House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on USPS
Burrus Update #11-07, April 18, 2007
On April 17, 2007, I testified before the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, in the first congressional oversight hearing since the enactment of postal reform legislation in December. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) chaired the panel, and invited the APWU to provide testimony on USPS policy.
I joined the other postal union presidents on a panel of witnesses, and testified about the APWU’s concerns regarding current operations. The APWU testimony [PDF] differed from that of the other unions, which asked Congress to enact legislation prohibiting the subcontracting of mail delivery.
My message to Congress was that APWU vigorously opposes subcontracting work performed by postal employees, but there are many problems associated with separating one type of subcontracting from the dozens of others. In that it would not be possible to ban all subcontracting — consider, for example, the air transportation of mail — decisions would have to be made as to which activities deserve protection from subcontracting. Among the many activities for consideration would be transportation, maintenance, custodial services, delivery, retail services, and mail processing.
Should one activity be protected from contracting out while others are allowed to be performed by non-postal employees? In my opinion, the forum for separating one activity from another for protection is collective bargaining, not the halls of Congress.
Postal unions fought long and hard to protect collective bargaining process from congressional intervention. In 1970, union support for the Postal Reorganization Act was predicated on the elimination of a congressional role in these matters. Since then, unions have elevated the conditions for postal employees far beyond those that were in existence when federal legislators had authority to decide wages, hours, and working conditions.
Returning congressional supervision of our contract under the cloak of “public policy concerns” would undermine our right to determine conditions of employment for postal employees through bargaining.