USPS and the American Postal Workers Union, which represents clerks, mechanics, drivers, custodians and others, began negotiations one year ago but still remain significantly divided over an array of key issues. The two sides recently brought in a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, who spent several days hearing arguments from each party before declaring them too far apart to be able to help. They will now be bound by the decision of the third-party arbitrator.
APWU said postal management is demanding no pay increases for the union’s members, instead offering a one-time lump sum stipend. The agency is also seeking to deny cost-of-living adjustments and changes to existing layoff protections that would require employees with less than six years experience to wait 15 years for the safeguard, according to the union, while new hires would not have protections at all. USPS also proposed increasing the percentage of the workforce serving in a non-career status, meaning they would receive lower pay and fewer benefits, and creating a third, lower tier of employees. The union said it is fighting to preserve a 50-mile cap on employee relocations.
“Be fully aware that management has presented drastic and regressive contract proposals,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said in a message to his members this week. “They are an insult and danger to you, the hard working and dedicated postal employee. We are outraged and have said, ‘No way!’”