Burrus Editorial: It’s All About Me

To APWU Members
I have written a number of opinion letters criticizing the tentative agreement; however, while forcefully advancing my position I realize that there is a countervailing position as expressed in the hypothetical letter below reflecting the sentiment of many APWU members.

Dear Mr. Burrus:

I have read your opinion regarding the tentative agreement and with all due respect to your service and experience as a union representative, I strongly disagree.

I was apprehensive about the outcome of the 2010 national negotiations during a period of economic uncertainties in our country and in the Postal Service. The unemployment rate continues at an uncomfortable level and by all reports the Postal Service is approaching bankruptcy putting my employment in serious jeopardy. While I have complaints about several aspects of my job, it does provide me the income necessary to maintain my standard of living and the uncertainties of arbitration would threaten my economic security; I really wouldn’t like that.

When I learned that a negotiated agreement had been agreed to that does not drastically reduce my income; that continues to provide health insurance with a modest increase in my premium, and that the new provisions will not directly threaten my ‘job security’ I breathed a sigh of relief. As added benefits, the tentative agreement eliminates mandatory overtime and limits excessing to a reasonable commuting distance as well as returns contract jobs to the Postal Service. Other features that I do not fully understand will not affect me personally but will not hurt me either.

The initiation of a two tier wage schedule and the increase of non-career employees are negatives but they will not directly apply to me and I will even receive modest pay raises.

The increase in casuals (I don’t care what you call them) is troublesome, but if that is the only price that I have to pay I will swallow it. If someone has to perform the same work for $12 per hour, that’s their problem.

When I was informed that employees hired under this contract would receive over $200,000 less for performing the same work I was disappointed, but those new employees can speak for themselves and those who accept postal employment will know in advance the wage scale that will apply; they will be free to seek employment elsewhere. I hear that McDonalds is adding 50,000 new positions so that will be an alternative if postal wages are not acceptable.

I know that this is selfish on my part because I inherited the advances made by the postal generations that preceded me. I appreciate the struggles of those who jeopardized their careers by participating in the strike and those who were responsible for rejecting the tentative agreement in 1978 that would have capped the COLA and reduced my income dramatically over my career. I appreciate all of the contracts negotiated since I was hired that advanced my rights and increased my income.

I am thankful for the 2007 upgrades Mr. Burrus and the fact that you protected the income of those who have been hired after each of the contracts that you negotiated because if you had agreed to a two tier salary before I was hired it would have affected me and when all is said and done, it is about “me.”

Mr. Burrus, if you or Mr. Biller, the only two presidents that negotiated contracts during my career had reduced postal wages at any time before or during my employment it is possible that I would not have accepted or continued postal employment, but I cannot live in a world of “what if’s.” You did what you had to do and now it’s my turn. In this decision, I have to look out for myself. I am appreciative that I am being provided the opportunity to vote and my vote is “Yes.”

And if my vote makes a difference, I will admit that I was partially responsible for reducing the pay of future postal employees up to 24% and reducing full time jobs to 30 hours a week and still call them full time, but times are difficult and in this instance it’s them or me and I chose the latter. Isn’t that what a union is all about?

APWU Member

Burrus Journal

34 thoughts on “Burrus Editorial: It’s All About Me

  1. For those of you “Postal Veterans” who think that these changes will only affect the newbees you are wrong. what happens when the abolish te 40 hour a week jobs and repost them with 30 hour a week jobs. Are you going to work tour 1 or tour 3 for the rest of your careers unusighned because thats where you will be unless you take one of the 30 hour a week jobs. Which by the way is eqivelent to only working 3 weeks a month. Oh ya or are you going to commute that 50 miles when they send you to that other facility because your a 40 hour a week clerk at $5.00 a gallon? Gee thats not a pay cut. You guys are FOOLS if you think that this TA will noy effect you.

  2. You Turkeys better vote yes on this one, because you will never have another one. NO MORE UNIONS (especially for you rich spoiled public employees)

  3. Burrus also kept the fact that the postal service was willing to give $15,000 to anyone with years of service who would agree to early retirement back in 2009. His inability to keep the membership informed cost plenty of us who missed that money by a few months. He kept telling members the postal service would not be offering any incentives to retire early but then there it was. Does he think we are all that dumb to believe his lies? That incentive didn’t just pop up out of thin air it was being talked about but he out and out lied to long time members and for that I have no use for the man.

