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July 21, 1978 - Image 14

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-21

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Page 14-Friday, July 21 1978-The Michigan Daily
[ail workers' contract in doubt

(Continued from PanoOne,
going to be home all night," an ap-
parent indication he might be more
receptive to such a request at a later
Glenn Whitaker, a Justice Depar-
tment attorney representing the Postal
Service, said the government was
prepared to seek an injunction in the
event a strike occurred.
IN ANOTHER part of the city, a
federal mediation team and negotiators
for labor and management worked to
beat the deadline for agreement on the
contract covering 554,000 postal em-
Chief federal mediator Wayne Hor-
vitz, describing the bargaining, said,
"The atmosphere upstairs is very con-
structive." He said the two sides were
grappling with the "crunch" issues.
Although Horvitz did not identify
those issues, he said he could not
quarrel with news reports identifying
the no-layoff clause, wages and work
rules as the principal stumbling blocks.
HORVITZ said the two sides
remained anxious to settle by midnight.
He would not rule out keeping the par-
ties at the bargainging table past the

deadline if they were making progress.
Horvitz's assessment marked the fir-
st sign of progress in several days and
contrasted sharply with a bitter attack
on management earlier in the day by
Emmet Andrews, president of the
American Postal Workers Union, the
largest of the unions representing the
postal employees.
Andrews warned that Postmaster
General William Bolger "may have
doomed" efforts to avert a strike by
threatening to fire workers who walk
off their jobs. He referred to a letter
Bolger circulated on Tuesday, warning
workers of the "grave consequences of
strike participation."
IN THE LETTER Bolger noted that
federal law prohibits postal strikes. He
said striking workers would be commit-
ting a felony. "They would forfeit the
right to hold their postal jobs - the law
says they may not hold positions in the
government," he wrote.
In a letter sent to Bolger yesterday,
Andrews said, "We believe that unless
you withdraw that memo, you may
have doomed the negotiations beyond
Michael Ballard, a Postal Service
spokesman, indicated Bolger was stan-

ding by his letter. "The letter speaks
for itself," he said.
"ALL THE LETTER did was point
out what was in the law." The federal
law that forbids postal strikes calls for
fines and jail terms for violators. But a
number of . union leaders have
threatened to defy the law and stage
wildcat walkouts if negotiators
remained deadlocked today.
The only other postal strike occurred
in 1970, when some 200,000 workers
walked off the job. However, the strike
participants were not penalized under
an agreement that was reached to end

the walkouts.
The current negotiations had been
stalled since Monday night over the 25-
word clause in the current agreement
that bars management from laying off
regular workers.
THE UNIONS also have been seeking
pay raises of about 13 per cent a year
over two years, including cost-of-living
protection. A typical postal worker
currently earns $15,877 a year.
The Postal Service reportedly has of-
fered an increase that is less than the
5.5 per cent annual raises that Carter
has recommended for government


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