A Good Contract for All
(This article first appeared in the March-April 2016 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
APWU members from all crafts have been busy with efforts to: raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; stop the dirty deal between USPS and Staples; stop consolidations and closings of post offices and mail processing facilities; establish postal banking; defeat so-called “right-to-work” legislation, which weakens unions; win postal reform legislation; preserve service standards; provide a safe work environment, and of course, achieve an acceptable Collective Bargaining Agreement.
These are just some of the campaigns that all APWU members and their families, friends, organizations, politicians, and other union activists are involved in. I am proud of our effort to obtain a good contract. We are sending a positive message to the Postal Service and to the general public alike.
For years issues of the postal workers and the post office have been ignored. I can see that those days may be gone. This is all due to your efforts to keep the issues in the limelight.
Salmon & Sons Trucking
The main APWU agreement is not the only contract that we have been unable to come to a negotiated deal on. I have been attempting to reach a deal for an initial Collective Bargaining Agreement for our private-sector mechanics at Salmon & Sons Trucking in Little Rock, AR.
Much like the main agreement, the issues that are holding up a deal are wages and health benefits. Company executives and their attorneys have dug in their heels.
The members of this bargaining unit are more motivated than ever to obtain a change in working conditions, as well as compensation at a good rate for the services they perform. We have taken a step back, analyzed the situation, reformatted our approach, and will be attempting to obtain a negotiated deal in the near future. Hopefully, by the time you read this article we will have an acceptable contract.
We extended the current contract with PAE, an M-TECH in Detroit. We were close to a deal, but had a couple of sticking points.
Again, the company representatives and their attorneys would not move enough for us to accept their offer.
The company’s monetary offer was decent, but it compromised other working conditions and benefits. Company was attempting to throw money at workers and drastically reduce other benefits and working conditions.
Postal managers are not the only ones in negotiations with the APWU who don’t want to compensate their employees appropriately for the services they perform for the company.
Their goal is to cut wages and benefits, cut jobs, cut services, cut costs, and cut corners on safety issues. All of these actions are at the expense of a company’s greatest asset: its employees.
It is going to be up to the members of this great union to stand fast, keep applying pressure, and keep delivering our message: We have the right to a living wage, decent benefits, and a safe work environment.
“The Struggle Continues” is more than a phrase; and I believe we are up to the challenge. Those before us struggled for our benefit, and we must struggle for future generations.