Greg Bell, Director
(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.
(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.
(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.