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Volume 3, No. 17 - Spring 2000
Page 4

Dealing With Repeated Overtime Violations

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Returning to remedies

Let us assume that an NALC steward is confronted by repeated violations of these overtime provisions without any showing of good cause by management. What seems to be happening is that Postal Service managers seem indifferent to or ignorant of the contract. In such circumstances, NALC representatives must find ways to increase the severity of the consequences for managers committing such contract violations. One such way is to ask for remedies for all carriers affected by the overtime violation, as noted above. In the following case (C-19972), the NALC filed a grievance specifically to obtain remedies for those carriers who were forced to work overtime.

The facts

Evidence presented by the union, and not controverted by the Postal Service, revealed that during Thanksgiving week, management forced 11 letter carriers who were either on the work assignment over- time list or not on either overtime list to work overtime in violation of the National Agreement. The Postal Service agreed to compensate all those carriers on the ODL who did not receive overtime to which they were justly entitled. However, the Postal Service refused to further compensate those carriers who did work overtime. The NALC filed a grievance on behalf of these carriers and that grievance proceeded to arbitration.

NALC arguments

The NALC advocate maintained that asking for a remedy for those carriers who actually worked the overtime was appropriate in this case, as management had repeatedly violated the overtime provisions of the contract. The advocate stated that such an award would deter the Postal Service from similarly violating the contract in the future. Also, the carriers who were forced to work overtime deserved compensation for the loss of their free time.

USPS arguments

For its part, the Postal Service argued that it had already compensated those carriers who did not receive the overtime assignments, and that this compensation was a full and complete remedy for the admitted contract violation. Any additional remedy, the Postal Service advocate stated, would be "inappropriately punitive and an unjust enrichment" for those carriers who actually worked the overtime. Further, a number of circumstances existed at the time which provided "good cause" for the Postal Service to assign overtime to those 11 carriers in violation of the contract.

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