Thursday, September 15, 2011

Union Denounces USPS Plans to Dismantle Mail Processing Network

APWU Web News Article 101-2011, Sept. 15, 2011

APWU President Cliff Guffey condemned USPS plans to study 252 mail processing facilities for possible closure, saying widespread closures would “dismantle the mail-processing network.” On Sept. 14, the USPS released a list of offices where studies will take place.

“The Postal Service should be urging Congress to address the cause of its problems – not slashing service and demolishing its network,” the union president said.

A 2006 law has pushed the USPS to brink of insolvency by imposing a burden on the Postal Service that no other government agency or company bears. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires the Postal Service to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees. The mandate, which forces the agency to pre-fund a 75-year liability in just 10 years, costs the USPS more than $5.5 billion annually.

“The mail processing network is a major asset,” Guffey noted. “Destroying it is misguided and counterproductive.

“Degrading service is not the answer to the Postal Service’s problems,” he said, noting that extensive closures would force the USPS to reduce delivery standards and delay mail delivery. “The Postal Service should be looking for ways to strengthen service and increase its relevance in the age of digital communication.”

Guffey said he was extremely displeased by the Postal Service’s refusal to provide the union with any advance notice of its plans.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Contact Your Member of the House Today!

When Congress comes back into session right after Labor Day both Houses of Congress are going to be looking at revamping the Postal Service and/or fixing billions in FERS and CSRS overpayments which have been made by the Postal Service. Many bills have already been introduced in both Houses of Congress taking aim at overhauling the Postal Service while others look to allow access to billions in overpayments made by the Postal Service into both FERS and CSRS retirement funds. Multiple legislators have polarizing views as to how to fix the Postal Service and the USPS’s financial problems.

The APWU are asking our members to reach out and urge their member of Congress to cosponsor and support Congressman Lynch’s H.R. 1351, which will let the USPS use billions of dollars in CSRS and FERS overpayments to meet its financial obligations. Unlike, other bills that address the pension overpayments, H.R. 1351 will not attack the rights of workers to collectively bargain.
Also, tell your member of Congress to oppose Congressman Issa’s H.R. 2309. Rep. Darrell Issa’s H.R. 2309 does not correct the massive USPS overpayments to its CSRS and FERS pension accounts. Congressman Issa’s bill will wage an attack on current negotiated wages, benefits, and protection against layoffs of postal workers.
What can you do to help? Contact your member of Congress today! You can reach your member of Congress by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard today at (202) 224-3121 or to find your member of congress click here.

If you have not already sent a quick message to your member of congress asking them to cosponsor H.R. 1351 and oppose H.R. 2309 take action today by clicking both of the links below.
To send your member of congress a quick message asking them to cosponsor and support H.R. 1351 please click here.

To send a quick message to your member of congress asking them to oppose Congressman Issa’s H.R. 2309 please click here.

Below you will find a list of those members of Congress who have not yet signed on as a cosponsor of H.R. 1351. If you see your member of Congress listed below please reach out to them and ask that the cosponsor and support H.R. 1351.


