APWU Web News Article #074-14, April 21, 2014
An outrageous management ploy was overturned on April 16, when an arbitrator ruled [PDF] that the USPS violated the contract when it retroactively changed the passing score on promotion eligibility exams in the summer of 2009, Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer has announced.
The rating of more than 600 APWU members were changed from eligible to ineligible, meaning that they could not be placed on Promotion Eligibility Registers (PERs).
The APWU alleged that the USPS violated Articles 5, 19 and 31 by unilaterally rescoring Exam 955 and by failing to provide the union with requested information related to the rescoring.
The APWU and the Postal Service had spent the previous year bargaining extensively over the development and implementation of the Exam 955, which was first rolled out in June 2009. The rescoring occurred after the Postal Service concluded that too many bargaining unit members were passing the exam, despite repeated assurances to the union during bargaining that the test had been validated and studied extensively. When the APWU learned of the rescoring, Raymer requested related information, which the Postal Service failed to provide on the grounds that the information was confidential.
Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg found that the Postal Services’ rescoring of the Exam 955 constituted a unilateral change, in violation of Articles 5 and 19 on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He remanded the case to the parties to seek an appropriate remedy for the violation. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on the remedy within 60 days, they can request that the arbitrator resolve the issue. Arbitrator Goldberg also found that the information sought by the union was not confidential, thereby making the Postal Service’s refusal to provide it a violation of Article 31. He ruled that the Postal Service must provide it to the union.
Discussions with the USPS on the remedy are ongoing, Raymer said, and he “remains optimistic that a full remedy will be reached.”
Locals whose members were impacted by the change in eligibility standards should gather all relevant facts in the event they will need to be sent to headquarters. This includes:
- Yes or No: Did the individual miss a potential promotion opportunity due to the change in results?
- Date(s) of relevant posting(s);
- The individual’s original RMSS results;
- The changed results;
- After August 2009 any results of RMSS update attempts made and whether eligible or ineligible;
- Any subsequent promotion with the effective date and occupational group identified.
“Remember, even if a grievance was previously filed, the information above is necessary to update the file,” Raymer said.