APWU Contract Arbitration Award Announced

07/08/2016The big news is in – 200,000 postal workers represented by the APWU have a new union contract!

On July 8th, Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg issued his arbitration award that sets the wages, hours and conditions of employment in our new union contract.  This award concluded a two-year struggle for “Good Service, Good Jobs, Good Contract” that included contract negotiations, mediation, arbitration hearings – and solidarity actions on work floors and in communities around the country.

“We have gained many positive results in these difficult times,” APWU President and lead negotiator Mark Dimondstein said. “We, as a union, should be proud of the results. We made some real progress on most of our major goals. We gained an all-career workforce in our Maintenance and Motor Vehicle Crafts.  We secured real general wage increases. We preserved our COLA and no lay-off protections. We strengthened conversion opportunities for PSEs and improved PSE wages and benefits. We strengthened job security by limiting subcontracting, particularly in relation to MVS.  We achieved a temporary moratorium on new plant closings and consolidations. We laid the basis for better protecting retail services and for expanding postal services. While we were unable to stop management’s demand that employees pay a greater share of health insurance premiums, we successfully fought back the main concessionary demands of postal management– for increased percentages of non-career employees, a new tier of lower- paid career employees, the elimination of COLA and the weakening of our no layoff protection.”

Below is a summary of the main highlights of the new award (for a full copy click here.) All provisions of the previous contract that remain unchanged carry forward into our new contract including seniority and bidding rights, the grievance procedure, protection against unjust discipline, annual and sick leave, holiday and overtime pay and all the other important union benefits we have won over many decades of struggle.

Length of the Agreement
May 21, 2015 – September 20, 2018 (40 months)

Career Employee General Wage Increases
There will be across-the-board pay increases of 3.8% for career employees over the life of the Agreement:

  • 1.2% effective November 14, 2015 (Retroactive)
  • 1.3% effective November 26, 2016
  • 1.3% effective November 25, 2017

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)
The COLA for career employees is maintained under the current formula. Cost of living adjustments will be made in March and September of each year of the Contract.

PSE Wage Increases
PSEs (who do not receive COLA raises) will receive wage increases as follows:

  • 2.2% effective November 14, 2015 (Retroactive)
  • 2.3% effective November 26, 2016
  • 2.3% effective November 25, 2017

In addition to these general wage increases, PSE wages will be increased by fifty cents per hour over the life of the Contract as follows:

  • $0.09 per hour effective November 14 2015 (Retroactive)
  • $0.20 per hour effective May 13, 2017
  • $0.21 per hour effective May 26, 2018

No Lay-Off Protections for Career Employees
The no lay-off protections of Article 6, for employees with more than six years of service, remain in full force. In addition, no lay-off protection is extended to all career employees who are on the rolls as of July 8, 2016. This protection covers the 32,000 postal workers recently converted to career who have not yet achieved the six year threshold of no lay-off protection.

Job Security Provisions

  • There will be no new subcontracting of PVS driving work during the life of the contract.
  • For a minimum of the first year of the contract, the postal service will not expand contract stations, village post offices and approved shipper programs. (The fight over Staples is not affected by this moratorium.)
  • There will be no further plant closings and consolidations until at least April 2017.

Workforce Structure

  • All Maintenance Craft PSEs will be converted “in place” to career within 60 days of the Award. Thereafter the PSE category of employee will be eliminated in the Maintenance Craft.
  • All Motor Vehicle Service Craft PSEs will be converted to career – either full-time or PTF – within 60 days of the Award. Thereafter, the PSE category of employee will be eliminated in the MVS Craft. However, in the future PSEs could be authorized as part of a package to bring back currently subcontracted MVS work.
  • PTF employees are reintroduced into the MVS craft, not to exceed 20% of the MVS career workforce.
  • Non-Traditional Full-Time (NTFT) duty assignments are eliminated in Function 1 (mail processing) and Function 3 (MVS) and will be reposted as traditional full-time duty assignments. NTFTs cannot be introduced into the Maintenance Craft. Current four day a week/ ten-hour a day duty assignments may remain in place if the local parties agree.  Local parties may mutually agree upon more such assignments under the Modified Work Week Memo.
  • Non-Traditional Full-Time employees in Function 4 (Retail) are now capped at 8%, excluding NTFT assignments in POStPlan offices. (Previously there was no cap.) The rules concerning schedules and postings in the NTFT memo remain.  However, the restriction on assigning mandatory overtime to non-OTDL employees is narrowed from installation wide to the facility.

