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Well, we’ve been under this “new” process for about 3 years now and we wonder how this new way of handling grievances has panned out. During April 8, 9, and 10, 2003, management and union representatives met at the Union Hall for DRP training and an update to how well this process has worked, or not worked. Let’s examine some of the information passed down to us from our Step B team.

According to statistics compiled by the Step B Dispute Resolution Team there have been 786 total grievances filed in the Central Fl. District.

Of those 786 grievances:

- 61 were impassed = 8%
- 19 were held pending national settlements = 2%
- 38 were remanded back to the Formal A step = 5%
- 668 were resolved = 85%
Many of those remanded back were resolved so the actual percentage of resolved grievances is close to 90%.

Now that we see many are resolved, did we like all the decisions that came down? Of course not! We are never happy when the decision goes against us, however, the fact remains that the grievances were settled with the facts presented to them. We must take our lumps along with our satisfaction of “winning” a few of them!

One point that was mentioned and was quite impressive, by our former branch pres., and now our Union Step B Rep., was that prior to implementation of the DRP there were 10,000 backlogged grievances waiting national arbitration. Since the DRP, that backlog has dropped to 1,000. The quicker decisions from the Step B Team, which are precedent setting, and the use of the Joint Contract Administration Manual at the informal and formal levels, have expedited grievance settlements at the lower levels, opening up, and easing the workload at the higher levels. The monetary savings are extraordinary. A national arbitrator is paid $1,000, plus expenses and per diem, to arbitrate one of our grievances. They do not come cheap. When you add all the time the steward, grievant, and supervision, has put into a grievance, from the informal and formal levels, the Step B time, the NBA’s office time, the arbitrator, and all the expenses peripheral to the investigation of grievances, copying documents, phone calls, faxes, etc., one can see that this can add up to a huge amount to go to the national level. Just in the Central Fl. area alone we saved 3.2 million dollars through this DRP. This is a huge savings, considering that the USPS is barely able to stay afloat. Consider the savings throughout the country and the savings is staggering. Remember, if the USPS goes belly up, so do our jobs, so this kind of savings is good for all employees.

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Has the Dispute Resolution Process been good for the Union? I think it has. I believe it gives the Steward a good advantage, there are no surprises thrown at you during the process, as everything must be out on the table, and it provides a quick resolution to the problem. The Step B Team pointed out that with all the cases, averaged out, that it took only 5.51 days to come to a decision on a grievance sent up to Step B. This is MUCH faster than the old process. There are probably retirees still waiting on a decision on a grievance they filed as a PTF in the old process! So, in this Steward’s opinion, the DRP is a friend to Br. 1091 and its stewards. It is much faster and more efficient than the old process. And the most important aspect…it is the only process we have right now! So I am glad it has proven itself.

As a Union member you have a right to grieve any situation in which you may have been harmed or wronged. Contact your steward to see if a violation has occurred. If it has, then file. Never be intimidated not to file a grievance by anyone. This is your right and the right thing to do. The Steward will help you through the process. Just remember the way you can help is always document, document, document! Having times and dates and the when, where, and who will always be a HUGE assist in helping your case come to a favorable decision. So remember always…BE INFORMED!…BE PROFESSIONAL!…BE UNION!

Denny Belden
Aka-VetCarrier Orlando, FL - NALC Branch 1091

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