When President Bush signed an Executive Order granting non-essential federal employees a day off on Dec. 24, 2007, I requested that the Postal Service follow the same spirit of holiday cheer and grant postal employees the day off as well. Postmaster General Potter has informed me verbally — and information published in the USPS Newsbreak confirms — that the Postal Service will operate on a reduced schedule on Dec. 24 [PDF]; but postal employees who desire to be off will be required to use leave.
Employee schedules are governed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the 2006-2010 agreement, which was ratified by APWU members early in 2007, does not include provisions granting APWU-represented employees holidays simply because they have been granted to federal employees. Even though the postal holidays are also days that the federal government recognizes for federal employees, the source of holiday recognition for postal workers is the negotiated agreement.
The union will address this issue in future rounds of bargaining. Because the cost of closing the Postal Service for a day is estimated by management to be nearly $175 million, we can expect resistance during negotiations.
Although APWU-represented employees will not be able to enjoy Dec. 24 as a scheduled off-day unless they use leave, 2007 has been a productive year for us. Perhaps our most outstanding achievement was the elimination of Part-Time Flexible employees in 440 postal installations.
For many of the newly-converted employees, Christmas Day 2007 will be the first holiday of their careers for which they will be paid without working. Congratulations!!!
And to all APWU members and your families
The APWU family wishes you: Happy Holidays