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Volume 3, No. 17 - Spring 2000
Page 5

Dealing With Repeated Overtime Violations

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The arbitrator rules

In making his award, the arbitrator first considered those arguments that the Postal Service advanced as showing "good cause" for violating the contract. Such arguments were not appropriate, the arbitrator said, because management had already agreed that they had violated the contract without good cause by agreeing to compensate those ODL carriers who had not been assigned the overtime. Therefore, the arbitrator wrote, "It must be presumed that the requisite circumstances for mandating such employees work overtime did not exist in the circumstances."

The arbitrator agreed with the Postal Service that arbitral awards generally should be remedial and not punitive in nature. However, in this case, the arbitrator ruled that the Postal Service should have been able to make assignments without depriving carriers of "their right not to be subject to employment obligations outside their regularly assigned hours." A remedy to compensate these carriers for their loss was therefore appropriate and not inconsistent with other awards made in previous cases.

The arbitrator's award was that the carriers who had been forced to work overtime in violation of the contract would receive one hour of administrative leave with pay for each hour or fraction of an hour of overtime that the carriers had worked. Such leave could be taken at the carriers' option, by providing management with 30 days' advance notice of the days on which they would wish to use the assigned leave.

Similar awards

The arbitrator in the above case cited "remedies already awarded in like circumstances." It is true that several other regional arbitrators have also awarded remedies to carriers who had been forced to work overtime, as well as making whole those carriers on the ODL who had been deprived of overtime. For example, in a decision rendered January 28, 1993 ( C-12889), Regional Arbitrator Mark Lurie determined that every carrier who had been forced to work overtime in violation of the contract should receive $7.00 for each hour of overtime worked.

In another regional case (C-13181), a carrier not on the ODL who had been forced to work overtime in violation of the contract was awarded an additional 50 percent-in this case, four hours pay for overtime work he performed.

Finally, in a series of decisions rendered January 18, 1994 (C-13389 A- D), Regional Arbitrator F. Jay Taylor made clear that persistent and repeated violations of the overtime provisions of the National Agreement would trigger the imposition of "monetary damages." In the first of these four awards (C-13389 A), Arbitrator Taylor upheld the grievance that a carrier had been wrongfully forced to work overtime, but did not award the remedy that the union requested, an additional eight hours, pay. However, Arbitrator Taylor issued a "cease and desist" order to call management's attention to the provisions of the contract that it had violated, and stated that any further violation of those provisions could reasonably lead to another arbitrator assessing a monetary remedy. (The other three cases dealt with different kinds of overtime grievances, including one in which a carrier on the ODL grieved not being awarded overtime. In that case the artbitrator ruled that the carrier should be paid the overtime to which he was justified.)

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