APWU’s Tax Day of Action: April 15, 2019

(Originally posted on the National Website and published in the APWU News Bulletin Vol. 49, No. 3 – March 27,2019)

On Apr. 15, postal workers are letting the public know that the Postal Service operates with NO tax dollars. Contact your local or state officers to find out how you can participate!

If there isn’t a Tax Day event in your area, do a digital action by sharing a social media post by the APWU or the US Mail Not for Sale campaign!

Go to usmailnotforsale.org or call 844.402.1001 to tell your member of Congress that you support the PUBLIC Postal Service!

If you take part in an event, please send pictures to communications@apwu.org for a chance to be featured on the APWU website or in future publications. Remember to wear your union gear!

Attached below, are downloadable hand-outs for the public to know.

Management and Union Exchange Final Economic Proposals

(This was originally posted on the National website on 8March2019 Web News Article#: 19-2019)

Just in case you did not see this on the National website, here is the latest on contractual proposals going into arbitration.

On March 7, 2019, the APWU and United States Postal Service negotiators exchanged their final economic proposals as both sides continue their preparation for interest arbitration.

The APWU put forward proposals that reward postal workers for our hard work. The Union’s proposals include:

  • Solid annual pay raises,
  • Two COLA increases every year,
  • Adding top Steps to the lower career pay scale,
  • Reduction of the non-career workforce and increasing the career workforce,
  • Automatic PSE conversion to career after a set time of service,
  • Increased company contributions to health insurance premiums,
  • Raising the pay of PSEs.

The union had previously presented many proposals, and continues to fight for these demands: work hour guarantees for PTFs; guaranteed weekly day off for PTFs and PSEs; elimination of all subcontracting, including continuation of moratorium of subcontracting of any existing MVS/PVS work; moratorium on plant closings; addressing the hostile work environment, including sexual harassment; elimination of management performing bargaining unit work in Level 18 offices; and no mandatory overtime.

USPS economic proposals are nothing short of draconian and regressive. Their proposals include:

  • No increase in pay rates – a freeze for current employees;
    • One lump-sum payment in lieu of the usual annual pay raise;
    • Lump-sum payments in lieu of COLAs.
  • Decreasing the career workforce:
    • Increasing the percentage of non-career employees to 25% in the clerk craft;
    • Reintroduction of 10% PSEs into the maintenance workforce, undoing the all-career maintenance craft;
    • Reintroduction of 10% PSEs into the MVS Craft.
  • Pay and benefits substantially cut for all future conversion to career and future hires:
    • A converted PSE would take a pay cut of almost $1.00 per hour and work into year three before getting back to the PSE rate.
  • Current career employees with less than six years seniority must work 15 years to gain “no lay-off” protection.
  • Elimination of no lay-off provision for all future workers.

USPS management also had made numerous regressive proposals including: Universal PSE Clerk with no restrictions on working the window, PSEs allowed to work in Level 18 offices and then replace career jobs; replace career PTFs with non-career PSEs; eliminate the 50-mile limit on excessing employees; subcontract custodial work under conditions of unforeseen long-term absences; eliminate penalty pay; eliminate all existing Local Memos; eliminate any on-the-clock steward union time to represent employees.

Chief Spokesperson for the APWU, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, told the Postal Service negotiators, “This is blatant disrespect for postal workers. They provide a valuable service to their country. This is not even close to respecting the value of the service we give. I could go on and on but I will just say I find this insulting.”

President Mark Dimondstein said, “There are clearly two sides in this fight and the battle lines have been drawn in our efforts to obtain a contract that honors and respects postal workers.  The USPS proposals reek of contempt for the workforce.  APWU members will fight for what we deserve in the interest arbitration process as we continue ‘Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow.’”

President Mark Dimondstein on Status of Collective Bargaining

(This article was first reported on the National website December 21, 2018)

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (Union Contract) between the American Postal Workers Union and the United States Postal Service initially expired on September 20, 2018.  Negotiations began in July with a big kick off and national day of action during which many of you participated as together we are “Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow!” Since our contract expired there have been four extensions of negotiations in an effort to reach a voluntary agreement.

As your president, taking general guidance from the National Negotiating Committee, I led in reaching a tentative agreement with management on December 6, 2018. I believe it to be fair and positive for the members.

The APWU Constitution has a democratic process where any tentative agreement goes to the Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee for acceptance and their decision whether to send it to the membership for a ratification vote.

The Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee had some serious concerns with the tentative agreement and sent it back to the APWU National leadership to reopen negotiations with management and attempt to address their concerns.

We did just that in two meetings on Wednesday December 19, 2018 and follow up discussions on Thursday December 20th. However, we were unable to reach any changes or new agreements with the Postal Service. The APWU and USPS are now at “impasse.”

Next Steps

Interest Arbitration will now be the next major step.  Our future wages, benefits and working conditions will be determined by an outside arbitrator. During this period both sides can continue discussions and, if possible, reach new tentative agreements. The APWU National leadership is committed to the goal of reaching a voluntary agreement that addresses the Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee’s concerns and can be put before the membership for a ratification vote.

The APWU will be fully prepared to present a solid case in interest arbitration to back up our demands and protect the many gains of the past. The union has already been preparing for such a possible outcome and preparations will continue full steam ahead.  We will also consider invoking the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) process prior to interest arbitration. Interest arbitration is a slow process and can take many months of preparation, hearings and adjudication.

It is important to remember that almost all the provisions, rights and benefits contained in the current union contract remain in full force and effect until we obtain a new contract. This includes the no lay-off protections for those career employees with six years of employment. The MOU “Re: Retail” with a moratorium of any expansion of CPUs, VPOs and Approved Shipper programs. (page 337 of the CBA) and the MOU providing lay-off protection for the life of the contract for career employees who had not yet reached their six years of employment (p 274 of the CBA) have both ended due to their specified expiration date.

Past APWU President Moe Biller always said, “the struggle continues.” And so, it does.

Negotiations and interest arbitration are fluid and challenging. They are not helped by rumors, half-truths, fabrications, innuendos and accusations.

Let’s make sure we stay united and strong as APWU family, wear your union gear with pride and keep those Contract Action Teams on the move. The battle for a new and decent contract is far from over!