Veteran Hiring
Preference Eligible Veteran hiring will be greatly enhanced with the creation of the all- career workforce in the Maintenance and MVS Crafts where Veterans will now be hired directly into career positions.

Career Employee Health Benefits
The Health Plans and benefits for career employees remain in effect. Over the next three years, the employees’ portion of the health premium will increase 1% a year. For the APWU Consumer Driven Health plan, the Postal Service will continue to pay 95% of the premium.

PSE Health Benefits and Holiday Leave Pay

  • PSEs will now receive six paid holidays. (PSEs had no holiday leave.) The holidays are the six major holidays of New Years, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
  • The number of hours paid for the holiday will vary by size of office: 200 Man year offices – 8 hours. POStPlan offices – 4 hours. All other offices – 6 Hours.
  • PSEs who work on a holiday will have the same option as career employees to have their annual leave balance credited in lieu of holiday leave pay.
  • The 75% contribution of the USPS to the premiums of the APWU Consumer Driven Health Plan, available after one year of service, remains in effect. In addition, PSEs will now have access to a USPS sponsored health plan upon employment with the USPS contributing $125.00/pay period.

Limits on Excessing
During the life of the CBA, no employees can be excessed beyond a 50 mile radius.

Bereavement Leave
Clarification on expanded bereavement leave coverage to “in-laws.”

Enhanced and Expanded Services
Parties established a joint Service Enhancement and Innovation Task Force authorized to discuss research, and consult experts with a goal of agreeing to programs including pilots to implement agreed upon services and practices.  At least one pilot program must be implemented within 12 months.

Uniform and Work Clothes for Eligible Career Employees
Allowances for uniform and work clothing programs will be increased

  • Effective May 2016, increase of 5%
  • Effective May 21, 2017, increase of 2.5%
  • Effective May 21, 2018, increase of 2.5%

Eligible PSE Employees
PSEs employed in retail for the first time will receive an annual uniform allowance for three shirts, subject to the normal eligibility requirements.

Clerk Craft

  • Incorporates successful MOU “Re: Filling of Residual Vacancies” into the Contract.
  • New pecking order for full-time vacancies allows for a possible PTF transfer and conversion of PSEs within a 50-mile radius.
  • New pecking order for PTF vacancies provides for conversion of PSEs within the installation, the transfer of PTFs within 50 miles and conversion of PSEs within a 50-mile radius.
  • PTFs can express a preference to work outside their installation.
  • One-time conversions of all Clerk Craft PSEs in 200 work year installations with over 2.5 years of service as of July 8, The conversions will be completed as soon as practical but no later than 60 days from July 8, 2016. One year from the award, the parties are ordered to discuss the possibility of another one-time conversion.
  • New language in Article 37.5.D that streamlines process for PSE conversion to career.
  • eReassign Task Force established to explore improvements to the  posting and placement process.
  • Employees can now exercise retreat rights without regard to level.

Maintenance Craft

  • All Maintenance Craft PSEs converted to career and the PSE category eliminated.
  • Maintenance Jobs MOU eliminated except for provisions related to pending disputes over “Unit Clarification”.
  • Significant improvements to excessing provisions in Article 38.3.K.
  • New provisions for ET-11 issues including a nationwide PAR for ET-11s and negotiations for LMOUs with MTSC.
  • Retained the Subcontracting Cleaning Services MOU with entire installation in the 18K sq. ft. formula.
  • Retained the 50-mile rule on excessing.
  • New pecking order putting APWU bargaining unit employees ahead of non-APWU employees for in-service register selections.

