7/23/2012 11:56:37 AM
I am aware that APWU was unsuccessful in its motion before the PRC challenging the plant consolidations; however, I have not read the public announcement of the new service standards or the plant closing effective dates. To make the revised network compatible with the delivery obligations it was necessary to change the service standards and the Postal Service is on track to coordinate processing capabilities with delivery obligations. There has not been a lot of information published about the schedule so anyone who has access to official documents, if posted, interested persons would know what to expect. Workers in the affected sites will receive information regarding their facility but it would be helpful to see the global picture. It is reported that initially 5,000 employees will be reassigned beyond their current facility with more to come in future phases of reorganization. This is bad news, but employees have a right to be informed with an explanation of how the 50 mile limit on excessing will apply in these circumstances.
There are two identifiable groups of APWU represented employees who will be affected, those who are eligible for retirement and have the option of relocating or discontinuing employment with an annuity. And then there are the vast majority whose employment options are limited to continuing postal employment, and those who though unhappy will follow the job. Within the latter group, questions arise about continuing status as full time, seniority, overtime, holiday lists etc. There are dozens of legitimate questions that must be responded to; the sooner the better and in a public forum. The retiree eligibles also thirst for information about the status of an incentive. They are aware that there are differences at the headquarters level over contractual compliance with the subject of an incentive being used as leverage to change postal behavior. But this general understanding does not provide specifics or a range of expectations that they can make an individual determination.
Is agreement possible or is the incentive blackout being used as punishment for management recalcitrance. While it is never advisable to negotiate in a public forum, the members must be mentally engaged in the process and information is essential.What is certain is that postal employment is changing. The stability experienced over the previous hundreds of years will be replaced with change. Change in the amount compensated for postal work activity; change in the basket of benefits and over the next 10 years, change in the location of activity as the number of employees and the location of employment is brought into balance. The completed union negotiations were undertaken with an expectation that conditions over the life of the agreement would remain constant and attention was given to expanding the foundation of worker protection.
The merging of non-career employees into the bargaining unit (PSEs); full time employment of less than 40 hours (NFTY) ; the return of bargaining unit work (subcontracting and 204b’s); uniform excessing with limits (quarterly); overtime (voluntary) and a few other peripheral issues with the assumption of the status quo on the core issues of employment. It was expected that the contractual changes would be added to previously achieved rights when in fact management was changing the very foundation of postal employment.
A deal was struck in good faith, but the entire game has changed and the result is breathtaking. The salaries have been reduced dramatically. The expected increase in jobs will be dwarfed by the losses experienced from consolidations; overtime hours will be consumed by flexible employees within their regular schedule; front line supervision became a casualty of efficiencies; and the total complement is reduced dramatically. Turning the clock back 20 years, the changes achieved in 2011 would have been major breakthroughs, but applied to the Postal Service of 2012 and beyond they serve more to facilitate a major restructuring that will bring in a totally different place of employment.
Mistakes, if any, were looking back instead of forward. The world constantly changes but periodically because of an idea or invention there is a lurch forward. Mass production, computerization, world trade and war bring major change within an accelerated period to which civilization and individuals must adjust. The Chinese trade model, Wal-Mart, the financial community and many other forward thinking enterprises successfully made the transition while those who do not make the proper adjustment suffer the consequences. I suggest that the 2011 national agreement will fall within the latter.