So, we have a contract. It seems like it took forever doesn’t it? I have read it many many times and each time I do, I still see something I missed the time before.
Reading over it all now, I find it funny that the USPS wanted us to take larger cuts than they agreed to with the APWU contract. They argued that the USPS financial situation had deteriorated since the APWU/USPS contract was signed therefore they need to extract more concessions from rural carriers to stave off insolvency. I also loved that the arbitrator threw their own OIG reports back in their face where they state that the rural carrier evaluated system is one of productivity and efficiency and should be used for city carriers!
And we have an arbitrator that agrees that the evaluated system IS an incentive system. We all knew it was, and so did the USPS, but of course, if they were to admit it, then they wouldn’t be able to justify going after the under time every time negotiations come up. Not so sure that the USPS will take the word of the arbitrator to heart, because we’ve seen how that has worked out a few times in the past, but at least now we do have something on record!
Next, there was a 2 year wage freeze, which is retroactive to November 2010. So this means there will be no back pay like we have seen in previous contracts.
The general wage and benefits in this contract are more or less modeled after the APWU contract. I expected the wage freezes, and the modest raises. I also expected the lower pay for new employees, although I really didn’t expect that RCA wages would be dropped almost $4.00 an hour.. That is huge!
I am disappointed with the very modest raises in EMA. According to the latest statistics, EMA routes represent over half of the routes in our craft. EMA is a really big deal! I cannot understand why arbitrators can’t seem to understand the inadequacy of EMA.. I could go on about this for a while, but I won’t… I will move on and save that for another day!
And everyone remember, the union did not AGREE to this contract. Each side presented their cases, and an arbitrator made these decisions! That is what happens when the two parties cannot come to an agreement during negotiations. You can argue all day as to whether the union presented a compelling case or not, but this contract is a decision of an arbitrator, not the NRLCA!!
Inquiring minds want to know
I have a few questions on some things. Hopefully some of this will be cleared up in the future, but this is what I need to know:
This in the new contract:
The Board of Arbitration will direct modification to the language of Article 32.4 to ensure that rural letter carriers can compete with contractors on a level playing field!!
This is what Article 32.4 currently says:
Renewal of Highway Contract Box Delivery Routes
The Employer and the Union agree that, in those instances in which delivery is provided by Highway Contract Box Delivery Routes, upon the request of the state steward, the appropriate Office of Distribution Networks will furnish relevant cost infor- mation prior to the renewal of any such contract delivery route. The Employer’s decision as to conversion of all or part of the territory involved to rural delivery will be made on a cost effective basis. All territory under review must qualify for rural delivery under the Employer’s regulations.
What exactly does this mean? Any thoughts?
Why a March mail count AFTER this contract expires? This is the first time I know of that we will have a dated mail count in the event we do not have a new contract or contract extension? ( The NRLCA did NOT agree to a mail count after the contract expires, this was imposed by the arbitrator)
- Unless the parties agree otherwise in the successor Agreement, in 2016, a national mail count will be conducted for twelve (12) working days beginning March 12, and ending March 25, 2016. All routes will be counted except those routes which both the regular carrier and management agree in writing not to count. The mail count will be effective at the beginning of the fourth full pay period following the end of the count period.
And why does this contract expire on May 20th 2015? First I thought it might be because of the “engineer study” that is supposed to be completed by May 2015, but I also notice the APWU contract expires on this date also. Usually a contract ends with the same month it began.. Since this is the same date for the APWU contract expiration, I assume it must have been something the USPS wanted? Why? Is there something we need to know about May 2015??
New Regular Carriers
What happens to those RCAs that were hired after November 2010 and have already gone regular? Will they be grandfathered in to their current pay chart since they have already gone regular? Probably not a huge number, since it usually takes longer than two years to go regular, but it can and does happen. (If I have missed this in the contract somewhere, someone please let me know)
Now, the Engineer Study..
Will ALL vehicles have an EOBR (electronic on board recorder)? Or will a “sampling” of vehicles be used?
Will it be on a voluntary basis or will it be required of all carriers?
Will individual times of each carrier be used in conjunction with their evaluation, or will ALL times recorded be averaged for the whole craft?
What exactly does Daily Dynamic routing mean?
Those are just a few of the questions off the top of my head. I am sure there are many more we will all have in the future. Those of us that have been waiting for something to be settled will have to wait 3 more years for the new study to get some sort of permanent resolution as to what our salaries will be. Keep in mind, once this study is complete, it is not subject to grievance or arbitration. So we will be stuck with what it comes out to be. So I urge all of you, when the study does start, to please do not rush through your route. Please do not short cut any duties. Please do everything you are required to do. Your salary and the salary of all rural carriers depend on this being an accurate study!
Now for those of you who haven’t had a chance to read the contract yet:
IF any of you have received any other clarifications, will you please send them to me so all rural carriers can see this information? You can email me and all information sent will be anonymous if you do not want anyone to know you sent me the information. If you enjoy this website and the information it provides, please consider sharing information with us. Ruralinfo.net is only able to provide information if someone shares it with us. If others do not take the time to send me the information that is important to all rural carriers, then this website would cease to exist. Be part of the future, not part of the past resistance! Thank You!