All Corporate Call Center jobs will be turned over to the APWU bargaining unit by May 11, 2013, under the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU in the CBA (pages 375-376). They will become part of the bid cluster for the nearest postal installation. These formerly outsourced duty assignments will be filled with a mix of 70% career and 30% rehabilitation employees. Read more
On this date, August 8, 2012, I delivered to Elizabeth Powell the plaque bestowed upon me by the delegates to the 2010 national convention granting the Emeritus title awarded upon my retirement accompanied by the following letter:
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
I am returning the plaque awarded to me upon my retirement and relinquishing the title of President Emeritus of the American Postal Workers Union. As you recall, I did not solicit this award, but proudly accepted it as a token for my contributions to APWU members over a long career. The award has become an issue in my criticism of union decisions that will seriously affect postal employees and I cannot in good faith continue the ceremonial title with the expectations of solidarity. I strongly oppose the damage done to postal employment and the residual effect on employees. The Los Angeles convention will consider monumental issues that will decide the future of the union and I do not want to serve as a distraction to issues of substance and consequence.
I accepted the award on behalf of my contributions over a 53 year career and its return does not reverse the many positive changes that I succeeded in implementing. My interest was and continues to be the well-being of postal employees who satisfied my career goals and made my successful life possible. The record of changes that I succeeded in implementing while serving the union are unaffected by this decision, and I can proudly say they were my best.
APWU Web News Article 95-2012, Aug. 2, 2012
Arbitrator Shyam Das has closed the record of an arbitration hearing regarding the number of hours postmasters in small offices may work.
A Memorandum of Understanding in the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement places strict limits on the number of hours postmasters may work in Level 15, 16, 18 and 20 post offices.
The Memo says, “All time the supervisor or postmaster spends staffing the window during the day will be counted towards the permissible bargaining unit work limits.” Despite this clear language, the USPS is arguing that management must only count “earned time” as described in a unilaterally created work measurement system.
In addition, in spite of language that states that “any office downgraded in level will remain at the bargaining unit work standard that is in place at the beginning of the Agreement,” the management claims an exception for DUO (Delivery Unit Optimization) offices. The union’s grievance on the subject was heard on June 26-27, 2012, but the arbitrator kept the record open for 30 days. Briefs will now be filed and a decision will follow.
APWU Web News Article 95-2012, Aug. 2, 2012
The House of Representatives passed a bill on July 31 that could cost federal and postal workers their jobs if they are behind in paying their federal taxes.
The Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act (H.R. 828), introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and approved by the chamber by a vote of 263 to 114, stipulates that “persons having seriously delinquent tax debts shall be ineligible for Federal employment.”
The bill defines “seriously delinquent” as debt for which a lien notice has been filed in public records.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the bill would not apply to debt:
- That is being paid in a timely manner under an approved installment payment agreement or an offer-in-compromise;
- For which a collection due process hearing has been requested or pending;
- For which a levy has been issued or agreed to by an applicant for employment, or
- That is determined to be an economic hardship to the taxpayer.
Under the act, U.S. government employees would have 60 days to prove that their tax debt is not seriously delinquent before facing termination.
Leading opposition to the legislation during debate on the House floor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said that the measure would be “largely symbolic” because 96 percent of federal employees pay their taxes.
When the bill was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in April,
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who chairs the committee, conceded that the bill is “almost pure symbolism.”
“That clearly was the intent,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid. “Families that are struggling in a depressed economy to meet their financial obligations – often through no fault of their own – could now lose their only source of income, which strangely enough could have helped to pay the outstanding debt.”
“I strongly believe that the House’s efforts and energy would be better spent on focusing on measures to strengthen the federal civil service and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government,” Maloney said, “rather than by making symbolic gestures that reinforce a negative view of the federal work force.”
Critics have observed that Chaffetz’s bill does not apply to government contractors and their employees, and that the chamber’s Republican majority has not considered legislation offered by Democrats that would apply the employment ban for tax delinquency to private-sector work that is paid for with federal funds.
H.R. 828 has been referred to the Senate, where a similar bill (S. 376), introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), has not been acted upon.
APWU Web News Article 91-2012, July 31, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the APWU are investigating the death of APWU member Steny Wing Hoi Yu, who died July 27 from injuries sustained in work-related accident at the Detroit NDC on July 23.
Although the investigation of the accident is still underway, reports indicate that Yu’s injuries were the result of falling approximately 10 feet from a “fixed” ladder. Yu is reported to have been carrying a fire extinguisher up the ladder in an attempt to fight a fire.
The Detroit Metro Area Local is working closely with OSHA and the APWU to assist in the investigation.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “We extend our deepest sympathies to Steny Wing Hoi Yu’s family and co-workers.”
Yu is survived by his wife, Syndia and two daughters, Yvonne and Angela.
