|31,000 Stop & Shop Workers on Strike in New England
31,000 Stop & Shop Workers on Strike in New England
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #:
04/17/2019 - On Thursday, Apr. 11, nearly 31,000 workers at over 240 Stop & Shop grocery stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut walked out, beginning a strike that stretched into a seventh day on Wednesday. The workers, unionized under five New England-based locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), began the strike after months of negotiations with Stop & Shop reached an impasse and the collective bargaining agreement expired on Feb. 23.
The strike is the largest private-sector work stoppage in the United States since 2016’s Verizon strike by members of the Communications Workers of America.
During negotiations, Stop & Shop presented the UFCW negotiators with an unacceptable proposal that included the elimination of Sunday and holiday pay for part-time workers, an increase in weekly premium costs for employee-only health coverage of up to 90 percent over three years, and the doubling of health care out-of-pocket limits for many employees.
Stop & Shop’s meager offer of a 50 cents-per-hour wage increase would not begin to cover the steep rises in these health care costs.
Stop & Shop, the largest grocery chain in New England, is owned by Belgian retail conglomerate Ahold Delhaize, which reported over $2 billion in profit in 2018.
“The APWU stands with Stop & Shop workers in their demand for good pay and quality health care,” said APWU President Dimondstein. “It is obscene that a company making billions in profits is trying to shift healthcare costs onto the backs of the workers.
As workers remain on strike, supporters are asked to sign UFCW’s petition, donate food to strikers, and join workers on the picket line. APWU members are encouraged to honor the picket line and refrain from grocery shopping at Stop & Shop while the strike is ongoing.
Members and supporters who want to donate to the strike effort should send a check payable to the UFCW Members’ Assistance Fund to the below address:
Office of the Secretary-Treasurer
1775 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
|APWU Launches New Ad - "We Deliver Almost Anything"
APWU Launches New Ad - "We Deliver Almost Anything"
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #:
04/12/2019 - The APWU continues our offensive against the White House proposals to sell the Postal Service to private corporations.
The lighthearted video below makes a crucial point – of all the many things the Postal Service will accept from the public, tax dollars are not one of them. The video advertisement release is in coordination with Tax Day actions all over the country on Monday, April 15.
“This Tax Day weekend, the APWU is breaking through the false narrative that the public Postal Service is a burden to taxpayers,” said President Dimondstein. “With this false narrative, privatizers were able to push through the disastrous 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. Now, the White House is using it to sell off our national treasure.”
Watch and share the video with your friends and family.
|APWU Enters Mediation
APWU Enters Mediation
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #:
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.
(This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By President Mark Dimondstein
Our labor anthem is “Solidarity Forever.” I sign letters “in union solidarity.”
But what is solidarity?
The dictionary definition is: “unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.”
There are many examples of real-life solidarity:
- Writing a statement for a co-worker who has been wronged, not allowing career and non-careers to be divided, fighting together for safe workplaces, and standing up when we see co-workers sexually, or otherwise, harassed by management.
- Teacher and education workers rising up from West Virginia to Oklahoma, Los Angeles, Oakland and Chicago -- in defense of public education, smaller classroom sizes and needs of the students.
- The Oklahoma Postal Workers Union distributing food and beverages to the teachers marching from Oklahoma City to Tulsa, the Greater Los Angeles Area Local joining picket lines during the recent teachers strike, Bay Area retirees joining with striking Marriot workers demanding “One Job Should Be Enough,” the Lehigh Valley Area Local gathering food for the federal workers locked out during the government shutdown.
- The Association of Flight Attendants producing a video for their members opposing postal privatization.
- Respecting the union-called boycott of Oreo cookies in defense of unionized Chicago workers facing the export of their jobs.
- The October 8th National Day of Action that The U.S Mail is Not for Sale! campaign coordinated with the other postal unions.
- Support for striking Canadian postal workers as they strive for a decent new contract.
- Standing with fast food workers fighting for $15/hour and a union.
- Teacher and other unions backing the Stop Staples boycott and helping to bring about the victorious conclusion.
- APWU local and state unions sending supplies and money to support brothers and sisters devastated by hurricanes, fires and floods.
- Building A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service and uniting with the public to defend and expand public Postal Services as the White House seeks to sell our national treasure to private corporations.
- All 56 AFL-CIO unions united in opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) rotten trade deal.
- Ten air traffic controllers, too exhausted and sick to come to work, disrupting air traffic, thus forcing an end to the outrageous 35-day government shutdown (lock-out) of 800,000 federal workers.
