Prior to being elected to national office in 1995, Greg Bell was President of the Philadelphia PA Area Local for nine years, and Chairman of the National Presidents Conference for four years.
Greg Bell held various local elected positions, including President, Vice President, Director of Industrial Relations, Clerk Craft Assistant Director, and Tour 3 Chief Steward. He served as a national arbitration advocate, and as one of 13 members of the Rank-and-File Bargaining Advisory Committee for national contract negotiations. He was chief negotiator for the Philadelphia local for nine years.
Greg Bell also served as a Vice President and Executive Board member of the Philadelphia Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and as a Vice President and Executive Council member of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.
Greg Bell’s local experience includes being responsible for the administration of the contract and all grievance activity of the local. As Director of Industrial Relations, it was his responsibility to direct and assist craft officers in the processing of grievances. When he served as Vice President, it was his responsibility to direct and assist craft officers in organizing and in health & safety programs. He was responsible for representing the local at Health & Safety and labor/management meetings, and he served as the local injury compensation officer.
He was also responsible for Research & Education and conducted local seminars on the grievance-arbitration procedure, OWCP, EEO and MSPB procedure.
When he was chief steward, on one occasion he was suspended, and on another occasion he was issued a notice of removal for his union activism – standing up for the rights of APWU members and stewards on the work floor.
As local president, he led the Philadelphia Local to significant victories, such as:
- Major Overtime Win – In a major victory in arbitration, the Postal service was ordered to pay overtime desired list (ODL) employees for all overtime opportunities improperly denied at the appropriate overtime or penalty overtime rate – and to pay employees who had been improperly forced to work overtime at the penalty overtime rate.This was a significant ruling because it was the first time an arbitrator has ordered the Postal Service to pay additional compensation to non-ODL employees who were improperly forced to work overtime.
- Historic Overtime Settlement – Historic and largest local overtime settlement and one of the first of its kind nationwide, Greg Bell negotiated $3.5 million overtime settlement and $100,000 reimbursement to the union for cost incurred processing overtime grievances.
- Attendance Victory – Overturned an outrageous attendance policy. The ruling is significant in part, because it is the first time an arbitrator has ordered the Postal Service to throw out a group of disciplinary actions because of an improper attendance policy.
- Ousted Local Postmaster – After a long, hard struggle, succeeded in ousting a dictatorial and divisive local postmaster – someone who was sent to Philadelphia to “straighten out” the union and fix alleged attendance problems; instead he went out on sick leave himself and retired soon after.
- Derailed Illegal Hiring Policy – In a major win for the local, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that the Postal Service violated the law when it refused to bargain with the union about the elimination of allegedly discriminatory practices established by a new (random testing) hiring policy. The Board ruled that the Postal Service was obligated to bargain with the union over the elimination of suspected hiring discrimination.This was an important win for unions throughout the country because the Board ruled that an employer has an obligation to bargain with a union over allegedly discriminatory hiring practices. This was one of only two decisions of this nature nationwide for all unions in the country.The policy was discontinued and no one was ever hired in Philadelphia under the new “random testing” policy.
- Sexual Harassment Committee – The establishment of a local Sexual Harassment Committee and the relentless pursue of sexual harassment complaints resulted a supervisor being fired for fondling a female clerk under his supervision. In addition, management agreed to provide training to the other managers on the proper handling of sexual harassment complaints.
- Part-Time Flexible Committee – Part-Time Flexible Committee to ensure active participation of new and young workers entering the workforce, and that their issues of concern are addressed. Part-time flexible members became shop stewards and served on other committees with their regular (full-time) brothers and sisters. They played a major role in the union’s struggles and success in improving their working condition – including the conversions from part-time to full-time status.
- Eliminating Delays in Grievance procedure – In a historic victory in the grievance-arbitration procedure, for the first time in history, the NLRB issued a precedent-setting ruling against management for their failure to schedule grievances and arbitrations in a timely manner.
- Several other precedent-setting arbitration rulings, and related settlements resulting in payment of millions of dollars to local members.
Greg Bell’s experience and background includes successes in negotiating major gains for his members in local negotiations. He played a major role in forging the Philadelphia Local’s reputation for aggressive representation and for having one of the strongest Local Memorandums of Understanding (Contract) in the country. Below represent some of the major provisions that Greg Bell was successful in negotiating into the Philadelphia’s Local Contract:
- Rest Period – No employee can be required to report to work with less than a 12 hour rest period between tours, excluding employees on the “Overtime Desired” list.
- Hours of Works – Prohibition against requiring part-time flexible (PTF) employees to work more than 10 hours a day, excluding December.
- Consecutive Days Off – Prohibition against requiring PTFs and part-time regulars to work more than six consecutive days without a day off, excluding December.
- Duty Assignment – Prohibition against supplement workforce (casuals) employees from performing any preferred-duty assignment or any duty assignment requiring a specialized skill.
- Anti-Fatigue Break – Fifteen (15) minute anti-fatigue break after approximately two (2) hours of work, not to immediately precede a lunch period or an employee tour change and not to exceed two (2) in one tour.
- Absences of 3 Days or Less – For absences of three (3) days or less, medical documentation or other acceptable evidence is required only when the employee is on restricted sick leave or when the supervisor deems documentation desirable for the protection of the interests of the Postal Service. In addition, there must be justification to require employees who are not on restricted sick leave to submit evidence for absences of three (3) days or less.
- Holiday Schedules – Full and part-time regulars permitted to volunteer to work their holiday or designated holiday prior to the scheduling of casuals or part-time flexible employees.
- Light Duty Employees – Temporary and permanent light or limited duty employees permitted to bid and be awarded a position provided such assignment is within the employee’s light or limited duty restrictions, pending necessary qualification.
- Pay Adjustments – Management requirement to pay employees monies due from pay correction, grievance-arbitration, EEO, MSPB settlements and awards within 30 days from the effective date of such settlement or from the time the employees was made aware that funds were due. If not paid within 60 days, such employee, upon request will immediately receive authorization from management for a pay advance.
- Medical Unit – Management’s requirement to staff the Medical Unit with a qualified physician and registered nurse on all tours.
- Notification – Management’s requirement to give written notification to the union of any proposed cross craft assignment in the event work is not available within an employee’s craft or occupational group. In addition, written notification must be given when management proposed to reassign an employee to a different craft assignment under the “Rehabilitation Program.”
- Transportation – All required travel between sections, stations, and facilities must be done on the clock, and if transportation is not provided by the Postal Service, such employees will be compensated for reasonable costs incurred.
- Training Programs – All training programs must be made available in order to afford employees opportunities for self-development, including the use of postal facilities for non-compensable training in college-accredited courses. Consideration to be given to requests for leave without pay by full-time employees to attend a college, university, or other training or educational institutions.
These are just some of the many reasons why Greg Bell effectiveness as a national leader is of no surprise, and why he is the best candidate for the position of President of the American Postal Workers Union – to represent our members and union.
Greg Bell represents a history of struggle, unity, progressive representation, aggressive contract enforcement, progress, and of accomplishments on behalf of our members.