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Contracting Out

USPS Must Stop Work
With Fraudulent Contractors

(04/19/10) In February, the APWU’s fight against improper subcontracting intensified when the union demanded that the USPS sever ties with a company that defrauded its employees of more than $1.8 million in wages and benefits over a three-year period. As many MVS employees know, subcontracting takes a tremendous toll on postal jobs. [read more]


APWU Wins Important
Maintenance Subcontracting Grievance
(02/26/10) The union won a major victory against subcontracting Feb. 10, when Arbitrator Shyam Das directed the USPS to assign Maintenance Craft employees to maintain computers at approximately 8,000 of the nation’s largest associate offices. The arbitrator also instructed management and the union to discuss the possibility of assigning additional computer maintenance work at AOs to the Maintenance Craft. [read more]


USPS Refuses to Sever Ties with Subcontractor That Defrauds Drivers of Wages, Benefits
(02/22/10) Last month, newspapers reported a settlement between the Department of Labor and a USPS subcontractor that exemplifies the problem with postal subcontracting: After three years of defrauding its workers of pay and benefits, the contractor, MT Transportation & Logistics Services, Inc. was ordered to pay employees $1.8 million in back wages, and was barred from entering into new federal contracts for three years.  The Postal Service’s reaction? Despite the contractor’s illegal treatment of its workers, current contracts with the disgraced company will remain in effect, the USPS said. [read more]


Fighting Contract Postal Units;
Protecting Retail Jobs
(08/24/09) The USPS announcement in May that more than 3,200 stations and branches in Level 24-and-above post offices would be evaluated for possible consolidation or closure has sparked great concern across the country. Retail employees are understandably fearful that their jobs will be eliminated, and many union activists are convinced that management plans to replace the stations and branches with Contract Postal Units (CPUs), which are owned and run by non-postal employees. [read more]


APWU Assails Office of the Inspector General
On Custodial Subcontracting Recommendations
(06/10/09) APWU President William Burrus has strenuously objected to a recommendation in a recent audit by the USPS Office of the Inspector General that “blatantly urges postal management to seek an end to restrictions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement on custodial subcontracting.”The report on Custodial Maintenance operations in the New York District “does not respect the legally required bargaining process,” Burrus said in a June 4 letter to Inspector General David Williams. [read more]


Burrus Testifies on Capitol Hill:
To Survive, USPS Must Change Strategy
(05/20/09) In testimony before a House panel May 20, APWU President William Burrus told lawmakers that if the Postal Service is to survive, it must re-examine its overall strategy. He emphasized that the need was urgent for passage of H.R. 22, which would allow the USPS to pay its share of contributions for annuitants’ health benefits out of a retirees fund rather than from its operating budget. [read more]


Bill to Limit Postal Subcontracting
Introduced in House of Representatives
(03/30/09) Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives on March 24 that would restrict USPS subcontracting. The Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 1686), which is backed by the APWU, is modeled on a bill the Congressman introduced in November 2007. The bill would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before engaging in significant subcontracting, and would require the USPS to submit to arbitration if management and the affected unions were unable to reach agreement. [read more]


USPS Abandons Plan to Outsource;
Management to Revamp BMC Network
(03/12/09) The Postal Service has abandoned plans to outsource the work performed at 21 Bulk Mail Centers, and instead will revamp the BMC network, the USPS Senior Vice President for Operations told the APWU on March 10. The change in strategy was prompted by the nation’s financial crisis and the subsequent drop in the volume of flats. [read more]


Subcontracting Practices
Contribute to USPS Woes

(01/01/09) When we look at the USPS and its treatment of Postal Vehicle Service, we see the same sort of phenomena that led to the economic collapse: unregulated practices. In the case of the Motor Vehicle Craft, the unregulated practices involve subcontracting. [read more]


