B-132790, MAR. 26, 1958

B-132790: Mar 26, 1958

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REQUESTS OUR RECONSIDERATION OF THE CLAIMS OF SEVERAL POSTAL TRANSPORTATION EMPLOYEES WHO WERE FORMERLY ASSIGNED TO THE BILLINGS AND SWEETGRASS RAILWAY POST OFFICE. EACH OF THE CLAIMS WERE DISALLOWED OCTOBER 31. HAD SIGNED A WAIVER OF TIME CREDIT FOR THE LAY-OVER PERIODS WHICH WERE NECESSITATED BY THE CHANGES IN TRAIN SCHEDULES FROM BILLINGS VIA GREAT FALLS TO SWEETGRASS EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 26. THE CLAIMS WERE PERMITTED TO RETAIN THEIR PRIOR CLASSIFICATION. PRIMARILY WHETHER YOU OR THE EMPLOYEES WERE ADEQUATELY INFORMED OR PROPERLY REPRESENTED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCUSSIONS OF THE REORGANIZATION CHANGES. HIS REPORT IS SUMMARIZED BELOW. WHICH WAS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE TENTH DIVISION.

B-132790, MAR. 26, 1958

TO MR. KEITH RADLEY, PRESIDENT, THIRTEENTH DIVISION, N.P.T.A.:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, 1957, REQUESTS OUR RECONSIDERATION OF THE CLAIMS OF SEVERAL POSTAL TRANSPORTATION EMPLOYEES WHO WERE FORMERLY ASSIGNED TO THE BILLINGS AND SWEETGRASS RAILWAY POST OFFICE. ON JULY 27, 1957, YOU FORWARDED TO US THE SEVERAL EMPLOYEES' CLAIMS FOR A RECOMPUTATION OF, AND AN ADJUSTMENT IN, THEIR TIME CREDITS FOR ALL LAYOVER PERIODS WHICH OCCURRED BETWEEN APPROXIMATELY FEBRUARY 25, 1952, AND SEPTEMBER 25, 1955, BECAUSE OF A CHANGE IN THE OPERATING SCHEDULES OF CERTAIN TRAINS OF THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY. EACH OF THE CLAIMS WERE DISALLOWED OCTOBER 31, 1957, ESSENTIALLY UPON THE GROUND THAT EMPLOYEES HAD NO STATUTORY RIGHT TO COMPENSATION FOR THE UNPRODUCTIVE TIME IN QUESTION; MOREOVER, THE EMPLOYEES ON FEBRUARY 8, 1952, HAD SIGNED A WAIVER OF TIME CREDIT FOR THE LAY-OVER PERIODS WHICH WERE NECESSITATED BY THE CHANGES IN TRAIN SCHEDULES FROM BILLINGS VIA GREAT FALLS TO SWEETGRASS EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 26, 1952.

AS INDICATED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF OCTOBER 31, 1957, THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS CITED BY THE CLAIMANTS AS SUPPORTING THEIR CLAIMS DID NOT PRECLUDE A WAIVER OF BENEFITS WHICH MIGHT ARISE THEREUNDER. AS A MATTER OF FACT, BY VIRTUE OF THE WAIVER OF FEBRUARY 8, 1952, THE CLAIMS WERE PERMITTED TO RETAIN THEIR PRIOR CLASSIFICATION, SALARY RATES, AND PLACES OF RESIDENCE, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF LAW THEN IN EFFECT, NAMELY, SECTION 16 (P) OF THE 1945 POSTAL PAY ACT, 39 U.S.C. 866, CLERKS ON ROAD DUTY IN CLASS A RAILWAY POST OFFICES NORMALLY WOULD RECEIVE LESS COMPENSATION THAN THOSE ON CLASS B RUNS. HOWEVER, YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14 IN BEHALF OF THE CLAIMANTS QUESTIONS SOME INCIDENTAL POINTS OF FACT OF THE MATTER; PRIMARILY WHETHER YOU OR THE EMPLOYEES WERE ADEQUATELY INFORMED OR PROPERLY REPRESENTED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCUSSIONS OF THE REORGANIZATION CHANGES, AND WHETHER THE PRIOR REPORT OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT RELATED THE EXACT CHRONOLOGY AND PROCEDURES WHICH LEAD UP TO THE SCHEDULE REVISION OF FEBRUARY 26, 1952. IN VIEW OF SUCH CONTENTIONS, WE REQUESTED THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO REVIEW THE FACTS. HIS REPORT IS SUMMARIZED BELOW.

IT APPEARS THAT ON OR PRIOR TO FEBRUARY 8, 1952, THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT, THIRTEENTH DIVISION, PTS, AND OTHER OFFICIALS AT AN INFORMAL MEETING IN BILLINGS DISCUSSED THE IMPENDING CHANGES OF TRAIN SCHEDULES WITH THE SEVERAL EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO THE BILLINGS AND SWEETGRASS RAILWAY POST OFFICE. HOWEVER, REGARDING THE LATER MEETING IN WILLISTON, NORTH DAKOTA, WHICH WAS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE TENTH DIVISION, PTS, YOUR INVITATION TO THAT MEETING--- WHICH MEETING YOU ATTENDED--- PROPERLY EMANATED FROM THAT OFFICE.

REGARDING THE CHRONOLOGY OF PROCEDURES USED AND WHAT CONSIDERATION WAS GIVEN TO THE REDUCTION OF THE BILLINGS AND SWEETGRASS RAILWAY POST OFFICE FROM CLASS B TO CLASS A, THE REPORTED FACT IS THAT THE POINTS YOU RAISE WERE FACTORS IN THE CASE FROM THE DATE OF THE FIRST DISCUSSION WITH THE EMPLOYEES AFFECTED, PRIOR TO FEBRUARY 8, 1952. YOUR LETTER OF JULY 15, 1952 (A COPY OF WHICH WAS FURNISHED US), REFERS TO THE DEFICIENCY IN THE STUDY SCOPE OR MAIL DISTRIBUTION SCHEME WHICH EXISTED PRIOR TO FEBRUARY 1952. MOREOVER, THE EMPLOYEES IN THEIR LETTER OF JULY 12, 1957, TO YOU--- THE CLAIMS HERE INVOLVED- - SAID SOME OF THEM WOULD HAVE BEEN REDUCED IN GRADE HAD THE RAILWAY POST OFFICE BEEN CHANGED FROM CLASS B TO CLASS A. HENCE, YOUR CONTENTION--- THAT THE MATTER OF DOWN-GRADING OF THE ROAD DUTY WAS NOT DISCUSSED OR CONSIDERED UNTIL AFTER THE FEBRUARY REORGANIZATION--- DOES NOT APPEAR SUBSTANTIATED BY THE RECORD.

AS TO WHETHER FIELD REPRESENTATIVES OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT INCORRECTLY STATED THE FACTS IN THIS CASE TO THE REVIEWING AGENCIES AND WHETHER EMPLOYEE RELATIONS WERE PROPERLY MAINTAINED IN THE AREA, WE CAN ONLY SAY THAT THE RECORDS--- INCLUDING YOUR LETTERS OF AUGUST 8 AND AUGUST 28, 1952, TO MR. R. J. ALEXANDER, GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT, PTS, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON--- DO NOT SUPPORT THE VIEW EXPRESSED BY YOU IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, 1957.

THEREFORE, IN LIGHT OF THE PRESENT RECORD WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE OTHER THAN TO SUSTAIN THE SETTLEMENTS OF OCTOBER 31, 1957, DISALLOWING THE CLAIMS OF THE RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES AFFECTED THEREBY.