Rep. Lynch Seeks Support for ‘Mail Network Protection Act’
APWU Web News Article #114-07, Dec. 12, 2007
Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) has asked his congressional colleagues to co-sponsor legislation he introduced last month that would require the Postal Service to bargain with unions before engaging in significant subcontracting.
Lynch’s Dec. 11, 2007, letter [PDF] to fellow representatives outlines the importance of the legislation in maintaining the security of the mail network. While noting that contracting out core postal functions impacts “the allocation of work,” he said “this alarming trend bears much broader implications in terms of compromising the security of the U.S. mail network.
“Privately-contracted employees possess significantly less training and experience than career postal employees and are not subject to the same hiring standards and procedures used by the Postal Service,” he observed. “More specifically, they do not possess the training or experience necessary to safeguard the mail, fellow employees, and the public against biohazards, mailed explosives, and other dangers that may impact the U.S. mail network.
“For this reason,” Lynch wrote, “it is imperative that the Postal Service consider all available options before deciding to subcontract core postal functions.”
H.R. 4236, the Mail Network Protection Act of 2007, would require the Postal Service to bargain with affected unions before entering into contracts involving mail processing, mail handling, or surface transportation of mail, if the contracts involved the equivalent of $5 million or 50 work-years over a 12-month period.
“The requirement to bargain will enhance the union’s ability to oppose wasteful, inefficient and detrimental subcontracting,” said APWU President William Burrus. “Although we have been successful in negotiating a requirement that the Postal Service ‘notify and consult’ with the unions when it contemplates subcontracting, we have been unable to achieve real bargaining over whether or not specific activities will be subcontracted.”
“I encourage all union members to contact their representatives and urge them to support this vital legislation,” Burrus said. “When coupled with Rep. Lynch’s request for co-sponsors, our members’ appeals for support will help ensure passage of this important bill.”