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!

October 20th Negotiations Update

Sisters and Brothers,

As you all know we extended negotiations until midnight tonight (Oct 20th) after we were unable to achieve a negotiated settlement midnight Sept. 20th.

The APWU and Postal management have again agreed to extend negotiations for an additional 30 days.  We have a series of meetings set up with the postal service over the next few weeks and of course will keep all posted if there are any significant developments.

Shortly we will publish a website article and I will be leaving an updated phone message.

In Solidarity,

Mark Dimondstein, President
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

Join the September 6 Town Hall Call

Next week, our National Negotiations Committee goes back to the table to fight for a fair contract and economic justice for our members. After a powerful convention, we’re Fired Up and Ready to Go–and we want to make sure you have all the latest information as we head back to the table.

Members rally for a fair contract at convention

On September 6, join us for our next town hall call to get the latest post-convention updates from President Dimondstein and other officers on the the National Negotiations Committee and learn how YOU can play a role in winning a strong contract for all members.

Here are the details:

What: Contract Campaign Town Hall Call Update
When: September 6 at 11AM and 6PM Eastern Time (8AM and 3PM Pacific Time)
Where: Register for your preferred time here and we’ll call you to patch you into the call!

During registration, you can also submit your questions or suggestions for the campaign!

We’re Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow, but we can’t do it alone. We need every member engaged and involved if we want to win improved working conditions and a better standard of living for APWU members and families. Click here to register for the call!