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Contract 2018
Oct 22, 2019

Interest Arbitration Update:

Management Believes Clerks Too Well Paid

October 21, 2019

In today’s Interest Arbitration session, USPS Management presented evidence on wages and benefits.

In the morning session, their main witness characterized USPS postal clerks as under-skilled and over-paid as they sought to justify their demands to expand the two-tier workforce, push down wages and abolish COLAs.

In the afternoon, a second management witness made similar arguments justifying reducing health care, leave and retirement benefits.

APWU will respond with further witnesses in the coming days to refute management’s arguments and highlight the valuable work carried out by skilled APWU members.

In the face of these attacks on our standard of living and commitment to providing high quality service to the US public, it is more important than ever that we show our solidarity. Wear your union gear and stickers and add the #GoodContractNOW Facebook profile frame to show your union pride.

Oct 21, 2019

Interest Arbitration: APWU Presents Support

 Service Craft and Replies to USPS Financial Argument

October 15, 2019

Today, Tuesday, October 15, the APWU presented more of their case to the Arbitration Board.

First Support Services Director Stephen Brooks introduced the Support Services Craft. Next labor economist Kathryn Kobe, Director of Price, Cost and Productivity Analysis at Economic Consulting Services rebutted some of the Postal Service’s financial arguments. Finally Valerie Wilson, Director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, spoke about racial and gender gaps in wages in the private and public sectors.

Please check back later this week for a longer article highlighting this most recent Interest Arbitration session. The next session is scheduled to take place from October 21-23.

The meeting scheduled for October 16 was canceled.

Oct 16, 2019

Interest Arbitration: APWU Presents Support

Service Craft and Replies to USPS Financial Argument

October 15, 2019

Today, Tuesday, October 15, the APWU presented more of their case to the Arbitration Board.

First Support Services Director Stephen Brooks introduced the Support Services Craft. Next labor economist Kathryn Kobe, Director of Price, Cost and Productivity Analysis at Economic Consulting Services rebutted some of the Postal Service’s financial arguments. Finally Valerie Wilson, Director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, spoke about racial and gender gaps in wages in the private and public sectors.

Please check back later this week for a longer article highlighting this most recent Interest Arbitration session. The next session is scheduled to take place from October 21-23.

The meeting scheduled for October 16 was canceled.

Oct 15, 2019

Interest Arbitration:

A Second Day of USPS Witnesses Testimony

October 11, 2019

Today, we heard testimony from the USPS’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President.

The testimony included many provocative and negative descriptions of USPS employees in support of management’s aim of pushing down wages and benefits; the management witness then finished testimony by turning 180 degrees and lauding the public service of APWU members.

The APWU team opened cross-examination by expressing our regret that the witness was not present to hear members of the APWU member panels talk about their hard work, flexibility and dedication to the postal mission.

In the afternoon, the panel heard testimony from a representative of union-busting firm Morgan Lewis, who gave evidence in favor of a two-tier workforce, abandoning layoff-protections and abolishing COLAs.

In the face of these attacks on our jobs, it’s more important than ever that we show our solidarity and our union pride.

Next week, we will present evidence to support our proposals which include an on-average 3 percent annual wage increase, increasing USPS contribution to health care insurance, retaining COLAs and reducing the two-tier workforce.

Wear your stickers or wristbands Tuesday and/or Wednesday of next week. Contact your local or state if you need more.

Add the Good Contract NOW frame to your Facebook profile.

Continue sharing your selfies and group shots with us. Take a picture with your coworkers and email it to, then post it on social media with #APWUnited, and tag us to share. Follow @APWUNational on FacebookInstagramFlickr and Twitter to check out your brothers and sisters from coast-to-coast.

Oct 15, 2019

Interest Arbitration Update:

Management’s Financial Presentations

October 10, 2019

Today, management made presentations on pattern bargaining, comparability of job classifications between USPS and private sector companies, demographics of the bargaining units, as well as information about postal benefits.

Management attempted to compare APWU members’ jobs with those of private sector competitors.

However, the APWU’s cross-examination highlighted the difference between the varied and highly skilled tasks performed by APWU members and the work of the often-lower paid private-sector jobs.

It also became clear in questions from APWU’s team, that USPS management was relying on unverified salary comparison websites to gather much of its private-sector salary data.

Tomorrow, USPS will continue its presentations. APWU will present evidence next week on Tuesday Oct. 15 and Wednesday 16.

Stay union strong and union proud! Wear stickers, union gear and wristbands to show management the APWU is united in our fight for a Good Contract NOW!

Don't forget to add the APWU Facebook Frame to your profile and post your pictures to social media using the hashtag #APWUnited.

Email if you would like more stickers and wristbands

Oct 01, 2019

APWU Workers Testify During

Interest Arbitration Hearings

September 27, 2019

During the interest arbitration hearings on September 24 and 25, the APWU brought members from the workroom floor to testify to the Arbitration Board, providing details about many aspects of their job including responsibilities, working conditions, training requirements, and staffing concerns. Their testimony showed postal workers’ deep commitment to the postal mission of service to all the people of this country.

A total of 28 postal employees testified on six panels, separated by craft and job type. The Clerk Craft panels were Mail Processing and Retail Clerks, the Maintenance Panels were Mail Processing Equipment and Building Maintenance, and MVS panels were PVS Drivers (MVOs/TTOs) and Vehicle Maintenance.

Before witnesses testified, each craft director introduced their respective panels by giving an overview of responsibilities and laying out the issues their members faced in the workplace.

“Every member should be proud of your co-workers,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “Through their eloquent testimony it was crystal clear that postal workers are skilled public servants, deeply dedicated to our jobs, to the mission of the public Postal Service – and who deserve to be well-compensated and well-treated with a good union contract.”

