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AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION v. USPS

November 27, 1989

AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION, AFL-CIO, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, et al., Defendants


William B. Bryant, Senior United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRYANT

WILLIAM B. BRYANT, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 The parties are before the court on defendants' motion for reconsideration of that portion of the court's memorandum and order of July 10, 1989 denying defendants' motion to dismiss, or in the alternative for summary judgment, plaintiffs' claim for breach of Article 2.1 of the parties' collective bargaining agreement. For the reasons discussed herein, the court grants defendants' motion, vacates that part of its July 10, 1989 memorandum and order concerning Article 2.1 of the parties' collective bargaining agreement and grants defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs' claim for breach of Article 2.1 of the collective bargaining agreement. As the court's memorandum and order of July 10, 1989 granted defendants' motion to dismiss or for summary judgment on all of the other claims in this lawsuit, the instant memorandum and order resolves the only remaining claim in this lawsuit.

 The 1981 National Agreement provides in Article 2.1 that

 
The Employer and the Unions agree that there shall be no discrimination by the Employer or the Unions against employees because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, or marital status or because of a physical handicap with respect to a position the duties of which can be performed efficiently by an individual with such a physical handicap without danger to the health or safety of the physically handicapped person or to others.

 Article 2.1 of the 1984 National Agreement provides that

 
The Employer and the Unions agree that there shall be no discrimination by the Employer of the Unions against employees because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, or marital status.
 
In addition, consistent with the other provisions of this Agreement, there shall be no unlawful discrimination against handicapped employees, as prohibited by the Rehabilitation Act.

 Plaintiffs allege that Article 2.1 was breached by the Postal Service when four Postal Service employees were discharged on the basis of handicap during the first 90 days of employment after experiencing work-related injuries. Plaintiffs have brought suit under the Postal Reorganization Act, 39 U.S.C. § 1208(b), which provides that

 
suits for violations of contracts between the Postal Service and a labor organization representing Postal Service employees, or between any such labor organizations, may be brought in any district court of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties, without respect to the amount in controversy.

 Both collective bargaining agreements contain a broadly worded grievance and arbitration procedure. In both, grievance is defined as

 
a dispute, difference, disagreement or complaint between the parties related to wages, hours, and conditions of employment. A grievance shall include, but is not limited to, the complaint of an employee or of the Unions which involves the interpretation, application of, or compliance with the provisions of this Agreement or any local Memorandum of Understanding not in conflict with this Agreement.

 Thus, disputes or complaints involving the interpretation of any article of the collective bargaining agreement fall within the scope of the parties' grievance and arbitration ...


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