Arbitrator’s decision costs millions 

Taypayers from the Bay Area to Baltimore might have to dole out $100million to postal police for overtime they never worked, thanks to a decison by a federal arbitrator in that East Coast city.

Everything about the case is ridiculous, including the decision. A union representative said earlier this month that the back pay for Baltimore postal police will be about $2.6 million.

As background, the Fraternal Order of Police National Labor Council filed a grievance against the U.S. Postal Service in Baltimore for using cheaper part-time private security guards to guard its facilities instead of paying overtime to postal police officers. The union also filed grievances in 11 cities across the country, including Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

Is there any evidence using the part-time help interrupted mail delivery or compromised safety for the people of Baltimore or anywhere else in the nation? Shouldn’t those issues be the main consideration behind postal police labor contracts? Common sense says: Of course.

Now, it’s one thing to rule the USPS violated a union contract, as arbitrator Sue Olinger Shaw found. It’s quite another to backdate the decision.

As a result, taxpayers must pay about 20 Baltimore postal police for work they did not do — on top of paying the part-time security guards. And Daniel Dunlap, the eastern-area national representative for the postal police officers’ union, told The Examiner the federal government could end up owing $100 million to postal police officers across the nation who lost work to part-time security guards if other arbitrators follow Shaw’s precedent.

Shaw did not respond to a request for comment this week, but earlier this month said, "They’re cutting back all over, and they’re doing things in violation of the contract that ends up costing millions of dollars. ... It’s an exorbitant amount of money."

Yes, it is, especially when it does not improve the security of the postal workers or the mail.

Arbitrators in Washington, San Francisco and the nine other cities must reject Shaw’s interpretation. Taxpayers must not pay postal police for work they did not do.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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