States Postal Service and American Postal Workers Union
Fred D. Butler, Arbitrator
The Grievance is granted. Management is to cease and desist from using Mail Handlers and Maintenance Craft employees and any other instructors, other than Driver Instruction/Examiners to provide training to Mail Handlers and Maintenance employees who are qualifying for Tow Tractor and Forklift Operators.
D. BUTLER, Arbitrator
This matter involves local Management's use of Mail
Handlers and Maintenance Craft employees to train other members of their
crafts in the use of Tow Tractor and Fork Lift Operations.
The Union filed a grievance on February 29, 2000
contending that the actions of Management is in violation of the National
Contract because it effectively crosses crafts.
The matter was heard through a Step 3 Grievance and
denied on July 6, 2000. The
matter was then appealed to Arbitration on August 2, 2000.
On November 15, 2002 at Oakland, California, the
following parties appeared before me in an arbitration hearing, pursuant to
the agreement between the United States Postal Service
("Management") and the American Postal Workers Union
Representing Management was Eric Thomas, Manager
Labor Relations. Assisting Mr.
Thomas was Diana Estrada, Labor Relations Representative.
Appearing, as witnesses on behalf of Management were Nathan Griffin,
Sr. Manager, Distribution Operations, Alice De Rouen, Mail Handler,
Equipment Operator and William Neely, Human Resource Associate.
Representing the Union was Frederic Jacobs,
President, Oakland Local. Assisting
Mr. Jacobs as a Technical Rep was James L. Perry, Moter Vehicle Operator
& Shop Steward. Mr. Perry
also appeared as a witness for the Union.
The parties were afforded full opportunity for
examination and cross-examination of witnesses, introduction of relevant
exhibits. The parties
introduced two joint exhibits, J-1, the USPS/APWU Contract for 1998/2000 and
J-2, the moving papers of this action, which consist of 12 pages, numbered
Management introduced one additional exhibit. Namely, M-1, Job Instructions Training Manual, dated September 2001.
The proceedings were tape recorded as an extension
of the Arbitrator's personal notes. The
record was left open to receive additional evidence and Post Hearing Briefs.
In that vein, Management presented along with its Post Hearing Brief
M-2, Page 2. Handbook EL-701A, June 1989 and M-3, Position Description for
Mail Handler Equipment Operator, PS-5.
The Union presented along with its Post Hearing Brief Mail U-1, Copy
of Mail Handler Job Description, MH-04 and U-2, Driver
Instruction/Examination Job Description, PS-06.
The Arbitrator officially closed the hearing on December 6, 2002,
after receipt of all of the evidence and Post Hearing Briefs.
The issue before the Arbitrator is as follows:
Did Management violate Article 19 and 39 of the
National Agreement by allowing Mail Handlers and Maintenance Craft employees
to conduct Tow Tractor Operator and Fork Lift Operator training?
If so, what is the appropriate remedy?
CONTRACT PROVISIONS AND REGULATIONS
relevant contract provisions, in pertinent parts, are outlined below.
2. Employment and Work Assignments
Normally, work in different crafts, occupational groups or levels will not
be combined into one job. . .
parts of all handbooks, manuals and published regulations of the Postal
Service, that directly relate to wages, hours or working conditions, as they
apply to employees covered by the Agreement, shall contain nothing that
conflicts with this Agreement, and shall be continued in effect. . .
. . . 2. Craft Group.
The craft group is composed of those positions for which the Union
has secured recognition at the national level.
Sometime prior to March, 2000, James Perry, Tractor
Trailer operator and Shop Steward for the Union Motor Vehicle Craft attended
a conference where the duties of Driver Instructor/Examiner(DIE) were
discussed. This discussion,
according to Mr. Perry informed him that the DIEs' were not performing their
full duties at the Oakland P & DC.(Testimony of James Perry)
More specifically, he was advised that it was the
DIE's exclusive responsibility to provide training on Forklift and Tow
Tractors Operations. (Testimony of James Perry) These duties are outlined in
the New Employee training Handbook, EL-701 A(JE-2, pg. 6-7) and in the DIE
job description (U-3).
