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Congressmen Denounce
USPS Bid to Break Contract

APWU Web News Article 099-2011, Sept. 12, 2011

Two U.S. Representatives have denounced Postal Service legislative proposals to abrogate its collective bargaining agreements with postal unions.

In a sharply-worded letter [PDF] to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), condemned management’s proposals to dissolve “no lay-off” provisions in union contracts and to remove postal employees from federal retirement plans and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).

On May 23, 2011, the USPS signed a four-year contract [PDF] with the APWU that retained federal retirement and health benefits and maintained protection against layoffs for career employees. But in August, the USPS announced that it would ask Congress to introduce legislation removing postal employees from the federal benefits programs and giving management the authority to lay off 120,000 workers.

“These requests call into question the good faith of the Postal Service,” Cummings and Lynch wrote.

"To now ask Congress to nullify part of this same contract less than five months after it was concluded is neither fair to Postal Service employees nor helpful to the Postal Service’s credibility in future negotiations… [Postal] employees deserve to have their commitments honored,” they wrote.

“The Postal Service enjoys broad support among the American people, and we are proud of the excellent service it continues to provide. We believe the Postal Service can continue this tradition without abandoning the collective bargaining process and dismantling employee rights,” they said.

The letter from the two Congressmen was written on the same day that APWU President Cliff Guffey told a Senate committee that the USPS legislative proposals were “outrageous, illegal, and despicable.”

“We are outraged by the Postal Service’s attempt to abrogate the agreement on the subject of layoff protections for APWU bargaining unit members we signed only a few months ago,” he said.

Rep. Cummings and Rep. Stephen Lynch are the ranking Democrats of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, and its Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, respectively, which have jurisdiction over the Postal Service.

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