Feb. 25, 2014
NALC, USPS settle national-level relocation case
The NALC and the Postal Service have settled national level case Q06N-4Q-C 12217402 concerning the creation of Handbook F-15-C, Relocation Policy – Bargaining Employees.
The Postal Service created the F-15-C to replace portions of the old F-12 Handbook. The settlement only concerns the advance round trip and temporary quarters portions of relocation expenses. The NALC grieved this issue nationally because we had disagreement over some of the language used, the amount letter carriers received, and the maximum amount a letter carrier could receive for advance round trip and temporary quarters relocation expenses. We also wanted a method for making adjustments to these payments in the future. This settlement (M-01832) addresses all of our concerns.
Jan. 9, 2014
M-01831 settles interpretive dispute regarding application of MOU Re: FSS Implementation (M-01643)
The NALC and USPS have settled the interpretive dispute regarding the application of the MOU Re: FSS Implementation (M-01643). The settlement (M-01831) addresses three issues. It should be noted that the third issue, adjustments after the 60-day review, was resolved when the parties wrote their position papers.
Jan. 9, 2014
Accommodations to Employees
and Applicants Who Are Deaf or
Hard of Hearing
This management instruction (MI) establishes the guidelines for
implementing Postal Service policies and processes for providing
certain types of reasonable accommodations, known as communication
accommodations, to employees and applicants who are deaf or hard of
The Postal Service has responsibilities under the law and its collective-bargaining
agreements to provide reasonable accommodations to
employees and applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing. The major
federal laws that apply are the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended,
and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
Dec. 23, 2013
National level case on Voluntary Early Retirement counseling settled
The NALC and the USPS have agreed to a national-level settlement (M-01829) on whether the Postal Service is required to provide individual retirement counseling prior to a Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) decision irrevocability date when counseling is requested by a VER-eligible city letter carrier.
Provisions in the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) concerning retirement counseling include the general obligation of the Postal Service to provide individual pre-retirement counseling (when requested) on-the-clock (when the retirement counselor is available during the same tour as the employee). When the Postal Service offers a VER, it requires employees who wish to take the VER to irrevocably commit to retirement by a certain date. The question arose as to whether the Postal Service was required to provide requested retirement counseling prior to a VER irrevocability date.
The settlement (M-01829) requires the Postal Service to comply with the ELM provisions regarding retirement counseling when it offers a VER, and that requested counseling will be provided prior to an irrevocability date. The settlement further provides for a national level expedited process for dealing with any unanticipated failures to provide requested VER counseling in advance of a VER irrevocability date, including expedited national level arbitration scheduling, if necessary.
Dec. 5, 2013
MOU on CCAs being temporarily assigned to other post offices
NALC and the Postal Service have agreed on a new memorandum of understanding, Re: City Carrier Assistants – Temporary Assignments to Other Post Offices (M-01827), that defines the process for temporarily assigning city carrier assistants (CCAs) to other post offices.
Dec. 4, 2013
Memorandum of Understanding Re: Signing Overtime Lists
NALC and the Postal Service have agreed on a memorandum of understanding Re: Signing Overtime Lists (M-01828), which allows the installation head and branch president or their designees to mutually elect to develop a process that allows employees who transfer from another installation, or part-time flexibles and CCAs converted to full-time status after the two-week period for signing the lists, to place their names on either the overtime desired list or work assignment list.
Oct. 23, 2013
Memorandum of Understanding
Re: Sunday Delivery—City Carrier Assistant Staffing
In a memorandum of understanding (M-01826) dated Oct. 22, 2013 regarding city carrier assistant (CCA) staffing, the NALC and the Postal Service agreed that city carrier assistants who served as city carrier temporary employees (TEs) directly before their initial CCA appointment will not serve a probationary period when converted to full-time career status during the term of the MOU.
In the MOU, which is effective through March 31, 2014, the parties agreed to jointly monitor on a weekly basis at the national level the necessary CCA resources during implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding Re: Residual Vacancies - City Letter Carrier Craft (M-01824) and the Sunday parcel delivery test.
Additionally, to assist with the significant increase of parcel volume expected over the holiday season, holiday carrier assistants, which were an option beginning in 2014 per the 2011 National Agreement, will now be available during December 2013.
