Happy New Year, Union Family!

Charlie Cash

January 8, 2024

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2024 will be a year that is both busy and challenging. But the APWU will be standing strong and meeting those challenges head on.

The Industrial Relations Department has already been planning for the year ahead. Particularly, we have been preparing for contract negotiations. With our current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire at midnight on Sept. 20, 2024, negotiations are scheduled to begin on June 25. The opening session will be broadcast online for the membership to view and listen in. Once the opening session has concluded, the parties will hold negotiation sessions for each individual craft, general contract issues, and of course, the wage package.

These negotiations will be conducted against the backdrop of the Postmaster General’s Delivering for America Plan, which is commonly being called by many “network modernization.” But no matter the challenges and changes we face because of this plan, the Industrial Relations Department will continue to prepare by doing what we always have done. The previously adopted Labor Management Resolutions are currently being reviewed by both this department and by the individual crafts. We are continuing to collect the necessary data from the Postal Service on employee compliment and hours worked. We are gathering data on comparable industries, including wage and benefit packages. We are also collecting and analyzing collective bargaining agreements from our sister unions, and even unions outside our industry. These analyses help us plan and craft proposals for submission during negotiations. The APWU has made modest gains over the last few contracts that address the two-tier wage scale and the non-career workforce. It is no secret that we will seek to continue moving forward on these issues.

But that won’t be all. The wage increases and overall package is always an important part of our contract. I know, to some of you, it is the most important part - we are preparing the data necessary to defend and support our proposals on wage increases, as well as our leave and benefit packages. We currently have professional economists analyzing our current wage package. We have our attorney’s gearing up to prepare for interest arbitration, should a voluntarily negotiated agreement not be reached. This is, of course, not our only preparation. Suffice it to say, the Industrial Relations Department has multiple preparation tracks and projects going on.

Soon, the Rank-and-File Bargaining Committee will also be appointed. The Committee will be presented with any full tentative contract reached to review and discuss. The Committee has the authority to determine if it is sent out for ratification or not. Each member of the National Executive Board gets to appoint one member to the Committee along with the President having an additional appointment to specifically represent deaf and hard-of-hearing employees. You can expect an announcement on the APWU website when the Committee is finalized.

Negotiations are not the only thing going on in 2024. The 2024 National Convention will open just a few weeks after national negotiations begin. The convention will be held in a strong union town - Detroit, MI. We will get together to conduct the business of this great union. It is at the convention where Labor Management Resolutions are debated and voted upon by delegates. Even though negotiations will have already begun, locals and states can still submit resolutions for debate, and to let your National Bargaining Committee know what the membership sees as bargaining priorities.

2024 will be busy. We will still be facing challenges and defending our current contract as “network modernization” continues. We will be facing a presidential election that could have overwhelming consequences for our democracy, and ultimately the Postal Service. Let’s stand united, firm, and face those challenges head-on together! Solidarity! ■

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