Currently the training for Forklift and Tow Tractor
Operator in the Mail Handler and Maintenance Craft is being done by mail
handler and maintenance craft employees who are serving as On the Job
Instructors (OJI)(JE-2, pg. 3) Two
employees in the maintenance craft, namely Roy Baldwin, Laborers/Custodian,
PS-3 and David Lockerbie, PS-7, Building Equipment Mechanic are being used
in this capacity.
OJI’s are usually “non supervisory craft
employees who are assigned to orient and train new craft employees in
specific skills under the direction of an operating supervisor. . .
Normally, a job instructor trains employees in the same unit to which the
job instructor is assigned. . .”(M-1, pg 12)
The program of utilizing OJI’s in this capacity
has been in existence for more than least twelve years and possibly longer
(Testimony of Alice De Rouen and Nathan Griffin)
Both Ms. Rouen and Mr. Griffin worked as Mail Handlers and handled
Tow-Tractors and Forklifts. Mr.
Griffin states that he was trained by other Mail Handlers, while both he and
Ms. Rouen states that they were trained by the National Council of Training
and were certified as OJIs.
Testimony by a former Driver Instructor confirm
that the DIE’s do not directly train craft employees in the Tow Tractor
and Forklift Operations at this location.
It was reported that the Driver Training/Examiners only provide
oversight for the training, which reportedly is done by OJIs.(Testimony of
William Neely) According to Mr.
Neely, the focus of the training performed by the DIE’s are on “street
Mr. Perry, Shop Steward states that he is not aware
of the OJI program and that the complement of qualified trainers in the
Motor Vehicle Craft has been reduced. Thereby
leaving a shortage of qualified trainers in that craft and by allowing
others to do this work, the DIEs are not being utilized to their fullest
extent.(Testimony of James Perry).
OF THE PARTIES
It is Management’s position that the act of
assigning craft employees to perform on the job instruction to other
same-craft employees is common place within the Postal Service and is not a
violation of the National Agreement.
They maintain that this program has been
institutionalized in Handbook EL-701A, which is part of the ongoing postal
procedures and regulations. They
also maintain that the Union is well aware of this program, even though the
Shop Steward, Mr. Perry claims that he is not.
Management maintains that the Union presented no
evidence to demonstrate or suggest that craft employees, i.e. mail handler
and maintenance employees cannot provide training in tow tractor and/or
forklift operations. Therefore
there was no evidence of presented about crossing crafts.
Management submits as support for its position the
following: USPS & APWU, Case No H98C-1H-C-00052475 (2002) James J.
Odom, jr., Arbitrator.
The Union contends that Management continues to
violate the National Agreement by requiring Maintenance and Mail Handler to
provide the training to Tow Tractor and Forklift Operators in the
Maintenance and Mail Handler Crafts.
This, they maintain represents a clear case of
crossing crafts. They believe
that a clear reading of the duties of the DIEs as outlined in Handbook
EL-701A, January 1993 and the job description of the DIE, are evidence that
the individuals in those classifications are the only ones who provide this
level of training. That to allow others to do so results in a clear violation of
The Union submits the following in support of its
position, USPS & APWU, Case No. C90V-1C-C 94052112 (2000) Randall M.
Management has a history of utilizing craft employees to provide on the job training to other employees within their crafts. This apparent use of craft personnel, in particular Mail Handlers is demonstrated in Case No. C90V-1C-C 94052112, which was presented by the Union.
In that case the Postal Service agreed that
training of Mail Handler Operators in the use of powered industrial
equipment, belonged to the DIE job classification.
The Decision in that matter also makes mention of a National
Settlement dated January 24, 1994 which appears to have retained this work
within the Motor Vehicle Craft and more specifically as part of the DIE job
In the case before this Arbitrator, the job
description of the DIEs appears to be all inclusive and states that the DIEs
Provides classroom instruction courses, instructs, conducts end-of course
training test for qualifications, driver improvement and conducts refresher
training courses for drivers. (See U-2)
Handler job description, PS 4 or 5 does not mention the duties of training
at all. Job descriptions for
Custodian and Maintenance Mechanic were not submitted.
