparation for contract negotiations, and to assist APWU locals and state organizations as they prepare for the national and state conventions, the Industrial Relations Department has compiled a book of Previously Adopted Labor Management Resolutions [pdf]. Delegates to state conventions can use this book to determine whether resolutions they are considering may have already been adopted and are therefore standing resolutions. Labor Management resolutions adopted by delegates to the national convention are used to guide the APWU's national negotiators as we prepare for contract negotiations.

2005 Articles

Updated 2005 Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM) Now Available

(Dec. 20, 2005) The newly updated Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM) is now available. The 2005 JCIM update was agreed to by the parties on Nov. 30, 2005. The JCIM is intended to be a resource for the local administration of the National Agreement. Jointly prepared by the APWU and the USPS, the JCIM provides a mutually agreed to explanation of how to apply the contract to the issues addressed. When a dispute arises, the local parties should first go to the JCIM to determine whether the dispute is addressed and, if it is, the parties are required to resolve the dispute in accordance with this manual.

Click here for a copy of the 2005 JCIM

USPS Instructs Facilities Not to By-Pass Biohazard Detection Systems
On Their AFCS

(Dec. 14, 2005) The APWU recently became aware that postal facilities with the Biohazard Detection System (BDS) on their Advanced Facer-Canceler Systems (AFCS) machines have made local decisions to by-pass the AFCS and utilize alternate canceling equipment (such as a Micro Mark or NEC).

The APWU notified postal headquarters of this serious breach of security. In response, USPS headquarters issued a December 9, 2005 policy to all Managers and Operations Support (Area) instructing them to ensure that all stamped mail meeting the processing specifications for the AFCS be processed on the AFCS.

Click here for a copy of the Dec. 9, 2006 Memo

USPS Law Department Training Manuals For Supervisors

(Dec. 2, 2005) The USPS Law Department has a series of manuals for the training of supervisors. Topics include Accidents, Discipline for Misconduct, Duty to Provide Information, FMLA, and Reasonable Accommodation. These manuals are being made available to APWU stewards and officers to assist in the performance of their official duties. You will need a password to view these documents. If you are an APWU representative, you may request a password from your local president. If you are a local president in need of a password, please contact the Industrial Relations Department at 202-842-4273.

Avian (Bird) Flu Safety & Health Information

(Dec. 1, 2005) The Postal Service recently gave a Safety Talk about Avian (Bird) Flu. The Safety and Health page has been updated to provide additional information and to address concerns employees may have regarding protecting themselves. [read more]

Why is the Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Only 28 Days?

(Dec. 1, 2005) Article 8 of the National Agreement states penalty overtime will not be paid for any hours worked in December. Why is the Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period 28 days instead of all 31 days in December? As the result a mutual agreement dated Nov. 14, 1985, the Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period consists of four consecutive service weeks.

Transition of Work from the Inspection Service
To the Office of Inspector General

(Oct. 13, 2005) In March 2005, the Postal Service informed the APWU that the responsibility for investigating certain types of employee misconduct (internal crimes) was being shifted from the Postal Inspection Service to the Office of Inspector General. An Oct. 12, 2005 APWU memo to state and local presidents provides details regarding the issues being pursued at the national level in regard to this transition.

Click here for a copy of the Oct. 12 Memo to State and Local Presidents.

Updated Contract Available

(Oct. 5, 2005) The 2000 Collective Bargaining Agreement has been reprinted and now includes both the 2003 and the 2005 contract extension agreements. Copies may be purchased online from the APWU Store or downloaded from the Collective Bargaining Agreements page.

Dispute Filed Over USPS Return-to-Work Requirements

(Oct. 5, 2005) The APWU has initiated a national-level grievance over the Postal Service's requirements for bargaining unit employees returning to work following an FMLA-covered absence. This dispute comes on the heels of the Postal Service's refusal to implement nationwide a federal district appeals court decision invalidating USPS return-to-work requirements on the grounds that they conflict with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In a memo dated July 26, 2005, the Postal Service informed managers that it will only comply with the appeals court decision in the three states's subject to the court's jurisdiction. The Postal Service has also petitioned the appeals court for "reconsideration and rehearing" alleging that the three judge panel erred in its July 19, 2005 ruling.

