From the National Postal Mail Handlers Union:
With the release of the Fishgold Arbitration Award, which established the terms of the 2011 National Agreement, the parties agreed to jointly develop and implement a Question and Answer document addressing and affirming the parties’ mutual understanding and interpretation of many provisions contained in the 73 page decision.
Over the course of the past six months, the National Contract Administration Department, along with our National Shop Steward Trainer, has been working diligently with the Postal Service to flesh-out and resolve many of the issues that arose as a result of the Fishgold Award. As a result, we are pleased to provide the jointly developed Questions and Answers document, which was finalized on August 7, 2013. To assist the parties with implementation of the 2011 Fishgold Arbitration Award, the Q&A memorializes our mutual understanding of the 44 most prevalent issues that could be agreed upon.
The Award, while quite complicated, makes significant changes to Article 7 on workforce structure, Article 9 on wages, and Article 12 on seniority and reassignments. It also will change some of the routine practices of the Local Unions — most notably the enforcement of casual restrictions — and will at the same time require the Local Unions to monitor management’s use of MHAs. As you can imagine, these substantive changes to the make-up of our workforce will inevitably bring some uncertainty about the meaning of some longstanding contractual provisions.
While the Q&A document does not address every matter, the interpretations contained in the Q&A should be self-explanatory and this document may be updated if agreement is reached on additional items by the parties. Moreover, the Q&A is not intended to “add to, modify, or replace, in any respect” the language in the National Agreement. The Questions and Answers are binding on all representatives in the resolution of disputes at the Local and Area/Regional levels and in all phases of the grievance process up to arbitration.
As part of our recurring obligation to update the Contract Interpretation Manual, the Questions and Answers will be included in the next revision of our CIM (Version 4) which is now in development. Additionally, these Questions and Answers will be the primary topic of the next Union Time publication which will be distributed to every Union representative in the country.