Local Negotiations Period Set

Contract Extension Establishes 60-Day Window for Bargaining

August 17, 2005

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As a result of the ratification of the contract extension, local unions and management will have an opportunity to negotiate changes to local agreements during the 60-day period from Oct. 3 through Dec. 1, 2005, APWU President William Burrus has announced.

Under the terms of the contract extension, existing local memorandums of understanding will remain in effect during any discussions, and can be changed only upon mutual agreement. Agreements may take effect upon the close of negotiations or at any date agreed to by the local parties.

“The agreement to allow the local parties to open negotiations is an important feature of the contract extension,” Burrus said. “Numerous changes have taken place since locals last had the opportunity to bargain over changes to their local memos, and this agreement provides them the chance to negotiate with management to improve local working conditions.”

“Local leaders should begin immediately to analyze their local agreements, and to formulate proposals if improvements are needed.”

The local negotiation period will consist of 30 consecutive days within the 60-day period. If neither party requests to reopen negotiations by Oct. 17, current memorandums will remain in effect.

Initial proposals must be exchanged within the first 21 days of the 30-consecutive-day period. If the local union and management fail to reach agreement at the conclusion of negotiations, either party may request a review by the representatives at the Area level. The local parties have until Dec. 15 to appeal. If agreement is not reached after discussion at the Area level within 30 days (or another mutually agreeable deadline), the current provisions of the local agreement will remain in effect.

National Implementation

Several other provisions of the contract extension will require additional attention at the national level. “Over the next several weeks we will be working to create a procedure for establishing the sites where modified work-weeks will be implemented,” Burrus said.

The contract extension requires the parties to create a minimum of 18 pilot sites for modified work weeks, where the local union and management agree to establish schedules that differ from the standard eight-hour-per-day, five-day-per-week format. The pilot programs will be reviewed by the parties after the first six months, but will continue for a minimum of an additional six months, unless there is mutual agreement to discontinue or modify the program.

“A national committee consisting of APWU’s five regional coordinators will be established to formulate the rules for implementation of the program,” Burrus said. Instructions on how to participate will be announced as they are developed. Locals are asked to refrain from sending requests for inclusion in the modified work-week pilot program at this time.

“We will also be developing the necessary procedures to ensure that the Memorandum on Transfer Opportunities is properly implemented,” the APWU president said. The union’s national craft directors will comprise a committee to oversee the process. The memo requires management to give priority consideration to requests from employees at installations where workers will be excessed from their craft or installation.

Next COLA Raise Will Be Biggest in 25 Years

APWU members will receive their largest COLA increase in more than 25 years next month. The annual raise of $728 will be the biggest Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment since mid-1980, when inflation was raging at an annual rate of approximately 14 percent.

The latest adjustment for APWU-represented postal workers will take effect Sept. 3. The eighth Cost-Of-Living Adjustment period in the National Agreement ended July 31; the adjustment amounts to a 35 cents per hour increase, which equals $28 per pay period.

The COLA increase will be reflected in Sept. 23, 2005 , paychecks (Pay Period 19-2005). As of that date, Level 5-O postal employees will earn approximately $46,000 per year in base salary. Since Nov. 18, 2000 , Grade 5 employees have received COLAs and raises totalling $5,525.

The ratification of the one-year contract extension means there will be two additional COLA adjustment periods, in March and September 2006, and an annual raise effective March 18, 2006.

Updated pay scales will be distributed in the September/October edition of The American Postal Worker. Pay scales also can viewed on the APWU Web site's Pay Information pages. 

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