The American Postal Workers Union has an update on the status of buyout talks, only to say that there’s really nothing to say.
“I understand that there is great interest in this topic among some members, but it is simply not feasible or smart to conduct negotiations in public,” APWU President Cliff Guffey says in this week’s release on the union’s web site.
“Great interest” may be an understatement, based on the feedback that FedLine’s been hearing. Among some union members, frustration is also running high that two months after mail handlers got a $15,000 buyout offer, clerks are still waiting. (One reader wrote to inquire whether there’s a store near the APWU’s Washington headquarters that sells torches and pitchforks.)
Discussions with U.S. Postal Service management are continuing, Guffey says, adding that the “needs of APWU members are uppermost in our mind.”
“We will not be pressured into accepting an offer that is not in the best interests of our members.”
As FedLine has previously reported, the buyout issue has gotten entangled in a dispute over whether the Postal Service is fully living up to the terms of the contract signed last year. With the Postal Service eager to shed workers, the APWU apparently believes that withholding agreement on a buyout is one means of getting leverage.
It’s a strategy that the union’s national executive board has endorsed, former APWU President William Burrus writes on his blog. That statement was challenged by AWPU spokeswoman Sally Davidow, who called it “not accurate.”
“The executive board has not endorsed any such alleged strategy,” Davidow said.
Last year, Burrus opposed ratification of the existing contract and makes clear that he disagrees with the union’s current leadership on this issue as well. If management can’t save money one way, he writes, it will find another.
“For each dollar of savings not generated through the replacement of retiring employee with a new hire under the reduced wage scale it will be recovered through additional consolidations, subcontracting or other means of management induced efficiencies.”
[This post was revised on Aug. 6 to include Davidow comment.]