“We are very fortunate to have such a strong union represented well by the members on the panels,” said Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, who is leading the preparation and planning for the APWU’s interest arbitration case. “The workers did a superb job of explaining the complexity and diversity of our multiple jobs and the service we provide to our customers.”


 “90 percent of the time, mail is with the clerk…and we take [our responsibility] quite seriously,” said Mail Processing Clerk Veronica Hills, of the Hattiesburg MS Area Local. “Our customer is America, and they trust us to get their things where they are sending them.”

During their panel, Retail Clerks offered testimony that provided details about their day-to-day tasks and the skill it takes to successfully engage with customers and deliver true public service to the people that come into the post office.

“The service that we provide is not a service that you’d find at Walmart or Target,” said Stephanie Clark, of the Northeast Mississippi Area Local. “These are services that are wrapped up in the mail our customers send. We are sending smiles and hugs and love.”

In her testimony, Retail Clerk Cori McIntosh, of the Missoula (MT) Local, told a heartbreaking story of helping a customer who came into the post office in tears, having lost her daughter and looking for a way to send ashes overseas.

“We read through the restrictions together,” McIntosh said. “I found out that this country accepted [a] small amount in grams and we worked out how much that was together.”


In their testimony, Mail Processing Equipment mechanics described the complex and state-of-the-art mail sorting machines they work on every day, as well as the high pressure and stress of repairing machines with time constraints. The panel emphasized how much training is necessary to do their jobs, and described how mechanics must share knowledge and work together to meet difficult challenges that may arise each day.

The panel also testified how important their work is when it comes to fulfilling the Postal Service’s mission.

“We are required to do the same amount of work with less people,” said Ana Marrero, a Custodian from the Nation’s Capital Southern MD Area Local. “A lot of the work is physical…and [the other custodians and I] carry more of a workload…it causes a lot of stress.”

 “What we are doing is a lot more than just delivering the mail. What we do is affecting our community,” said Area Maintenance Technician Parker Rauch, from The Northern Virginia Area Local. “I go into a facility and I want to make it the best I can…if I make it a better environment for our employees, they will be able to give better service to our customers.”


The two MVS Panels highlighted multiple issues that affect their work, including pay, subcontracting, safety, and a lack of training to complete difficult tasks.

These problems are compounded by the Postal Service’s subcontracting of work to private companies. “We see vehicles back for a ‘no-start’ and see there is a hole in the frame. The contractor [who worked on the vehicle months before] didn’t report the hole because they wanted to get paid and not stop work.” Jackson explained.

“Holes in the frame doesn’t happen in six months,” Leo Wesolowski, of Eastern Montgomery County PA Area Local, agreed. “Either they aren’t skilled to see this problem, or they’re ignoring them so they can get money.”

Panelists also testified about the pride they have in helping to fulfill the Postal Service’s mission each and every day. “Truck Drivers are on the front line,” said Tiwanna Rogers, a Motor Vehicle Operator from the Detroit District Area Local. “We play a very big part in the Postal Service.”

“We are the beginning and the end of everything with the Postal Service,” said Mervin Gooch, from the Montgomery County Area (MD) Local. “Without us, the mail does not move.”


Seven more hearing dates are scheduled in the month of October during which the union will present their economic arguments for good wages, protection of COLA and improved job security.Stay union strong and union proud! Wear stickers, union gear and wristbands to show management the APWU is united in our fight for a Good Contract NOW!

Email if you would like more stickers and wristbands

Oct 01, 2019

Interest Arbitrators Hear

from Motor Vehicle Service

(MVS) and Maintenance Workers

September 25, 2019

On September 25, the Arbitration Board continued to hear testimony from the most important of the union’s expert witnesses – APWU members.

APWU members in the MVS craft testified on the Driver (MVO/TTO) and Vehicle Maintenance Facility panels. The Building Maintenance and Custodial panel also testified today.

The members spoke about what their daily tasks are, training and staffing needs, safety and other workplace concerns they have, amount of expertise needed to do their job effectively, and dedication to the postal customers and the postal mission. They were lived tweeted on Twitter daily and pictures can be found on Flickr.

Tomorrow’s USPS management will be presenting arguments , with witnesses testifying on their behalf.

Check back later this week for a larger article highlighting all the panelists' testimony.

Oct 01, 2019

Interest Arbitrators Hear

from Clerk and Maintenance Workers

September 24, 2019

On September 24, the Arbitration Board heard testimony from the most important of the union’s expert witnesses – APWU members.

The Mail Processing Clerk, Retail Clerk and Mail Processing Equipment Maintenance panels all testified, speaking about the daily tasks they carry out, their safety and other workplace concerns, the amount of expertise needed to do their job effectively, and their dedication to the postal customers and the postal mission.

The hearings will continue tomorrow (Wednesday, September 25) and Thursday. Tomorrow, APWU members in the MVS craft will testify on the Driver (MVO/TTO) and Vehicle Maintenance panels. The Maintenance Building Maintenance and Custodial panel will also testify tomorrow. They will be lived tweeted on Twitter and pictures can be found on Flickr.

Check back later this week for a larger article highlighting the panelists' testimony.

If you would like to be notified when the APWU posts updates about Interest Arbitration and our fight for a good contract, text CONTRACT to 91990 or complete the form below.

Sep 18, 2019

Interest Arbitration Next Session - APWU Rank and File Witness Panels

September 12, 2019

 “We always knew that interest arbitration was a possibility and have been preparing for it since negotiations began,” said President Dimondstein. “Now that it is upon us, in order to get the best contract possible, we are utilizing an outstanding team of economists, attorneys, and – most importantly – APWU members.”

