National Association of Letter Carriers News Feed http://www.nalc.org/rss/ National Association of Letter Carriers News Feed Wed, 1 Oct 2014 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive Postponed https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/letter-carriers-stamp-out-hunger-food-drive-postponed Fri, 27 Mar 2020 11:09:01 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/letter-carriers-stamp-out-hunger-food-drive-postponed The 28th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, scheduled for May 9, 2020, has been postponed. The NALC, as well as our national partners, are fully committed to rescheduling the food drive later in 2020. A new date has not yet been scheduled.

The annual success of the food drive is largely due to the efforts of letter carriers, other postal employees, postal customers, community volunteers and many more. Their safety is of paramount importance. Much of the United States is currently under shelter in place or similar advisories due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and public health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued guidelines that include social distancing. While it is unknown how long these guidelines will remain in place, it is highly unlikely that those involved in the food drive will be able to safely participate just six weeks from now.

NALC and our national partners recognize that food assistance is a critical need for many during this difficult time, and we remain committed to helping those in need in the communities we serve across America. We look forward to once again holding the largest one-day food drive in America when it is safe to do so.

Millions of Americans donate food on the second Saturday in May every year to help fight hunger in their communities. While we may not be able to safely conduct the food drive on its traditional date, we encourage those that would participate to consider donations that may be safely made to food banks in the form of food or financial assistance.  Letter carriers, our national partners, community supporters and volunteers will be prepared to Stamp Out Hunger® once again when it is safe to do so.

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Statement by NALC President Fredric Rolando: The Postal Service is vital in this crisis https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-by-nalc-president-fredric-rolando-the-postal-service-is-vital-in-this-crisis Fri, 27 Mar 2020 08:43:28 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-by-nalc-president-fredric-rolando-the-postal-service-is-vital-in-this-crisis At the height of the 2008-2009 recession, more than 800,000 Americans per month lost their jobs. Last week alone more than three million did so.  The Covid-19 crisis is both a public health crisis and an economic crisis. The U.S. Postal Service is a vitally important tool for combatting these twin calamities.

In ordinary times, the Postal Service plays an important role in our economy and our health care system. It handles 1.2 billion prescription drug shipments a year – that’s nearly 4 million each and every day, six days a week. It also delivers hundreds of millions of lab tests and medical supply shipments -- from blood testing strips and insulin needles to contact lenses. In a major public health crisis like the one we face today, the Postal Service is even more important. This week the CDC is sending a mailing to every American household to give our citizens the information they need to protect themselves and their loved ones from the Covid-19 virus.  The FDA is working on a self-testing nasal swab that must, once available, be efficiently delivered to 159 million delivery points across America. There is no substitute for the Postal Service’s universal delivery network.

The USPS and the mailing industry it supports ($1.7 trillion in sales and 7.3 million private sector workers) is every bit as important as the aviation industry, which is to receive $61 billion in financial aid, and other sectors that will be aided by the pending stimulus legislation. The Postal Service, which had already been weakened for more than a decade by an unfair statutory mandate to prefund future retiree health benefits, is facing the same kind of economic shock facing the airline industry – postal revenues that last year exceeded $70 billion may easily be cut in half, almost overnight.  Mail volume has already plunged by the largest percentage since the Great Recession and is likely to drop by more than it did during the Great Depression of the 1930s --- the USPS believes it may drop by 50% or more this year.

A collapse of the Postal Service at this crucial moment would severely undermine both our fight to defeat the Covid-19 virus as well as the effort to stabilize our economy. Earlier this week, President Trump lauded the Postal Service and its private delivery counterparts for keeping the flow of goods moving at a time when Americans are afraid to venture out to stores. In vast swathes of rural America and economically struggling urban areas, the Postal Service is the only option --- the private companies rely on the USPS for last mile delivery. Only the Postal Service will be able to distribute the millions of stimulus rebate payments that Congress is set to approve. (see House and Senate negotiate third Covid-19 stimulus bill and Stimulus Package Three Update: Postal Service Relief)

