Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives on March 24 that would restrict USPS subcontracting. The Mail Protection Act (H.R. 1686), which is backed by the APWU, is modeled on a bill the Congressman introduced in November 2007 (H.R. 4236).
The bill would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before engaging in significant subcontracting, and would require the USPS to submit to arbitration if management and the affected unions were unable to reach agreement. It would apply to any private contract involving mail processing, mail handling, or surface transportation of mail, provided that over a 12-month period the contract involved the equivalent of $5 million or 50 work-years.
“This legislation is vital,” said APWU President William Burrus, “especially in light of the Postal Service’s recent financial difficulties. “There is no justification for continued subcontracting while postal employees and equipment are under-utilized.
“Yet the USPS continues to engaging in subcontracting, and, under the terms of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, is able to avoid bargaining over the issue.”
“The requirement to bargain will enhance our ability to oppose wasteful, inefficient and detrimental subcontracting,” Burrus said. “Too often, contracting out ends up costing the Postal Service more money than if the work were performed by postal employees, and contractors’ service to the public is poor.”
“I applaud Rep. Lynch for introducing this bill, which will be beneficial for the Postal Service, postal workers, and the American public,” the union president said. “The APWU will work with him to help gain co-sponsors for the legislation, and to win support for a companion bill in the Senate.”
Burrus urged postal workers to contact their representatives and urge them to support it. “It is imperative that members of Congress hear from their constituents that this legislation is important to the future of the Postal Service and to postal workers.”
APWU activists at the state and local level should make plans to win support from lawmakers, Burrus said.
“We have a great deal of hard work before us,” he said. “We must do everything we can to see that H.R. 1686 is passed.”