Two US Postal Service unions wrote a joint letter to the Postmaster General Megan Brennan criticizing her administration for “wholesale and massive job cuts” that have disrupted the lives of thousands of postal workers and degraded postal services across the country.
Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), and Paul Hogrogian, president of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), said that the job cuts are a violation of their collective bargaining agreements and that the two unions “have drawn a line in the sand and are standing united against Postmaster Brennan’s continuous ‘cost-saving’ shortcuts.”
For the past ten years, Postal Service has been cutting costs at the behest of the US Congress and Presidents.
The Postal Service Office of Inspector General estimates that between 2006 and 2015 Postal Service labor costs have been reduced by $10 billion largely by relying more on a casual workforce, reducing work hours, and eliminating and consolidating jobs.
The method it uses to eliminate jobs is called “excessing.”
Local managers are required to prepare excessing impact statements in which they try to determine what jobs they manage can be eliminated or consolidated.
The Postal Service uses these excessing impact statements to cut jobs at mail processing facilities and local Post Offices.
Union members are protected from layoffs by no-layoff clauses in the collective bargaining agreements, but when jobs are excessed those holding the jobs are transferred to other jobs, which may be on different shifts in different locations that can be as far away as 50 miles.
The unions have documented 1500 excessing events that have affected more than 15,000 workers.
Excessing jobs is just one of a number of cost cutting measures that has consumed management’s attention during the last ten years.
According to the Inspector General, the Postal Service’s cost cutting mission has affected its quality of service.
The Inspector General reports that as the Postal Service cut costs dramatically over the last ten years, “it also reduced both its quality of service and capital expenditures.”
While the Postal Service was consolidating facilities and eliminating jobs, it also “eliminated overnight service for single-piece First Class Mail and did not reach its stated performance goals for any First Class Mail categories in 2015.”
“The impact of cost reductions on customer service has been considerable,” continues the Inspector General.
In their letter, the two unions say that the Postal Service in its headlong attempt to cut costs has ignored its collective bargaining agreements and thrown “away any good faith efforts and constructive relationships (with the two unions)”
While urging the Postmaster General to engage in a dialogue with the unions to resolve this grievance, the unions told Brennan that it will maintain a united front in order “to resist the misguided actions and violations of your agreement, and commitment to, our members.”