Browsing: American Postal Workers Union

As prospects dim for postal reform, Senate bill already encountering flak

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Only days after it was introduced, a proposed Senate overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service is taking its lumps from both organized labor and the mailing industry. “This bill is fatally flawed,” Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union, said in a Friday statement denouncing the legislation as a betrayal of USPS employees. The Association for Postal Commerce, which represents business mail users, has some “significant issues” with the measure, such as its idea for widening the Postal Service’s discretion in applying an inflation-adjusted cap on rate increases for standard mail and other areas where it dominates the…

For letter carriers, new contract certain to show the strain of tough times

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As early as this week, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers could get the terms of a new contract. Whatever a three-man arbitration panel decides, the outcome is sure to furnish fresh evidence of the painful tradeoffs facing labor as the embattled U.S. Postal Service presses to cut personnel costs. NALC members “understand that difficult things were necessary,” Jim Sauber, the union’s chief of staff, said in an interview today. “But on the other hand, we also want to reward the people who are working harder and have harder jobs.” The NALC, for example, is proposing to create a…

Postal union political spending up this election

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Organized labor may be hurting, but it would be hard to tell from the amount of money that the four big postal unions are spending on this year’s presidential and congressional races. According to their most recent disclosure reports filed earlier this month, the four–through their political action committees–had shoveled about $9.6 million into the 2012 election cycle, already ahead of the $8.9 million total for 2010, a non-presidential election year, according to data compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Accounting for more than half of the 2012 sum was the National Association of Letter Carriers, followed by the American Postal…

Union loses bid to block mail processing plant consolidations

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In case anyone missed it, (this particular FedLine correspondent was away when the decision came down), the Postal Regulatory Commission last week officially dismissed a union complaint seeking to block the U.S. Postal Service’s downsizing of its mail processing plant network. The complaint, filed in June by the American Postal Workers Union, argued in part  that the Postal Service had first to receive an advisory opinion from the PRC on the proposed changes to first-class mail delivery standards that are accompanying the downsizing. But while that approach is “preferred,” it’s not mandatory, the five-member commission ruled in its 16-page order.…

Story of one mail processing plant consolidation reveals possible pitfalls

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The U.S. Postal Service plans to close or consolidate about half of its 461 mail processing facilities during the next two years or so. Judging from a newly released after-action review of one recent downsizing, a bumpy road lies ahead both for postal employees and customers. The review, released today by the Postal Service’s inspector general, examines the consolidation of the Frederick, Md. Processing and Distribution Facility with the Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center between last October and January. Long story short: Service suffered and costs were higher than expected. One big mistake was scheduling the move during the Christmas…

Rural letter carriers' contract concessions follow APWU precedent

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When American Postal Workers Union members agreed to a contract last year that included wage and benefit concessions, they were obviously binding themselves for the life of the agreement with the U.S. Postal Service. Less obvious—at least to FedLine–was that they were also setting the stage for similar givebacks by other postal unions. That’s a lot clearer now, however, with the award of the three-member arbitration board charged with setting the terms of a new contract between Postal Service and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association. The APWU agreement “provided precedent that would have been very difficult to ignore,” wrote…

Arbitrators to decide terms of three postal union contracts

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Now that the U.S. Postal Service and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union are officially arbitration-bound, it seems time for an overview of the state of USPS labor negotiations that will affect both the mail carrier’s bottom line, not to mention the incomes and working conditions of tens of thousands of postal workers. More than a year has passed since members of the American Postal Workers Union ratified a new contract that will run through 2015. But the Postal Service has yet to sew up agreements with its other three bargaining units. Its last contract with the National Rural Letter…

Postal Service processing plant closures in jeopardy

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Don’t look now, but a key piece of the U.S. Postal Service’s downsizing drive this year is at risk of getting smoked before it even gets started. It’s the piece that involves closing or consolidating 48 mail processing plants in July and August. As part of that effort, the Postal Service is seeking a legally required advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission on a related proposal to revamp first-class mail delivery standards. The problem is that the commission doesn’t plan to issue that non-binding opinion until early September—after the downsizing is supposed to have been completed. That doesn’t sit…

Postal Service offering mail handlers $15,000 buyouts

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It’s official: The U.S. Postal Service is dangling more employee buyouts. The buyouts, available to most mail handlers, will amount to $15,000 total, payable in separate $7,500 installments this December and December 2013, according to a Thursday bulletin on a Postal Service web site. With a few exceptions, all career employees covered by the Postal Service’s national agreement with the National Postal Mail Handlers Union are eligible, the bulletin says. Full-time employees wanting to sign up must do so by July 2, and agree to leave or retire by Aug. 31. Part-time career mail handlers are eligible on a pro-rated…

Arbitration ahead for Postal Service and National Association of Letter Carriers

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Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a month after National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando said the union was “committed” to reaching agreement on a new labor contract through mediation, it’s now headed to binding arbitration with the U.S. Postal Service, according to a release posted on a USPS site. The arbitration process will wrap up later this year, the Postal Service said. A NALC spokesman had no immediate comment this morning. The news comes three months after impasses were declared in the Postal Service’s negotiations with both the NALC and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union.…

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