Postal Union's 10-4 Talks Stall

National discussions for several months between the U.S. Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union have not made significant progress toward implementing the Modified Work Week known as "10-4" that would allow employees to work 10 hours per day, four days per week, APWU President William Burrus said in a message posted on the union's Web site this week.

"Over recent weeks these discussions have failed to make significant progress and therefore I am unable to project that a final agreement will be reached. Despite the lack of progress, we will continue to explore possibilities for reaching a settlement with management on this matter," Burrus wrote. Burrus won a third term as president this fall; the union represents more than 280,000 clerk, maintenance, and motor vehicle employees who work in 37,000 USPS facilities.

He said the original pilot agreed to by the parties in 1994 limited 10-4 schedules to employees who volunteered for them and had the option to stop participating if they chose. "Headquarters management has proposed that the new program include a requirement that all employees within a designated section be required to work the modified work week as a condition of their bid assignment," Burrus added. "I am aware that as discussions continue at the national level, a number of locals also are exploring Modified Work Weeks. If, in the course of these discussions, management proposes posting 10-4 schedules as a condition of bid assignments, it is advised that final agreement be delayed until the national discussions have been completed. The union's concern is clear: As postal management plans to reduce mail processing to a two-tour operation, the union has no interest in facilitating the effort. While many employees would favor the opportunity to have three non-scheduled days in the course of a service week, their entitlement does not supersede the right of an employee to work the contractually required eight-hour, five-day schedule. It is advised that APWU locals refrain from making any commitment on a Modified Work Week program that would compromise the national position. I will keep the membership informed as discussions continue."

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