Burrus: Something is wrong with this picture

Something is wrong with this picture. The union agrees to reduce wages in the amount of 24% and we declare victory. Over a career, each employee will receive more than $200,000 less in wages and retirement and we call that a win.

And what will postal management do with this windfall ($3.4 billion)? Will they pay on the Congressionally imposed health fund? Will they pay back the money borrowed so they will have room to borrow more? Will they invest in safety so they will not have to harass injured employees? No, you guessed it. They will increase the rate discounts, the very same rates that the Rate Commission found exceed the cost avoided at the previous salary.

If that is a win, I hope you retire before we suffer a slight loss.

In solidarity,

Bill Burrus

Burrus Journal

30 thoughts on “Burrus: Something is wrong with this picture

  1. Notice in this proposed pile of poop, the increases in our portion of health care payments are not stated. Word from insiders is , we may get a whopping 3.5 per cent wage increase but our obligation to health care payments could be as high as 10 to 15 percent. Once again Guppy, if there is money lying around the union palace to pay members to vote, send it back to the members. We are close to having to fill up our vehicles with fuel on installment plans.

  2. i say vote yes the time in the postal service is ending whe have to take what we have now becase the future is long and no barry khnow what happent whit our money in the trifty and in the social security this is for the fers employe

  3. APWU fills its coffers with new APWU health insurance money kickbacks from the OPM for new glorified casual hires, while we and the newbees pay the price (they don’t have to join the union to have the only health plan available to them, the APWU plan, but they can pay a fee!).
    Turn back the clocks to the early 1900’s and you will find similar flex type working conditions before the real unions took hold. This union leadership is a scam. Someone stated it ‘must be a good contract if all involved with the negotiations are in favor.’ Guess what: they have to save face, you know: all or none! Do you think all of the guards in Nazi Germany were in favor of gassing? If these short-sighted union reps could only see beyond their collective noses, they would view a postal service where there will likely NEVER be another career employee clerk employee hired in the APWU bargaining unit. Only these glorified TE’s, casuals, with no rights, retirement benefits, etc. When the 2015 contract comes up, will the USPS have ANY incentive to give out raises when they have 25-35,000 glorified casuals on the rolls? NOT gonna happen! Arbitration can’t be any worse! VOTE NO! PS: the USPS recently admitted to Congress it couldn’t have received a better deal in arbitration.

  4. This contract is not about Bill Burris. It is about reading every line and deciding for yourself if this is what you want. As for me it is very clear that this contract proposal is a vision of the Postal Service that it would like to have as soon as possible. Under elementary thought, this is a total sell-out by the union. No one knows what it will cost to live by 2015. One must ask if you think 3.5 percent increase of your wage will be enough. Once again, if there is money lying around for a get out the vote campaign, then give it the hell back to the dues paying members. Guffey just got a big job in the AFL-CIO. Mmmm, wonder if there is a connection. No, could’nt be. Hang in there brothers and sisters, we’re in for some scary changes. Anybody remember ‘Carvin Marvin?

  5. Vote No.
    Contract is a big loser for everyone.
    No wage increase for 2 years,
    No COLA’s until 2013.
    Scam contract.
    P.O.is not going broke soon.
    It’s a scam they use when they negotiate a contract – whine whine whine, they have no money!!!

  6. I believe that any time USPS management agrees with any APWU position that we need to rethink it. That was the first Red flag that went up when i heard the news of the new contract.
    Second , was that Mr. Burris is against it. If this was a good contract he would tell us. He has no reason to lead us astray in this. He has always been forthcoming and let us know when it looked bad for us. He’s just telling us that this is not good for us.
    One thing we need to consider , is that its not up to the union to provide more flexibility for management, thats what congress is for, let them vote on it according to what their district supports. What’s wrong with the contract we have now, anyway? A study showed tht 40% of a 1st class stamp goes directly toward managing costs. The PRC has already voiced their digust with the waste Postal management is responsible for. That was one of the primary reasons why they turned down the initial proposed rate increase from 2010. We have too many Managers.

    I strongly urge the membership to turn down this proposal . Yes, there are things that need to improve , but let the managers do their jobs right , by following the rules they have now. How many times have you realized that you were self managing while your supervisor was goofing off? A yes Vote would let him keep his job, and eliminate yours. This proposal is another example of the employees doing managements’ job for them. But that’s not our job. They know that fear will drive us to ratify. That’s why they are leaving it up to us. Make them start over! Wages in the private sector should be rising to meet ours, not cutting ours to meet theirs. Are we required to have to jobs so we can put a roof over our heads?
    Anyone who votes Yes to Ratify this may be looking at that scenario.

