APWU: Fight for fair wages, fair work arrangements

The American Postal Workers Union has concluded the last round of interest arbitration hearings—having made a strong case to hold the line against cuts, contracting out, changes in structuring work schedules and workplaces—and in favor of modest pay increases, according to the union.

Interest arbitration is used to hammer out issues as-yet unresolved in contract negotiations.

“Hearings are now complete, and the panel will begin their deliberations,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said in a video on APWU’s site.

“Our main witness was a renowned economist,” Dimondstein said, speaking of the hearings. “[Someone who] not only strongly rebutted management’s argument that APWU members are overpaid, but provided powerful justification that we are deserving of good solid wage increases based on our skills, jobs and general wage trends.”

APWU officials and others also presented evidence and arguments at the interest arbitration hearings against Postal Service management’s plans for subcontracting out many more jobs—as well as for greater “management flexibility,” which Dimondstein called out as in large part code for undermining working hours, set schedules as well as seniority bidding arrangements.

The union also reached out to the wider community of union members, workers of all kinds and the public, to sign its petition to fight against the possibility that the Postal Service’s next postmaster could favor—and help ensure—that the centuries-old public trust becomes fully privatized.

“The public service mission of the Postal Service has made it the most popular federal agency,” the petition’s introduction reads, “However, this public good is at risk if we don’t all act soon.”

“In June 2018 the White House announced proposals to privatize the Postal Service,” it continues. “Now Postmaster General Megan Brennan has announced her departure as Postmaster General in January 2020. The Postmaster General has wide powers to shape the mission of USPS and there is a real risk that Brennan’s successor could hand over parts of the service to private, profit-making corporations and prepare it for a wholesale sell-off.”

Below, the petition itself states:

“We, the undersigned, believe in a public Postal Service committed to providing quality service to everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, at reasonable and uniform rates. Our United States Postal Service is an essential part of the fabric of the country and a source of good, living wage jobs for our communities. We call on you to appoint a Postmaster General who is fully committed to universal service and the public ownership of the Postal Service.”

For more information, go to www.apwu.org.


Reader comments

Wed, Dec 4, 2019

Actually, the Postal Service is a government agency. It is called an "independent agency," because it funds itself from stamps and services. But its governing board is appointed by the White House and Senate. And its rates are overseen by a commission appointed by the president. It's not like other agencies in that it earns money and that is what funds it, separate from the federal budget. But it is an executive-branch agency. Has been since the 1700s.

Tue, Dec 3, 2019

The United States Postal Service is not a government agency, correct?

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