New Jersey BMC Workers
Rally Against Privatization
(10/30/08) Given a boost by local and national elected officials, APWU members rallied in northern New Jersey on Oct. 27 to protest plans by the Postal Service to privatize Bulk Mail Centers. Reps. Donald Payne and Albio Sires, both Democrats, addressed an estimated 300 postal workers and their supporters. [read more]


Nine More U.S. Reps.
Co-Sponsor H.R. 4236

(10/06/08) In the month of September, nine more members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed on to the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236), a bill that would limit wasteful, inefficient, and detrimental subcontracting practices by the U.S. Postal Service.
[read more]


Rep. Lynch Asks Boston Managers
To Explain Subcontracting Policy
(10/01/08) Expressing concern about the outsourcing of maintenance and repair work on postal vehicles, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) wrote to the USPS Boston District Manager on Sept. 22, and asked for an explanation of USPS policy.

“It is my understanding that the vehicle maintenance work is currently being contracted out at an hourly rate which exceeds that of USPS” employees, he said. In addition, Lynch said he had seen documentation indicating that some of the work failed to adhere to maintenance guidelines and risked harm to the environment. [read more]


Congressman, Postal Workers
Protest BMC Privatization

(09/15/08) Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) joined more than 100 postal workers and their families at a press conference outside the Philadelphia Bulk Mail Center Sept. 12, protesting plans to privatize operations at the nation’s 21 BMCs. Outsourcing the work would hurt service and result in a loss of union jobs, they said. The Postal Service announced plans to subcontract work performed at the BMCs in January. [read more]


Delegates Vow to Fight
Privatization of Parcel Post
(08/25/08) On the final day of the APWU 19th Biennial Convention, delegates adopted a resolution calling on the union’s national leadership to “lead and organize resistance to any/all attempts to privatize the parcel business.” Resolution 161, Fight Privatization of Parcel Business, also encouraged union members to urge elected legislators to delay implementation of any provisions of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 that allow for the privatization of postal work. The law requires Congress to review the underpinnings of the Postal Service, including universal service, the mailbox monopoly, six-day delivery, and the postal network. [read more]


H.R. 4236 Gains 16 More Co-Sponsors
(08/06/08) Sixteen more members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed up in July to become co-sponsors of the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236), a bill that would limit wasteful, inefficient, and detrimental subcontracting practices by the U.S. Postal Service. The total number of co-sponsors now stands at 135. The bill, 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 would protect inexpensive, trustworthy mail service for the American public. [read more]


USPS Unable to Justify Outsourcing, GAO Finds
(07/29/08) The Postal Service is unable to demonstrate that it saves money by outsourcing, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, because it has no comprehensive mechanism to measure savings. “Without cost-savings data, postal managers, stakeholders and Congress cannot assess the risk and value of outsourcing,” the GAO concluded. Nonetheless, the USPS will continue to “explore outsourcing opportunities” and is considering another major outsourcing initiative involving its bulk mail processing network, the report noted. [read more]


Management Issues Draft 'RFP'
To Subcontract
Some Work at Bulk Mail Centers
(07/09/08) The Postal Service has posted a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) [PDF] for a “Time-Definite Surface Network,” seeking comments from private companies that are interested in subcontracting work currently done at Bulk Mail Centers. The draft RFP is the latest step in a process that began last year when the Postal Service announced it was considering outsourcing some of the duties performed at the 21 BMCs across the country. [read more]


Support Keeps Growing
For Mail Network Protection Act
(07/02/08) As Congress broke for its July 4 recess, a total of 119 members of the U.S. House of Representatives had become co-sponsors of the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236) to help preserve inexpensive, trustworthy mail service for the American public. The bill would help reduce wasteful, inefficient, and detrimental subcontracting by the U.S. Postal Service by requiring the USPS to bargain with postal unions before it engages in significant contracting-out. [read more]


Postal Privatization Scheme
Fails to Deliver in Great Britain
(07/01/08) Postal privatization in the United Kingdom has produced “no significant benefits” for consumers or small businesses, and has posed “a substantial threat” to universal service, according to a preliminary study released in May.

