US Postal Service, largest union extend contract negotiations

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The US Postal Service and its largest employee union, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), have agreed to extend contract negotiations until December 1. This is the second time the parties have agreed to extend talks on a new contract. Their previous deal was set to expire November 20.

“Although we have not yet reached agreement, we remain hopeful that we can arrive at a settlement,” said Cliff Guffey, president of the 211,000-member APWU, in a statement.

The Postal Service said it will not comment on ongoing negotiations.

The USPS' top negotiator and EVP of human resources, Anthony Vegliante, previously called the negotiations the most important in his 35 years of work with the Postal Service, citing its dire financial situation and declining mail volumes. He said in August that the USPS needs more flexibility in scheduling and more use of part-time workers.

Guffey's statements suggest the APWU is intent on preserving jobs and returning outsourced work to the union.

“Throughout this process, the APWU has worked diligently to negotiate a contract that will safeguard our members' jobs and strengthen the Postal Service,” Guffey said. “Restoring work that has been outsourced or turned over to managerial personnel would bring stability to APWU members who have endured severe hardships due to excessing.”

The Postal Service was also negotiating a new contract with the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, but those talks ended November 20 without an agreement. The parties have moved to a mediation process, which will give them 60 days to reach agreement before binding arbitration. The NRLCA is the only union that has a contract tying workers' salaries to mail volumes.

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