Arbitrator Das sides with union for arbitration victory
Web News Article #: 119-2017
12/12/2017 – Arbitrator Shyam Das found in favor of the APWU again in the union’s on-going efforts to enforce the Global Settlement Memorandum of Understanding (GSMOU) and the Global Settlement Remedy Agreement (GSRA) for implementing the GSMOU.
In an award issued December 8, 2017, Das found that the “End of Day” button – a function the Postal Service added into the Retail System Software (RSS) point-of-sale system allowing postmasters to enter and exit the system without fully closing out – did not satisfy the requirement in the Global Settlement Remedy Agreement that postmasters are allowed to perform bargaining unit work for only 15 hours per week, to be counted from the start to the “end of day.”
The Global Settlement Remedy Agreement requires the postmaster/supervisor to fully close out by conducting the four-step “End of Day” process. The four-step process includes, (1) an advance deposit, (2) a final remittance, (3) verifying supporting documentation, and (4) submitting a daily PS Form 1412 closeout. The USPS new “End of Day” button for postmasters, requires nothing more than a press of a button. The Postal Service button bypasses proper financial accounting and allows postmasters/supervisors to hit the button after every transaction and thereby improperly reduce their recorded time on the window.
Das relied on the APWU’s unrebutted evidence that the full four-step End of Day process was what the parties agreed to use as the endpoint; when the clock would stop on a postmaster performing bargaining unit work on the window when a clerk was also present in the office. He noted that “until the Postal Service’s development of the PMEOD (Postmaster End of Day) button in late 2015, there was only the one four-step End of Day process. If a postmaster performed more than one End of Day in a workday, this entire process had to be completed on each occasion just as if it were the final End of Day for that individual.” But when the Postal Service unilaterally deployed a “Postmaster End of Day” button in RSS, it put in place a function that “takes a second to push, in contrast to the approximately five minutes (the Postal Service’s estimate) needed to perform a full four-step End of Day.”
“This is an important victory for the Clerk Craft and all APWU members,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “This is especially a significant decision for PTFs (Part-Time Flexibles) and other bargaining unit employees in smaller offices across the country. In management’s attempts to redefine ‘15-hours,’ clerks were not getting the hours that they should.”
For the remedy, Das stated, “The Postal Service is directed to cease use of the PMEOD button absent an agreement with the Union that permits its continued use. As soon as practicable, appropriate software changes are to be made to disable the PMEOD function.”
“The Postal Service’s actions at USPS headquarters in this case were highly unethical. I am glad that the arbitrator saw through the Postal Service’s superficial arguments and ruled accordingly,” said Clerk Division Director Clint Burelson. “Local and state organizations can utilize the hours improperly worked by postmasters and supervisors to assist in gaining additional hours for all employees (especially PTF employees in the Level 18 offices), creating duty assignments, and preventing excessing in the small offices.”
“Congratulations to Assistant Clerk Division Director Lamont Brooks, who was the case officer and main witness,” said President Dimondstein. “Also to [Director Burelson], Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lynn Pallas-Barber and Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman for their assistance.”
Director Burelson continued, “We’d also like to thank the APWU members who served as witnesses and/or assisted in preparation – Mike Barrett (Buffalo NY Local), Michael Macho (Radcliff KY Local), Sylvia Crane (Gadsden AL Area Local), Pam Smith (Birmingham AL Area Local) and Cora Spratt (Virginia Postal Workers Union). Their participation greatly contributed to our success.
“Finally, much thanks to the locals who filed grievances on this issue.” Director Burelson added. “Their actions assisted their members as well as contributing to the national efforts for the good of all.”
Latest Win in a Series of Wins
The win is the latest big win in a series of big wins for the Clerk Craft and the APWU on national cases involving blatant and willful violations by the Postal Service. The other recent national cases decided in our favor are:
12/18/2016 – Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg ruled that the Postal Service violated the contract by failing to post jobs for the clerk craft in the Sales Retention Centers they created.
04/21/2017 – Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg ruled that the Postal Service violated the contract by failing to post 362 jobs for the Clerk Craft per the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU.
06/07/2017 – Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg ruled that the Postal Service violated the contract by failing to comply with the POStPlan award and fill jobs with bargaining unit employees.
Q06C-4Q-C 10005587 GLOBAL SETTLEMENT SUMMARY