Union says USPS consolidation plan violates collective bargaining agreement

Thinkstock
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.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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