Mike Morris, Director
Disputes Filed Over USPS Two-Tour Initiative
(12/19/08) The APWU has filed two national-level disputes protesting the Postal Service’s nationwide program to eliminate or drastically reduce Tour 2 assignments and employees. The disputes, both filed Dec. 16, recap many of the allegations made by the union in an Unfair Labor Practice Charge [PDF] filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Nov. 25.
Although APWU has filed two national-level disputes and an ULP charge, please be advised that a local grievance should be filed protesting any reduction or elimination of existing day shift (Tour 2) in your respective installation.
In case HQTG200819, the APWU is protesting the relocation and reassignment of employees through the two-tour initiative and related initiatives in violation of Article 12, Section 4 of the National Agreement. It is the APWU’s position that the Postal Service has initiated a “major relocation of employees” through the two-tour operation initiative, reassigning a majority of day shift Tour 2 employees to other tours. It is our position that the Postal Service initiative violates the contractual requirement for at least 90 day advance notice at the national level and for advance notice of much as six months at the regional level. The Union requests that all employees improperly reassigned be returned to their assignments and be made whole. In addition, notwithstanding the Union’s challenge to the elimination of Tour 2 in this or other forums, the Union requests that no Tour 2 employees be reassigned to other tours, or duty assignments, until the advance notice period has been satisfied.
In case HQTG200820, it is the APWU’s position that the Postal Service has an obligation to jointly discuss new initiatives during their development (pursuant to Article 17, Section 5.B.4), inasmuch as the two-tour initiative impacts APWU bargaining unit employees or relates to working conditions. Moreover, the Postal Service has an obligation and duty to bargain in good faith.
In addition, the Postal Service failed to provide the Union all relevant information necessary for collective bargaining or the enforcement, administration or interpretation of the National Agreement. Moreover, the Union’s position is, but not limited to, that the two-tour 2 initiative eliminating or reducing existing day shift Tour 2 assignments and excessing from Tour 2 violates the parties intent and provisions of Article 7.1.B.4 of the National Agreement. The protection of existing day shift Tour 2 assignments was central to the agreement reached in 2006 contract negotiations. We believe that the Postal Service’s two-tour initiative deprives the Union of one of its central achievements – the protection of existing Tour 2 assignments. This unilateral action taken by the Postal Service also represents a repudiation and midterm modification of the National Agreement.
Please note that it is the APWU’s position that the status quo be restored and affected employees be made whole, regardless of whether a local grievance has been filed. However, in the event our dispute is sustained, a national-level arbitrator could rule that only those employees who had filed a timely grievance (or on whose behalf such a timely grievance had been filed by a local union) are eligible to be made whole. Therefore, local grievances should be filed protesting any reduction or elimination of existing day shift (Tour 2) in your respective installation. In addition, the filing of local grievances will also help us keep better track of impacted day-shift positions reduced or eliminated and of affected employees.
At a minimum, you should request as a remedy that existing day-shift positions be restored, employees returned to their duty assignments, and affected employees made whole (including out-of-schedule and applicable overtime pay). There may be additional remedies based on local fact circumstances.
For your information, we met with the Postal Service on December 10, 2008, and the Postal Service has stated and confirmed that the two-tour initiative is a USPS Headquarters’ initiative. We will be meeting with the Postal Service pursuant to the Step 4 grievance-arbitration process, and we are currently pursuing this matter with the National Labor Relations Board. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.
Local unions should continue to send to my office any relevant information that you may come across that you believe will be helpful.