APWU arbitration award protects workers' political activities

A national arbitrator this week rejected changes the Postal Service made to its leave without pay rules that restricted employees’ ability to participate in political activities.

According to the American Postal Workers Union, the Postal Service changed its leave without pay rules in order to protect its postal managers who were found by the Office of Special Counsel to have mishandled valid employee leave requests of those who sought to participate in a political campaign effort.

The union claimed that USPS employees were subject to discipline and prosecution for how they filled out leave request forms that put the burden of managing LWOP requests on employees, rather than supervisors.

Furthermore USPS made the changes without consulting with APWU first, as it is required to do so contractually.

APWU President Mark Dimondstein said, “[P]rocess matters, and we earn process and have a real voice when we come together, both in bargaining and in politics.”

The award, issued Aug. 6, protects employees’ right to request LWOP to volunteer through their union to participate in political activities on their own time and away from work.

Arbitrators ordered the Postal Service to rescind the changes and immediately put back into place previous rules.

View the full decision here.

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