With our current union contract expiring on September 20, 2021, the APWU and postal management have now been engaged in negotiations for more than five weeks.
The APWU National Negotiating Committee consists of President Mark Dimondstein, Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy, Secretary/Treasurer Liz Powell, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks, Maintenance Craft Director Idowu Balogun, Motor Vehicle Services Director Michael Foster, and Support Services Craft Director Stephen Brooks. The Negotiations Committee is meeting weekly, at minimum, to plan, refine proposals and develop strategy. In addition, the Craft Directors met individually with Lead Negotiator President Dimondstein and Chief Spokesperson Director Zimmerman to coordinate efforts. Many other officers and staff are also working diligently with research and planning. Throughout the process, the Negotiations Committee has kept the National Executive Board and Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee apprised on the process and developments of negotiations.
Generally, at this stage of early negotiations we are focused on proposals addressing work rules, working conditions, and workforce structure. Later in the negotiations process, the economic provisions (wage increases, COLA, step increases, etc.) will be proposed and discussed. To date, the APWU has submitted 86 proposals and management has submitted six proposals for discussion and negotiation. The union proposals include 44 craft proposals covering the Clerk, Maintenance, Motor Vehicle Services, and Support Services crafts and 42 general article proposals. These include numerous proposals to protect job security and work opportunities, increase career opportunities and improve conditions of work.
The APWU will submit additional proposals over the coming month, including our wage and financial package.
Main Table Meetings
Since negotiations opened on June 22, 2021, there have been eight “Main Table” meetings between the APWU and postal management, where proposals are exchanged and assigned to various negotiators or to the craft tables for further discussion and development.
Each APWU craft is conducting at least weekly meetings with their counterparts at the Postal Service. In addition, Director Zimmerman meets regularly with the Postal Service Chief Spokesperson on the general article proposals that are not currently assigned other negotiators or to the craft tables. Lead negotiator, President Mark Dimondstein, also meets regularly with the Deputy Postmaster General discussing the overall picture of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Lock Down Starts Sept. 7
The parties are currently planning to “lock down” in the same location for a week of negotiations beginning September 7, 2021. Each day will consist of intense main table negotiations, craft tables, and any other sub-committees where the parties agree to work on the various proposals.
If an agreement is not reached by the September 20, 2021 expiration of the CBA, the parties will begin to move towards interest arbitration. An APWU team consisting of national officers, attorneys, and staff members is preparing for interest arbitration at the same time negotiations are ongoing. Furthermore, negotiations can continue beyond the expiration of the contract even while preparing for interest arbitration. It is always best for the parties to reach a voluntary agreement rather than have an arbitration panel impose new wages, hours, and working conditions.
“The core committee and other craft officers are diligently working to negotiate a contract that recognizes the hard work and dedication the employees represented by the APWU show each day, shared Director Zimmerman. “We are working together to get you the good contract you deserve.”
“On behalf of the members, I thank the negotiating team and everyone involved with the negotiations process for all their hard work and cooperation as we march together in the battle for a good new contract,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “Our strength at the negotiating table derives from the activity and unity of the members, so keep sending the message from the workroom floor to postal headquarters – ‘Union Strong, All Day Long!’”