News & information

Two national-level arbitration cases decided

C-31979: National Arbitrator Shyam Das issued an award on July 2, 2015, upholding the Postal Service’s position that former City Carrier Assistants must complete a 90-day qualifying period following their conversion to career status before they may be credited with or take annual leave.

The Award interprets section 512.313(a) of the ELM, which provides that “new employees are not credited with and may not take annual leave until they complete 90 days of continuous employment under one or more appointments without a break in service.”

The arbitrator rejected NALC’s argument that this requirement should not be applied to newly converted CCAs since they are not “new employees” and concluded that the ELM language that restricts the use of annual leave for 90 days applies to new “career employees,” which includes CCAs. C-31979



C-31980: National Arbitrator Dennis Nolan issued an award on June 29, 2015, denying NALC’s position that Section 126.3 of the M-39 Handbook is enforceable under Article 19 of the National Agreement.

NALC had contended that Section 126.3 requires management to schedule in advance replacements for those carriers who it knows will be absent on a given day. However, the arbitrator disagreed, finding that this section is only “an instruction to supervisors to complete a particular form, described as a ‘Unit Daily Record,’ several days in advance.”

The arbitrator concluded that these instructions on the proper use of a form do not “assign or guarantee employees any hours.” Accordingly, the form does not “directly relate to wages, hours, and working conditions” as required by Article 19.

Although the award only addresses M-39 Section 126.3, Arbitrator Nolan’s opinion discusses criteria for determining when handbook and manual provisions are enforceable under Article 19. Nolan’s analysis should prove helpful to NALC stewards, branch officers, and arbitration advocates when preparing and presenting Article 19 grievances. C-31980