In view or the Postal Service’s crucial role, it is all the more disappointing and discouraging that the $2 trillion stimulus legislation that is about to be adopted did so little to help the Postal Service. It provides only $10 billion in new borrowing authority, subject to control by the Treasury Department’s Federal Finance Bank (FFB).  That is woefully inadequate and far short of what the stimulus legislation introduced in the House of Representatives on March 23, 2020 would have provided. Its postal provisions included:

  • a direct appropriation of $25 billion to the Postal Service;
  • a repeal of the mandate to prefund future retiree health benefits, which has starved the USPS of investment  and cost an average of $5.4 billion annually since 2007;
  • the forgiveness of $11 billion in outstanding debt to the FFB, most of which was run up to cover prefunding expenses; and
  • the repeal of the $3 billion annual limit on use of the USPS’s $15 billion in borrowing authority. 

It is shocking and outrageous that negotiators from the administration, flatly opposed the House legislation’s postal proposals. The administration clearly does not understand the importance of the Postal Service, especially now. Sadly, it appears the administration officials involved have put on ideological blinders, seeing such relief as an unwarranted “bailout.” This short-sighted and misguided view will make the corona virus crisis worse and do serious long-term damage to our economy and America’s only universal communications and delivery network.  

To both protect the public health and to stabilize our economy, the Postal Service must be strengthened in the next round of legislation to battle the deep economic recession that is now beginning.  Congress must act to provide at least $25 billion in direct financial assistance to the Postal Service and forgive its outstanding debt, as proposed by the House of Representatives.  Although the Postal Service has not received taxpayer appropriations (other than for military voting and free mail for the blind) since the early 1980s, the present crisis warrants such appropriations now.

NALC will work with all the stakeholders in the mailing industry and the labor movement to advance this relief and other measures to preserve the Postal Service, a vital part of our national economic infrastructure.

The Postal Service, which is provided for in the U.S. Constitution, is also vital to American political and social life. It is our nation’s only truly universal communications network.  As we speak, even as the national crisis deepens, it is helping the Census Bureau conduct the decennial census. State election officials are racing to make it possible for their residents to vote by mail in November, rightly fearing the Covid-19 virus will disrupt our democracy.

Finally, the USPS is a source of comfort and a welcome sign of normalcy to the American people. That has been true during recoveries from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other disasters in the past, and is now true as we grapple with the current national crisis.

All American leaders, Democrats and Republicans alike, should work together to ensure that this pandemic does not destroy the U.S. Postal Service, a true national treasure. NALC is a ready and willing partner.  

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Bronx letter carrier passes away from coronavirus https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/bronx-letter-carrier-passes-away-from-coronavirus Thu, 26 Mar 2020 11:51:45 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/bronx-letter-carrier-passes-away-from-coronavirus NALC is deeply saddened to learn that 50-year-old letter carrier Rakkhon Kim, a member of Branch 36 in New York City, passed away Wednesday, March 25, from complications related to COVID-19. Brother Kim was a resident of Northvale, NJ, and he worked at the West Farms Station of the Bronx, NY Post Office. He recently celebrated his 23-year anniversary as a letter carrier in November.

"On behalf of the NALC, we mourn the loss of Brother Kim," NALC President Fredric Rolando said. "We send our deepest sympathies and heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Rakkhon's family, loved ones, friends and co-workers.“

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Statement from NALC President Fredric V. Rolando on the COVID-19 pandemic https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-from-nalc-president-fredric-v-rolando-on-the-covid-19-pandemic-03252020 Wed, 25 Mar 2020 19:58:32 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-from-nalc-president-fredric-v-rolando-on-the-covid-19-pandemic-03252020 President Fredric V. Rolando has issued a statement to letter carriers covering many of the evolving issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement may be viewed here.

An audio version of the statement is also available on NALC's podcast feed on Podbean.com. You may listen here.

In addition to contacting your shop steward, branch officer or NBA, NALC has a new resource for members to ask any questions about the COVID-19 pandemic: COVID19@nalc.org. When sending your email, please be sure to include your name and NALC branch number.

