Contract Deadline Looms
11/17/2006 - Although he characterized the pace of talks as “agonizingly slow,” APWU President William Burrus noted in a Nov. 17 telephone message that negotiations over a national agreement have almost always gone to the final hours. “I continue my commitment to a contract that is worthy of the contribution of APWU members,” he said, “and stand by the APWU commitment to ‘reach agreement if we can, but arbitrate if we must.’”
The full text of President Burrus’ message is below:
Hello, this is Bill Burrus, president of the American Postal Workers Union.
Negotiations continue at an agonizingly slow pace that is not unusual, but nevertheless disappointing. Discussions continue on a number of issues involving improved working conditions and contractual language clarifying the role of union representatives. Proposals and counter-proposals have been exchanged on the important issues of wages, health benefits, and upgrades, but the pace has been unacceptably slow. Obviously, there will not be a negotiated contract without agreement on these issues.
With the exception of the 1975 contract, APWU negotiations have historically gone to the final hours before agreement has been reached, so the slow pace in these negotiations is not unusual or unanticipated. The fact that all of the craft unions are engaged in bargaining at the same time adds to delay, as the attention of management representatives is divided among the demands of each bargaining table.
At this stage, I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic as the process winds to a conclusion. I continue my commitment to a contract that is worthy of the contribution of APWU members and stand by the APWU commitment to “reach agreement if we can, but arbitrate if we must.”
Thank you for calling in, and keep the faith.
This message will be updated on Monday, Nov. 20.
The toll-free number for the APWU Contract Negotiations Hotline is 800-992-APWU (or 800-992-2798).