Consolidation Battle Takes Shape
The four postal unions are standing together at the national, state and local level to fight the Postmaster General’s plans to again slash the mail processing network, beginning in January. Eighty-two facilities are slated for closure, and service will be degraded further.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of postal workers across the country, a bipartisan group of 51 Senators and 160 U.S. Representatives have called for a moratorium on the devastating cuts.
Despite management’s false claims, the consolidations will end overnight delivery of single-piece first-class mail – even mail sent from one address to another within the same city or town, and even in areas where plants are not being closed or consolidated. “We must make sure the American people understand this fact, and we must mobilize them to work with us,” said Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy.
“The USPS is relying on obsolete studies to justify the consolidations and refusing to hold new public meetings to solicit input from residents and businesses,” she said. “We must demand that management conducts new studies and holds new public meetings. If they refuse, locals should organize meetings themselves,” Szeredy said.
“There is no distinction between ‘gaining facilities’ and ‘losing facilities’ in this fight,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “If overnight delivery is eliminated, America loses. Customers will leave the Postal Service in droves and the downward spiral of the USPS will continue. We will all feel the effect.
“This is a fight we must wage together – all facilities, all offices, all postal workers – along with the people of the country,” Dimondstein said.
“All of the postal unions realize that if management pushes consolidation through, the effect will be devastating on all of us,” Szeredy said. In August, the four unions held a joint webinar to train organizers at each of the 82 sites. The webinar marked the first time the four unions have engaged in joint training. Representatives of the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association participated at the national, state and local level.
The APWU has published a toolkit outlining many of the steps involved in building resistance to the consolidations. (Find it at www.apwu.org/ConsolidationToolkit.) The unions are also looking into investing in studies to show the real costs of consolidation – for the USPS and for individual communities. At the national level, the union filed a Step 4 Dispute protesting the USPS consolidation actions, and is exploring legal options.
“But this fight won’t be won in the grievance procedure alone or in court,” Szeredy said. “It will be won with the support of people whose communities are about to lose jobs and good postal service.”
$686 Cost-of-Living Raise in Paychecks Dated Sept. 26
Career employees represented by the APWU will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of $686 per year beginning with paychecks dated Sept. 26, in accordance with the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The raise is the result of an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W).
The 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for COLAs based on increases in the January and July CPI in 2012 through 2014, and January 2015. (The contract expires in May 2015.)
So far, employees have received cost-of-living adjustments totaling $1,830. The final COLA, based on the January 2015 CPI, will be effective in March 2015.
Career employees will also receive a 1 percent increase in their annual salaries effective Nov. 15, which will be reflected in paychecks dated Dec. 5. Postal Support Employees (PSEs) do not receive COLAs, but will receive a raise of 2.5 percent effective Nov. 15, 2014.
Pay scales are available at www.apwu.org.