What does Postal Service-APWU contract mean for other postal unions?


The U.S. Postal Service and its largest union have made it official, tying the knot on a contract that will run until May 2015.

“We worked together to negotiate a responsible agreement that is in the best interest of our customers, our employees and the future of the Postal Service,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement noting that the agreement with the American Postal Workers Union took effect Monday. The APWU’s membership overwhelmingly ratified the agreement in a vote announced May 11.

“I am pleased that we were able to negotiate a contract that will strengthen the Postal Service for the future and protect the job security of union members,” APWU President Cliff Guffey said in his own statement.

The lengthy contract contains provisions allowing both sides to claim gains. But its most notable feature is the creation of a two-tier wage structure that, according to the Postal Service, will mean an average of 10.2 percent less money for new hires.

Historically, unions have been leery of these kinds of arrangements because they risk driving a wedge between older and younger members. But with the Postal Service in undeniably awful financial shape, it’s easier to push the pain off on to people who aren’t even part of the bargaining unit yet. And the Postal Service may not want to stop there, Donahoe suggested at a congressional hearing last week.

The mail carrier is still negotiating with the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association to replace a contract that formally expired last November; agreements with the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers are up for renewal this November.

“We expect to see the same type of framework in those contracts that we’ve been able to negotiate with the APWU,” Donahoe said. Asked later if Donahoe sees a similar wage fork as part of that framework, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said only that “we’re looking into negotiating contracts that are in the best interests of our customers, our employees and the future flexibility of the Postal Service.”


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  1. Translation: We expect to see this same type of screwing employees in the carrier and mail handler craft. As long as the PMG and cronies still get overpaid.

  2. It’s the beginning of the end of the NALC and the history, effort, and results of decades of hard work and gains in the workplace if they allow this tier system in their up and coming negotiations. The tidal wave against unions is growing due in part to misleading political statements and efforts by those who they themselves, are Federally employed. It will be a huge step backwards and could spell the beginning of the end of a union whose members efforts have provided good wages and living standards for hundreds of thousands of workers. As Dlyan said, ” The times they are a’changing”, but you’re suppossed to move forward, not backward.

  3. Will the PMG and all the management employees take a pay cut or freeze? Potter asked and they told him For get about it! Then he gave all his people big bonuses! He gave out signing bonuses like he was running a sports team. The management PFP bonus system is so easy to fix you can get a 5% to 10% pay raise or bonus every year! How do you get a bonus when your losing money. Supervisors and Postmasters can make over $70,000 and their boss can make over $100,000. The postmasters and Supervisor associations are going to do their contract now. Lets see how that works out!

  4. Last chance NALC—you better step up and do something for the people that pay the dues instead of standing there with your thumb up your ass while the po continually makes our lives at work miserable!!!

  5. Hope there is an early retirement package offered for city carriers. If so, I’m outta here. The postal service is the most shoddy run business on the planet, and I refuse to work for stupid people any longer than I have to.

  6. Tippy Larkin on

    This contract is a disgrace to those who voted for it and for the bargaining commitee that recomended it. No Cola for two years, no more 40 hour work week, the apwu sold it’s members out. My form 1186 is filled out just waiting for my anniversary. What a shame.

  7. The mail handlers union have always been “ME TOO” after the clerk contract so the mail handlers can expect more of the same. I think the USPS should abolish the mail handlers craft anyway. It’s kind of stupid to have both clerk AND mail handlers. Or call them ALL mail handlers. Either way, it doesn’t matter.

  8. I agree that we may overly heavy in the mgmt side, but I am more concerned about the volume of mail, we haven,t
    had any for months and now summer . It looks like summer now. for months it has. What we really need is some new fresh blood mainly at the top. The postal service needs to look at things like zoom – box and see what or how they can make those things fit, they need to get with the times. Delivering the mail should stay as it has been. but the movement and other things need so much change, they seem to waste so much why not buy our own planes, why pay someone else. But of course we couldn’t make 8 or 9 work we’d need 80 or 90. Stop thinking so big. I’ve always said the postal service breaks more rules and laws then anyone else. and they do it as we speak. think you for your time

  9. Too much bureacracy staffed by affirmative action employees that simply are not qualified for their positions. This mismanagement compounds the USPS’ problems when it can ill afford to make mistakes. If you don’t touch the mail, are you REALLY indespensible?

  10. “…it’s easier to push the pain off on to people who aren’t even part of the bargaining unit yet.”
    Sounds like Congress! Our children are “F*****!

  11. Comments claiming members are being screwed by a two tier wage scale are blatantly false. #1. Those who will be paid less on a two tier scale haven’t even been hired yet. #2. All of those being hired in the future will be more than happy to have a job with USPS and will hardly feel screwed after either not having a job or working for much less. It’s all about job security-not the money. Some of you are way out of touch.

  12. When are people going to realize that we are Federal Government employees and that Obama put all of us on a 2 year pay freeze? When the freeze is lifted do you think that other employees will get pay increases and COLA’s that they missed due to the freeze added into the ones we didn’t get during the freeze? No. I know people who work in other government jobs and they’re mad that we are.

    Also, those who continue to claim that all FT clerks are going to be forced into 30 hr a week jobs, That is not happening. If your PM or supervisor tries it they must prove to the Union that they need to. If you allow your job to be changed in this way and don’t fight it, then you’re the problem. We have 2 PTF’s in my office and we’re pretty sure that they’ll be getting 40 hr bids when converted to FT. Also this applies to Level 21 offices and above. So Tippy Larkin, read the contract and see what it is saying and if your PO goes against it and you don’t think your local representative is doing a good job for you, contact someone at National APWU.

  13. In the military I never asked or ordered anyone to do anything I would not do myself. I ask for these so called leaders to consider the health of the body in order to establish the well being of the whole. Think INTEGRITY.
    This country was built on it. Lets not lose sight of the
    ultimate goal, Provide a service for America and the entire nation !!

  14. I’d like to remind my fellow readers that on this memorial day to remember not to wish anyone a happy holyday , but to say thank you to those in uniform who are waiting for the care packages we ensure are delivered and recieved. I was in Operation Iraqui Freedom wave 2 and I cant express how I felt when I recieved my care packages. Delivered by Postal Workers. Not UPS not FEDEX or any other organization in which to feel proud of. I happen to be working for the Postal Service for the past 29 years. This Job has done alot for meeting my needs with providing for my family. I,m Thankful. So Please Washington get your act together.

  15. I worked for the postal service for years. I left because of the people. The work was easy. Go out in the real world. Your job is a $10 and hour job. Remember you are there because of your past.

  16. You want money…for doing nothing!
    After working twenty-seven years in both Mail Processing and Delivery I have constantly seen people doing virtually nothing….They don’t come to work, constantly abuse sick leave, you have made a mockery of FMLA. If you do come to work you thwart any and all efforts to “Save a Sinking Ship”.
    You have been offered all the same pay programs that management work under….Why won’t you accept it?

    You are afraid to work on a “Pay for Performance” basis.
    God, forbid you should ever really have to do anything!!

    The biggest travesty is that the unions protect only the people who refuse to do an “Honest Days Work?

    Be honest, when have you seen any of the unions save a honest persons job?

    The Postal Service is going under and all you do is complain about having to do your job!

  17. The carrier and mailhandler unions could get a better contract if another 40,000 Managers and Supervisors along
    with 204B’s were shown the door. We are way over staffed
    with Maintenace Managers and Supervisors making top dollar in Milwaukee. How many bald headed baboons are
    required to sit out of sight in the tree’s at Milwaukee Maintenance collecting large salaries for doing nothing?

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