Nov. 21. 2011 — NALC President Fred Rolando and USPS Postmaster General Pat Donahoe announced on Sunday, Nov. 20, that the parties’ 2006-2011 National Agreement has been extended to Dec. 7, 2011, to give the parties additional time to negotiate the provisions of a new contract. The 2006 agreement had been set to expire at midnight Sunday.
“We have been working in good faith to hammer out a new contract and we hope that this extension will lead to an agreement that our members can enthusiastically ratify,” President Rolando said.
The entire NALC Executive Council and the USPS negotiating team have been sequestered at a hotel in Washington since Nov. 13 in order to work around the clock on the terms of a new National Agreement. Council committees chaired by the union’s resident national officers have engaged management counterparts in intensive discussions on the full range of contract issues affecting working conditions and workplace rights during daily negotiations that often stretched late into the night.
President Rolando has coordinated the work of all the committees and has taken the lead on the key economic provisions of the contract, including pay, health benefits and other matters such as the structure of the city carrier workforce. As the expiration date approached, the focus shifted to finding innovative ways to reduce the cost of employee health care while preserving and protecting the benefits of NALC’s members.
The 2011 round of bargaining kicked off in August at a time of extreme challenges for the Postal Service, as the congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits has crippled the agency’s finances. Over time, the talks have gathered momentum. In the end, the parties agreed that more time could help the talks succeed.
“We remain committed to negotiating a fair contract that will advance the best interests of the nation’s city letter carriers,” Rolando said.