PERHAPS SOME OF YOU are having difficulty understanding why certain postal workers are striking when union members haven't even had a chance yet to vote on the tentative nationwide contract settlement that was reached with the U.S. Postal Service only last Friday. It is a trifle puzzling - especially if you believe in things such as union democracy, fair play, obeying the law and the public servant's responsibility to that public. But forget all that and consider instead the Gospel of Lawlessness According to one Moe Biller, who is a local president in New York who doesn't care about such niceties:
To begin with, Mr. Biller didn't like the proposed settlement, which would provide for wage increases, including cost-if-living benefits, totaling 19.5 percent over three years and which contains a no-layoff provision. Fair enough - he and anybody else in the union are entitled to that opinion, and to so vote. But then, without waiting for that vote, certain workers in California and New Jersey decided to take matters into their own hands by engaging in wildcat strikes. It happens that federal law prohibits strikes - wildcat or union sanctioned - by postal workers and other U.S. government employees. So the postal service announced the dismissal of more than 100 of the self-anointed strikers.
Enter Mr. Biller, who decides that his local should "authorize" a strike vote to support the wildcat strike. Thus, as he was quoted as assuming, "If New York votes to strike, the rest of the country will follow." Quite aside from the audacity of that remark, the question is where all the followers think they're going. Perhaps they think the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Government Taxpayer will go along, too - paying whatever any individual postal worker thinks is necessary to get a particular band of workers back on the job.
Nonsense. Where followers of Mr. Biller should wind up is out of work. There should be no way in which the postal service abides such selfish disobedience of procedures on which the time-honored process of collective bargaining has rested. If the settlement proposal is deemed unsatisfactory by the majority of voting members affected, there are procedures for either returning to the bargaining table or fact-finding/arbitration. Meanwhile, those postal workers who insist on defying the law by walking off the job should be given permanent walking papers.