The independent review also found that while large mailers have benefited from the nation’s efforts to “foster competition,” privatization will undermine the Royal Mail, Great Britain’s government-run postal service, which was expected to co-exist with private competitors. [read more]


USPS ‘Network Plan’
Would Adversely Effect Postal Workers, Service
(06/26/08) The Postal Service’s latest plan to realign its mail processing, transportation, and retail network “would adversely affect APWU-represented employees and disrupt mail service to the American public,” APWU President William Burrus said in an update for union members. “Regrettably, postal management has developed a business plan that relies almost exclusively on reducing work hours as a means of remaining financially solvent,” he noted. “This is a failed strategy and it cannot sustain America’s mail service.” [read more]


Six More U.S. Representatives
Co-Sponsor Mail Network Protection Act
(06/23/08) APWU efforts to build support in Congress for the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236) continued to gain ground over the last two weeks, as six more members of the U.S. House of Representatives endorsed the measure to help preserve inexpensive, trustworthy mail service for the American public. [read more]


Mail Network Protection Act
Gains Six More Co-Sponsors
(06/06/08) Six more members of the U.S. House of Representatives have become co-sponsors of the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236). Thanks to continuing grassroots action by APWU locals across the country, a total of 110 representatives — more than a quarter of the House membership — have signed-on to legislation to curtail against wasteful, inefficient, and detrimental subcontracting practices by the U.S. Postal Service. [read more]


Support for H.R. 4236 Tops 100
(05/21/08) Thanks to continuing legislative outreach efforts by APWU locals, 10 additional members of the U.S. House of Representatives have become co-sponsors of the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236). To date, a total of 104 representatives — nearly a quarter of the House membership — have taken a stand against wasteful, inefficient, and detrimental subcontracting by the U.S. Postal Service. [read more]


Another Dozen U.S. Reps.
Sign On to Mail Network Protection Act
(05/13/08) APWU efforts to build support in Congress for the Mail Network Protection Act got a big boost in the last two weeks, as 12 more members of the U.S. House of Representatives became co-sponsors. The bill (H.R. 4236) would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before it engages in significant contracting-out. [read more]


OIG Studies Support APWU Position
Subcontracting Fails Workers, Consumers, and the USPS
(05/01/08) Postal Service outsourcing practices often prove to be wasteful and inefficient, resulting in poor customer service and undermining the USPS. Recent reports by the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) support the APWU position that mail processing, transportation, and retail services often cost the Postal Service more than if the work were kept in-house. [read more]


Six More U.S. Representatives
Co-Sponsor Mail Network Protection Act
(04/28/08) Six more members of the U.S. House of Representatives have become co-sponsors of the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236) in support of the union’s efforts to reduce wasteful, inefficient, and detrimental subcontracting by the U.S. Postal Service. The legislation would help preserve inexpensive, trustworthy mail service for the American public as well as USPS jobs by requiring the USPS to bargain with postal unions before it engages in significant contracting-out. [read more]


Mail Network Protection Act
Gains Eight More Co-Sponsors
(04/17/08) Eight more members of the U.S. House of Representatives have become co-sponsors of the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236) in the past two weeks, thanks to continuing outreach efforts by APWU locals. The legislation would help reduce wasteful, inefficient, and detrimental subcontracting by requiring the USPS to bargain with postal unions before it engages in significant contracting-out. [read more]


10 More U.S. Representatives
Co-Sponsor Mail Network Protection Act
(04/03/08) 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). [read more]


Inspector General:
USPS Wasted $17.8 Million on FedEx Contract
(03/17/08) 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. [read more]


Mail Network Protection Act
Steadily Gaining Co-Sponsors
(03/14/08) 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. [read more]


Get Involved in the Process
(03/01/08) The year 2008 will present several opportunities for APWU members to engage themselves in the legislative process. The opportunities include the battle to enact the Mail Network Protection Act, the presidential primaries, and the national elections this fall.
[read more]


