Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Produces Video Against Postal Privatization!
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10/29/2018 - In a strong show of solidarity, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA produced a video to educate flight attendants about the importance of public services and the role of solidarity in winning our fights.
“The U.S. Postal Service mail and packages fly on our planes. The routes we fly to communities across the country depend on a strong United States Postal Service. We’re standing with our sisters and brothers from [the four postal unions] to stop privatization!”
The video features APWU convention delegates speaking about the importance of a public Postal Service and the need to stand in solidarity. Courtney Agee from Birmingham, Alabama is ready for the fight against privatization: “We can prevent this. We can. We can band together. We can not be scared. We can get in the face of Congress and say, ‘Hey, you can’t take this from the public like you want to.’ I can’t even imagine America without the Postal Service.”
“Look to your left, look to your right, look behind you, and tell everyone around you, ‘I’ve got your back!,’” proclaimed Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at the August APWU convention in Pittsburgh.
Nelson’s call for solidarity inspired APWU member Stephanie McGee from Kansas City. “To see that you have other unions that support you and that have your back 100 percent,” said McGee, “it’s a wonderful thing.”
APWU Statement in Support of Canadian Postal Workers
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11/28/2018 - For 37 days, members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) engaged in militant rotating strikes in the struggle for a new union contract. Canadian postal workers were forced into strike action by the refusal of Canada Post to address the just and urgent demands of the workers, including addressing dangerous work conditions and high injury rates, unequal pay for rural workers, and massive hours of forced overtime.
Yesterday, Nov. 27, the Canadian government, through legislative action, forced Canadian postal workers back to work and into binding mediation and arbitration.
The American Postal Workers Union both applauds the struggle of the Canadian postal workers and our sister union CUPW, and condemns the outrageous act of the Liberal Canadian government – a government that claims to be on the side of working people. This unconstitutional government action strips workers of their legal right to strike under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and tilts ongoing collective bargaining in management’s favor.
CUPW National President Mike Palecek declared, “Postal Workers are rightfully dismayed and outraged…You cannot legislate labour peace. We are now moving to a different phase of the struggle.”
As the struggle continues, the CUPW is keeping all options open, including switching to a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience and other tactics to press their contract demands.
“‘An Injury to One is an Injury to All.’ Their fight is our fight,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “The APWU salutes the unity and determination of our Canadian sisters and brothers and we have full confidence that the workers, led by the CUPW, will overcome these new obstacles and prevail in their just struggle. We stand in unbreakable union solidarity with Canada’s postal workers.”
Postal workers kept the public safe. Why does the White House want to get rid of them?
Op-Ed By President Mark Dimondstein
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11/20/2018 - This opinion editorial (op-ed) by President Mark Dimondstein was published in the Miami-Herald on November 20th. It is reposted below.
During a tense week recently, pipe bombs mailed to former President Barack Obama, actor Robert DeNiro, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, the offices of CNN and at least a dozen other targets dominated the news. These overtly political acts of domestic terrorism originated in South Florida and were intended to maim and kill. Fortunately, none of the identified 16 package bombs detonated.
As the country held its collective breadth, there were three aspects of this story that got little coverage.
First, these criminal acts placed tens of thousands of postal workers in harm’s way.
Second, despite the threat of injury or death, 500,000 dedicated, trained and accountable postal workers continued to carry out their mission contained in the 1970 PostalReorganization Act: “The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the nation together . . . It shall provide prompt, reliable and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.” Postal employees continued to serve customers at retail windows, sort letters and packages, drive mail trucks and deliver mail daily to 157 million addresses.
Third, in many cases it was conscientious and alert postal workers who successfully identified suspicious packages and took action to protect not just their own safety but also that of their co-workers and the public. The leadership of the four postal unions and postalmanagement cooperated to ensure that postal workers were on high alert and vigilant, helping lead to a positive outcome.
Little wonder that the Postal Service, a public institution enshrined in the U.S. Constitution remains the most trusted federal agency. It does not use a dime of taxpayer money for its operations and is the crucial anchor of the successful e-commerce revolution. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center shows that 88 percent of the population has a favorable view of the Postal Service. Every person, household and business is a postal customer, and the post office remains central to the fabric of neighborhoods and communities.
Yet, in its June 21 report, “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced its intent to privatize the U.S. Postal Service and sell it to the highest corporate bidder. If allowed to move forward, this will enrich some Wall Street investors and a few powerful corporations. For the rest of us, the”99 percent,” it would result in diminished postal services and higher prices.
In addition, to this proposal, add a soon-to-be-released report from a presidential task force on the future of the post office. There is little doubt that this task force, of which OMB is an integral part, will make proposals harmful to the Postal Service and detrimental to the rights and benefits of those who move the mail.
