Time’s Up APWU

(This article first appeared in the September/October 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

By Central Region Coordinator Sharyn M. Stone

This is a tough article to write because by the time you read it, we could either have a contract or be headed for binding interest arbitration. Our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires on September 20, 2018. Hopefully we have achieved a fair and just contract and maintained the hard-fought protections we have achieved. Our negotiations’ team, headed up by President Dimondstein, serves us well.

Even if all is complete with the CBA, we have miles to go before we sleep. The constant threat of Article 12 excessing, reorganizing, mismanagement, harassment, coupled with the President’s threat to privatize the Postal Service into oblivion is still in play.

Have you called your member of Congress? Nothing should be more inspiring and more motivating than a threat to our livelihood and the continued existence of the Postal Service committed to serving every community even though sometimes you can’t help but wonder whose side is the USPS is on. They run the Postal Service as if they want it to fail. Why? Whatever private business ended up owning the Postal Service would never hire ex-postal managers to run it. We have faced difficult challenges in our past and we will face all future challenges unified and “fighting today for a better tomorrow”.

No matter what happens, we will always stand up for safe jobs, protest to put an end to workplace harassment, and fight to keep the post office a viable community service for all.

Young Members Committee

At our 2016 convention, a committee was created – made up of APWU members 35 years of age and younger. Convention delegates recognized our need for members, and especially younger members, to step up and become involved with the union for our longevity.

What better way to move forward than with a group of enthusiastic engaging young members. President Dimondstein appointed, with recommendations from the five Regional Coordinators, two members from each region to participate on the Young Members Committee (YMC). These appointees are also involved with their locals and have their support. Since that time the committee has functioned with the Coordinators serving as their advisors. The YMC is an excellent group of young people.

We have communicated with YMC members on an ongoing basis. We provide advice, and knowledge about the APWU Constitution and our contract with the USPS as support for the committee’s efforts. We assist them whenever possible in learning about the union and how it works – politics and all (just kidding). As an organization, we need everyone’s involvement.

The YMC provided a well-attended workshop at the Craft Conference last year in Las Vegas. I am positive my fellow coordinators: Omar Gonzales Western Region, John Dirzius Northeast Region, Mike Gallagher Eastern Region, and Kennith Beasley, Southern Region join me in congratulating the YMC for what they do and in encouraging them into the future. It is important if we are to survive and grow as a highly functioning viable organization into the future, we need all members to get involved, not just for the issues like the new CBA or CAT teams but for the future of our organization. Younger members involved at every level should inspire all members to become involved.

Everyone may not want to be a steward or officer or not even serve on a committee, but what about being a knowledgeable re-enforcement on the work room floor? Every member can participate in some

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APWU and Postal Management Agree to Extend Negotiations Deadline until October 20, 2018

National Negotiations Update

Web News Article #:

92-2018

09/21/2018APWU President Mark Dimondstein has announced that the union and the Postal Service have agreed to extend negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement for 30 days.

Our current union contract between the American Postal Workers Union and the United States Postal Service covers the wages, hours and working conditions of 200,000 postal workers. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expired Thursday, September 20, 2018.

The APWU and postal management have engaged in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) since June 26, 2018. Three months of frequent negotiation sessions and a last 10-day stretch of intense “round-the-clock” discussions identified important issues that the union believes deserve more time to discuss and explore before declaring an impasse and ending negotiations for a voluntary agreement.

“Our goal is to reach a negotiated settlement that can be voted on by the members” declared President and lead negotiator Mark Dimondstein. “National Negotiations are always challenging. At this point in time it is in the best interest of the members to stay at the bargaining table rather than declare a hard and fast impasse.”

Once an impasse is declared, the parties enter the phase of mediation and binding interest arbitration. In an interest arbitration, after both the union and management sides make their presentations and arguments, the final decisions regarding our future conditions of employment is determined by an arbitrator.

The goals of the APWU remain consistent as the union is “fighting today for a better tomorrow” and include:  Fair wage increases, COLA, job security including maintaining no lay-off protections, bridging the gaps of the divisive three-tier wage structure, addressing concerns of hostile work environments, seeking better career and full-time opportunities for both PSEs and PTFs, and expanded postal services.

“Postal workers deserve the respect and dignity, recognition for their dedication and hard work, that comes with a decent union contract,” said Dimondstein. “We will continue this just fight over the next 30 days.”

“Negotiations are fluid, changes can happen quickly and we remain optimistic that together we have the power as unionized workers to win a decent union contract,” shared chief spokesperson and Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman. “Keep the contract campaign going strong and continue to send management the message that we are united in our demand for a good union contract.”

All the rights, benefits and provisions of our existing union contract remain in place, and are fully enforceable during the 30-day extension of negotiations.

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New Benefits Secured for Postal Support Employees (PSEs) APWU

Web News Article #:
73-2018
07/26/2018 – In the 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the APWU and the US Postal Service, the parties established a “Workforce Benefits, Employment Opportunities, Training and Education Fund.”  The purpose of the fund was to provide for the Postal Service’s share of health insurance benefits to PSEs and to provide additional resources for new PSE benefits.

The APWU filed a dispute over the Postal Service not using or mis-applying the money in the Fund.  The dispute was heard in arbitration on November 15, 2017.  Prior to receiving the Arbitrator’s ruling, APWU President Mark Dimondstein and USPS Vice-President of Labor Relations Doug Tulino settled the APWU’s dispute with an agreement securing benefits for PSEs.

The  five improved  benefits that will be part of the PSE compensation package are:

A Postal Service contribution of 65% in the first year of employment and 75% thereafter to the insurance premium for family or self-plus one for PSEs enrolled in the USPS Non-career Health Care Plan. Previously the USPS only contributed to only single coverage.

Full uniform allowance for retail clerk PSEs who meet the ELM criteria for eligibility.

Overtime pay after eight hours a day or after forty hours in a week.  Previously overtime was only paid after 40 hours of work.

Penalty double time pay for work over 10 hours a day, or 56 hours in a service week, same as negotiated overtime benefits for PTFs. Previously there was no penalty pay.

Four-hour work guarantee if called and reporting to work in 200 work year offices. Previously PSEs were guaranteed only two hours.

“This was a hard-fought case involving many hands at the national level including Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, staff and attorneys which led to these important advances. The results underscore that it pays to be union,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “These not only improve the lives of non-career workers but secure important union principles that protect the entire workforce.”

The Postal Service is implementing these new benefits within 120 days from when the settlement was signed.  By October 11, 2018, these benefits must be in effect.

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