Via Bobby Donelson, President, Retiree Chapter, SCAL (scroll down for Bobby’s comments)
Postal Reorganization Act
On March 12, 1970, after extensive hearings, the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee reported a compromise measure containing provisions similar to the commission proposals endorsed by President Nixon. The bill included a 5.4 percent retroactive pay raise and a system that would allow employees to reach the top of their pay grade in 8 rather than 21 years. Postal employees called it too little, too late.
On March 18, a work stoppage began. It ultimately involved 152,000 postal employees in 671 locations. The President ordered the Army to deliver the mail, and the unions asked Labor Secretary George Shultz to intervene. Postmaster General Winton M. Blount agreed to negotiate when the employees returned to work. They did, and negotiations began March 25. Eight days later, the negotiating parties recommended a general wage increase of six percent, retroactive to December 27, 1969, for all federal employees. Postal workers would get an additional eight percent increase if there was agreement on, and enactment of, legislation reorganizing the Post Office Department.
On April 16, 1970, after continuing negotiations, the Department and union leaders announced agreement on a reorganization plan, which was embodied in a legislative proposal and sent to Congress by President Nixon. The plan included four provisions that Postmaster General Blount saw as necessary: adequate financing authority, removal of the system from politics to assure continuity of management, collective bargaining, and setting of rates by the Postal Service after an opportunity for hearings before an impartial rate panel. In addition to the eight percent pay increase, the bill provided for negotiation of a new wage schedule permitting employees to reach the top of their pay grade in eight years.
On August 3, 1970, by a vote of 57 to 7, the Senate approved the conference report on House Resolution 17070, a modified version of the legislation proposed by the President. Three days later, the House of Representatives approved it. On August 12, 1970, President Nixon signed into law the most comprehensive postal legislation since the founding of the Republic, Public Law 91-375, the Postal Reorganization Act.
PUBLIC LAW 91-375-AUG. 12, 1970 – “Postal Reorganization Act”
1206. Collective-bargaining agreements
(a) Collective-bargaining agreements between the Postal Service and bargaining representatives recognized under section 1203 of this title shall be effective for not less than 2 years.
(b) Collective-bargaining agreements between the Postal Service and bargaining representatives recognize under section 1203 may include any procedures for resolution by the parties of grievances and adverse actions arising under the agreement, including procedures culminating in binding third-party arbitration, or the parties may adopt any such procedures by mutual agreement in be event of a
(c) The Postal Service and bargaining representatives recognized under section 1203 may by mutual agreement adopt procedures for the resolution of disputes or impasses arising in the negotiation of a collective-bargaining agreement.
1207. Labor disputes
(a) If there is a collective-bargaining agreement in effect, no party to such agreement shall terminate or modify such agreement unless the party desiring such termination or modification serves written notice upon the other party to the agreement of the proposed termination or modification not less than 90 days prior to the expiration date thereof, or not less than 90 days prior to the time it is proposed to make such termination or modification. The party serving such notice shall notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service of the existence of a dispute within 45 days of such notice, if no agreement has been reached by that time.
(b) If the parties fail to reach agreement or to adopt a procedure providing for a binding resolution of a dispute by the expiration date of the agreement in effect, or the date of the proposed termination or modification, the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service shall direct the establishment of a factfinding panel consisting of 3 persons. For this purpose, he shall submit to the parties a, list of not less than 15 names, from which list each party, within 10 days, shall select 1 person. The 2 so selected shall then choose from the list a third person who shall serve as chairman of the fact finding panel. If either of the parties fails to select a person or if the 2 members are unable to agree on the third person within 3 days, the selection shall be made by the Director. The factfinding panel shall issue after due investigation a report of its findings, with or without recommendations, to the parties no later than 45 days from the date the list of names is submitted.
(c) (1) If no agreement is reached within 090 days after the expiration or termination of the agreement or the date on which the agreement became subject to modification under subsection (a) of this section, or if the parties decide upon arbitration but do not agree upon the procedures therefor, an arbitration board shall be established consisting of 3 members, not members of the factfinding panel, 1 of whom shall be selected by the Postal Service, 1 by the bargaining representative of the employees, and the third by the 2 thus selected. If either of the parties fails to select a member, or if the members chosen by the parties fail to agree on the third person within 5 days after their first meeting, the selection shall be made by the Director. If the parties do not agree on the framing of the issues to be submitted, the factfinding Full hearing panel shall frame the issues and submit them to the arbitration board.
(2) The arbitration board shall give the parties a full and fair hearing, including an opportunity to present evidence in support of their claims, and an opportunity to present their case in person, by counsel or by other representative as they may elect. Decisions of the arbitration board shall be conclusive and binding upon the parties. The arbitration board shall render its decision within 45 days after its appointment.
(3) Costs of the arbitration (board and factfinding panel shall be shared equally by the Postal Service and the bargaining representative.
(d) In the case of a bargaining unit whose recognized collective bargaining representative does not have an agreement with the Postal Service, if the parties fail to reach agreement within 90 days of the commencement of collective bargaining, a factfinding panel will be established in accordance with the terms of subsection (b) of this section, unless the parties have previously agreed to another procedure for a binding resolution of their differences. If the parties fail to reach agreement within 180 days of the commencement of collective bargaining, and if they have not agreed to another procedure far binding resolution, an arbitration board shall be established to provide conclusive and binding arbitration in accordance with the terms of
subsection (c) of this section.
Comments from me are as follows:
These negotiations were no different than any other negotiations. I would have been surprised if the APWU/USPS had reached a negotiated agreement.
Wages and benefits are always an issue. For the record I have never considered the 2010-2015 National Agreement to be bad. The reason is the membership ratified the agreement.
We made some progress in the last contract for non career employees, former part time flexibles, and former part time regulars.
The one area I do not fully understand in regards to the pay system negotiated in the last contract. Level 3& 4 were changed to Steps JJ to I, Level 5-7 changed to Steps FF to J, Level 8 changed to Steps FF to K, and Level 9-11 stayed at D –P.
The following used to be levels and steps: Levels 3& 4 – Steps BB to O, Levels 5 to Level 8 Steps A to O, and Levels 9-11 from Steps D-P.
The negotiators for the current contract never clearly stated why this change occurred. It affected new hires and none of the current workers and that is the reason in my opinion why a lot of current employees were not concerned about the pay system changes for Levels 3 through 8. Levels 9-11 remained unchanged.
If history of negotiation repeats itself we will not accomplished anything at mediation. There is no enforcement mechanism.
Normally when we go to arbitration there are only a few items before the arbitrator. Many of the non economic items have tentative agreements and are rolled into the interest arbitration award.
Interest arbitration will provide a contract. It may or may not be one we like. However, we know based on the Postal Reorganization Act the arbitrator will make a decision and issue an opinion/award.
The APWU selects an arbitrator, the USPS selects an arbitrator, and then there is a third arbitrator selected who is the one who actually has control of the decision.
The selections of the arbitrators are very important.
Bobby Donelson, President
Southwest Coastal Area Local
2045 S. June Place
Anaheim, CA 92802-4015
Phone 714 750-3656
Cell: 714 206-2931
E Mail: email@example.com
NARFE Chapter 1266 Member
Orange County Labor Federation Delegate