Volume XXXI No. 9 May 18, 2001
APWU Demands Congressional Support of USPS and Postal Workers!
Moe Biller to Congress:
'Postal Reform' Drive Must Protect USPS And APWU Members!
President Moe Biller presented the union's views on "Postal
Reform" legislation before the House Committee on Government
Reform on Wednesday, May 16, 2001. Biller's testimony shot
down the arguments being put forth by the Postal Board of Governors
and postal management, which are being used to create a phony "crisis" in
the Postal Service as a pretext for reducing postal services
and attacking the rights and jobs of postal workers.
Biller's testimony drew on his 64 years in postal service,
which included the following perspective:
long-term perspective I want to offer begins 31 years ago.
In 1970, postal workers-who were at that time Federal Government
employees-engaged in a nationwide work stoppage. They withheld
their labor because working conditions were intolerable and
wage levels were unacceptably low. In 1970, postal workers
in New York City qualified for welfare.
is important to recall that, in the Postal Reorganization Act
[of 1970], Congress addressed the problem of inadequate pay
by enacting an increase in postal wages. Thereafter, Congress
wisely provided for free collective bargaining over wages,
hours and working conditions.
1970 through 2000, the real wages of bargaining-unit postal
employees (wages adjusted for inflation) have remained virtually
unchanged. Those who call for a decrease in postal workers'
compensation as a way of saving money must confront this fact.
Postal workers will not accept a cut in real wages. We will
not go back to inadequate pay. Any attempt to take that approach
to the financial problems of the Postal Service would be self-defeating.
whether your perspective is short term (within the last three
to six years) or long term (the 31 years since postal reorganization),
the present financial crisis should not be permitted to obscure
the fact that the Postal Service has succeeded in keeping postage
rates in line with the underlying rate of inflation in our
I want to discuss . . . the contribution of rank-and-file workers
to the success of the United States Postal Service.
this time, bargaining-unit wages are only 57 percent of Postal
Service operating revenue. I want to emphasize that this 57
percent includes all bargaining-unit employees combined, not
just APWU-bargaining-unit employees.
automation has reduced labor costs as a proportion of postal
revenues. Postal workers are now more productive than ever,
and postal worker productivity has played an important part
in keeping postal rates in line with inflation in the economy.
I want to outline the principles the APWU considers of fundamental
importance should Congress consider legislation to change the
The rate-making process as it presently exists takes too long.
Either the present rate-making process must be compressed into
six months or less, or it should be replaced with a different
Legislation must protect universal postal service, including
six-day delivery of mail. This is essential both for the public
welfare and for the financial health of the United States Postal
We support the provision of pricing flexibility for the Postal
Service. As close observers of the antiquated postal rate-making
process, and of the marketplace, we are convinced that the
Postal Service has been forced to operate in a highly competitive
market with one hand tied behind its back. Additional pricing
flexibility is warranted; and
Postal Governors Launch Legislative Assault
the eve of President Biller's congressional appearance, the
USPS Board of Governors submitted its own proposal for postal "reform" legislation.
This proposal would put postal workers under the federal Railway
Labor Act, instead of the National Labor Relations Act, and
thereby put postal workers' wages at the whim of the Congress
and the President of the United States. Postal collective bargaining
would be a thing of the past.
Biller addressed this last-minute surprise in a separate statement,
which said, in part:
Board of Governors' proposal is contrary to every sound tenet
of labor relations. Postal workers would be deprived of free
collective bargaining, while the Postal Service is deprived
of its stated goals. . . .
APWU supports giving postal workers the right to strike under
the National Labor Relations Act. If the Postal Service wants
to be treated like a private-sector employer, for example,
United Parcel Service, postal employees should be covered by
the NLRA and have the right to strike."
Postal Workers Union President Moe Biller, accompanied
by Executive Vice President William Burrus, presented
APWU's views on possible "Postal Reform" legislation
at a May 16, 2001, hearing conducted by House Government
Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton (R-IN). Biller
introduced his statement, part of which is reprinted
in the main story at left, by saying, "The
testimony we give today is not just our personal testimony
. . . it is given on behalf of the 366,000 dedicated
employees of the United States Postal Service represented
by the American Postal Workers Union."
24-25, 2001, in Madison, WI
next meeting of the National Presidents' Conference will be
held in the Central Region on Sunday June 24 and Monday June
25, 2001 at the Madison Concourse and Governor's Club at One
West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53703.
host local president is Steve G. Raymer, 608-249-2755; Badgerland@aol.com.
The conference will be held from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday
and from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday. A fee of $50.00 will be
collected at registration, which will be held from 3:00 pm
to 7:00 pm on Saturday, June 23, 2001 at the Madison Concourse
Hotel and Governor's Club.
register in advance, complete the form below and send it by
June 1, 2001 to the address given, along with a check or money
order for $50.00 payable to "APWU Presidents' Conference."
items will be accepted until June 1, 2001. Fax to 910-485-7909,
or mail to Tony D. McKinnon, Sr., 2606 Raeford Road, Suite
11, Fayetteville, NC 28303. Items may also be submitted by
e-mail until the day of the conference at Najar@att.net. Please
be as thorough and explanatory as possible. Agenda items will
be accepted at the conference, but those sent in advance will
items should include the following information: local name;
local president; local address, phone, fax, and e-mail; type
of issue (national, collective bargaining, operational, regional
or local), title for agenda item, explanation, and any documents
that could assist the chair. You will be contacted if your
agenda item needs further explanation.
make reservations at the Madison Concourse and Governor's Club,
phone the hotel at 608-257-6000. Room rates are $99/single,
$109/double ($10 for each additional person). All guest room
rates are subject to the current 13.5 percent tax, which is
subject to change. Please identify yourself with the APWU Presidents'
Conference. Check-in time is after 3:00 pm.
President Raymer has blocked rooms for Friday, June 22 through
Tuesday, June 26 at the above rate. If you intend to arrive
before Friday, please contact him to assist in securing arrangements.
A complementary shuttle from the airport to the hotel is available
through the local; delegates may call ahead with their flight
arrival information or call from the airport. The hotel is
90 minutes from the Milwaukee airport and two hours from O'Hare
REC Site Conference registration will take place at the Madison
Concourse and Governor's Club on Saturday June 23, 2001,
beginning at 9:00 am. It is open to all presidents, officers
and stewards with REC concerns. The registration fee is $15.00
per delegate. Please submit advance agenda items to Morline
Moore, Chairman, PO Box 469, Beaumont, TX 77704, no later
than June 1, 2001. If you have any questions, contact Moore
APWU National Presidents' Conference June 24-25, 2001
Delegate____ Alternate____ (choose one)
____Enclosed is a check or money order for $50.00, payable to "APWU Presidents' Conference."
|Steve G. Raymer,
Madison WI Area Local
P.O. Box 7711
Madison, WI 53707