Bargaining has officially begun! By the time this is posted, representatives from the NPMHU Negotiations Team and the Postal Service will have met for the Opening Session of this round of bargaining taking place on Thursday, June 27.
February’s Field Negotiating Committee and this month’s convening of the National Executive Board have produced a final series of proposals—the majority of which were submitted by members from across the country—to amend or create new provisions throughout the NPMHU National Agreement. It is our hope that these improvements will be considered, understood, accepted, and implemented by the USPS for the betterment of all mail handlers. Over the course of the next three months, our bargaining team will present each of these proposed changes during negotiations.
During Thursday’s session which officially opened 2019 bargaining, National President Hogrogian and Postmaster General Megan Brennan gave opening statements creating the foundation for this year’s bargaining process. Excerpts from these statements will be available on the NPMHU website, npmhu.org, in the coming days.
Who’s at the Table?
This year’s Negotiations Team will consist of President Hogrogian; Secretary-Treasurer Michael Hora; Manager of the Contract Administration Department Teresa Harmon; National CAD Representatives Kevin Fletcher, Charles Manago, and Bobby Blum; and our legal team from the NPMHU General Counsel’s office. The USPS will be represented by Vice President of Labor Relations Doug Tulino, chief spokesperson Patrick Devine, and legal counsel.
Our current National Agreement is scheduled to expire on September 20, 2019. The goal is to obtain a tentative National Agreement, subject to membership ratification, by that date, but previous rounds of bargaining have often been extended to allow the parties to continue meeting to finalize their collaboration. However, if no final agreement is reached, there are alternative dispute resolution procedures that would determine the changes to the National Agreement in final and binding interest arbitration.
Looking back on prior rounds of negotiations, the Union has presented its non-economic proposals first, followed by the Postal Service’s non-economic proposals. That often leads to a series of reactions and counter-proposals that will be drafted during the bargaining process.
While those subjects are being fully discussed, the Union will then develop and present its economic proposals: those which directly impact wages, benefits, premiums, and differentials. More specifically, the parties will treat Articles 9 and 21 as the key economic provisions, but will also include parts of Article 26 (clothing allowance) and Article 8 (night differential and Sunday premium pay) in the focused economic discussion.
On-the-record labor-management bargaining sessions will be routinely scheduled throughout the summer. Behind the scenes, the NPMHU Negotiations Team will be meeting constantly to ensure that all of the issues and proposals being prioritized in this round are carefully considered. Future editions of this Contract Update will outline some of what’s being discussed this year, highlighting developments of negotiations as they occur. Please check your bulletin boards for more bargaining information throughout the coming weeks and months.