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AFL-CIO Executive Council's Statement on COVID-19 Pandemic https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/afl-cio-executive-councils-statement-on-covid-19-pandemic Wed, 25 Mar 2020 16:16:45 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/afl-cio-executive-councils-statement-on-covid-19-pandemic On March 24, 2020, AFL-CIO’s Executive Council released a statement titled, “Working People's Demands in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic”.  Within the statement, the Executive Council outlines immediate steps that must be taken in order to protect American workers, mitigate the pandemic and rebuild our economy.  The Executive Council demands action concerning worker safety and health; other worker protections; medical treatment, containment and community mitigation; and economic impact, with the same urgency the pandemic requires.  To read the statement, please click here or visit: https://aflcio.org/aboutleadershipstatements/working-peoples-demands-face-covid-19-pandemic.

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Updated OLMS advisory on LM filings https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/olms-advisory-on-lm-filings Wed, 25 Mar 2020 11:57:56 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/olms-advisory-on-lm-filings The Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has issued an updated advisory regarding the reporting requirements concerning LM filings.

OLMS is now advising that branches and state associations that are unable to file timely due to the current circumstances have until June 30, 2020 to file any LM report that was due prior to that date. There is no longer a requirement to contact OLMS to provide information concerning the circumstances necessitating additional time and providing a date by which the report can be reasonably submitted.

The link to the OLMS advisory is: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOL/bulletins/2832f1e?reqfrom=share

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President Rolando sends letters to branch and state presidents granting dispensation https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/president-rolando-sends-letters-to-branch-and-state-presidents-granting-dispensation Thu, 19 Mar 2020 12:19:52 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/president-rolando-sends-letters-to-branch-and-state-presidents-granting-dispensation NALC President Fredric V. Rolando has sent two letters to branches and state associations granting dispensation for several issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The letters may be viewed here.

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Statement from NALC President Fredric V. Rolando on the COVID-19 pandemic https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-from-nalc-president-fredric-v-rolando-on-the-covid-19-pandemic Wed, 18 Mar 2020 19:11:10 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-from-nalc-president-fredric-v-rolando-on-the-covid-19-pandemic President Fredric V. Rolando has issued a statement to letter carriers covering many issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement may be viewed here.

An audio version of the statement is also available on NALC's podcast feed on Podbean.com You may listen here.

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NALC and USPS agree to two new MOUs on leave during the COVID-19 pandemic https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-and-usps-agree-to-two-new-mous-on-leave-during-the-covid-19-pandemic Wed, 18 Mar 2020 19:08:48 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-and-usps-agree-to-two-new-mous-on-leave-during-the-covid-19-pandemic Today, NALC and USPS agreed to two new MOUs expanding leave for letter carriers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MOU Re: Temporary Expanded Sick Leave for Dependent Care During COVID-19 (M-01910) temporarily expands the purposes for sick leave for dependent care to include unexpected childcare needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MOU Re: Temporary Additional Paid Leave for CCAs (M-01911) creates a temporary category of paid leave for use by CCAs for a number of circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any questions about these new agreements, please contact your national business agent.

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NALC Bulletin: Coronavirus precautions https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-bulletin-coronavirus-precautions Tue, 17 Mar 2020 08:50:49 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-bulletin-coronavirus-precautions The Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is a disease that was first identified in Wuhan China but has since spread to locations throughout the world. Make sure you do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by understanding precautions you can take. This information is based on guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


If any of the below is not being provided or completed, please contact your branch officer or national business agent.

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New date set for dinner to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Great Postal Strike https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/new-date-set-for-dinner-to-celebrate-50th-anniversary-of-the-great-postal-strike Wed, 11 Mar 2020 13:55:59 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/new-date-set-for-dinner-to-celebrate-50th-anniversary-of-the-great-postal-strike NALC has rescheduled the dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Great Postal Strike for Friday, November 6, 2020. Branches and attendees that were confirmed to attend the dinner originally scheduled for March 21 will automatically be confirmed for the new date. Those branches should feel free to reschedule or book flights for their previously confirmed attendees to attend the dinner on November 6. Those branches will receive a letter with details including hotel information. The original dinner was sold out.  Branches will be notified should tickets become available in the future.

