(This article first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2017 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman
Although it seems like we just finalized our current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), time is rapidly approaching for the next round of negotiations to begin. Your National Officers and the Industrial Relations Department have already begun planning and preparing for 2018 contract negotiations.
Article 43 of our contract requires the parties begin negotiating a new CBA no earlier than 120 days and no less than 90 days from the expiration of the current agreement. Based on the Sept. 20, 2018 CBA expiration, negotiations will open June 2018.
What we attempt to negotiate is determined by you, the members. As this issue arrives in mailboxes, local/ state unions or Members-at-Large (a member who does not belong to a local) are submitting the last resolutions to be voted on by individual crafts at the All-Craft Conference (submission deadline is Saturday, Sept. 2). These resolutions become the basis of our goals and priorities for negotiations.
Your National Negotiating Committee will review the resolutions that have passed and use them for guidance based on our bargaining objectives and goals, to uplift those we represent and the labor movement as a whole. So, if a resolution is submitted and approved at either the All-Craft Conference or the Biennial National Convention, that does not guarantee it will be included.
Not only will you have a committee of your elected National Officers representing you in these negotiations, you will also have the Rank-and-File Bargaining Advisory Committee representing you. These members will be appointed by the National Executive Board before bargaining begins in 2018. They will advise the Negotiating Committee on bargaining demands and will also be responsible for approving whether or not any negotiated tentative agreement is submitted to the membership for a ratification vote.
Over the years and during APWU conventions, many resolutions have been passed (known as “standing resolutions”) and we will be going back through them to guide us in our negotiations and to help determine our priorities. We invite you to look at these standing resolutions. Remember that previously adopted resolutions do not need to be resubmitted. They can be found at apwu.org.
We want to know about your experiences in your everyday work life, and how you feel they should be prioritized in our contract talks. We want to hear from individuals on the workroom floor. Email your ideas and suggestions to the Industrial Relations Department at email@example.com. You can also mail them to: 2018 Contract Negotiation Items, C/O Industrial Relations Department, 1300 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20005.
Strength in Numbers
These will be challenging negotiations for us. However, with preparation, as well as your support and participation in our contract campaign, we can show management how we are a united workforce.
Unity during the contract campaign can translate into a show of strength and force that leads to success in negotiations. With numbers comes strength. We challenge you to reach out to non-members you know and encourage them to join the union.
The people who live in the United States of America have access to the most efficient postal system in the world because of the hard work you – the members – do to move the mail and serve our customers. You deserve a contract that reflects your contributions and protects the People’s Post Office.
We, the National Officers, are optimistic about the upcoming negotiations. I look forward to receiving your input and utilizing your participation to obtain a fair and reasonable contract that uplifts all workers protected by the APWU contract, setting standards for the entire labor movement.