Grassroots Coordinators Go to Work
(03/01/08) Four “grassroots coordinators” joined the APWU’s Legislative Department in January to work on the union’s political-campaign efforts. After initial training at APWU headquarters, the new staffers were assigned to the field. [read more]


Anti-Subcontracting Measure Attracting Support
(02/28/08) Several more “co-sponsors” have signed on to show their support for the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236), which would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before it engages in significant subcontracting. [read more]


APWU Requests Investigation
Of Private Contractors’ Use of USPS Property
(02/27/08) APWU President William Burrus has asked USPS Inspector General David Williams to conduct an audit of the postal practice of permitting subcontractors to park trucks and store equipment on USPS property free-of-charge. The practice raises USPS operating costs and defers potential revenue, Burrus charged in a Feb. 22 letter to the Inspector General (IG). [read more]


Anti-Subcontracting Bill Picking Up ‘Co-Sponsors’
(01/31/08) The Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236), which would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before it engages in significant subcontracting, has been steadily gaining sponsorship in the House. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) on Nov. 15, and support for the measure has been picking up steam since 2008 began. [read more]


Postal Service Says It Will Request
Proposals to Outsource Some BMC Activities
(01/18/08) The Postal Service has notified the union that it intends to issue a Request for Proposals for the outsourcing of some Bulk Mail Center activities. At a Jan. 9 meeting with APWU national officers, postal officials presented a “pre-decisional briefing” on its Request for Information (RFI) Concerning a Time-Definite Surface Network. The briefing was a follow-up to a Sept. 11, 2007, meeting. [read more]


Union President Asks Locals, States
To Seek Support for Subcontracting Legislation
(01/09/08) APWU President William Burrus has asked the union’s state and local presidents to encourage APWU members to write to their U.S. representatives and ask them to co-sponsor and support the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236). The bill, introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) on Nov. 15, 2007, would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before it engages in significant subcontracting. [read more]


An Anti-Subcontracting Bill
(01/01/08) The APWU won a major victory Nov. 15, with the introduction of a bill that would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before making a commitment to significant subcontracting. The union had been strongly advocating such legislation for several months. [read more]


House ‘Mail Network Protection Act’ Gains
Seven Co-Sponsors Prior to Holiday Break
(12/26/07) Seven U.S. representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 4236, the Mail Network Protection Act introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). Introduced in the House on Nov. 15, the bill would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before engaging in significant subcontracting. The union has been strenuously advocating such legislation for several months, including in congressional testimony in April and July.
[read more]


APWU Seeks Support for ‘Mail Network Protection Act’
(12/19/07) The APWU has written to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives, asking them to co-sponsor and support the Mail Network Protection Act (H.R. 4236), which would require the Postal Service to bargain with unions before committing to significant subcontracting. [read more]


Rep. Lynch Seeks Support for ‘Mail Network Protection Act’
(12/12/07) Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) has asked his congressional colleagues to co-sponsor legislation he introduced last month that would require the Postal Service to bargain with unions before engaging in significant subcontracting. Lynch’s Dec. 11, 2007, letter to fellow representatives outlines the importance of the legislation in maintaining the security of the mail network. While noting that contracting out core postal functions impacts “the allocation of work,” he said “this alarming trend bears much broader implications in terms of compromising the security of the U.S. mail network. [read more]


APWU-Backed Bill Introduced in Congress
Legislation Would Compel USPS to Bargain Over Subcontracting
(11/19/07) The APWU won a significant victory Nov. 15, with the introduction of a bill that would require the Postal Service to bargain with postal unions before engaging in significant subcontracting. The union has been strenuously advocating such legislation for several months. The bill (H.R. 4236), introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), would affect private contracts involving mail processing, mail handling, or surface transportation of mail, provided that over a 12-month period it involved the equivalent of $5 million or 50 work-years. If signed into law, it would require the USPS to bargain with the affected unions before awarding such contracts. [read more]


Former U.S. President Bill Clinton discussed postal subcontracting and a wide range of other issues during a speech to the union’s All-Craft Conference Nov. 5 in Las Vegas.

