May 2018 Update
Some Members have expressed frustration with the amount of time it takes to resolve issues in the grievance procedure. Moreover, there seems to be an impression among many Mail Handlers that their supervisors should actually be resolving their grievances. These Mail Handlers have had their contractual rights violated, their supervisor acknowledges the violation, and then their supervisor denies the grievance. Shouldn’t their supervisor be resolving their grievance? Yes, they should. In fact, the objective of the grievance – arbitration procedure is to resolve issues at the lowest possible step.
Article 15 of the National Agreement is titled “Grievance – Arbitration Procedure” and it’s our contractual mechanism for resolving the disputes which arise in the workplace. This procedure contains several levels that begin with the Grievant, the Steward, and the supervisor, at “Step 1.” Step 1 is informal and occurs within 14 days of the contractual violation. Your Steward researches the grievance by submitting an information request, collecting statements, and assembling all the necessary materials prior to the Step 1 meeting. The supervisor may provide a decision at the Step 1 meeting or may take up to 5 days to make their decision.
Step 1 should be the level at which the grievance is most easily resolved. It is the level where people are directly involved with the issues and thoroughly familiar with the facts. To be sure, an overtime by-pass doesn’t occur at an office where the Step 2’s are heard or in another State where they meet at Step 3.
So, why then doesn’t the supervisor resolve the grievance? That’s a good question. In some facilities Step 1 works quite well, while in others it may be rather dysfunctional. Unfortunately, we cannot control management’s commitment to their obligations at the Step 1 of the grievance procedure. We can only process our grievances to the next level.