(This article was first reported in the April 2018, Local Newsletter)
Written by: Frank Bollinger, Business Agent of APWU, SJAL #0526
Attack’s On Sick Leave Usage
At the recent District Labor Management Meeting, the DM hit on the sick leave usage in our district. We all know that means they will be looking to discipline people no matter how legitimate your need to have used your earned sick leave. Some things to keep in mind when needing to call out sick:
- Does your need qualify for FMLA? If so, request FMLA and have your doctor fill out the forms. You can contact the office if you do not have access to a computer to download the forms at home.
- Management’s improper classification of AWOL. The ELM states that employees should notify management As Soon As Possible when needing to use sick leave. Some, in local management, seem to think they can set rules as to what that means, such as: 2 hours before your shift, by the start of your shift or other variances. What it means is exactly is what it says though. If you are passed out from an illness or other condition and you call in as soon as you wake up, no matter what time that is; that is as soon as possible. The only times you would really be in violation of that is if you admitted to management that you were up and about and just forgot to call in or similar. If they attempt to AWOL you for any absence, let a Union Rep know immediately.
- Fill out your own 3971’s. Yes, it is easy to just sign whatever 3971 that management hands you but at times some of them get the information wrong or as stated above, even mark you as AWOL. You have a right to fill out your own 3971 on the clock.
- If you are brought in for a PDI related to sick leave usage, as you should with any PDI, have a Union Rep accompany you to represent you. You may think that you can take mental notes or even physical notes during the PDI and maybe pass it along, but we are aware of certain requirements placed upon management during PDI’s. If they do not follow them, it can mitigate any discipline all the way up to the point of having it totally rescinded.
I have recently visited Vineland’s, Bridgeton’s, Mullica Hill’s and Pennsville’s RMPO’s and have more to visit shortly. The reason for these visits was to see if management was adhering to the Goldberg Arbitration on Article 38.2.B. Guess what, none of them were. Grievances have been filed and are making their way through the system on some. Whereas a few understood their responsibilities under the arbitration and the contract and worked things out with us. The one’s that decided not to do so are just basically running a nice little tab that will eventually have to be collected on down the road in the grievance-arb procedure.
Crossing Crafts, PTF’s in 21 and Above, and Management Performing Bargaining Unit Work
There should be virtually no time that an RCA or any carrier should be performing clerk work. This prohibition also includes custodians who are utilized to “help” out with sorting parcels. In offices level 20 and above this also includes management not being permitted to perform clerk work. It is understood that a lot of times the field is short staffed and over-worked, but if you allow this to continue without reporting it to the Union, then you will remain short staffed and over-worked. We have settled numerous times in our local for monetary remedies to the clerks when this happens. Currently as of this writing, there is a grievance in the system seeking almost 400 hours of compensation at the overtime rate for the clerks at one particular office. We cannot file grievances and attempt to correct things unless you let us know, send us a statement when you see it happening.
As for PTF’s in 21 and above, it is becoming rarer, but it is still happening from time to time. We all know the contract has prohibited that for a while now yet it continues. Again, the same as with crafts or management performing clerk work. We feel in most cases it is a direct result of the staffing being shorted through reversions and/or excessing. The only way to correct this is to keep making them pay.