Union Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge Over Elimination of Tour 2

November 25, 2008

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The APWU has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the Postal Service, alleging that management failed to bargain over a nationwide plan to consolidate mail processing into two tours — a plan that would eliminate or greatly reduce the number of assignments on Tour 2. The charge, filed Nov. 25 with the National Labor Relations Board, also asserts that the Postal Service failed to provide information to the union regarding this initiative.

In addition, the union contends that it “can show that the Postal Service answered the Union’s request for information dishonestly,” which constitutes an independent violation of management’s obligation to bargain in good faith.

The APWU has requested immediate, injunctive relief, asserting that without such relief the initiative would be completed before the board would be able to address the charge. “Injunctive relief requiring the Postal Service to provide information and to bargain is needed now,” the complaint says.

The union’s national headquarters learned of the Postal Service’s plan to consolidate mail processing operations into two tours (and to eliminate Tour 2) from information provided by local and state presidents in October.

APWU President William Burrus wrote to the Postal Service on Oct. 17, noting that the union had not been informed of the program and asserting that such a program would therefore violate the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He asked the USPS to provide documentation detailing the specifics of the program, and requested a meeting with postal managers who were knowledgeable about the plan.

In a response dated Nov. 14, the Postal Service denied that it is “considering or is in the process of implementing a nationwide program establishing a two-tour operation, which is intended to eliminate or greatly reduce Tour 2 assignments, operations, and staffing.”

Management wrote, “While the Postal Service is reviewing various options designed to improve operational efficiencies in light of decreased mail volume, the Postal Service has not implemented the nationwide program you suggest. Rather, operations will be reviewed on a site-by-site basis and any action taken to improve operational efficiencies will be based on local circumstances.”

The letter also said, “Regarding your request to produce documentation regarding ‘any nationwide or region- or district-wide program, plans or initiatives to eliminate or reduce Tour 2 operations and/or Tour 2 staffing,’” no such documentation exists.”

Burrus called the Postal Service’s response “fundamentally dishonest.”

“The union will do everything in our power to rectify this violation of our members’ rights,” he said.

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