URS Awarded $252 Million Program Management Services Contract by USPS

SAN FRANCISCO–()–URS Corporation (NYSE:URS) today announced that it is one of three companies to be awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to provide nationwide program management services for the USPS portfolio of facilities, which consists of more than 32,700 facilities nationwide. The contract has a base period of two years and two, two-year option periods, and has a maximum contract value of approximately $252 million to all awardees, if all options are fully exercised. Continue reading

Portland demonstrators say USPS entered into sweetheart deal with bankrupt trucking company

get-attachment.aspxDemonstrators say they briefly blocked a private contractor’s truck from leaving the Mt. Hood Distribution Center near Portland OR Saturday. The protesters’ spokesperson, retired postal worker Jamie Partridge, claims that the USPS has eliminated union truck drivers’ jobs by entering into a questionable deal with a bankrupt trucking company that owes the USPS hundreds of thousands of dollars:

Seven postal trucking positions were recently eliminated at the same time as the subcontractor, Dill Star Route trucking, hired twenty drivers to do twice as many mail runs as were previously needed, according to Partridge. The company is being paid $59 per hour for each driver, while the USPS is paying for the gas and lending the company postal trailers (in violation of postal rules) and leasing nine tractors for Dill Star use (at $30,000 per month). According to union officials, postal drivers are sitting on standby without work, up to 500 hours a week, while many of the extra Dill Star trucks are running empty or have very little mail.

Bankruptcy papers show that Dill Star Route, Inc. owes the postal service over $300,000. “Dill used federal credit cards to avoid the federal gas tax, and then never paid the bill,” says Partridge.

The group goes on to charge that the contract was arranged by a postal manager who “appears to have a special relationship” with the family that operates the trucking company. Asked what the alleged “special relationship” consisted of, Partridge told us “They go to church together, sources say.”

We’ve asked the USPS for their side of the story, but so far they haven’t responded.

APWU Wins Major Subcontracting Case

apwulogoThe APWU won a major victory Aug. 13 when Arbitrator Shyam Das issued a ruling that will help the union fight subcontracting, President Cliff Guffey has announced. Das ruled that locals must be notified when management makes a decision at the local, district or area level to contract out craft work.

The decision could result in the creation of additional assignments in every craft, Guffey noted. “This is a major victory in our battle to protect jobs,” he said. “That is a fight we are determined to win.”

Article 32 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which governs subcontracting, requires the Postal Service to notify locals of subcontracting at the “field level.” Beginning in October 2007, the USPS claimed the phrase meant that the USPS was required to notify locals of subcontracting initiated at the district or area level, but not subcontracting initiated at the local level.

The union asserted that “field level” refers to any subcontracting initiated below the headquarters level. (For headquarters-level subcontracting, the APWU is notified at the national level.)

Arbitrator Das upheld the union’s position.

“The ruling gives locals a tool to fight for the creation of additional duty assignments by ensuring they are aware of subcontracting decisions,” Guffey said.

In the Clerk Craft, for example, once locals are notified of subcontracting decisions they will be able to challenge the improper establishment of Contract Postal Units, which replace retail positions.

In the Maintenance Craft, notification to locals could result in challenges to the subcontracting of building maintenance work, such as roofing, air conditioning, lawn care, snow removal and cleaning, as well as the installation, repair, maintenance or movement of equipment, among other duties.

In the Motor Vehicle Service Craft, notification to locals could result in challenges to the subcontracting of preventive maintenance inspections and repairs, and emergency and temporary subcontracting of Highway Contract Routes, as well as other work. For more information, visit www.apwu.org.

via $937 Cost-of-Living Raise Set for September.

Video of last week's Portland OR anti-privatization demonstration

Video of last week’s demonstration in Portland, provided by the organizers, Portland Communities and Postal Workers United:

7-3-13 Protestors occupy private airport mail facility; five arrested from Peter Parks on Vimeo.

Protestors occupy private airport mail facility; five arrested. July 3, 2013, Portland, Oregon.