The arbitration preparation process included hundreds of rank and file surveys and interviews, training local members to interview their fellow workers in their respective areas about the work they do and to identify potential witnesses. Those potential witnesses, who are APWU members right off the workroom
Birmingham Area Local Clerk Arthur Gunn
During the next session of interest arbitration (Sept. 24-26), postal workers from the workroom floor will serve as key witnesses in front of the arbitration panel.

floor, were then brought to APWU headquarters for meetings in preparation of testifying.

Boston Metro ET Wayne Greenside
No matter the craft, it was clear: APWU members are working under stressful conditions. PTFs are getting shuttled between offices and their flexible schedules are being abused. PSEs are having to self-train or be trained by a fellow co-worker – if they are lucky to have one. All postal workers are working habitually understaffed.

In spite of this, every single day, APWU members come in and complete the postal mission, serving the public and ensuring that the USPS remains one of the most trusted government entities. These key expert testimonies will undoubtedly hold a lot of weight in the hearings.

Denver Metro Driver Christina Smith
The witnesses in the panels who will testify on September 24-26 will “put a human face on the cold numbers the Arbitrator looks at,” said President Dimondstein. “Their experiences carry a lot of weight in the hearings.”

“I want to thank our most important experts – the APWU members,” said Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman. “Every member that responded to a survey, participated in an interview about their job, participated in these meetings, and will testify is helping us be better prepared for interest arbitration.”

Sep 09, 2019

Testimony of Mark Dimondstein President of the American Postal Workers Union Sept. 4, 2019 Before the Board of Arbitrators on the Opening Day of Interest Arbitration for a New Collective Bargaining Agreement Between the American Postal Workers Union and the U.S. Postal Service

Neutral Board Member Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg, APWU Board Member Phil Tabbita and USPS Board Member Robert Dufek:

Good Afternoon.

As I did three years ago to this same panel of Arbitrators, I welcome the opportunity to testify and share with you an overview of how, as the President of the American Postal Workers Union, I see the “interests” of the postal workers in these interest arbitration proceedings. My comments will be similar, for while there are number of new developments that will be addressed throughout these hearings, the core interests of postal workers are much the same as they were three years ago.

The general “interests” of the approximate 194,000 postal workers represented by the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, are contained in the preamble of the APWU National Constitution: “We believe all members of labor have the right to economic, political and social justice.” That is what we are continually seeking, including in this round of collective bargaining, now culminating in this interest arbitration process.

Postal workers are passionate in our support for the vital mission of the public Postal Service, outlined in the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act: “To provide postal services to bind the Nation together,” to “provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas,” and to “render postal services to all communities.” And I am extremely proud that in this moment when powerful forces propose to sell the public postal service to the highest bidder and through postal privatization lower the wages and benefits of postal workers and reduce universal service to the people, the APWU is recognized as being in the forefront of the struggle to protect and save what we, and I am sure this Board, consider a vital national treasure.

This mission of universal and uniform service to the people from all walks of life is eloquently stated on the building of the former Washington, D.C., Post Office, now the site of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum

Messenger of Sympathy and Love

Servant of Parted Friends

Consoler of the Lonely

Bond of the Scattered Family

Enlarger of the Common Life

Carrier of News and Knowledge

Instrument of Trade and Industry

Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance

Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men [women] and Nations

This wonderful mission is carried out in a variety of ways by the workers our union represents. My own experience as a proud postal worker is quite typical: I was hired as a postal clerk and started as a part-time flexible Letter Sorting Machine operator. I had no set schedule, worked long hours and was assigned a variety of jobs. I switched to the OCRs and BCSs (the early automated mail processing equipment) to make full-time regular. Over my career I ran mail processors, had bid jobs on pouch racks and manual distribution, the outgoing LSM, Timekeeping and window distribution clerk, both working the window and performing box mail duties. I never had Saturday-Sunday off-days, worked various Tour III jobs most of my career, the hardest hours on family life, and was only able to gain a daytime bid after 15 years of trying. I had jobs abolished and days-off and times changed and had to adjust family schedules. Due to faulty design of equipment, I suffered a severe work-related back injury early in my postal career, behind which local management harassed and tried to terminate me.

Clerk Craft employees process and sort mail and serve customers’ many postal needs at tens of thousands of retail units from the smallest towns in rural America to the densely populated neighborhoods of the largest cities. Maintenance Craft employees keep the complex equipment running and the buildings of this massive public infrastructure up to standards, cleaned and maintained. Motor Vehicle Service (MVS) employees move mail in all kinds of weather and skillfully repair the aging fleet of vehicles that keep the letter carriers at our doors six, and now often seven, days a week. Our Support Services workers covered under this CBA, maintain postal headquarters and distribute supplies and parts for maintaining the equipment throughout the country. And as we meet here today and millions are still facing the threat of another catastrophic natural disaster, it is important reminder that postal workers, of all crafts and unions, are often the first to bring normalcy back to the people and communities devastated by fires, floods, volcanos and storms.

We do it all 24-hours a day, seven days a week, with much night, weekend and holiday work, excessing events, job abolishment, frequently changing work schedules, and mandatory overtime, all that can negatively impact our lives and that of our families. Working conditions are far from ideal with over 40,000 injuries a year, with a major contributor being poor ergonomic design of equipment.

We carry out our mission with ever increasing staffing shortages, placing great stress on workers with excessive forced overtime, working on understaffed mail processing equipment, pressure of long lines at window operations and less clean and less safe facilities. These and too often other management decisions, such as processing facility closings, reduction in retail hours, subcontracting and service standard reductions, undermine our work and service to the people of this country. A new management “10-year business plan” in the works is unfortunately aimed at continuing cuts to employees, employees’ rights and public postal services.