Click here for a copy of the National Dispute and related correspondence.

2005 Guide to Local Negotiations Available

(Sept. 6, 2005) The Industrial Relations Department has produced a special edition of the Collective Bargaining Report (CBR) to aid locals in their preparation for local negotiations under the 2005 extension to the 2000 National Agreement. The CBR is being mailed to local presidents, but can also be downloaded here for those who can't wait. Note: local presidents will need their password to access this CBR.

Click here for a copy of the 2005 Guide to Local Negotiations

Memorandum of Understanding Re: 2005 Local Implementation

(Aug. 18, 2005) The APWU and the Postal Service have agreed to a memorandum of understanding [pdf] specifying the procedures to be used during 2005 local negotiations as provided for in the memo "Re: Article 30 - Local Implementation" that is part of the 2005-2006 contract extension agreement.

APWU Wins Landmark FMLA Ruling

(July 22, 2005) A federal appeals court has ruled that the Postal Service’s return-to-work requirements for absences of more than 21 days are in conflict with the Family and Medical Leave Act. The unanimous ruling by a federal appeals court invalidates key USPS regulations that require employees returning from approved FMLA leave of more than three weeks to submit detailed medical documentation or submit to a medical examination by a physician selected by the Postal Service.

Click here for an analysis and copy of the ruling.

APWU, USPS Sign Memo On Grievance Reviews, Scheduling

(June 14, 2005) The APWU and USPS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated June 13, 2005, updating procedures for reviewing grievances and scheduling arbitration hearings. The MOU requires management and the union to review all pending Step 3 grievances and appeals to arbitration, including cases that have been appealed directly from Step 2 to arbitration, in an effort to "improve the grievance/arbitration process" and reduce the backlog of grievances.

Step 4 Book Now Available Online

(June 9, 2005) The Step 4 Book - a collection of documents spanning more than two decades that includes national grievance settlements, memorandums of understanding, court decisions, and other documents addressing matters of contract interpretation - is now available in an online version. The documents in this online version are organized by subject matter according to the corresponding article of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and are fully searchable.

Click here to go to the Step 4 Book.

APWU and USPS Agree to Joint Q&A on Application of Article 12
To Excessing

(May 26, 2005) The APWU and the Postal Service signed a document May 18, 2005 expressing our joint understanding of how to apply Article 12 of the contract to excessing issues. The Article 12 Questions and Answers [pdf] are provided as a resource for the local administration of the National Agreement.

If a dispute arises, the local parties should use the Article 12 Q&A’s in conjunction with the APWU/USPS Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM) to determine if the issue is addressed and resolve the dispute in accordance with the JCIM and the Q&A’s.

The Article 12 Q&A’s will be updated with additional material as necessary.

VOE Survey Raising New Concerns

(March 31, 2005) In several parts of the country, Postal Service managers are engaging in questionable practices when conducting Voice of the Employee (VOE) surveys. This memo to state and local presidents [pdf] contains documents from USPS headquarters that address some of the union's concerns, as well as other information which may be helpful in resolving local issues related to employee surveys and other "employee participation" programs.

APWU Opposes USPS Opinion Surveys

(Jan. 5, 2005) As we prepare for national contract negotiations later this year, APWU local leaders and members are urged to be extremely vigilant regarding Postal Service efforts to conduct employee opinion surveys. Bear in mind that responses provided to these surveys may well be used against APWU at the bargaining table.

The Postal Service mails "Voice of Employee" (VOE) surveys to all employees on at least an annual basis. In its most recent VOE Survey, the Postal Service revised its questionnaire to include numerous workplace-environment factors, such as technological advances, safety issues, and its own Transformation Plan.

The APWU is opposed to all forms of USPS Surveys. The union's policy, as adopted by the National Executive Board in 1998, is "that the union at every level (Local, State and National) opposes the use of all surveys, focus groups, polls, and audits as a means of interviewing employees and union officials to evaluate job-related and internal union issues."

The union's stance is clear: The subjects of these surveys should be discussed in labor-management meetings where the concerns of all represented employees are considered.

