Contract Update

August 27, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the September-October issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

APWU Is “Locking Down” With Management

On September 7, the National Negotiation Committee (NNC) locked down with management for a week of intense negotiations. As this issue goes to press, both the APWU officers and postal management plan to stay in the same hotel, meeting daily at main table negotiations, craft tables, and other subcommittees where they will hash out the various proposals on that table. The contract will expire on September 20, 2021.

The NNC is meeting regularly with postal management, and as this issue goes to press, has submitted over 90 proposals. These proposals include items to protect job security and work opportunities, increase career opportunities and improve conditions of work.

So far in negotiations, the proposals have focused on addressing work rules, working conditions and workforce structure. The APWU will submit additional proposals in the next weeks including ones for “economic provisions” – wage increases, COLA, step increases, etc.

Throughout this process, the NNC is keeping the APWU National Executive Board and the Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee updated about the process and developments of negotiations. The APWU also published two updates to the members on the website and in News Service Bulletins to be posted on union bulletin boards across the country. On August 24, the NNC hosted a second series of APWU Contract Town Hall events to update the members and answer questions.

Negotiating Team: WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK!

On August 6, 2021, hundreds of local and state presidents answered the Special CAT call. There was an air of excitement as participants raised their hands and vowed to fight for “Our Union, Our Contract, Our Future,” to remain “Union Strong, All Day Long,” and to proceed with the conviction that “The Fight for Our Future Starts Today.”

It was clear that APWU leaders are committed to supporting the National Negotiation Committee (NNC) as they work hard to secure a good contract. Also evident was the presidents’ pledge to rally members through collective action. Preparations to join together, stand up and mobilize members to exert their voice during the negotiations process accelerated as more CATs were formed shortly after the call. Hundreds more members have officially joined our fight for a good contract.

The CAT Call was convened and moderated by Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell. National officers, the National Campaign Committee (NCC) and CAT liaisons were present, and Fired Up and Ready to Go.

APWU’s Lead Negotiator, Mark Dimondstein, and Chief Negotiator Vance Zimmerman stopped by and gave critical contract updates, and Craft Directors: Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks, Maintenance Craft Director Idowu Balogun, MVS Craft Director Michael Foster and Support Services Director Steve Brooks also spoke to the group. Organization Director Anna Smith emphasized the importance of organizing. Local presidents and members gave important input on various issues.

Let’s continue to support the NNC and our collective goal to get a good contract! Contract Negotiation Update Hotline - 866-412-8061

The APWU launched our hotline for instant contract negotiations updates. President Dimondstein started regularly updating the hotline on September 7 – when the lockdown with management started. Call 866-412-8061 for updates.

APWU Holds Another Round of Contract Town Halls

On August 24, the APWU again held three virtual Town Halls via Zoom with the National Negotiations Committee (NNC), to allow members to hear important updates about negotiations, a timeline of events moving forward, negotiation goals, and the ways members can get involved on the workroom floor during the contract campaign for APWU – Our Union, Our Contract, Our Future. The meetings were also livestreamed on Facebook, YouTube, and

Again emceed by Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth “Liz” Powell, the events kicked off with opening remarks from President and Lead Negotiator Mark Dimondstein. The entire NNC spoke during the event, including Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks, Maintenance Craft Director Idowu Balogun, MVS Craft Director Michael Foster, and Support Services Director Steve Brooks.

In his opening remarks, President Dimondstein saluted postal workers as the essential “heroes” that they are, and introduced the NNC. “We are working together towards a positive new contract that serves our members, serves the public, and certainly serves our families and communities," President Dimondstein said.

He also explained the process of collective bargaining and how it came to postal workers with the 1970 Great Postal Strike. “Collective bargaining is not a magic wand; it’s not a one-way street and it is not us negotiating with ourselves. The negotiation process’s outcome largely depends on the power and leverage we bring to the bargaining table,” he explained. “Our power starts with you. That we are union!" "I want to thank everybody and say how proud I am to be working with you to get this contract for you – the essential workers that tied this community across the country together [during the COVID pandemic],” said Director Zimmerman. “The union is negotiating the largest single union contract in 2021… So you are part of a contract that will not only protect APWU workers – your wages, hours and working conditions – but also the union movement as a whole."

In addition to contract updates, President Dimondstein, Vice President Szeredy, Secretary-Treasurer Powell, Director Zimmerman and others discussed the need for continued vigilance against COVID-19, encouraged members to get vaccinated and stressed the importance of wearing masks to stop the spread of the virus and stay safe at work. “The upticks in the last four weeks is over 100 percent,” Director Zimmerman said. “You’re eighteen times more likely to be hospitalized with the COVID Delta variant if you haven’t been vaccinated. The officers also discussed what happens if a contract is not reached by September 20. Postal workers will continue to work with our rights and protections in place.

The grievance and discipline procedure will continue, unchanged. “Everything is intact with the exception that we don’t get any raises or COLAs, and the no-layoff clause after six years of service expires September 20,” explained Director Zimmerman.

It is the primary focus and goal of the NNC to reach a voluntary agreement with USPS management during this negotiation process, but a secondary focus is to be prepared for interest arbitration, if necessary. “It is far superior to have a voluntary agreement, where we are in control of our own destiny. Where the National Negotiations Committee can do our work, the Rank and File Bargaining Committee can do their work, and the decision then rests with the members who do their work to decide in its final form if it is an acceptable contract,” said President Dimondstein.

“If we don’t get there, our conditions of employment – from raises, benefits and working conditions – become the decision of one person, which is high risk.”

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