These plans from the highest levels of government demonize and degrade postal workers’contributions and are part of an attempt to convince the public to support postalprivatization. These privatizers want to drown out the quiet, unsung postal workers’ heroism in the recent moment of crisis. They ignore the real-life stories of how the Postal Service and postal workers are consistently on the frontlines in returning normalcy to our communities following devastation, such as from hurricanes in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, flooding in Texas and North Carolina, fires in California and volcanic eruptions in Hawaii.
We are all postal customers and undoubtedly appreciate the outstanding efforts of dedicated postal workers in the face of these recent crimes. But our appreciation is not enough to defeat the efforts of those who would destroy the Postal Service and loot the public good for private gain. Join the effort to guarantee that the postal service remains owned by, and in the service of, the people.
Ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor House Resolution 993 and Senate Resolution 633, opposing privatization of the U.S. Postal Service. Let’s ensure that the postal eagle, symbolizing its public ownership, is never sacrificed on the altar of private profit, replaced by the vulture of corporate greed.
(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By President Mark Dimondstein
“We won’t let the postal eagle be replaced by the vulture.” What a great response by Legislative Grassroots Coordinator Janice Kelble to the White House of Office Management and Budget (OMB) proposal to sell-off the Postal Service to corporations for private profit. The eagle symbolizes that the public Postal Service belongs to, and serves, all the people. The vulture represents those who want to pick the public good apart and devour it for private Wall Street greed.
Terrific rallies were held on Oct. 8 in over 150 cities. APWU members joined with the other postal unions and allies, mobilizing to proclaim “The U.S. Mail is Not For Sale.” The bipartisan majority support for House Resolution 993 (“sense of the House”) opposing postal privatization is also a very positive step in the right direction. A salute to all of you who engaged in these and other efforts. We must be “all hands on deck” in this serious and crucial fight for the public Postal Service, our jobs and our union.
The people want a PUBLIC Postal Service
Preparing for a long-run struggle, the APWU is increasing our capacity for research, media relations, advertising, digital communications, legislative efforts and our public outreach as we confront the privatizer vultures on the battlefield. We plan to win!
In this light, the APWU recently commissioned Hart Research to conduct a country-wide poll to best understand the views of the people. The poll included over 1,000 respondents from every region, a cross-section of urban, rural and suburban dwellers, varying ages, nationalities, political views and affiliations. Results include:
• A stunning 96% rated mail service as important to them.
• 88% rated the job performed by the Postal Service as either excellent or good.
• 80% of respondents had positive views of the U.S. Postal Service.
• 78% have a positive view of postal workers. Only 5% had a negative view.
• A large majority of respondents believe only minor changes, not a major overhaul, are needed to fix any problems.
• By an over two-to-one margin (59% to 24%), respondents were against selling the Postal Service to private corporations.
• 70% believe that the White House’s postal proposals would raise the cost of letters and packages.
• 78% of respondents wanted to hear from postal workers regarding postal issues – the highest rated group! 68% said they wanted to hear the union’s views.
There you have it! Not only is the public extremely supportive of the public Postal Service but your friends, neighbors, community, faith-based, veteran and civil rights groups are waiting to hear from you – the ones they trust the most!
We have a great opportunity to speak up for the truth: If the Postal Service is privatized and sold-off to private corporations, the result will be higher costs and less service.
Universal service that obligates the USPS to deliver to every address in the country (157 million!) will disappear.
Veterans and seniors who rely most on medicines sent through the mail will suffer. The exchange of ideas and information from magazines and periodicals will be diminished. Ecommerce will not work for everyone if packages are delivered only where profit can be extracted. Good union jobs, which sustain stronger communities and nourish families, will be destroyed. A few will gain at the expense of the many.
As we did with the successful Stop Staples fight, let the message resound that “The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale.”
The Postal Service belongs to all the people – and it should be protected, expanded and remain vibrant for generations to come. The people are with us, and the APWU is with the people! Now that’s a winning combination to ensure the vulture never replaces the eagle!
10/26/2018 - Federal authorities announced that an arrest was made in connection with the explosive devices being sent through the mail.
However, an arrest does not mean the danger is over. There is still a possibility that additional pieces remain in the mail stream. APWU leadership again reminds you to be vigilant and continue to be on the lookout for any suspicious devices. Alert and observant postal employees have already helped to intercept some of the devices in the mail stream.
The suspicious and anonymous mail protocols are in place to protect you and the American public from dangerous items. Please follow these protocols and always err on the side of caution when a piece of mail appears suspicious.
The Postal Service recently released an additional Stand-up Talk in regards to both the arrest and suspicious packages.
APWU and USPS Agree to an Additional 30 Days of Negotiations
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10/20/2018 - APWU President Mark Dimondstein has announced that the union and the Postal Service again agreed to extend negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement for an additional 30 days until November 20, 2018.
