APWU Members Ratify Contract

APWU News Bulletin 09-2011, May 11, 2011:

APWU members approved a new contract May 11, with more than 75 percent of those casting ballots voting in favor of ratification. The final tally was 69,451 to 22,351 in balloting that ended May 10. The agreement will expire May 20, 2015.

Ballots were tallied May 11. The count was conducted by the American Arbitration Association, under the supervision of the Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee.

“The new contract is an important achievement for the APWU,” said President Cliff Guffey. “We were able to retain protection against layoffs, bring back thousands of jobs in each craft, and limit excessing.

“The agreement includes many big changes, and I realize that some union activists are apprehensive,” Guffey added.“With help from the national union, I am confident that locals can implement the new provisions and protect the rights of APWU members.

“We also must make legislative activity a priority,” Guffey said. “We must support bills — such as H.R. 1351 — that will enable the Postal Service to remain viable in the future. This measure, which would correct postal funding inequities, is essential to our future.

“APWU members must visit members of Congress frequently and talk to them about our issues,” he said.

“In addition, we must focus on organizing,” the union president noted. “We have an opportunity to reach out to newly-hired workers and to non-members who are already on the rolls,” he said. “They will benefit from many of the new provisions, and we must let them know that their participation will make the union stronger.

“As a result of the new contract, the USPS will begin hiring — for the first time in many years. New people will strengthen the union and improve work life for current employees,” Guffey said.

New Provisions

“We were able to retain protection against layoffs, bring back thousands of jobs in each craft, and limit excessing.”

In addition to safeguarding jobs and restricting excessing, the contract awards wage increases of 3.5 percent, as well as seven uncapped Cost-of-Living Adjustments. The first increase will take place in November 2012.

The agreement also includes several new concepts: The “full-time” designation will apply to any position of 30 or more hours per week and to any position of 48 hours or less per week. This will allow for the creation of a variety of full-time schedules, including four 10-hour days, three 12-hour days, and four 11-hour days.

However, no current employee can be forced into a full-time position of less than 40 hours per week or more than 44 hours per week. Furthermore, there will be no mandatory overtime for employees in non-traditional assignments or in functional areas that utilize non-traditional full-time assignments.

The new agreement also provides for the creation of new positions for non-career Postal Support Employees.

These employees will have the opportunity to join the ranks of the permanent, career workforce by seniority. They will be part of the APWU bargaining unit, and will receive raises, health benefits, and leave.

Transitional Employees and Casuals will be eligible for conversion to Postal Support Employees if they have passed the appropriate tests and are on the register. “We will begin to spread the word among TEs and Casuals right away and encourage them to take the necessary exams,” Guffey said.

The Numbers

Ballots were mailed to 176,611 union members, and more than 50 percent were returned by the deadline.

“I wish more union members voted,” Guffey said, “but I am pleased that participation increased substantially over previous ratification votes.” Forty percent of eligible union members took part in the ratification process for the 2006-2010 contract.

“The increase demonstrates that our membership is interested and active,” he said.

Ballots were mailed to 35,668 non-members, who were invited to vote, provided they completed union sign-up cards that were enclosed in their ratification packets.

The vote count was conducted by the American Arbitration Association on May 11 near Washington, DC, under the supervision of the Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee. Clarice Torrence, chairperson of the committee, announced the final results at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Results showing the voting by individual locals will be posted at www.apwu.org as soon as they become available. Winners of the union’s voter-participation contest will be announced as soon as they have been identified.

Bargaining between the APWU and the USPS began Sept. 1, 2010, approximately 90 days prior to the expiration of the old contract on Nov. 20. The parties agreed to several extensions while negotiations continued.

On March 14, the union and management announced a tentative agreement. The Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee voted unanimously to endorse the agreement, as did the National Executive Board.

Thanks

“I want to thank the members of the union’s Negotiating Team for their invaluable assistance,” Guffey said. “They are Greg Bell, Executive Vice President; Mike Morris, Director of Industrial Relations; Rob Strunk, Director of the Clerk Craft; Steve Raymer, Director of the Maintenance Craft, and Bob Pritchard, Director of the Motor Vehicle Craft. In addition, APWU staff worked long hours and provided expertise that was crucial to our success.

“I also appreciate the seriousness and dedication of the members of the union’s Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee,” Guffey said. “They worked diligently to represent the membership of our union.

“Finally, thank you to all the union members who made the effort to read the agreement and vote. No matter how you voted, the APWU is stronger and better because of your participation.”

Source: Union Members Ratify Contract.

  • mike

    yes guffey i was really worried about reaching out to scaps to become members. thanks for increase in health,pay decreSe and elimination of regular jobs cause no matter how you word the bull crap 30 hours is NOT FULL TIME. YOUR A SELL OUT. hope you sleep at night oh that right youre a politican too –guess you will.

  • Joe B.

