APWU Members Win 5-Year Contract at Detroit MTESC

Employees at Pittsburgh Facility to Vote Feb. 28 on Similar Agreement

February 27, 2006

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Members of the APWU bargaining unit at the privately-operated Mail Transportation Equipment Service Center in suburban Detroit overwhelmingly ratified a five-year contract Feb. 24. The APWU membership at the Pittsburgh MTESC will vote on a separate and similar agreement on Feb. 28.

Both MTESC facilities are operated by Serco, which purchased Resource Consultants Inc. in March 2005. Two years earlier, RCI and APWU had negotiated the first Detroit MTESC contract, a three-year pact expiring Feb. 28 that covers 125 workers.

Ratified by a vote of 74 to 2, the new Detroit agreement calls for a first-year wage increase of nearly 7 percent for most APWU-represented workers: $1.37 per hour for inspectors, and $1 per hour for all other job categories, including laborers, forklift drivers, mechanics, welders, and yard drivers. The raise to $15.36 an hour for most job categories will take effect Aug. 1, followed by increases of 3 percent in 2007 and 2008, 3.5 percent in 2009, and 4 percent in 2010. (The contract does not provide for cost-of-living adjustments.)

Among the contract highlights are that employee-paid health insurance premiums are likely to be frozen over the next five years because the company will pay all premium increases up to 15 percent annually. Should an increase exceed 15 percent, discussions will be held with the union in an effort to reduce the premiums.

The company will continue to pay the entire premium for "employee only" coverage and a substantial portion of the other coverage options: The new agreement lowers the employee portion of family coverage by $25 per bi-weekly pay period.

Other improvements include an increase from four hours to eight hours in the guaranteed number of hours per shift for full-time employees, additional paid leave, and expanded jury and bereavement-leave coverage.

Detroit District Area Local APWU President Pat Chornoby and NBA Bill Manley led a rank-and-file bargaining team consisting of Serco employees Dana Brown, Donna Davies, Gwen Glover, Sue Humphreys, and Moe West. DDAL Vice President Pat Johnson also took part in the talks.

Approximately 110 Pittsburgh Metro Area Local APWU members are eligible to vote Feb. 28 on a similar agreement, a first contract for this bargaining unit. In 2004, the Postal Service threatened to close these two MTESCs in favor of a proposed new facility in Ohio. After the USPS abandoned the proposed consolidated Ohio center and signed contracts to continue the Detroit and Pittsburgh MTESCs, the workers in Pittsburgh voted to have the APWU local represent them.

Serco has a large number of federal contracts, primarily with the Department of Defense. According to www.serco-na.com, the company’s range of activities include “the day-to-day operation of public services, including transport systems, air traffic control and aeronautical services, scientific establishments, defense facilities, justice and local authority services.”

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