NPMHU preparing for contract negotiations
As everyone knows, the NPMHU’s 2011 National Agreement expires in approximately three months, on May 20, 2016. Negotiations with the Postal Service will formally commence on February 25, 2016, and preparations at the National Office have been ongoing for many months.
The Postal Service continues to claim, both publicly and privately, that it is in dire financial condition because it currently has almost $100 billion in unfunded liabilities, including – in the view of the Postal Service – $15 billion in debt to the U.S. Government, $28 billion in unmade payments to the Retiree Health Benefits Fund, another $5.7 billion in future payments to the RHBF, unknown billions in future interest payments and net pension shortfall in the CSRS and FERS systems, $26.2 billion in unfunded workers’ compensation, and approximately $14 billion in other obligations, including employee leave. Many of these amounts are contested, of course, and subject to future legislative changes.
In any event, the National Office planning for negotiations has included the following:
- A bargaining strategy session was conducted with all Local Union representatives at the August 2015 Semi-Annual Meeting of the Local Unions in Boston, MA.
- Bargaining proposals were solicited from the membership and Local Unions through September 2015. Each and every one of those proposals was fully analyzed by the NPMHU’s Field Negotiating Committee and the National Negotiations Team to allow the Union to develop its opening bargaining proposals.
- During the third week of October 2015, a Field Negotiating Committee met at NPMHU Headquarters in Washington, DC to review and issue recommendations with regard to all of the proposals submitted from the members and Local Unions. Attending the meeting – in addition to the National Executive Board and the National CAD Representatives – were the following Local Union officers:
The CAD expresses its deep appreciation to all members of the Field Negotiating Committee for their invaluable work on these proposals.
Since February 2015, both the American Postal Workers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association have been negotiating over the terms of their expired 2010 National Agreements. They both have reached impasse with the Postal Service. The APWU and the USPS tried mediation through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, while the NRLCA and the USPS did not. More recently, the APWU and the Postal Service have just begun interest arbitration hearings before a three-member Arbitration Board chaired by Professor Stephen Goldberg, who also served as the APWU/USPS interest arbitrator in the 2000 round of national negotiations.
When the NPMHU enters bargaining, so too will the National Association of Letter Carriers, representing the city carriers, as its National Agreement also expires in May 2016. As negotiations start, there will be many communications from the National Office as the bargaining process takes shape. So every mail handler should watch the bulletin boards throughout the coming months.