(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."
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ABOUT THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Greg Bell, Director
The Industrial Relations Department 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…