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Regions 12 and 15 Win USPS Board Decision Using Default Language in Settlement Agreement

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On October 29, the Board granted the General Counsel’s motion for a default judgment in United States Postal Service, 371 NLRB No. 34, finding that the USPS failed to comply with an April 2021 settlement agreement. The Board found that the USPS had not paid the monetary remedies owed to employee Stacy Burke, an American Postal Workers Union, Local 1414 shop steward at the Panama City, Florida post office, including backpay, reimbursement of expenses, and contributions to her federal retirement accounts. The Board ordered the USPS to fully comply with the terms of the settlement agreement, which provides for 100% make-whole relief for Burke, who has been reinstated, plus additional accrued interest and excess tax liability on all unpaid amounts until the date of payment. 

The Board rejected the USPS’s claim that Burke was responsible for the delay of over four months to date, because she failed to satisfactorily respond to forms the USPS claimed must be completed to calculate her monetary remedies.  Rather, the Board found, these remedies had been calculated and specified in the settlement agreement, which required payment within 14 days, and there was no requirement in the settlement agreement for Burke to submit any information before payment. 

Region 15 investigated the charges in this matter and determined that they had merit. NLRB headquarters staff provided compliance support. Region 12 prepared for trial, negotiated the settlement agreement, moved for default judgment, and will handle further compliance efforts. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo recently issued GC 21-07, a memo restoring the practice of including default language in settlement agreements to better ensure respondents comply with their settlement obligations.

 “We will continue to obtain settlement agreements that contain default language so that we can ensure that parties fully comply and victims of unfair labor practices get swift relief,” said Region 12 RD David Cohen. “Respondents need to understand that settlement agreements are binding, and they must be followed,” said Region 15 RD Kathleen McKinney.

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year. Region 12 serves areas in Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands from its Regional Office in Tampa, its Subregional Office in San Juan, and its Resident Office in Miami.