Support Services Division
APWU Nurses Advised That Contract –
Though Expired – Still Offers Protection
(02/10/09) As the bargaining team for APWU-represented nurses prepares for interest arbitration hearings beginning in late March, Support Services Division Director Bill Manley assured the unit’s members that the terms of their expired contract remain in effect.
“The terms, conditions and protections of the previous contract continue until we secure a new contract,” Manley said. “All our existing rights continue … We have a grievance procedure. We have a no-layoff clause.”
The National Postal Professional Nurses-APWU contract expired in August 2007. After a year of negotiations, the union and the Postal Service agreed to submit it to interest arbitration.
“Unless there is an ‘11th-hour’ settlement,” Manley said, “the NPPN-APWU and the Postal Service will meet in interest arbitration hearings in Washington.” The first hearing is on March 23; the last is scheduled for April 3.
“Article 6 of our contract contains a no-layoff provision,” Manley said. “Employees who have at least six years of seniority are protected. Although the possibility exists that the Postal Service may attempt to enact a layoff for those without six years of experience, it is important to note that the Postal Service has never conducted a layoff of anyone in our bargaining-unit.”
If there were to be layoffs, the division director said, the decision would be made at the national — not the local — level. “The APWU would stand and fight if that were to happen, and demand that all contract nurses be let go prior to the layoff of any career bargaining-unit nurse.”
Manley said the union would demand that nurses be offered alternate employment in other USPS positions. “The Postal Service is required to notify us at least 90 days in advance. Rumors to the contrary are nothing more than that. We encourage everyone to keep faith in our union and our contract.”
In other NPPN-APWU matters:
The NPPN-APWU agreement provides for a uniform allowance of $323 per year. Uniforms are covered by Article 26 of the CBA and also by ELM 936.6. The uniform allowance is limited to items listed in Article 26.02 of the Agreement. In the past, credit cards were provided to purchase uniforms that were accepted by any vendor; since the first of this year, the use of these credit cards has been limited to a list of approved vendors that can be found at http://blue.usps.gov/lrinfo/up/licensedvendors.htm. (NPPN leadership is interested in submitting additional vendors to the Postal Service.)
NPPN-APWU elections will take place soon. Nominations for postal-nurses union officers have been made, and all members in good standing will receive ballots in the near future.
The nurses union, which has had collective bargaining agreements with the USPS since 1978, voted to affiliate with the APWU shortly before its most recent contract expired on Aug. 20, 2007. The union represents 140 nurses at approximately 50 locations.