The National Office of the NPMHU recently signed a settlement with USPS management concerning the National Reassessment Program (NRP), which is being used by the Postal Service to re-evaluate all limited duty and rehabilitation positions held by mail handlers and other postal employees who have been injured on the job.
Throughout the negotiations, the NPMHU has held the position that the Postal Service’s use of the term “necessary work” in the NRP unduly and unreasonably restricts the types of duties and assignments that must be made available to mail handlers and other employees injured on the job. We are pleased to report that the settlement reached by the National parties deals directly with this issue. In particular, the settlement has three major components:
First, the settlement addresses the NPMHU’s contention that the Postal Service has been using the NRP to implement a new “necessary work” standard for the creation and continuation of limited duty and rehabilitation assignments. The parties have agreed that “[t]he NRP has not redefined or changed the Postal Service’s obligation to provide limited duty or rehabilitation assignments for injured employees.” The parties also have agreed that ELM Section 546 “has not
been amended and remains applicable to all pending grievances.” It is important
to note that ELM Section 546.142 refers repeatedly to “adequate work” and “adequate work available” as the governing standard.
Second, the settlement deals with the Union’s contention that the Postal Service was using the NRP to develop new criteria for assigning limited duty.Again, the parties agreed that “[t]he Postal Service has not developed new criteria for assigning limited duty,” and that “[i]njured employees will continue to be assigned limited duty, in accordance with the requirements of ELM 546 and 5 C.F.R, Part 353.”
Third, the settlement specifically addresses the potential impact of the NRP on employees assigned light duty under Article 13 of the National Agreement. On this issue, the parties agreed that “[e]mployees on existing non-workers’ compensation light duty assignments made pursuant to Article 13 . . . will not normally be displaced solely to make new limited duty or rehabilitation assignments unless required by law or regulation.”
The parties further agreed that all grievances concerning the NRP, which have been held pending the outcome of this National-level dispute, will be processed through the appropriate grievance and arbitration procedure. If you have a question about NRP implementation, you should contact your Local Union representatives.