The union contract between the American Postal Workers Union and the United States Postal Service covers the wages, hours, and working conditions of 193,000 postal workers and expired September 20, 2018. At that time, the parties agreed to an initial 30 day extension on negotiations until October20, 2018.
The APWU and postal management have been negotiating for a new contract since June 26, 2018. After four months of frequent negotiations, the parties believe that additional time to discuss and explore the issues is appropriate and useful before declaring an impasse.
“We are still working towards our goal of reaching a negotiated settlement that can be voted on by the members. Multiple meetings have already been scheduled with the Postal Service in the upcoming weeks,” declared President and lead negotiator Mark Dimondstein. “Our goals remain consistent and we are still demanding fair wage increases, COLA, job security, bridging the gaps of the divisive three-tier wage structure, addressing concerns of hostile work environments, seeking better career and full-time opportunities for both PSEs and PTFs, and expanded postal services.”
“The battle continues for a decent union contract you deserve,” shared chief spokesperson and Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman. “Your negotiating team thanks you, the members, for all that you have done to support the contract campaign. Keep it going and show management that we remain united in demanding a good union contract.”
All the rights, benefits and provisions of our existing union contract remain in place, and are fully enforceable during the new 30-day extension of negotiations.
APWU Arbitration Award Restores Rules for Employees Using Leave Without Pay to Campaign
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08/08/2018 - APWU members can continue to volunteer in political campaigns under the long-standing leave-without-pay rules in the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM). A national arbitrator rejected changes the Postal Service made to the Leave Without Pay (LWOP) rules for how employees request LWOP to participate in political activities organized by their unions.
In his award on August 6, 2018, the arbitrator upheld the APWU’s challenge to the Postal Service’s unilateral changes to the leave program that put the burden of managing LWOP requests on employees, rather than supervisors. The award protects employees’ right to request LWOP to volunteer through their union to participate in important political activities, like the upcoming November elections.
Postal employees have the legal right to campaign and participate in politics, subject to limits under the federal Hatch Act. The APWU challenged policy changes the Postal Service made that potentially restricted postal employees’ legal right to campaign on their own time away from work.
The Postal Service’s changes arose out of a complaint in 2016 about letter carriers participating in the AFL-CIO Labor 2016 program. The Office of Special Counsel found that postal managers mishandled valid employee leave requests, and the Postal Service reacted by unilaterally changing the leave rules to protect its managers, at the expense of employees being subject to discipline and prosecution for how they filled out leave request forms. The APWU immediately challenged the USPS changes, and the National Association of Letter Carriers and National Postal Mail Handlers Union both intervened and joined us in the dispute.
APWU President Mark Dimondstein commented that “this is what workers in a union do – make management respect their legal rights.” He went on to note that “process matters, and we earn process and have a real voice when we come together, both in bargaining and in politics.”
At the arbitration hearing, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman testified that the Postal Service made the changes without contractually required notification or discussion with the APWU, in violation of the Postal Service’s commitments in the APWU National Agreement. The arbitrator sustained the union’s position and rejected the Postal Service’s claim that OSC’s allegations of managerial misconduct under the Hatch Act was a legal decision allowing the Postal Service to ignore its bargaining commitments to the APWU.
The arbitrator ordered the Postal Service to rescind the changes immediately and restore the previous leave rules unless it proposes changes that comply with the National Agreement.
08/03/2018 - On July 30, 2018, the Postal Service notified the APWU that there will be a special enrollment period for PSEs to enroll in the USPS Health Benefits Plan. The enrollment period will be open from August 20, 2018 through October 4, 2018. Coverage will become effective on October 13, 2018.
This special enrollment is being conducted in accordance with the settlement agreement, RE: Workforce Benefits Fund. The settlement calls for the Postal Service to make additional contributions to USPS Health Benefits Plan for self plus one and family enrollments for PSEs. With these changes, it is necessary for the Service to offer eligible PSEs the opportunity to enroll.
Each eligible PSE will be receiving a letter from the Postal Service giving enrollment deadlines, enrollment methods, and plan premiums. The letter will instruct the employees to go the https://liteblue.usps.gov/uspshbp to learn about the plan. Enrollment will be through PostalEASE via liteblue, self-service kiosks in some offices, or by calling the HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273.
This enrollment is for the USPS non-career health benefits plan and should not be confused with the APWU Consumer Driven Option (CDO) plan. Enrollment will not be open for the APWU CDO plan during this special enrollment.
PSEs are eligible for enrollment in the APWU CDO plan after completing their first 360-day appointment. PSEs may enroll in the APWU CDO plan within 60 days of being appointed to a second term as a PSE or during regular Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) open season held in November and December of each year after meeting eligibility requirements.