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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Postal union 'frustrated' by pace of negotiations

By Ed O'Keefe

The nation's largest postal union has summoned its top leaders this week to Washington as negotiations for a new multi-year contract with the U.S. Postal Service appear close to an impasse.

Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union, said Monday that he is "increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress" in contract negotiations with USPS.

Guffey, in a message posted on the union's Web site, said talks on a labor agreement that was set to expire Nov. 20 have continued, but "six weeks later, management negotiators seem unwilling to make the commitment necessary to reach a negotiated settlement."

APWU represents about 220,000 postal clerks, mechanics, drivers, custodians and some administrative workers. Top union officials plan to brief regional representatives on the negotiations Tuesday.

The Postal Service does not comment on labor negotiations until a settlement is reached. A third-party arbitrator would have to broker a new deal between USPS and APWU if talks end without an agreement. Similar negotiations between the Postal Service and National Rural Letter Carriers Association came to an impasse in November.

Postal negotiators are seeking greater wage and work time concessions from APWU and NRLCA to stave off billions of dollars in losses. Officials said in September that they can no longer guarantee eight-hour, full-time shifts for most workers.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 4, 2011; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Postal Service  
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Comments

When you lose BILLIONS upon BILLIONS, you have little right to demand anything.

USPS should make massive cuts and tell the employees to take it or leave it as I am sure MANY others would take a job...any job

Posted by: Bious | January 4, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Did I read "third Party arbirator" would be involved in brokering a new deal"? So, will this be binding arbitration? If so, union wins, taxpayers lose.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | January 4, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

You might be surprised to learn that the taxpayers do not pay postal workers and it has "only" lost a total of around $2 billion from postal operations in the past several years. It has a massive surplus of nearly $100 billion on deposit in its Treasury accounts for future (not current) pension costs and it is required by Congress to contribute around $5.5 billion per year to the already over-funded accounts. This is roughly equivalent to pre-paying your mortgage and all utility bills 40 years in advance. The reason many people (including Ed O'Keefe) have the misconception that the post office loses billions every year is that they do not understand that the payments to Congress are required simply because Congress wants the cash - relieving USPS of the overpayment schedule meas that Congress' budget scoring rules would require it to replace that money or *gasp* ctspending b that amount. Since USPS' is on the knife edge, it must borrow the money from the Treasury in order to deposit it back into its own Treasury accounts so Congress can claim it as general revenue. It is nothing but a shell game with Congress using USPS as a cash cow to understate its deficit by $5 to $8 bilion each year.

Posted by: mycroftt | January 4, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Typos fixed! Sticky keyboard - sorry.

You might be surprised to learn that the taxpayers do not pay postal workers and it has "only" lost a total of around $2 billion from postal operations in the past several years. It has a massive surplus of nearly $100 billion on deposit in its Treasury accounts for future (not current) pension costs and it is required by Congress to contribute around $5.5 billion per year to the already over-funded accounts. This is roughly equivalent to pre-paying your mortgage and all utility bills 40 years in advance. The reason many people (including Ed O'Keefe) have the misconception that the post office loses billions every year is that they do not understand that the payments to Congress are required simply because Congress wants the cash - relieving USPS of the overpayment schedule means that Congress' budget scoring rules would require it to replace that money or *gasp* cut spending by that amount. Since USPS' is on the knife edge, it must borrow the money from the Treasury in order to deposit it back into its own Treasury accounts so Congress can claim it as general revenue. It is nothing but a shell game with Congress using USPS as a cash cow to understate its deficit by $5 to $8 bilion each year.

Posted by: mycroftt | January 4, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

So many people don't understand that the Postal Service is spending billons of dollars on the CEO's. They get a great salary but they get bonuses on top of that salary. Management gets a bonus for cutting spending in their office while us little guys have to use tissue paper for toliet paper. They never cut at the top. USPS is always middle management overweight!!!

Posted by: squeaky50 | January 5, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

there are several reasons the usps loses money as a usps clerk for 30years I can testify to the problems of the usps. First of all newpaper bulk mail and hugh discounts for nonprofit mailers is a major source of lost income, nonproit can mail a letter standard mail for as little as 13.2 cents non barcoded and 15.5 if its not flats dropped at the office of intended area of distribution 6.8 cents each such as school flyers phone books in bulk can be maile 39cents express mial the biggest loser also 18.30 over night handled by a tn of clerks then arrives at an office and usualy delivered by a person called in at 20 bucks an hour do the math i cold go on but I don't feel like typing any more lol

Posted by: guz77 | January 6, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

guess I should have proof read my comments I'm really not an idiot

Posted by: guz77 | January 6, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I am a federal worker! I will not be getting a raise for the next two years,I am a WG worker. USPS gets cheaper insurance rates (almost half of regular federal workers premiums) and good pay already. So shut up and take whatever u can get. Taxes are used, they pay into your pensions!!

Posted by: rtj1984 | January 8, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

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