APWU: Arbitrator Sharnoff award on AFCS Jurisdiction

From: Vance Zimmerman <vzimmerman@apwu.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2022
Subject: Sharnoff award on AFCS Jurisdiction

On January 31, 2021, Arbitrator Sharnoff issued a lengthy award on the APWU-NPMHU jurisdictional disputes over the AFCS and AFCS 200. The APWU successfully prevailed in protecting Clerk Work when Arbitrator Sharnoff affirmed that Clerks should be assigned to work the Operator position on the AFCS 200.

As part of the historic 2018 APWU-USPS-NPMHU RI-399 update agreement, the unions and the Postal Service agreed to arbitrate the unions’ cross-disputes on the AFCS and the AFCS 200. The APWU defended the Postal Service’s assignment of the AFCS 200 Operator position to clerks, an assignment the APWU felt was properly assigned to the APWU. The Arbitrator agreed with the APWU keeping the Operator position on the AFCS 200 assigned to Clerks.

Arbitrator Sharnoff confirmed that there is a high bar for overturning the Postal Service’s jurisdictional determinations – based on the information available to the Postal Service at the time it makes its decision, the Postal Service’s decision cannot be arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, based on improper considerations, or otherwise constitute “an abuse of the USPS’s discretion to make such determinations under the RI-399 Guidelines.” The NPMHU failed to get over this bar with its claims that the Operator position on the significantly redesigned AFCS 200 should be assigned to Mail Handlers. Given the changes to the Operator position and the distribution functions of the AFCS 200, Arbitrator Sharnoff confirmed that the Postal Service’s jurisdictional grant to Clerks was proper.

Arbitrator Sharnoff’s Award means that Clerks must be assigned to the Operator position on the AFCS 200. Any pending RI-399 disputes at the local level should be settled in accordance with this Award. Contact Lynn Pallas-Barber with any questions that may arise in implementing Arbitrator Sharnoff’s Award at the local level.

This was the second of four jurisdictional arbitrations presented to Arbitrator Sharnoff under the updated RI-399 process for protecting Clerk Craft work. In the first two cases, the APWU has successfully in defended Clerks continuing to work on the SPSS and the AFCS 200. Many thanks to the efforts of the APWU’s RI-399 national representatives Lynn Pallas-Barber, Assistant Clerk Craft Director, and National RI-399 Representative Ron Suslak, (President Queens Area Local); their guidance along with the expertise and involvement of APWU locals and employees, supported the APWU in once again keeping mail distribution work with Clerks.

Feel free to disseminate.

Vance Zimmerman
Industrial Relations Director
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
1300 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4128
Tel: 202.842.4273 | Fax: 202.371.0992

Arbitrator Sharnoff AFCS Jurisdictional Award

Related: NPMHU: Arbitrator Sharnoff Rules on AFCS Legacy Operator

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