August 30, 2013
Memorandum of Understanding on Filling Residual Vacancies
NALC and the Postal Service have entered into the Memorandum of Understanding Re: Residual Vacancies - City Letter Carrier Craft (M-01824), which establishes a process for filling residual vacancies not under a proper Article 12 withholding order. Vacancies will be filled by a number of steps including assignment of unassigned regulars, part-time flexible conversions to full-time status, acceptance of transfers and conversions of city carrier assistants to full-time career status. Under this memorandum, part-time flexibles will have the opportunity to transfer as full-time regulars into residual vacancies on a first come, first serve basis without regard to normal transfer considerations and will be afforded eventual retreat rights. The memorandum should also result in the conversions of many city carrier assistants to full-time career status.
August 28, 2013
2011-2016 National Agreement
NALC and the Postal Service have finalized the 2011-2016 National Agreement set by the Das interest arbitration award. The PDF version is now available. The PDF includes bookmarks and hyperlinks to make navigating the document easier. To download the agreement, click here. The document is in the process of being printed and will be sent to NALC branches in the near future.
July 19, 2013
PS From 8190 updated
The new PS Form 8190, USPS - NALC Joint Step A Grievance Form was recently updated to include the change to Item 4, "Status," which required a change from "TE" to "CCA." The new form is available here.
May 29, 2013
NALC resolves four more national disputes
The first case involved hiring transitional employees (TEs) for a period less than 360 days. The parties agreed M-01813 that the TE classification was phased out on 4/10/2013 for a new employee classification, City Carrier Assistants (CCAs). In accordance with Article 7.1.C.3 of the 2011-2016 National Agreement, CCAs are hired for terms of 360 calendar days.
The next dispute concerned the suspension of posting and bidding during data migration from the Complement Management System to the Human Capital Enterprise System. The parties agreed
M-01815 that the subject suspension of bidding did not modify or alter the posting and bidding provisions of Article 41.1 of the National Agreement.
The parties further agreed that any case held pending resolution of this national case shall be processed pursuant to the provisions of the National Agreement.
The third issue dealt with the electronic PS Form 1769/301. The postal service created an electronic form that combined information from the PS Form 1769 and OSHA Form 301. The electronic form required supervisors to obtain information shielded by the Privacy Act. The postal service agreed
M-01816 to modify the system through a Service Change Request; which no longer solicits information the union believed violated the Privacy Act.
The last case involved changes to questions used in the automated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. The NALC had issues that when an employee called the Employee Service Line to request unscheduled leave, the IVR system required limited responses (yes or no) that an employee could not always answer.
The parties agreed to resolve the issue M-01818, when an employee calls the IVR system for unscheduled leave and is unable to successfully negotiate the prompts, the IVR system will direct the employee to contact his or her supervisor.
May 24, 2013
Two national-level disputes involving FMLA settled
The NALC and the USPS have agreed on two national-level settlements regarding FMLA and the use of NALC FMLA forms.
The Postal Service proposed changes to the Employee and Labor Relations Manual which required employees to use Department of Labor forms to certify FMLA protection.
The NALC took the position that there was no requirement under the FMLA to use Department of Labor forms and initiated two disputes. The first dispute was over the proposed ELM changes and the second was the over the Postal Service’s refusal to allow employees to use NALC FMLA forms.
In our first dispute over the proposed changes of the ELM, the Postal Service agreed to change the language in section 515 of the ELM (M-01812) to allow employees to use another format other than Department of Labor forms to certify FMLA protection.
The change in section 515 of the ELM resolves the NALCs second issue and employees may now use the NALC FMLA forms for FMLA protection. (M-01817)
Click here for the NALC FMLA forms or go to the NALC FMLA page for more information.
May 22, 2013
Questions and Answers—City Carrier Assistants (CCAs)
This jointly-developed document (M-01819) provides the updated mutual understanding of the national parties on issues related to 2011-2016 NALC-USPS National Agreement. It is separated in two sections: the first concerns city carrier assistants (CCAs) and the second section addresses other contractual provisions. New questions and responses are identified by underscoring. This document may be updated if agreement is reached on additional matters concerning the new collective bargaining agreement.
May 8, 2013
National level case on Reverse Pay Anomaly Grievance settled
The NALC and the USPS have agreed to a national-level settlement on an interpretive dispute regarding a letter carrier who was promoted to Grade 2 from Grade 1, subsequently returned to Grade 1, and had his step increase delayed by 48 weeks. (M-01811)
The NALC took the position that the grievant should have been placed in the step he would have been in, with credit toward his next step increase, as if all service had been in the original grade. The grievant was correctly placed in Step B but was not credited with 48 weeks of waiting time to his Step C increase.
