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APWU Frustrated by Lack of Progress in USPS Talks

American Postal Workers Union President Cliff Guffey expressed frustration that a six-week extension of contract negotiations has failed to produce tangible results in the union’s attempt to negotiate a new four-year labor pact with the U.S. Postal Service.

American Postal Workers Union President Cliff Guffey expressed frustration that a six-week extension of contract negotiations has failed to produce tangible results in the union’s attempt to negotiate a new four-year labor pact with the U.S. Postal Service.

In a Jan. 3 Web posting, Guffey said that although he summoned the union’s Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee to Washington, D.C., for an update on contract negotiations, there is no tentative agreement on the table and one does not appear to be imminent. The parties are discussing wages, excessing, benefits and issues related to workforce structure, Guffey has noted previously.

“I am increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress in contract talks,” Guffey said. “Management negotiators seem unwilling to make the commitment necessary to reach a negotiated settlement.”

The current collective bargaining agreement, which was to expire on Nov. 20, has been extended while negotiations continued. Input from the advisory committee is important because any tentative agreement between the union and management must be approved by a majority of the committee before it can be submitted to APWU members for a ratification vote, Guffey said.

Under the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, if the union and management fail to reach agreement on a successor contract and do not agree on an alternate procedure, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service will appoint a mediator. If a settlement is not reached within 60 days of the expiration of the contract, both parties submit all outstanding issues to binding arbitration. At that point the APWU will appoint an arbitrator, as will the USPS. The two arbitrators will work with a neutral arbitrator to resolve the issues.

To see more, go to: www.apwu.org/news/webart/2011/11-001-negotiations-update-110103.htm.

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