  4. This man is the same buffoon who ran from us when times got tough because he supposedly “wanted to spend more time with his family”. He is the worst president we ever had in APWU! He should shut his mouth and go off into the sunset like he said he would!

  5. I’m on a roll now. I’ve worked at the Cleveland P&DC on tour one for almost 17 years.. In a normal shift we have 4 or five MDO’S and a lead MDO earning 80,90; or 100 grand a year plus numerous supervisors who have no idea what we do earning 75 plus a year. Do you think we are over managed? I have supervised as a 204b almost every unit in the plant and could tell you what to do in every unit given the correct numbers. But the irony is that I could do this over the phone while sitting on the crapper for approx. 1 million dollars less a year. I ask again. Are we over managed?

  6. lastbethope you are an idiot! Hope your kids get a job at the USPS and go to work to be told that there is no work and to go home like they do at UPS. The heathcare retirement is killing us and the government needs to fix it for us (not you) to prosper.

  7. The union management is all on board with this agreement. If this contract is ratified would they please accept a 25% reduction in pay and displacement? Didn’t think so. This contract is terrible. Hopefully when the ballots come out for the next election we will remember who NOT to vote for.

  8. Michael Genome you’ve read my mind. I’ve been saying for years the Rich guys plan is to make the USA like Mexico. Where the top richest 50 families own everything and the rest of us pick shit with the chickens. The working class Republicans will go like sheep to the slaughter.

  9. Vote Yes…..or join the Wisconsin Teachers Union of hysterical losers who don’t even understand that their jobs are being SAVED….. by those who know the real story of our financial times in Wisconsin and all across America.

    You vote no idiots think it’s 1992 and the good times are about to roll….ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.

    WAKE UP. WAKE THE FKUP. It’s 2011, gas is gonna be $5-$6 a gal and our mail volume is GONE. ….And yet you are being offered a no layoff guarantee until May 2015

    MOST SANE WORKERS would jump at the chance for such job security.

  10. You people who are defending this TA and are going to vote yes are totally uninformed!!!! It not only affects the future employees wages, it affects ALL current employees!! Wake up- don’t look at just the “raises”- you need to take a deeper look at the ways it will affect US ALL. If you vote yes, you will be giving up your guarentee of a 40 hour work week.. Don’t believe all the hype National is giving you- you can’t be forced into a less than 40 hour job, but, for example, if your 40 hour week job is abolished and then reposted as a NT job, no, you don’t have to bid it, but then you will unassigned and then assigned a residual vacancy on possibly Tour 1 with T/W off, with 30 years seniority!! WAKE UP PEOPLE.. VOTE NO

  11. I am glad to that Mr. Burrus is giving us his perspective on the TA. I believe that Mr. Burrus would never agree to such give backs as the TA has. It is one thing to have an arbitrator take back provisions in the contract that the union has fought hard to obtain and keep throughtout the years, but to voluntarily give the PO massive changes in the contract is no justice to the union officers who previously obtained them for us. Mr. Burrus was never afraid of going to arbitration because we won. I was pertubed by the language sent out by our negotiators that stated “In order to provide the PO with more flexibility”. This is clearly helping the PO and not the workers. I saw numerous changes in the TA that was a deal breaker for me just by themselves. The one that really disturbs me is the waving on the COLA`s for 2011. The MH`s and the Letter Carriers will both be recieving COLA`s this year but our negotiators agreed to wave our 2011COLA`s. By the end of the year a LV5 MH will be making more money than me as a LV6 Clerk. My no vote was a no brainer for me.

  12. what bothers me the most:
    1. management is not involved with any sacrifice. they are not taking any pay/hours reduction.
    2. the union cannot grieve any of the new non-traditional positions. why would we take such a weak stance?
    3. no mention of making our mass mailers pay a price that at least allows us to break even on their product, what business sells their service at a loss?
    4.envision our new enviornment where management continues to enjoy their 75k plus salary with possible raises/bonuses .
    5. working with the new casuals.
    my thoughts are such that it will be very hard to enjoy my career when i feel that the postoffice is dumping on the blue colars. mocking labor. and working next to a bunch of lower tier wage earners.
    remember what John Lennon wrote. “a working class hero is something to be. A working class hero is something to fear”

  13. This guy is NUTS. He is willing to accept 30 hours when he is working 40 hours now. Man you will lose about $10,000 a year lets see how you are able to survive..
    McDonalds will be hiring maybe you can get a part time job to make up the difference..