With solidarity we win. When Charleston, SC dockworkers were forced on strike in 2000 by a shipping company trying to break the union, Danish, Swedish and Spanish dockworkers stood in international solidarity and refused to handle “scab” cargo in their respective countries. This proved instrumental in winning that fight.
Without solidarity, we lose. The Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO) went on strike in 1981 and the Reagan administration set out to break the strike and union. The AFL-CIO refused to stand in solidarity, and other unionized airline workers crossed picket lines. The union was broken and all workers were injured, for the defeat opened the floodgates of striker replacement, union busting and concessionary contracts.
Solidarity leads workers to a better life. Our union was built in the solidarity of the unlawful Great Postal Strike of 1970. It should remain part of our very being, part of our “DNA.” We are now heading into the challenging process of interest arbitration to win a new, decent union contract that respects postal workers’ hard work and contributions. We must be united to successfully win our demands and resist management’s regressive proposals (see next page). Solidarity with each other on the workroom floor, among all crafts, between local and national leaders and with our community allies must be stronger than ever as we are Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow!
|Postal Employees and Retirees See Threats to Pay and Benefits in White House Budget
Postal Employees and Retirees See Threats to Pay and Benefits in White House Budget
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #:
03/29/2019 - The White House released its plans for the fiscal year 2020 budget this month. It once again attacks workers, calling for deep cuts to salaries, retirement and health benefits. It also echoes parts of the Postal Task Force December 2018 report that calls for the elimination of union negotiated collective bargaining rights over pay, creating a postal employee pay system similar to what is seen in the federal workforce.
Further mirroring the Postal Task Force report, the budget calls for privatization of the Postal Service in part, including outsourcing processing and sortation to private companies, and providing access to mailboxes to third parties.
“The cuts in the current White House budget proposal clearly come at the expense of postal employees, retirees, and the American people,” President Mark Dimondstein said. “Similar attacks on postal workers and universal postal service were also seen in the June 2018 report from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in which the White House proposes to sell the Postal Service to the highest corporate bidder.”
“APWU members must remain vigilant, organized and unified in defense of the public Postal Service and the rights of postal workers,” President Dimondstein continued.
In addition, the budget also attacks our wages and benefits through:
- ‘High Three’ to a ‘High Five’
The White House budget recommends basing retirement annuities on the average highest five years of salary instead of the current high three, resulting in a decreased annuity payment.
- Changes to COLAs for FERS and CSRS Retirees
Postal retirees under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) would see a total elimination of cost of living adjustments (COLAs) under the budget plan, and those in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) would see a 0.5 percent reduction of COLAs.
- Elimination of FERS Annuity Supplement
Current FERS retirees who left service before Social Security eligibility qualify for an annuity supplement. This would be eliminated for new retirees.
- Increases to postal employee contributions to FERS
FERS enrollees will see an increase of their contributions by one percent over six years. By doing so, employee and employer contributions will be equally divided.
The Thrift Savings Plan’s (TSP) G Fund interest rate would be modified under the Trump Administration’s endorsed budget. Proposed changes would lower the rate to under one percent. This would only possibly save the federal government $16.5 billion over 10 year, and make the G Fund virtually worthless for those TSP participants.
- Changes to Retirement Services & Healthcare Administration
The management and administration of both retirement reservices and healthcare will move from the duties of the Office of Personnel Management to the General Services Administration.
For this budget plan to come to fruition, it would have to be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate Budget Committee released its budget plan for fiscal year 2020 on March 22. In it, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is requested to develop $15 billion in savings. This would most likely come in the form of reductions to employee health care benefits.
The House Budget Committee has yet to release its fiscal year 2020 plan. Votes on past plans to cut pay and benefits did not pass in either the House or Senate.
It is important to be aware of these threats and to raise your objections to your lawmakers.
“APWU will continue to meet with elected officials, on both sides of the aisle, reminding them of the value of the work of postal and federal workers to this nation,” said Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard. “Retirees should live with respect; receiving COLAs and annuities that should be increased, not cut. Federal budgets should lift workers and communities up, not tear them down.”
|Management and Union Exchange Final Economic Proposals
Contract Negotiations Update:
Management and Union Exchange Final Economic Proposals
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #:
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.’”
|Arbitration Advocacy Training 2019
Arbitration Advocacy Training 2019
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #:
03/04/2019 - The APWU Arbitration Advocacy Training program will be Sunday, June 2 - Sunday, June 9. It is designed to provide an in-depth knowledge of the techniques needed to effectively prepare a case for arbitration. Students must be present for the entire training and must participate in a mock arbitration case on Saturday, June 8. Participants should plan to arrive at the hotel, Maritime Institute Hotel located at 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, Maryland 21090, on Sunday, June 2 because classes start promptly at 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning. A graduation dinner will be held on Saturday evening. No classes will be held on Sunday, June 9. The curriculum includes: Introduction to Arbitration; Preparing the Case; Identifying and Framing Issues; Threshold Issues; Exhibits and Stipulations; Opening and Closing Statements; Rules of Evidence; Objections, and Direct and Cross Examinations.
