Guffey to APWU Members: Don’t Let Anti-Labor Politicians Stop You From Voting

Some very powerful politicians have set their sights on postal employees, APWU President Cliff Guffey has warned, and union members must respond decisively.

“Anti-labor members of Congress have said the union’s tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement [PDF – members only] is too favorable to workers,” the union president noted. “They favor contracting out virtually all of our jobs.

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“I have a simple response,” he said. “I encourage every APWU member to get actively involved in union affairs — and to start by voting on ratification of the tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement. We also must get much more involved in the legislative arena.

“Don’t let these naysayers discourage you from voting.”

At an April 5 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and other Republicans repeatedly criticized Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and members of the USPS Board of Governors for agreeing to the union’s demand during negotiations to retain protection against layoffs. They also said the Postal Service needed more freedom to close postal facilities and cut the workforce.

“This is an attack on our collective bargaining rights,” Guffey said. “The APWU and the Postal Service reached an agreement that would benefit both sides — and now anti-union legislators are attempting to undermine it.”

More Attacks

Influential lawmakers are also proposing legislation that would weaken postal unions by changing our bargaining process, Guffey pointed out. A bill sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to ease the USPS financial crisis also would require arbitrators to “consider the financial health” of the USPS when contract negotiations reach an impasse. Although the bill (S. 353 [PDF]) has some beneficial provisions, it would give management an unfair advantage in bargaining.

“With governors and state legislatures across the country chipping away at the rights of teachers, nurses, and firefighters to engage in collective bargaining, this issue should not be taken lightly,” Guffey cautioned.

In addition, on March 28, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced an amendment to S. 493, a bill to reauthorize small-business programs, that would dramatically increase the cost of health and life insurance premiums for postal employees, and that would void provisions of the Tentative Agreement. The amendment would set postal contributions to health and life insurance coverage at the same rate other federal employees pay, increasing postal workers’ contributions substantially.

In addition to McCain’s amendment, Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced a bill that would deny federal workers hired after 2012 the right to participate in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). If approved, S. 644 [PDF] would end the defined benefits portion of the FERS program and leave in place only the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). It also would reduce the employers’ pension contributions, and force employees to pay more toward their retirement benefits.

Good News

Fortunately, pro-worker lawmakers also have introduced legislation to help solve the Postal Service’s financial problems, Guffey said. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) has submitted H.R. 1351 [PDF], which would correct the methodology used by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for computing the Postal Service’s pension liabilities. An improper funding formula has led to USPS overpayments into the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) of more than $50 billion and overpayments into the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) of approximately $7 billion.

“I urge APWU members to contact their U.S. representatives and ask them to co-sponsor this important bill,” Guffey said.

“APWU members cannot afford to sit back and watch while others determine our future,” Guffey said. “Every member must get involved.”

10 thoughts on “Guffey to APWU Members: Don’t Let Anti-Labor Politicians Stop You From Voting

  1. Maybe time for a split in the APWU. We are being taxed without representation. Apwu has lost it’s muscle. It is a weak, ineffective bloated prostitute for their sugar daddy; the USPS. They can’t help it though, they have succumbed to “inside the beltway lethargy”. Whatever happened to good sound judgment and common sense? Hard to find in the world today.

  2. It doesn’t matter what you vote for anything. We own the government. We own you.

  3. Like the proverb says, ” The rich ruleth over the poor..” If this disaster of a contract passes, there will be very few 200 man hour offices left. I can not believe any human that can read would even think about voting for this insult disguised as a contract. I never was a Biller/Burris fan, but they make this leadership appear as children. Maybe it’s time for the poor to create it’s own union. Certainly there’s more of us than them.

  4. i voted yes, the first day the contract arrived in my mailbox….now i am not so sure….this was the first contract that addressed concerns of samller offices….some of us do not work in 200 man-hour offices, some of us believe that less of us will…..but, being from wisconsin… it actaully in labors best interests to have 200,000 people step aside and take it up the you know what so that that Issa and his cronies can make the(re) public feel good about us good natured middle class people taking it for the good of all? was not that what the protests were about? i’m not so sure i would i would vote the same today, and will lose no sleep if the contract does not pass….but either way, we have some serious issues to deal with, locally, statewise, and nationally….whatever happens, it is a wake-up call to all…everywhere….
    net worth of a senator: $3.2 million……and how is it NOT in their best interest to vote in favor of themselves? net worth of a congressional member $789.000

    how is it that they are not required to recuse themselves on votes that personally benefit THEMSELVES?????

    me? i earn a little over $50,000 a year as a “government leach” who pays their damn salaries, and i work 2080 hours per year. our elected representatives are in session 78 days per year…..nice work if you cna get it, eh?

  5. Donahoe and his executive pals got nearly a 40% pay hike courtesy of then PMG Potter and that is never mentioned. But yet we are the ones making too much money thats causing the post offices financial woes? Give me a break!

  6. That’s right. I’m coming for you socialist, big government, overpaid public workers. You all are living like kings and have your huge pensions. It’s time you had nothing like the rest of America. (except me and my boys!)

  7. Vote Yes on the new agreement. We will not do better in arbitration in today’s political climate. I watched the proceedings on April 5th. It was nasty. Dennis Ross, Mica, Connie Mack and Issa are after us BIG time. John McCain makes me ill. Yes they would love us to reject this contract. Like one man said in anther thread, good union people signed their namest to this contract. I understand there are questions but you can disect anything. In the end you have to go with the lesser of two evils. The contract which is a given or arbitration which who knows what we will end up with. Good luck all.

  8. Guffy is a modern snake oil salesmen…..selling current union members out for new members dues and forced health care plan….both lining his pockets so he can live the high life. 30 hour work weeks & up to 40% part-time work force.

    VOTE NO and next election vote out Guffy/Morris.

    Mismgt got 5% raises plus bonus money and no givebacks or reduction of positions.

  9. Union members are not afraid to vote. But some Union members are aware of the game that is being played. First, they are hoping that the labor force agrees to accept less money. After all, the post office is broke and we don’t want to appear GREEDY, right?…THEN, the real cause of the postal serivce’s financial problems, the “improper funding formula” can be changed by our “law-makers”!
    If you buy the crock of crap postal workers are being sold, I’d like to interest you in an oil well I have hiding in my back yard just under the doghouse….

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