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Department & Division News

Negotiations, Negotiations

(This article first appeared in the March-April 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

By Support Services Director Steve Brooks

We are hitting the new year running. We ended 2016 in the middle of contract negotiations for our Information Technology/Accounting Services unit, and are working under an extension to our 2011 agreement. The extension expires on Feb. 24, as this issue goes to print. We hope another extension is not necessary.

It is very disappointing, but I guess this is consistent with how the Postal Service deals with every other union and unit they are in negotiations with. I see a consistent theme. They have a saying, “We are committed to coming to a negotiated contract.” All I can say to that is, actions speak louder than words. Stay tuned and check the website, apwu.org, to see when we actually come to a negotiated deal.

PAE’s Mail Transport Equipment Service Center

We are excited to have a brand new unit. A Mail Transport Equipment Service Center (MTESC) run by Pacific Architects & Engineers (PAE) (reported on in the last issue of the American Postal Worker) is now proudly represented by the Support Services Division.

Our first sessions with PAE opened in January. Starting from scratch with negotiations is a difficult task. Imagine entering the room with a blank piece of paper and now you have to fill the pages with every workroom rule, salary, efficiency rating, disciplinary procedure and benefit. It may not seem like it, but you have to keep in mind that you are dealing with a private sector company and their lawyers.

We are not expanding on a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was established years ago, and we are not dealing with postal officials who negotiated union contracts for several years. It is an intense but important experience, as the APWU continues to grow into the private sector. Again, we will keep you updated through the website.

Salmon Companies

We have a private sector group of mail haulers for Salmon Companies whose contract expires on March 31.

We have some serious workroom, benefit and wage problems that need to be addressed in a new CBA. This company does not hesitate to bring in their high-buck lawyers, just to try to save a dime they may have to pay their drivers.

Postal Nurse CBA Negotiations

The first half of 2017 is going to be quite a busy time for the Support Services Division. Hopefully, we can get negotiated deals for the three units during the first half of the year so we can prepare to negotiate the Postal Nurse CBA expiring in September.

2017 is going to be one heck of a ride. All I can say is I am so glad I now have a new National Business Agent, Judy McCann, to assist me.