Tony D. McKinnon Sr.
NLRB Settlement on Information Requests
Concerning Ergonomics & Tour 2 Consolidation
(05/03/10) The APWU and the USPS recently settled a portion of an unfair labor practice charge concerning information requests related to ergonomic issues and Tour 2 consolidations. The settlement agreement requires the Postal Service to provide the union with requested information that is relevant and necessary to the performance of its duties as an exclusive collective bargaining representative. In addition, the USPS is required to post the agreement in all facilities where there is a DBCS machine and in facilities where the consolidation of Tour 2 mail processing operations has taken place. The notice must be posted for 60 consecutive days.
In a memo to local and state presidents dated May 3, 2010, Industrial Relations Director Greg Bell requested the assistance of local unions to ensure the Postal Service’s compliance with the posting requirements of the Settlement Agreement. “If the Postal Service fails to post the notice in all the affected facilities for 60 days, the NLRB will automatically be able to get a summary judgment against the Postal Service for violating the terms of the settlement,” said Greg Bell. “The NLRB will also be permitted to go to court to get the order enforced which means that further non-compliance can result in contempt proceedings against the Postal Service,” said Bell.
“For these reasons, it is important to police the Postal Service’s compliance with these provisions on posting and report any failures to comply to Industrial Relations immediately,” Bell said.
The settlement is the result of an unfair labor practice charge filed by the union against the Postal Service in December 2008 (amended in March 2009), for its failure to provide the union with requested information concerning safety and ergonomic issues on DBCS machines. A charge was filed in November 2008 regarding the Postal Service’s refusal to provide the union with requested information pertaining to management’s plans to eliminate or greatly reduce Tour2 operations.
In both cases, the NLRB issued a complaint against the Postal Service for failing to provide the requested information and failing and refusing to bargain with the APWU. The cases were consolidated and scheduled for hearing on the same date. However, prior to the scheduled hearing, the parties reached agreement on the information portion of the charge.
The NLRB deferred to the grievance-arbitration process the portion of the charge that alleges the Postal Service violated Section 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act by failing and refusing to meet and bargain with the APWU about ergonomic issues on the DBCS, which were revealed in a report of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The union has submitted that dispute for national arbitration and has requested that it be placed at the head of the national arbitration docket, in accordance with Article 14.2 of the National Agreement.