On June 3, President Mark Dimondstein and Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman reported to the APWU National Executive Council (NEC) that the contract mediator stated that the APWU and the USPS were too far apart, and further discussions would not lead to a new collective bargaining agreement. The statement effectively ends the mediation.
“We invoked mediation to make sure we pursued every avenue to reach a good contract for the membership,” President Dimondstein said. On the June call, the NEC was provided a full update about the mediation and negotiation process, and given the opportunity to question President Dimondstein (lead negotiator) and Director Zimmerman (chief spokesman).
The Mediation started with a meeting between the mediator appointed by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) and members of the 2018 National Negotiating Committee, including the Industrial Relations Director, Executive Vice President, Secretary- Treasurer and Clerk, Maintenance, and MVS Craft Directors. Assistant Craft Directors were also invited to participate. Anyone who could not physically attend the meeting could participate via teleconference.
The process continued with in-depth joint meetings with the mediator and chief spokespersons of both the USPS and the APWU.
Following day-long meetings with the chief spokespersons, the individual Craft Directors and the Assistant Directors met in separate daylong sessions with their USPS counterparts and the mediator.
After a series of these meetings, the mediator declared the parties were too far apart. “While we were hopeful that mediation would be successful, we have been vigorously preparing for interest arbitration,” said Director Zimmerman. “We are working hard to develop our case and preparing evidence to support our demands.”
The next stage of the process is for the USPS and the APWU to jointly select an interest arbitrator to chair the three-member panel. This panel will hear the case for the new contract. Once the arbitrator is selected and appointed, the parties will ask for dates for to begin arbitration hearings.