The NALC and the Postal Service have agreed upon the selection of National Arbitrator Shyam Das as chairman of the three-person arbitration board that will set the terms of the next collective-bargaining agreement between the union and the USPS.
“We will vigorously defend letter carriers’ wages and benefits and seek to advance our bargaining goals through this step of the process,” NALC President Fredric V. Rolando said. “Those goals include achieving the best possible contract for our members and laying the groundwork for a revival of the United States Postal Service.”
Das is a member of the American Arbitration Association’s labor panel and has been a full-time labor arbitrator since 1977. He has served on national arbitration panels involving postal workers since 1996 and has chaired arbitration proceedings involving United Steelworkers and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The board is now working on a schedule for hearings. Once arbitration is underway, those hearings and related testimony could last for several months. After the proceedings are complete, the arbitration panel will meet to broker a final and binding “award” that sets the terms of the next contract.
“We will call on working carriers to be witnesses and advocates for their fellow carriers,” Rolando said, “and we will need the full support and cooperation of the membership to put on the best case possible.”
The last time an NALC-USPS agreement was reached through interest arbitration was in 1999 (see chart below).
|Contract Term||Type of Settlement||Bargaining Structure*|
|1971-1973||Negotiated settlement||JBC: NALC, APWU crafts, NPMHU, NRLCA|
|1973-1975||Negotiated settlement||JBC: NALC, APWU, NPMHU, NRLCA|
|1975-1978||Negotiated settlement||JBC: NALC, APWU, NPMHU, NRLCA|
|1978-1981||Healy Award (partial arbitration)||JBC: NALC, APWU, NPMHU|
|1981-1984||Negotiated settlement||JBC: NALC, APWU|
|1984-1987||Kerr Award (arbitration)||JBC: NALC, APWU|
|1987-1990||Negotiated settlement||JBC: NALC, APWU|
|1990-1994||Mittenthal and Valtin Awards||JBC: NALC, APWU|
|1994-1998||Stark Award (arbitration)||NALC|
|1998-2001||Fleischli Award (arbitration)||NALC|
|* In many rounds of bargaining, two or more unions formed a Joint Bargaining Committee (JBC) to negotiate with the Postal Service. The NALC has negotiated on its own since 1994.|
Anyone interested in learning about the history of postal bargaining may wish to consult this time line or read the NALC’s official history, Carriers in a Common Cause, available from the NALC Supply Department.