APWU Warns Members: Beware of Risks in USPS Campaign for Voluntary Transfers to Letter Carrier

The APWU is warning union members of risks associated with a management campaign to encourage career Clerk, Maintenance and Motor Vehicle Craft employees to volunteer for reassignments to the Letter Carrier Craft.

“Transferring to another craft is an important decision. I encourage union members to think long and hard before they make such a major change. And I urge employees to be aware of the risks as well as the benefits when management promotes the transfers as a great opportunity.
Cliff Guffey, President

In a letter dated Jan. 3 [PDF], management notified the union that it will mail a letter to all career employees in the three APWU-represented crafts (and employees in the Mail Handler Craft) touting the benefits of voluntary reassignments to the Letter Carrier Craft.

But there are disadvantages to the voluntary reassignments — which management is not divulging to employees.


When employees transfer voluntarily to another craft, they begin a new period of seniority.

Limits on Excessing:

The APWU negotiated strict limits on excessing during bargaining over the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement [PDF]. As a result, employees in crafts represented by the APWU cannot be excessed beyond 50 miles.

Our brothers and sisters in the National Association of Letter Carriers are currently bargaining with the Postal Service over the terms of their contract, but, as of now, the USPS is not bound by these limits for employees in the Letter Carrier Craft.

Protection Against Layoffs:

The 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the APWU and the USPS includes a Memorandum of Understanding that grants protection against layoffs [PDF] to all regular workforce employees that were on the rolls as of Nov. 20, 2010. Our brothers and sisters in the Letter Carrier Craft do not currently enjoy this coverage; their protection against layoffs applies to Letter Carrier Craft employees who have accrued six years of “continuous service.”

The APWU asserts that once employees obtain protection against layoffs, they retain it. However, the USPS disagrees with the union’s position and contends that once employees transfer from a craft represented by the APWU to a craft represented by another union, they lose the protection against layoffs granted by the Memorandum of Understanding.

According to the Postal Service’s reasoning, employees with less than six years of continuous service who transfer to the Letter Carrier Craft could be subject to layoffs. The APWU has a pending national-level dispute [PDF] challenging management’s interpretation. However, until the dispute is resolved, employees who voluntarily transfer (or are involuntarily reassigned by management) may be in jeopardy.

The loss of seniority and the potential for excessing and layoffs are not abstractions, the union points out. The Postal Service is planning workforce changes with the goal of eliminating tens of thousands of Letter Carrier positions.

“Transferring to another craft is an important decision,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “I encourage union members to think long and hard before they make such a major change. And I urge employees to be aware of the risks as well as the benefits when management promotes the transfers as a great opportunity.”

APWU Craft Transfer Risks

15 thoughts on “APWU Warns Members: Beware of Risks in USPS Campaign for Voluntary Transfers to Letter Carrier

  1. I’ll take NALC or NPMHU over APWU anyday. They got raises last year and what did APWU get?…….30 second prime time commercials, less than 40 hour jobs and plenty of excuses about what happened this contract.

    The Hospitality room this year will be financed by the LA Local…woohoo! Bring on the 2012 National Convention.

  2. And…

    While we’re on the subject of Issa…didn’t the APWU support his 2009-2010 election bid AND didn’t they spend COPA dollars in that bid?

    Lets face reality? on Tue, 17th Jan 2012 5:35 pm….you are the master cut and paster and a great lemming to boot!

  3. Unhappy with APWU? Unhappy with the contract? Unhappy with the level of representation you’re getting? Unhappy with loss of 40 hour jobs?

    OCCUPY APWU at the 2012 Convention in Los Angeles (August 20-24) at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel (404 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA)


    Shut up and keeping paying dem dues! And, by the way…stay in line all you lemmings!

  4. Well enufisenuf, first your going to have to take Issa sausage out of your mouth, can’t understand a word your saying.The PSEs cant afford to raise their familys and neither can your so called nose picken $29.00 clerks.

    Tells us enufisenuf, what do clerks make starting off? How many years does it takes to max-out on your nose picken $29.00 pay scale? How many have or will have 40 hour work weeks?

    Here it comes enufisenuf, Swallow.

    “More than four years after the United States fell into recession, many Americans have resorted to raiding their savings to get them through the stop-start economic recovery.

    In an ominous sign for America’s economic growth prospects, workers are paring back contributions to college funds and growing numbers are borrowing from their retirement accounts.

    Some policymakers worry that a recent spike in credit card usage could mean that people, many of whom are struggling on incomes that have lagged inflation, are taking out new debt just to meet the costs of day-to-day living.

    American households “have been spending recently in a way that did not seem in line with income growth. So somehow they’ve been doing that through perhaps additional credit card usage,” Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said on Friday.

