On December 12, 2017, the parties arbitrated the jurisdiction of work assignments for work performed at the Mail Consolidation Center (MCC). At issue is what craft (clerk or mail handler) should be assigned the work at the MCC. The RI-399 process is the appeal process to resolve disputes between the parties on craft jurisdiction.
At the hearing
There was no dispute between the NPMHU Branch 298 and the Omaha Area Local, APWU - the parties had signed an agreement that a majority of the work performed at the MCC is clerk work. This was the position of the APWU and the NPMHU at the hearing.
Management took the position that the grievance could not be arbitrated in the RI-399 forum because the work had not yet been returned to the bargaining unit. They further argued that if the Arbitrator ruled on the case, all work was mail handler work.
On January 29, 2018, Arbitrator James A. Lundberg ruled on the APWU RI-399 appeal concerning the craft jurisdiction of work being performed at the Mail Consolidation Center (MCC).
Arbitrator Lundberg provided the following award:
- The grievance appeal by the APWU is hereby sustained and the position of the APWU and NPMHU is adopted.
- The work assignments at the Omaha area Mail Consolidation Center shall be made in accordance with the positions taken by the APWU and NPMHU.
- A copy of the Joint Agreement describing the joint position of the APWU and NPMHU is attached hereto as Exhibit #1 to assist Arbitrator MacLean is fashioning an award in this matter.
On December 3, 2015, Arbitrator Harry MacLean ruled that the Postal Service violated Article 32 when it failed to provide notice to the APWU and give due consideration to the five factors listed in Article 32.1.A prior to subcontracting work with New Breed to operate the Mail Consolidation Center (MCC).
On March 27, 2013, management entered into a new contract with New Breed for the services at the MCC. The Union filed a grievance over this contact on January 26, 2014.
The National Postal Mail Handlers Union intervened in the arbitration hearing arguing that some of the work is mail handler work and the jurisdiction of such work must be determined through the RI-399 Dispute Resolution Procedures.
Arbitrator MacLean sustained the APWU on the grounds that management failed to give due consideration to the five factors and failed to provide notice as required by Article 32 of the National Agreement.
The arbitrator referred the matter of work assignment jurisdiction to the Dispute Resolution Committee and retains jurisdiction of the case solely to determine the appropriate remedy if and when the Dispute Resolution Committee assigns the work to one of the unions.
Hearing on remedy
A favorable RI-399 decision by Arbitrator Lundberg puts an end to the ongoing obstruction by the Postal Service in the application of the MacLean award. The APWU is in the process of requesting a hearing date with Arbitrator MacLean to determine the appropriate remedy. Updates will be provided upon availability.