Web News Article #: 151-14
08/12/2014 – APWU members in the IT-Accounting Services Centers (AS) ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by a vote of 592 to 38 in voting that ended Aug. 7, Support Services Director Steve Brooks has announced.
The new agreement, which covers approximately 1,100 employees, was signed on Aug. 8 and took effect the following day; it expires Jan. 20, 2016. The contract includes three across-the-board wage increases and eight cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). Two of the wage increases and five of the COLAs will be retroactive.
Employees covered by the agreement work at units in four locations: Eagan, MN; San Mateo, CA; St. Louis, MO, and Wilkes-Barre, PA. Vote totals by location are shown below.
Union officials praised the agreement, noting that negotiators refused to follow the “pattern” established in 2010 negotiations over the contract covering employees in the Clerk, Maintenance and Motor Vehicle Service Crafts. The IT-ASC contract is separate from that agreement.
“Throughout negotiations, management demanded that IT-ASC employees make concessions similar to those made in the 2010 APWU Collective Bargaining Agreement and in arbitration decisions covering Letter Carriers, Mail Handlers and Rural Letter Carriers – minus the jobs and job protections the union bargained for in the last contract,” Brooks said.
“President Dimondstein made it clear that the APWU had no intention of following that model, which wasn’t in the best interest of workers,” he said.
No Permanent Multiple Tiers, No New Non-Careers
The new IT-ASC contract eliminates some of the most objectionable items in the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the union president pointed out.
“No permanent multi-tier pay structure. No lower pay rates for future employees. No new non-career employee category,” Dimondstein said. “This was a hard battle and we should all appreciate the success.
“We will demand similar changes when we open negotiations with management in February to replace the agreement for the other crafts. We will mobilize our members to fight for them,” he said.
In negotiations, the union sought to protect APWU work and wages. Vacancies in Accounting Services have historically been filled by transferring employees from Customer Service and Mail Processing. Introducing a new category of “support employees” would have eliminated transfer opportunities and would have allowed management to fill vacancies with non-career employees at extremely low pay. “We absolutely had to resist this detrimental proposal,” Dimondstein said.
The Postal Service has had difficulty hiring computer programmers because entry-level pay is so low, the union president noted, “which has given management another excuse for subcontracting work APWU members can perform,” he said. “The new agreement will help us build significant in-house programming capability.”
The APWU is planning a strategy to bring even more subcontracted programming work in-house. “This is the way to maintain and increase the number of good-paying jobs,” Dimondstein said.
The new contract will raise the entry-level pay for programmers and allow the Postal Service to hire career programmers for 50 vacant positions and 50 new programmer positions required by the agreement.
After the tentative agreement was reached, Brooks visited each of the facilities with IT-ASC employees, where he held meetings with workers to discuss its provisions and answer questions. Secret-ballot voting was conducted onsite by each local following his visit.
Employees in the IT-AS units had been working under the terms of the old contract since January 2011. Negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement will begin in about 15 months.
To see more highlights of the contract, click here.