Burrus: Difference between APWU contract and NALC arbitration award close to $1 million over an employee’s lifetime

The Burrus Update web site appears to be down: here’s a copy of the original article:

Response to Facebook Post

A union member by the name of Iris forwarded a message on my Facebook page and I responded.  She was informed that I would include my response to her on this page that a wider audience could read the exchange.

The point that I make is that it is not appropriate to review the NALC and APWU contracts from a personal perspective.  The example that I use is – if one contract permits the removal of an employee’s arm, such removal cannot be trivialized because it is not your arm.

The effect on the next generation is as follows: NALC contract adds new steps continuing A to Step O.  APWU’s contract adds new steps beginning at step FF and ending at Step J. This compares to NALC that begins at CC Grade A ending at O. A comparison is: $35,553 to $49,108 — $44,292 to $56,508.  Over a 35 year career the Level 6 clerk will earn $500,000 less when combining the reduction in entry wage, reaching top step over 20 years before retirement and adding the difference in salary at each step. When adding in the reduction of 25% for employees on NFTY schedule (30 hours) the total exceeds $700,000. Projecting that the employee or spouse will collect an annuity for 25 years the reduction of $200,000 or more in annuity will bring the difference between the contracts to almost one million dollars per employees over his/her lifetime.

For you to trivialize reductions of one million dollars per employee as equal when comparing the contracts is totally unacceptable. You have evaluated the contract on a personal level, ignoring its effect on others. That is the purpose for my involvement that we can grow to see through the eyes of the most seriously affected. That is what a union is all about.  If your salary and annuity were reduced by over a million dollars would your analysis change? Are we willing to sacrifice an arm as long as it is not our arm and characterize the contract as not bad or equal on a personal level?

A contract that reduces income for just one individual in the range of one million dollars over a lifetime is a bad contract and having engaged in the process it is my intent to help employees understand that it is more than about “me.” We have to grow to the point that we care about the arms attached to all of the brothers and sisters represented by APWU. You have my word that I have no interest in political office so my review is not personal. You have my respect, but there is no comparison between the contracts.