04/14/2008 - APWU members rose to an important challenge in recent weeks: Postal workers submitted more than half of the postings to a Department of Labor Web site that features comments regarding proposed revisions to the Family & Medical Leave Act that would weaken the law. By the deadline for submissions on April 11, more than 1,600 comments had been posted on www.regulations.gov; of those, approximately 900 were from postal workers.
04/14/2008 - APWU President William Burrus has asked President Bush to appoint a Postal Service Advisory Council, noting that the appointment of the panel is required by federal law. “The Postal Service is required to ‘consult with and receive the advice of the Advisory Council regarding all aspects of postal operations,’” Burrus wrote in an April 11 letter to Bush.
Deadline for Objecting to New Rules is Friday, April 11
04/08/2008 - Time is running out for union members to voice objections to new regulations proposed by the Department of Labor that would undermine employees’ medical privacy protections and make it more difficult for workers to exercise their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
04/03/2008 - Since Congress returned from its Easter recess on March 31, 10 additional members of the House of Representatives have taken a stand against wasteful, inefficient, and detrimental subcontracting by signing on to the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236).
The legislation, introduced last November by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before it engages in significant contracting-out and protect inexpensive, trustworthy mail service for the American public.
Union Vows to Challenge USPS Secrecy in Other Forums
04/02/2008 - A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit by the APWU and the Consumer Alliance for Postal Services (CAPS), which sought access to the meetings and records of the Postal Service’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC).
The APWU suit alleges that by excluding representatives of individuals and small businesses, MTAC violates the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires the federal government to give the public access to the meetings and minutes of agency advisory committees. MTAC is composed exclusively of high-ranking USPS officials and representatives of large mailers, and portions of its activities are closed to public scrutiny.
04/02/2008 - The APWU National Executive Board has adopted a resolution criticizing Sen. John McCain for crossing a picket line of striking members of the Writers Guild to appear on the Tonight Show at the end of January. “This callous act by Sen. McCain showed an utter disregard for the efforts of ordinary workers to exact just and fair results in collective bargaining,” the resolution said.
FMLA: Here We Go Again
03/28/2008 - The headlines last July seemed to say it all: “Labor Department Study Affirms That FMLA Is Working as Intended.” So union activists were dismayed when seven months later the Department of Labor proposed sweeping new regulations for the FMLA.
“Business as usual, that’s the only reasonable explanation,” said APWU Legislative Department Director Myke Reid of the more-recent news stories. “It seems like corporate America just won’t give up in its quest to strip workers of their rights. I guess this is just one more excuse to flex their muscles before the Bush administration leaves office.”
03/25/2008 - Although a review by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of proposed USPS postage increases found that the rate hikes are within the price cap permitted by 2006 postal reform legislation, there was another less publicized — but highly significant — conclusion:
The proposed rates include a worksharing discount that exceeds the limits allowed under the law and amounts to an astounding 557.8 percent of postal savings.
03/17/2008 - An audit by the USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has concluded that during Fiscal Years 2005 and 2006, the Postal Service’s Pacific Area incurred approximately $17.8 million in unnecessary costs by the use of “expensive FedEx transportation to move mail that could have been moved on low-priced surface transportation or on less costly passenger airlines.
“The Postal Service also paid FedEx to sort mail when they could have avoided those costs by sorting the mail or properly preparing it for transport before giving it to FedEx,” the audit [NL-AR-08-002, Feb. 2008] found. The report estimated that the Pacific Area USPS could save approximately $45 million over the next 10 years by eliminating the unnecessary expenditures.
03/14/2008 - As of mid-March, 55 members of the House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of an anti-subcontracting measure supported by the APWU. The Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236), which was introduced in November by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before it engages in significant contracting-out.
APWU President Burrus has identified gaining additional co-sponsors for the bill as a top priority for APWU activists. “It is imperative that union members contact their representatives and let them know that this bill is important to the future of the Postal Service and to postal workers.”