White House Plan to Privatize the Postal Service

Statement by President Dimondstein

Web News Article #:

59-2018

06/21/2018The White House proposal on restructuring the federal government released today, “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” delivered nothing but misinformation and, if implemented, would end regular mail and package services at an affordable cost to 157 million addresses every day. Furthermore, the White House plan is an attack on many federal agencies and the public services they provide.

The White House’s plan states, “Like many European nations the United States could privatize its postal operator…” What’s left unsaid is European nations charge substantially more for mail services delivered in a much smaller area. They also regularly raise the cost of delivery. For example, the cost of sending a letter in the United Kingdom has increased 80 percent over the past decade. By comparison, the U.S. has the lowest postage rates in the industrialized world.

Eliminating the universal service obligation, as the plan suggests, would hurt business and individuals alike, and would be a dagger aimed at the heart of rural America and undermine e-commerce.

The draconian plan uses “burdening the taxpayers” as justification to promote the privatization of the U.S. Postal Service when the truth is USPS is self-supporting and receives no tax dollars for postal operations.

And, while letter mail volumes are lower, package delivery is up substantially. No institution is better suited for the e-commerce revolution than USPS.  The public postal service serves each and every person and belongs to the people of this country. According to recent surveys by Gallup and the Pew Research Center, it enjoys the highest level of satisfaction and trust of any government service or agency, rating the highest among young people.

Privatizing the Postal Service is not in the public interest or the interest of postal workers and would be nothing more than a raid by corporate pirates on a national treasure.

This outrageous White House plan should be a wake-up call to every postal worker and APWU member. The threats of postal privatization, the threats to decent union jobs, the threats to good services, are real.

The American Postal Workers Union stands with the people of the country and our many allies in the ongoing fight to ensure a vibrant public Postal Service for generations to come.

More information and calls for action will be forthcoming.

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APWU Meets With Federal Task Force Considering Changes to USPS

Web News Article #:

55-2018

06/08/2018

On Tuesday, June 6, APWU President Mark Dimondstein, joined by Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard, Manager of Negotiation Support and Special Projects Phil Tabbita, along with other APWU representatives, met with the White House Task Force on the Postal Service. The task force was presented with a series of union recommendations and supporting materials on how the USPS could improve services, become more financially stable, and continue to remain a treasured public institution offering universal service to all citizens, regardless of where they live or work.

President Trump created the task force In April, as APWU reported at that time. It is being led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Jeff Pons and and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mick Mulvaney. The President’s executive order charged the task force with evaluating and reporting on the operations and finances of the United States Postal Service, such as pricing, policies and the costs of the workforce. Its report, which is to contain legislative and executive proposals, is due by August 10.

The executive order is modeled after one President George W. Bush issued in 2002 and came after President Trump released a series of tweets critical of the U.S. Postal Service’s relationship with Amazon. Even more controversial than the Bush-era executive order, Trump said the task force should examine the obligation to provide universal service “in light of changes in technology, e-commerce, marketing practices and customer needs.”

“In our discussions with the task force we spoke some plain truths about what the U.S. Postal Service needs and what it doesn’t,” said Beard. “We also shared materials that we had developed in coordination with other postal unions.”

Among those plain truths:

  • The U.S. Postal Service’s unparalleled national network fulfills the Founders’ directive to bind the nation together, providing affordable, universal service unlike any private entity.
  • The U.S. Postal Service’s workforce represents the nation’s largest civilian employment of veterans, and our work enables a $1.4 trillion dollar mailing industry employing 7.5 million American workers.
  • The U.S. Postal Service operates without a dime of taxpayer money, but Washington’s political malpractice has put it in a financial bind – crushed by a scheme to pre-fund years of retiree healthcare benefits, a burden that no other agency or company must bear.
  • The U.S. Postal Service has already undergone dramatic restructuring since the Great Recession. The U.S. Postal Service has eliminated 200,000 career positions, closed or consolidated hundreds of mail processing facilities, dramatically slowed the mail with lowered service standards, and reduced the hours of operations at 13,000 primarily rural post offices (some as few as two hours a day). APWU emphasized to the task force that USPS managers have cut to the bone and the U.S. Postal Service and its workforce should not be cut further. APWU’s representatives called for a full restoration of service standards that were diminished in 2012.
  • The U.S. Postal Service cannot cut its way to profitability. However, by addressing the congressionally-manufactured prefunding crisis, setting appropriate postage rates, and properly accounting and investing postal funds, USPS can generate the necessary capital to fulfill its obligations, replace its aging vehicle fleet, and provide quality service to the American people.

APWU has joined with other postal unions in developing briefing materials and policy recommendations to present to the task force. While each postal union is meeting with the task force independently, collectively the American Postal Workers Union, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association represent more than half a million postal employees who are dedicated to providing affordable service to all Americans, no matter where they live.

As President Dimondstein stated in a recent guest commentary in The Boston Globe,  “Postal workers and millions and millions of customers certainly hope that the task force created by the executive order has as its starting point a sincere commitment to helping the Postal Service thrive. However, if the task force proves to be a smokescreen to promote the postal privatization agenda of the likes of the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute and their billionaire benefactors’ efforts to turn the common good over to private profiteers, then postal workers will be on the front lines fighting back, united with our communities and the people of this country, to ensure a vibrant public postal service for many generations to come.”

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Locals Inform Public About Proposed Job and Service Cuts

Web News Article #:

74-2017

07/27/2017

Greater Seattle Area Local Executive Vice President David Yao Cutting Cake, Not Jobs in celebration of Postal Heritage Day. 

