May 13, 2014
By Neal Tepel
In response to charges filed by the American Postal Workers Union, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint against the Postal Service on April 30, asserting that the United States Postal Services “has been failing and refusing to bargain collectively and in good faith,” by refusing to provide information to the union.
The Postal Service’s actions violate the National Labor Relations Act and the Postal Reorganization Act, wrote Steven Shuster, Acting Regional Director of NLRB Region 5.
The NLRB has informed the APWU that because of the Postal Service’s repeated failure to provide information it will demand a “formal settlement” of charges filed by the union. This means that the USPS will be required to admit the violations alleged in the complaint, and, among other remedies, agree to cease and desist from its refusal to provide the information.
One of the charges involved the Postal Service’s failure to provide information to the APWU regarding its “pilot test” of outsourcing to UPS. The Postal Service claimed that the Collective Bargaining Agreement is not applicable to “pilots” and therefore management is not required to provide the information. The USPS made a similar claim in its response to the APWU’s request for information about the so-called Staples pilot.
“I’m pleased by the board’s ruling,” said APWU Mark Dimondstein. “Management’s stubborn refusal to provide information cannot hide the truth. “We will continue to aggressively pursue relevant information and to expose management’s attempts to operate in secrecy. The Postal Service belongs to the people of this country. The people and postal workers have a right to know what postal executives are up to.”
USPS reported $1 Billion operating profit in the first half of this fiscal year. In spite of record profits, the Postal Services continues to claim financial hardship. The Post Office has been operating at a profit since October 2012. A dramatic increase in online shopping has sparked an explosion in package volume and revenue, while a gradually rebounding economy has stabilized letter revenue.
At the same time that revenues are increasing, outsourcing has expanded within USPS. Postal management continues to cut and privatize operations. The reduction of services has forced Americans to use private postal companies rather than the United States Mail. The destruction of an American institution is now taking place.