7/18/2012 1:09:30 PM
As you recall, the contract negotiations were extended from November 2010 to May 2011 before final agreement was reached. Over this six month period there was the opportunity to discuss many issues and as reported, many officers who had not been previously included in the development of strategy and goals were given voice so the counsel was expanded to include a variety of opinions. Within that group, it would be interesting to know if the issues discussed involved what impact they would have on other unions. Radically modified wage scales were under consideration and while their initiation was reserved for new employees only it could be expected that, if agreement was reached the negative aspects would be used as a model for other unions.Arbitrator Clarke included in his decision that he was impressed with the APWU agreement and it can be expected that the Mail Handlers and Letter Carriers will face demands by USPS advocates that the wage concessions be duplicated.
A calculated decision was made by APWU negotiators that the price demanded was worth the many USPS contract concessions, but contract concessions have different meaning for employees of other crafts. And as can be expected, management is cherry picking the comprehensive provisions, putting forth only those that benefit the employer. They succeeded in convincing arbitrator Clarke in the Rural Carriers’ case that a significant reduction in employee wages was a proper response to the USPS’ financial difficulties using the APWU agreement as a benchmark. This could and should have been anticipated and a conscious decision arrived at. It would be interesting to recreate the dialogue.