Mail Handler Union President Addresses Delegates at AFL-CIO Convention

NPMHU_logoNational Postal Mail Handlers Union President John F. Hegarty addressed the AFL-CIO National Convention in Los Angeles yesterday- here is a summary of his remarks:

President Hegarty commented that the NPMHU with support from other postal union affiliates of the AFL-CIO have worked to build broad public coalitions to resist more damaging austerity in the Postal Service and to build support for sensible reform.

Such reform has been proposed in Congress: The Postal Protection Act of 2013—S. 316 in the Senate and H.R. 630 in the House.

This legislation should be adapted and adopted to do the following:

Stabilize the Postal Service’s finances by reforming or eliminating unwise and unfair pension and retiree health financing policies that have crippled the Postal Service’s finances since 2006;

Strengthen and protect the Postal Service’s invaluable mail processing, retail and last-mile delivery networks that together comprise a crucial part of the nation’s infrastructure; and

Free the Postal Service to meet the evolving needs of the American economy and to set its prices in a way that reflects the cost structure of the delivery industry while assuring affordable universal service and protecting against anti-competitive practices.

The Postal Service is a national treasure that can play an important role in our future. Its networks are invaluable and should be used to address pressing national problems. The universal geographical reach of its 30,000 post offices could be used to provide financial services to the 40 million Americans who lack access to basic banking services, provide low- cost remittance services to immigrant workers, finance a National Infrastructure Bank to help rebuild our nation and create millions of jobs, and provide public Internet access and other media and technology services to underserved communities. With a federal vote-by-mail statute, the Postal Service could be the answer to voter suppression across the country while boosting voter turnout the way it has in Oregon and other states that conduct elections through the mail. The Post Office can be re-imagined as a platform for state and local services in rural and inner city areas that lack access to services. We should not only save the Postal Service, but also reinvent it for the 21st Century.

The AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions are called on to help mobilize the entire labor movement and our allies in the progressive community to defeat the forces of austerity and anti-unionism in the debate over postal reform. We must repeal the pre-funding mandate, free the Postal Service to diversify its services, and use the Postal Service’s unique networks to address other national problems by enacting legislation that promotes innovation and growth, not downsizing and decline.

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Mail Handlers contract finalized

From the National Postal Mail Handlers Union:

NPMHU_logoThe NPMHU and USPS have finalized the text of the 2011 National Agreement as compelled by the February 15, 2013 Award of the Board of Arbitration. The term of the contract is four and one half years in duration (November 21, 2011 through May 20, 2016). The contact was recently sent to the Union printer and will be distributed by mail to each NPMHU member in the coming weeks.

In anticipation of that delivery, you may access a complete .pdf version of the National Agreement by following this link.


NPMHU and USPS Reach Agreement on Fishgold Arbitration Questions & Answers

From the National Postal Mail Handlers Union:

NPMHU_logoQuestions and Answers 2011-2016 Fishgold Arbitration Award

With the release of the Fishgold Arbitration Award, which established the terms of the 2011 National Agreement, the parties agreed to jointly develop and implement a Question and Answer document addressing and affirming the parties’ mutual understanding and interpretation of many provisions contained in the 73 page decision.

Over the course of the past six months, the National Contract Administration Department, along with our National Shop Steward Trainer, has been working diligently with the Postal Service to flesh-out and resolve many of the issues that arose as a result of the Fishgold Award.  As a result, we are pleased to provide the jointly developed Questions and Answers document, which was finalized on August 7, 2013.  To assist the parties with implementation of the 2011 Fishgold Arbitration Award, the Q&A memorializes our mutual understanding of the 44 most prevalent issues that could be agreed upon.

The Award, while quite complicated, makes significant changes to Article 7 on workforce structure, Article 9 on wages, and Article 12 on seniority and reassignments.  It also will change some of the routine practices of the Local Unions — most notably the enforcement of casual restrictions — and will at the same time require the Local Unions to monitor management’s use of MHAs.  As you can imagine, these substantive changes to the make-up of our workforce will inevitably bring some uncertainty about the meaning of some longstanding contractual provisions.

While the Q&A document does not address every matter, the interpretations contained in the Q&A should be self-explanatory and this document may be updated if agreement is reached on additional items by the parties. Moreover, the Q&A is not intended to “add to, modify, or replace, in any respect” the language in the National Agreement.  The Questions and Answers are binding on all representatives in the resolution of disputes at the Local and Area/Regional levels and in all phases of the grievance process up to arbitration.

As part of our recurring obligation to update the Contract Interpretation Manual, the Questions and Answers will be included in the next revision of our CIM (Version 4) which is now in development.  Additionally, these Questions and Answers will be the primary topic of the next Union Time publication which will be distributed to every Union representative in the country.

Click Here to Read Fishgold Q&A

Postal unions write joint letter to Reid against Carper-Coburn postal bill

August 5, 2013—Today, the presidents of the four postal employee unions—the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Postal Workers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union—sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-NV “to express our utter dismay with the introduction of S. 1486 on August 1,” a postal bill introduced by Sens. Tom Carper D-DE and Tom Coburn R-OK that “renews a commitment to the disastrous Bush administration policy to mandate massive pre-funding of future retiree health benefits and provides for major downsizing measures to pay for it.” Continue reading

APWU, Mail Handlers Plan August Actions to Push Postal Reform

APWU Web News Article 086-2013, July 17, 2013

apwulogoThe APWU and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union have announced plans to conduct a nationwide joint lobbying effort over the Congressional recess from Aug. 5 to Sept. 6 to urge senators and representatives to co-sponsor the Postal Service Protection Act (H.R. 630 in the House / S. 316 in the Senate) and the Protect Overnight Delivery Act (H.R. 2459).

This effort is intended to build support for the unions’ demand that Congress take action now to save the Postal Service and protect postal jobs.  There are 28 co-sponsors for S. 316, 163 co-sponsors for H.R. 630, and 72 co-sponsors for H.R. 2459, but many more are needed. (Check the list of co-sponsors to see if your members of Congress have signed on.)

NPMHU_logoIn a letter to state and local presidents dated July 12, [PDF] President Guffey wrote, “We must bring attention to the drastic cuts in service that management has made and will continue to make if Congress doesn’t act now.  We must demand that Congress take action to prevent and reverse the dismantling of the mail processing network and stop the further degradation of service to the American people.”

Guffey urged locals to contact their Congressional representatives’ and senators’ state offices to schedule an appointment as soon as possible, to explain the urgency of the House and Senate taking up postal reform before the end of  USPS fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2013.

“We must also urge legislators to oppose any bill, such as the ‘discussion draft’ being circulated by House Government Reform and Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, which would reduce service to the American people,” Guffey said.

The July 12 mailing includes talking points [PDF], a summary of the union’s position for distribution to Congress [PDF], and a flyer [PDF] for distribution to the public.

“The Postal Service’s plans threaten the jobs of every postal worker,” Guffey said.  “Dismantling the network and cutting service will not fix the Postal Service’s finances. It will lead to the demise of the Postal Service by making its services less timely and therefore less valuable.”

“Locals are doing a fantastic job getting our message out at rallies, public input meetings, and in the media,” said APWU Legislative Director Gary Kloepfer. “We need to keep up the pressure on Congress to act now,” he said.

Please join us in lobbying for postal reform during Congress’s August recess.  If you require any assistance, contact APWU Legislative Director Gary Kloepfer at 202-842-4211 or the Vice President’s office at 202-842-4250.