'Soaking the Taxpayers'
(11/06/07) ...Addressing problems that directly affect APWU members and other workers, President Bill Clinton said he opposes the privatization of public services, noting that subcontracting often proves to be more costly.

“I thank you for your steadfast opposition to privatization of the Postal Service and the unnecessary private contracting that’s been done in the last seven years, which I think has wasted a lot of money and undermined the public interest,” he said.

Referring to recent revelations that it costs more than twice as much for contract employees to provide diplomatic security and other services in Iraq, Clinton said, “I thought we were supposed to be contracting-out because it saved the taxpayers money, not soaked the taxpayers.” [read more]


The USPS “has begun to travel resolutely down the road of privatization without authorization from Congress” — or the American people." The subcontracting of postal work “is just one aspect of a dangerous trend: the wholesale conversion of a vital public service to one performed privately for profit.”
— Testimony of APWU President William Burrus before a U.S. Senate panel, July 25, 2007

Burrus to Congress:
Service Undermined by Privatization Push
(09/01/07) The USPS “has begun to travel resolutely down the road of privatization,” APWU President William Burrus told a Senate subcommittee on July 25, “without authorization from Congress” — or the American people. The subcontracting of postal work, he warned, “is just one aspect of a dangerous trend: the wholesale conversion of a vital public service to one performed privately for profit.” [read more]


Burrus Tells Congress:
Compel USPS to Bargain Over Subcontracting
(07/20/07) If Congress wants to limit USPS subcontracting, lawmakers should enact legislation compelling the Postal Service to bargain over the issue, APWU President William Burrus told a House subcommittee on July 19, rather than intervening in specific
contracting-out disputes. [read more]


House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on USPS
(04/18/07) On April 17, 2007, APWU President William Burrus testified before the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, in the first congressional oversight hearing since the enactment of postal reform legislation in December. "My message to Congress was that APWU vigorously opposes subcontracting work performed by postal employees, but there are many problems associated with separating one type of subcontracting from the dozens of others," Burrus said in a report to union members. [read more]


Postal Service Continues Plans to Close AMCs
(03/23/07) As part of an ongoing effort to outsource postal work, the USPS recently outlined management’s continuing plans to eliminate Air Mail Centers across the country. Two letters to the APWU provide additional details about plans management announced over the summer. [read more]


Union President Condemns USPS Plans to Privatize AMCs
(07/10/06) APWU President William Burrus has denounced Postal Service plans to subcontract work currently performed by bargaining unit employees at more than half of the nation’s Air Mail Centers. “This ill-advised adventure would privatize an important and sensitive sector of the United States Postal Service, slashing the postal workforce and jeopardizing security and service to ordinary citizens,” he said. “Once again, management is succumbing to the demands of the big advertising mailers.” [read more]


USPS Jobs, Relevance Threatened
(05/01/06) Your job and livelihood are under attack by the postal Service consolidation “plan.” Your facility may not be specifically targeted, but a large number are, and if these consolidations are implemented, there will be a huge cost-savings for the biggest mailers, and the communities we serve will find the USPS to be less relevant. When the service to the average citizen is reduced, the ease with which your job can be contracted is increased.
[read more]

USPS Outsourcing Projects Fail to Deliver

“Time after time, when postal operations have been contracted to the private sector, cost increases and inefficiency have been the result. When the work is returned, costs decrease and efficiency improves.”

— APWU President William Burrus, testifying before the President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service, April 29, 2003.

Click here to read about failed USPS outsourcing initiatives involving Priority Mail Centers, trucking contracts, Mail Transport Equipment Service Centers, as well as excessive "work-sharing" discounts for large mailers. (From The American Postal Worker magazine, July/August 2003.)

 

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