  14. When I first read the original post from the negotiators, I felt somewhat like what is described in the letter here. Now that I have seen the TA and read the posts from other locals, I can see this TA will not only effect new hires but all current APWU covered employees. Where is the wage protection if you are forced to take a 30 hour a week job even if your hourly remains the same? Oh, they can not force you to take one of those jobs. Think again, what will you do if they tell you your job is reverted and the only available jobs for you in your installation is one of those? They still can not force you? When they agree with the union that no jobs of 40 hours are available within the 50 mile excessing limit. Maybe you can find one at another office beyond that. Good luck with that since all offices are going to be using this contract to reduce labor cost and it will be at the expense of at least 25% of your wages. They are happy to offer you a no layoff clause under these provisions. They do not want to lay you off and pay you unemployment. The objective is to force us all to take a 25% plus pay cut or quit. Anyone considering a yes vote on this contract must not mind losing 25% of their income and look forward to only working 30 hours a week. Other things we may want to consider is that your retirement will be made up mostly from TSP contributions if you are under FERS. Guess what, less earnings means less contributions unless you’re willing to pay a higher percentage of your income to make the same contribution you now make. Unless I’m missing something here, a yes vote is cutting my own throat!

  15. The verdict is in: YES rules!
    Take the contract and run, quit moaning about the past and get with the times
    crew. Proud to be on the team of winners. Our APWU president did a great job.

  16. It’s hard to believe that some folks do no understand what Mr. Burrus is saying.
    This hypothetical letter is a composite of many letters from members who are only thinking in the short term. Everyone understand this?
    I’m reasonably certain that once we have caved to the windbag politicians and management, the required overpayments will be corrected. But for the workers, it will be too late.
    Management will be laughing all the way to the bank with their bonus checks in hand. Please, for our sake and that of future employees, don’t buy into these scare tactics. Vote NO, and let it go to arbitration.

  17. WOW!! Aren’t you guys the same ones that wanted Burris’s hyde after he negotiated that crap contract last time. The USPS was ridin high and he got us NOTHIN!! He scheduled his retirement date so as not to deal with negotiations and thank God he did!! How bush league of him to open his mouth at all. He has no room to talk. The ones voting no on this contract are probably the same ones that voted for hope and change too. Vote this contract down and the new TA will get shoved the same place as your hope and change.

  18. i wonder how much he got paid to reverse his earlier statements about the tenitive agreement because no one have ever done a 180 quicker so dont fall for the flat this vote is in the bag already and by the who counts the ballets. its just so transparent just in your face take it our leave it and we have no proof but one day the truth will surface and just like clock work what goes on in the dark will come to light.

  19. Bill Burress is a man of honor. He recognizes that if all give a little that everyone gains.
    This contract is a travesty of justice and a sell out. All the gains that the APWU has made in fairness and justice will be wiped out if this contract is ratified. I have personally met Moe Biller, the APWU President before Bill Burress and he would NEVER bring a contract like this before the membership. This is NOT about Bill Burress, it is about the future of the APWU.
    When the union has to have management write language into a contract that forces new employees to join the union and management agrees to do so, you can smell a rat.
    Is the Apwu turning into a management run union?

  20. The worse part of the contract is the non-traditional full time jobs and the postal support employees. It is not about the money for the craft employees but is about the money for the national officers. The abolishment of the traditional jobs is just around the corner if this contract is ratified. I am sure mgt. is making plans now on what jobs to abolish or repost.

  21. None of this even matters The future of the US is 1% rich and the rest poor, like any good banana republic.

  22. Burras is entitled to his opinion, and still a dues paying member. This dialogue is not about Bill, but rather the T/A. No one cares how you feel about Bill. Stay focused on the T/A people! Bill is just trying to get the brain dead to think. It is food for thought.

  23. Folks: Mr. Burrus announced his retirement on 9-30-2009. There was no negotiations at that time. He did not envision that Guffey would be at the helm and steer the ship in March 2011 to an icerberg (USPS) for a crash. Mr. Burrus was one of the first if not the first to publicly oppose the new contract. The true union is not about “me me me” but about “we we we”.

    The above letter seems from Guffey and his team, I think. APWU member would not write like this.