Postal workers earn the right to be justly compensated for our service and hard work. The economic lot of workers should be constantly improving and those improvements should be passed on from generation to generation. We have the right to be provided a safe workplace, free of harassment and discrimination, and, after concluding our careers, earned the right to enjoy a secure and dignified retirement.

When the Postal Reorganization Act (PRA) became law in 1970 on the heels of the Great Postal Strike of that year, it established collective bargaining in the Postal Service and mandated that the USPS become a model employer in relation to the treatment and rights of its workforce. The equal opportunity provided to all workers in the USPS, the equal pay for equal work, the equal opportunity for securing preferred duty assignment through seniority bidding, the opportunity for Veterans to obtain decent jobs, is not only a core principle of our union, but a beacon for all workers throughout the country. And it should be a model for all employers. Sadly, it is not. According to facts based on Bureau of Labor Statistics research, woman workers earn 78% relative to their male counterparts in similar occupations. For African American workers compared to Caucasian workers this jumps to approximately 69%. For Hispanic women this disparity grows even further to 54%! It is in the interest of postal workers, and really all workers, that the USPS be the model employer it is mandated to be -- an employer that doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t, like the Walmart’s of the world, require local and state governments through various tax-payer based programs to help workers make ends meet – thus subsidizing companies that refuse to pay workers family sustaining wages.

Let me underscore this point with two quick stories, one previously shared with this Board, but so compelling worth repeating.

First, in my adopted hometown of Greensboro NC, I knew a letter carrier who expressly gave up a college teacher career path to work at the Postal Service, as a personal act of refusing to accept the discrimination of less pay and less respect compared to the higher pay and higher regard afforded her male counterparts in academia.

Second, years ago, my wife was hired at a job at a non-union computer company in Boston. She was young and Caucasian. Workers were instructed that they were not allowed to talk to each other about their wages. She worked side by side with a long-term African American woman worker, doing the same job and who was much more skilled than my wife, the new employee. Upon becoming friends, it came to light that my wife was hired off the street at substantially higher wages than her co-worker. This is the inherent discrimination in private sector non-union workplaces that differs so much from the equal pay and opportunity of unionized postal employment. And this inherent discrimination is shamefully part of what management relies on for their argument that postal workers are overpaid.

As we discuss the interests of Postal Workers in these hearings, we cannot divorce them from the last two rounds of collective bargaining in both 2010 and 2015.

In 2011 the APWU and the USPS reached a voluntary agreement that resulted in a sea change of significant and far reaching concessions. This Board should be reminded that the five year 2010- 2015 Agreement contained wage freezes for the first two years, followed by extremely modest wage increases for the last three years of 1%, 1.5% and 1%, eliminated two cost of living allowances, deferred a third and fourth one, increased employee contributions to health insurance premiums by approximately 20%, created a second lower tier pay scale of career employees with entry wage rates six to eight steps lower and lowered the top steps of pay by 5 steps for most levels of pay. The terms redefined full-time work to as little as 30 hours a week and providing new flexibility and further savings for the USPS. And it created a new “non-career” bargaining unit employee, the Postal Support Employee, who received low wages and limited benefits. It should shock the conscience, it should demand the attention of this Arbitration Board, that before the postal strike of 1970 many postal employees qualified for public assistance and yet, here we are fifty years later with the same unacceptable state of affairs. The non-career workforce now makes up approximately 26,000 employees of our bargaining unit.

Clearly the postal workers we represent suffered significant and negative economic setbacks in the 2010-2015 CBA. It is the estimate of the USPS that for the life of that Agreement (ending in May 2015) these concessions amounted to almost $4 billion in savings to the USPS. (Our economists believe it is much greater.) The Postal Service places a $13 billion estimate for the postal savings from the givebacks and concessions of all four postal union contracts during that period, since the other postal unions ended up with a series of similar concessions following the APWU/USPS agreement. There is no argument that those “savings” based on reduced wages and benefits, continue to grow into the future. The economic well-being and purchasing power of our members has been reduced, career status opportunities diminished, full-time work compromised, satisfying careers and our futures dimmed. While there were some management commitments made in the 2010 Agreement to the union for new job growth through a series of “job MOUs”, these in no way equaled the sacrifice of the employees. Adding insult to injury, many of those commitments never came to be.

The 2015 round of bargaining was my first as APWU president and lead negotiator for our union. I do recognize, and am pleased, that in the 2015-2018 contract negotiations and interest arbitration, some issues of concern were favorably resolved including the elimination of the noncareer tier of employees in maintenance and most of MVS, the elimination of the NTFT in mail processing, moratoriums on subcontracting PVS driving work and halting further expansion of retail contract units, increasing PSE benefits, protecting COLAs, modest but annual wage increases, continuation of no-layoff provisions and the 50-limit on excessing employees and a process for the parties to explore expanded services.

However, there are many issues that were unaddressed in 2015 or have arisen since, and call for resolution. In addition to decent wage increases, our members rightfully demand an end to the unfair and divisive three-tier structure that pays workers significantly different amounts for performing the same work. We vigorously brought and argued this issue before the panel in 2015 and will be appealing to you again to restore lost step increases from 2010. Our members want an end to a situation where new hires are non-career employees with relatively low wages and no retirement security, where we see a 35% turnover rate and where full-time career work has been placed at risk. Our members rightfully want an increased career workforce where workers make decent sustaining wages and receive a solid set of benefits -- where our families reap the benefits of a better life. Our members must be relieved of an ever-growing problem of hostile work environments and a management structure that refuses to hold managers accountable for working conditions, employees’ well-being and safety. The APWU leadership at all levels of our organization receives more and more reports of outrageous harassment of postal employees and a most troubling increase in sexual harassment as the workforce has become more female and younger.

