note: Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that APWU members are entitled to retroactive pay for time postmasters or supervisors performed craft duties in excess of limits outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
03/09/2017 – The Postal Service is distributing the final payment of the 1.6.b Global Settlement to over 13,000 active employees and retirees this week. The payment is part of the remedy agreed upon in the Global Settlement reached between the APWU and the USPS on December 5, 2014.
The terms of the settlement include a monetary remedy of $56 million to be distributed to eligible individuals. The bulk of the payment was distributed in the first round. The second and final round is therefore a smaller amount representing approximately 20% of the total payment.
Current USPS employees and retirees can go online to determine the amount they are due to receive on the final round of payments by taking the following actions:
- Log onto www.apwu.org.
- Enter the “Members Only” tab and follow the prompts for the $56 Million 1.6.B Global Remedy Initial Payout Submitted to the USPS.
There is a different process for payment based on whether the recipient is an active employee or a retiree/employee no longer working for the Postal Service.
Active employees should be receiving the final payment of the 1.6.b Global Settlement this week. The Postal Service recently informed the APWU that the payment will be annotated on the bottom of their pay stub with a reference to “SEPT 1998” identifying the payment.
Retirees/employees no longer working for the Postal Service will have their payment sent to their last employing work office location. Individuals should check at the location where they received their initial check payment. Because former employees are receiving a separate check, there may be a gap of a week or two before their check arrives at their former post office.
It is important that retirees alert their Postmaster and/or station manager of a pending check arriving in their name. In the event retirees fail to pick up their check, at some point, they will be returned to the USPS HQ Finance/Payroll Department.
Underpayments or No Payments on Initial Payout
Ninety-Three (93) individuals did not receive the proper amount in the initial/first round of payments. Therefore these individuals will receive monies for their proper share of the first and second rounds combined into this one payment.
The USPS has advised the APWU that they took the position that any employee who was overpaid on the first round payment will have their final round payment adjusted accordingly. As a result of USPS administrative errors, approximately 1,400 employees were overpaid in the first round. The APWU website section where the payments are shown reflects the Postal Service’s position on subtracting overpayments as that number will match the amount that the USPS will be paying the employee.
It is the APWU position that USPS demands for a return of money must be supported by a proper letter of demand notice. Per Article 28, Employer Claims, “In advance of any money demand upon an employee for any reason, the employee must be informed in writing and the demand must include the reasons therefore.” It is also possible for individuals to file a waiver and/or a challenge under the Debt Collection Act.
Any Article 19 Employee Labor Relations Manuals Section 437, Waiver of Claims for Erroneous Payment of Pay and/or Article 28 Letter of Demands should be handled at the local level, in accordance with Article 28.
Active employees and retirees/employees no longer working for the Postal Service can file for waivers, grievances, and make challenges under the Debt Collection Act. Contact your local union representative to file an Article 15, Section 7 grievance, should you need to. (Retirees who have follow-up questions should contact APWU Retirees Director Nancy Olumekor for further guidance).
Questions on Proper Payment
In the event a payee needs further assistance they should contact their local representative. Additional assistance, if needed, should be referred to their respective APWU National Business Agent.
Even though the union received 700 inquiries on the first round of payments, only 94 had errors. In order to process ANY payment inquiries about the proper amount for any recipient, the employee must produced ALL of their paystubs from 2016 to the present date of their inquiry.
The initial round of payments was annotated with the wording “SEPT 1998” on the bottom of the pay stub. The first round initial payments are still on the APWU website, in addition to this round of payments.
Inquiries regarding receipt of payment that eventually arrive at APWU National Office must be directed only to the National Clerk Division.
Gains of the Settlement
The monetary remedy, while large and deserved, is not as great as the new provisions that makes it significantly easier for the APWU to track management performing bargaining unit work in Level 18 offices and also easier to pay employees for such violations. The money will be spent in a short time, while the new provisions will benefit employees on a daily basis for a very long time.
The settlement makes it easier to track management hours and prevent postmasters and supervisors in Level 18 offices from performing Clerk Craft bargaining unit work over the 15 hour permissible limit. Such work is limited to window duties and distribution tasks. Where there are reported violations on the Web Form 1260 that is accessible by local and state presidents on the national website, these representative simply inform the USPS who is to be paid instead of having to file a grievance. It is important to note that per the agreement,
“In the event that both a clerk and a postmaster/supervisor are staffing the window at the same time, all time that the postmaster/supervisor is logged into POS (defined to mean the entire period from start of day to end of day) will be counted as bargaining unit work. The postmaster/supervisor must include this time on the PS Form 1260 as bargaining unit work.”
However, in instances where the 1260 is inaccurate, it is incumbent upon employees to notify their union representative to dispute the Web Form 1260. These challenges must go to the normal Article 15 grievance procedure if unresolved.
“The agreement was the result of decades of hard work by members, stewards, local officers, and national officers. It is a reminder that it takes struggle to make progress,” said Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson.
“Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks deserves many thanks for his lead work in accomplishing the daunting task of getting the Postal Service to finally pay over 13,000 eligible individuals their proper share of the financial remedy,” Burelson continued. “The process would have been much longer without his active involvement. Thanks also to Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lynn Pallas-Barber, Secretary Geoff Knowles, and Mike Barrett for their help in completing the payment project.
“Much thanks also go to the all the current members, stewards, local officers, and national officers who struggle daily to enforce the provisions of the contract,” Burelson said. “It takes enforcement for the contract provisions to have meaning and benefit.”
Click here for more background information on the global settlement.