Stepping up in a Challenging Year

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

As 2020 comes to an end, we reflect on the many challenges throughout the year we have faced. These include the COVID-19 pandemic, drastic changes to mail service implemented and then partially reversed by Postmaster General DeJoy, and a contentions election season.

You all stepped up when called upon. When the pandemic first overtook the country, you worked hard to keep the mail flowing — especially the heavy increase in the number of parcels that our customers needed as they sheltered at home. When Postmaster General DeJoy instituted his ill-conceived changes to the mail system that drastically slowed the mail down, you all stepped up to educate the public and fight back against them. You rallied our communities and got them involved. You worked to ensure vulnerable citizens still received their prescriptions and other important mail pieces. You showed the PMG and other government leaders that the Postal Service is beloved and should not be a “political football.”

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About the Industrial Relations Department

The Director of Industrial Relations is charged with responsibility for labor management, national negotiations, mechanization, safety and health for all divisions of the union, and the administration of the collective bargaining agreement.

The Industrial Relations Department's responsibilities and duties include the following activities:

  • Administration of the contract negotiation process
  • Interpretation and application of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (specifically Articles 1 through 36)
  • Appointment and payment of arbitrators
  • National-level grievances and disputes
  • Compliance with arbitration awards
  • Safety and Health
  • Appeals to the "Administrative Dispute Resolution Process" (e.g., Step Promotion, Lump Sum, National Level Settlement)
  • Family Medical Leave Act appeals and related issues
  • Unfair Labor Practice charges
  • Legal issues such as Privacy Act, Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) law and procedure, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Veterans Preference Act
  • Collective Bargaining Reports (CBRs)
  • Administration of computerized systems concerning the grievance-arbitration process and other provisions of the National Agreement through APWU Search, the Arbitration Payment and Scheduling System (APSS), the Step 3 Case Administration System (Step 3 CAS) and the Step 4 Case Administration System (Step 4 CAS)
  • Tracking and reporting on the Consumer Price Index
  • Research of arbitration, court and administrative decisions


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