Labor Relations

Collective Bargaining

The Postal Service has nine collective bargaining agreements with seven unions covering approximately 517,000 career employees and 67,000 non-career employees. Negotiations with unions cover wages, hours, and working conditions. 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, which is 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), began in September.

Postal Service management and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) continued joint contract application training and dispute resolution process support by delivering training to 80 management and NALC representatives responsible for addressing and resolving disputes locally. Training has helped reduce disputes and improve working relationships. Also, a jointly developed intervention process identifies and resolves the root causes of disputes at the lowest level possible. The widely implemented process is helping build more cooperative and productive labor-management relationships.

As discussed in Chapter 3, postal management and the NALC negotiated a Joint Alternate Route Adjustment Process in April. The agreement provides a process for reevaluating and adjusting delivery routes that either party determines needs to be evaluated.

Quality of Work Life provides opportunities for mail handlers and supervisors to become fully involved in the identification and resolution of workplace inefficiencies. The Postal Service and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) co-hosted the twelfth annual Quality of Work Life Conference. Approximately 18 quality circles shared their ideas and more than 21 displayed models of their solutions. Thirty-nine quality circles were recognized for their outstanding projects and performances.