Adams, Sandy    FL    24    R
Aderholt, Robert    AL    04    R
Akin, Todd    MO    02    R
Alexander, Rodney    LA    05    R
Amash, Justin    MI    03    R
Austria, Steve    OH    07    R
Bachmann, Michele    MN    06    R
Bachus, Spencer    AL    06    R
Baldwin, Tammy    WI    02    D
Barletta, Lou    PA    11    R
Barrow, John    GA    12    D
Bartlett, Roscoe    MD    06    R
Barton, Joe    TX    06    R
Becerra, Xavier    CA    31    D
Benishek, Dan    MI    01    R
Berg, Rick    ND    AL    R
Biggert, Judy    IL    13    R
Bilbray, Brian    CA    50    R
Bilirakis, Gus    FL    09    R
Bishop, Sanford    GA    02    D
Black, Diane    TN    06    R
Blackburn, Marsha    TN    07    R
Boehner, John    OH    08    R
Bonner, Josiah    AL    01    R
Bono Mack, Mary    CA    45    R
Boustany, Charles    LA    07    R
Brady, Kevin    TX    08    R
Brooks, Mo    AL    05    R
Broun, Paul    GA    10    R
Brown, Corrine    FL    03    D
Buchanan, Vern    FL    13    R
Bucshon, Larry    IN    08    R
Buerkle, Ann Marie    NY    25    R
Burgess, Michael    TX    26    R
Burton, Dan    IN    05    R
Calvert, Ken    CA    44    R
Camp, David    MI    04    R
Campbell, John    CA    48    R
Canseco, Francisco    TX    23    R
Cantor, Eric    VA    07    R
Capito, Shelley    WV    02    R
Carney, John    DE    AL    D
Cassidy, William    LA    06    R
Chabot, Steve    OH    01    R
Chaffetz, Jason    UT    03    R
Christensen, Donna    VI    DL    D
Clyburn, James    SC    06    D
Coble, Howard    NC    06    R
Coffman, Mike    CO    06    R
Cole, Thomas    OK    04    R
Conaway, Michael    TX    11    R
Cooper, Jim    TN    05    D
Cravaack, Chip    MN    08    R
Crawford, Eric    AR    01    R
Crenshaw, Ander    FL    04    R
Cuellar, Henry    TX    28    D
Culberson, John    TX    07    R
Davis, Geoffrey    KY    04    R
DeFazio, Peter    OR    04    D
Denham, Jeff    CA    19    R
DesJarlais, Scott    TN    04    R
Diaz-Balart, Lincoln    FL    21    R
Dicks, Norman    WA    06    D
Dold, Robert    IL    10    R
Donnelly, Joseph    IN    02    D
Dreier, David    CA    26    R
Duffy, Sean    WI    07    R
Duncan, Jeff    SC    03    R
Duncan, John    TN    02    R
Ellmers, Renee    NC    02    R
Farenthold, Blake    TX    27    R
Fincher, Stephen    TN    08    R
Flake, Jeffrey    AZ    06    R
Fleischmann, Charles    TN    03    R
Fleming, John    LA    04    R
Flores, Bill    TX    17    R
Forbes, J.    VA    04    R
Fortenberry, Jeffrey    NE    01    R
Foxx, Virginia    NC    05    R
Franks, Trent    AZ    02    R
Frelinghuysen, Rodney    NJ    11    R
Gallegly, Elton    CA    24    R
Gardner, Cory    CO    04    R
Garrett, Scott    NJ    05    R
Gibbs, Bob    OH    18    R
Gibson, Chris    NY    20    R
Giffords, Gabrielle    AZ    08    D
Gingrey, Phil    GA    11    R
Gohmert, Louie    TX    01    R
Goodlatte, Robert    VA    06    R
Gosar, Paul    AZ    01    R
Gowdy, Trey    SC    04    R
Granger, Kay    TX    12    R
Graves, Samuel    MO    06    R
Graves, Tom    GA    09    R
Griffin, Tim    AR    02    R
Griffith, Morgan    VA    09    R
Guinta, Franklin    NH    01    R
Guthrie, Brett    KY    02    R
Hall, Ralph    TX    04    R
Harper, Gregg    MS    03    R
Harris, Andy    MD    01    R
Hartzler, Vicky    MO    04    R
Hastings, Richard    WA    04    R
Hayworth, Nan    NY    19    R
Heck, Joseph    NV    03    R
Hensarling, Jeb    TX    05    R
Herger, Wally    CA    02    R
Herrera Beutler, Jaime    WA    03    R
Hoyer, Steny    MD    05    D
Huelskamp, Tim    KS    01    R
Huizenga, Bill    MI    02    R
Hultgren, Randy    IL    14    R
Hunter, Duncan    CA    52    R
Hurt, Robert    VA    05    R
Issa, Darrell    CA    49    R
Johnson, Bill    OH    06    R
Johnson, Samuel    TX    03    R
Johnson, Timothy    IL    15    R
Jordan, Jim    OH    04    R
Kelly, Mike    PA    03    R
Kind, Ron    WI    03    D
King, Steve    IA    05    R
Kingston, Jack    GA    01    R
Kinzinger, Adam    IL    11    R
Kline, John    MN    02    R
Labrador, Raul    ID    01    R

