06/10/2015 – Representatives of the APWU and USPS held an introductory meeting with officials of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) on June 9 to begin mediation on a new collective bargaining agreement.
APWU President Mark Dimondstein, Industrial Relations Director Tony McKinnon and staff met with FMCS Acting Director Allison Beck, Deputy Director Scott Beckenbaugh, and the USPS vice president of Labor Relations, where they discussed the progress of negotiations thus far and outlined some of the topics that separate the parties. They also made tentative plans for more in-depth meetings in June and July.
Contract negotiations ended without an agreement on May 27, following a one-week extension of talks.
The USPS scuttled any prospect of reaching a deal by insisting on severe cuts in pay and benefits, despite the fact that progress had been made on many non-economic issues, Dimondstein said. “Management’s economic demands and proposed changes to the workforce structure were completely unacceptable.”
The Postal Service proposals include:
- Eliminate cost-of-living adjustments as we know them;
- Increase employees’ contributions to healthcare coverage;
- Create a new, permanent lower pay scale for future career employees with reduced benefits;
- Increase the percentage of non-career employees, and
- Weaken protection against layoffs.
The APWU is fighting for, among other items:
- Fair and reasonable wage increases;
- Limits on subcontracting;
- More career jobs;
- Improvements for Postal Support Employees (PSEs)
- Limits on excessing, and
- Better service for our customers.
In accordance with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), if bargaining reaches a stalemate, the union and management must participate in mediation unless they agree to an alternate method. The parties will proceed to arbitration if attempts to mediate a settlement are unsuccessful. Mediation is expected to last at least 60 days.
In the meantime, all the protections of the 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement will continue in full force and effect until a new contract is reached, Dimondstein said.
Wear Union Gear; Get Postcards Signed
“Our fight for a good contract has entered a new stage,” he said, “but union members continue to play a critical role in the battle. Your continued involvement can make a difference.”
The union is calling on APWU members to make sure management sees our union strength by wearing union T-shirts, caps, buttons, stickers and other gear every Thursday. “This is a simple way that we can continue to demonstrate solidarity and build our campaign for a good contract,” Dimondstein said.
The union is also asking union members and supporters to continue gathering signatures of the “I Stand with Postal Workers.”
“They are an excellent way to let Postmaster General Megan Brennan know that the people of the country want what we want: Good Postal Service! Good Jobs! Good Contract!” Dimondstein said.
“Our struggle continues,” he said. “Stay strong, stay united, and keep Standing Up and Fighting Back!”