Motor Vehicle Craft

  • All MVS Craft PSEs converted to career and the PSE category eliminated except when part of package to bring in contracted work.
  • Numbered paragraphs 1, 3, and 4 of the 2010 Motor Vehicle Craft Jobs MOU terminated  Paragraph 2 remains and includes the evaluation of 8,000 HCR routes for possible return to PVS.
  • No new subcontracting of PVS driving work during the life of the contract.
  • Because of the loss of flexibility with conversion of all PSEs, elimination of NTFT assignments and restriction on sub-contracting, the Award provides for the return of PTFs with a 20% cap.
  • Clarification of policy regarding Vehicle Maintenance Agreements (VMAs) in offices with vehicle maintenances.
  • All Full-Time Regular Motor Vehicle Craft employees – not just operators – will use their seniority for vacation scheduling.
  • Bids for Examination Specialist (SP-2-188) and Vehicle Operations – Maintenance Assistant (SP-2-195) are open to all full-time regular MVS employees.

CUPW Files Unfair Labour Practice Complaint Against Canada Post

The Canadian Union of Postal workers issued the following statement:

The Canada Labour Code provides that the parties have a duty to make every reasonable effort to negotiate a collective agreement and must bargain in good faith. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from interfering in the affairs of a Union. Today, CUPW filed a formal complaint to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) that Canada Post management has failed to negotiate in good faith and is interfering with the Union’s right to represent its members.

The complaint covers both the Urban and RSMC bargaining units. It describes in detail the refusal of CPC to engage in any meaningful discussions or negotiations regarding the RSMC unit. With respect to both the Urban and RSMC units, CPC has refused to negotiate on their global offers which were submitted one week prior to the parties obtaining the right to strike or lock-out. CPC has also circumvented the bargaining process by negotiating through the media. An example is they claim our proposals will cost $1 Billion, which they repeatedly make to the media but refuse the Union’s repeated requests to justify their numbers.

Instead of bargaining, the employer has simply tabled offers that it knew would be totally unacceptable to the Union. Finally, management representatives have been communicating directly with Union members, making threats and spreading disinformation.

Once both parties have made all of their submissions, the CIRB will determine its procedure. We have asked that the complaint be heard immediately.

Negotiations Continue
As we previously reported, we met with CPC on July 4th, where they provided us with a written rejection of our global offer. Today, we met with CPC, in the presence of the mediators, to discuss several issues. Although we cannot report any major progress, we remain committed to the negotiations process.

We will continue to report developments as they occur.

Canada Post “extremely disappointed” with CUPW’s response to its offers

From Canada Post:

Canada Post extremely disappointed with CUPW’s response to its offers

Dear Canada Post customer,

I am writing to update you on our negotiations and advise you that there can be no legal work disruption before the expiry of a 72-hour notice, and one has yet to be filed.

On Saturday, June 25, 2016, we tabled offers in our separate negotiations with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC), which represent our delivery agents and plant employees. Our offers were designed to help bring a quick resolution to the negotiations and end the uncertainty that is negatively impacting our customers and our employees. Our offers included modest and manageable wage increases for all employees and no changes to the pension for all employees in the plan.

As you can read in our public statement, we are extremely disappointed with the response from CUPW. LateFriday evening, CUPW tabled offers that would add at least $1 billion in new costs over the term of a new collective agreement while rejecting the Corporation’s approach to address the long-term issues with the employee pension plan.

Rather than saddle customers with more than $1 billion in new costs, Canada Post continues to remain at the table to negotiate an agreement that is reasonable and affordable. In the event of a full disruption, Canada Post will not operate, deliver or accept new items. We will keep you updated on our progress.

Serge Pitre
Vice-president, Sales
Canada Post Corporation

Union presents contract offer to Canada Post: no strike until at least July 6

From the Canadian Union of Postal Workers:

On Friday we presented CPC with our Global Offers for both the urban and RSMC collective agreements. As a result, we will not be servicing our 72-hour notice. Therefore, there will be no industrial action prior to July 6th.

Here are some of the highlights of our offer. You can find a complete summary on the CUPW website. Continue reading

APWU Contract Arbitration Decision Expected Soon

From the American Postal Workers Union:

06/30/2016The APWU expects a decision from Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg by mid-July, reports President Mark Dimondstein.