    In Solidarity?

  7. Justifying Your Decision
    I have read the justification/excuses for electing to support an agreement that transforms postal employment in a very negative way for existing and new employees far into the future and the reasons fail to pass the smell test. The reduction of wages in the staggering amount of more than $200,000 per employee and the conversion of full time assignments to part time with a new title of “nontraditional” will dramatically change postal employment, and lead to a shift of $3.8 billion over the life of the agreement from the pay checks of APWU represented employees to postal management to use at their discretion.
    And instead of using this windfall to “save” the Postal Service it can and will be used for other nefarious purposes like increasing rate discounts for major mailers.

    A simple fact, unless the retiree health care issue is resolved there is nothing the union can do to save the Postal Service short of working for free.
    Because of the threat of more significant losses in arbitration, many employees believe and hope that the impact of the changes will be limited to the next generation of postal employees with modest impact in the immediate future. This is a false reading of the changes incorporated in the negotiated language.

    Employees who believe that the major changes will be deferred until the future will be disappointed when they experience major workplace modifications within months of finalization of the ratification process. Computer scheduling will quickly realign the work centers to match employees to mail and the mix of full time with part time scheduling will be initiated expeditiously. Full time employees will have little choice except to re-bid their existing work assignments with many forced to accept schedules with less than 40 hours per week, resulting in significant pay reductions as the loss of scheduled work hours will add to the wage reductions.

    Work Centers will have integrated scheduling with a mixture of NCAs, new hires under the reduced pay scale and existing full time employees, resulting in single work center having employees earning three (3) different wages for performance of the same work.

    Pay Reductions
    You will also be disappointed to find that for current employees, the two year wage freeze will result in actual pay reductions. While you have been told that this contract will generate wage increases of 3.5% over the life of the agreement, in fact you will experience wage reductions.

    Using the expiring contract as a guide of historic salary adjustments to protect buying power, salaries are increased in the range of 1% a year plus COLA This deferral of salary adjustment represents a loss of 2% in salary and a projected 4% in COLA as inflation reflects the exceptional increases in gasoline prices. So after balancing the 3.5% increases back loaded in the tentative agreement against the losses of 6% (2% for historic wage increases and the expected 4% representing the loss of 4 COLAs) from the wage freezes in 2011 and 2012, existing employees will suffer wage losses in the range of 2.5% over the 4 year agreement. Instead of the advertised increase of 3.5%, in reality, each existing employee will actually suffer wage losses of 2.5% or more.

    One will be able to monitor the actual dollar amount of the COLA losses in 2011 as the Mail Handlers and the Letter Carriers receive the COLA salary adjustments that are generated prior to the expiration of their existing contracts.

    So for those employees who will make their decision on the basis of the monetary effect of the agreement, while new employees will suffer wage losses up to 30%, (wage rate reductions and the absence of pay adjustments in 2011 and 2012), existing employees will likewise experience significant financial reductions (approximately 3.5% after balancing the 3.5% increases against the 7% in losses)) over the life of the new agreement when the 2.5% wage losses is added to the increased contributions for health benefits.

    Future Uncertainties

    These negative changes for existing employees and ‘new hires’ must be balanced against the uncertainties of arbitration and the question asked if the union can dictate the conditions when arbitration is less challenging. The previous national agreement was finalized in November 2006 and it was not possible at that time to accurately predict the circumstances that would be present at its expiration in 2010. The economist did not predict the severe recession beginning in 2008 and its negative impact on mail volume and USPS revenue. Who would have predicted the attack on collective bargaining in 2011, but what if the 2012 national elections result in the House, Senate and White House being controlled by anti-labor forces when the union returns to bargaining in 2015? These and numerous other negatives are possible and very likely, making any future arbitration equally as challenging.

    When the union last bargained in 2006, the effect of Postal legislation requiring the pre-funding of future health care liabilities had not been implemented and its crippling effect on USPS finances had not yet been experienced. These and other intervening interim events had not been identified in 2006, and cannot be projected with any accuracy going forward. Those who make decisions based upon current external factors will discover that national events are not static and the future does not guarantee that at a given point circumstances and events will be more favorable. The decision on whether or not to arbitrate must always be limited to the present. Do the contractual provisions meet expectations? If not, fight.

