In a ruling issued Dec. 3, Arbitrator Shyam Das sustained the union’s position that Article 14 of the National Agreement, Safety and Health, is “a joint process for addressing safety and ergonomic issues” and that “charging the union for information it reasonably requests in good faith to fulfill its joint role and obligations … is not consistent with the overall structure and tenor of Article 14.”
He ordered the Postal Service “to provide information reasonably requested by the union in good faith to fulfill its role and obligations under Article 14 … without exacting payment.”
“The significance of Arbitrator Das’ award cannot be overstated,” said Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris.
“The arbitrator provided a clear and unambiguous interpretation of the Joint Labor-Management Safety and Health Committees at all levels as well as the National Joint Labor-Management Ergonomic Committee.
“He acknowledged the Union plays a major role and [Article 14] establishes a joint process for addressing safety and ergonomic issues. His analysis regarding the union’s right to be heard and to have substantive responses to its agenda items is crucial and critical to all Joint Safety and Health Committees,” said Morris
“The Arbitrator’s award restores the equality of representation between the Postal Service and the Union within the respective Joint Area and Local Safety and Health Committees,” said Morris.
Many locals have voiced frustration with the Postal Service’s refusal or failure to cooperate on Safety & Health matters. This award will ensure that locals can actively pursue all potential unsafe working conditions and/or hazards with management,” said Morris.