The U.S. Postal Service and National Association of Letter Carriers AFL-CIO announced a new joint dispute resolution process yesterday that marks an unprecedented change in how labor disputes are resolved.
The process was developed by the USPS and the 240,000-member NALC and will replace the current grievance/arbitration procedure. Both groups said the new process is faster, more efficient and places a premium on teaching dispute resolution skills to individuals responsible for grievance handling at the lowest steps of the process. This ensures that disputes are resolved when it is appropriate to do so.
The process was piloted at 19 sites nationwide and reduced the number of cases appealed to arbitration. In its first year, appeals to arbitration were reduced 59 percent.
“This is a historic improvement in the way both parties handle the formal dispute process,” said Anthony J. Vegliante, USPS vice president, labor relations.
“We knew we had to find a better way for employees to resolve disputes,” said Vincent R. Sombrotto, NALC president. “The old system wasn't working.”