    Stuff happens: Anthrax in the mail; 9-11; the home mortgage debacle; wars; Congressional interference, and on and on. There are never excuses for the acceptance of unacceptable conditions for workers and deferring the fight to 2015 or later. There is no guarantee that the obstacles in 2015 will not be equal to or exceed those we presently face.

    In this agreement, the union either believes that the reduction of wages in these unprecedented amounts and the elimination of full time jobs are in the interest of the members or it has an obligation to fight. We cannot predict the future so if the option is to fight, a union fights.

  8. My fellow APWU Members:
    I just voted NO and mailed my ballot. For Heaven’s sake, vote No. Your “Yes” vote would be a disaster first to you and your family. You would NOT have a job. Your job will be reposted only to be filled by a casual (PSE). Please be informed and get educated and don’t be ignorant. This is a matter of your “survival”. Your yes vote would sink the ship. Believe me if the new contract is ratified, USPS would rush to repost all jobs nationwide and we would be without jobs in 2011.

    Please do not put USPS in the driver’s seat. They would wreck it.

    Please read each line of the contract. Rank and File committee was bought by National. National has millions of dollars sitting in the bank. Cliff and his team sold us out. It is time to clean the house.

    Each and every APWU represented employees: Please wake up and smell the coffee. USPS wanted to break up the union about two years ago. They planned and implemented it. I got this news in August 2009 from a close friend of mine who is a supervisor.

    Mr. Burrus is a full dues paying member. He fought for us for several decades. He negotiated several contracts in the past. Never ever in the history we gave up any ground we gained. Cliff Guffey and his associates gave up all. Mr. Burrus is absolutely right regardless he is current officer or not. I miss him.

    What new Contract will do to us? USPS can repost any occupied full time job. The new reposting will be under new category called “Wal-Mart Wage” about $12.85 an hour. Once your job is taken away you are unassigned and subject to excess out. Your job will be filled with casuals (PSE). Do you smell the coffee?

    I would not be surprised if Cliff got a “Reward” for sleeping with the USPS and his collusion. The real winners in the new contract are: USPS and APWU National officials. The losers are: All APWU represented employees: Clerks, Custodians, Maintenance craft, Motor Vehicle Craft etc.

    Watch out City Carriers Union, Mail Handlers Union and Rural Carriers Union: You are next.

    Bottom Line: If you want to keep your job and in the same pay, vote NO. Please do not make yourself Wal-Mart Employee.

  9. There are a lot of new changes in the tentative contract. That does not mean they are good or bad. They are just changes. I remember when we had the 10-4 program and how popular it was. Then management decide it was too hard to manage. Nobody likes changes. they worry about what will happen. As with all contracts that have come about since I started in 1983, there are questions. If anyone thinks that the Union would have done better in arbitration, hasn’t been watching what is going on in the country. There is another reason I am voting yes on this agreement. Since I started in 1983 I am covered by the Civil Service retirement. 1984 is when FERS started. Management asked all of the civil service employees if they wanted to switch to FERS. I was young and didn’t know which was better. But then I thought, If management wants me to switch, it cannot be good for me. I bet those employees that switched wish they didn’t. When congress held hearing last week about our agreement and why did the USPS agree i Knew it must be good for us. think about it.

  10. all these posts by “burrus” have been posted by a second or third party. no where has the actual burrus posted ANYTHING! the reason is burrus is retired and had a chance to stay and finish this but elected not to.

  11. I will vote no. I see what is in front of me and I do not like it. If in arbitration something is forced on me, at least I was not a party to it. I will not be a party to this contract.

  12. Vote yes or we are really screwed. Congress will change the law on our ass and we won’t even have a contract.


  14. I firmly Believe that its taken 40 years to get what we have, WHY GIVE IT AWAY? Make them take it from us!!!!!!!!!! VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. It is time to reject this garbage say no to contract. I would rather lose at hands of arbitrator not my own union. Fire Cliff.

  16. Bill Burrus is a dues paying member of the APWU. Retired or not he is entitled to a voice in this Union. Unions are all about a fair form of democracy in which all members of the working class have a right to their opinion. I can’t understand why Guffey and his entourage negotiated this tentative agreement based on unrealistic financial statistics facing the postal service. I voted NO to the ratification of this agreement and I encourage others to do the same.

