Thursday, September 2, 2010

Postal Service Labor Negotiations: Heading Towards Arbitration

The Washington Post reported the beginning of negotiations between the Postal Service and its four major unions today.   The negotiations will take between six months and a year.   If no agreement is negotiated it goes to arbitration.   Given the differences between the Postal Service and its unions on major issues and the difficulty that union leadership would have in trying to convince the rank-and-file to accept any of the changes that the Postal Service is proposing, an arbitrated settlement appears likely.

Anyone following public statements from the Postal Service or postal unions on negotiating positions or the state of negotiations should understand public statements have specific audiences. 

First and foremost, both sides are talking to Congress.   Statements made members of Congress from both parties suggest that postal employees may not have as sympathetic an ear as they have had in the past.   Postal Unions want to convince of Congress that the Postal Service's proposal is unfair to employees and includes unwarranted changes in current contracts.  The Postal Service want to convince members of Congress that it is serious about changing contract provisions that prevent it from becoming financially self sufficient and a relevant part of the economy and that the impact on current employees is no greater than is necessary to meet financial and service goals.   

Between the Postal Service and postal unions, the unions probably have the more difficult job of communicating their message.   Members of Congress from both parties have pressed management to make significant changes in contracts and given the length of the negotiations the next Congress will be less favorably inclined to listen to postal labor than now.

Second, both sides are talking to the rank and file.   Postal unions are political entities as their leadership are elected by the rank and file.    Union leaders risk ouster if they accept the give-backs that the Postal Service proposes.    Standing up to the Postal Service's proposals is good politics even if it risks a new contract set by an arbitrator under either current law or changes that members of Congress have proposed.   The Postal Service needs to communicate both why it wants to make major changes and why employees should be willing to accept them.    They need to have some carrot, to make the sale easier but it is not clear if they have any sugar available to make the medicine that they propose go down.   

In communicating to rank and file postal employees, postal unions have a much stronger position.   A combative position is likely to be popular so employees will be receptive.   The Postal Service has little besides pain to offer so it will find it difficult communicating why change is needed to employees that face significant changes in a long standing understanding of what their job entails, how they will be scheduled, what their benefits are, and what they will be paid.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

the postal survice needs to cut management,their pay for performance bonus money and increase not decrease service before they blame the less than avg wages and lowest raises of most companies

Anonymous said...

postal managers for the most part are useless, clipboard toting idiots. They could not do the job of a craft employee if their lives depended upon it!!!!! The USPS needs to cut the ranks of this dead weight by at least 33% in the field, and at least 60% at Headquarters. Just by following negotiated work rules, the postal service could save 100's of millions of dollars. They won't even do that... So don't ask me for any extra effort, I've given it for 28 years and am now FED UP

Anonymous said...

USPS currently opened negotiations with 1 union today, APWU. It is set to open negotiations in a couple of weeks with the Rural Letter Carriers.
Contracts for NALC and Mail Handlers unions do not expire until 2011 so those negotiations are not likely to start until next August.

Anonymous said...

What some of these idiots don't realize is that most managers like me were craft at one time. I clerked, I carried mail and I became management because I saw the foot dragging that a lot of craft did. Call in 53 times in one year then claim that management was singling them out!! PTF with doctors note can only work eight hours a day and not over five days per week. These are the type of people who need to be removed!!! How many carriers are stealing customers maileach week!! gift cards, money, birthday cards!!! yeat they want to get rid of management!!! If we didn't control carriers street times we would be further in debt than we already are.

Anonymous said...

Want to save money? Simple. No pay raises or bonuses for management or craft. But the problem is that neither management nor craft can handle such a thought.

not in said...

not in

Pretty basic compromise: give back the V-time on all crafts, with the city carrier get rid of on-route / of-route OT. Make the work force 30% TE. Hire on all ptf's. Done deal. The TE will definitely bolster the route deficiencies (they can be made to run).

Anonymous said...

In our office of 15 people we have three managers. One postmaster, one supervisor, and a 204b. 12 of the 15 people are carriers. My question is what are these mamagers managing all day long while the carriers are on the street?? The post office needs to downsize the management for sure. What they need is one supervisor in each office and a postmaster that manages several area post offices. Also, postal management should be instructed to FOLLOW the contract which would result in fewer grievances and less grievance money. My personal belief is that postal management won't be happy until the postal service is driven into the ground and closes its doors for good. So sad.....

Anonymous said...

What the 3 previous person said is a crock of sh_ _ . If the P.O. is to survive it will because of the carriers. We are the ones who DELIVER FOR YOU. We are the ones who come into contact with the public every day.When Americans say the P O is the most trusted agency, it is because of the CARRIERS. Some carriers are like family. We have seen newborns come and leave for church on wedding days.

Anonymous said...

Labor watches daily the excessive managment waste.Billions in favortism Bonuses. They fudge numers to get Bonuses. They eliminate positions ,just create new ones.For every clerk on the window, there is 3-4 supervisors standing , watching with hands in the pocket.
Inspection Service has been on 60 Minutes for having $1 million dollar parties. OMG get a clue.
There will be more than kicking Union Leadership out;' There will be mass strikes countrywide.
If the USPS wants to keep their useless/clueless managers, VPs; Then pay us for tolerating their perpetual failures, because WE the labor are doing our jobs.

Anonymous said...

A well-written analysis of the situation. You're right on the mark. The contract will go to arbitration for exactly the reasons you state. Unfortunately, the employees may not do as well as they hope in front of an arbitrator. We are, after all, in the Second Great Depression.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic what these managers think. The comment above from one of them calling us idiots. He became a manager so he could drag his feet with hands in pockets, can now work only 40 hours and 5 days a week. What's the real truth moron. You couldn't do that anymore so you became a stupidvisor so you can. Hipocritical, pathetic bafoons.

Anonymous said...

I am in Management. I was a carrier for 22 years. It's true there is too much upper management, but not @ my level (SCS). There are also far too many employees who only do as little as required. A dead person can case 18 & 8. There are so many employees who think it is their right to call in sick, as well as claim on the job injuries. I have an employee who claimed an OJI. She has been out of work for over 1 year, but holds a job @ a local dept. store. What's wrong with this. I have to pay POT, to satisfy the contract, before forcing someone off the list. My PFP was taken away. I didn't get a raise. I don't get OT. I don't get COLA. There are plenty of craft employees that make more than me for casing 18 & 8. Many issues for both craft & Management. I spend far too much time @ my computer reading senseless e-mails, & doing telecons. If the carriers had evaluated routes, you would see the office clean of mail every day, & they would be done in 6-7 hours per day. Many craft employees treat their vehicles like crap. Let them pay for repais, & I bet they would treat them like gold.

Anonymous said...

cuts in wages -no cola -no layoff protection. ok union members somethings got to give. it will be your choice. anyways you will never make as much as you do now. it will be 8 years before you see an increase in wages from 2010 level. canary's in a coal mine.

International Parcel said...

Postal service is just like courier service which send information or message quickly. Thanks a lot...