Congressman, Postal Workers Protest BMC Privatization

September 15, 2008

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Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) joined more than 100 postal workers and their families at a press conference outside the Philadelphia Bulk Mail Center Sept. 12, protesting plans to privatize operations at the U.S. Representative Patrick Murphy nation’s 21 BMCs. Outsourcing the work would hurt service and result in a loss of union jobs, they said. The Postal Service announced plans to subcontract work performed at the BMCs in January.

“If they get away with privatizing the BMCs, they will go on to the next group,” said Vince Tarducci, president of the Philadelphia BMC APWU Local.

“The Postal Service has embarked on a strategy to undermine parcel post,” said APWU Eastern Region Coordinator Mike Gallagher. “They will privatize us incrementally, first the BMCs, then other work,” unless the American people put a stop to their efforts.

Vince Tarducci, president of APWU Local 7048

Rep. Murphy recently asked the House Appropriations Committee to ensure that any legislation that funds postal operations “suspend the USPS’s misguided plan to privatize BMC operations.”

In an Aug. 8, 2008, letter to Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the panel’s chairman, and Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), who leads a key subcommittee, Murphy wrote, “If the USPS outsources its parcel service and accordingly restructures the BMCs, the USPS will lose its capacity to process the parcel volume it currently handles. The USPS will become reliant on its subcontractors, allowing the subcontractor to control USPS costs… By giving private parcel delivery companies control over USPS pricing, we would undermine the competition which currently benefits the American consumer.”

Commenting on plans to subcontract the BMC network, APWU President William Burrus said, “Privatization is destroying the Postal Service as we know it. The Postal Service is losing money hand-over-fist, and running its operations at less than full capacity. This is not the time to outsource. It is a bad business decision, and it is bad for the American people.”

Mike Gallagher, APWU Eastern Region Coordinator

USPS plans to subcontract work currently performed at BMCs also underscore the importance of passing the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236), Burrus said. The bill would require the Postal Service to bargain with the union before implementing significant subcontracting.

“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,” Burrus told APWU members.

Members of the Philly BMC Local were joined by APWU members from the the Philadelphia Area Local and the Eastern Montgomery County Area Local, as well as union members from the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers. APWU National Representative-at-Large Idowu Balogun, who is the union’s BMC Coordinator, attended the event, as did Maintenance Division National Business Agent William LaSalle.

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