To make hotel reservations, contact the hotel toll free at 1 (410) 859-5700, next dial 0. To secure the negotiated rate of $155.00 (single) or $200.00 (double occupancy), plus 13% taxes, identify yourself as attending the American Postal Workers Union’s Arbitration Advocacy Training and register by the Monday, May 6, 2019 deadline. Check-in time is 4:00 p.m. and check-out time is 11:00 am. The hotel requires a major credit card for payment of room and taxes in advance. To receive a refund, hotel reservations must be cancelled 72 hours in advance of the scheduled arrival date; please obtain a cancellation number - request a cancellation number.
In addition to daily classes, participants must be present for the entire training and will have both group and individual homework assignments. Students must work with their assigned teams during late evening hours to prepare a mock arbitration case for presentation on Saturday, June 8.Therefore, all participants should reside at the hotel.
|APWU National Executive Board Calls for the Secretary of Labor to Resign
APWU National Executive Board Calls for the Secretary of Labor to Resign
03/01/2019 - On Friday, March 1 the APWU National Executive Board unanimously passed the following statement:
Alex Acosta is unfit to serve as Secretary of Labor.
Recently the Miami Herald produced a detailed and documented expose regarding the sexual abuse scandal of dozens of underage/teenage girls over many years by billionaire hedge fund manager Jeffery Epstein.
Epstein used his money and influence to escape justice. In a secret plea bargain, no charges were filed for sexual abuse of minors. Instead he pled guilty to a felony “prostitution” charge in state court and received a 13-month sentence. According to the Miami Herald, “…in return Epstein and his accomplices received immunity from federal sex-trafficking charges that could have sent him to prison for life.” He served his sentence in a private cell and was allowed to leave for his office every day.
Furthermore, victims were never notified of the plea agreement and were thus denied their legal rights and the opportunity to oppose it.
The current Secretary of Labor and Trump administration cabinet member, Alex Acosta, brokered this secret deal that covered for the crimes, abandoned the victims, broke the law and was a miscarriage of justice. At the time he was the U.S. Attorney for southern Florida.
The Secretary of Labor overseas the agency responsible for labor laws, including human and sex trafficking and international child labor laws.
In defense of young women and all working people, the APWU Executive Board demands that Alex Acosta be removed as Secretary of Labor, either by resignation or termination by the U.S. President.
|Update: RI-399 Monetary Settlement Distribution
RI-399 Monetary Settlement Distribution
03/02/2019 - As previously reported, in 2018 the APWU, the National Postal Mail Handlers’ Union (NPMHU), and the USPS reached a tripartite agreement updating the RI-399 work jurisdiction process. As part of the agreement on the update to the RI-399 process, all pending RI-399 grievances filed prior to September 1, 2017, were administratively closed with some limited exceptions.
The Postal Service agreed that they would pay $14.5 million to each union in consideration of the withdrawal of national level disputes. The settlement agreement calls for the unions to each make their own determination on how this money would be distributed.
After consultation, much discussion, and agreement with the Clerk Craft Director, the APWU has decided that the money will be distributed in equal amounts to clerk craft employees who fall into the following two categories:
- All career clerk craft employees who were on the rolls as of September 1, 2017, in postal installations that employ both clerk craft employees and mail handlers; and
- All PSE clerk craft employees who were on the rolls on September 1, 2017, in postal installations that employ both clerk craft employees and mail handlers and who are still on the rolls as of March 1, 2019.
The exact amount of money is yet to be determined as the APWU is still determining exactly who are entitled to payment. We currently estimate this number to be around 85,000 career and non-career clerks (including any eligible career employees who retired after September 1, 2017). The number of eligible clerks is nearly double the number of mail handlers who will receive payment. President Mark Dimondstein and Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson released a memorandum to national, state, and local officers.
Updates will be provided as the process progresses.
Page Last Updated: Apr 18, 2019 (10:26:12)