    “If they saw future income and employment increasing strongly then that would be reasonable. But I don’t see that. So I’ve been puzzled by this,” he said.

    After a few years of relative frugality, the amount of money that Americans are saving has fallen back to its lowest level since December 2007 when the recession began. The personal saving rate dipped in November to 3.5 percent, down from 5.1 percent a year earlier, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

    Jeff Fielkow, an executive vice president at a recycling company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, contributed less to retirement savings and significantly cut back on dining in restaurants and taking vacations in order to keep college savings on track for his two children. “We would love to save more,” he said, “but we’re doing the best we can.”

    There have been some signs of a quickening in U.S. economic growth recently after it emerged from recession in mid-2009.

    Hiring was stronger than forecast in December and confidence among consumers rose to its highest level in eight months in January.

    But many see a long, hard slog ahead and economic growth this year is not expected to be much more than 2.0 percent, barely up from 2011’s growth pace.

    The big risks include Europe’s debt crisis as well as the shaky finances of many Americans, hit by a five-year decline in house prices and still high unemployment. U.S. consumers account for about two thirds of the country’s economic output measured by total spending.

    Retail sales rose at the weakest pace in seven months in December, according to data published last week.

    Sales in 2012 are expected to grow at slower rate than last year, an industry group said on Monday. The National Retail Federation projected sales would rise 3.4 percent this year, compared with than 4.7 percent in 2011.

    “When the stock market and the housing market were booming, we saw that a lot of people would take on more debt and save less. They felt the saving was being done for them,” said Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    “Today, the saving rate is falling out of necessity. Food and energy prices have risen and folks don’t have as much money to spend on the things that they would like.”

    Just as Americans used to borrow against the value of their homes before the property crash, now many are taking out loans from their 401(k) retirement savings plans.

    Almost a third of plan participants currently have a loan outstanding, according to an upcoming survey of 150,000 holders of 401(k)s by consulting firm Aon Hewitt.

    “People are at a loss, and they are struggling,” said Pam Hess, director of retirement research at consulting firm Aon Hewitt.

    Loans taken from retirement savings accounts jumped 20 percent last year across all demographics, according to a survey to be published in March. Among lower earners they leapt by as much as 60 percent, said Aon Hewitt’s Hess. The vast majority of borrowers, she said, need the money for essential expenses like bills, car repairs and college tuition.

    The non-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute’s (EBRI) annual retirement confidence survey hit a new low in 2011 with 27 percent of workers saying they’re “not at all confident” they’ll have enough for a comfortable retirement. Almost 15 percent expect to work until at least the age of 70, up from 11 percent in 2006.

    New York real estate broker Leila Yusuf had been very conscientious about saving for retirement, typically socking away $5,000 to $10,000 a year. But her income slid by 30 percent in the last two years as the housing market hit the doldrums and she stopped making contributions.

    “I couldn’t afford to do it after four deals didn’t go through,” said Yusuf, 37. “I need money to live on.”

    In another sign of Americans struggling to make ends meet, EBRI found that more than 20 percent of those aged 50 or older changed their medical prescriptions to save money and almost as many had skipped or postponed doctor appointments for the same reason. Almost 28 percent reported having difficulty paying their monthly bills.

    College savings hit
    The amount of money Americans put aside for their children’s college fees is taking a hit too. Assets in the popular state-managed college savings funds known as 529s dipped more than 10 percent in the third quarter of 2011. Estimated outflows were $354 million between July and September contrasted with inflows of $927 million in the same period of 2010, according to Financial Research Corp.

    Indicative of the trend, contributions to the 529 plans managed by investment management firm Vanguard dropped 1.0 percent in 2011 after climbing 17 percent from 2009 to 2010. Parents of younger children are continuing to save, according to Vanguard, “but they may be concerned about the economy and market conditions and have cut back a little.”

    At the same time, college students are borrowing twice as much as they did a decade ago when adjusted for inflation, according to the College Board, and Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards.

    Household borrowing on cards, car loans, student loans and other installment debt jumped almost 10 percent from October to November, according to the Federal Reserve, its biggest jump in a decade.

    Welcomed by some as a sign of confidence in the economic recovery, others worried it was really a reflection of desperation.

    “Apparent stronger consumption at year-end was associated with falling savings rates, compensating for stagnating income growth,” Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said on Jan. 11.

    “I question whether this consumer spending momentum will be sustained without a pickup in income growth.”

    In a sign of concern among policymakers about the weak finances of many Americans, the Federal Reserve this month suggested an array of ways the U.S. government could help shore up the housing market.

    House prices have fallen 33 percent from their 2006 peak, resulting in an estimated $7 trillion in household wealth losses and about 12 million homeowners are saddled with mortgages worth more than their properties.

    Americans are steadily working off their overall debt levels, including their mortgages. Credit card balances, while little changed compared to a year ago, are down 18 percent from a peak in September 2008.

