July 2, 2014 – Arbitrator Shyam Das has denied a national-level grievance that protested the subcontracting of Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) operations in Columbus, OH. In an award dated May 16, Das concluded that management’s decision to convert the entire Columbus PVS operation to a Highway Contract Route “did not rise to the level of having a significant impact on bargaining unit work.” Therefore, he wrote, “the requirements of Article 32.1.B of the Collective Bargaining Agreement were not triggered.”
The case arose in 2009, when the Postal Service announced that it had decided to convert the Columbus PVS operation. The Columbus Local filed a grievance challenging the decision on several grounds, including that it violated the provisions of Article 32, which require the Postal Service to give due consideration to specified factors before making a decision to contract out.
The national union also filed a grievance charging that the Postal Service had violated Article 32.1.B, which requires advance notice and consultation with the union concerning contracting out that will have a significant impact on bargaining unit work.
In reaching the decision that the contracting out did not have a significant impact on bargaining unit work, Das noted that the number of drivers affected was 0.7 percent of the drivers in the bargaining unit, and less than one-half of 1 percent of the entire MVS bargaining unit. He also said the amount of money involved was very small compared to the total expenditure for MVS operations.
Das rejected the union’s assertions that the drastic effect of the subcontracting on excessed drivers had to be considered a significant impact and that the conversion of an entire site has heightened significance because it is unlikely to be returned to a PVS operation. Das also relied noted that the decision to contract out Columbus’ PVS operations concerned only that installation and was not connected to a broader management plan or analysis concerning contracting out PVS work.
“The union is in the process of reviewing the locally filed grievances, and exploring our options,” said Industrial Relations Director Tony D. McKinnon Sr.