Labor-Management Unrest at the Salt Lake City Post Office

GGD-83-41: Published: Feb 11, 1983. Publicly Released: Feb 11, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) labor-management relations problems at the Salt Lake City Post Office that may have been created with the implementation of a regional instruction aimed at designating mail processing work for clerk and mail handler craft employees who are members of separate unions; and (2) the timeliness of the grievance-arbitration process to resolve labor-management problems at the post office.

GAO found that there has been a difference of opinion between the union and management regarding the number of mail handlers needed and the assignment of work to them. The union feels that the Postal Service is unconcerned about complaints regarding the designations of craft work assignments which has prompted grievances and has prevented the resolution of other unrelated grievances. GAO believes that management has properly implemented the instruction by reassigning craft employees who were inappropriately assigned. Crossing craft lines is permissible under the contracts between the union and the Postal Service and the instruction. However, the union claims that such activities at the Salt Lake City facility are too frequent to be permissible, and union requests for staffing studies have been denied by local management. GAO believes that the labor-management relations problems will not be solved in a timely manner through the grievance-arbitration process. However, it believes that the following actions could help resolve the continuing differences: (1) the Postal Service should permit the union to conduct a review of the craft assignments to document the inequities it claims exist; (2) the union should only pursue those craft assignment related grievances substantiated by its review; and (3) the district office should pay closer attention to local labor-management relations.

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