Federal Judge Dismisses APWU Lawsuit Against Bush and Postmaster General

APWU Web News

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed an APWU lawsuit against President George W. Bush and Postmaster General John E. Potter that sought to compel the appointment of a Postal Advisory Council. The court’s Nov. 26 ruling [PDF] concluded that the postal council, which was authorized by Congress in 1970 under the terms of the Postal Reorganization Act, was not specifically reauthorized by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006.

The union filed the petition July 16, 2008, seeking the appointment of the 13-member council — including four members nominated by postal labor unions — outlined in the Postal Reorganization Act (PRA), which was amended and supplemented by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA).

Judge James Robertson ruled that the Postal Advisory Council was terminated in January 1975 under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which requires the federal government to give the public access to the meetings and minutes of agency advisory committees.

However, in an earlier decision, Judge Robertson ruled that the Postal Service was exempt from the FACA and dismissed an APWU lawsuit seeking access to the meetings and minutes of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC). The committee represents large mailers — whose interests are often adverse to those of postal workers — and makes recommendations to senior USPS management on postal operations, rates, and regulations.

Both lawsuits were part of an effort by the union to end “secret policy-making” by the USPS.

Quoting his previous ruling, issued March 28, Judge Robertson wrote, “I found that the FACA was a ‘Federal law dealing with … employees, budgets, or funds,’ and held, accordingly, that it did not apply to USPS’ decision to form MTAC…. But the creation and operation of the MTAC was an ‘exercise of the powers of the Postal Service.’… By contrast, the creation of the Postal Service Advisory Council was an exercise of congressional authority.”