Bowen v United States Postal Service: Preparing the Way for a More Active Labor Role in Contract Administration - Preparing the Way for a More Active Labor Role in Contract Administration - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 39, No. 1
This arbitrator recently felt the hostility of an irate labor relations manager for a ruling upholding the grievance of an employee for overtime pay. As a result of a failure to properly (that is, promptly) record overtime hours paid for purposes of maintaining an overtime balance among employees, the grievant had been passed over in the assignment of overtime, despite the fact that she was the most senior, low-houred employee. Complicating matters was the fact that the grievant was aware for some time prior to the incident prompting the grievance that the recorded hour balance was incorrect and that the employee assigned the overtime had not been charged for overtime paid on an earlier occasion.
Central to the resolution of this grievance dispute was the issue of whether the responsibility for keeping an accurate account of overtime hours was the sole responsibility of the company. What responsibility, if any, did the union and workers have with respect to maintenance of an accurate hour balance for the purpose of overtime apportionment? Since the contract contained a strong management rights clause and since neither the express provisions of the contract nor past practice abridged, limited, or shared with anyone management's rights and responsibilities regarding overtime distribution, the weight of arbitral principle dictated that the arbitrator uphold the grievance. This prompted the industrial relations manager to write: