Below is a Facebook post from an ordinary APWU member who attended the 1st day of the union’s national contract arbitration. She questions if parts of the of the Union’s labor contract have been pre-arranged (consent agreement). To understand her post it is important to know Mindy Holmes is an attorney from Murphy Anderson PLLC representing the APWU during the contract hearing.
The Rank & File Committee is a committee of local APWU Officers who review a tentative agreement before it goes to vote by the membership. The Tentative Agreement was voted down by the Rank & File Committee by a vote of 9 to 4. Their major concerns were there was only one guaranteed pay raise over a two-year period. There were also two changes to the contract that either conceded hours worked by clerks in smaller officers to their Postmaster and a provision that cost Maintenance Craft Workers jobs.
Several decades have passed since the last Tentative Agreement failed to be cleared by the Rank & File Committee. It is obvious the contract President Mark Dimondstein provided the Rank & File Committee was very concessionary. We see only one way to attempt to change the outcome of this failed agreement and this is to elect a new National President of the American Postal Workers Union. Mr. Dimondstein will tell the membership it isn’t wise to change leaders in the contract negotiations. The truth is Dimondsein is the worst possible option going forward.
We support electing the following individuals to protect our wages, working conditions and to negotiate a new Union labor contract. First Tony D. McKinnon Sr. who played a major role in negotiating the current APWU National Contract. The only thing different between the current climate in the APWU now as opposed to negotiating the current agreement which has been seen in positive terms is Mr. McKinnon is no longer part of the APWU leadership. Second electing Samuel “Sam” Wood APWU Executive Vice President. Sam achieves things no other APWU Local President can. Hands down. It is a no-brainer. Replacing current Director of Industrial Relations Vance Zimmerman with Scott Hoffman. Retaining Lamont Brooks and Lynn Pallas Barber they are the rock of the clerk craft. Finally staying with Idowu Balogun and the current sitting Assistant Maintenance Craft Directors. A large part of the dysfunction in the current contract negotiations are the sitting Craft Directors were not involved in the negotiating process.
I’m sharing this because for me, it’s relevant.
I posed the question (shown in the screenshot) hoping to gain a broader understanding of the inner workings of negotiations and arbitration…. who better to ask than the DIR?
Many of us everyday joes have no real way of connecting the dots. Anyone can show us a document with an arbitrator signature and say it was ruled on by an arbitrator but, was it really?
There was a remark made by Mindy Holmes (during opening day of arbitration) that’s been on my mind and the reason for my inquiry. Mindy Holmes expressed the intent of both parties to, throughout arbitration proceedings, continue to bargain on the issues being presented to the arbitrator.
How do we (the members at the lowest possible level and highest ranking body) know the difference? How do we know what was legitimately ruled on by an arbitrator because from where I sit, it doesn’t seem there is a way.
If I’m wrong about all of this and there is a way for us to know the difference I hope someone will share that information with those of us who don’t know.
2 days after asking… I have not heard a peep from Vance – publicly or privately.