It is my view that if we had the legal right to strike today, management’s economic demands of a new third-tier of career employees, to destroy our COLA, expand rather than reduce the noncareer work force and eliminate no-lay-off protections would be strike issues, here and now. And I ask this Board of Arbitrators to note that the elimination of unfair two-tier wage scales has been a cutting-edge issue in airline and auto industry negotiations over the last few years where the gaps have been addressed with some success.

The union certainly acknowledges that the Postal Service faces challenges with changing mail, changing habits and the negative impact of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) and its manufactured crisis caused by the absurd and onerous pre-funding of retiree health benefits. But absent this congressionally manufactured pre-funding hoax, the Postal Service would be in the black, according to the December 2018 Presidential Postal Task Force report. So, it is not gloom and doom as often presented by the media, the privatizers and some even in postal management. There are great opportunities underscored by the fact that the private-sector, always looking for greater profits, constantly wants to get their hands on more and more of the public postal operations. Mail, both letters and packages, and the universal service obligation continue as an important democratic right of the people. Much commerce, and most certainly access to ecommerce, relies on the public Postal Service. There are tremendous new opportunities from store to door, to the 30% on-line orders that are returned, to expanded financial and other postal services. Postal workers should not pay a price for management’s lack of vision and the downward spiral they, and the politicians, have created.

Let’s be very clear. This interest arbitration forum is neither a bankruptcy court, nor is it the Postal Regulatory Commission that can deal with postal rates. This Board is not Congress, the entity that can, and should, legislate postal reform and fix the problems they created. It cannot address the pre-funding debacle or the PRCs lack of addressing the postal price cap despite their authority to do so. It cannot bring back the billions of pieces of mail which, with the undue influence of the large mailers, been diverted into the private sector, not because of wages, but through pre-sort corporate welfare discounts. It cannot address management’s detrimental decisions to undermine service, severely slow down the mail and drive away business and revenue. In fact, this panel was crystal clear three years ago, that it cannot weigh the financial condition or financial problems of the USPS, perceived, real or manufactured, in weighing and rendering its decision.

But what this Board of Arbitrators can do, is take the opportunity to justly compensate and elevate the lives of postal workers. It can take the opportunity to promote a vision and path of a Postal Service that will be vibrant for generations to come. Our economic proposals are fair and reasonable, especially in light of the substantial sacrifice of postal workers over the last nine years. These include proposals averaging over 3% a year general wage increases, a substantial shift of the non-career workforce to career, protection of COLAs and no lay-off, increased company contributions to skyrocketing health premiums and the elimination of multi-tier pay scales. And our calls for better staffing for better customer convenience and service will help secure a bright future for the public postal service.

Former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe may be gone but unfortunately his sentiments are not. In his farewell speech in early 2015, at the National Press Club he proclaimed that young workers don’t deserve traditional defined-benefit retirement plans. He called on Congress to use the Postal Service as “a laboratory” (and that is the term he used) for destroying these decent retirement plans (and other benefits such as healthcare benefits) as a prelude to eliminating them throughout the entire federal government. We find these views permeating the Office of Mangement and Budget (OMB) proposals and the Postal Task Force report, as well as management’s new “business plan.”

The APWU believes that the Postal Service should be a “laboratory”, an incubator -- as it has been for decades following the Postal Reorganization Act and the advent of true collective bargaining instead of collective begging -- an incubator of good, living-wage jobs for workers from all walks of life, with equal pay for equal work for women and minorities and solid job opportunities for veterans.

The key to the past, and now to the future success of the postal service, is the hard work and dedication of hundreds of thousands of postal workers – from those who sell postage and accept packages, to those who sort medicines and catalogues, to those who transport the mail and repair the vehicles, to those who maintain the equipment and facilities, to those who deliver the mail.

Let me share a couple examples of the kind of incredible dedication I am speaking of, and you will be hearing from workers themselves in the coming hearings. I often spend some time on the workroom floor as a way of staying in touch with postal workers, seeking their ideas and concerns. I met two long-term women workers one afternoon, very troubled and concerned that the mail was sitting for days and the people were not getting the kind of service they were paying for and deserved. They had been working together on tour I for many years and with the change in service standards in January 2015 that eliminated overnight delivery, they were able to secure daytime tour II jobs as some night work shifted to day time work. They pleaded with me, that while they were much better off personally with the daytime shifts, out of a sense of fairness to the postal patrons they would gladly return to Tour I in order to service the customers. At another processing center in the mid-west, a 27-year veteran postal worker shared with me that staffing in her manual flat section had been cut in half and they were being worked to the bone on forced overtime and holiday scheduling. But what brought her to tears was pointing to the mail around her saying that it had been sitting for 7 days and the customers deserved better.

Since it would be unfair to expect you to remember it from three years ago, let me once again tell you as the Arbitration Board another part of my personal postal story. When I began working at the post office, hired as a career employee in 1983, my life rapidly changed for the better. I had three young children at the time. Literally overnight I was making good union wages and good benefits. I had union negotiated job security. I knew I had a future if I wanted to stay. My family became that much more fortunate when my wife also became a career postal worker, a year and a-half later.