APWU Web News Article 92-2012, July 31, 2012
The APWU and a retired union member have resolved a lawsuit against the Postal Service and an Accounting Services manager for violations of the Debt Collection Act, Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris has announced. The suit charged that the USPS and the manager routinely violated the rights of retired employees by instructing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to withhold a portion of the monthly annuities of retirees who had appealed Letters of Demand before they left the Postal Service.
Letters of Demand are issued when management alleges an employee is responsible for a financial loss to the Postal Service. The letters are subject to appeal through the grievance procedure and collection of alleged debts must be postponed until appeals have been exhausted. Read more
APWU News Bulletin 18-2012, July 26, 2012
The failure of House Republican leaders to take action to resolve the congressionally-manufactured USPS financial crisis has brought the Postal Service to the brink of default, APWU President Cliff Guffey is warning union members. A $5.5 billion payment is due to the U.S. Treasury on Aug. 1, but the Postal Service cannot make the payment.
The default will have no immediate impact on mail delivery or employees’ pay, Guffey noted.
But the missed payment will focus attention on the Postal Service — and many of the pronouncements will be misleading or downright inaccurate, he warned. “Already there have been editorials calling for drastic cutbacks and privatization,” he pointed out. “Most of these misguided editorials fail to recognize the cause of the Postal Service’s financial difficulties, so they can’t possibly advocate a reasonable solution.”
Although the default won’t have immediate consequences for mail delivery or pay, the Postal Service’s precarious financial situation has forced the USPS to begin the process of closing half of the nation’s mail processing centers, scaling back overnight mail delivery, and slashing hours at post offices, the union president pointed out. Read more
APWU Web News Article 84-2012, July 18, 2012
APWU President Cliff Guffey is blasting House Republican leaders for their “utter failure to solve the nation’s problems.” Guffey made the remarks in response to recent signals that the chamber won’t act on postal reform legislation until after Congress’s August recess – and perhaps not until after the November elections.
In light of the failure, the union president is calling on APWU members to focus their attention on the upcoming elections. “The House leadership’s inaction demonstrates the importance of changing the politics in our country,” he said.
“We must wrest control of the House from elected officials who are more interested in scoring political points than in conducting the nation’s business. And we must take control from extremists who would like to privatize the Postal Service,” Guffey said.
“Congress created the USPS financial crisis,” he said, referring to the mandate in the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees at a cost of approximately $5.5 billion a year. No other government agency or private company bears this burden, which forces the USPS to pay a 75-year liability in a 10-year period.
“Eighty-five percent of the Postal Service’s debt is the result of the pre-funding mandate,” Guffey pointed out.
“The Democratic-controlled Senate passed a bipartisan measure in April that would spread out the payments, but Republican leaders in the House have shown no interest addressing the cause of the crisis,” Guffey said.
“Instead, when it addresses postal reform, the House plans to consider a bill that would destroy the Postal Service as a public institution,” he added. H.R. 2309, introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), would require the USPS to make $3 billion worth of cuts in post offices and mail processing facilities within two years. It also would prohibit postal unions and management from negotiating restrictions on layoffs, and it would empower an appointed board to reject negotiated labor contracts.
“House leaders have no plans to address the cause of the crisis, but when the Postal Service is unable to make the pre-funding payment in August, you can be sure those same politicians will scream about a ‘default’ and mislead people by suggesting a ‘taxpayer bailout’ is imminent unless drastic cuts are made,” he predicted.
“The House should set aside H.R. 2309 and consider real reform,” Guffey said. “In the meantime, postal workers should set their sights on November.”
APWU Web News Article 78-2012, July 2, 2012
The APWU has put the Postal Service on notice that their plan to replace Postmasters at small, rural post offices with Postmaster Reliefs (PMRs) is a direct violation of our 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The USPS announced their POStPlan (Post Office Structure Plan) on May 9, 2012. The plan calls for reduced staffing and work hours at 13,900 small post offices, moving the Postmasters in these offices to an Administrative Post Office to manage their former post office remotely, and replacing the postmasters in those reduced-hour offices with PMRs. Read more
Arbitrator Das Sustains APWU Grievance on Denial of Retreat Rights
APWU Web News Article 79-2012, July 2, 2012
In an award issued June 29 [PDF], Arbitrator Shyam Das sustained the APWU’s grievance over the denial of excessed employees’ retreat rights, but denied it in a dispute over the assignment of unassigned regulars to non-traditional full-time (NTFT) schedules.
The issue in the first case (Case#Q11C-4Q-C11322494) was the USPS’ refusal to permit excessed employees to retreat into NTFT duty assignments posted for bid subsequent to the conversion of part-time regulars (PTRs) and part-time flexibles (PTFs) in August 2011.
Arbitrator Das rejected all of the Employer’s arguments, finding that “[t]here is no contractual provision that supports the Postal Service’s action in precluding employees from exercising [their] retreat right until initial local placement of converted part-time employees was completed.” Read more