Contract Negotiations Begin

Report by Omar Gonzalez, Western Regional Coordinator

Bosses to Union- “NEXT?”

At the start of contract negotiations covering more than 200,000 postal workers, postal bosses revealed they have little interest, if any, in bargaining over issues critical to Union negotiators.

When the Union’s Chief Negotiator submitted the union’s first proposal over “service standards and consolidations” the Postal henchman was quick to say management would listen but negotiations over this and other subjects are not mandatory. Management’s Spokesperson declared the Union’s proposal as being “permissive” a legal term indicating the issues could be discussed but not bargained over. Then in an indifferent tone the postal boss asked what’s “next?”

Other Top Priority Issues

The Union made it clear it wants to deal with consolidations, subcontracting, expansion of products like postal banking, and curtailment of approved Shipper programs.

The Union also asked management to declare a Moratorium on consolidations and service standard changes. The postal spokesperson responded- “I will tell you tomorrow”. He then failed to show up the following day for another round of talks. Management is still set to involuntarily reassign thousands of employees in April and July of this year throughout the country.

Management Slow To Respond

The Union had issued a demand for information and documentation in November 2014 on employee leave, employee debts, tort claims, retail Non Traditional assignments, hazardous internal reviews and other issues. In typical fashion , management had attempted to bill the union for the information then waived the alleged costs to produce the information. However, they had failed to produce the requested information three months later in time for the start of contract talks.

So Much Is At Stake

“Too many of our members take their benefits and contract rights for granted not realizing just how much is at stake,” declared Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez. “Lay Off Protections; bid assignments; cross craft work restrictions; 50 mile excessing radius limit, Cost of Living Adjustments, Sick & Annual Leave, holidays, seniority and even the very grievance procedure we are accustomed to are subject to agreement being reached on a new contract,” said the Regional Coordinator.

Battle Expected

Postal bosses signaled no real interest in negotiating over subcontracting retail services declaring they had stamps at stores for decades. Meanwhile, the Union is set to propose improvements over job placements, eReassign, seniority, excessing , non traditional assignments and other work floor matters while preparing for a show down in arbitration if no agreement is reached on a new CBA.