Tuesday, November 2, 2010

USPS Wage, Benefit Proposal: An Insult to Postal Workers

Burrus Update #19-2010, Nov. 1, 2010

Contract negotiations took a dramatic turn today as postal management presented its economic proposal, which would establish employees’ wages and benefits for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. Notwithstanding my expectation that management would seek to restrain costs, I was surprised to receive a USPS proposal that would destroy 20 years of progress.

Postmaster General Potter has said he intends to protect current employees by “grandfathering” their wages, and imposing lower pay and benefits on future employees. Management’s wage proposal reflects that objective: It would severely reduce the pay and benefits of employees hired after the signing of a new agreement, and would make postal jobs substantially less desirable.

Management’s proposal is just one step in the bargaining process, which requires additional intense negotiations — but it is not a good starting point.

Upon receipt of the proposal, I informed USPS negotiators that it is an insult to all postal employees who have dedicated their working lives to maintaining the best postal system in the world. There is zero possibility that the union will agree to wage cuts.

We hope that as bargaining proceeds, management will join us and engage in serious dialogue about the terms and conditions of a new contract. We have come too far to consider revisiting the past.

William Burrus

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