Lamborn, Doug    CO    05    R
Landry, Jeff    LA    03    R
Lankford, James    OK    05    R
Larsen, Rick    WA    02    D
Latta, Robert    OH    05    R
Lewis, Jerry    CA    41    R
Lewis, John    GA    05    D
Long, Billy    MO    07    R
Lucas, Frank    OK    03    R
Luetkemeyer, Blaine    MO    09    R
Lummis, Cynthia    WY    AL    R
Lungren, Daniel    CA    03    R
Mack, Connie    FL    14    R
Manzullo, Donald    IL    16    R
Marchant, Kenneth    TX    24    R
Matheson, James    UT    02    D
McCarthy, Kevin    CA    22    R
McCaul, Michael    TX    10    R
McClintock, Tom    CA    04    R
McCotter, Thaddeus    MI    11    R
McDermott, Jim    WA    07    D
McHenry, Patrick    NC    10    R
McKeon, Howard    CA    25    R
McKinley, David    WV    01    R
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy    WA    05    R
Mica, John    FL    07    R
Miller, Brad    NC    13    D
Miller, Candice    MI    10    R
Miller, Gary    CA    42    R
Miller, Jeff    FL    01    R
Moore, Gwendolynne    WI    04    D
Mulvaney, Mick    SC    05    R
Murphy, Tim    PA    18    R
Myrick, Sue    NC    09    R
Neugebauer, Randy    TX    19    R
Noem, Kristi    SD    AL    R
Nugent, Richard    FL    05    R
Nunes, Devin    CA    21    R
Nunnelee, Alan    MS    01    R
Olson, Pete    TX    22    R
Palazzo, Steven    MS    04    R
Paul, Ronald    TX    14    R
Paulsen, Erik    MN    03    R
Pearce, Stevan    NM    02    R
Pelosi, Nancy    CA    08    D
Pence, Michael    IN    06    R
Petri, Thomas    WI    06    R
Pitts, Joseph    PA    16    R
Poe, Ted    TX    02    R
Pompeo, Mike    KS    04    R
Posey, Bill    FL    15    R
Price, David    NC    04    D
Price, Thomas    GA    06    R
Quayle, Ben    AZ    03    R
Rahall, Nick    WV    03    D
Reed, Tom    NY    29    R
Rehberg, Dennis    MT    AL    R
Reichert, David    WA    08    R
Renacci, Jim    OH    16    R
Ribble, Reid    WI    08    R
Rigell, Scott    VA    02    R
Rivera, David    FL    25    R
Roby, Martha    AL    02    R
Roe, David    TN    01    R
Rogers, Harold    KY    05    R
Rogers, Michael    AL    03    R
Rogers, Michael    MI    08    R
Rohrabacher, Dana    CA    46    R
Rokita, Todd    IN    04    R
Rooney, Thomas    FL    16    R
Roskam, Peter    IL    06    R
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana    FL    18    R
Ross, Dennis    FL    12    R
Royce, Edward    CA    40    R
Ruppersberger, C.A.    MD    02    D
Ryan, Paul    WI    01    R
Scalise, Steve    LA    01    R
Schilling, Robert    IL    17    R
Schmidt, Jeannette    OH    02    R
Schock, Aaron    IL    18    R
Schweikert, David    AZ    05    R
Scott, Austin    GA    08    R
Scott, David    GA    13    D
Scott, Tim    SC    01    R
Sensenbrenner, Jim    WI    05    R
Sessions, Pete    TX    32    R
Shimkus, John    IL    19    R
Shuster, William    PA    09    R
Simpson, Michael    ID    02    R
Smith, Adrian    NE    03    R
Smith, D. Adam    WA    09    D
Smith, Lamar    TX    21    R
Southerland, Steve    FL    02    R
Stearns, Clifford    FL    06    R
Stivers, Steve    OH    15    R
Stutzman, Marlin    IN    03    R
Sullivan, John    OK    01    R
Terry, Lee    NE    02    R
Thompson, Bennie    MS    02    D
Thompson, Glenn    PA    05    R
Thornberry, Mac    TX    13    R
Tiberi, Patrick    OH    12    R
Tipton, Scott    CO    03    R
Turner, Michael    OH    03    R
Upton, Frederick    MI    06    R
Vacant    NV    02    R
Vacant    NY    09    D
Vacant    OR    01    D
Van Hollen, Chris    MD    08    D
Walberg, Tim    MI    07    R
Walden, Gregory    OR    02    R
Walsh, Joe    IL    08    R
Watt, Melvin    NC    12    D
Waxman, Henry    CA    30    D
Webster, Daniel    FL    08    R
West, Allen    FL    22    R
Westmoreland, Lynn    GA    03    R
Whitfield, Edward    KY    01    R
Wilson, Joe    SC    02    R
Wittman, Robert    VA    01    R
Wolf, Frank    VA    10    R
Womack, Steve    AR    03    R
Woodall, Rob    GA    07    R
Yoder, Kevin    KS    03    R
Young, C.W.    FL    10    R
Young, Todd    IN    09    R


Yet Another Appeasement in Store?

