National Award Issued in Favor of APWU Motor Vehicle Service Craft
August 14, 2023
On August 1, 2023, Arbitrator Daniel F. Brent transmitted a National Award dated July 21, 2023, to the parties in the Motor Vehicle Craft Jobs MOU case, Case No. Q10C-4Q-C 4256800, finding that the Postal Service violated the MOU by failing to convert 600 Highway Contract Routes to the Postal Vehicle Service.
The dispute stems from the 2010 contract negotiations. At the time, the Postal Service claimed it was in a dire financial situation and was looking for significant economic concessions from the APWU. In return for concessions, the APWU demanded protections on existing work and a commitment from the Postal Service to bring more work “in house” to the bargaining unit.
Each craft negotiated MOUs that created new bargaining unit jobs for work that had been contracted out. In the Motor Vehicle Craft Jobs MOU, this included work coming from HCRs. Specifically, the Motor Vehicle Craft Job MOU said MVS would “assume service on a minimum of 600 PVS routes currently contracted to HCR upon the expiration of each supplier contract,” along with reviewing “approximately 8,000 other existing Transportation Highway Contract Routes.”
Soon after the 2010 contract was signed, the Union and the Postal Service disagreed over what the 600 PVS routes meant. The Postal Service took the position that the contract required it to provide 600 duty assignments made from work contracted out to HCR operators. The APWU disagreed, believing that the bargain was for the Postal Service to insource 600 HCR routes or contracts which was likely to generate at least but probably more than 600 PVS jobs. The APWU initiated a dispute which was arbitrated last year over three days of hearing before Arbitrator Brent.
In his Award, Arbitrator Brent ruled in favor of the APWU, finding that the Union advanced the “more persuasive interpretation” of the term “PVS routes.” Arbitrator Brent observed that describing the HCR insourcing “in terms of number of routes to be converted, rather than number of duty assignments or bargaining unit jobs or driving assignments,” supported the Union’s “assertion that the balance of evidence, particularly the expression of the new obligations to convert 600 existing routes as a minimum and [to] scrutinize thousands of other HCR routes for potential bargaining unit jobs[,] … better explain[ed] and therefore mandate[d] interpreting the reference to ‘PVS routes’ in Section 2 [of the MOU] as sought by the Union.” Given the context of the subcontracting process under Article 32 as well as the rest of MVS Jobs MOU, Arbitrator Brent concluded that the term “PVS routes” could not “be construed as referring only to 600 duty assignments as the Employer contends.” Because the Postal Service failed to insource 600 HCR routes, Arbitrator Brent held that the Postal Service violated the Motor Vehicle Craft Jobs MOU.
Arbitrator Brent remanded the matter back to the Union and the Postal Service to determine an appropriate remedy for the Postal Service’s violation.