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Massive Losses for APWU 

in Tentative Agreement

Comparing the Current Agreement with the Losses in the Proposed Agreement

By Clint Burelson, President of the Olympia Local APWU, April 17, 2011


In order to understand the massive losses that the new contract will bring if ratified, I have provided a comparison of the current agreement with the proposed agreement. 


Current Agreement

Proposed Agreement



Page numbers in parenthesis noted below are from the current CBA


Page numbers in parenthesis noted below are from the corrected copy of the proposed contract, which is different than the agreement included with ballot.



Bid Job Security


Normally, employees remain in bid job until they bid out.


Management will be able to convert any Clerk or MVS Craft bid job to a NTFT job regardless of the seniority of the employee.  All jobs junior to employee whose job is converted will be reposted for in-section bidding.  Management has the right to convert 50% of current bid jobs in mail processing and 100% of current bid jobs in stations/retail and MVS to NTFT jobs (pages 189-190).




Work Week for Full-Time Regulars


The work week for full-time regulars is 40 hours per week, 8 hours per day, and 5 days a week (page 24).


The work week for full-time regulars has been redefined under NTFT rules to mean the work week could be, “Non-Traditional Full Time Assignments – More or Less than 5 days; Between 30-48 hour weeks; Between 4-12 hour days; limited flexibility and limited split shifts.” (APWU PowerPoint) and/or as in the proposed contract, “These nontraditional work schedules may include those with less than 40 hours or less than 5 days a week, or more than 8 hours a day, split shifts, etc” (page 201).




Part-Time Regulars or NTFT


Management limited to utilizing 2.5% of total career workforce as part-time regulars (page 24).


Assuming all NTFT jobs could be essentially considered part-time regulars, management is “limited” to 50% part-time regular assignments in Function 1 (mail processing) and unlimited part-time regular assignments in Function 4 (retail/stations) (page 189).  There are no written limits for the amount of NTFT assignments in the MVS craft.




Daily Overtime


If an employee is scheduled to work over 8 hours in a day, the employee receives overtime for all hours worked beyond 8.


If, per NTFT duty assignment, an employee is scheduled to work as much as 12 hours in a day, the employee does not receive any overtime for working 12 hours, unless total hours for the week are over 40.



Overtime After Fifth Day


If an employee is scheduled to work 6 days in one week, the employee receives overtime for working the 6th day.



If, per NTFT duty assignment, an employee is scheduled to work 6 days in one week, the employee does not receive overtime for working 6th day.



Unknown Provisions of Contract


Current Collective Bargaining Agreement is complete and in writing.


Proposed Agreement is not completed and not all in writing.  “8. Other Provisions - The parties have reached agreements and agreements in principle on additional contract provisions and new MOUs, as well as understandings on various changes in contract language. Those additions and changes are attached as part of this tentative agreement or are currently being finalized by the parties (167).” In other words, there could be nasty surprises in the final contract language.  We actually don’t know what we are voting for.



Health Care Premiums


Management pays 81% of Health Care Premiums after contract expires (page 128). Employees pay 19%



Management pays 76% of Health Care Premiums after contract expires (page 85). Employees pay 24%.

Limits on Preferred Hours for Non-Career Employees



Management may not normally assign preferred daytime hours to casual employees (page 19).


Management may assign preferred daytime hours to non-career employees.  Daytime prohibition eliminated.


Limits on Assignments for Non-Career Employees


Management is prohibited from utilizing casual employees to perform craft jobs requiring training and testing (page 19).



Management may utilize non-career employees to work the window and other areas requiring training and testing.  Prohibition eliminated.



Limits on Number of Non-Career Employees


Management may use up to 6% of the total number of career employees District wide as non-career employees.  And in Clerk Craft, 11% cap (of total clerk craft employees in installation) for each installation that has 200 or more man years of employment (page 20).


Instead of a percentage of total employees, the percentages allowed are per craft and per number of craft employees (light, limited duty, and rehab employees do not count for computing the total craft employees).  Management will be able to utilize non-career employees in each craft as follows:

Clerk Craft – 20% of Clerk Craft

Maintenance – 10% of Maintenance

MVS – 10% of MVS employees


*Important – These “caps” do not include additional non-career employees assigned to the new work that is gained by the APWU such as CPUs, custodial work, and HCRs (pages 11 – 13).





Career Hiring Procedures


Career hiring is from open register and is based on score.  Preference points for veterans.  New hires need not work as a casual in order to get hired.