    “It’s not like it was a year or two ago when it really felt like a recession, and there was no job growth,” said Scott Hoyt, a senior director of consumer economics at Moody’s Analytics. “It’s better than that and you can see that in the spending. But there’s still no reason to go back to the free-spending”

  5. so what do we when they Excessed and FORCED you into the city carrier craft ?? knowing that you have an on job injury that will not let you do the carrier work , and also over the 50 mile limit ???? NO ONE has answers APWU – NALC – or management ???

  6. Lets face reality…the APWU is not interested in your survival with a job in this company be it as a clerk, carrier or mailhandler. They are interested in their coffers. They’ve already lost thousands of members and stand to lose thousands more if clerks bail to the carrier or mailhandler craft. But wait…weren’t NPMHU & NALC members the only ones to get raises this past contract? So your options are:

    Transfer to NALC or NPMHU that are the only ones that stand to gain in the current economic & Postal climate or:

    Remain a clerk and hope APWU doesn’t get decertified as a union or hope that their 30 second commercials save your preverbial posteriors.

    The clerk craft is done. The party’s over. You’ll never hear the truth from APWU…that they can do nothing to reinstate clerkdom as a viable craft. The PO has machines for that and paying you clerks $29.00 an hour to push buttons and pick your noses won’t cut it in today’s world. Join the crafts that are actually left with work OR…keep paying dem dues bruthas and sistas! Ask for your PS forms 1188 today!

  7. Create a new t6 position for daily operations and have the 6 most senior carriers switch off every day. This way we will be managed by our peers and not make work inbred micro- managers. The current management scam has no accountability and think the postal service needs them. WE DON’T! The other crafts can do the same.
    Eliminate 110,000 managers equals 7 billion 150 million dollars in savings. Create 10k new t6’s to replace management costs only 500 million. It can be done. This is what our union should be pushing for. Then we won’t have to negotiate with a middle man like we are with management. It will be with an arbitrator. It goes to arbitration every contract anyway.

  8. Make managers become carriers? That is funny. It would be deserved, though. Haven’t met a boss yet that wasn’t too lazy to do that much work, however!

    They harass us daily, ridicule our performance, and fabricate numbers to try to make themselves look good. I doubt more than a handful of them could hack it. Most of them are in management exactly because they COULDN’T!!

  9. Ignorance breeds ignorance. It most obvious that He hah doesn’t have a clue about clerk craft work. You blame the workers for management’s decision to contract mail processing to private contractors while idling career employees. Management contract mail processing to private contractors and then hypocritically postulate employees idleness due to decline in mail volume. Mail arrive at the facilities and these fools have the mail reloaded and trucked to contract units to be processed by contract employees while bargaining unit employees, mail processing facilities and equipment sit idle. How much sense does it make to take mail that they cry the USPS no longer has and give it to another business so they can make profits. This also adds additional cost to the USPS thereby adding to its deficit. (The USPS pays these private contractors to process this mail). ONLY a demented person would intentionally destroy their business to try to prove a point. He Hah is either a scab or a jealous Re-fudgnicant packer. Donohue sat a the table with the APWU and negotiated a Collective Bargaining Agreement. The parties did not go to binding arbitration. The NALC and Mail Handlers better be aware as they sit down across from this hypocrit. He agreed to the CBA with APWU and now is asking Congress to void it and the “No Layoff” clause. Leaches like He hah take advantage of benefits negotiated by members money and then escoriate the Union. Yes, the process is slow and antiquated but it is what it is. The Union isn’t perfect but consider our CBA, negotiated benefits and rights versus UPS and non-union Fed EX. He hah there is your answer.

  10. I was excessed from the clerk craft 2 years ago. I was forced into the carrier craft. I still got a new seniority date! So being excessed does not mean you reamain a clerk!!!

  11. anyone that becomes a letter carrier is a fool. They pay the bills for all the workers and are treated like pack mules. The usps will constantly look for ways to squeeze more work for less pay.The FSS project is a absolute failure,and makes the job horrible. As for the nalc,it is really a poor union when u look behind all the public relations and politics.

  12. Hah. Let’s see, switch from a craft where you work two hours in the morning and then sit on your arse the rest of the day deciding what to eat for lunch and dinner while you send text messages all day, or actually go out side and do some work? Wow, what a hard decision to make. They either need to make management do letter carrier work if they want people to switch or they need to be fired, they are ridiculously dumb.

  13. Ya ! worry about doing some real work, worry about hot, rainy, and snowy days and being out in them. Worry about getting bitten by dogs,hit by cars, falling thru porches or stairs, or slipping on ice or wet grass. Yeah worry because things are really going to change for you all when you all slap the bag on your shoulder. Good luck!

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