Memorandum of Settlement dated June 13, 1990 (H7C-NA-C 39), which is found in the April 2009 JCAM at page 9-8, states:
Return to Former Lower Grade
Employees returning to a former lower grade must be assigned to the step and the next step increase date as if service had been uninterrupted in the lower grade. In other words, all time, including time spent in the higher grade, is credited toward determining the date of the next periodic step increase in the lower grade. As a practical matter, this means that any Carrier Technician who later successfully bids on a route ends up exactly where they would have been, in pay terms, had they never left Grade 1. In such situations, the time temporarily “lost” as a result of beginning a new waiting period in Grade 2 is fully restored.
March 6, 2013
Article 8 and City Delivery Task Forces Idea Sheets
The award issued by the arbitration board chaired by Arbitrator Shyam Das established several new joint task forces through new memorandums of understanding (MOUs) included in the 2011 National Agreement. Two of these MOUs, Re: Article 8 Task Force and Re: City Delivery Task Force, are designed to develop and test methods to improve on problem areas that letter carriers deal with directly every day on the workroom floor.
NALC wants to hear from letter carriers. We have created idea sheets for both Task Forces:
-- Article 8 Task Force Idea Sheet
-- City Delivery Task Force Idea Sheet
We want to hear your thoughts or ideas of methods to test or ways to improve the overtime process, the work climate or the other areas mentioned in the MOUs. If you are interested in your delivery unit participating as a test site, we would like to know that too.
These sheets are fillable. You may type directly into them and print them out or print and write your thoughts and ideas on the sheet. Once completed, please mail the idea sheets to:
National Association of Letter Carriers
c/o Director of City Delivery
100 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001-2144
January 31, 2013
New MOU on one-day break in service for TEs hired as CCAs
The parties have agreed (M-01800) that transitional employees who are hired as City Carrier Assistants (CCA) on or before April 11, 2013 will be given a one day break between appointments. This break will occur on the first Sunday of a pay period and allow these employees to work the day before (Saturday) and the day after (Monday). The one day break will not impact employees' eligibility for health benefits or any other right or entitlement under the National Agreement.
The MOU also sets the length of initial CCA appointments for such employees to be for the balance of the 360 day appointment, which is equivalent to the total period from beginning of the transitional employee appointment until the conclusion of the initial CCA appointment, which will be 360 days.
In addition, it requires that transitional employees hired as CCAs will be paid at their transitional employee rate through April 19, 2013.
Finally, the MOU makes clear that all other CCA appointments made pursuant to Article 7.1.C.1 or Article 7.1.C.2 of the National Agreement will be for 360 day terms.
January 31, 2013
New MOU to pay TEs for taking exam
The parties have entered into a new Memorandum of Understanding (M-01799) that requires that time transitional employees spend taking Exam 473 will be on the clock, including necessary travel time. Transitional employees will select the testing site closest to their work location to minimize necessary travel time. Please note that this agreement is prospective. It is effective from Jan. 29, 2013 onward. It does not apply to any time that transitional employees have spent taking the 473 Exam prior to Jan. 29, 2013.
October 9, 2012
National MOU designed to alleviate some staffing issues in many delivery units
The NALC and USPS have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, M-01797, which will alleviate some of the staffing issues in many delivery units by providing for a) the conversion of over 6,000 part-time flexible city letter carriers to full-time regular, b) the filling of vacant residual CC-01 and CC-02 positions that are not withheld for Article 12, and c) the limited authorization to hire an additional 3,400 bargaining unit transitional employees.
October 5, 2012
National level case on management reverting vacant full-time letter carrier assignments without current route inspection data resolved
The NALC and the USPS have reached agreement on a national level settlement on an interpretive dispute regarding whether a vacant full-time letter carrier assignment may be reverted without current route inspection data. (M-01796) In the past, management would sometimes revert a route when it became vacant without current route inspection data. This was a widespread problem several years ago and has remained an issue in some places.
The parties agree that the determination of whether an established route is full-time will be made using one of the following procedures:
Additionally, the settlement affirms that it in no way alters the maximization provisions of Article 7.3 of the National Agreement.