“We had hoped to have a ruling by now, but Arbitrator Goldberg has informed the union and management that he is still working on his decision,” Dimondstein said.

apwulogo“I know that union members are eager to hear the outcome of our struggle for a good contract – as am I – but we will have to wait a little longer.”

More than three months of negotiations began in February 2015 and were followed by mediation and arbitration hearings.

During 18 days of hearings that focused primarily on the economic provisions on the new contract, the union and management presented their positions, called witnesses, submitted evidence, and offered rebuttals.

The three-member panel of arbitrators began its deliberations on May 4. The panel is comprised of a union-appointed arbitrator, a management-appointed arbitrator, and Neutral Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg, who will determine the outcome.

For more information on the negotiations and the fight for a good contract, click here.

CUPW: Why Is Canada Post Hiding The Huge Surplus In The Pension Plan?

From the Canadian Union of Postal Workers:

logo-frCPC spokespeople are always talking about the deficit in the Canada Post Pension Plan. But they never mention that the plan also has a huge surplus. And while the surplus is growing, the deficit is decreasing.

The Facts CPC Never Mentions

Here are some of the facts you will find in the 2015 Canada Post Pension Plan Report to Members:

  •  In 2015 the going concern surplus increased to $1.2 Billion from $500 million.
    (See page 2 of the Report.)
  • The actual pension surplus for 2015 was $2.7 Billion. (page 18)
  • The solvency deficit was reduced from $6.8 Billion to $6.1 Billion. (page 17)
  • The solvency deficit (market value) was reduced from $6.8 Billion to $5.9 Billion.
    (page 17)

Solvency only triggered by Plan Termination

The solvency deficit only comes into play if a pension plan is terminated. Since the federal government has ruled out privatization from the mandate of the Review Committee, there is no reason to believe the plan will be terminated. Solvency deficits are caused by low long term interest rates. Should (or when) interest rates go up by only 1%, the solvency issue will disappear entirely (see page 20).

This is why CUPW and all of the other postal unions do not believe there is any reason to change the pension plan especially given that it is running a $2.7 Billion surplus.

CPC Recognizes a Pension Plan is important – for some.

In their pamphlet attempting to sell their global offer, CPC said the following to regular Urban and RSMCs who are covered by the defined benefit pension plan: “We understand the importance of your pension. We get that it brings you peace of mind.” Yet, their proposal calls for all temporary employees and OCREs to be excluded from the pension and only receive a low value defined contribution plan. So much for caring about the peace of mind of thousands of their employees.

We demand that all employees be eligible for the defined benefit pension plan.

We all deserve “Peace of Mind”

To see the 2015 Canada Post Pension Plan Report to Members go to:

English: https://www.cpcpension.com/db/db_pubs_RTM-e.asp

French: https://www.cpcpension.com/db/db_pubs_RTM-f.asp

Sylvain Lapointe
Chief Negotiator, Urban Unit
George Floresco
Chief Negotiator, RSMC Unit

Workers ask Canada Post to extend contract talks

OTTAWA – Postal workers are asking Canada Post management for a two-week extension on the cooling-off period that would otherwise entail a termination of their contract on July 2nd.

At that point, the union says Canada Post might either lock its workers out or try to force a walkout through punitive changes to their working conditions.

logo-fr“We are asking management to give us a chance, to give the public review a chance, to keep sitting down with us at the bargaining table, and give the workers a chance to get a fair deal,” said Mike Palecek, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The profitable Crown Corporation has been talking tough with its workers, despite being in its 20th profitable year out of the past 22. Postal workers are fighting exorbitant demands for cutbacks and concessions that they say just aren’t reasonable in light of the company’s success.

“Mr. Chopra and his executive team are getting their bonuses every year,” said Palecek, referring to the Harper-appointed President and CEO who has refused to resign since the Liberals took office. “We don’t understand why he needs to squeeze so much out of the people who are making the profits for him.”

If Canada Post management refuses to extend the cooling-off period, Palecek says his union still aims to keep negotiations going.