    I strongly believe that new contract if ratified violates several provisions of different Federal rules, regulations and laws.

    1: OPM rules, regulations and laws: Employees work less than 40 hours a week are NOT full time employees as per OPM. So they cannot be called full time employees. Anything less than 40 hours is NOT a full time job. So our new employees when they work like 30 hours or so cannot be called “Full time Employees”. New contract collides with the Federal laws and hence the contract needs to be null and void.

    2: EEOC Laws: New PSE Employees/Non Traditional Full time Employees are NOT getting “Equal Employment Opportunity” and therefore it may be violating EEO laws as well. “Equal Employment Opportunity” is the law of the land. New people are not getting “Equal Employent Opportunity”..

    3: NLRA (National Labor Relations Act): If the union agrees and signs something with the management that harms the members and removes the protection may be a violation of National Labor Relations Act as well.

    4: Injunctive Relief/Restraining Order from a Federal Court putting hold on everything including ballots and seeking appointment of Independent Commission in which a Panel of 5-10 Independent Arbitrators familiar with past CBAs: (similar to Warren Commission, 9/11 Commission etc.)

    I strongly believe that Emergency Injunctive Relief/Restraining Order must be sought from a Federal Court on behalf of all APWU employees to put everything on hold until the court appoint an Independent Commission in which a Panel of about 5-10 Independent Arbitrators familiar with CBAs conduct fact findings and report back in 100 days in which they report what harm the new contract will do to APWU employees and future employees in plain and simple language.

    Until then, we must continue using the current contract and everything is on hold.

    5: Recall of All Negotiators by National Petition: We must start a national petition to recall all those officers who sold us out and singed the new contract. We must send them home and clean the house.

    6: Let us set up a legal fund in which we all contribute $1 or more

    7: This is our 911 call to Mr. Burrus. Please do something. The clock is ticking. We cannot and will not let the ship sink. We cannot and will not let the pirates hijack and control. He has all contacts. He knows the rules. He knows the laws. He knows good lawyers and experts. Let us move. Be our leader and commander in chief. Today is the time for actions, not tomorrow.

  24. pick your poison…lower wage for new hires or wage reduction for all. Change is gonna come, it is just a matter of how much can you swallow. The Union is weary about going to arbitration but Burrus could have stayed but he too left the Union to get a better seat on the sidelines. He is paid while the future is not!
    Good luck on this contract because it will change the postal career concept forever.

  25. I recall when the president of a local was elected to a national office in the APWU the first instruction they received from headquarters was to stay out of the local’s process for selecting their replacement. To distance themselves from influencing the work of their local’s remaining officer’s and the selection process. This came from the Burris administration if not Burris himself. I’m not saying that this should be applied to President Burris’s commenting on our current contract negotiations but it goes without saying that the logic for those instructions should be considered. At the same time wasn’t President Burris in full control of his retirement date? All this is said not to condemn or diminish President Burris commentary, but in light of these points I find it troubling that President Burris would resort to a hypothetical letter as justification for questioning the motives of those who differ with him on the contract.

  26. Hello, to all above. This letter wasn’t written by Burrus. It was a veiw point of the contract written by someone pretending to be an apwu member. Burrus is against the contract 100%. If you care to educate yourself, start by contacting your local union and get the true facts. This contract is about the collapse of the jobs we hold today. A yes vote is an uneducated vote.

  27. I’m with Bill. Sorry but it really is all about me right now. My fight. My survival. For my family & my future. Like he said, let the new hirees decide if the pay is ok for them or if McDonalds can do them better. Let them fight thru the years to better things if they can be made better. There’s always the classifieds everyone.

  28. Oh, ye of little understanding….Out of three people, only one understood. This is why we are in the spot we are in now! Unfortunately, everyone gets a vote, regardless of their IQ!

  29. If you can not comprehend what Burrus is saying there isn’t much point in trying to explain it.

  30. Mr. Burrus seems to be, shall we say kindly, ot two minds.

    On the one hand, he thinks he knows what is best for the APWU. On the other, he recognizes that he is a fossil, a relic from a time that has past.

    Cut to chase.

    Burrus is confessing that it is a new world. Burrus knows, upon reflection, that the TA is good. He just can’t come out and say so. pride being what it is.

  31. what the hello is this?? A “hypothetical” to himself about himself… It’s all about Bill insn’t it!!

Comments are closed.