My postal career began 13 years after the start of a massive shift – one that turned low-paying postal work into good jobs, a shift that resulted from the 1970 postal strike. Those postal workers who stormed the heavens did not know if they would still have jobs after an unlawful job action. But their legitimate frustrations and anger left them no other path, much like the teacher and school workers of present. They did it to take care of themselves and their families and in doing so took care of me and other postal workers who followed. I now believe it is not only our turn to take care of ourselves, but to reach out to the new workers, the younger workers, and those who aren’t here yet to make sure we’re passing on decent sustaining wages, good benefits, secure retirements -- where workers are not living to work, but working to live, and live decently.

Board Members:

We have just honored the contribution of workers this Labor Day. All is not well. Growing income inequality in the U.S. is a huge and deeply troubling problem. The top one tenth of one percent has as much wealth as the bottom 90%. By some reports Bezos of Amazon rakes in $230,000 a minute, I repeat, a minute. Chipotle CEO Niccol has compensation of $18,000/hour, more than the typical Chipolte worker earns in a year of hard work. While unemployment is low, far too many jobs are low wage and lack benefits. The federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour has not changed in over a decade. Millions of fulltime workers make up the ranks of the “working poor.” Even with low unemployment it is harder and harder for working folks to make ends meet and with low unionization rates, workers suffer with less income and less benefits. On the basic issue of housing, according to recent statistics and studies, workers need an average wage of $23/hour to even afford a modest two-bedroom rental apartment, not to mention home ownership. Collective Bargaining gives us the opportunity to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. Management’s regressive proposals are not only unwarranted by any legitimate measure, but are an insult. And they exacerbate the problem of vast income inequality.

It continues to be in the interests of postal workers to reverse the tide of the race to the bottom and turn back to the kind of standards of wages, benefits, workforce structure and rights that since the advent of collective bargaining in 1971 have made postal work a rewarding career, and despite its challenges, that workers are proud of, where our work is honored and respected, our families are secure and our communities reap the benefits of both good and vital services and the positive impact of good jobs.

Starting today and throughout the month of September APWU represented workers all over the country, are donning stickers united in our interests: “Arbitration 2019, Good Contract Now!”

From the start of this round of collective bargaining for a new good union contract, we have rallied around our call of “Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow!” To postal workers, this is what our interests are all about

With that I conclude and welcome any questions. Thank you.

Sep 05, 2019

Opening Day of Interest Arbitration!

September 4, 2019

APWU discusses how postal workers are mission-dedicated, skilled, public servants deserving of fair pay and benefits, job security, and a safe workplace, free of harassment.

On Wednesday, September 4, the APWU began presenting its case for a strong contract in the opening day of Interest Arbitration hearings in Washington, D.C. The hearing was the first of many in the process that will determine the next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the APWU and the USPS.

After introductions by Arbitrator Goldberg – the Arbitration Panel’s neutral arbitrator – and APWU Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, the hearing began with the Postal Service’s opening statement, delivered by USPS attorney Kevin B. Rachel. The APWU’s opening statement, delivered by APWU general counsel Mindy Holmes, followed. Both attorneys outlined the cases and the general proposals from both parties.

APWU proposals include:

  • An on-average 3 percent annual wage increase,
  • Increasing USPS contribution to health care insurance,
  • Retain COLAs,
  • Restore top steps lost in 2010,
  • Elimination of postmasters doing bargaining unit work in level 18 offices,
  • Guaranteed hours and advanced scheduling for PTFs,
  • Reduction of PSE percentages and creation of more career jobs.

Following management’s rebuttals and a break in proceedings, APWU President Mark Dimondstein made his presentation as a witness. In his statement, President Dimondstein discussed how postal workers are passionate about their mission to provide a vital service to the general public as outlined in the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act: ‘To provide postal services to bind the Nation together,’ to ‘provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas,’ and to ‘render postal services to all communities.’

In order to properly fulfill this mission, President Dimondstein said, APWU members need good-paying jobs and working conditions. These include:

  • An end to the unfair and divisive three-tier structure that pays workers significantly different amounts for performing the same work.
  • Further reductions in the non-career workforce and an increase in the career workforce where workers make decent, family-sustaining wages and receive a solid set of benefits.
  • A relief of the ever-growing problem of hostile working environments and a management structure that refuses to hold management accountable.

“The key to the past and the future success of the Postal Service is the hard work and dedication of hundreds of thousands of postal workers,” President Dimondstein concluded. “From those who sell postage and accept packages; to those who sort medicines, letters, and on-line orders; to those who transport the mail and repair the vehicles; to those who maintain the equipment and facilities; to those who deliver the mail.”

In addition to APWU officers and experts, rank and file members from the crafts will appear as witnesses in further hearings. These witnesses will continue to make the APWU’s case that working conditions and salary must be improved in order to continue serving the essential mission of the Postal Service.

The next interest arbitration hearings are scheduled for September 24-26, 2019 and throughout October (will post more information as it becomes available).

Aug 27, 2019

Interest Arbitration Hearings

Scheduled in September and October

August 26, 2019

The location for the interest arbitration’s opening hearings has been set. The hearings will take place at the Washington DC National Mall Hilton, located at 480 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024. Interest arbitration will determine the terms of the next contract.

The first hearing will be on September 4 at 10:00 am, and APWU members are welcome to attend. Members will have an opportunity to hear both the APWU and the USPS lay out what they plan on presenting to the three-member arbitration panel over the course of the interest arbitration and hear the demands each party will be making in arbitration.

Based on panel chair Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg’s availability, hearings will then continue on September 24-26, 2019 and October 10-11, 2019.  The parties expect to complete all hearings by the end of the year.

Aug 21, 2019

Interest Arbitration Panel for New Contract Appointed

August 19, 2019

Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg has been appointed as the impartial chair of the tri-partite interest arbitration panel and scheduled the opening day of the hearings for September 4, 2019. 

