Workplace issues

NALC Arbitration

NALC Arbitration Program

The NALC arbitration database is for members interested in contractual research. The database contains over 36,000 awards from national and regional level arbitration which members can download in PDF format. Using the database, members are quickly able to locate and read arbitration awards pertinent to the subject which they are researching.

This arbitration program can be accessed by authorized users through the Members Only section of To obtain access to the NALC arbitration program contact your national business agent.

National arbitration awards of interest

C-33442, National Arbitrator Goldberg, August 6, 2018

Leave without pay (LWOP) and the Hatch Act

In an award issued on August 6, 2018, national arbitrator Stephen Goldberg vacated the Postal Service’s unilateral changes to certain provisions of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM). The Postal Service made revisions to Exhibit 514.4 of the ELM and PS Form 3971, Request for or Notification of Absence that would exclude partisan political activity as a reason for union leave without pay. These changes would have restricted employees’ right to take union leave without pay (LWOP) to participate in partisan political campaigns. The decision sustained a national level grievance brought by the APWU.  NALC had also challenged the ELM changes and intervened in the case in support of APWU’s position. 

Under the federal Hatch Act, letter carriers generally have the legal right to participate in partisan political campaigns so long as they are not on the clock, off postal property, and out of uniform. The ELM changes at issue would have prevented employees from requesting LWOP for union business for the purpose of engaging in such lawful activity.

Arbitrator Goldberg concluded “the Postal Service must rescind the changes to the ELM, Exhibit 514.4 and PS Form 3971, and make whole any employees disciplined or whose LWOP requests were denied because they indicated they were requesting “union official” LWOP to engage in partisan political activity. Any further efforts by the Postal Service to change ELM Exhibit 514.4 or PS Form 3971 must comply with Articles 5, 10.2, and 19."

C-32928, National Arbitrator Das, June 21, 2017

Arbitrator Das held that “the Unions’ position that the policy set forth in ELM-519.321 applies to Presidential caucuses is upheld. The NALC’s grievance that the Postal Service violated the ELM by denying administrative leave to letter carriers to attend the 2016 Nevada Democratic caucuses is granted.”

C-31979, National Arbitrator Das, July 2, 2015

Arbitrator Das held that newly converted CCAs are “new employees” who, under the ELM, must complete 90 days of service before they may take or be credited with annual leave.

C-31980, National Arbitrator Nolan, June 29, 2015

Arbitrator Nolan concluded that M-39 Handbook Section 126.3 does not “directly relate to wages, hours, and working conditions” under National Agreement Article 19.

C-30249, National Arbitrator Goldberg, August 1, 2012

Layoff protection for clerks excessed into our craft

Arbitrator Goldberg accepted the NALC’s position when he ruled that the Layoff Protection memorandum of understanding between USPS and APWU does not continue to apply to an employee who was covered by that MOU when they are transferred into another bargaining unit.

C-31171, National Arbitrator Nolan, Feb. 16, 2014

Only full-time employees may be reassigned to full-time carrier positions

The issue in this case was whether USPS could transfer NTFT (Non-Traditional Full-Time) clerks into full-time carrier assignments. Arbitrator Nolan ruled the Postal Service may not reassign into a full-time carrier position any clerk craft employee who does not meet the definition of full-time employee specified in the Postal Service’s Agreement with the NALC.

C-31339, National Arbitrator Goldberg, June 24, 2014

Reassigned employees must meet minimum qualifications

In an APWU arbitration where NALC intervened, Arbitrator Goldberg upheld NALC’s position and awarded: "When the Postal Service intends to reassign an excessed employee to a position across craft lines under the provisions of Article 12, it must determine, prior to the actual reassignment, that the employee meets the minimum qualifications for that position, including the physical requirements.”