 

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Dinner to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Great Postal Strike postponed https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/dinner-to-celebrate-50th-anniversary-of-the-great-postal-strike-postponed Mon, 09 Mar 2020 13:31:53 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/dinner-to-celebrate-50th-anniversary-of-the-great-postal-strike-postponed Due to the rapid developments around the outbreak of the coronavirus in New York and other locations, NALC has postponed the dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Great Postal Strike scheduled for March 21 in New York City. While we regret any inconvenience this postponement may cause, the safety of those that will attend the dinner is of paramount importance.

NALC reserved a block of rooms at Wyndham New Yorker for those attending. This hotel has a 72-hour cancellation policy. Branches should promptly cancel reservations to avoid cancellation fees.

Major airlines are offering to waive change fees for some flights scheduled in March 2020. The details vary by airline. Please contact your airline for more information.

We are working to confirm a new date for the dinner. An announcement will come as soon as the date is confirmed and will include updated registration and hotel information.

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NALC and USPS have mutually agreed to postpone a national-level grievance https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-and-usps-have-mutually-agreed-to-postpone-a-national-level-grievance Fri, 21 Feb 2020 08:47:38 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-and-usps-have-mutually-agreed-to-postpone-a-national-level-grievance NALC and USPS have mutually agreed to postpone a national-level grievance regarding the delay in implementing Arbitrator Goldberg’s Award in Case No. Q15C-4Q-C 17697250 which was issued August 6, 2018. This agreement (M-01908) provides that the parties will postpone this case pending the disposition of civil action 18-cv-02553, United States Postal Service vs. American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO (the Hatch Act award vacatur case).

In the interim, letter carriers who wish to take Leave Without Pay (LWOP) for the purpose of being released to work on a partisan political campaign may request personal LWOP in accordance with Section 514.4(a) of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM).

As stated in ELM 514.22, the granting of personal LWOP is a matter of administrative discretion "based on the needs of the employee, the needs of the Postal Service, and the cost to the Postal Service."

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The NALC Veterans Guide is now available https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/the-nalc-veterans-guide-is-now-available Thu, 20 Feb 2020 12:29:40 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/the-nalc-veterans-guide-is-now-available NALC created the NALC Veterans Group to provide access to information and tools specific to veterans’ rights and benefits within the Postal Service. It seeks to provide all NALC military veterans, both active and retired, with resources, information and a sense of camaraderie. With this in mind, NALC has developed this new guide as a quick reference with valuable information relating to military service and the Postal Service. The online version contains links throughout the guide which will connect you directly to additional relevant information. Click here for the online Veterans Guide.

A hardcopy version of the guide is now being printed. All current members of the NALC Veterans Group will be mailed a printed copy of the guide as soon as it is available. New members to the NALC Veterans Group will be mailed a copy of the guide upon enrollment.

More information regarding the NALC Veterans Group is available on the NALC website at nalc.org/veterans.

View it online here.

Download the NALC Veterans Guide here.

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White House releases FY 2021 budget proposal https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/white-house-releases-fy-2021-budget-proposal Mon, 10 Feb 2020 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/white-house-releases-fy-2021-budget-proposal The Trump Administration released its $4.8 trillion Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal on Feb. 10. With regards to the U.S. Postal Service, as in previous budget requests the White House proposal includes:

“…changes to how rates are set for products that are deemed outside the universal service obligation; changes to delivery processing, mode, and frequency; increased use of private sector partners; more closely aligning Postal Service employee wages with those of other Federal employees; licensing access to the mailbox; and providing additional Government services at retail locations. In addition to Government-wide changes to health and pension programs that will reduce Agency operating costs, the Budget also proposes to re-amortize the payments to the Retiree Health Benefits Fund, including those payments missed in previous years, based on the Postal employee population at or near the retirement age.”

Major provisions affecting NALC members in the White House budget request are similar to past years. They are outlined below.

