Burrus: Those Who Tell Workers to Sacrifice Fail to Understand Postal Realities

APWU President William Burrus Update

As the Postal Service struggles with severe financial losses, postal commentators pontificate on the steps that must be taken to ensure its return to solvency. The standard line espoused by spokesmen for the major mailers is that the postal workers must lower their expectations for wages, benefits and working conditions. In addition, these pundits suggest that management must be provided greater flexibility in the assignment of employees.

I suggest that those who are unfamiliar with the detailed contractual agreements between postal unions and the Postal Service should refrain from speaking about issues they know so little about.

In response to the demand that postal wages and benefits must be moderated, I respond: How do you calculate the savings generated by the elimination of 125,000 craft jobs? Are savings only calculated on the hourly wages workers earn?

I challenge any other entity in the “postal community,” including the major mailers, mail consolidators, printers and prognosticators, to prove that they have made a greater contribution to restoring the USPS to solvency than the savings generated by the major reduction in craft jobs.

To the charge that postal management is overly restricted in the daily assignment of work, I suggest that the critics look at the 20,000 post offices where postmasters and supervisors routinely perform craft work and craft employees regularly serve as replacements for supervisory personnel.

I challenge the analysts who know absolutely nothing about the assignment of postal employees to compare the contractual limitations in more than 20,000 small post offices to any workplace — union or non-union, including Wall Mart and McDonalds — and show me more flexibility than exists in these assignments. Contractual agreements that simply impose order on the movement of employees cannot be interpreted as restrictions.

William Burrus