Postal Employees and Retirees See Threats to Pay and Benefits in White House Budget

21-2019

03/29/2019The White House released its plans for the fiscal year 2020 budget this month. It once again attacks workers, calling for deep cuts to salaries, retirement and health benefits. It also echoes parts of the Postal Task Force December 2018 report that calls for the elimination of union negotiated collective bargaining rights over pay, creating a postal employee pay system similar to what is seen in the federal workforce.

Further mirroring the Postal Task Force report, the budget calls for privatization of the Postal Service in part, including outsourcing processing and sortation to private companies, and providing access to mailboxes to third parties.

“The cuts in the current White House budget proposal clearly come at the expense of postal employees, retirees, and the American people,” President Mark Dimondstein said. “Similar attacks on postal workers and universal postal service were also seen in the June 2018 report from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in which the White House proposes to sell the Postal Service to the highest corporate bidder.”

“APWU members must remain vigilant, organized and unified in defense of the public Postal Service and the rights of postal workers,” President Dimondstein continued.

In addition, the budget also attacks our wages and benefits through:

  • ‘High Three’ to a ‘High Five’

The White House budget recommends basing retirement annuities on the average highest five years of salary instead of the current high three, resulting in a decreased annuity payment.

  • Changes to COLAs for FERS and CSRS Retirees

Postal retirees under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) would see a total elimination of cost of living adjustments (COLAs) under the budget plan, and those in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) would see a 0.5 percent reduction of COLAs.

  • Elimination of FERS Annuity Supplement

Current FERS retirees who left service before Social Security eligibility qualify for an annuity supplement. This would be eliminated for new retirees.

  • Increases to postal employee contributions to FERS

FERS enrollees will see an increase of their contributions by one percent over six years. By doing so, employee and employer contributions will be equally divided.

  • Changes to the G Fund

The Thrift Savings Plan’s (TSP) G Fund interest rate would be modified under the Trump Administration’s endorsed budget. Proposed changes would lower the rate to under one percent. This would only possibly save the federal government $16.5 billion over 10 year, and make the G Fund virtually worthless for those TSP participants.

  • Changes to Retirement Services & Healthcare Administration

The management and administration of both retirement reservices and healthcare will move from the duties of the Office of Personnel Management to the General Services Administration.

For this budget plan to come to fruition, it would have to be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate Budget Committee released its budget plan for fiscal year 2020 on March 22. In it, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is requested to develop $15 billion in savings. This would most likely come in the form of reductions to employee health care benefits.

The House Budget Committee has yet to release its fiscal year 2020 plan. Votes on past plans to cut pay and benefits did not pass in either the House or Senate.

It is important to be aware of these threats and to raise your objections to your lawmakers.

“APWU will continue to meet with elected officials, on both sides of the aisle, reminding them of the value of the work of postal and federal workers to this nation,” said Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard. “Retirees should live with respect; receiving COLAs and annuities that should be increased, not cut. Federal budgets should lift workers and communities up, not tear them down.”

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APWU and USPS Agree to an Extension

Web News Article #:

111-2018

11/20/2018Our current Collective Bargaining Agreement (Union Contract) initially expired on September 20, 2018. The APWU and the U.S. Postal Service agreed to extend negotiations until October 20th after which the parties again extended negotiations until November 20th. During that period the APWU and the Postal Service engaged in a series of negotiating sessions.

The APWU believes recent negotiations have been fruitful and we have made progress towards a framework of an agreement.

In that light, the APWU and the USPS have agreed to continue our negotiating efforts until December 7th.

“We are continuing to work hard to reach a voluntary agreement that is fair to our members”, said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Hopefully, over the next two weeks we will achieve a tentative agreement, meet with the rank and file bargaining committee and, if they approve, put a tentative contract to a vote of all the members. If December 7th comes and goes without an agreement, the APWU will move forward with the interest arbitration process. Stay tuned and wear your union gear with pride!”

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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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