Nurses’ Contract Headed for Interest Arbitration
APWU Web News Article #89-08, Sept. 24, 2008
The union and the Postal Service have agreed to submit to an interest arbitrator disputed contract issues for APWU-represented postal nurses. The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the National Postal Professional Nurses-APWU and the USPS expired Aug. 20, 2007.
The parties met several times last fall, and continued to exchange information and proposals this year, including during off-the-record sessions. After the most recent meeting, on Sept. 15, the parties agreed to have an interest arbitrator resolve the outstanding issues. The nurses will be represented in arbitration by APWU attorneys.
“During the past year, NPPN-APWU members have waited patiently for a new contract, with improvements in wages, hours, and working conditions,” said Support Services Division Director Bill Manley. “Our nurses have suffered the record-breaking increases in gas prices without any additional compensation.”
NPPN President Idell Mitchell and Vice-President Maria Hicks have been part of the negotiations and are well aware that the past year has been difficult. “We want our nurses to know that our goals have not changed,” Mitchell said. “We will continue to negotiate in good faith, and will persevere until we get a contract that is worthy to present to our members.”
“We want our nurses to stay the course and have faith in the negotiating process,” added Hicks.
The two officers said they are pleased by the solidarity shown in the bargaining unit, and that the union continues to recruit new members. Manley said that negotiations would continue during preparations for interest arbitration. Nurses in the NPPN unit are urged to contact their negotiation committee members for further information.
The NPPN-APWU Negotiation Committee consists of Mitchell (based in Washington) and Hicks (Detroit), and Executive Board members Jane Freeman (Orlando), Emily Jones (Chicago), and Suzanne Deweese (Indianapolis), and Manley.
The nurses union, which has had collective bargaining agreements with the USPS since 1978, voted to affiliate with the APWU shortly before its contract expired last year. The union represents 140 nurses at approximately 50 locations.