Workplace issues

Contract Administration Unit

James D. Henry

James D. Henry

Vice President

James D. Henry of Garden Grove, CA Branch 1100 was elected to the office of vice president by acclamation in 2022 at the 72nd Biennial Convention in Chicago. Full bio

NALC’s Contract Administration Unit oversees contract enforcement efforts at the highest level. The group of several NALC officers and staffers, headed by Vice President James D. Henry:

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Contract Talk

“Contract Talk” is a regular column in NALC’s national membership magazine, The Postal Record.

Written by members of NALC’s Contract Administration Unit (CAU), the Contract Talk column provides advice on selected issues of interest to NALC contract enforcers. It appears generally monthly.

Click here to read the latest articles.

“Advanced Formal A and Beyond”

“Advanced Formal A and Beyond” is for NALC activists who have some experience at Formal Step A. The focus of this program is to teach participants to look at every Formal Step A case file from an arbitration advocate’s point of view. This training also sharpens the skills needed for enforcing the National Agreement at Formal Step A and provides an experience of what it’s like to serve as a Step B representative.

There is a lot of emphasis placed on handling situations where management fails to follow the grievance procedure as required by the National Agreement.

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NALC Shop Steward’s Guide & Grievance Starters

The shop steward’s job is difficult and demanding. The NALC Shop Steward’s Guide is a resource for the front-line steward that goes beyond the language of the National Agreement and Joint Contract Administration Manual (JCAM) by providing more in-depth information on grievance handling and how to effectively handle the day to day situations shop stewards encounter. The Shop Stewards Guide also contains "Grievance Starters" to aid members on how to effectively process grievances on a variety of day to day topics. 

The NALC Shop Steward’s Guide is written for every steward/activist who handles grievances at the Informal Step A and/or Formal Step A of the grievance procedure. It has a step-by-step guide for what to do and what happens before, during and after each step of the grievance procedure from Informal Step A all the way to arbitration. This includes advice on how to handle matters when management fails/refuses to participate in the grievance procedure as required by our contract with the USPS. There also are individual sections on topics such as time limits for grievances, investigative interviews, information requests, remedies, tips for writing statements, grievance-handling forms and more. The samples in the grievance-handling forms section can be tailored for branch use.

The NALC Shop Steward’s Guide along with many Grievance Starters is available on the Members Only portal. The NALC Shop Steward’s Guide is written for every NALC member who handles grievances at the Informal Step A and/or Formal Step A of the grievance procedure. Any other versions of the Shop Stewards Guide or Toolkit are obsolete and will no longer be available. The guide will only be available through the Members Only portal. This will allow NALC to update the guide in real time and ensure all stewards, activists and members have access.

To access the guide, from the NALC website log on to the “Members Only” portal, and click the “Member Documents” button where you will find the Shop Steward’s Guide and the available Grievance Starters in the drop down menu.

DRT-STEP B training

DRT-STEP B training is a joint certification program with the USPS and is an intensive week-long training.  The training covers and examines relevant topics, including contract application, decision writing, computer-based research and dispute resolution skills. Most participants selected by the NALC to attend are shop stewards or branch officers who have exhibited the ability to work with management in a professional manner and are able to successfully complete the training.

The NALC participants are selected by their National Business Agent (NBA) to attend the rigorous week-long training. Participants should have extensive grievance handling experience at the Informal Step and Formal Step A levels, and have the ability to apply the terms of the National Agreement and JCAM when decisioning grievances.

If you are interested in becoming a Step B representative, you will need to contact your National Business Agent’s office as all recommendations for participants will be submitted by the NBAs.

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Arbitration Advocate training

Arbitration Advocate training is for NALC activists who have experience processing grievances at the lower levels of the grievance procedure. These members have been recognized by their National Business Agent to attend the training and successfully advocate cases before an arbitrator. This training sharpens the skills needed for successfully presenting a case appealed to Arbitration and delivering the arguments made at the lower levels of the grievance process.

The NALC has negotiated an extremely effective grievance procedure. Consequently the vast majority of all grievances are resolved at the lower steps of the procedure. One of the reasons for our success is that we have “final and binding” arbitration. The certain knowledge that we will pursue meritorious grievances all the way to arbitration forces the Postal Service to resolve most grievances at the lower steps. Arbitration is where we fight out our most difficult and contentious issues.

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