Greg Bell, Director

Industrial Relations
1300 l Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 842-4273 (Office)
(202) 371-0992 (Fax)
National Executive Board
William Burrus
President
Cliff ··c. J: Guffey
Executive Vice President
Terry Stapleton
Secretary-Treasurer
Greg Bell
Industrial Relations Director
James "Jim" McCarthy
Director, Clerk Division
Steven G. "Steve .. Raymer
Director, Maintenance Division
Robert C. "Bob" Pritchard
Director, MVS Division
Sharyn M. Stone
Central Region Coordinator
Mike Gallagher
Eastern Region Coordinator
El1zabeth "Liz'" Powell
Northeast Region Coordinator
William "Bill" Sulllvan
Southern Region Coordinator
Omar M. Gonzalez
Western Reg1on Coordinator
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
J 300 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
Appeal to Arbitration, National Dispute
VIA FACSIMILE AND REGULAR MAIL
Mr. Doug Tulino
Vice President, Labor Relations
U.S. Postal Service, Room 9014
475 L'Enfant Plaza
Washington, D.C. 20260
April 11, 2008
Re: USPS Dispute No. QOOC4QC07078116, APWU No. HQTG20071,
Limitation on the Reassignment of a Recovered Employee to the Local
Commuting Area
Dear Mr. Tulino:
Please be advised that pursuant to Article 15, Sections 2 and 4, ofthe Collective
Bargaining Agreement, the APWU is appealing the above referenced dispute to
arbitration.
USPS#: QOOC4QC07078116
APWU #: HQTG20071
cc: Resident Officers
Industrial Relations
File
GB/ee
Sincerely,
dJ ;'I () (?'
/J!L'tt J J . t ~ / '
Greg ell, Director
Indu trial Relations
Case Officer: Sue Carney
Step 4 Appeal Date: 211/2007
Contract Article(s): ELM, Reassignment of
Employees Injured on Duty;
Susan M. Carney
Human Relations Director
(202) 842-4270 (Office)
(202)2!6-2634 (Fax)
National Executive Board
William Burrus
President
Greg Sell
Industrial Relations Director
James "Jlm" fv1cCanhy
Dm.:ctor. Oerk Division
Steven G ')te\.·e·· Raymer
Director. Maintenance Division
Rubert C. ··sob·· Pritchard
Director. MVS DIVision
M Sronf'
Reoion Coofcl<ndt<.H
Jim BurkP
Eastern ReQion Coo1 dinato:
nzabeth Powell
Region Coorc!:n0tor
William "B:Ir Suthvan
( oordinRtor
OmJr M. Gonzalez
\.t'este(n Region ( oordin?.tor
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
1300 L Street. NW, Washington, DC 20005
Article 15 - 15 Day Statement of Issues and Facts
Via Facsimile and First Class Mail
Mary Hercules
Labor Relations Specialist
U.S. Postal Service, Room 9142
475 L'Enfant Plaza
Washington, D.C. 20260-4125
March 31, 2008
Re: APWU No.HQTG20071, USPS No. QOOC4QC07078116
Dear Ms. Hercules:
Meetings on the above referenced dispute were held between the parties in accordance
with Article 15 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Article 15, Section 2 (Step 4)
provides that if the parties fail to reach an agreement, then within 15 days of their
meeting each party shall provide the other with a statement in writing of its
understanding of the issues involved, and the facts giving rise to the dispute.
The following is the APWU's statement of issues and facts concerning this dispute:
It is the position of the APWU, without prejudice to our position regarding the Postal
Service "National Reassessment Process", that the assignment of an employee with an
accepted workplace injury who has partially recovered more than one year from the
date that eligibility for compensation begins should not be limited to the local
commuting area. The availability of such assignments should be assessed agency wide;
There is no disagreement that 5 CFR 353.301(d) requires the Postal Service to make
every effort to restore a partially recovered employee to a medically suitable job in the
!oca! commuting area. HC\"Jever, this regulatory language establishes the minimum
action that the Postal Service is required to take;
The Postal Service has promulgated Article 19 handbook and manual language which
establishes a binding obligation which exceeds the minimum required by federal
regulation. In Chapter 546.142 of the ELM, the Postal Service establishes a policy which
exceeds the minimum requirement set forth in 5 CFR 353.301(d). Also, unlike the cited
CFR language, the Postal Service policy makes no distinction between employees who
have partially recovered within one year and those whose partial recovery has taken
more than one year;
The cited ELM language obligates the Postal Service to "make every effort" to assign
partially recovered employees to jobs which are consistent with their medically defined
work limitation tolerances. There is no language which limits the required "effort" to
specific geographic areas. Furthermore, the Postal Service clearly anticipates that their
effort to find medically suitable work can extend beyond the work facility to which the
employee was regularly assigned. The only geographic limitation established by this
ELM language is that such out-of-facility assignments must be as close as possible to
the original work facility. There is no language which limits such assignments only to
the local commuting area;
Also, the language of ELM 546.12 obligates the Postal Service to minimize any adverse
or disruptive impact on the employees who are experiencing this reassignment process.
