Arbitrator Issues BMC Staffing Clarification
07/06/2016 - In a supplemental decision issued on July 5, Arbitrator Ira Jaffe ruled in favor of the APWU on staffing at Bulk Mail Centers (BMCs), also known as Network Distribution Centers (NDCs).
The supplemental decision clarified an Oct. 19, 2015, award in which Arbitrator Jaffe ruled that the USPS violated Article 19 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement when it changed the staffing standard from the BMC Gold program to staffing based on e-WHEP.
“The Maintenance Division put on a great team effort, along with our attorneys, in succeeding in the merit case,” said Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer. “Assistant Director Idowu Balogun performed in exemplary fashion as the case officer.
“Unfortunately, this case exemplifies the lengths to which the employer will go to deny the rights of our members and to stymie the union’s efforts fighting to enforce them.
“We have made it through the unprofessional conduct of the Service’s advocate at the hearings; the inexcusable need for seven hearing dates; the repudiation of a clear award; a remand from the District Court, and we now enter the phase to ensure compliance with the Arbitrator’s clarification.”
Despite the clear language of the Oct. 19, 2015, award, postal managers notified Maintenance Division union officers on Nov. 9, 2015, that they would not issue new staffing packages, asserting that nothing in the award required them to change or update existing staffing packages. The USPS intended to continue to staff BMCs based on the e-WHEP standard until such time as management decided to update the staffing.
“Management’s position was so outrageous that we insisted on filing suit for enforcement in District Court,” said Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer. A complaint was filed on Dec. 11, 2015, and on March 17, 2016 the DC District Court granted the Postal Service’s motion to remand the case to Arbitrator Jaffe for interpretation.
The case was sent to Arbitrator Jaffe on March 29, 2016. His Supplemental Award is quoted as follows:
“The October 19, 2015 Award did not permit the Postal Service to continue to use indefinitely the staffing packages that were in place as of the date of the October 19, 2015 award and that were generated with eWHEP (MMO 112-10) until it elects to replace the existing staffing packages with new or revised staffing packages. The Postal Service is required by the Award and this Supplemental Award to develop staffing packages at those NDCs generated using BMC Gold (MMO 022-04) as soon as practicable, but no later than August 4, 2016 – a date thirty (30) calendar days following the date of this Supplemental Award.
“The Postal Service is directed to provide the Union with copies of those revised staffing packages promptly after their development and information to permit the Union to determine if the revised staffing packages were developed consistently with the MMO 022-04 (BMC Gold) guidelines.
“The Postal Service is directed to discontinue use of the existing staffing packages that were prepared using MMO 112-10 and implement the modified MMO 022-04 maintenance staffing packages at each of the affected NDCs as soon as practicable after the development of those staffing packages, but no later than October 1, 2016.
“Nothing herein should be construed as preventing the Postal Service and the Union from jointly agreeing to a different implementation schedule or to the use of a different MMO maintenance staffing package at one or more of the affected NDCs. The December 24, 2015 Interpretative Review is resolved based upon the Supplemental Opinion and Award and the local grievances being held in abeyance are released for further processing.
“Jurisdiction is retained to address any disputes that may arise with respect to the remedy directed by this Supplemental Opinion and Award that the Parties are unable to resolve on remand.”