The arbitration award, [PDF] which was issued on March 29 by Arbitrator Shyam Das, settled a dispute about the amount of bargaining unit work postmasters and supervisors may perform in Level 18-and-below offices. Arbitrator Das upheld the union’s position, ruling that the “Global Settlement” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the union and management set absolute limits on the number of hours postmasters may perform bargaining unit work in small offices. The award will greatly benefit clerks in small offices by increasing the number of hours they work.
Unfortunately, on April 3, 2013, the USPS Vice President for Delivery and Post Office Operations sent a memo to managers in the field [PDF] instructing them that no changes should be made as the result of the award.
After repeated demands by the APWU, the USPS Vice President has taken initial steps to enforce the arbitrator’s ruling, directing managers on June 6 [PDF] that the work-hour limitations on postmasters in Level 15, 16, and 18 post offices “must immediately be observed” if an office has the ability to utilize part-time flexible (PTF) employees or Postal Support Employees (PSEs), including by borrowing them from other facilities. “We will be discussing other strategies to ensure compliance at next week’s Area Vice President’s meeting,” the notice says.
“This is a beginning, finally,” said Clerk Craft Director Rob Strunk. “It is disappointing that it took the USPS this long to partially comply with a final and binding arbitration award.” Several issues remain unresolved regarding implementation of the award, he noted. “We intend to make sure that management fully complies with the arbitrator’s ruling.”
A dispute regarding the remedy for contract violations that occurred before Arbitrator Das issued the award has been returned to him and is awaiting his decision.