By unilaterally applying a standard ("commuting area") that necessarily limits the area
of the reassignment effort, the Postal Service has not only failed to minimize any
adverse or disruptive impact on the employee, but has actually created the potential for
such impact. If this new standard causes the Postal Service to be unable to find
medically suitable work, employees will experience further negative impact as a result
of the eventual loss of their Postal Service employment.
Please contact me if you wish to discuss this matter.
APWU #: HQTG20071
USPS#: QOOC4QC07078116
cc Industrial Relations
SCI eae
Sincerely,
~ ~ ?
_ ... · · ~ s a n M. Carney
" Case Officer
Dispute Date: February 1, 2007
Contract Articles: 5; 15; 19; ELM 546,
Reassignment of Partially Recovered
Employees
lABOR RElATIONS
d UNITED STI.lTES
POSTI.lL SERVICE
March 31 , 2008
Ms. Susan Carney
Director, Human Resources
American Postal Workers Union,
AFL-CIO
1300 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4128
Dear Sue:
CERTIFIED MAIL NUMBER:
7001 2510 0008 2205 6197
Re: Q06C-4Q-C 07078116
Washington, DC 20260-4100
We met on a several occasions to discuss the above-captioned dispute which is pending at the
fourth step of our grievance/arbitration procedures. Since the parties have been unable to resolve
this matter, in accordance with Article 15.2.Step 4, this constitutes the Postal Service's
understanding of the issues involved and the facts giving rise to the interpretive dispute.
The background information is as follows:
On or about December 6, 2006, the Postal Service implemented Phase 1 of the National
Reassessment Process (NRP) as a means to ensure that Limited Duty and Rehabilitation
employees [1] have current and appropriate medical documentation on file; (21 have a current
modified assignment/position that is appropriate within their medical restrictions; [3] are
performing tasks assigned on the Limited Duty assignment/Rehabilitation assignment offer; and
[4] have a Form 50 properly coded reflecting a rehabilitation position, as appropriate.
By letter dated May 5, 2006, the APWU inquired about, among other things, the Postal Service's
position regarding the area of consideration under its obligation to seek reassignment for an
injured employee who partially recovers more than one year from the date of a compensable
injury.
By letter dated July 26, 2006, the Postal Service responded by stating, in pertinent part:
[Office of Personnel Management] OPM's restoration regulations specifically state that
the Postal Service "must make every effort to restore in the local commuting area,
according to the circumstances in each case, an individual who has partially recovered
from a compensable injury and who is able to return to limited duty." This section's
language is mandatory and not permissive.
By letter dated February 1, 2007, the APWU initiated the instant dispute.
The interpretive issue presented is as follows:
Whether there is a violation of the National Agreement when under the NRP, the Postal Service
limits the area of consideration to the local commuting area when restoring a partially recovered
employee to limited duty.
Position of the Parties:
It is the APWU's position that while there is no disagreement regarding OPM's regulations to
assign partially recovered employees limited duty within their local commuting area; those
regulations do not preclude the Postal Service from promulgating rules that exceed this
475 L'EHFANT PLAZA sw
W•SH'NGTON DC 20260-41 00
IJIAVvV.USFS.COM
-2-
requirement. In support of this assertion, the APWU looks to ELM§ 541.142. Per the APWU,
ELM § 541.142 does not limit the restoration effort to specific geographic areas. Rather, the
union characterizes this ELM section to only require out-of-facility reassignments to be "as close
as possible to the original work facility" without limitation to the local commuting area.
The Postal Service disagrees. First, ELM§ 541.142 is consistent with OPM's regulations for
restoring partially recovered employees to limited duty. Per this ELM provision, when assigning
partially recovered employees to limited duty assignments, ELM § 541.142a states that the Postal
Service should minimize any adverse or disruptive impact on employees. /emphasis added/
Moreover, in pertinent part, the last of the required considerations outlined at paragraph "a(4 )"
states:
An employee may be assigned limited duty outside the work facility to which the
employee is normally assigned only if there is not adequate work available within the
employee's work limitation tolerances at the employee's facility. In such instances, every
effort must be made to assign the employee to work within the employee's craft within the
employee's regular schedule and as near as possible to the regular work facility to
which the employee is normally assigned. !emphasis added/
Second, OPM's restoration regulations do not allow the Postal Service to unilaterally extend a
search for limited duty beyond the employee's local commuting area. The local commuting area is
defined as only including locations considered reasonable for an employee to travel to and from,
on a daily basis for work. Anything beyond this reasonable commute standard violates this
particular restoration regulation that requires the Postal Service to make every effort to restore
the employee within the local commuting area.
