When I go to my local Post Office there is usually a long line, one or two unhappy people working at the counter and lots of stress. The carrier who delivers my mail is walking at a super-fast pace and I often get mail for other households. The cost of stamps is increasing while services and service levels are dropping. It's too easy to blame all of this on the Internet and Amazon and leave it at that. For instance, Netflix shipments get preferential treatment because they're a large corporation, and private business get to raid and take over some postal services, and outfits like DHL and the chains of "private post offices" make money when postal services fail or are cut or outsourced. This is not the Post Office I grew up with: that Postal Service had limited banking services, Post Offices were fully staffed, the carriers knew the people on their routes, and the Postal Service hired people of women, color and veterans and provided secure employment. A mail carrier job was a job you wanted. Here is an union article providing some context for what's going on.
"(Union) Locals are already getting into the fight on the streets. The Baltimore APWU Local held an informational picket at the Main Post Office in Baltimore on June 10 that was attended by postal workers and community members. Other Locals are also preparing for similar actions. Locals wishing to conduct informational pickets should contact the Clerk Craft Division to receive assistance."
American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Geared Up to Fight Back Against USPS Reductions in Service and Jobs
06/16/2017 - Throughout the country, the Postal Service has launched an all-out assault on our jobs and is blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in their staffing of post offices. The USPS is reducing service to the community and disrupting the lives of postal workers by reducing duty assignments (reversions and abolishments) and issuing excessing notices potentially affecting hundreds of post offices and thousands of employees.
Postal Service is Blatantly Violating the Contract
The APWU and the USPS agreed in Article 37.3.A.1 of the CBA that, “Every effort will be made to create desirable duty assignments from all available work hours for career employees to bid.” This includes hours worked by PSEs. This provision was part of an overall agreement for more APWU jobs.
However, the Postal Service is now ignoring that part of the agreement and instead of utilizing “all available work hours” to create duty assignments, the USPS is now attempting to utilize what they call “earned hours” and “earned duty assignments” to determine the number of duty assignments. “Earned duty assignments” is what the USPS would prefer the number of duty assignments to be and has no basis in the contract.
“We are gearing up for a large fight,” said President Dimondstein. “I know that if we stick together and stay united, then – just like the Stop Staples and contract campaigns – we will be victorious.”
USPS Actions are an Attack on Service
The Postal Service is reducing duty assignments and issuing excessing notices despite the fact that Postal Service is already understaffed as evidenced by the following issues, taking place in many offices around the country:
Long lines for postal customers at the window
Thousands of Postal Support Employees averaging over 30 hours a week
High amounts of overtime
One worker instead of the agreed upon two or three workers staffing DBCS machines
As postal workers and postal customers know from experience, in most offices, the Postal Service is seriously understaffed and causing poor service to the community. Some installation heads are acting with integrity and resisting the unreasonable reductions in duty assignments and service, but many are going along despite the harm to postal workers and the community.
APWU members and supporters protest service and job cuts in Baltimore, MD.
APWU is Fighting Back
The APWU has been implementing a plan to fight back that includes meetings with management at every level, informational pickets to inform the community, and utilization of the grievance procedure.
“I salute the National Clerk Craft Officers for taking the lead on this, with assistance from the Regional Coordinators and the National Business Agents,” said President Dimondstein
Meetings at the national level, including meetings with Postmaster General Megan Brennan, have emphasized the blatant reduction of duty assignments across the country when the duty assignments are clearly needed and also the unprecedented nature of the amount of excessing notices at one time.
Locals are already getting into the fight on the streets. The Baltimore APWU Local held an informational picket at the Main Post Office in Baltimore on June 10 that was attended by postal workers and community members. Other Locals are also preparing for similar actions. Locals wishing to conduct informational pickets should contact the Clerk Craft Division to receive assistance.
The APWU has been conducting Max Duty Assignment Tool (MDAT) training across the country on how to demonstrate new duty assignments whenever management tries to eliminate duty assignments or excess employees. We have designated National Business Agents (NBAs) in each area that are working under the direction of the National Clerk Craft Officers to work with Local and State organizations to develop strong grievances, coordinate our actions, and put our best foot forward in addressing these issues.
A Call to Action
As postal workers we must fight together against the Postal Services ongoing willingness to blatantly violate the contractual agreements they made with us. It is important that postal workers attend their local union meetings where we can learn from each other and work on strategies to slow or stop management’s plans to reduce service to the community and disrupt the workforce. If we come together in an organized manner, we can win a better Postal Service and a better workplace.
For More Information
If you would like to receive information directly from the APWU by text or email, please sign-up at http://www.apwu.org/stay-connected. Check back on apwu.org for more details about this ongoing fight.