Negotiations with the USPS Continue

November 12, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the November/December issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (union contract) between the APWU and the USPS covers the wages, benefits and conditions of employment for almost 200,000 postal workers.

When our current contract was due to expire on September 20, 2021, both the APWU and postal management agreed to “stop the clock” at 11:59pm and continue to negotiate.

The APWU negotiating team unanimously believed this path was in the best interests of our members. Since September, numerous negotiating sessions have continued between the union and management. Some of the meetings were at the “main table.” Others were held at the “committee” level, including the Clerk, Maintenance, Motor Vehicle Service and Support Services “craft tables.” As we go to press, there has been no major breakthroughs. However, APWU President and Lead Negotiator Mark Dimondstein reports that there continues to be slow but significant progress.

The APWU National Negotiating Committee is leaving no stone unturned to secure the decent new contract that postal workers have earned and deserve. We strive to reach a voluntary negotiated tentative agreement. However, if we cannot reach a positive negotiated settlement, the union will aggressively pursue interest arbitration. In fact, while the APWU continues negotiations with management, the union has already begun discussions with postal management to choose a “neutral” arbitrator if interest arbitration becomes our path forward.

Our collective bargaining rights, which were won in the historic Great Postal Strike of 1970, have been a great way to improve the lives of postal workers. Without a union, unorganized workers find themselves at the mercy of their boss in relation to wages and working conditions. Since postal workers are unionized, management must negotiate in good faith, but that does not mean negotiations are easy. The union is not negotiating with itself, nor are negotiations a “one way” street. The union has the overall goal of uplifting postal workers and our families. These goals include annual pay raises, full COLA, improving the hours Negotiations with the USPS Continue and rights of PTFs, and increased career opportunities for PSEs. Obviously postal management has very different goals.

By the time members receive this magazine, the way forward for a new union contract will be clearer. Either we will be very close to or possibly have reached a voluntary tentative agreement, or we will have invoked mediation as the first step to interest arbitration to determine the outcome of a new contract. The foundation of our union, which gives us strength at the bargaining table, is you, the member. APWU members are united in our common goal of protecting the gains of the past and enhancing the future economic well-being, health and safety and rights of postal workers.

Through mailings, News Service Bulletins, phone messages, emails and the website, the APWU leadership will continue to communicate important developments in the crucial battle for a new union contract. In the meantime, APWU members remain Union Strong All Day Long!

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