Further, in addition to being in compliance with OPM's restoration regulations for partially
recovered employees, it is the Postal Service's position that limiting the reassignment effort to the
local commuting area, satisfies the above-cited requirements [1] to minimize any adverse or
disruptive impact on employees; and [2] to reassign as near as possible to the regular work
facility. To suggest, as the APWU does, that it is less adverse and disruptive for employees to be
relocated beyond the local commuting area of one's regular workplace and potentially reassigned
anywhere within the United States or "agency wide" (without the employee's explicit consent),
rather than the potential of being ultimately referred for participation in the Office of Workers'
Compensation Programs (OWCP) Vocational Rehabilitation program, appears to be incredible
and a stretch of the reasonable person's imagination.
For the foregoing reasons, there is no contract violation for the Postal Service to generally limit
the area of consideration for restoring partially recovered employees to the local commuting area
rather than agency-wide (with some exceptions as provided by law).
Step 4 time limits were waived by mutual consent with the agreement to exchange the 15-day
position statements no later than March 31, 2008.
1300 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
Greg Bell, Director
Initiate National Dispute
Industrial Relations
1300 L Street, NW
u r b e F a 1, 2007
Washington, DC 20005
February
(202) 842-4273 ( Office)
(202) 371 -0992 ( Fax)
VIA FACSIMILE AND REGULAR MAIL
National Executive Board
Mr. Doug Tulino
William Burrus
President Vice President, Labor Relations
Cliff "CJ.' Guffey U.S. Postal Service, Room 9014
Executive Vice President
475 L'Enfant Plaza
Terry R. Stapleton
Secretary-Treasurer Washington, D.C. 20260
Greg Bell
Industrial Relations Director
Re: APWU No. HQTG20071, Reassignment of a Partially Recovered
James Jim" McCarthy
Director, Clerk Division Employee Limited to Local Commuting Area
Steven G. "Steve" Raymer
Director, Maintenance Division
Dear Mr. Tulino:
Robert C. "Bob" Pritchard
Director, MVS Division
In accordance with the provisions of Article 15, Section 2 and 4, of the
Collective Bargaining Agreement, the American Postal Workers Union is
Regional Coordinators
initiating a Step 4 dispute.
Sharyn M. Stone
Central Region
Jim Burke
The issues and facts involved in this dispute are as follows:
Eastern Region
Elizabeth "Liz" Powell
Northeast Region
On May 5, 2006, Ms. Susan Carney, APWU Human Relations Director, wrote
William E. Bill Sullivan
to the Postal Service expressing our belief that the reassignment of an injured
Southern Region
Postal Service employee who partially recovers more than one year from the
Omar M. Gonzalez
Western Region
date eligibility for compensation begins should not be limited to the local
commuting area. Such reassignment should also be made available agency wide.
On July 26, 2006, the Postal Service responded stating that OPM's restoration
regulations specifically state that the Postal Service "must make every effort to
restore in the local commuting area, according to the circumstances in each case,
an individual who has partially recovered from a compensable injury and who is
able to return to limited duty." It was further stated that the Postal Service
considers this regulatory language to be mandatory and not permissive.
There is no disagreement that 5 CFR 353.301(d) requires the Postal Service to
make every effort to restore a partially recovered employee to a medically
suitable job in the local commuting area. This regulatory language establishes
the action that the Postal Service, at a minimum, is required to take.
It is the position of the APWU, without prejudice to our position regarding the Postal Service
"Reassessment Process," that the Postal Service has promulgated Article 19 handbook and
manual language which establishes a binding obligation which exceeds the minimum required by
federal regulation. In Chapter 546.142 of the ELM, the Postal Service establishes a policy which
exceeds the requirements set forth in 5 CFR 353.301(d). Also, unlike the cited CFR language,
the Postal Service policy makes no distinction between employees who have partially recovered
within one year and those whose partial recovery took more than one year.
The cited ELM language obligates the Postal Service to "make every effort" to assign partially
recovered employees to jobs which are consistent with their medically defined work limitation
tolerances. There is no language which limits the required "effort" to specific geographic areas.
Furthermore, the Postal Service clearly anticipates that their effort to find medically suitable
work can extend beyond the work facility to which the employee was regularly assigned. The
only geographic limitation established by this ELM language is that such out-of- facility
assignments must be as close as possible to the original work facility. There is no language
which limits such assignments to the local commuting area.
Also, the language of ELM 546.142 obligates the Postal Service to minimize any adverse or
disruptive impact on the employees who are experiencing this reassignment process. By
unilaterally applying a standard ("commuting area") that necessarily limits the area of the
reassignment effort, the Postal Service has not only failed to minimize any adverse or disruptive
impact on the employee, but has actually created the potential for such impact. If this new
standard causes the Postal Service to be unable to find a medically suitable assignment, the
employee will experience further negative impacts as a result of the eventual loss of their Postal
Service employment.
Please contact Sue Carney, case officer, to discuss this dispute at a mutually scheduled time.
Sincerely,
2r
^^
Greg B , Director
Indust 'al Relations
APWU #: HQTG20071 Case Officer: Sue Carney
Dispute Date: 2/1/2007 Contract Article(s): 5; 15; 19; ELM 546,
Reassignment of Pa rtially Recovered
Employees
cc: Resident Officers
File

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