Friday, April 29, 2011

Did Darrell Issa Sabatoge the USPS-APWU agreement

In letter to American Postal Workers Union (APWU) members, APWU President Cliff Guffey identified that a key obstacle to ratification of the contract is rank and file anger with the efforts of Republicans to restrict union rights and reduce the pay and benefits of public and postal employees.   President Guffy's letter indicates that the tone that Republican members of Congress at the April 5th House Oversight and Government Reform hearing combined with the state legislative conflicts in Wisconsin, Illinios and Ohio created an environment in which rank and file APWU members are looking for a way to protest the treatment of unionized employees by Republican politicians.   The APWU-USPS ratification may have become the vehicle for that protest.

The press release quoting the letter lays out President Guffey's argument that the APWU-USPS contract is not the place to vent anger at Republican politicians.

Some very powerful politicians have set their sights on postal employees, APWU President Cliff Guffey has warned, and union members must respond decisively.

“Anti-labor members of Congress have said the union’s tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement [PDF - members only] is too favorable to workers,” the union president noted. “They favor contracting out virtually all of our jobs.

“I have a simple response,” he said. “I encourage every APWU member to get actively involved in union affairs — and to start by voting on ratification of the tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement. We also must get much more involved in the legislative arena.

“Don’t let these naysayers discourage you from voting.”

At an April 5 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and other Republicans repeatedly criticized Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and members of the USPS Board of Governors for agreeing to the union’s demand during negotiations to retain protection against layoffs. They also said the Postal Service needed more freedom to close postal facilities and cut the workforce.

“This is an attack on our collective bargaining rights,” Guffey said. “The APWU and the Postal Service reached an agreement that would benefit both sides — and now anti-union legislators are attempting to undermine it.”

President Guffy is right to warn APWU members to not use their vote on the USPS contract to vent anger at Republican politicians.   APWU members need to look at the contract and decide whether they can live with the changes in workrules and in particular the possibility that many positions will follow a non-traditional full-time schedule.   They need to determine whether the changes in workrules and contracting-out provisions create opportunities for APWU members that did not exist before and could create opportunities for APWU members to work with the USPS to work with the Postal Service to create products that could compete with presorters.  They need to look at the contract and decide whether it increases or decreases the likelihood that they will have a job with the Postal Service until they are ready to retire given the change in the mix and volume of mail.   They need to look at the changes in pay and benefits for current employees and future employees and determine whether the contract provides them with sufficient protection from health insurance and general inflation as opposed to what could be imposed by legislative action in the current or future Congresses.  Finally, they need to evaluate the risks that exist from turning the development of contract provisions to an independent arbiter who will develop his decision around the time that the Postal Service defaults on payments for retiree health benefit and workers compensation liabilities.


Anonymous said...


The reasons are here:

Anonymous said...

As a member of the APWU I can assure you that Rep. Issa's comments have played no role in the negative response to the tenative agreement. We expected to have to make concessions. However, the agreement goes far and above what we expected our union to concede and it appears that the motivation is the ability of the union to now bve able to collect dues from temporary workers.

Anonymous said...

Unions = Organized Crime

Drewk86a said...

Do not be swayed by the nay-sayers at the website cited by anonymous. The people there who are rallying behind Former President Burrus' call for NO votes are the same people who were bashing Bill Burrus when he was president of the APWU.

If you look back at history, Bill Burrus has supported every one of the things he rails against in the tentative agreement. Non-teaditional assignments? Remember 4/10 jobs?. The two tier wage system? Remember the ABC settlement and the introduction of the A and AA steps?

Burrus supported ALL of these things when he was in office. Burrus also cautioned members about the dangers of going to arbitration. When voting on the 2007 - 2010 contract, Burrus urged members to vote YES because going to arbitration would turn out badly.

Burrus also presided over the loss of 100,000 APWU jobs and the increase of casuals from 5% to 15%.

Are you really going to take Burrus' advice now?

Anonymous said...

Congressman Issa is in a Union. They have seniority and better benefits than us. The only problem with their Union is that they do no have to negotiate with their employers on what they get paid or what kind of medical dental vacation and pension that they recieve they just do what they want when they want. I say up yours Congressman I am your employer I pay your salary with my taxes unlike how my salary gets paid. Not one single cent of tax payer money. Maybe every citizen in the United States should rally together and strip you of all of your benefits to see how you like it.

Anonymous said...

Mr Guffey, Issa hasn't sabotaged the agreement---Bill BURRIS has!