Five protestors, calling themselves “postal protectors”, were arrested July 3 in an occupation of a private air cargo facility slated to handle and process US mail. “Postal mail handlers and mail processing clerks are losing their jobs to profiteering, private corporations,” declared Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier who joined the civil disobedience action at the Matheson Flight Extenders facility, just next door to the US Postal Service’s Portland Air Cargo Center. “We protest the privatization of the public postal service. We oppose the destruction of family wage, union jobs and the delay of the people’s mail. We intend to disrupt this attack on our communities.” Protest organizers, Portland Communities and Postal Workers United, are demanding that Matheson management pull out of negotiations for the subcontracting of postal jobs.

Landmark Arbitration Award Reshapes California PVS Subcontracting

APWU Web News Article 024-2013, March 7, 2013

apwulogoIn one of the first decisions [PDF] interpreting the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement, Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg ruled on March 4 that the USPS decision to subcontract Postal Vehicle Service work throughout California violated the contract.

“This is a big win,” said President Cliff Guffey. “It demonstrates that the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement [PDF] strengthens our ability to protect APWU jobs.”

Arbitrator Goldberg rejected the USPS assertion that the Postal Service can overlook higher subcontracting costs when making outsourcing decisions.

“The Postal Service can no longer justify contracting out work that would be less expensive to keep in house” on the grounds that it has given due consideration to cost as well as other factors outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Goldberg wrote. A Memorandum of Understanding [(MOU) – PDF] negotiated as part of the 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement states that if work can be performed by postal employees at a cost that is equal to or less than the cost of subcontracting, it will be performed in-house.

Each of the factors listed in the CBA must be considered, the arbitrator wrote, “but if factors other than cost do not rule out keeping work in house, and the cost of keeping work in house would be less than contracting out, both the text and the bargaining history of the Contracting MOU require that the work be kept in house.”

Goldberg also ruled that the Postal Service must follow steps outlined in Article 32.1.B of the Collective Bargaining Agreement before it can make and implement a decision to contract out PVS in California. In doing so, he rejected the USPS assertion that Article 32.1.B does not apply to PVS.

Motor Vehicle Craft Director Bob Pritchard praised the ruling. “This award will help us continue the fight to protect jobs,” he said. “That’s a fight we intend to win.”

“There is still a great deal of work to be done,” he cautioned. “We will be very busy compiling the evidence necessary to demonstrate that postal drivers can run routes at a lower cost than subcontractors.”

Significant Subcontracting

In accordance with Article 32.1.B, the Postal Service must take specific steps when it is considering subcontracting that will have a significant impact on bargaining unit work.

The USPS must:

  • Notify the union before it makes a decision on subcontracting;
  • Meet with the union while developing its Comparative Analysis report;
  • Consider the union’s views, including any proposals the union makes to avoid or limit subcontracting, and
  • Include a statement of the union’s views and proposals in its analysis of the proposed subcontracting.
  • Goldberg’s award affirmed that the memorandum on subcontracting costs applies even when outsourcing will not have a significant impact on bargaining unit work.

A Great Effort

“This victory was the result of a tremendous effort by many people,” Guffey said. APWU’s Motor Vehicle Division officers worked tirelessly. MVS Director Bob Pritchard, Assistant Director Michael Foster, the craft’s National Business Agents, especially California’s NBA, Javier Pineres, and Western Region Coordinator Omar Gonzalez all made outstanding contributions. Vice President Greg Bell and Director of Industrial Relations Mike Morris provided strategic advice and assistance. As always, the union’s support staff, most notably Phil Tabbita, made outstanding contributions, along with our economist and transportation consultant. The union’s attorneys presented the case and put forth a great effort. The support of rank-and-file drivers was crucial throughout the process.

“Thank you one and all!”

The Postal Service first announced its decision to contract out its entire California Postal Vehicle Service in June 2012, prompting the union to file a complaint in federal court and a national-level grievance.

Arbitrator Goldberg’s award was intended to interpret key provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement but not to specify steps forward. The union and management plan to confer about how to implement the decision, and Goldberg has retained jurisdiction to resolve any outstanding issues if the parties are unable to agree.