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Clerk Craft Information
Jun 07, 2018

Fighting Back with Street Parties

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)

By Clerk Craft Directors 

Understaffing is the main reason service to our communities is decreasing and stress on the job is increasing. It is the reason the mail is delayed, the lines are long and overall service is deteriorating. Understaffing is the cause of most of the violations regarding supervisors doing craft work, crossing crafts, overtime, holiday scheduling, leave requests, staffing on the machines, etc.

The most enjoyable and effective solution to fight understaffing is educating the public about what it is and how it affects service to the community. It is surprisingly fun and empowering to tell our story to the public. The action can be small, with just a press release or media appearance, to large, like collecting signatures on petitions and informational picketing – street parties . These actions shine a light on the reasons service to the community is deteriorating.

Moreover, an event in one community can receive media coverage and then be amplified and spread nationwide. Imagine the added results if there was an informational picket every week by postal workers in different communities across the country.

Now is the time to publicly expose understaffing for the following reasons:

1) More Power Required to Stop Contract Violations

The Clerk Craft has been successful recently in winning large monetary settlements of $56 million, $36 million and $49.9 million, for violations of the contract at the highest levels of the Postal Service. However, despite these awards, the Postal Service continues to blatantly violate the contract at all levels of management. While we must increase our efforts to aggressively challenge management through the grievance procedure, it is clear we need to bring more power to the fight in order to change things.

2) Lobbying the PRC

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will rule on the important issue of the caps on postal pricing instituted in the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). These unreasonable postage caps, the disastrous prefunding of retiree health care and the discounts to large mailers, significantly contributed to the inadequate revenue and the USPS cuts in staffing.

Recently, the PRC proposed a very small improvement in the current pricing system. Not surprisingly, large mailers are still lobbying against the proposal to keep their profits high. We cannot match the financial lobbying power of the Fortune 500s, but can lobby the public who can then influence decision-makers.

3) Stopping Cuts in Service and Disruption to Workers

The Postal Service is still planning consolidations, reversions and excessing, despite the poor service to our communities and the adverse impact on postal workers. By informing the public about the understaffing and its effect on service, we can slow and/or stop further cuts in service and disruption to employees.

4) Supporting National Negotiations

There are millions of Americans who rely upon and love the public Postal Service – and many who will become postal workers in the future. Historically, unions that achieved successful contract improvements had substantial public support. It is up to us to engage the public in the good fight for a better contract, better service and better jobs.

You do not have to be a steward or officer to participate. You just have to care about your job and the future of the Postal Service, and stand up at the same time as your fellow workers. Given the reasons described above, the number of postal workers who decide to step up will be a major factor for the future of the Postal Service and our lives as postal workers.

To make it easier to organize, the Clerk Craft will assist local and state organizations conducting public events (small or large) with background information, organizing support and media coverage.


Feb 06, 2018

Large Mailers Are Privatizing the Postal Service

(This article first appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

By Clerk Craft Directors 

Millions of Americans utilize USPS on a daily basis, yet the public desire for a Postal Service that serves the common good is trumped by the financial wealth and political power of relatively few owners of large corporations that utilize the Postal Service for advertising purposes. Even though the large mailers receive huge discounts for their mailings, they want to decrease their institutional postage costs even further by reducing service to the American public and cutting the wages and benefits of postal workers.

The Large Mailers’ Agenda

The large mailers’ agenda is essentially self-interest: To increase service and profit for them, and decrease service and good jobs to regular Americans. Given that large mailers bypass the plant network by drop shipping most of their mailings, large mailers pushconsolidations and the resulting mail delays in order to reduce overall costs for themselves. They also advocate increased discounts for their mailings and have corporate Democrats like the Brookings Institution’s Elaine Kamarck, arguing on their behalf in an attempt to privatize all mail processing.

Large mailers do not often visit retail windows at post offices and their institutional costs are substantially reduced by having retail work performed by private corporations paying low wages. Therefore, large mailers often push for reduced service at public post offices and encourage the USPS to outsource work to Village Post Offices (VPOs), Contract Postal Units (CPUs), and Approved Shippers in order to reduce overall costs for themselves – at the expense of public service and family-wage jobs.