Based on new language below, career hiring is from a PSE (casual) register, which could violate federal hiring rules. To be hired means an employee must be willing to work for poor wages and conditions for years in order to become a career employee.

 “E. PSE Career Opportunity

When the Postal Service determines in accordance with contractual provisions that it has needs to fill vacancies with new career employees, available and qualified PSE employees will be converted to fill such vacancies on a seniority basis” (page 174).



Wait Time for Career Appointments


Career employees unlikely to be hired until management maxes out the 6% casuals allowed District wide.



Career employees unlikely to be hired until management maxes out the more than 20% casuals allowed District wide.

Probationary Period


90 days


90 days plus all years as PSE (casual).



Starting Wages for Full-Time Career Employees


$40,558 for Level 6 (Traditional Full-Time at 40 hours a week).  Salaries are based on 2080 hours per year, which is 52 weeks (one year).  Salaries with reduced hours are reduced accordingly.


$35,182 for Level 6 at 40 hrs a week

*$30,776 for Level 6 at 35 hrs a week

*$26,380 for Level 6 at 30 hrs a week

*Note: proposed agreement considers 30 hours “full-time” and may be the new norm so a comparison is valid.



Top Wage for Full-Time Career Employees


$53,102 for Level 6 (Traditional Full-Time at 40 hours a week)


$48,622 for Level 6 at 40 hours a week

*Note: New contract considers 30 hours “full-time,” so top wage may be significantly less for many employees.



Retirement Compensation


40 hours a week jobs with current wages is current baseline.


30 to 40 hours a week with lower wages will result in substantially less earnings and therefore substantially less retirement compensation.  Former President Bill Burrus estimates that each newly hired employee will lose over $200,000 in wages and retirement over their career.  National APWU has requested an opinion from OPM regarding whether the 30 hours a week NTFT jobs will be considered full-time.  If not considered full-time, many aspects of retirement and employment could be even more negatively affected.



Grievances on Staffing and Assignments



Local union able to use grievance procedure to address any staffing and assignment disputes.


“Any concerns or disputes regarding non-traditional staffing and assignments will not be pursued through the normal grievance procedure. Such issues will be processed through ADRP”(Alternate Dispute Resolution Process) (page 191).



Full-Time Flexible


Very limited due to requirement to post duty assignments for full-timers without a duty assignment (197).  Full-time flexibles usually assigned a consistent schedule.



Increased up to 10% of full-time assignments in retail (Function 4).  Can and will likely be used like a relief person with start times and days off changing week to week (190).


Clerk Craft Relief and Pool Assignments


Management limited to utilizing relief employees as relief for window employee absences within the installation


Management able to utilize relief employees as relief for absences and vacancies for window and distribution employees in their installation, or other installations (page 202).



Time Frames for Contract


11/21/2006 to 11/20/2010

Contract ends during busy Christmas period when workers have the best leverage for negotiations.


11/21/2010 to 5/20/2015

Contract ends just prior to slow summer period when Postal Service has the best leverage for negotiations.

Main Note: In other words, the concessions, givebacks, or losses in the tentative agreement make this contract the worst APWU contract ever seen.  If we approve this contract, we will be responsible for allowing negative and drastic changes in our workplace. This will affect current workers, but even worse, these changes will affect young and incoming postal workers, some of whom may be our daughters and our sons.  Your vote matters.  Vote responsibly.  Vote NO.

More Information:  I have written fast and furious on the damaging provisions of the proposed contract in the following articles:

Remembering Who We Are
The Proposed Contract and Healthcare Concessions
Non-Traditional Full-Time Assignments Otherwise Known as Traditional Part-Time Assignments
The Secret Message from the Rank and File Committee Decoded
NTFT Questions and Answers on the Contract
More NTFT Questions and Answers on the Contract

These articles can be found at The 21st Century Postal Worker website at run by APWU member Randy Zelnick and the Washington State Postal Workers Union website at run by State President Charles Smith.  They have provided opportunity for members to post information and I am very thankful.  Also, check out run by APWU member Lucille Caldwell, who also deserves much thanks.  Lu gathers plenty of very good information for postal workers.  And, not to leave out our brother in the NALC, Tom Wakefield, who does similar good work at

Final Note: Please correct me if any information above is inaccurate.  Everyone should fully understand the changes in the new contract before voting for their future and the future of others.

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