The National and Local APWU Unions have jointly filed suit against USPS to stop closure of Philadelphia Logistics and Distribution Center . Below are excerpts of the dispute:
In this case, the Unions have filed a grievance challenging the decision by the Postal Service to terminate operations at the Facility, located in Swedesboro, New Jersey
and return the building to its landlord, Liberty Partners Trust, by the March 31, 2010, the effect of requiring the reassignment of several hundred employees who have been working at the Facility, such transfers to become effective on February 13,2010. Affected employees are subject to reassignment to different types of work and to work that is up to 500 miles from Swedesboro, New Jersey. The Unions assert that the Postal Service is required by both the National Agreement and by federal law to conduct a study, called an Area Mail Processing study, (“AMP”) to determine whether it is in the interests of the Postal Service, and in the public interest, to terminate operations in Swedesboro. The Postal Service claims that it has a right to cease operations at the Facility without performing an Area Mail Processing study.
In this suit, the Union is asking the Court to order the Postal Service to maintain the status quo until an arbitrator can resolve the parties’ dispute over the need for an Area Mail Processing study. The Union is seeking to expedite the processing of its grievance in this case so that it can be arbitrated at the earliest possible date — as soon as there is an arbitrator from the parties’ arbitration panel available to hear it.
Despite the Unions’ efforts to resolve this dispute without litigation, and despite the Unions’ efforts to expedite the arbitration of the grievance in this case, the Postal
Service intends to begin what is called the excessing of employees which will require the employees represented by the Unions to move as far as 500 miles from Swedesboro to find other positions. Employees will be notified on January 4, 2010 as to the positions where they might seek continued employment with the Postal Service and all clerks will be gone from the Facility by February 13,2010.’ The Union is seeking an order requiring the Postal Service to arbitrate the grievance of the Postal Service’s returning the Facility to the landlord compelling the disruption of the lives of the employer.
The gravamen of the complaint in this case is that the Postal Service has decided to cease operations of the Facility in Swedesboro, without conducting an Area Mail
Processing Study to determine whether that action would be beneficial to the Postal Service and consistent with the public interest and the parties’ agreement. As explained in more detail herein (see pp.l3-15, infra.), the National Agreement very clearly requires that an Area Mail Processing study be conducted before such a move is made.
Furthermore, the actions of the Postal Service in this case also have violated and, if not enjoined by the Court, will further violate an express mandate from Congress stated in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of2006 (“PAEA”), Pub. L. 109-435, 120 Stat. 3219 (2006).
The Postal Service does not contend that it has complied with the AMP study requirement but rather maintains that it is not required to comply with that requirement in
The Union will show
• that the Postal Service is clearly required to comply with the AMP requirement, and the APWU is very likely to succeed on the merits of its grievance;
• that if the Postal Service excesses the employees, terminates operation of the Facility and returns the Facility to the landlord, before this dispute is arbitrated and decided, the Union’s right to arbitration will be made meaningless and any victory rendered hallow by virtue of the fact that the landlord – which was and remains perfectly willing to continue its lease with the Postal Service – will lease instead to another tenant, after March 31,2010;
• that the Postal Service has expressly promised to adhere to handbooks, including the handbook it is violating in this instance;
• that the Postal Service’s actions in this case have been in violation of federal law and public policy; and
• that the balance of equities is in the Unions’ favor.
The Union’s Step 2 Appeal is requesting that each affected employee be granted a monetary award of $81,695.20