APWU: NLRB Judge Finds USPS Guilty of Bad Faith, Unlawful Tactics

From the American Postal Workers Union:

apwulogo08/20/2014The Postal Service engaged in delaying tactics that constituted an unlawful refusal to provide the APWU with information about the agency’s deal with Staples, an NLRB judge wrote in an Aug. 13 decision.

The USPS “did not want to provide the requested materials and was throwing straw arguments and roadblocks in the way,” Administrative Law Judge Eric M. Fine said.

The Staples deal established knock-off post offices in more than 80 of the office-supply stores in a trial program that the Postal Service and the retailer hoped to expand to all of the company’s 1,500 U.S. stores. The union has launched a boycott of Staples, which has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, SEIU, and many other major labor organizations.

Shortly after the program got underway in October 2013, the APWU requested detailed information about the terms of the arrangement as well as correspondence between the USPS and Staples.  The Postal Service claimed the union had failed to establish the relevance of the information it sought and said the APWU’s request was “overly broad” and “burdensome.” Management also asserted that much of the information was confidential.

Just prior to the April 1 NLRB hearing, the Postal Service gave the APWU a heavily redacted copy of the agreement that obscured most of the details of its contract with Staples. Many of the deal’s 58 pages were completely blacked out.

In the decision, NLRB Judge Fine rejected each of the Postal Service’s claims and ordered the Postal Service to provide the APWU with most of the requested information, including thousands of emails between the USPS and Staples.  He credited the testimony of the APWU witnesses, Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson, Manager of Negotiations Support Phil Tabbita, while discounting the testimony of the Postal Service’s witnesses.

What Are They Hiding?

APWU President Mark Dimondstein said, “This decision demonstrates the desperate measures the USPS is willing to take to keep the details of its privatization deal a secret.

“The U.S. Postal Service is a national treasure that belongs to the people of the country,” he said. “Postmaster General Donahoe has no right to turn over its operations to a private company that is motivated by the bottom line – not service to the people.

“The secrecy prompts the question: What are they hiding?”

The APWU objects to the Staples deal because it privatizes the retail operations of the public Postal Service; transfers living-wage, union jobs to high-turnover, low-wage jobs, and degrades service to the public.

USPS Knew Exactly

In his decision, Judge Fine wrote, “I find that the Union has established the relevancy of the requested disputed information.” The program spans several states in major population centers, where “Staples employees perform a broad array of bargaining unit work creating alternative retail outlets.” He also pointed out that “a large number of the 80 to 84 Staples stores used in the pilot program were located less than a mile from the nearest post office.”

Fine rejected the Postal Service’s claims that the union’s request for information was overly broad and burdensome. “I find the Union’s request to be quite specific, and in need of no further explanation,” he wrote. “In fact, I have concluded that Respondent [USPS] knew exactly what the Union wanted but was merely opposed to providing the Union with the information.”

Fine also rebuffed management’s assertion that it could withhold much of the information the USPS said was confidential or proprietary.  The Postal Service has until Sept. 10 to appeal the decision to the full NLRB.

  • Hidden agenda

    The Postal Service is rife with dishonest and shameful practices. What ever happened to the investigation of Postal buildings being sold far below fair market value to the benefit of a major politicians husband? From PMG Donahoe to low level managers any issue and contract violation is twisted and smoke screened . Facilities are closed and proper procedures are not followed. Yet there is no accountability or finger pointing . Now ask yourself , why would that be????? Please reply. I’m sure many would enjoy your thoughts.

  • Kate the Carrier

    Deny, delay, deny, delay, lie, falsify, deny and delay some more…then blame the workers. Typical postal management moves.

  • Paul Agostini

    Good for the APWU. Shows what a union at the national level can do when they have their member’s backs. Too bad the NALC at the national level has been castrated by the Postal Service and has been allowing managements disgusting, underhanded tactics to force senior carriers into retirement long before they are ready. Fred Rolando should have been all over this when it started 5 years ago, but he chooses to bury his head in the sand.

  • paul

    What are you talking about? The APWU contract created a permanent two tier wage scale, clerks hired after the effective date of their new contract will never, ever, make the same pay rate as those hired before the new contract. The NALC contract ensures that our CCA’s will make the same top of scale pay rate as current carriers. Don’t know what you’re talking about on forced retirement either, carriers have never been forced into early retirement, I know some who are still working after 45 to 50 years. If you’re talking about the failed NRP we won many more of those cases than we lost. Trying being more specific.

  • Winston Denker

    The new efforts of the four postal unions coming together in a postal alliance to take on the USPS is what’s important now. Rather than casting blame for past failures, it is imperative for all of us to join together in the current fight to save the postal service, protect workers, and watch each other’s backs. The APWU taking on the fight to protect six day delivery, the NALC fighting against plant closings and all four unions pushing for postal banking and taking on Staples is what’s relevant today.

  • Dave Hambone

    Fat chance any of these union(s) will be united. It’s called me me me.

  • Joe Guest

    Guffey was nothing but Donahoe’s stooge and his actions showed it and the pictures of him yucking up with Don-a-hole and shaking his hand in signing the sellout CBA says it all.Had he done the right thing and fought any giveaways in their CBA,the other unions would have gotten better contracts from the arbitrators.