- A six day mail count and inspection in accordance with the provisions of Handbook M-39
- A route adjustment pursuant to Section 141 of Handbook M-39 (provided the data used is reasonably current and from the regular carrier assigned to the route)
- Evaluation through a national jointly agreed upon route evaluation process
- Evaluation through an authorized locally developed joint route evaluation process
2012 NALC Contract DVD now available
The 2012 NALC Contract DVD was produced to provide you with the latest and most complete set of resources available. It contains electronic versions of the fully-updated and revised Materials Reference System (MRS), as well as the National Agreement, JCAM, NALC publications (e.g. Postal Record, Contract Talk, Activist, etc.), Defenses to Discipline, the latest versions of USPS Handbooks and Manuals, and other valuable resources. This compilation of resources in a single DVD is an essential tool for every branch activist. The NALC Contract DVD is available through the NALC Supply Department for $2.
Material Reference System (MRS) available online
The NALC has completely rewritten the MRS Index, meaning this prime resource for National Business Agents, Regional Administrative Assistants, NALC Branch Officers and Shop Stewards in their duties of enforcing the collective bargaining agreement, is now even better. The latest version can be found here.
Arbitration Program available
NALC has created an Arbitration program and re-compressed all of the arbitrations on file, allowing for greater searching and more efficient use of harddrive space. The Arbitration Program is available for order from the Supply Department for $10. Click here for more information.
Letter Carrier’s Daily Log
At the 2010 National Convention in Anaheim, it was suggested that a daily log be created for letter carriers to use. Previously, the Workhour Workload Report (All Routes) was posted daily under the JARAP 2011 agreement. This report allowed the letter carrier to verify information recorded by management.
Now that the JARAP 2011 agreement is expired, the Letter Carrier's Daily Log (PDF) has been created. This form has places to record information such as clock rings, mail volume, auxiliary assistance, and other daily information letter carriers have an interest in keeping. The form may be printed out, or information may be typed directly into the form so it can be saved electronically.
Interpretive step grievance
Delivery Unit Saturation Mail resolved
NALC and USPS have resolved a grievance at the Interpretive Step involving the scanning process used for Delivery Unit Saturation Mail. The settlement (M-01782) states that this scanning process is an internal measurement system used to verify the date a saturation mailing is scheduled for delivery. This settlement also makes clear that by scanning the mailing, the letter carrier is not verifying that he or she delivered the mailing. The scan only verifies that the mailing is scheduled to be delivered on that day.
National Interpretive Dispute Filed
On March 7, 2011, the National Association of Letter Carriers declared that a regular panel arbitration case raised interpretive issues and appealed the matter to the national level pursuant to Article 15, Section 2 of the National Agreement.
The case involves a Grade 1 city letter carrier, who was involuntarily excessed from one installation to another pursuant to Article 12.5.C.5.b (1) of the National Agreement. Accordingly, the letter carrier had retreat rights under Article 12.5.C.5.b (6), which entitles an employee reassigned under subsections b (1) or (2) to be “returned to the first vacancy in the level, in the craft or occupational group in the installation from which reassigned.”
Subsequent to the reassignment of the letter carrier, a letter carrier retired from the original office, thus creating a vacancy. At that point the excessed carrier should have been returned to the original office. Management refused to do so, taking the position that the employee is not entitled to return unless there was an available “residual vacancy." The NALC maintains a position that the employee’s retreat rights are triggered by the “first vacancy” in the level, in the craft or occupational group in the installation from which reassigned.
Branches should contact their National Business Agent if such an event occurs in order to pursue filing an appropriate grievance.
National Arbitration Appeal
The Postal Service notified the National Association of Letter Carriers of its conclusion that an interpretive issue exists. National representatives have completed discussions of the matter and have not resolved the interpretive issue presented. Accordingly, NALC has submitted a statement of our understanding of the issue involves, and the facts giving rise to the dispute, as required by Article 15.2 of the National Agreement.
The underlying facts are that over the course of a twenty six week period, a part-time flexible letter carrier satisfied the maximization criteria of 7.3.C of the National Agreement. NALC's position is that a full-time position must be created. Management denies the action on the ground “the maximization occurred on a residual vacancy not an occupied position.” The union maintains that the language of Article 7.3.C is unambiguous. There is no distinction between time worked in occupied and unoccupied positions for purposes of meeting the maximization criteria. NALC has sought arbitration of the issue.
April 21, 2010
2009 Joint Contract Administration Manual (JCAM)
The National Association of Letter Carriers and the United States Postal Service have published an updated version (2009) of the JCAM. All post offices and branches should have received a copy of the new JCAM. The NALC Supply Department has additional hard copies of the JCAM for sale at $15 per copy. You can call and order your JCAM at 202 662-2873. In addition, the JCAM is available as a PDF document.