    This is a very sad day for apwu Members. The negotiating team work so diligenty to screw it Menbers,you need to bring your as… back to craft because you jerks are out of touch with the members. So hang your head low no lower shame, shame, shame.This is a very sad day in apwu history.

  • wow

    Mike, how very incoherent of you!

  • brian

    Joe B.: Just curious- if the agreement won by a 3 to 1 margin, how can you possibly say that the negotiating team was “out of touch with the members”? Why did the members vote in favor of it?

  • don

    Brian you wanted to know why the members voted yes. Simple because the executive counsel did all it could to stop the truth from getting to all the membership. Well now you have your contract and I hope all the fools who voted yes are the ones who get screwed over first. Good luck pal your going to need it. Thankfully I can retire and leave so it won’t affect me just like all the sellouts who negotiated this piece of garbage.
    Question how will this bring in new member when at $14.00 per hour you couldn’t even afford to pay union dues let alone pay for health insurance? When you start to get the effects of this contract please be man enough to live with it and don’t come crying to those of us who saw this for what it is a complete sellout.

  • brian

    don- My question for Joe B. was how he could say that the negotiators were “out of touch with the members” when 75% of them voted to approve the contract. There isn’t a whole lot you or anyone else can say that would support Joe B.’s charge. The membership elected the people who negotiated this agreement, and then the membership overwhelmingly approved the agreement.
    Is it a good agreement? I don’t think so myself, but I’m retired, so it wasn’t up to me. But to suggest that the 75% of APWU members who voted in favor of the agreement have somehow been hoodwinked by the people they elected seems pretty foolish. While the APWU leadership had control of their web site and the official mailing, the opponents were very vocal online, and, I assume, on the workroom floor.
    Anyone who wanted to know the pros and cons of the agreement had ample opportunity. You can’t argue with a three to one yes vote.

  • M. Jamison

    Personally I think it’s a bad agreement that’s fundamentally unsound but I fail to see how anyone can say that the membership’s voice wasn’t heard. There was a great deal of negative publicity, Mr. Burrus’ letters, several chapter presidents and consistently negative comments on the Blogs but for all that 3 to 1 is a pretty sound statement.
    There’s a good deal of fear and a sense of the unknown surrounding the Postal Service at this point. This agreement and its overwhelming ratification may be a reflection of the current atmosphere.
    With the possible exception of the USOIG and the PRC there has been a complete lack of meaningful leadership in imagining a vision for the Postal Service that doesn’t involve ever increasing cycles of cuts and downsizing. Virtually every statement and initiative coming out of L’Enfant Plaza feeds that frenzy while Congress simply diddles at ideological pinatas.

  • 24 year veteran

    Everyone remember this day. Believe me you will when you see what happens from here. The postal service will never be the same and your job security won’t either.

  • 30 year clerk

    The union thinks they are getting more members! wait until they see all the new scabs!

  • phil

    Don, how did anyone lie. Only thing anyone had to do was read the new contract and then make a decision.

  • ZACK

    I would like to take a moment to thank Mr. Guffy –
    “F*** YOU CLIFF!”

  • Postmaster

    How can you say the truth was hidden, when all members received a copy of the contract along with their ballot. I received one also, but did not feel I should vote, since I am one of those bastard Postmasters. But you know what? This contract will affect me also, as the outcome of this will drive the DUO decisions.
    LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE!

  • jethro tull

    Im a carrier retiring in three weeks. I look at the contract and see a lot of giveaways your union will never get back and a domino effect will follow for other unions. the NALC is much stronger and hopefully he new people in power will fight to keep what we have gained over the last 110 years. I have talked to every clerk in our unit . All have said they voted the new contract down. HUM! they are not even aware of the contract because they different read it or understand it, ignorance is bliss and there are a lot of complacent people in apwu. You job security is gone and will eventually be void. carrier are doing a lot of the work they only need a few clerk and window clerk will soon be fazed out with kiosk all over shopping centers.

  • Dan

    This is truly a sad day. The PO hasn’t done any real hiring in years. Many of the junior employees have over 10 years of service. How many of us 20k who voted NO are going to remain in the union which sold us out? Plus, the PSE’s will not be able to afford to be members. Our national officers have succeeded in doing what WI Gov. Scott Walker could not- destroy a union. A genuine case of fratricide.

  • S.Baird

    I have to agree that a two tiered pay scale requiring equal work for less pay can’t do anything but bust the union from within. Current 40 hour employees will not be forced into less than that, but will any 40 hour positions be posted in the future? Unlikely. My grandfather was part of the initial push for unionization. I could not in good conscience vote for a contract that will negate everything the union has ever championed for its members. Sad commentary on the fear management has created. Solidarity be damned! When the ship appears to be listing, every man for himself. Right…?

  • The Fat Boy

    Everyone needs to calm down and work toward improving the next contract.

  • Whatever

    So instead of excessing there will just be a RIF? From what I read – if they can’t find you a spot they will sit down and discuss a solution. The solution – take the excess of more then 50 or they will start a RIF.

