NALC NATIONAL CONFERENCE REPORT
This month's report is separated into five pages and was created with the combined effort of the following Branch 2184 Officers:
Page 1) Mark Judd, President
Page 2) Walt McGregory, Executive Vice President
Page 3) Joe Golonka, Vice President
Page 4) Jackie McGregory, Recording Secretary
Page 5) Cathy Tondreau, Financial Secretary-Treasurer
On August 9 through August 11 the NALC held a National Conference, informally known as a “Rap Session” which took place in Denver, Colorado. These National conferences are required by the NALC Constitution, and they are called by NALC National President. They occur during non-National Convention (odd numbered) years. Approximately 850 attendees from throughout the United States participated in this year’s NALC National Conference.
Five Branch 2184 officers attended the National Conference; President Mark Judd, Executive Vice-President Walt McGregory, Vice-President Joe Golonka, Recording Secretary Jackie McGregory, and Financial Secretary-Treasurer Cathy Tondreau. This year’s National Conference was scheduled during the midst of Contract negotiations with the Postal Service as well as myriad additional issues that are impacting letter carriers in Branch 2184 and throughout the United States.
On Sunday morning, August 11, NALC President Frederic Rolando ad-dressed the attendees under a banner that read “Mile High Solidarity in Action,” in reference to Denver’s nickname and the 285,000 members of the NALC. Fred began by reminding the NALC activists in attendance that is what they do that makes our union strong.
President Rolando then provided an overview of the Union’s bargaining and legislative strategies. Contract negotiations between the NALC and the Postal Service opened on June 26. However, preparation for collective bar-gaining is a nonstop process for the NALC, involving both long term as well as short term goals. He also noted that the collective bargaining with the Postal Service by the other three postal unions can affect the NALC’s strategy in negotiations. Typically, the USPS tries to establish a “pattern,” especially with economic issues, that is based on the outcome of negotiations with one of the unions. City letter carrier work is more difficult and demanding then that of the other USPS crafts, which should be reflected in letter carrier pay.
Fred also discussed some of the other collective bargaining priorities for the NALC. One of the issues addressed by the union during negotiations is the phasing out of a non-career workforce, which Fred noted has no place in the City Delivery craft, while concurrently recognizing that the Postal Service does need some flexibility with staffing. CCA attrition is unacceptably high, greater than 50%. Another bargaining priority for the NALC is the development and implementation of a truly effective joint safety program to
replace the half-hearted and ineffective jumble of local and district level programs now in existence.
Other issues being addressed by the NALC include the absence of contractual compliance by management at all levels, which is clearly not a priority of the USPS. Additionally, the Postal Service has shown no sincere interest in addressing the toxic work environment that continues to exist in many USPS facilities. The Postal Service also seems unwilling to do anything to innovate and grow, and they are ignoring the input from its most valuable resource, the letter carriers that actually do the work of USPS and also are its public face.
Another issue being addressed by the NALC during contract negotiations is the ongoing and widespread problem of time clock fraud committed by postal management
and the resulting wage theft from letter carriers. The USPS seems not to be at all phased by the reality of this and seems perfectly content to continue stealing from its employees whenever possible. Additionally, there is the long-existing problem of the Postal Service’s complete inability to management workload and staffing efficiently.
In response to these issues, the NALC has presented well-crafted proposals to seriously deal with real safety issues such as heat and cold, as well as other hazards
unique to the letter carrier job. The NALC also has proposals to address the toxic work environment created by the Postal Service’s misguided style of management, an approach that emphasizes micromanagement and intimidation to try to get letter carriers to rush through their duties at any cost.
The NALC is also seeking general wage increases that appropriately reward carriers for their difficult and ever more demanding job. Additionally, the union is proposing to continue cost of living adjustments (COLA), and continuing non-layoff protections. Other union proposals seek to strengthen existing limitations on subcontracting as well as auditing time records in response to the rampant dishonesty exhibited by management by stealing wages from letter carriers.
Finally, the union is proposing to address management’s apparent disinterest in innovative ways for growing USPS revenue through the creation of a joint innovation task force. If management won’t do anything substantive to help the USPS thrive and compete, then the NALC will lead the way.
Fred closed his discussion of contract negotiations by emphasizing that the NALC was about halfway through the bargaining period with the Postal Service and that the union is fully prepared for any outcome of negotiations, including interest arbitration if
this becomes necessary.
Wayne County, MI
AFL - CIO
July / August 2019