Arbitrator Goldberg Makes Ruling on MSC Staffing

February 2, 2018

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On January 31, Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg issued his opinion in case Q10T-4Q-C 13332310.

AWARD: The Postal Service did not violate MMO-057-12 on the May 9, 2012 Settlement Agreement by failing to count maintenance supervisors within the number of positions supported for determining Maintenance Support Clerk staffing.

The APWU presented the issue as:

Does the Postal Service violate the May 9, 2012 settlement agreement and MMO 057-12 by failing to count maintenance supervisors within the “number of positions supported” for determining Maintenance Support Clerk (MSC) staffing?

The award stunned the Maintenance Division Officers as the Arbitrator used inconsistent language to justify his opinion. In an admitted attempt at being tactful, Maintenance Director Raymer stated the Maintenance Officers were “extremely disappointed.”

The union’s case included the fact that MSCs do support maintenance supervisors:

Mr. Raymer’s testimony was corroborated by three different Processing and Distribution Centers MSCs – Alzena Johnson (Lafayette, LA), Jennifer Johnson-Heiss (Madison, WI), and Jaime Kleeberger (St. Pail, MN) – each of whom testified to the extensive support MSCs provide to maintenance supervisors. See page 6 of the award for details.

Despite the excellent testimony of the actual MSCs, the Arbitrator ignored that this was a significant portion of the duty assignment and entitled to be credited in properly determining the workload.

In the award, the Arbitrator credits the USPS testimony that they intended to exclude maintenance supervisors from the determination of the number of employees supported.

The fact is that the Postal Service did not exclude the supervisors in the final document, and even initially informed the APWU in their Article 19 notice to the APWU that a new staffing calculation had been developed to correctly align the current workload to the number of authorized positions. These details may be found on page 9 of the award. 

This puts the matter back to square one. If the Postal Service did or did not want something included it was incumbent on the Postal Service to raise the matter, otherwise the normal and usual methods of contract interpretation should apply.

The Arbitrator - on pages 11 & 12 of the award - noted that in Article 1.2 the parties do specifically make an exclusion of supervisors when using the term “employees.” From this it is obvious that without such exclusion, the term “employees” does indeed include supervisors!

Inexplicably, the Arbitrator said otherwise.

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