It's Time for the Postal Service to Respect Their Workers

Steve Brooks

July 25, 2019

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(This article first appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

The APWU and the Postal Service were not able to come to a negotiated contract despite going through regular negotiation sessions and a mediation process; the parties remain too far apart on the issues. The Postal Service has made it clear that they do not value the men and women who work hard every day providing a valued service to the public. Postal Service employees take pride in our work, and expect a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. The proposals put forth by the Postal Service are demeaning to every postal worker covered under the USPS/APWU Collective Bargaining Agreement.

National Postal Professional Nurses Contract Negotiation

While all of this negotiating has been going on for the APWU’s main agreement, the Support Services Division has also been attempting to reach an agreement on two other expired postal contracts. The National Postal Professional Nurses (NPPN) contract expired on August 18, 2018. The parties have been negotiating to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. For this particular negotiation, the parties came to a tentative agreement on the non-economic conditions, but we are still apart on the economic structure.

As is true with the APWU’s main agreement, the Postal Service is showing no respect for the work that postal nurses provide. In comparison to private sector nurses, our postal nurses are considerably underpaid. The Postal Service’s economic offer does not provide for any type of gradual steps to increase salaries near comparability of private sector nurses or even meet the cost of inflation. The parties may also end up in interest arbitration for this collective bargaining agreement if the Postal Service does not want to show these employees the respect they deserve.

Information Technology and Accounting Services Contract Negotiation

We are also in negotiations with the Postal Service for the Information Technology and Accounting Services (IT/AS). This contract expired on January 20, 2019. The parties attempted to come together on non-economic conditions for this bargaining unit, but it has been a slow process. Again, the APWU is demanding that these members be treated with dignity and respect for the service they provide.

We are having serious discussions regarding the disparity between a Postal Computer Programmer/Developer and similar jobs in the private sector. Our programmers are vital to the Postal Service, as they provide the necessary programming for every system the Postal Service uses. Programming is necessary for efficient operation of retail machines, transportation, financial accountability, internal HR systems, postal payroll, digital devices, scanners, delivery sequencing, and every other system you can think of.

All we ask is that the Postal Service recognize the value of these employees and compensate them accordingly. By law the Postal Service is required to compensate employees in accordance with their job titles, with duties and responsibilities within those job descriptions comparative to those in the private sector.

Given the fact that the Postal Service is moving at the speed of a tortoise to get these contracts done, I fear we may also have to enter into the interest arbitration process for this agreement.

It’s a common theme with the Postal Service: showing no respect for the employees who take pride in the work and service they provide for the USPS, their fellow employees, and the people of this country.

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