When the APWU and USPS are unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement through negotiations, the law requires interest arbitration.  In this process, there is a three-member arbitration panel. One arbitrator is appointed by the APWU, another by the USPS, and a neutral and impartial arbitrator is selected as chair of the panel by mutual agreement between management and the union. 

Arbitrator Goldberg has extensive experience with the APWU and the USPS. He chaired the interest arbitration panel in 2016 and his award determined the terms of the 2015-2018 collective bargaining agreement. He also chaired the panel that determined the 2000-2003 contract. Arbitrator Goldberg has also decided many national grievance disputes between the APWU and the USPS.

The APWU appointed Phillip Tabbita, Manager of Negotiation Support and Special Projects, as the APWU arbitrator. He has been involved in every APWU contract negotiation since 1981 and every interest arbitration since 1984. He served as the APWU-appointed arbitrator in the 2016 interest arbitration. The USPS appointed Robert Dufek as their arbitrator. Mr. Dufek is a management attorney and has been the Postal Service’s arbitrator of choice in every interest arbitration in recent decades.  

 “The APWU team of officers, staff, attorneys, economists, and witnesses are fully prepared to beat back management’s concessionary demands and win a decent new contract,” President Mark Dimondstein said. “In 2016, we prevailed through interest arbitration when negotiations stalled, and we plan to succeed once again in this interest arbitration as we continue ‘Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow.’”

The APWU demands include fair and retroactive wage increases and cost-of-living allowances (COLAs), closing the gaps of the divisive multi-tier wage system, maintaining protections against layoffs, increasing career jobs, restrictions on subcontracting, limits on excessing and expanding PTF rights.

Management’s demands include eliminating pay increases, gutting COLAs, creating a new lower-tier of employees with reduced benefits, restricting no lay-off protections, making it easier to excess employees and increasing the non-career workforce.

“The demands of management show complete disrespect for you, the dedicated postal worker, and the hard work you do,” Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman said. “Management would rather punish than reward you for your good work. We will fight in this interest arbitration to get what you deserve — a fair contract that recognizes your value.”

Previous interest arbitrations have taken 18 hearing days and more to conclude. Because of the varying schedules of the neutral arbitrator, lawyers, and witnesses, the hearings are usually spread out over several months, followed by legal briefs, panel deliberations and the writing of a final award by the Interest Arbitration panel.

The national leadership will keep the members regularly informed of the progress of the interest arbitration proceedings through all avenues of print and social media.

“In the meantime, remember,” said President Dimondstein, “that this is a great time to be union proud. Without the collective strength of our union to protect us, management would simply implement their draconian proposals. In the month of September, wear your Good Contract NOW! sticker – soon to be delivered – and union gear with pride as we show our unity in the struggle for a good union contract.”

Aug 06, 2019
“We invoked mediation to make sure we pursued every avenue to reach a good contract for the membership,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “Despite our best efforts, it did not result in an agreement.
Jun 05, 2019

Contract Mediation Ending

June 4, 2019

On Monday, June 3 President Mark Dimondstein and Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman informed the National Executive Council (NEC) that the mediation process was unsuccessful in leading to a voluntary collective bargaining agreement. The NEC was provided a full update and given the opportunity to question the Chief Negotiator and Spokesperson fully about the mediation and negotiation process.

The APWU began the mediation process by meeting with the mediator, appointed by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), to receive an overview of the mediation process.  The meeting, held at APWU headquarters, included all the members of the APWU core negotiating committee (President, Vice-President, Industrial Relations Director, and the three Craft Directors) as well as the Secretary-Treasurer and the Assistant Craft Directors. Anyone who could not physically attend the meet at headquarters could participate via teleconference and some did so.

Mediation then began with joint meetings with the mediator and the chief spokespersons of both the USPS and the APWU present. The mediator would meet independently with each party as necessary during the sessions. Following these day-long meetings with the chief spokespersons, the individual Craft Directors and their assistants met in separate day-long sessions with their Postal Service counterparts and the mediator. 

After five full days of mediation, the mediator declared that the two parties were too far apart in their demands and positions. Since the parties were so far apart, the mediator did not believe further discussions would lead to a new collective bargaining agreement and further mediation would prove to be unsuccessful.

The APWU, while hopeful that mediation would have been successful, has been vigorously preparing for interest arbitration. The APWU team of your national officers, attorneys, staff members, and members-from-the-field have and are working hard to develop the case and supporting evidence to support our demands. 

The USPS and the APWU will now move into the next stage of the process of jointly selecting an arbitrator to chair the three-member panel who will hear the case for a new contract. Once the arbitrator has been selected and appointed, the parties will ask the chairperson to provide dates she or he has available to begin hearing the case.

May 06, 2019

Contract Update


05/03/2019 - The APWU is continuing to move forward towards interest arbitration. Preparation of hearing presentations, evidence, and witnesses is occurring every day.

The craft directors and their assistant directors are working together with the lead negotiator, President Mark Dimondstein, and the negotiation’s chief spokesperson, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, on the issues that their craft will be facing in the interest arbitration hearings. For example, the crafts are all currently working on presentations that show how important each of their respective craft’s work is, the complexity of the jobs postal workers do, and how critical each job is to the mission of the postal service.

Your executive officers are all preparing for arbitration, as well working on specific assignments for use in the interest arbitration process. Meetings are held on a regular basis to strategize and report preparation progress by the crafts. as well as joint meetings with the core National Negotiation Committee and the resident craft officers.

While preparation and arbitrator selection are ongoing, the parties have entered mediation in an attempt to reach a voluntary agreement. A neutral mediator was appointed by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) and has already began to meet with the principals from the parties. Mediation meetings are also scheduled between the APWU and USPS for each craft. Your craft officers will be meeting with the Postal Service in these sessions.