Updated February 23, 2010
"Window of operations"
In an ongoing effort to provide tools to combat contract violations, CAU has scanned and posted regional arbitration decisions which support the union position concerning Article 8 violations and Window of Operation (WOO). The Postal Service often argues it has a right to establish a predetermined time when carriers should be off the street. Consequently, the Postal Service argues it has no option but to work carriers who are not on the OTDL to meet their WOO obligation. These regional cases will provide significant insights into arguments the union has advanced which have been successful. The two national level decisions are relevant to the regional cases because they also provide significant insights into arguments the union can advance.
You should also study NALC's White Paper on overtime, staffing, and simultaneous scheduling. Click here to read or download the document (M-01548).
This CAU White Paper explains how NALC representatives can challenge the Postal Service's widespread failure to staff facilities sufficiently, a failure that has led to numerous violations of the contractual overtime rules. Management in many places has consistently worked letter carriers beyond the contractual maximums of 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week. In addition, in many facilities the Postal Service has engaged in the “simultaneous scheduling” of overtime for ODL and non-ODL letter carriers.
The White Paper will help NALC representatives to prepare challenges to both types of overtime violations, and seek remedies requiring the Postal Service to comply with the contract by staffing its facilities with sufficient letter carriers. The paper reviews the negotiating history of the Article 8 overtime provisions, showing how a course of bargaining over more than three decades has produced a contract that bans the abuse of employees through excessive overtime. The white paper also shows the fallacy of the Postal Service “operational window” defense, which it has often offered as justification for its pattern of overtime violations.
You should consider using the national and regional decisions listed below alongside NALC's White Paper when preparing your WOO grievance file.
After reviewing the linked “C” number decisions, contact your NBA for additional guidance in preparing your grievance file.
October 23, 2009
VER Dispute Appealed to National Arbitration
On October 23, 2009, the National Association of Letter Carriers appealed to National Arbitration the unresolved dispute involving aspects of the 2009 Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) made available to letter carriers.
Specifically, the Postal Service established an Irrevocable Date (June 19, 2009) for eligible employees to decide whether to accept the VER, but has failed to provide mandatory retirement counseling to those who have requested it prior to the irrevocable date. Such counseling is essential for employees to make a fully informed decision whether or not to accept the VER.
Letter carriers who have applied for the VER, requested retirement counseling and were not provided with retirement counseling prior to the irrevocable date should contact their National Business Agent for more information. This would include letter carriers who withdrew their application for the VER because retirement counseling was not provided prior to the irrevocable date.
October 23, 2009
National Interpretive Dispute Filed
Article 12, Excess Employees Reassigned to the Letter Carrier Craft
On October 1, 2009, the National Association of Letter Carriers filed a National Level Interpretive Dispute with the Postal Service pursuant to Article 15, Section 3.F of the National Agreement. This dispute involves excess employees reassigned to the Letter Carrier craft.
Specifically, NALC is challenging the Postal Service’s practice of reassigning excess clerk craft employees into vacant withheld positions in the Letter Carrier craft without first establishing that the employee is qualified for the letter carrier assignment in question. Following reassignment some of these employees are failing to successfully complete various driving examinations and are separated from postal employment. The union believes this practice is inconsistent with provisions of Article 12.
Branches should contact their National Business Agent if such an event occurs in order to pursue filing an appropriate grievance.
Updated September 2, 2009
National arbitration decision
National Arbitrator Shyam Das, in an Award issued March 20, 2009, has sustained NALC's challenge to certain changes to ELM Section 546 proposed by the Postal Service in March 2007. The disputed changes, which were the result of a negotiated agreement between USPS and APWU, would have provided, for the first time, that all cross-craft transfers of injured workers must be accomplished through Article 13 of the National Agreement. The principal consequence of this change would have been that the so-called reciprocity provisions of Article 13, Section 5 would apply to reassignments initiated by management under ELM Section 546. Thus, for example, if an injured letter carrier were permanently transferred to the clerk craft the resulting vacancy in the letter carrier craft would be posted for bid in the clerk craft. Citing a 1985 ruling by Arbitrator Mittenthal, Das upheld NALC's position that the proposed change was inconsistent and in conflict with Articles 13 and 41. He ordered the Postal Service to rescind the proposed ELM changes.