Article 12.5.B.2 Decision Received

June 20, 2013

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In an award dated June 17, 2013, Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg rejected the union’s argument that the USPS was required by Article 12.5.B.2 to cobble together the work hours of PSEs in installations within a 50-mile withholding area in order to create duty assignments to minimize the impact of excessing on career employees. Goldberg concluded, “The sole obligation imposed on the Postal Service by the quoted language of Article 12.5.B.2 is that of identifying and separating those PSEs within the appropriate radius who are holding posted duty assignments, whether they have opted into those duty assignments or have been assigned to them by Postal Service management.”

In reaching that conclusion, the Arbitrator noted:

“The failure of Article 12.5.B.2 to set out the asserted Postal Service obligation to combine PSE hours in the entire area affected by an excessing event when doing so would create duty assignments for career employees stands in stark contrast to Article 37.3.A.1, in which dealing with a similar, albeit unrelated issue, the Agreement provides that: ‘Every effort will be made to crate desirable duty assignments from all available work hours for career employees to bid.’

“This language demonstrates that the negotiators of the 2010 Agreement knew how to impose on the Postal Service the obligation to combine PSE hours when doing so would yield duty assignments for career employees. They did so for bidding purposes in Article 37.3.A.1”

“It is disappointing, to say the least, that the arbitrator failed to recognize the parties’ intent to minimize the impact on excessed career employees,” said Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris. “However, Arbitrator Goldberg’s recognition that Article 37.3.A.1 clearly includes ‘the obligation to combine PSE hours’ should deter some field managers who have been arguing even that point.”

“This means our locals will have to be even more vigilant in enforcing the posting provisions of Article 37.3.A.1 to create desirable landing spots for excessed APWU employees,” Morris said.

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