APWU eTeam News – August 9, 2013
MAINTENANCE CRAFT NEWS
Arbitration on Subcontracting of MailBox Work has Concluded.
It took over 4000 documents and 3 days of hearing for the parties to present their cases. After the parties have presented their post hearing brief to the arbitrator, a decision should be issued in approximately 60 days.
Even the Titanic Had Survivors – a message from Coordinator Gonzalez
Some economists say a postal career is the worst. The media and some in the public point to our looming death. Things are not pretty, but postal workers throughout the decades have shown how resilient we are to the ills that befall us.
Since the days of the pony express we have been cast as dispensable government employees. But in today’s postal service while the PMG applauds us for the service we provide he appears to be doing everything possible to ensure we sink to the point of no return.
Every day management violates our contract, undermines employment laws and despite the dignity and respect mantra they espouse proceed to treat many of us with contempt.
Consolidation, office closure and disruptions are daily turmoil we face. But nothing we face threatens us like the APATHY of so many of our fellow workers who like to blame but take no action to fight back. If we all take action and help ensure that USPS is not undercut we will ensure that we and our beloved postal service survive. We do not have to sink, we do not have to perish!
Congressional Postal Hearing Set for Feb. 13th
US Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) has set a 10am hearing entitled-“Solutions To the Crisis Facing the US Postal Service.” The full agenda and witness list has not yet been posted on the Senator’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Members are urged to call their US Senators and seek support for continuing full service and full 6 day delivery.
Local President’s To Lobby Congress
The internal organization of APWU local leaders The National President’s Conference (NPC) has scheduled a conference in Washington DC the first weekend of March.
The program includes a day of lobbying Congress on Capitol Hill. If ever there was a need for such an effort there is one now. “The recent announcement by the PMG to accelerate the forced consolidations of plants under the AMP process coupled with today’s bold proclamation to end Saturday delivery of 1st class mail begs for such action,” says Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez.
All locals are urged to send the top leaders of their locals to the conference.The program tentatively includes a Legislative Presentation from the National Union’s Legislative Department. Also, the Union’s top leadership is expected to be in attendance. The conference will be addressed by the National President.For more information on the National President’s Conference go to apwunpc.com.
Issa Calls For “Official” End to Saturday Delivery
In a February 6, 2013 letter to Congressional leaders the Chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, Darryl Issa joined by the Republican Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Tom Colburn asked that the 6-day mail rider be omitted from any subsequent government funding legislation , enabling the Postal Service to implement this necessary reform without impediment.
Amazingly, Issa pointed to President Obama’s inaugural address about the need to find real solutions to our nation’s problems to support the Postal Service’s plan to cut 6 day delivery. A Scheme Behind the Plan? The PMG’s talking points claim he is giving 6 month notice of the cut so that mailers and the public can plan and adjust production and mailing schedules. However, Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez points to Issa’s letter which reveals that the current FY2013 government funding resolution requiring 6 day delivery is set to expire at the end of March.
Some in the media question whether the PMG can legally cut 1st class mail delivery on Saturdays without congressional approval. “The stage is being set now to ensure that Congress drops the rider resolution mandating 6 day delivery that has been attached to appropriation bills since 1984,” said the regional coordinator. “We , and our communities must act now to stop this concerted effort to destroy USPS,” said Gonzalez
APWU Press Release
APWU President Cliff Guffey has issued the following statement:
“The APWU condemns the Postal Service’s decision to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, which will only deepen the agency’s congressionally manufactured financial crisis.
The USPS has already begun slashing mail service by closing 13,000 post offices or drastically reducing hours of operation, shutting hundreds of mail processing facilities, and downgrading standards for mail delivery to America’s homes and businesses. The effects are being felt in cities and towns across the country. USPS executives cannot save the Postal Service by tearing it apart. These across-the-board cutbacks will weaken the nation’s mail system and put it on a path to privatization.
Congress has the power to restore the USPS to financial stability. To do so, it must repeal provisions of the 2006 law that created the Postal Service’s financial crisis. The agency’s crisis is a direct result of an unsustainable mandate that was imposed on the Postal Service by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA).
The federal law forces the Postal Service to prefund healthcare benefits for future retirees and to do so in a 10-year period. No other entitypublic or private – bears this burden. Since the PAEA took effect in 2007, the Postal Service has been required to pre-pay approximately $5.5 billion per year. Yet the same law prohibits the Postal Service from raising postage rates to cover the cost.
The USPS has a vital mission-to bind the nation together by providing efficient, inexpensive service to every part of the country. The Postal Service should be seeking ways to expand its offerings to the American people so that it can remain relevant in the digital age.”
Post Office Announced End of Sunday Delivery
Buckling to pressure from religious groups the Post Office stopped delivering mail on Sundays in 1912. One year later in 1913 the P.O. introduced Parcel Post and almost killed it until it took action in 1983 to set uniform weight and size standards. “The Postal Service has one heck of a history tinkering with mail service,” says Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez.
In 1884 the PO owned the telegraph lines which were privatized three years later. 1942 VMail was introduced that converted letters unto microfilm. In 1957 management shot mail in a missile to Florida. In 1950 mail delivery was reduced to once a day. For a short time in 1957 Saturday mail service was halted because of a lack of funds. That only lasted for a few months. In 1970 Mailgrams were launched with Intel post following 10 years Electronic Computer Originated Mail (E-Com) was initiated in 1982 and died three years later reportedly because computer mail would never catch on [ go figure ! ] “We postal workers as customers must ensure management does not destroy our post office.”
PMG PLANS TO END 6 DAY MAIL DELIVERY
The PMG’s announcement of his plan to “transition” delivery service has set the media into a frenzy. Trying to make the cut a positive spin by advocating a strong package business the PMG also claims management will work closely with unions to ensure a smooth transition. The PMG claims the cut will save about $23 billion a year when fully in place and further claims research shows that 7 out of 10 American’s support the cut. The PMG also claims ending 6 day mail delivery does not require the support of Congress. The support that apparently counts is that of his bosses on the USPS Board of Governors. But not all mail delivery will be halted as the plan calls for continued delivery of parcels. Despite the fact that mail will not be picked up or processed until Monday the PMG still claims customers will have the same access to products and services at Post Offices that are “currently” open on Saturdays.
While Democratic Senator Carper voiced disappointment in the PMG’s plan , Republican Congressman Issa and Senator Coburn were quick to applaud the PMG’s announcement calling it a “common sense approach” in a letter to congressional leaders. APWU National President Cliff Guffey issued a statement condemning the decision to eliminate Saturday mail delivery which only deepens the Postal Service’s congressionally manufactured financial crisis. The NALC National President Rolando seeks to have the PMG step down! “Leave it postal bosses to raise postage and a few months later cut service,” said Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez. The Coordinator questions just how USPS projects saving $2 billion while still making street deliveries . “It looks like a way of getting around Congressional over site said Gonzalez. Warily. “Another thing, management’s talking points make it clear that mail processing will be impacted. So it is not just the so called last mile that will be impacted Function 1 operations will be altered like never before,” said Omar. “Add the fact that under Network Rationalization overnight 1 class mail is delayed two to three days, now there will be another two day delay so that 1st class service will amount to a 3rd class reality”, he said.
The PMG’s move has created a whirl wind of media activity with most trumpeting the PMG’s mantra that USPS loses $25 million a day. Most media outlets are pointing to the internet as the culprit ,only a few are reporting on the real mess created by Congress under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. Survey’s conducted by some news outlets reveal a 62% plus support for the delivery cuts. “Like any survey it is the way the question is posed that results in the response. But, millions still rely on the mails,” said Gonzalez.