Union says USPS consolidation plan violates collective bargaining agreement

A labor union representing postal workers is blasting a U.S. Postal Service consolidation plan as violating the terms of a 2010 collective bargaining agreement.

USPS in May announced a strategy to reduce operating hours to enable it to keep open rural post offices previously slated for closure. In 2011, the agency studied 3,700 post offices for possible closure. Under the May plan, USPS announced it will look at an additional 13,000 post offices for potential cost-saving options other than closure.

The options, based on meetings between agency officials and local communities, include cutting back hours and labor reductions. Under its strategy, USPS proposed leaving as many as 9,000 rural post offices open only two to four hours daily, and limiting employees at an additional 4,000 offices to a six-hour workday. Postmasters at reduced hour locations would switch to part-time work, with moderated or no benefits, becoming postmaster reliefs -- noncareer employees who currently work on a postmaster’s day off.

USPS sees the strategy as a compromise and a good deal for the large percentage of its workforce nearing retirement. Becoming a part-time retiree and working as a postmaster-relief employee would not affect retirement benefits accrued as postmasters, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has said switching workers from full- to part-time arrangements would generate most of the $500 million in savings identified in the plan. The overall consolidation plan would reduce the size of the USPS workforce by about 13,000 employees, but the agency has said it wants to avoid layoffs and provide alternative options for those affected.

The American Postal Workers Union in a July 2 statement called the proposal a direct violation of a 2010 collective bargaining agreement with USPS. In an earlier letter to USPS, Cliff Guffey, president of the union, said the plan raises “serious questions about how the Postal Service plans to reconcile [its plan] with the [its] commitments in the APWU national agreement.”

In a statement posted on its website, the union said using postmaster-relief employees as permanent replacements for postmasters and having the relief employees do work that is neither supervisory nor managerial violate the terms of the agreement.

“This plan to cover window hours in solely retail operations at the impacted rural post offices with nonbargaining unit, nonsupervisory and nonmanagerial PMRs is a blatant rejection of key underpinnings of the national agreement, as well as the law,” Guffey said.

Saunders cautioned that USPS’ May 9 consolidation plan was only one option; post office hours are tailored to specific communities’ needs under the plan.

“We disagree with the APWU’s allegations and are in compliance with our negotiated labor contract,” USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said.

The Postal Regulatory Commission will meet to review the plan next week. It has requested more details on how the agency’s modified strategy would change the efficiency of mail delivery.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.