However because these are the positions in controversy from the
standpoint of the APWU, it is presumed that training duties are not included
in those job duties.
At first impression this would appear to end the
inquiry into this matter and one would be inclined to determine that there
was indeed a crossing of crafts. While
it is determined that the DIE’s are charged with the responsibility to
provide this type of training to employees, this matter requires further
The OJI program is incorporated into the Postal
Service Operations and it is presumed to provide additional assistance to
newly appointed employees who begin their career.
The Job Instructor Responsibility is to orient and train craft
employees in designated topics and skills. (See EL-701A)
Management presented the Job Instructor Training
Participant as evidence that the OJI program includes training crafts and
the Workbook gives examples on page 16 which includes “Forklift
Training”. However it is
difficult for this Arbitrator to understand how craft employees who are not
directly responsible for formal trainings to qualify and certify employees
in a particular craft.
A further review of this section of the workbook reveals that it only outlines the type of NET & Craft Skills training that the new employee should receive. This includes for example “Scheme Training, Forklift Training and On the Job Training.”
This section does not however indicate that the
individual job instructor is responsible for those types of training.
In fact at the bottom of the page, in bold letters the reader is
advised “You should know what is covered in the training that precedes
your on-the-job instructions. If you don’t contact your PEDC."
If one were to accept Management's position in this
matter, then OJIs' could presumably provide "Scheme" and
"Window Training" and the certification that follows.
These specialized trainings and the subsequent qualifying test that
follow are provided in a organized course setting and the participants,
according to this Arbitrator’s knowledge, must qualify by successfully
completing and passing the course prior to being permanently appointed to
these positions. The same
should apply to Tow-Tractor Operators and Forklift Operators, if it does not
In reviewing the New Employee Training outline
which was introduced as JE-2, pgs 6 & 7 , that document states that the
DIE training to be provided for Tow Tractor Operator is to be provided
“Before Assignment to Job.”
It is assumed then that where the operation of
powered industrial equipment is part of the job duties, the individuals
applying for these positions would receive the level of training necessary
to be competent in this job. That
means being trained by staff who have as part of their responsibilities the
duties of training. In
this case the DIEs’.
In order to ensure that the staff would be trained
properly Management would be wise to immediately reestablish the formal
training program for Tow Tractor and Forklift Operators as provided in the
Employee Training Handbook. This
training, as required by the Handbook and the Agreement mentioned in Case
No. C90V-1C-C 94052112 is to be conducted by the Moter Vehicle Craft and
more specifically by Driver Instructor/Examiners.
Any training provided by the OJI’s is
supplemental to the formal training provided by the DIE’s once the
employee has qualified and after passing all of the required test and
examinations and has been appointed to the position.
This "supplemental" on the job training was never meant to
substitute or supplant the training as outlined in the New Employee Training
This type of "supplemental" on the job
training by co-workers would appear to enhance the skills of those who have
already qualified and enable them to receive information from those who are
more experienced and who can share day to day experiences about the nuances
and other issues that arise outside of the formal training experience.
It is therefore determined that this type of supplemental training does not represent a violation of the national Agreement and does not involve crossing crafts.
However in this case Management acknowledges that
the DIEs' are no longer providing training in this area because as Mr. Neely
suggest it is not a priority. It
appears then that the only training being provided to the Tow Tractor and
Forklift Operators is the training being performed by the craft OJIs and
according to Mr. Neely, as a
substitute for the required formal training.
For all the reasons outlined above, this is a violation of Article 7
and Article 39.
the Grievance is Granted.
Management is Ordered to cease and desist from using Mail Handlers and
Maintenance Craft employees and any other instructors, other than Driver
Instruction/Examiners to provide training to Mail Handlers and Maintenance
employees who are qualifying for
Tow Tractor and Forklift Operators.
There was no evidence that would indicate the DIE's lost time because of
this lack of work, therefore monetary damages are inappropriate at this time.