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Former APWU President Bill Burrus shutting down his blog

Former APWU President Bill Burrus, who has been unrelenting in his criticism of his successor, and the contract he negotiated with the US Postal Service, has announced that he will stop posting on his blog, burrusjournal.org, as of Saturday, just two days before the deadline for APWU members to cast their votes in the union’s national leadership election:

Notwithstanding the outcome of the APWU election of officers, views and opinions on this website http://burrusjournal.org will be terminated on October 5, 2013.

Whether you have agreed or disagreed with my points, I have voiced my opinions and thank you for your input. Debate and dialogue are the necessary requirements of democracy and consistent with my service to improve conditions for all postal employees I have passionately opposed the allocation of rights and benefits based on the date of hire. I wish you well.

Read more: Burrus Journal | Viewpoint.

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Burrus: “I am bitter”

Name calling is common in online comments, but sometimes the response isn’t what you’d expect. When a commenter on the 21st Century Postal Worker (21CPW) site started calling former APWU President Bill Burrus “Bitter Bill”, Burrus responded:

You have given me a new name “Bitter Bill” that is intended with malice but accurately captures my reaction to what has been done to the next generation of postal employees.

I am bitter that their income will be reduced by more than $500,000 for doing the exact same work and suffering the same supervisory abuse. I am bitter that they will not have the same opportunity to purchase a house or send their children to college.

You may include the 14% of the workforce that would have been full time but are now included in the ranks of PSE and the fact that postal management would be in violation of the contract when unilaterally increasing the PSE negotiated salary from $14 per hour to $18 per hour to offer postal employment to the unemployed.

The title accurately captures my reaction to the reduction of full time from 40 hours to 30 hours and the right of management to involuntarily assign full time employees to NFTY schedules of 30 hours per week. This reaction includes the damage done to the 399 recently converted PSEs whose Step Increases will be capped at Step J and they will earn less than Mail Handlers, City and Rural Carriers. I am bitter because it was their union that protected some at the expense of the future and declared victory.
I am bitter because I care. Do you?

21st Century Postal Worker Exchange for Messages of General Union Business.

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Burrus accuses Guffey of “blatantly” untrue statement on PAEA

burrusIt’s still months until the APWU National Leadership election, but the campaign seems to be heating up. And the most heat seems to be coming from someone whose name isn’t even on the ballot- former President Bill Burrus. Burrus took to his Facebook page today to accuse incumbent President Cliff Guffey of stretching the truth:

I am informed that President Guffey alleges that I was provided the opportunity to defeat the PAEA when adopted in 2006. This is blatantly untrue but is irrelevant to voluntarily negotiating the worst contract in the history of bargaining. The PAEA did not force the officers to engage in aggressive bargaining over a 6 month period that will forever change postal employment. The Letter Carriers were an active participant in passing the PAEA but resisted the drastic changes in bargaining and even with the APWU contract as precedent did not change full time to 30 hours, permit supervisors to perform bu work, increase non career to 20% or cap wages at Step J. It is time to stop blaming the PAEA for aggressive voluntary actions.

Burrus announced earlier this week that he would be endorsing a candidate for President in the election, but didn’t say who that would be- which is a bit odd since there’s only one other candidate…

Read more: Bill Burrus – I am informed that President Guffey alleges that I….

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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.

 

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Burrus: time for a “healthy” retirement incentive for clerks?

From former APWU President Bill Burrus:

June 1, 2011

To: APWU Members

Perhaps it is time for the Postal Service to consider offering a healthy incentive for APWU represented employees to retire. The wage difference between a Grade 6 Step 0 employee and a newly hired replacement is $18,000 per year ($53,102 vs. $35,182) so for every 1000 employees replaced, the Postal Service saves 18 million dollars per year. It would be in their financial interest to entice those employees eligible for retirement to retire.

The Postal Service is strapped for cash so it will not be easy to fund the cost of an incentive, but there are creative ways to defer the cost while generating savings. In the previous effort, agreement was reached to spread the incentive over two years to lessen its immediate impact on the USPS’ financial position and other innovative approaches could be explored.

The problem is that employees, who are eligible, refrain from severing their employment for a variety of personal reasons and continue to work for lack of an alternative that meets their objectives. An incentive would influence many who will otherwise continue their employment for an indeterminable period.

The consideration of offering an incentive does not include what is known as "early outs" permitting employees to retire earlier than the legal formula. The Postal Service must receive the approval of OPM to offer early outs and such permission will not be granted, if it is intended to replace the retiring employee. Early outs cannot be used to reduce payroll costs.

At a time when the Postal Service is experiencing severe financial problems brought on by the unreasonable payment for future health care costs consideration should be given to this opportunity for significant savings.

In solidarity,

Bill Burrus

via burrusjournal.org – Special Bulletins.