What's New in Support Services?

Steve Brooks

March 17, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

The APWU National Postal Professional Nurses came to terms with the Postal Service on a successor collective bargaining agreement (CBA) just before Christmas 2019. The terms were subsequently ratified by the membership with a unanimous 21-0 vote.

The terms will provide for some well-deserved retroactive pay increases of 2.4 percent for 2017, 2.9 percent for 2018, and 3.0 percent for 2019. These increases are based on a yearly Economic Cost Index (ECI) which in comparison to the USPS/APWU CBA, relates to our basic contractual increases and COLA combined. These increases are well overdue, as it has been tough to hire new nurses because the salary schedule has not kept up with comparable salaries in the private sector.

The contract will extend through 2023 with yearly increases in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Additionally, the postal nurse staff will increase by 32 positions per an agreed-to staffing package.

IT/AS

The Information Technology/Accounting Services (IT/ AS) unit of the Support Services also came to terms with the Postal Service just before Christmas 2019. This agreement is an extension that will go through July 17, 2020. The group agreed to an extension because the parties were still a long ways off from agreeing to any terms for both the IT and Accounting sections. The Postal Service was also involved with the APWU Interest Arbitration, the Mail Handlers and Letter Carriers’ negotiations, and the postal police interest arbitration processes, so it was hard to get consecutive dates from them for negotiations. The extension was ratified by the group by a 515-29 vote.

The decision was made to get some terms in place now so that members in these units were not waiting for what could be a few years for any negotiated increases. By extending the negotiations out, the hope is that the APWU will have its interest arbitration award and the other unions will also be close to terms or have possible interest arbitration decisions finalized as well. This should free up some time for management to dedicate more time to the demands of the IT/AS group.

HRSSC Workers Welcome

You may have noticed on apwu.org that the APWU has organized another group of employees – EAS Level 18 Personnel Processing Specialists at the Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC) in Greensboro, NC. This particular group is in the EAS pay schedule, but they are non-supervisory employees, which means they do not supervise or have any authority to issue discipline to employees.

This group approached the APWU for any possible help with their wages and working conditions. President Dimondstein and Private Sector Organizing Coordinator Rich Shelley had several conversations with lead individuals from the HRSSC about what the steps and expectations were in forming a union. Additional meetings were held with APWU representatives Sharon Colonna, Barbara Allen, and Judy McCann to answer questions from the HRSSC Organizing Committee.

The group decided to go forward with an NLRB vote. A group of HRSSC workers went to Washington, DC for an APWU National-organized meeting with Postmaster General Megan Brennan to request that the Postal Service recognize them as a union. The Postal Service agreed not to interfere with the vote process. In the NLRB vote, the unit voted 160-40 in favor of unionizing.

Since the vote transpired, Vance Zimmerman, Liz Powell, Annette August-Taylor, Judy McCann, and I have met with the group to develop a constitution and bylaws, sign membership applications, and develop proposals for collective bargaining negotiations. This is a great win for the APWU and the Support Services Division. We look forward to negotiating a contract that will provide for increased wages and better working conditions for these employees.

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