The APWU and Postal Service will continue contract negotiations, and have agreed to extend the 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement for a third time, APWU President Cliff Guffey announced Dec. 1.
“We have been working feverishly to reach an agreement that is good for postal workers and the Postal Service, and we will continue our efforts,” Guffey said.
“We still believe there is potential to reach a negotiated settlement.”“We will be working late tonight and early tomorrow. We have agreed to ‘cover the clock,’” he said, adding that the parties would continue working until they reach agreement or it becomes clear that an agreement is not possible.
“Throughout the bargaining process, the APWU has sought to negotiate a contract that would safeguard jobs and lessen the pain of excessing for our members,” he said. “Our proposals would also strengthen the USPS.”
“One of our main goals is to restore work that has been outsourced or given to supervisory personnel. This would bring stability to APWU members who have endured severe hardships due to long-distance reassignments caused by excessing,” the union president said.
“The proposals we have submitted to achieve this objective also would benefit the Postal Service,” Guffey said. “The simple fact is that our members can perform these duties more efficiently and less expensively.”
We Didn’t Cause the Problems
“These are tough times, and the Postal Service’s financial difficulties are well-known,” Guffey said, “but the truth is, postal workers are not the cause of these problems.”
“There is unanimous agreement among all sectors of the postal community that the primary cause of USPS losses is a provision of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which requires the Postal Service to prefund its retiree healthcare obligations at a highly accelerated rate,” he noted. No other government agency or private-sector business bears this burden.
“The unions, management, big mailers, knowledgeable legislators, and postal commentators all agree that legislative action is required to address this problem,” Guffey said.
In a Nov. 23 report, the USPS Office of Inspector General OIG concluded that if USPS pension and retiree healthcare pre-funding levels were set at levels closer to those used by other organizations, the Postal Service would save $60.6 billion.
The contract was originally scheduled to expire Nov. 20, but the union and management agreed to two previous extensions, first to Nov. 23, then to Dec. 1.The 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in effect until a new agreement is reached through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
Under the terms of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, when the union and management fail to reach agreement on a successor contract and do not agree on an alternate procedure, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service FMCS appoints a mediator. If a settlement is not reached within 60 days of the expiration of the contract, both parties submit all outstanding issues to binding arbitration.
If arbitration becomes necessary, the APWU will appoint an arbitrator, as will the USPS. The two party-appointed arbitrators will work with a neutral arbitrator to ensure that each side’s interests are clearly understood.
“We will continue to work for a contract that benefits postal workers and the Postal Service,” Guffey said. “I ask for the continued support of the members of the American Postal Workers Union.”
source: Contract Talks to Continue.