Union Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge Over USPS Refusal to Provide Information on Consolidations
08/04/2011 - The APWU has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) protesting the Postal Service’s refusal to provide the union with information regarding Area Mail Processing (AMP) feasibility studies. The union contends that management’s failure to provide the information constitutes a breach of its obligation to bargain in good faith.
On May 10, 2011, the APWU wrote to the Postal Service requesting information about AMP feasibility studies. “Before undertaking a consolidation study, the USPS must consider the impact consolidation would have on the community, service standard changes, impact on customer service, impact on operations at gaining and losing facilities, equipment deployment, and the likelihood of potential savings and efficiencies,” wrote Executive Vice President Greg Bell in the union's request for information. The union also requested a copy of available AMP feasibility studies prior to public input meetings and before a final decision is made. The union currently receives redacted copies of the AMP studies after the USPS makes its decision.
In a June 20 letter, the USPS denied the union’s request in its entirety. The data requested by the APWU was not relevant to bargaining, management asserted, and providing the information would slow the decision-making process.
The Postal Service also refused to provide un-redacted copies of AMP studies and Post Implementation Reviews (“PIR”) after decisions have been made and facilities have been relocated. The Postal Service maintained the information would aid competitors and rejected the idea of a confidentiality agreement, claiming such an agreement would be ineffective.
The union’s unfair labor practice charge asserted that the information is relevant to enforcing the Collective Bargaining Agreement and to providing input to the Postal Service about decisions that would directly affect bargaining unit employees.
Many APWU locals have expressed frustration with management’s refusal to provide the information, and their concerns have been echoed by community residents and local businesses. They ask, “How can we provide meaningful input, without access to information about the effect on the community, changes in service standards, and the impact on customer service?”
The Postal Service also has refused to provide un-redacted information to members of the House of Representatives and Senate whose constituents are affected by consolidations. At a time when the Postal Service is seeking support from members of Congress on major issues, it makes little sense to deny their requests for information concerning consolidation of postal operations in their area, Bell commented.