Postal Service

  • “Reform the Postal Service” The budget asks for more than $90 billion in cuts to USPS operations and workforce compensation over 10 years. Changes are based on the recommendations of the White House Postal Task Force, which include: cuts to postal employee pay; eliminating the USPS mailbox monopoly; opening the private sector up to mail sorting; and implementing a new rate-setting system, which would allow for increased rates on packages and services deemed “non-essential.”
  • USPS Privatization not included. In his FY20 request, the president included a proposal by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that called for reforming and restructuring the federal government, including privatizing the Postal Service. Privatization of the Postal Service has not been included in this year’s request.

Federal Employees Retirement & Health Benefits

  • Pay increase lags behind inflation. While the administration’s prior two budgets called for a federal workforce pay freeze, this budget proposes a 1 percent across-the-board pay increase for federal employees, while recommending a 3 percent increase for military personnel. Inflation rates in the United States have risen from 2.1 percent in the president’s first year in office to 2.3 percent for 2019. Legislation introduced in the 116th Congress by House and Senate Democrats called for a FY21 pay raise of 3.5 percent.
  • Increase FERS contributions. For active federal and postal employees covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the budget calls for gradually equalizing employee and agency payroll contributions for pension benefits. This would raise the pension contributions of letter carriers by 1 percent of pay a year for up to six years, resulting in a take-home pay cut of up to $3,700 annually after six years for active letter carriers. The exact impact would depend on when FERS employees were hired.
  • High-5 average. The proposal calls for reducing Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and FERS pension benefits for new retirees by basing annuities on workers’ highest average yearly salary over five years (high-5) instead of over the highest three years (high-3).
  • Eliminate annuity supplement. It also would eliminate the annuity supplement that covers the gap for employees who retire under FERS before they qualify for Social Security benefits at age 62.
  • Slash COLAs. For all retirees, the administration’s budget calls for eliminating or reducing cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). For current and future annuitants under FERS (which covers any employee hired after 1984), the budget would eliminate basic annuity COLAs entirely. For those under CSRS, COLAs would be reduced by 0.5 percent each year. These changes would devastate the finances of retirees who rely on annual COLAs to keep up with the cost of living.
  • Reduce the TSP’s G Fund interest rate. This proposal includes a change to the government bond fund ("G" fund), the largest and most popular investment vehicle available in the Thrift Savings Plan. Millions of active and retired G Fund investors would receive a reduced rate of return. The new rate would be tied to the interest rate on 90-day Treasury bills instead of an average of medium- and long-term Treasury bond rates. This proposal would take $10.5 billion in retirement investments from federal employees, retirees, active military personnel and veterans over the next 10 years.
  • Higher premiums for workers. For both active and retired federal employees, the budget proposes modifying the federal government’s contribution to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) so that federal employees pay more into the program. Although details for how the new calculations are not specified, previous proposals called on federal employees to pay an additional 7 percent, cutting significantly into their monthly take-home pay. A 7-percentage point cost shift (similar to what was proposed last year) for a $20,000-per-year family health plan would raise retiree contributions by about $1,400 annually. FEHBP contribution levels for active letter carriers are set by the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement with USPS. While the proposed budget wouldn’t immediately affect these contribution percentages for active letter carriers, it likely would have an effect on future negotiations on this issue.

Department of Labor

  • Budget cut. Much like the White House’s proposals for FY20 and FY19, the Department of Labor would see a $1.3 billion, or 11 percent, budget cut in 2021, through the elimination of programs deemed “duplicative, unnecessary, unproven, or ineffective.”
  • Training cuts. The budget once again slashes funding for training workers who lose their jobs as a result of lay-offs or natural disasters. Other job training funds for Native Americans and seasonal migrant workers would be completely defunded.
  • Union monitoring. One of the few increases in the DOL budget would go to the office that monitors union activities. The DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards would get a 16 percent boost, to $50 million next year. The budget states that it would “support more audits and investigations to uncover flawed officer elections, fraud, and embezzlement.”

It is important for letter carriers to urge their representatives in Washington to reject attacks on the federal workforce as well as on the Postal Service and its networks.

NALC will continue to update letter carriers on the process, as additional budget details are released and as the House and Senate begin their budget considerations.

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