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NLRB Issues Complaint Over USPS Failure to Provide Info to APWU

apwulogoMay 8, 2014 – In response to two charges filed by the APWU, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint against the Postal Service on April 30, asserting that the USPS “has been failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith,” by refusing to provide information to the union. The Postal Service’s actions violate the National Labor Relations Act and the Postal Reorganization Act, wrote Steven Shuster, Acting Regional Director of NLRB Region 5.

The NLRB has informed the APWU that because of the Postal Service’s repeated failure to provide information the union is contractually and legally entitled to obtain, it will demand a “formal settlement” of two charges filed by the union. This means that the USPS will be required to admit the violations alleged in the complaint, and, among other remedies, agree to cease and desist from its refusal to provide the information. If the Postal Service refuses to enter into a formal settlement, a hearing will be held this summer before an NLRB Administrative Law Judge.

The first charge in the complaint involves management’s refusal to provide the Motor Vehicle Service Division with Postal Service Form 7463a. Form 7463a is a cost-statement submitted to the USPS by Highway Contractors seeking to renew contract trucking routes. The information contained on the form is vital to the union’s ability to ensure that the Postal Service is conducting a fair comparison of all reasonable costs before renewing contracts, and will be crucial to the union’s ability to win additional work and jobs in the Postal Vehicle Service. Management claimed the information contained on the form is confidential and proprietary.

The second charge involved the Postal Service’s failure to provide information to the APWU regarding its “pilot test” of outsourcing to UPS the sorting and processing of irregular and non-machineable outside parcels (NMOs) in Des Moines and Chicago Network Distribution Centers. The Postal Service claimed that the Collective Bargaining Agreement is not applicable to “pilots” and therefore management is not required to provide the information. The USPS made a similar claim in its response to the APWU’s request for information about the so-called Staples pilot.

“I’m pleased by the board’s ruling,” said APWU Mark Dimondstein. “Management’s stubborn refusal to provide information cannot hide the truth.

“We will continue to aggressively pursue relevant information and to expose management’s attempts to operate in secrecy. The Postal Service belongs to the people of this country. The people and postal workers have a right to know what postal executives are up to.”

APWU Motor Vehicle Service Division Director Michael O. Foster was also pleased with the ruling. “The decision brings us one step closer to getting the information we need to make a true cost comparison. This will help us win more work for APWU members, help the USPS operate more efficiently and help us better serve the nation,” he said.

Read more: NLRB Issues Complaint Over USPS Failure to Provide Info to APWU | APWU.

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Unions urge NO vote on latest Issa bill

apwulogoMay 6, 2014 – The presidents of the four postal employee unions – the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the NPMHU – have written to members of the House of Representatives, urging them to vote against a postal bill drafted by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). The bill is scheduled for consideration by the committee on Wednesday, May 7.

“We write on behalf of nearly 500,000 postal employees who live and work in every Congressional District in America to urge you to oppose the so-called ‘Administration’s Postal Reform Act of 2014,’” the presidents wrote. “If you serve on the Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee, we ask that you vote against the legislation on Wednesday. If you do not serve on the committee, we urge you to express your opposition to the bill.”

“The legislation drastically reduces service,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “It ends Saturday mail delivery and promotes contracting out of retail services — including in outside retail establishments. It fails to protect service standards, and fails to address in any meaningful way the cause of the Postal Service’s manufactured financial crisis,” he said.

“Our organizations are committed to working with leaders in both parties to strengthen the Postal Service,” the letter says. “Unfortunately, the bill before the OGR Committee on Wednesday would severely weaken it. We urge your strong opposition.”

Click here for a summary of the bill.

Read more: Vote NO on Issa Bill | APWU.

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APWU Nurses Approve Contract

APWU Web News Article #077-14, April 23, 2014

apwulogoIn a unanimous vote of 33-0, members of the National Postal Professional Nurses-APWU approved a Tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement with the USPS on April 23. Forty-three ballots were mailed.

“The tentative contract resolves all the articles that were in dispute,” said Support Services Craft Director Steve Brooks, when the agreement was announced. “It will provide new benefits and will clarify working conditions for postal nurses represented by the National Postal Professional Nurses Local, APWU,” he said. In addition, as a result of an Occupational Health Nurse Business Plan, management will post 38 new positions, Brooks said.

NPPN members Idell Mitchell, Suzanne DeWeese, Annu Rajan, and Luevonnie Clark worked with Brooks to complete the negotiations.

