[Federal Register: May 31, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 105)]
[Page 29562-29563]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Arbitration Panel Decision Under the Randolph-Sheppard Act

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of arbitration panel decision under the Randolph-
Sheppard Act.


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that on March 17, 2000, an arbitration 
panel rendered a decision in the matter of Idaho Commission for the 
Blind and Visually Impaired v. United States Postal Service (Docket No. 
R-S/99-7). This panel was convened by the U.S. Department of Education 
pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 107d-1(b) upon receipt of a complaint filed by 
petitioner, the Idaho Commission for the Blind.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: A copy of the full text of the 
arbitration panel decision may be obtained from George F. Arsnow, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3230, Mary E. 
Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2738. Telephone: (202) 205-9317. 
If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call 
the TDD number at (202) 205-8298.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed in the preceding 
    Electronic Access to This Document: You may view this document, as 
well as all other Department of Education documents published in the 
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the Internet at the following site: www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister
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    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the Randolph-Sheppard Act (20 
U.S.C. 107d-2(c)) (the Act), the Secretary publishes in the Federal 
Register a synopsis of each arbitration panel decision affecting the 
administration of vending facilities on Federal and other property.


    In 1998, the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 
the State licensing agency (SLA), alleged that it made repeated 
requests for information to the United States Postal Service (USPS) 
concerning the construction of the new U.S. Postal Service Processing 
and Distribution Center located at 2201 South Cole Road in Boise, 
Idaho. Receiving no response to its inquiries or notice of a possible 
vending facility location as required by the Act, the SLA submitted a 
letter to the Postal Service District Manager requesting information 
about the Processing and Distribution Center.
    On December 2, 1998, the Postal Service District Manager responded 
to the SLA's letter requesting information and apologized for the lack 
of notification. On March 17, 1999, the SLA submitted an application 
for a vending facility at the Processing and Distribution Center. USPS 
responded to the SLA's application on March 23, 1999, indicating that 
they would not agree to the terms of the SLA's application for the 
permit. On March 29, 1999, representatives from the SLA and USPS met to 
discuss the application.
    USPS's position concerning the application was that the vendor 
selected for the location at the Processing and Distribution Center 
would be required to physically be present at the facility 40 hours per 
week (the ``on-site support'' provision), and the vendor would be 
precluded from operating any other vending facility location on the 
property (the ``exclusivity'' provision). USPS further indicated that 
these terms were non-negotiable and would be required to be included in 
the application and the resulting vending permit.
    On March 30, 1999, the SLA contacted USPS about the pending 
negotiations on the vending permit and was informed that the on-site 
support and exclusivity provisions were new permit terms required of 
blind vendors, but not commercial vendors.
    On April 16, 1999, the SLA requested in writing that USPS either 
approve or deny its application for a vending permit at the Processing 
and Distribution Center. The SLA did not receive a response from USPS 
and subsequently filed a request with the Secretary of the Department 
of Education (Department) to convene a Federal arbitration panel. The 
SLA alleged that the priority provisions of the Act and its 
implementing regulations had been violated. An arbitration pre-hearing 
on this matter was held on December 7, 1999, which resulted in a 
Stipulated Agreement concerning the issues and facts of the dispute. 
The parties agreed that the arbitration panel's written award on the 
stipulated issues would dispose of the dispute without the need for an 
arbitration hearing. The panel submitted a Final Award and Decision to 
the Department on March 17, 2000. On May 16, 2000, the Department 
received a copy, signed by all parties, of the Stipulated Agreement.

Arbitration Panel Decision

    The stipulated issues addressed by the arbitration panel were:
    1(A). Have limitations been placed on blind vendors as defined by 
the Randolph-Sheppard Act?
    (B). If so, does the U.S. Postal Service have a legal requirement 
to submit those limitations to the U.S. Department of Education for the 
Secretary's determination that they are justified?
    2. Is the Postal Service in violation of the Act and the U.S. 
Constitution by requiring on-site support and exclusivity provisions of 
Randolph-Sheppard vendors, but not of commercial vendors?
    3. If the Postal Service did violate the Randolph-Sheppard Act on 
any of these issues, what is the authority of the arbitration panel to 
determine the appropriate remedy or remedies?
    The arbitration panel ruled that the on-site support and 
exclusivity provisions required by USPS were limitations as provided in 
the Act and must be approved by the Secretary of Education and 
published in the Federal Register before they could be required as 
conditions of approval for the SLA's application. The panel further 
ruled that by requiring the on-site support and

[[Page 29563]]

exclusivity provisions of blind vendors represented by the SLA, USPS 
was in violation of the Act.
    The panel stated that it is the obligation of the head of the 
United States Postal Service to cause the improper acts or practices to 
be terminated promptly and to take any other action that is necessary 
to carry out the Arbitration Panel's award.
    The views and opinions expressed by the panel do not necessarily 
represent the views and opinions of the U.S. Department of Education.

    Dated: May 25, 2001.
Francis V. Corrigan,
Deputy Director, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation 
[FR Doc. 01-13637 Filed 5-30-01; 8:45 am]