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Volume 2 - Summer 1999
Page 5

The Case Of The "Slow" Letter Carrier

NALC Arguments
The main argument presented by the union advocate was that there was no proof of "unsatisfactory performance." In submitting its disciplinary request to USPS District Relations, the supervisor did not state any specific rule, regulation, policy and/or order that was violated. Rather, the supervisor stated that the grievant was driving too slowly in delivering the mail, had been told he was driving too slowly and continued the same practice even after that instruction.
The NALC advocate pointed out that nowhere in the contract or manuals governing the terms and conditions of letter carrier work is there any reference to a "street standard" that must be met by all carriers. Further, no supervisor is authorized to set such standards.

In this case, the supervisor cited the performance of another carrier, a PTF, who delivered the route in less time than the grievant. However, a regional arbitration decision by Arbitrator Levak (C-5952) stated that comparisons of performance between individual carriers cannot be used as the basis for discipline. Rather, each carrier must be individually evaluated and office and street times for each route should be set according to the performance of the carrier on a specific route.

The union also protested the action of management in continuing to impose discipline before knowing the results of arbitration of previous discipline. If an earlier discipline is thrown out by an arbitrator, as happened with the first letter of warning issued to this grievant, than any record of that disciplinary action should be struck from the grievant's record.

In continuing to pile discipline upon discipline without waiting for the results of each arbitration, postal management clearly indicated that it was not interested in the basic principles of progressive discipline, the union advocate stated. Rather, the intent of these rapid-fire disciplinary actions was to harass and embarrass a veteran carrier who also happens to be a union activist. The current grievance should be sustained.

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