If a voluntary agreement can be reached through mediation, it will be presented to the Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee for their vote to send to the membership for ratification.

“Even though we are in mediation in hopes of getting an agreement, we are diligently preparing for interest arbitration. Your elected officers, our attorneys, subject matter experts, and staff are working tirelessly to prepare to present a case that will get you the contract you deserve,” said Industrial Relations Director Zimmerman.

Apr 11, 2019

APWU Enters Mediation


04/09/2019 - In our continuing efforts to get the contract the members deserve, the APWU invoked mediation on April 3, 2019 – sending a letter to the Acting Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and to the Postal Service. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) is a federal agency that provides public and private-sector labor-management mediation, and by law it is responsible for facilitating the APWU’s demand for mediation with the Postal Service. 

In mediation a neutral expert with the experience and training to develop information about the parties, their industry, and their issues will help them look for common ground towards reaching agreement.  A mediator may offer suggestions and recommendations to either or both sides, but does not have the authority to impose a settlement, set contract terms, or require that the parties end mediation with any kind of agreement. The process is expected to take approximately forty-five (45) days.

Even when mediation fails to get a total resolution, this step may help narrow and focus disputes.  Such narrowing of some disputes could make interest arbitration more successful for the members. 

As the mediation process moves forward, the APWU national officers, members from the field, legal counsel, and staff members are working daily in preparation for interest arbitration. Internal meetings are occurring and will continue on a regularly scheduled basis. Craft officers, the core committee, the Industrial Relations Department, and the President are developing persuasive evidence and arguments, concerning your work and the appropriate compensation for your service, to present to the Postal Service and to an arbitrator.

“Mediation is just another one of the APWU’s efforts to ensure that no stone is left unturned in our continuing battle to get the members what they deserve in their next contract,” said Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman.

“Management’s recent final proposal showed their disrespect for the hard work of the postal workers by demanding a new 4th tier of employees with lower pay, fewer benefits, less leave, no cost-of-living increases, limited lump sum pay increases for current employees, and the threat of layoffs,” President Mark Dimondstein said. “This next step in the process is one more tool we can utilize to help get the workers of today—and tomorrow—the wages, benefits, and work environment they deserve. We truly are fighting today for a better tomorrow.” 

Mar 11, 2019

Contract Negotiations Update:

Management and Union Exchange Final Economic Proposals


03/08/2019 - On March 7, 2019, the APWU and United States Postal Service negotiators exchanged their final economic proposals as both sides continue their preparation for interest arbitration.

The APWU put forward proposals that reward postal workers for our hard work. The Union’s proposals include:

  • Solid annual pay raises,
  • Two COLA increases every year,
  • Adding top Steps to the lower career pay scale,
  • Reduction of the non-career workforce and increasing the career workforce,
  • Automatic PSE conversion to career after a set time of service,
  • Increased company contributions to health insurance premiums,
  • Raising the pay of PSEs.

The union had previously presented many proposals and continues to fight for these demands: work hour guarantees for PTFs; guaranteed weekly day off for PTFs and PSEs; elimination of all subcontracting, including continuation of moratorium of subcontracting of any existing MVS/PVS work; moratorium on plant closings; addressing the hostile work environment, including sexual harassment; elimination of management performing bargaining unit work in level 18 offices; and no mandatory overtime.

USPS economic proposals are nothing short of draconian and regressive.  Their proposals include:

  • No increase in pay rates – a freeze for current employees:
    • One lump sum payment in lieu of the usual annual pay raise;
    • Lump sum payments in lieu of COLAs.
  • Decreasing the career workforce:
    • Increasing the percentage of non-career employees to 25% in the clerk craft;
    • Reintroduction of 10% PSEs into the maintenance workforce undoing the all-career maintenance craft;
    • Reintroduction of 10% PSEs into the MVS Craft.
  • Pay and benefits substantially cut for all future conversion to career and future hires:
    • A converted PSE would take a pay cut of almost $1.00 per hour and work into year three before getting back to the PSE rate.
  • Current career employees with less than six years seniority must work 15 years to gain “no lay-off” protection.
  • Elimination of no lay-off provision for all future workers.

USPS management also had made numerous regressive proposals including: Universal PSE Clerk with no restrictions on working the window, PSEs allowed to work in Level 18 offices and then replace career jobs; replace career PTFs with non-career PSEs; eliminate the 50-mile limit on excessing employees; subcontract custodial work under conditions of unforeseen long-term absences; eliminate penalty pay; eliminate all existing Local Memos; eliminate any on-the-clock   steward union time to represent employees.  

Chief Spokesperson for the APWU, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, told the Postal Service negotiators “This is blatant disrespect for postal workers. They provide a valuable service to their country. This is not even close to respecting the value of the service we give. I could go on and on but I will just say I find this insulting.”

President Mark Dimondstein said, “There are clearly two sides in this fight and the battle lines have been drawn in our efforts to obtain a contract that honors and respects postal workers.  The USPS proposals reek of contempt for the workforce.  APWU members will fight for what we deserve in the interest arbitration process as we continue ‘Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow.’”

Sep 11, 2018

Contract Negotiations Hotline Opened

Call 866-412-8061 for Updates


09/10/2018 - The current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the American Postal Workers Union and the United States Postal Service expires at midnight September 20, 2018. The union entered the final 10-day stretch of intense negotiations – including days of round-the-clock bargaining – on Sept. 10.

National President Dimondstein will provide regular updates starting Sept. 14.

Call 866-412-8061 to get the latest news and updates as we continue Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow!

Page Last Updated: Oct 22, 2019 (07:17:42)
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