In addition, a coalition of large mailers is pushing for the reduction of the USPS workforce, as well as lower wages and benefits for postal workers. Ominously, they are also lobbying for legislation that would change the rules of interest arbitration to require a consideration of the financial situation of the USPS in collective bargaining.

Clearly, large mailers do not support a vibrant public Postal Service. Many are bankers or otherwise associated with the financial industry. Therefore, a powerful coalition of them have argued against the Postal Service offering affordable financial services to the American people. They prefer to make profits by ripping off the American people, offering high cost banking services through payday lenders and other corporations such as Walmart.

How Do Large Mailers Exert Influence?

The large mailers communicate directly with USPS on a regular basis and help decide the direction of the Postal Service through their participation on the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC). MTAC has pushed the USPS to implement presorting, drop shipping, automated verification of business mail, service standard changes and more. They also are very influential in selecting corporate-friendly members of the Board of Governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission.

The large mailers pushed Congress to place an unreasonable price cap on postage in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA).  The postage price cap along with the requirement for the aggressive prefunding of health care for retirees created a manufactured financial crisis at the Postal Service. This false crisis is now being used to make real cuts in service.  

What Can We Do?

The future of the Clerk Craft and the APWU will be determined by how well we fight back against the self-interest of a few relatively wealthy individuals utilizing the Postal Service to their advantage. Postal workers and community members should educate each other and expose the large mailers’ influence over the Postal Service through press conferences, articles and discussions in friendly media outlets, panel discussions, social media, rallies, and other events. Ultimately, we have to address a system that allows the few to benefit at the expense of the many.


Jan 17, 2018

Clerk Craft and USPS Agree on $36 Million Remedy Settlement for Violations Regarding Sales Retention Teams

WEB NEWS ARTICLE #: 
7-2018

01/16/2018 - On Jan. 12, the Clerk Craft and the USPS agreed on a $36 million remedy settlement for the Postal Service’s violations regarding the Sales Retention Team (SRT) Pilot Program. The money will be distributed among Clerk Craft employees to be identified by the National APWU. The Postal Service is required to cooperate and provide information necessary for the union to identify employees eligible for payment.

Eligible employees are those in the Clerk Craft bargaining unit who were on the rolls in the installations (bid clusters), attached to the Sales Retention Team (SRT) sites, in the following locations:

  • Akron, OH
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Boston, MA
  • Dallas, TX
  • Dayton, OH
  • Everett, WA
  • Aurora (Fox Valley), IL
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Portland, OR
  • Saint Petersburgh, FL
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Tampa, FL

The remedy settlement results from Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg’s decision on Dec. 8, 2016, holding that the Postal Service violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by assigning injured workers to perform Clerk Craft work with Sales Retention Teams without first assigning the work to the Clerk Craft.

Arbitrator Goldberg ordered the Postal Service to cease and desist these violations of the CBA found in this case, assign SRT work to Clerk Craft employees, and post SRT work assignments for bid without delay.  The Postal Service posted Customer Retention Agent duty assignments for bid by eligible Clerk Craft employees at all Customer Retention Program sites and awarded positions in March and April of 2017.

The arbitrator remanded to the parties and ordered that they “seek agreement on an appropriate financial remedy for the violations of the [Collective Bargaining] Agreement here found to have occurred.”  

This January 12 monetary settlement was finally reached as the parties prepared to present disputes over remedy to the arbitrator in a hearing scheduled for Jan. 16.

This monetary settlement reaffirms that the work performed at the Sales Retention Team sites, now called Customer Retention Program sites, is Clerk Craft work.

“This is another step forward in protecting our work that will ultimately benefit everyone in the APWU,” said President Mark Dimondstein.

“The monetary remedy shows the value of collective persistence and perseverance in the face of USPS unethical behavior,” said Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson. “Thanks go to Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks, who served as case officer and negotiated the monetary settlement, Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lynn Pallas-Barber for her assistance throughout the case, and Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman for expediting the scheduling of the case.”

Click here to read the previous article on the Sales Retention Team dispute.

Attachments

 Step 4 Remedy Agreement for Sales Retention Teams (1.53 MB)




Page Last Updated: Jun 07, 2018 (07:36:08)
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