This Postal Heritage Day, two APWU locals celebrated the Postal Service’s 242nd birthday by holding informational pickets informing the public about the proposed job cuts by USPS management through reversions, abolishments and excessing – further disrupting services to the public.

The Greater Seattle Area Local protested in front of the University Station Post Office in downtown Seattle, Washington. Sixty concerned citizens signed postcards to Postmaster General Megan Brennan saying, “we need more, not fewer qualified postal employees to keep service levels high and avoid long lines at the post office.”

Greater Seattle Area Local Executive Vice President David Yao explained how in addition to longer lines and delayed mail, the “phone won’t get answered and the level of service the public has gotten used to could decline if these job cuts go through.”

In North Carolina, members of the Charlotte Area Local rallied in front of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center.

Local President Anthony Wilson led chants of “Geared Up, Fight Back,” and called for restoration of service standards that were degraded on January 5, 2015. “We need first-class mail to come back to being overnight mail. We need to get the service that we give to every citizen in this country back to service we can be proud of,” he said, noting that this rally was “the first of many. You will see us again and we will continue to fight.”

“We do not want to see the Postal Service privatized, but every time we turn around we see more and more cuts,” APWU Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy said at the rally. “Right now, across the country, they are trying to get rid of jobs. They are reverting and abolishing jobs. When they do this, it’s pretty hard for us to give good service to the public.”

Greater Seattle Area President Myrna C. Umali
speaking to postal patrons and rallying them to action.
(L-R) Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy, Charlotte Area Local President Anthony Wilson
and North Carolina State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan

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Update on the Fight Back Against USPS Reductions in Service and Jobs

07/20/2017Following strong resistance from the APWU – and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) – USPS management agreed to a five-month delay in implementing forced reassignments and excessing of employees out of their installations.

However, this may one be a temporary reprieve as the USPS is planning to move ahead with their outrageous and misguided plans to gut the workforce and service, targeting over 12,000 jobs with their three-pronged assault:

  • First, in most facilities postal management is automatically reverting (i.e. doing away with) vacant positions in violation of the contract. Job reversions reduce the workforce and slow or stop conversion opportunities for Postal Support Employees (PSEs) to career jobs.
  • Second, management is targeting thousands of bid jobs currently occupied by career employees for abolishment.
  • Third, job abolishments can lead to the excessing of career employees out of their facilities and possibly out of their crafts. Furthermore, PSE hours will be significantly reduced if management’s ill-conceived actions are fully implemented.

“Management’s proposed plans will severely disrupt the lives of career and non-career employees alike. We are in a big fight,” said President Dimondstein. “If we stick together and stay united, then I am confident that – just like with the Stop Staples and contract struggles – we will be victorious in stopping these new attacks on the workforce and on customer service.”

USPS Actions are an Attack on Service

These actions by postal management are counter to the Postal Service’s core mandate to “provide prompt, reliable and efficient services to patrons in all areas.”

“The Postal Service’s decisions will reduce employees at offices which are already short-staffed and where customers are experiencing poor service,” said Clerk Division Director Clint Burelson. “Delays in the mail will increase and there will be longer lines at post offices.”

APWU and Mail Handlers Working Together

In response to these attacks on the postal workforce and service, APWU President Mark Dimondstein and NPMHU President Paul Hogrogian sent a joint letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan voicing the unions’ deep concerns. In the letter, the two presidents questioned “why the Postal Service would choose to declare war on its unions and its employees.”

“The cutting of an already skeletal workforce will not only cause massive disruption to the workforce but will cause further degradation of postal services for the American people throughout the country,” the letter stated.

Together, the postal unions drew a line in the sand and stood united against Postmaster Brennan’s continuous “cost-saving” shortcuts. The presidents concluded by restating their commitment to work together, “Rest assured that, absent correction, the APWU and the NPMHU will together resist [the] misguided actions and violations of [the Postal Service’s] agreements with, and commitments to, our members.”

Fighting Back with Grievances and in the Streets

The National Clerk Division Leadership organized a coordinated response to the serious contract violations, including provisions that management must create career bid jobs out of all available work hours. National officers conducted concerted training for local/state officers and stewards across the country (with plans to continue trainings, as necessary, moving forward). A Clerk Division National Business Agent (NBA) from each region is assigned to assist the local and state affiliates in filing grievances. The APWU headquarters leadership is preparing to file national grievances, as appropriate, and the five APWU Regional Coordinators will initiate appropriate area-wide grievances, as well.

Now that the proposed excessing is delayed for five months, the APWU and postal management agreed to area wide meetings to fully discuss staffing and scheduling. “We welcome the opportunity to sit down and discuss these important issues,” said President Dimondstein. “However, APWU representatives will vigorously oppose any unnecessary changes and seek constructive alternatives to management’s slash and burn approach.”

Locals are taking their own initiative and getting out in the streets, educating and rallying their communities. On June 10, the Baltimore Francis “Stu” Filbey Area Local held an informational picket with over 70 members and supporters. Other locals are preparing similar actions to defend good services to postal customers.

Stay Informed & Involved!

“All APWU members should stay informed and involved,” urged President Dimondstein. “As we await new impact statements, any excessing is months away from becoming a reality. Furthermore, based on a previously negotiated settlement with the union, management cannot excess APWU represented career employees more than 50 miles. So, there is limited opportunity for postal bosses to currently force employees out of their facilities.”

If an APWU member receives an improper notification of an involuntary reassignment, contact your local/state union representative for assistance.

Find out more information on the specific impact to your workplace and how to help fight back, at apwu.org, on Facebook and at local union meetings. To receive texts or emails directly from the APWU National Headquarters regarding this, and other important issues, click here to sign up or text “APWU” to 91990 for mobile updates.

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