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Rural letter carriers’ contract concessions follow APWU precedent

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When American Postal Workers Union members agreed to a contract last year that included wage and benefit concessions, they were obviously binding themselves for the life of the agreement with the U.S. Postal Service. Less obvious—at least to FedLine–was that they were also setting the stage for similar givebacks by other postal unions.

That’s a lot clearer now, however, with the award of the three-member arbitration board charged with setting the terms of a new contract between Postal Service and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association.

The APWU agreement “provided precedent that would have been very difficult to ignore,” wrote Joey Johnson, the board’s NRLCA-appointed member, who partially dissented from the final decision announced yesterday.

Just like the APWU contract, for example, the new agreement for the rural letter carriers includes creation of a two-tier wage system that will pay new career employees more than 10 percent less, according a USPS summary. The deal also means lower wages for new non-career rural carrier associates to the tune of more than 20 percent, the summary says. Rural letter carriers will also shoulder an increasing share of the cost of their health insurance premiums, exactly along the lines of the APWU contract.

It could have been worse, of course. The Postal Service apparently wanted deeper concessions than those agreed to by the APWU on the grounds that its financial condition had deteriorated since last year. That line of argument didn’t persuade the arbitration board’s chair, Jack Clarke. The big problem, Clarke wrote, is Congress’ failure “to address the overall mission and financing of the Service in a time of deteriorating mail volumes and reduced public demand for hard-copy postal services.”

The new contract does contain modest wage and cost-of-living adjustments. It also suggests what’s ahead for members of the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the other two postal unions whose contracts expired last November. Following the failure of negotiations with the Postal Service, both are proceeding with binding arbitration.

 

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Comments

  1. Steve Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Time to wake up postal brothers and sisters, Ups continues to thrive in this ‘bad’ economy. No finger pointing or crying, they just do their job, if they don’t they are fired. We all know our unions waste countless resources protecting deadbeats, as well as our managers issue pointless petty discipline. Until we are the professionals we can be we will not succeed.

  2. OG Says:
    July 4th, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Could it be that APWU was ahead of the pack? Or is it to be blamed?

    75% of those APWU members who voted to ratify the agreement did not really have an issue with the actual provisions. But in the current political climate it has become very unpopular to reach mutually-settled agreements. Aaah!!! the good ol’ days …

    I’m sure Rep. Issa is going to blame PMG Donahoe for this catastrophe!

    OG

  3. J Watts Says:
    July 5th, 2012 at 6:48 am

    The above author has a fact problem, 75 percent of who voted for the APWU contract?, was not even half of the APWU member’s who voted for the contract, 75% of less than half of APWU members voted for the APWU contract, they were truly sheep led to the slaughter, try that now, but the APWU set up failure for the rest, if the APWU was given the contract in arbitration, no one could blame anyone but economics, then that arbitration could still have been the model for the rest of the unions, Cliff Guffey, APWU President, just killed possibly 3 more unions, and by holding VER (Voluntary Early Retirement) incentives hostage, APWU Guffey may have killed the APWU , at least the Mail-handlers union allowed their people an escape from the coming closings and consolidations, and excessing from the places they work and where they live, Goodbye APWU!

  4. jimmy spibzzz Says:
    July 5th, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Give me 4 or 5 grand a year for five years and im goneThe cash saved by me not being there works for the PO without an over payment refund. Why does the incentive package for the APWU have to be signed by Cliff Guffey anyway? If you don’t.want it,don’t take it. Let it be my choice. Im paying union dues all these years to have my union work against me?

  5. Reality Says:
    July 5th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Did you believe the union ever cared about anything except the organization proper and its goals? In truth good employees who work hard and follow rules seldom need the services of a steward. The reps spend the majority of their days defending the late, the absent, the insubordinate, and the utter incompetent. The good employees fund the job protection of people they wouldn’t allow inside their homes.

  6. bob komar Says:
    July 5th, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    You and I can MOAN and GROAN about the results of negotiations or arbitration…(most likely the best in these uncertain times we live) BUT HOW MANY OF ALL UNION MEMBERS WOULD BE WILLING TO WALK…FOR A BETTER CONTRACT?..I would, but I am sure I would be able to see the end of the line behind me..

  7. Corliss Forgy Says:
    July 5th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I am a union member, retired. I canceled my opt life insurance Dec. 2010. In Jan. 2012 they took the premiums out, I wrote a letter, in Feb they took premuims out, I wrote and called, was told not to worry they were tunning behind and it was retro active. this went on to July they went back one month, the month of June. Please Help

  8. Leonard Says:
    July 5th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Well the non-carrier can make that money up by not paying into the union, who pretty much, hung them out.

  9. Phyllis Clakley Says:
    July 6th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    @spibzz..exactly why I decided to discontinue my union dues upon my anniversary date becoming a member. Enjoy that extra $50.00 a month to treat myself and know how the money is being spent on myself. Just wished I had all the money back.won’t ever make that mistake again.

  10. Ralph Philips Says:
    July 8th, 2012 at 1:37 am

    APWU National Constitution states that one of their objectives is to seek to create a single postal union from the merging of the current postal unions. This is a commendable objective as a single large union would be stronger than the various smaller unions now existing. Problem is that with this latest contract APWU has effectively sold out its’ own craft people and those of the other unions – effectively defeating the objective of creating a single union. After all, why would any other union want to come together with one that sells out the workers.

  11. mailman Says:
    July 9th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    All you brothers and sisters bashing the union should be ashamed of yourselves if not for the union you would be making $10 an hour with no benefits

  12. enufisenuf Says:
    July 9th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Hey Ralph…oh well…there’s always the NLRB’s decertification process if APWU’s membership ever had the balls to follow.

  13. mj Says:
    July 12th, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Hey Harv Concession THIS.

  14. Tony Says:
    July 13th, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Unions are not the downfall of anything. As far as wasting company money on incompetents, not every one is as smart or healthy or successful as the next person. Everyone deserves a fair shake at the American Dream. A boss comes in with big chip up his you know what, someone dosent deserve to be fired or harassed or bullied.
    If an employee has sick time they should allowed to use it without being forced to go to the doctors to provide documentation.
    Youre dealing with a management system that steps on human beings as a whole to benefit few braking and bending a CONTRACT at will. Cramming 12 lbs of bleep into a 7 lb bag.

  15. sickofitall Says:
    July 18th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    once again the worker bees pay the price for incompetent management and leaders with no vision past this exact moment,i once was proud now im disgusted!

  16. Brian Says:
    July 27th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    12 years of 6 days a week crap, 38.5 hours per week and enough new customers to go full time this fall but not now. 42 hours per week to go full time? Screw USPS and anyone out there who thinks it is fair to treat the part time people this way! They can take their little scan time talks and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine, I don’t care if I delivery 1 single piece of mail to the right address. The days of my customers calling in to say how great my service is is over!