Frequently Asked Questions

We have listed some very basic questions that pertain to almost every member of the Local, no matter what the individual craft or job function might be.

If you can't find the answer in our list to a question you have, make sure you contact your steward. There are strict time limits involved in the grievance process that require you to contact your steward as soon as possible.
(See Question #1).


  1. How long do I have to file a grievance?

  2. How far in advance does management have to post a schedule before a holiday?

  3. When do the vacation picks have to be finalized?

  4. How far in advance do I have to submit a 3971 for:
    1. Primary vacation time?
    2. Secondary vacation time?
    3. All other times?

  5. How long does management have to act on a submitted 3971?

  6. Where can I get information on FMLA?

  7. If I feel a supervisor is harassing me, should I file a grievance or an EEO complaint? (A co-worker?)

  8. My paycheck doesn't appear correct to me. Who should I contact? My steward?

  9. I need a schedule change. How do I get one? And how long can I get it for?

  10. What is a non-pay status?

  11. What is the difference between abolishment and reversion of a duty assignment?

  12. What is meant by the term "currently qualified?"

  13. How can I find out what transfers nationwide are currently available?

  14. How do I make sure I get paid for Jury Duty?

  15. What do I do if I am approached by a Postal Inspector?


  1. You have fourteen days from the incident-- the date that you think your rights were violated. Because the Union has only 14 days to respond, it's important that you see a Union steward as quickly as possible. This gives the Union steward time to investigate, prepare, and present the grievance to management.

    Read about the complete life cycle of a grievance, an article in our article archives. (National Agreement Article 15.2.a pg. 89)
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  2. Schedule shall be posted as of the Tuesday preceding the service week in which the holiday falls. (National Agreement Article 11.6.a pg. 46)
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  3. Answer is determined by craft articles of local agreement. The completed vacation selection list will be posted in each section, and we will try to keep information on vacation selection on the site for each current year.
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  4. Depending on the situation:
    1. One day in primary
    2. 3 days in secondary (except BMC-MVS which is 48 hours)
    3. During "other" times, 3 days
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  5. If your request is covered by guaranteed leave, management must immediately approve your request; otherwise, management has 3 days to act on annual leave requests.
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  6. Ask your supervisor, your steward or check the FMLA pamphlet mailed to your home by the National APWU.

    Another source is the Department of Labor. You can contact them by phone at (412) 395-4996, or read more about it at their website. To get the online version of the proper FMLA form, click here: FMLA Form WH-380
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  7. If you feel a supervisor is harassing you, file a grievance and an EEO complaint against him or her. If you feel a co-worker is harassing you, file an EEO against management for allowing the situation and file a grievance against management for allowing the situation.
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  8. Your first step is to contact Accounting services at 412-359-7620. If they can't help you, then see your steward.
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  9. Ask your supervisor for Form 3189, Request for Temporary Schedule Change, complete the form and give it to your steward. You can use up to 90 days of schedule changes within a 12-month period.
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  10. A non-pay status is leave without pay (LWOP).
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  11. Reversion means doing away with a vacant bid. Abolishment means doing away with an occupied bid, which results in a full-time regular becoming unassigned.
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  12. "Currently Qualified" means possessing a live record on all of the qualifications for a posted duty assignment, including scheme and/or ability to key at the appropriate speed and accuracy on the appropriate keyboard, such that the employee can assume the posted duties of the duty assignment without the need for a deferment period.
    (National Agreement Article 37.1.k pg. 157)
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  13. The APWU National site has a listing that is updated periodically, (although not recently) called "Crossroads." You can find a link to their site on our own
    Labor Links page.

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  14. If you receive a court summons scheduling you for jury duty, or a subpoena for witness service, immediately give completed PS Form 3971, Request for Notification of Absence, and Xerox copy of your summons/subpoena to your supervisor.

    The supervisor will forward Form 3971 and copy of summons/subpoena to Human Resources, Attn: Court Leave, Room 2337 GMF, Pittsburgh, PA 15290-9421. Human Resources will send you a letter of instruction and a PS Form 1224, Court Leave Statement of Service.

    If the summons instructs you to call the court the day before you are scheduled to report, do so. Take original summons/subpoena and Form 1224 to court with you.

    Have the court official complete the Form 1224.

    When the jury duty is completed, the court will pay you travel and attendance fees, and also give you a court voucher indicating the number of days you performed jury duty. Cash the check and keep the travel fees.

    If jury duty was performed on a scheduled workday, you will turn your attendance fee into any station/branch window clerk. The window clerk will sign the Form 1224 and give you a - Receipt of Payment of court fees.

    Form 1224, Receipt of Payment of court fees, and court voucher
    should then be turned into Human Resources

    Attn: Court Leave
    Room 2337 GMF
    Pittsburgh, PA 15290-9421

    or return in envelope provided by Human Resources with letter of instructions.

    Your Form 3971 will be approved and sent to your manager/supervisor.

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  15. You should immediately ask for a Union representative.

    Do Not:

    Answer any questions--

    Give a written statement--

    Engage in a conversation with an inspector--

    until you have a Union representative with you.

    You have a right to have a Union rep present during any investigation by the Inspection Service. The Postal Inspector is not obligated to tell you that you have a right to request a Union rep's presence, and may even try to dissuade you from getting one. You must ask for representation, and it must be provided once it is requested.

    Even if you request Union representation, the Postal Inspector may continue to ask questions. It is at that point that you let the Inspector know that you will cooperate when your representative arrives and then you should ignore all further questions by the inspector. Do not let the inspector intimidate you into believing that you are not cooperating with their investigation. Too many employees have lost their jobs because they did not ask for help.

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