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Posted at 3:47 PM ET, 01/10/2011

'Frustrated' postal union continues negotiations

By Ed O'Keefe

The nation's largest postal union is "increasingly frustrated" with the pace of negotiations with the U.S. Postal Service, but plans to stay at the negotiating table, it said Monday.

The American Postal Workers Union, which represents about 220,000 postal clerks, custodians, drivers, mechanics and administrative personnel, will keep trying to secure a deal with postal negotiators more than a month and a half after talks on a new multi-year contract officially expired.

"We are determined to safeguard jobs," APWU President Cliff Guffey said in a statement to union members Monday. A moratorium on "excessing," or reassigning employees to new duties or locations depending on mail volume, remains in effect as negotiations continue, he said.

Such reassignments, which are permitted under current collective bargaining agreements, often force workers to relocate far distances to keep their job, according to union officials unauthorized to speak on the record.

The union is working to eliminate the practice to "restore a sense of stability," Guffey said.

The Postal Service remains tight-lipped on negotiations, refusing to comment until a deal is signed. "We're still negotiating," said USPS spokesman Mark Saunders.

Postal negotiators in November failed to reach a deal with representatives for more than 100,000 rural letter carriers. A third-party arbitrator is expected to help iron out an agreement soon.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 10, 2011; 3:47 PM ET
Categories:  Postal Service  
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