APWU Assails USPS Inspector General On Custodial Subcontracting Recommendations


APWU President William Burrus has strenuously objected to a recommendation in a recent audit by the USPS Office of the Inspector General that “blatantly urges postal management to seek an end to restrictions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement on custodial subcontracting.”

The report on Custodial Maintenance operations in the New York District (DA-AR-09-007 [PDF]) “does not respect the legally required bargaining process,” Burrus said in a June 4 letter [PDF] to Inspector General David Williams. In addition to suggesting changes to the outsourcing provisions of the contract, it also “encourages management to arbitrarily adjust cleaning frequencies.

“This reflects a level of ignorance of the bargaining process, which requires mutual agreement,” the union president said. “The American Postal Workers Union looks forward to participating in bargaining and discussing a wide range of proposals to improve efficiencies and reward employees.”

Although the objective of the report was to “determine whether the Postal Service uses its custodial maintenance resources in the most effective and efficient way in the New York District,” Burrus noted that the USPS ignores many opportunities for more efficient use of it resources.

“We fail to understand postal management’s refusal in previous negotiations to apply a cost-benefit standard to all decisions on subcontracting,” he said. “We also fail to comprehend any justification for rate discounts that far exceed the postal costs avoided” for large mailers who pre-sort their mail.

Burrus pointed out that the union has asked the OIG to investigate these “contractor-friendly” practices, and noted that “The OIG has repeatedly declined this invitation, choosing instead to intrude in the bargaining process.”

“This and other circumstances reveal that your office is selective in its identification of cost savings,” he said.

“I look forward to the 2010 contract negotiations, during which each party will advance proposals favorable to their respective interests. I suspect that you will not be present,” he told the Inspector General, “as that is not within your portfolio of responsibilities.”