OIG Report Paints Bright Future for Postal Banking

From the American Postal Workers Union:
Clipboard0105/21/2015 – A report by the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released May 21 outlines the next steps for implementing postal banking, in which post offices would offer basic financial services – providing affordable banking transactions to every zip code in the US, while strengthening the Postal Service.

The May 21 report titled, “The Road Ahead for Postal Financial Services,” states that expanding and enhancing existing financial services such as money orders, international money transfers, check cashing and bill payments could be accomplished without an act of Congress.

According to the OIG’s “conservative estimate,” this expansion could bring the Postal Service $1.1 billion in annual revenue within five years while serving  68 million Americans who either who don’t have bank accounts or who “rely on expensive services like payday lending and check cashing.” Some refer to these predatory businesses as “alternative financial services;” APWU President Mark Dimondstein calls them “legal loan sharks.”

While highlighting the impact postal banking would have on the financial health of the Postal Service, the OIG also recommends that the USPS focus on the affordability of the services it could provide.

Among the expanded offerings, post offices “could provide ATMs where recipients of government benefits could withdraw funds without paying a fee,” the report says.

Dimondstein praised the idea.  “It’s a no-brainer,” he said. “The Inspector General’s report confirms that the Postal Service can act now to provide consumers with affordable financial services while strengthening our trusted national treasure, the public Postal Service.

“We look forward to the day when people can get their checks cashed by their trusted neighborhood window clerk,” he said.

The APWU is a member of the Campaign for Postal Banking, a coalition of consumer, worker, financial reform, economic justice, community, civic, and faith-based groups that is organizing support for the concept. For more information, visit www.CampaignForPostalBanking.org.

Source: OIG Report Paints Bright Future for Postal Banking | APWU

APWU: Contract Talks Extended, to Focus on Economic Package

05/21/2015 – The APWU and the U.S. Postal Service agreed to continue bargaining for an additional week after they were unable to reach agreement on economic issues by the May 20 expiration of the current contract.

“We were unable to reach a negotiated settlement tonight,” Dimondstein said. “We were too far apart on wages and benefits. But we are going to work hard over the course of the next week to see if we can narrow the differences.”

“The terms of the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement will continue until a new contract is reached,” he said.  “In the meantime, all the old contractual protections remain in full force and effect.”

If the extended bargaining fails to lead to an agreement, the APWU will seek mediation, Dimondstein said, and proceed to arbitration if attempts to mediate a settlement are unsuccessful.

“We made progress in negotiations on many important work-floor issues,” Dimondstein said, “but in the end, we were unable to negotiate a complete agreement. Management scuttled the prospect of reaching a deal before the deadline by insisting on a permanent, new lower pay scale and reduced benefits for future career employees as well as givebacks in pay and benefits for current career workers.

“The union’s job is to fight for those who are part of the workforce today — both career and non-career — and for those who will be part of the workforce in the months and years ahead,” he said. “If we fail to do that, over time we will undermine the wages and benefits of all our members.”

Keep the Heat On!

Dimondstein praised the activism of APWU members throughout negotiations. “Your actions are having an effect,” he declared. “Management takes note of how many of our members are wearing buttons, stickers and union shirts, and how many members participate in rallies and other events. They take it as a measure of the union’s strength.

“So I urge every member to stay involved and keep the momentum going as we enter a new period in our struggle,” he said.

“Over the last few months, management also took note of the tremendous support we received from our sister postal unions, the labor movement and from civil rights, religious, environmental, good government and women’s organizations. I encourage every member to take our message to your family, friends, neighbors, and the organizations you participate in outside of work,” Dimondstein added.

“The ‘I Stand with Postal Workers’ postcards are a great way to let the Postmaster General know that the people of the country want what we want: Good Postal Service! Good Jobs! Good Contract! Let’s keep collecting signatures,” he said.

“Our struggle continues,” Dimondstein said. “Stay strong, stay united and keep Standing Up and Fighting Back!”

– See more at: http://www.apwu.org/news/web-news-article/contract-talks-extended-focus-economic-package#sthash.cqBaAQO0.dpuf

APWU: Behind the Scenes, Corporations Influence USPS Policy

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

apwudefault1In the last 10 years, more than 100,000 living-wage clerk craft jobs have been eliminated. Service standards have been reduced, lines at the windows have grown longer, and many cherished local post offices have been forced to close their doors or reduce their hours.

Many of the most significant changes that have negatively affected the Clerk Craft and the Postal Service are the result of recommendations made by a little-known group that operates behind the scenes at USPS headquarters – the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee, or MTAC.

MTAC was established on May 27, 1965, by former Postmaster General John Gronouski. This was in response to President Kennedy’s 1962 Executive Order that called for the creation of committees to advise government agencies. MTAC’s charter states:

“The Postmaster General’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) is a venue for the United States Postal Service to share technical information with mailers, and to receive their advice and recommendations on matters concerning mail-related products and services, in order to enhance customer value and expand the use of these products and services for the mutual benefit of mailing industry stakeholders and the Postal Service.”

Some of the mailing industry stakeholders on the committee include Pitney Bowes, FedEx, UPS, DHL, and Amazon. Continue reading

APWU Asks Members to Wear Union Gear on Wednesday, May 20

From the American Postal Workers Union:

On May 20 – the day our contract expires – show solidarity by wearing APWU-themed gear to work.

That’s the message from APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

“I urge you to wear a union T-shirt, cap, button or sticker. If you can’t get your hands on an APWU item, please wear blue,” he said.

“As the contract clock ticks down, let’s send a message to management that we stand together! Let’s send a message that we won’t stop fighting for Good Postal Service! Good Jobs! Good Contract!

Source: Wear Union Gear on Wednesday, May 20 | APWU