“We’re concerned that a labour dispute will taint the outcome of the very important review that the Liberals are conducting,” said Palecek. “We’ll do everything we can to avert that.”

Canada Post warns work stoppage could begin as early as Saturday

From Canada Post:

OTTAWA, June 27, 2016 /CNW/ – Labour negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) continue.  Talks have been ongoing since late 2015, and the parties are now in the final stretch. No legal work disruption can occur until July 2, 2016. Details of the offers are highlighted in the background section below.

While there is still time to reach new agreements, a legal work disruption could occur as early as July 2, 2016. We understand the impact a work disruption would have on customers and are therefore doing everything possible to reach a negotiated settlement quickly. While a labour disruption remains a possibility, we are asking customers to take precautions. Continue reading

Canada Post Workers Won’t Wait for Trudeau, They’re Acting Now on Pay Equity for Rural Carriers

From the Canadian Union of Postal Workers:

OTTAWA, June 10, 2016 /CNW/ – Postal workers are welcoming the return of proactive pay equity legislation recommended by the Special Committee on Pay Equity report It’s Time to Act. However, they say Canada Post should be acting right now at the bargaining table to address the glaring discrepancy between its urban and rural mail carriers.

“We are currently struggling to negotiate equal pay for the work of equal value done by our female-dominated rural and suburban mail carrier members. These workers meet the Committee’s definition of a female-dominated group. 70% of rural mail carriers are women and they are getting a worse deal than the majority male urban letter carriers, even though their skills, efforts, responsibilities and working conditions are similar,” said Mike Palecek, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

cupw_logoCanada Post is mentioned disapprovingly in the Committee’s report as an employer that has used the current complaints-based process to fight pay equity all the way to the Supreme Court. Although the Crown Corporation eventually lost, those affected by wage discrimination had to wait 30 years for their pay equity settlement.

“Proactive pay equity legislation should make establishing this basic human right much less arduous, expensive and painful for all involved,” said Palecek.

However, the union is determined to keep pay equity for its rural and suburban carriers on the bargaining table while the government ponders the Committee’s recommendations. It says the recommendation to table legislation within 18 months is too long to wait and that the government should act immediately to address wage discrimination. The union has already written to Justin Trudeau twice on the issue and has yet to receive a response.

“Several witnesses in that report say that ‘justice delayed is justice denied.’ That’s why we have to fight for justice for these workers now,” said Palecek.

In the past, CUPW has broken ground for progressive gender-based policies, including the right for federal employees to paid maternity leave, for which postal workers walked picket lines in 1981. It has also negotiated employer-funded childcare programs for its members, including members with children with special needs.

For the report of the Special Committee on Pay Equity, visit

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/Committee/421/ESPE/Reports/RP8320461/421_ESPE_Rpt01_PDF/421_ESPE_Rpt01-e.pdf

Source: Postal Workers Won’t Wait for Trudeau, They’re Acting Now on Pay Equity

Union urges ‘Yes’ to 1.6% Royal Mail offer

From the Communication Workers Union:

Union leaders will be recommending acceptance of a one-year, no-strings-attached pay increase achieved during national negotiations with Royal Mail.

The proposal, which has met with the approval of the union’s industrial executive, is fully consolidated and will lift basic pay by 1.6 per cent for all CWU-represented grades within the business apart from Romec and Quadrant, whose pay awards are negotiated separately.

Backdated to April 4th 2016 for weekly-paid staff and to April 1st 2016 for monthly-paid, the increase flows through to all pay supplements, skills and unsocial attendance allowances, London Weighting, Scottish Distant Island allowance, overtime and scheduled attendance rates and matches the March 2016 retail price index (RPI), keeping members’ earnings up with the cost of living.

Acting deputy general secretary (postal) Ray Ellis, said: “The view of the pay negotiating team, endorsed by the postal executive at its meeting yesterday, is that the offer represents an acceptable conclusion to the 2016 pay talks that meets the policies we have adopted for a clean, one-year, no-strings deal.

“The offer will therefore be recommended for acceptance in an individual members’ ballot, which opens on June 9th and closes on the 30th.”