Labor Relations

Collective Bargaining

There are nine collective bargaining agreements with seven unions covering approximately 550,000 career employees. Negotiations with unions cover wages, many benefits, and conditions of employment. Negotiated agreements currently are in place with all nine bargaining units. The most recent agreement was established by the issuance of an interest arbitration award in April 2009 covering postal nurses represented by the National Postal Professional Nurses, who are affiliated with the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO (APWU). Collective bargaining negotiations with two of the four largest postal unions, the APWU and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA), will begin in 2010.

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The Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) continued joint contract application training and dispute resolution process support by delivering training to 80 Postal Service and NALC representatives responsible for addressing and resolving disputes locally. The training has been instrumental in reducing disputes and improving relationships. The Postal Service and NALC also have jointly developed an intervention process that has been widely implemented to identify and resolve root causes of disputes at the lowest level possible, helping build more cooperative and productive labor-management relationships.

As discussed in Chapter 3, two Interim Alternate Route Adjustment Processes were negotiated with the NALC due to the dramatic decline in mail volume. Under the modified agreement all decisions regarding the evaluation and adjustment of routes were made jointly by teams of NALC and postal representatives after review of selected data and input from the regular carrier. These processes eliminated 10,119 city carrier routes, and when route adjustments made outside this process are added, approximately 11,000 city routes were eliminated this year.

Quality of Work Life provides opportunities for Mail Handlers and supervisors to become fully involved in the identification and solution for problems in the workplace. The Postal Service and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) co-hosted the 11th annual Quality of Work Life Conference. Approximately 48 quality circles shared their ideas and more than 47 quality circles displayed models of their solutions. Five quality circles were recognized for their outstanding projects and performances.