Earlier this week, pursuant to Article 15, Section 3.F of the National Agreement, NALC initiated a national-level grievance regarding the Postal Service’s unilateral implementation of the delivery initiative test called Expedited Street/Afternoon Sortation (ESAS).
On July 16, 2020, USPS notified NALC of the ESAS test that was scheduled to begin on July 25 in approximately 400 test sites. On July 28, USPS provided us with revised guidelines for the test. The ESAS initiative substantially alters delivery practices and procedures outlined in the Handbooks M-39 and M-41. These changes directly impact terms and conditions of employment of city letter carriers in violation of Article 19 of the National Agreement.
The ESAS test imposes restrictions on letter carriers’ morning casing duties which conflict with M-39 Section 121.211. Similarly, the ESAS test prevents carriers from withdrawing mail in violation of M-41 Section 223.11. Additionally, letter carriers do not obtain accountable items until after they have pulled the mail from the case in violation of M-41 Section 262.1.
The ESAS test raises the same fundamental interpretive issue that NALC has raised in previous national level disputes: whether the Postal Service may suspend compliance with the National Agreement or applicable regulations under the guise of conducting a “test.” It remains our position that management may not unilaterally implement tests which are inconsistent with regulations outlined in handbooks and manuals without first reaching an agreement with the Union.
NALC has requested a meeting with the Postal Service to discuss this interpretive dispute.