  • Joe B.

    Brian,
    How can you think this is on the up & up. I guest all those states with the floods down along the Mississipi got their vote in,Hmm. Well Igot 24 mo.left. Hope your time here is short just as well. Shame,Shame, Shame. Have a good life.
    Joe B.

  • brian

    Joe- I have no idea what you’re talking about- what was wrong with the ratification process? Are you suggesting the APWU made the Mississippi flood so that people couldn’t vote or something? Do you think there’s a contest for the most bizarre comment?
    You might want to try reading other people’s comments before responding to them. I’ve already said I don’t think much of the contract, but that since I’m retired, it’s up to the active members to decide what’s going to be best for them.
    If you seriously believe the APWU managed to fake a 75% yes vote, then it should be very easy for you to get in touch with Congressmen Issa and Ross- I’m sure they’d jump on the opportunity to investigate!

  • Eli

    How can anyone in the post office be upset. Everyone has a job and everyone of us makes great money for a job that does not require any brain cells to do. Just shut up and work or join the unemployment lines with the rest of America… People get paid substantially less money to do more difficult work than us. Quit crying already!!!

  • Dan

    I believe that many voted yes because the lackey stewards conned them into it. Those of us stewards who actually read it and understood it are just rebels aye? This time next year I will be saying “I told you so….”

  • treborster

    They just screwed you folks with a capital S!!!! I’m a carrier and sure as hell hope they don’t try and pull that crap on us!!!!! State and Federal politicians ensure they get every thing coming to them…… you damn well better too!!!!

  • Coop

    The only reason I voted yes is cause I dont want this to go to arbitration and have congress get involved. Congress already hates the USPS and wants to privatize the USPS.

    If that happens nobody has a job and the mailing industry as we know it goes down the toilet.

    Is the contract good? Certainly not. But it is better than nothing.

  • brian

    Congress has nothing to do with the arbitration process. If the contract had been voted down, and gone to arbitration, you probably would have ended up with pretty much the same deal. After all, the same parties that already reached an agreement would be the ones appearing before the arbitrator. An arbitrator isn’t going to make sweeping changes to something both parties have already agreed to.

  • Harvey

    While the debate about a good or bad contract is interesting, the real concern is that mail volume and revenue continue to decline. That’s not the fault of clerks, carriers or anyone else. It’s the impact of technology. I think it’s important for everyone with an interest in the postal business to focus on telling Congress that USPS and postal employees need the freedom to do things that go beyond transporting paper from point A to point B. There are many things that plants, post offices and delivery routes could do to make up for the loss of paper mail revenue, if only Congress would allow it. I don’t think we all have the luxury of fighting among ourselves anymore.

  • annie

    There goes our union.
    Yes the USPS will hire new. What future do they have to keep this job as a career for the next 30 years and to support a family? No pension, Health benefits only avail if you are a union member> Health benefits may be low cost. but out of pocket expenses are thru the roof.
    Oh Yes you may be avail for Health benefits if you make thru the 1st year you can be tapped on the shoulder.The turnover rate for new employees will become a revolving door.

  • annie

    Is revenue really down? Foreverstamps purchases are not accounted for until they they are canceled? Prepaid Netflix Envelopes the Netflex owners pay for in advance how is the money accounted for? . And now forever prepaid shipping boxes , When is that money accounted for? Better yet HALLMARK greeting cards with prepaid postage paid to the postoffice in advance. When is that money accounted for?. This is all money already paid to the postoffice. the funds are there weekly, monthly and for that year in which purchased was made. IS all of this be counted as revenue today? Or is it in a rainy day fund

  • annie

    How doe RIF work. do you lose your pension,
    Do you lose your matching funds.
    anyone with the answers?

  • brian

    Annie- Revenue is really down. Revenue from forever stamps is recognized as revenue when it is received- it’s no different from other stamps that way- every stamp sold is revenue. The only thing different about Forever stamps is that they get revalued when there’s a rate increase, and that revaluation also applies to calculating the value of “postage in the hands of the public”, or PIHOP. PIHOP is a liability, since it is potential work the USPS has to do that it has already been paid for.

    All the other things you mention are also recognized as postage when the USPS receives the money. There’s no “rainy day fund”.

  • Mike

    RIF = Reduction In Force = Severance Pay = I’m Gone !!

  • brian

    Mike- don’t get too excited about severance pay. The formula is a week’s pay for every year you’ve worked up to 10, and two weeks pay for every year after that, plus ten percent for every year you’re over 40 years old, up to a maximum 52 weeks pay. Not all that bad, but it ain’t gonna last you too long. Plus, don’t forget that you don’t get ANY severance if you’re eligible to retire, or if you decline a job offer in your “local commuting area”.

  • chi baby

    Is this contract for clerks or letter carriers??

  • Alyssa

    I just realized I applied for a PSE positon and not a permanent postion. Interview tomorrow morning.. maybe I’ll just sleep through it.