Another Perspective Donald L. Foley - NBA, retired

Not to state it over-broadly, but the fate of collective bargaining for postal employees and the fate of the Postal Service itself may well depend upon the decision of the National Mediation Board concerning employees of the Federal Aviation Administration. Altering a rule of some 75 years standing, last year the Board ruled that union certification votes in the aviation and railroad industries should be by ordinary rules for counting votes in a democratic election. That is to say, the Board revised the old rules in a manner that requires a union certification election to be controlled by the votes of only those who vote, not including votes of those who choose not to vote. Under the old rules, in a union certification election for a bargaining unit of 100 employees, if 75 employees cast ballots, the remaining 25 employees who chose not to vote were all counted as ‘nay’ votes – meaning in effective that, regardless how many employees voted, the only way to achieve an affirmative result would be to register a full majority of all 100 employees in the bargaining unit. In nearly all democratic election processes, a majority is of those who vote; it does not count those who fail to exercise the right to vote. So the National Mediation Board changed the rule – a majority vote would be of those who vote.

As one might imagine, this rule – making it easier to achieve a majority in favor of union certification – ran afoul of the agenda of most Republican Congress persons. And, because of this rule by the National Mediation Board, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives brought the operations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to a very near standstill earlier this year. The House refused to adopt the normally perfunctory funding bill for the FAA, causing the FAA to experience a circumstance not unlike the economic situation presently confronting the Postal Service. In short, the FAA did not have the money to operate all of its functions – contracted work was halted, inspections were delayed or terminated, nearly everything other than manning the control towers of our airports stopped. Finally, before Congress recessed, a very short term extension of funding the FAA was adopted – with a requirement to revisit the issue after the summer recess (stop-gap funding expires September 16).

When Congress gets back to work very soon, Postal employees would do well to pay very close attention to what happens with the FAA funding and the Federal Mediation Board rule. We ought not to simply sit on the sidelines, either.

It amazes me that so little has been said about this fight in labor or progressive media sources, though there does appear to be some appetite among some Democratic members of Congress to take on the fight – one of the few that may bear fruit for labor. Labor should get behind this issue in a big way. And I believe we would be right to fear that, at some point, President Obama will decide to exercise his unique “negotiation” skills to resolve the impasse over FAA funding. Should President Obama negotiate away the gain achieved through the National Mediation Board ruling – recognizing simple democratic voting principles – in order to appease the Republican radical right (once again) it would be a significant setback for labor. But even more important to Postal employees, it would signal to us that we cannot count on this administration to protect the collective bargaining rights of Postal employees. Where, supposedly, little is actually at stake – the FAA is not all that big a government agency, and no presently protected union employees’ jobs are threatened – one might easily see Obama cause the National Mediation Board ruling to be reversed to achieve ordinary financing of the FAA operations.

However, such a move by Obama – unfortunately typical appeasement of the radical right – would also signal that he will have no stomach for the support necessary to save the collective bargaining rights of Postal unions in the struggle to save the Postal Service. The stakes for the economy in the battle to save the Postal Service from itself and from Republican radicalism are so high that, I’m afraid, they will sway Obama in exactly the wrong direction. If Obama cannot muster the intestinal fortitude to protect future union recognition votes in the aviation and railroad industries, he will fold like a house of cards when confronted with the need to protect the Unions while preserving the Postal Service. My deepest hope is that Obama never becomes involved “resolving” this fight; my deepest fear is that he will.

While we wage our campaign to convince Congress to save the Postal Service and to save our jobs, we should also take the time to convince Congress to save the National Mediation Board ruling in favor of democratic union certification elections. Or ignore it at our peril.