The new agreement is scheduled to expire Aug. 18, 2017.

For an Overview of the Tentative Agreement [PDF], click here.

For the Tentative Agreement [PDF], click here.

For an Update on the Business Plan [PDF], click here.

Occupational Health Nurse Business Plan

The Occupation Health Nurse Business Plan, which was developed in 2009 as a result of an ruling by Arbitrator Goldberg, was completed in August 2012. The business plan was a five-step process, which consisted of closing postal health units and transitioning nurses into new positions that emphasized occupational health rather than clinical work.  The business plan identified where the new positions would be housed and identified several incumbent positions that would be eligible for excessing considerations upon expiration of the contract.

In the new agreement, the union and management identified the number of positions to be filled in each district, which totaled 38 new positions. Management also agreed to convert the incumbent positions to full time and leave them domiciled in their current facilities.

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Postal Workers to Protest Privatization at More than 50 Staples Stores in 27 States on April 24

WASHINGTON – Thousands of members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and community activists will engage in National Day of Action on Thursday, April 24, to protest the Postal Service’s sweetheart deal with Staples that is moving mail service into Staples stores. Events will be held at more than 50 Staples retail locations [PDF] across 27 states.

In October, the USPS announced a no-bid deal to open postal counters in more than 80 Staples stores. The U.S. Postal Service plans to expand this “pilot” project to Staples’ 1,500 stores nationwide.

Stop Staples!

StopStaples.Com
#StopStaples

Staples employees, who work for low wages and meager benefits — and who have received minimal training — operate these unsecured postal counters.

Although Staples and the Postal Service have worked hard to keep the details of their arrangement a secret, the APWU recently obtained a heavily-redacted copy of the agreement. Despite the fact that many of the pages were blacked out, the document provides clear evidence that the Staples sweetheart deal will compromise the quality, security and reliability that consumers expect and deserve in the handling of their mail.

“The American people have a right to know that their mail is handled by highly-trained uniformed postal employees who have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail and who are accountable to the people of the country — whether it’s at the Post Office or an office-supply store,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

Research shows that consumers have high regard for postal employees and are skeptical about the Staples deal, according to InfoTrends, which recently completed a report for the USPS Inspector General. Many postal customers, the firm reported, “were uncomfortable with co-location of Post Offices not staffed by USPS employees, such as with the Postal Service’s recent partnership with Staples stores.”

‘I want a real postal employee to handle my mail,’ said one woman from an urban location. ‘It’s like when you go in to a drug store to get a flu shot. You don’t want to get it from a regular Walgreen’s employee.’

An internal USPS document [PDF] makes clear that the goal of the program is to replace the good, living-wage jobs held by USPS employees with low-wage jobs in the private sector.

“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” Dimondstein said. “Many people are outraged that a tremendous public asset is being turned over to a struggling private company.” Staples recently announced that it would close 225 stores by 2015.

“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” Dimondstein said.

“As a nation, we need to decide what kind of Postal Service we want. Are we going to have a vibrant, modern, public mail system that serves all of the people, or are we going to let privatizers kill this great institution?” The APWU supports expanding postal service — by improving accessibility as well as the variety of services offered, he said.

Today’s National Day of Action follows protests by postal workers and community allies in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Berkeley and other cities since January.

Many teachers, who regularly buy school supplies at Staples, have joined the APWU in protesting this attempt to privatize postal services. On April 28, the California Federation of Teachers will vote on a resolution asking their members to buy school supplies from other retailers. This will likely be the first of many similar actions by educators to boycott Staples. It’s estimated that 30 percent of Staples revenue comes from back-to-school sales.

For background information about the Stop Staples campaign, click here [PDF] and visit StopStaples.com.

A copy of the agreement between Staples and the USPS – heavily redacted [PDF] – is available on the APWU website, at www.apwu.org.

For additional background information, see these recent stories from the Huffington Post, New Republic and the Associated Press:

www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/15/postal-service-staples_n_5155270.html?1397597725

www.newrepublic.com/article/116968/usps-outsourcing-itself-staples

www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/19/postal-service-union-wrangle-over-staples-outlets/4647199/

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APWU: Questions & Answers on Filling Residual Vacancies

APWU Web News Article #076-14, April 22, 2014

The APWU and USPS have agreed to two sets of Questions & Answers regarding the March 20 agreement on Filling Residual Vacancies [PDF], one for the Clerk Craft [PDF] and another for Maintenance Craft [PDF].