Fr: Greg Bell, Director
Date: June 1, 2010
Re: Decision of Federal District Court on Address Management System Work
Enclosed you will find a copy of a recent decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia regarding the enforceability of a 2003 award by Arbitrator Snow in which
he ruled that it is a violation of the National Agreement to exclude the Address Management System Specialist (AMS) position, and the disputed work, from the APWU bargaining unit.
(Q94C-4Q-C 98117564, 4/29/2003).
The court rejected APWU’s request for an order enforcing the award’s finding that the AMS Specialists’ work falls within the APWU bargaining unit, and instead ruled that the award
was unenforceable. (Civil Action 04-01404 (HHK), 5/24/2010) The APWU will be appealing this ruling.
A short summary of this case’s history is as follows. In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed a prior decision of D.C.’s lower federal court in which the judge ruled that Snow’s award only reached the issue of placement of the AMS position and not whether the work should be assigned to bargaining unit employees. (It should be noted that after Snow’s award was issued, management filed a petition with the NLRB to overturn the Snow Award. To avoid further delay, the APWU agreed to clarify that the AMS Specialist position
was excluded from the bargaining unit, and the Board issued that clarification. The Union thereafter pursued enforcement of the Snow Award which found that the work performed by
AMS employees was bargaining unit work.) In its decision, the federal appeals court found that the arbitrator clearly determined that excluding “the work” that AMS Specialists perform from the bargaining unit violated the USPS-APWU Agreement. The court then remanded the case to the district court for a ruling on whether that finding was enforceable. The appeals court indicated that “[i]t is not immediately apparent whether the transfer of AMS Specialist duties to the bargaining unit would be an unlawful accretion [addition] under [National Labor Relations] Board precedent.” (550 Fad 27, 12/23/2008)
On remand, the District Court noted first of all that the parties do not dispute the NLRB’s determination that the AMS Specialist position “is outside the bargaining unit.” Then, after
reviewing several NLRB decisions with different outcomes to determine whether transfer of the work of AMS Specialists into the APWU bargaining unit is permissible under Board precedent, the court relied on two decisions in reaching a conclusion that “because the Board has determined that the AMS Specialist position is outside the bargaining unit, the arbitrator’s finding that the work of AMS Specialists is within it is in `explicit conflict’ with `legal precedents. ”
In reaching this conclusion, the court rejected APWU’s argument that another NLRB decision specifically supported finding that placement of the work in the APWU bargaining unit did not amount to “an unlawful accretion [addition] in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.” The District Court held that the Union’s goal was to subject AMS employees to the terms of the National Agreement, which constituted an accretion. The court was wrong as a factual matter — the APWU never sought to include AMS employees in the APWU unit, but rather recover the work for the Clerk Craft. The court misapplied the NLRB precedents it cited to support its ruling. The APWU will be filing an appeal with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
see District Court Case via American Postal Workers Union