  17. Also, everyone should recall that it was the Republican held Congress, lead by Rep. Issa who was just complaining how Arbitration generally favor’s the Union, and not the other way around. So why is Cliff Guffy trying to scare us all away from Arbitration?
    Secondly, wasn’t former APWU President Burres before the very same congress just last year fighting off congress’ attempts to mandate that Arbitrators not be required to take into consideration the financial conditions of the USPS; and here Cliff Guffy is trying to sell us a contract based on the financial condition of the USPS.
    Lastly, I sure as hell wouldn’t want a lawyer who took into consideration the financial condition of the person I may be attempting to sue in civil court. Cliff Guffy has been elected / “HIRED” by the membership to take into account OUR financial conditions, when negotiating a CBA. Last time I checked, the USPS was not a due paying member of the APWU! So Cliff, why are you worried about the financial condition of the USPS. And don’t give me that UAW / GM load of BS either, cause we arn’t private sector. At more, we are a Federal Agency which just happens to be written into the Constitution of the United States.
    You should try selling SNAKE OIL while your at it!

  18. Bill is right on point. Cliff sold us out. The APWU new slogan should be “Ask not what the Postal Service can do for you, but what you can do for the Postal Service.” That is essentially what Cliff Guffy is telling you – “What’s good for the USPS, is good for you!” Ain’t that right Cliff? That’s why we should cut are thoughts, and stick it to the Veterans getting out of Iraq, Aphganistan, and who knows what next war. You must take us all for fools, or stupid greedy jerks. Ray Charles could SEE this load of crap a mile away.

  19. This proposed contract is just like drugs; just say NO! Since the union has money [ our money], just laying around, for the get out the vote campaign, how about giving it back to us. This leadership is worse than the leadership in the oval office. The worse contract I’ve seen in my almost 24 years.

  20. Don’t want to be looking for a job right with any kind of benefitsmshoukdcget laid off or excess to God knows where Going tomtake my chances & vote yes & hopefully save most or a good portion of the good job & excellent benefits that i have. Don’t want to be part if the walking wounded of out if workers flooding the country

  21. I am a Part Time Flexible who gets 40 hours every week. I have thought long and hard about this contract. If this contract goes to ARBITRATION–we will probably get nothing. I thought about my son working for the Post Office with less pay than I received—and I kept thinking— and he said he wanted to become a LAWYER. So, that changed my mind about RATIFYING this contract. I have a Business degree–if all else fails their is HOPE. This is not the only job in the world. Sometimes, we have to think outside the BOX. Do you want to keep living the MIDDLE CLASS LIFE or get nothing out of this. I may lose hours when I convert to a Full time employee—that is the best deal for me instead of 2hrs per PAY PERIOD. I am going to VOTE YES…….

  22. I once had a fight with burrus and I knocked him out in one punch. he never bothered me again. He was more like my puppet. I made him dance on a string

  23. I have admired and respected Mr. Burrus for many years, but I am severely disappointed that he, as a recently retired national APWU officer, has chosen to interfere in our current negotiation/ratification process. He chose to step down before the contract was completed – no one ran him off.

    Now, every single sitting national officer and every single member of the Rank and File committee are supporting the new tentative agreement while our former president sits in the nickel seats and bashes the results of their hard work. If he felt so strongly about this contract, why did President Burrus choose not to run for reelection? It’s easy to be contrary when you’re not responsible to make such tough decisions.

    There is no doubt that we are giving some ground in this round of negotiations, which is exactly what would happen whether we accept this deal or force matters in front of an arbitrator. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that the union has a very weak case to present in a formal hearing. Any arbitrator would recognize this obvious fact and could gut our contract in much worse ways.

    The Postal Service is going broke and desperately needs to slash costs in order to remain viable. As employees dependent upon the continued survival of the company for our livelihoods, we literally cannot afford to kill the beast that feeds us all. It’s easy to shout “Stick to your guns!” while the ship is going down when your personal welfare is not tied to the consequences of such an action, but it’s a lot different when you are tied to the bow.

    My fellow members, let’s choose to live in the world of reality. We could not and WOULD not get a “better” deal if we reject this tentative contract. President Guffey and ALL of the other officers knew exactly what they were doing at the bargaining table. Please do the rational and logical thing and ratify this contract.

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