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- A number of consolidations of mail processing operations will be moving mail hundreds of miles to RPDCs. Management’s claims that the network modernization will speed up the mail runs counter to the reality that long-distance moves will only further slow down mail, hurt customers and workers, and drive business away. Announced management plans to move mail from Charleston, WV to Pittsburgh, PA (230 miles) and from Medford, OR to Portland, OR (280 miles) are cases in point.
- Management is not abiding by the law or their own Area Mail Processing (AMP) guidelines when it comes to holding community meetings for public input regarding mail moves. Meetings are being held with short notice, in the middle of the day when it is most difficult for the public to participate, comments are time-limited, and questions that arise from the public are not answered by postal officials. Even with these obstacles, local leaders have organized for, attended, and spoken up at community meetings, (as previously shared, grievances have been initiated regarding violations of the AMP Guidelines.)
- Management is scamming the public. All indications are that their decisions have already been made, prior to community input.
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In accordance with the 2021-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement, career employees represented by the APWU will receive a $0.17 per hour cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), effective March 9, 2024.
The increase is the result of a rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W), and will appear in paychecks dated March 29, 2024 (Pay Period 07-2024). The COLA for full-time employees in each step and grade will amount to $354.00 annually, and the hourly rates for part-time employees will be adjusted accordingly.
COLAs are separate and in addition to general wage increases. This is the fifth cost-of-living increase under the 2021 contract. The first increase, effective in February 2022, amounted to $0.63 per hour or $1,310.00 annually. The second, effective in August 2022 was $1.18 per hour or $2,455.00 annually. The third, effective in March 2023, was $0.10 per hour, or $208.00 annually. The fourth, effective August 26, 2023, was 0.48 per hour, or $998.00 annually. The total cumulative COLAs received so far during the 2021-2024 National Agreement is $2.56 per hour, or $5,325.00 annually.
Though Postal Support Employees (PSEs) do not receive cost-of-living increases, they have received several additional increases beyond the general wage increases for all employees in the APWU bargaining unit under the 2021 contract. However, when PSEs convert to career, the COLA increases are also included in their base wages going forward.
Rising inflation underscores the importance of our negotiated Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) within our union contract, made possible by the strength of our membership. COLAs are our best protection against inflation. Postal Workers are some of the few U.S. workers who receive COLA increases. Even in the postal world, we are the only postal union that has maintained full COLA in our union contract.
“Once again, union-won COLAs prove how invaluable our contractual rights are to postal workers and our families,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “We will continue to fight to maintain full COLA provisions in our upcoming contract.”
We will update this article with pay chart information as it becomes available.
Management continues to move forward with the planned opening of new Regional Processing and Distribution Centers (RPDCs) and creation of Sorting and Delivery Centers (S&DCs), which are large carrier delivery units with automated package sortation capabilities. Approximately four RPDCs are at least partially up and running, and 30 or so S&DCs have been opened. While management’s plans are subject to change, it appears that an additional 10 RPDCs and more than 50 S&DCs will open in 2024. Over the coming years, most APWU locals will be impacted by these changes.
National officers continue to share all information received from postal management and hold informative video conferences with national, local, and state officers around the country. We have held training on how to best protect clerk craft work from mail handler craft encroachment. The regional coordinators continue the important work of addressing and reducing the potential excessing of employees. National officers and staff have visited the RPDCs and S&DCs to observe the operations, speak with the employees, and address safety and other concerns. All of these will continue in the new year.
While few would argue that some of the postal network needs to be upgraded to address today’s mail mix and to capture more work, how the plan is implemented is raising serious concerns for the APWU and the public. Some examples:
“I have assigned Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy to assist locals in their efforts to unite with the community against any changes in mail processing that will slow down service,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “We’ve been down this road before with former PMG Donohoe’s destructive actions to the mail processing network. Those plans were a complete failure and some aspects of management’s current plans, particularly consolidation of mail processing hundreds of miles away, are smelling more and more like Donohoe’s debacle and should be stopped in their tracks.”
The APWU will continue to oppose those parts of the “modernization plan” that disrupt, rather than improve, our mission to the people. Where proposed mail processing changes will slow down service, APWU locals have stepped up on the frontlines. In addition, APWU President Mark Dimondstein and Industrial Relations Director Charlie Cash met with the highest levels of management to raise our objections and press management to reassess some of their planned mail processing moves. The union will continue to diligently work to protect our job security and services to the public. ■