APWU Web News Articles

Union Wins Settlement

Automatic Disqualification of Diabetics Lifted

Web News Article #: 

02/13/2008 - Motor Vehicle Services employees won an important pre-arbitration settlement [PDF] Jan. 31, when the Postal Service agreed to rescind a policy that prevented insulin-dependent diabetics with valid Commercial Driver’s Licenses from operating postal vehicles that weigh 26,001 pounds or more.

As a result of the settlement, insulin-controlled diabetics who hold valid CDLs will not be automatically disqualified from operating such vehicles. Instead, these drivers will undergo individual medical assessments to determine if they are qualified to operate postal vehicles.

The settlement agreement resolves case #Q00V-4Q-C05069239 [PDF], which was filed at the national level on March 7, 2005, as an interpretive dispute. It is the culmination of a long-standing disagreement between the APWU and the USPS.

Throughout the dispute, the Postal Service claimed that management’s policy was based on applicable provisions of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration regulations (49 CFR § 391.41). However, in July 2005, Congress passed legislation that enabled insulin-treated diabetics to drive commercial vehicles.

The APWU has been fighting to protect the rights of diabetics and other MVS employees with medical conditions for more than a decade. During 1990s, much of the focus was on establishing appropriate procedures for resolving differing opinions between employees’ physicians and the USPS. The procedures remain in effect.

American Diabetes Association News Release, Aug. 1, 2005 [PDF] 
USPS Letter to MVS Director Robert Pritchard, Feb. 19, 2002 [PDF] 
USPS Letter to MVS Director Robert Pritchard, Dec. 10, 1997 [PDF]