DC Congresswoman Norton seeks answers from PMG on letter carrier’s murder

Nov 26, 2013

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Following this weekend’s tragic murder of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier Tyson Jerome Barnette in Landover, Maryland, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a member of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S Postal Service and the Census, wrote today to the U.S. Postmaster General regarding long-standing concerns about the risk of requiring postal employees to deliver mail after dark and requesting responses to several related questions within 30 days.

Norton, in her letter, wrote, “I understand the financial challenges that USPS faces because of congressional failure to move a bill. I also very much appreciate USPS’s determination to deliver mail in a timely fashion, especially during winter months, when darkness comes much earlier in the day. However, I do not recall delivery after dark being as frequent in prior years.” Continue reading

‘Lose a Life to Save a Dollar’

APWU Web News Article #130-13, Nov. 26, 2013

Tyson Barnette

Tyson Barnette

The APWU family is deeply saddened by the death of Tyson Barnette, the 26 year old Maryland Letter Carrier who was killed while delivering mail on Saturday, Nov. 22, well after dark. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family.

The night after the shooting, approximately 150 Letter Carriers attended a vigil to pay respects to their fallen co-worker. APWU President Mark Dimondstein, Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy and Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson attended in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Many of the carriers at the vigil expressed anguish — and anger — over USPS policies that have forced carriers to deliver mail at night. In a eulogy, one of Barnette’s co-workers said we must never again “lose a life to save a dollar.”

Dimondstein believes the unsafe working conditions are a result of recent plant consolidations, cutbacks to the workforce and management policies that are paving the way for privatization. “Mail now arrives at carrier stations later, pushing delivery times into the evening, and stations are understaffed,” he said.

“Let this tragedy serve as a wake-up call,” he said. “Management must take the necessary steps to strengthen service and safety.”


Goldman Sachs’ Royal Mail Role ‘Like Ronnie Biggs Advising On Security’

Vince Cable’s decision to hire Goldman Sachs to advise on pricing Royal Mail for its stock market entry came under fire from MPs, who compared it to giving Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs a job with security giant Securicor.

Adrian Bailey, chair of the Business select committee, attacked officials’ “astonishing” unawareness of the fact that the bank had been finalising a $7.5 million payout after undervaluing the eToys Inc in 1999.

He said: “Appointing Goldman Sachs on a flotation given this court case is a bit like asking Ronnie Biggs to have an appointment at Securicor”

Read more: Goldman Sachs’ Royal Mail Role ‘Like Ronnie Biggs Advising On Security’, Warn MPs.

Royal Mail reports jump in profits

Royal Mail has seen half-year profits rise, driven by higher revenue from its parcel business, in its first results since its partial privatisation.

Pre-tax profits were £233m for the six months to 29 September, up from £94m a year earlier, excluding special items.

But Royal Mail said a one-off windfall resulting from a pension reform boosted overall pre-tax profits to £1.58bn.

On Wednesday, Business Secretary Vince Cable, appearing before MPs, denied that shares had been sold too cheaply.

Read more: BBC News – Royal Mail reports jump in profits.

The Great Postal Giveaway: USPS Sends Jobs, Work to Staples

APWU News Bulletin 22-2013, Nov. 26, 2013 | PDF

The postal unit at the Staples store in Westborough MA
The postal unit at the Staples store in Westborough MA.
(Photo courtesy of Evan Kalish, Going Postal)

On Nov. 10, in a deal that has been in the works at least since March, the USPS announced it was launching a pilot program to put postal retail units in Staples stores across the country. Some sites opened quietly in October and others have opened in the last two weeks, including some where ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held.

Staples is the largest retailer of office supplies in the country, with almost 1,600 stores. The pilot will begin at 84 sites, and, if it is successful, may be extended to other Staples stores. Agreements between the USPS and other big retailers may follow.

“This is a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

“The APWU supports the expansion of postal services. But we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail,” he said. “Postal workers deserve better, and our customers deserve better.”

In a meeting with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe on Nov. 20, the union president insisted that if the plan proceeds, the postal units at Staples must be staffed by career postal employees. The APWU has requested information about the specifics of the deal, and has instructed the union’s attorneys to explore legal avenues to challenge the program.

‘Postal units at Staples must be staffed by career postal employees.’
– President
Mark Dimondstein

The APWU also has requested a meeting with Ron Sargent, the Chairman and CEO of Staples, to discuss our concerns, Dimondstein said. He also expects to have additional discussions with postal management.

“While these efforts proceed, we will begin preparations for protests at Staple stores across the country,” he said. The APWU Executive Board discussed the issue via telephone on Nov. 22 and endorsed the plan to fight back.

“Postal management will undoubtedly try to convince our members that this arrangement is beneficial because it creates revenue for the USPS,” Dimondstein said. “But revenue without good union jobs is not in the interest of our members. Postal services that are performed by anyone other than well-trained postal workers will not serve the American people well,” he said.

“This is a huge step toward privatizing retail services,” Dimondstein said. “If we don’t draw a line in the sand, mail processing and other operations will soon follow.”

The Staples units will offer most postal products and services: They will sell stamps; accept first-class letters, Priority, Priority Express, standard mail, and first-class packages, and accept certified mail. The units will be operational during Staples’ business hours — as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays, on Sundays and many holidays. And, in a unique arrangement, the office supply giant will offer 5% Staples Rewards for the postage on packages paid for and shipped at its locations.

“We can only stop these privatization plans if we work and fight together,” Dimondstein said. “We will keep APWU members informed of any progress at the national level. In the meantime, prepare for action!”