Law360, New York (August 1, 2016, 5:33 PM ET) — The U.S. Postal Service engaged in an unfair labor practice when it issued a written warning to a worker and union steward who berated a supervisor during a 2012 meeting over employee grievances, the National Labor Relations Board said Friday.
Partially overturning an administrative law judge’s decision, the NLRB majority said Cheryl Walton didn’t lose protection under the National Labor Relations Act during the meeting, despite acting in a way that was “loud, profane, disrespectful and obnoxious.”
Click here to download the full NLRB decision in .pdf format
Source: USPS Warning Over ‘Outburst’ Flouted Labor Law, NLRB Says – Law360
05/25/2016 – After nearly a year of procedural wrangling, 10 days of testimony and more than 140 exhibits, the National Labor Relations Board hearing on charges that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples ended on May 24.
Region 5 of the NLRB issued a complaint against the Postal Service on June 26, 2015, in response to an “unfair labor practice” charge filed by the APWU. The complaint asked the NLRB to order the USPS to cancel its Approved Shipper deal with Staples and return the work to postal employees.
The hearing, which began in August 2015 and continued in November and February, resumed on May 18. NLRB General Counsel called APWU President Mark Dimondstein as the final witness in its direct case.
The NLRB General Counsel was represented by Daniel Heltzer and Cristina Cora, who worked closely with the APWU to demonstrate that the Postal Service refused to bargain with the union over its decision to contract out work to Staples.
Following Dimondstein’s testimony, the Postal Service and Staples presented their cases. The Postal Service called seven witnesses who attempted to justify the Postal Service’s decision to contract out Clerk Craft work.
NLRB attorneys cross-examined the USPS witnesses and re-called APWU Manager of Negotiations Support Phil Tabbita, who testified in February, to rebut their testimony.
A ruling by Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas is not expected for several months.
Many parts of the record and most documents introduced at the hearing remain under “provisional seal,” which prohibits the APWU from sharing the information contained in them.
Dimondstein vowed to fight to make the documents available to union members and the public. “The dirty deal between Staples and the USPS has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning,” he said. “But the people have a right to know about management’s attempts to privatize their Postal Service.
“Our country deserves public postal services that are provided by well-trained USPS employees who are accountable to the people,” he said.
Source: NLRB Hearing on Staples Concludes | APWU
A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing on charges that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples resumed on Feb. 24 – after months of procedural wrangling – and finally got to the substance of the dispute.
In an opening statement, the APWU offered its perspective on the case: The Postal Service’s decision to allow Staples employees to perform the work of USPS retail clerks was motivated in large part by management’s desire to save money on labor costs. The union was never offered the opportunity to negotiate over the program, and therefore the USPS violated its duty to bargain in good faith. Continue reading
POSTAL SERVICE SETTLES DATA BREACH LABOR CASE: The U.S. Postal Service agreed to settle an NLRB complaint alleging it refused to bargain with its unions over how to rectify a data breach that compromised personal information for hundreds of thousands of employees.
The issue was a novel one for the board, which, experts say, has rarely, if ever, considered whether employers have a duty to bargain with labor groups over data breaches. The settlement constitutes what is essentially an admission by the Post Office that it had a duty to negotiate with unions over how to address the breach. http://politico.pro/1PzoE6L
Source: POLITICO Morning Shift – POLITICO
From the National Association of Letter Carriers:
As previously reported, NALC is continuing to monitor the Postal Service’s response to the cyber breach that compromised a Postal Service computer file containing employees’ personal and employment information. NALC has filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board protesting the Postal Service’s failure to provide NALC advance notice of, and an opportunity to bargain over, the Postal Service’s response to this breach. Pending resolution of this dispute, individual letter carriers may elect to enroll in the credit monitoring service offered by the Postal Service, with the knowledge that NALC may seek different or additional remedies.
From the American Postal Workers Union:
08/20/2014 – The Postal Service engaged in delaying tactics that constituted an unlawful refusal to provide the APWU with information about the agency’s deal with Staples, an NLRB judge wrote in an Aug. 13 decision.
The USPS “did not want to provide the requested materials and was throwing straw arguments and roadblocks in the way,” Administrative Law Judge Eric M. Fine said.
The Staples deal established knock-off post offices in more than 80 of the office-supply stores in a trial program that the Postal Service and the retailer hoped to expand to all of the company’s 1,500 U.S. stores. The union has launched a boycott of Staples, which has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, SEIU, and many other major labor organizations.
Shortly after the program got underway in October 2013, the APWU requested detailed information about the terms of the arrangement as well as correspondence between the USPS and Staples. The Postal Service claimed the union had failed to establish the relevance of the information it sought and said the APWU’s request was “overly broad” and “burdensome.” Management also asserted that much of the information was confidential.
Just prior to the April 1 NLRB hearing, the Postal Service gave the APWU a heavily redacted copy of the agreement that obscured most of the details of its contract with Staples. Many of the deal’s 58 pages were completely blacked out.
In the decision, NLRB Judge Fine rejected each of the Postal Service’s claims and ordered the Postal Service to provide the APWU with most of the requested information, including thousands of emails between the USPS and Staples. He credited the testimony of the APWU witnesses, Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson, Manager of Negotiations Support Phil Tabbita, while discounting the testimony of the Postal Service’s witnesses.
What Are They Hiding?
APWU President Mark Dimondstein said, “This decision demonstrates the desperate measures the USPS is willing to take to keep the details of its privatization deal a secret.
“The U.S. Postal Service is a national treasure that belongs to the people of the country,” he said. “Postmaster General Donahoe has no right to turn over its operations to a private company that is motivated by the bottom line – not service to the people.
“The secrecy prompts the question: What are they hiding?”
The APWU objects to the Staples deal because it privatizes the retail operations of the public Postal Service; transfers living-wage, union jobs to high-turnover, low-wage jobs, and degrades service to the public.
USPS Knew Exactly
In his decision, Judge Fine wrote, “I find that the Union has established the relevancy of the requested disputed information.” The program spans several states in major population centers, where “Staples employees perform a broad array of bargaining unit work creating alternative retail outlets.” He also pointed out that “a large number of the 80 to 84 Staples stores used in the pilot program were located less than a mile from the nearest post office.”
Fine rejected the Postal Service’s claims that the union’s request for information was overly broad and burdensome. “I find the Union’s request to be quite specific, and in need of no further explanation,” he wrote. “In fact, I have concluded that Respondent [USPS] knew exactly what the Union wanted but was merely opposed to providing the Union with the information.”
Fine also rebuffed management’s assertion that it could withhold much of the information the USPS said was confidential or proprietary. The Postal Service has until Sept. 10 to appeal the decision to the full NLRB.
On September 18, 2013 President Hegarty notified Local Presidents of an unfair labor practice filed by the NPMHU against the United Stated Postal Service. Specifically, the Union asserts that the USPS violated Sections 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(2) of the Act through the unlawful formation and domination of labor organizations in the form of so-called Lean Mail Processing Teams. As of now, the matter is being investigated by Region 5 of the NLRB in Baltimore, MD, with NPMHU witnesses scheduled to be interviewed next week. Additional details will be disseminated to the Locals as appropriate.
Follow link for more information and a copy of the charges filed with the NLRB.