The purpose of labor-management meetings is that employees speak in a united voice, so their message cannot be manipulated contrary to the interests of the membership and APWU.

Questions in opinion surveys are often designed to elicit a specific response or result. Surveys conducted by an employer are designed to circumvent bargaining with unions and are used in management's effort to reduce wages, hours, and benefits. Quite simply, this has been our experience with the Postal Service.

We feel the Postal Service has misrepresented previous employee-survey results during contract negotiations with claims that APWU-represented workers supported management's wage proposals.

Because the Postal Service is aware that participation in employee opinion surveys is voluntary, its managers can be very creative. There is only one way to ensure that you do not contribute to surveys that may adversely affect your livelihood: Simply refuse to participate.

2004 Articles

Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period Set

(Dec. 1, 2004) There are four consecutive service weeks each year during which penalty overtime regulations do not apply. This four-week period is referenced in Article 8 (Sections 4 and 5) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

For this year, the time period during which the penalty overtime regulations are not applicable begins with Pay Period 26-2004, Week 2 (Dec. 4, 2004), and ends with Pay Period 01-2005, Week 1 (Dec. 31).

Sunday Premium Settlement Payment Due in Dec. 17 Paycheck

(Nov. 23, 2004) The APWU has been informed that payment to employees as a result of the "Sunday premium" settlement will be in the paychecks for pay period 26, to be distributed on Dec. 17, 2004.

The settlement provided that any employee whose regular schedule included a period of service, any part of which was within the period between midnight Saturday and midnight Sunday, including those employees on court leave, military leave or continuation of pay (COP), who was not paid Sunday premium for each hour of COP, military leave, and court leave during those periods of service from February 2000 through the present, as a result of disputed changes to the Employees and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) made in calendar year 2000, shall receive payment at the then-current rate for Sunday premium not paid.

In addition, where a discipline arbitration award or settlement included back pay, those employees entitled to Sunday premium payment are entitled to be paid Sunday premium with interest at the then-current interest rate.

The settlement required the Postal Service to rescind the disputed ELM changes and to restore the provisions and administrative practices that were previously in effect prior to the 2000 changes.

In addition, the Postal service was required to supply APWU local presidents and APWU Regional Coordinators with a list of affected employees. In the event there is a dispute over whether an employee is eligible for payment, the dispute will be referred to the parties at the national level.

Click here for a copy of the Sunday Premium Settlement

Parties Agree to Joint Contract Interpetation Manual

(Oct. 20, 2004) The 2004 Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM) was agreed to by the parties on June 10, 2004. The JCIM is intended to be a resource for the local administration of the National Agreement. Jointly prepared by the APWU and the USPS, the JCIM provides a mutually agreed to explanation of how to apply the contract to the issues addressed. When a dispute arises, the local parties should first go to the JCIM to determine whether the dispute is addressed and, if it is, the parties are required to resolve the dispute in accordance with this manual.

Click here for a copy of the JCIM

Memorandum of Understanding Reached On Pre-1998 Grievances Appealed to Step 4

(Aug. 18, 2004) The APWU and the Postal Service have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding pre-1998 grievances referred or appealed to the national level. The MOU requires the parties at the national level to review pre-1998 grievances to determine whether there is an actual interpretive dispute between the parties, and if not, to have the grievances adjudicated based on their specific fact circumstances at the appropriate level (local or area/regional). The MOU is intended to apply the same principles to pre-1998 grievances that apply to post-1998 cases, i.e. that it is the parties at the national level that are responsible for identifying interpretive issues.

Click here for a copy of the MOU

Parties Agree to Extend Grievance Time Limits During
APWU National Convention

(Aug. 16, 2004) The APWU reached an agreement with the Postal Service regarding time limit extensions for all grievances and appeals to arbitration during the weeks surrounding the APWU National Convention. The APWU requested the extension of time limits due to the APWU's National Convention taking place during the third and fourth weeks of August 2004. During this time period all national officers, and many local stewards and officers from around the country will be attending the National Convention and/or the pre-convention workshops and craft conferences in Los Angeles, California. We have made similar requests during previous national conventions.

Click here for a copy of the Agreement


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