As a steward, at some point, we all will be in the unique situation of dealing with the Postal Inspectors or Office of Inspector General (OIG). As intimidating as it sounds, the contract gives (us the stewards), the right to represent the members once they (the member) enacts their Weingarten Rights. At this point, the grievance procedure starts. As the member has to comply and participate with any investigation of the OIG, the OIG has to follow and comply with the contract once the member requests a shop steward. Below, are some points brought to us by Mike Wright to better inform us on things to be aware about if approached by the OIG or if you’re the representing steward for a member. The first two (2) on the list point out the types of inspectors and for what reasons they would show up at a location.
- Postal Inspectors (PIS), specifically mail theft
- Office of Inspector General (OIG), on-duty narcotics, falsification by employees, OWCP fraud
- OIG must comply with Article 17.3, polygraphs are voluntary
- OIG has no right to influence grievance procedure, management must do an independent review
- Miranda Rights, involves custodial interrogation, advise counsel, try to advise grievant not to speak to you (the steward) on details of the investigation. Steward can be obligated to testify against grievant.
- Garrity Rights, involves non-custodial interrogation, employee cannot be threatened for not choosing between self incrimination or job forfeiture
- Kalkine Rights, non-custodial, employee will not be prosecuted but will have to cooperate even if it means job forfeiture, grants immunity from prosecuted, must be in writing
- Weingarten, non-custodial, employee has a reasonable belief that discipline will be the outcome of the interview, has right to representation, employee must make request for said representation
- OIG, PIS can give false or misleading facts to help get needed information out of an employee
- Employee must make the request for Union representation, management cannot bring a steward to an interrogation. Weingarten, global settlement, whatever information gathered during the said investigation cannot be used.
If you have any further questions about dealing with the PIS/OIG, feel free to request/contact your local steward or call your local business agent.