Columbus Day
Second Monday in October

more info on Holiday Leave Provisions


Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451 to Domenico Columbo, a wool weaver. He worked for his Father until he was 22 then set out to follow his own dream to become a sea captain. Many of his fellow Genoese had prospered in Lisbon under the Portuguese flag as Captains of sailing ships and he longed to join their ranks.

It was to this end that Columbus began to educate himself learning to read and speak Portuguese, Castilian and Latin. He read many geography books, and studied the bible and the writings of Marco Polo, gathering all the information he could about the world. He particularly studied, Pierre d' Ailly's "Imago Mundi," or picture of the world. He became a chart maker himself and because of these studies became convinced that the world was spherical, round instead of flat. This belief later became the basis for his quest of finding a shorter route to Asia.

Asia offered many goods Europeans craved but traveling East to get them was difficult and dangerous. However, it was with these countries of the EAST, India, China, Japan, and the East Indies, that Europeans longed to trade in greater volume. It was for this reason that a sea route around the tip of Africa to the EAST Indies and Asia was sought. Columbus was just one of many, explorers and tradesmen trying to find such a route.

Portugal deemed, " The greatest seafaring nation in the world," due in large measure to the discoveries, exploits and sponsorship of it's prince, nicknamed "Henry the Navigator," seemed the most likely nation to support Columbus's dream of finding that shorter route to the EAST. So, it was no surprise that later, he would chose to approach Portugal's King John II for his support of his expedition.

Columbus wanted to discover the much sought for route to the EAST that would open up a lucrative trade. He believed there was a better way to find it then traveling around the tip of AFRICA. He believed by sailing west 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean that he would come full circle and end up in Asia without having to go south and east. He thought he would sail right into these countries never dreaming he would land on a whole new continent and lay claim to a whole new world.

In 1484 Columbus applied for ships and men from King John II of Portugal. He was refused and then his proposal was reconsidered. However, the final rejection of his proposal came when Bartholomew Diaz discovered the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa. He had found an eastern sea route to India. The Portuguese were no longer interested in an unproven western route. Columbus was denied once again and returned to Spain.

He finally convinced the King and Queen of Spain to finance him and at dawn on Aug. 3, 1492, the three ships hoisted anchor from Palos, Spain and set sail.

He set sail on August 3, 1492 under the Spanish flag from Palos, harbor in Spain with three ships the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Problems with the Nina and the Pinta necessitated a one month delay in the Canary Islands. He set sail again on September 3, 1492 and thirty-three days later at 2:00 a.m. on October 12, 1492, Rodrigo de Triana, a seaman aboard the Pinta, spotted land.

Columbus actually had landed among the Bahama Islands. He named this land San Salvador, claiming it in the name of Spain. This NEW World would lead to the settlement by Europeans of the continents of North and South America.

Of course, Columbus never did "discover" North America, and the regions he did explore were already inhabited. He only discovered them from the viewpoint of the Europeans. Yet his first voyage did prove one thing for sure, that the earth was not only round, but that it was bigger than he had thought.

To mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus' voyage, in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison made a commemorative proclamation. But it was Colorado, in 1905, that became the first state to observe a Columbus Day. Since 1920 the day has been celebrated annually, and in 1937 President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed every October 12 as Columbus Day. That's where it remained until 1971 when Congress declared it a federal public holiday on the second Monday in October.

New Holiday Leave Provisions

in Effect for Columbus Day

In accordance with the Goldberg Interest Arbitration Award, effective Feb. 2, 2002, eligible full-time and part-time regular employees may elect to receive up to eight hours of annual leave in lieu of holiday leave pay. Employees can exercise this option starting with the Presidents’ Day holiday, Feb. 18, 2002.

The new Article 11 contract provisions give eligible APWU full-time and part-time regular employees an option to receive holiday leave pay or annual leave if the employee works any part of their holiday or designated holiday. This option applies whether the employee is required to work or volunteers to work the holiday or designated holiday.

To be eligible for holiday pay, an employee must be in a pay status the last hour of the employee’s scheduled workday prior to the holiday or the first hour of the employee’s scheduled workday after the holiday. Management is not permitted to disapprove properly submitted requests to receive annual leave in lieu of holiday leave pay.

The option to elect annual leave in lieu of holiday leave is available only to employees who work at least some part of their holiday or designated holiday.

If an employee elects to be credited with annual leave in lieu of holiday leave pay and requests to work only part of the holiday or designated holiday, the employee must request some type of leave (i.e., annual, sick, LWOP) for the remainder of that day, as with any other workday. If the employee works a partial holiday because management requires it, the employee is to be paid guaranteed time for the remainder of the day.

Part-time regulars (PTRs) who elect annual leave in lieu of holiday leave pay are entitled to an amount of annual leave equal to their regular work schedule, not to exceed eight hours. For example, a PTR who is normally scheduled six hours per day would be entitled to six hours of holiday leave pay. Therefore, if otherwise eligible, the employee may elect to convert that holiday leave pay to six hours of annual leave.


Employees must use the current Form 3971 to notify management of their intent to elect annual leave in lieu of holiday leave pay, pending modification of the PS Form 3971. Employees should check the block labeled “Other” under “Type of Absence” and write, “Elect Annual Leave in lieu of Holiday Leave (holiday name, i.e. President’s Day)” in the “Remarks” section. The Form 3971 must be submitted to the supervisor no later than the end of the employee’s holiday or designated holiday.

The employee’s request (Form 3971) must be signed and dated by the supervisor, who will keep the original for record-keeping purposes. The employee must be provided with a copy. Until payroll system changes are completed, the annual leave hours will not appear on employees’ annual leave balances. However, the leave is available for use the pay period following the holiday, subject to normal leave approval procedures.

Employees annual leave balances will be updated as soon as the payroll systems have been modified. Once payroll system changes are completed, annual leave in lieu of holiday leave pay will show up in employees’ annual leave balances the pay period following the holiday. Because deferred holiday leave is combined with other annual leave, it becomes subject to loss if the employee has more than the maximum leave carryover at the end of the leave year.

Home   Back Home