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Interest arbitration for new National Agreement between the NALC and USPS begins

Interest arbitration for a new National Agreement between the National Association of Letter Carriers and the United States Postal Service began formally on Thursday, Sept. 6.

The hearing convened at NALC Headquarters in Washington, with the union's entire Executive Council in attendance along with a contingent from the USPS.

The three-member arbitration panel, consisting of neutral arbitrator Shyam Das, NALC attorney Bruce Simon and USPS attorney Robert Dufek, heard opening statements from NALC's lead counsel Keith Secular and his USPS counterpart, Thomas Reinert.

"The NALC acknowledges that the Postal Service's financial situation is as dire as the agency says it is," NALC President Fredric Rolando remarked afterward, "but the main source of the problem is not the pay and conditions of letter carriers, but the Congress of the United States. The arbitration panel cannot solve the financial crisis by helping the Postal Service dismantle itself; Congress must act and the arbitrators must give the parties the chance to do what's necessary to adapt to the needs of the 21st century."