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 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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Postal Facts: February 12, 2020 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-february-12-2020 Wed, 12 Feb 2020 13:51:05 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-february-12-2020 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.


What the Post Office’s Earnings Mean for FedEx and UPS 

President Rolando was quoted on Feb. 7 by Barron’s, the nation’s leading financial magazine, on the latest USPS quarterly report.

Click here to read article

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Statement by President Rolando on the Postal Service's 2020 Quarter 1 financial report https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-by-president-rolando-on-the-postal-services-2020-quarter-1-financial-report Fri, 07 Feb 2020 11:13:18 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-by-president-rolando-on-the-postal-services-2020-quarter-1-financial-report The Postal Service’s financial report for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 underlines the need for congressional action on common-sense legislative reform. The first step toward such reform is the USPS Fairness Act, which a large bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted for earlier this week.

The entire first quarter loss—$748 million—stems from the unfair obligation placed on the Postal Service by Congress in 2006 to pre-fund future retiree health benefits decades in advance. That mandate cost the Postal Service $1.2 billion in the first three months of the fiscal year.

This mandate, which no other public agency or private company in the country faces, imposes a crushing financial burden on the Postal Service. It accounts for most of the Postal Service’s losses over the past decade, creating an artificial financial "crisis" that threatens services and prevents needed investments.

The bill passed by the House on Feb. 5 (H.R. 2382) would repeal the mandate. NALC calls on the Senate to quickly pass its version of the same legislation (S. 2965) to remove this onerous obligation on America's Postal Service. This would set the table for other consensus reforms and allow the Postal Service to continue to provide the American people and their businesses with the industrial world's most-affordable delivery network.

The USPS, which receives no taxpayer money and funds itself through earned revenue, is rated by the public as the most-trusted federal agency and enjoys strong political support from both sides of the aisle.

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USPS Fairness Act passes House https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-fairness-act-passes-house Wed, 05 Feb 2020 17:14:31 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-fairness-act-passes-house Today, the House of Representatives passed the USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 2382) in a 309 to 106 vote. As letter carriers know, this bipartisan bill seeks to end the mandate for the Postal Service to prefund retiree health care decades in advance.

Passage of H.R. 2382 is a tremendous achievement for letter carriers and the broader postal community. This is the first major piece of legislation tackling postal issues that has passed the House of Representatives since the 2006 passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which forced the disastrous prefunding mandate onto our employer. 

“Letter carriers should be proud of their hard work to educate members of Congress and gain their support on this very important issue,” said NALC President Fred Rolando. “House passage is a major victory in the battle to end this disastrous mandate, but our work is not done. We must now turn our attention to the Senate.”

NALC asks letter carriers to please thank their Members of Congress who voted in support of the bill. The roll call vote of yea’s and nay’s may be found here.

Now that the bill has advanced through the House, it will be up to the Senate to take action on S. 2965, the bipartisan companion bill. Letter carriers should be ready to engage and educate their Senators and staff on the need to repeal the prefunding mandate.

NALC will continue to monitor this critical bill’s progression and be sure to keep letter carriers up to date on any movement.

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The Postal Record magazine is now available as a digital flipbook and an audiobook https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/the-postal-record-magazine-is-now-available-as-a-digital-flipbook-and-an-audiobook Wed, 05 Feb 2020 13:30:08 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/the-postal-record-magazine-is-now-available-as-a-digital-flipbook-and-an-audiobook NALC's monthly magazine, The Postal Record, is now available in a viewable and downloadable flipbook on the NALC website. Not only that -- you can also listen to select articles and columns which are available in an audiobook format.

Go check out the latest February 2020 issue here.

 

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Nolan selected as neutral arbitrator https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nolan-selected-as-neutral-arbitrator Wed, 05 Feb 2020 06:12:22 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nolan-selected-as-neutral-arbitrator Arbitrator Dennis R. Nolan has accepted appointment as the neutral chair of the three-person arbitration board that will be responsible for resolving the current bargaining impasse between NALC and the Postal Service.  Under the law, both NALC and postal management are each required to name one arbitrator and select a third neutral arbitrator to serve as the chair of the interest arbitration board.  NALC’s general counsel, Bruce Simon, will serve as NALC’s party arbitrator.  Attorney Robert Dufek will represent the Postal Service on the arbitration board.  Nolan has previously served as a national arbitrator under the NALC-USPS National Agreement.  Hearings in the interest arbitration are expected to begin in the spring. 

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CCA to PTF Conversion https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/resources-on-cca-to-ptf-conversion Fri, 31 Jan 2020 10:33:22 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/resources-on-cca-to-ptf-conversion Due to the recent settlement of national-level case Q16N-4Q-C-19225551, M-01906 in NALC’s Materials Reference System (MRS), concerning the Postal Service hiring city carrier assistant (CCA) employees above the contractual caps, many CCAs will be converted to career status either as a full-time regular or part-time flexible (PTF).

With the signing of M-01906, members may have questions about the differences between the PTF and CCA classifications.  Many of these questions have been answered in the October 2018 edition of The Postal Record. While the 2018 article references M-01892 signed in July 2018, all of the questions and answers presented in the article are still valid.

Click the highlighted links to read M-01906 and the Part-time flexible (PTF) letter carriers Q-and-A October 2018 article.

For more information on conversion to career and a variety of other topics, members should read the Letter Carrier Resource Guide. A PDF of the guide is available for download by clicking the link or members can order a printed copy via the Members Only section of the NALC website.

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In all offices, CCAs who have at least 30 months of relative standing on February 15th to be converted to career status https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/in-all-offices-ccas-who-have-at-least-30-months-of-relative-standing-on-february-15th-to-be-converted-to-career-status Thu, 23 Jan 2020 10:51:30 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/in-all-offices-ccas-who-have-at-least-30-months-of-relative-standing-on-february-15th-to-be-converted-to-career-status NALC and USPS have settled a national-level grievance regarding non-compliance with the contractual caps on the employment of City Carrier Assistants (CCAs). This settlement (M-01906) provides that all city carrier assistants in any size office with 30 months of relative standing on February 15, 2020, will be converted to career status within 60 days from the signing of the agreement on January 22, 2020. CCAs meeting this criteria in 200-workyear offices or larger will be converted to full-time regular, and CCAs meeting this criteria in all other offices will be converted to part-time flexible.

Select districts will make conversions to career status in addition to those described above.  The districts where these conversions will take place and the number of months of relative standing to be used are identified in the settlement.  The criteria for these additional conversions will otherwise be the same. All CCAs converted to career status in accordance with this settlement will be converted within their current installation.

NALC projects this settlement will result in almost 4,800 CCA conversions to career status, including approximately 3,000 conversions to part-time flexible in smaller offices.

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Postal Facts: January 22, 2020 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-january-22-2020 Wed, 22 Jan 2020 15:43:02 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-january-22-2020 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.


Why Everyone Should Care Who the New Postmaster General Is 

Chief of Staff Jim Sauber was quoted in an American Prospect magazine story on Jan. 13 about the Postal Service, the search for a new postmaster general, postal finances and the fight against privatization.

Click here to read article
 

Letters to the Editor by John Paige 

John Paige, past president of the Idaho State Association, had letters to the editor published by the Idaho Statesman (Jan. 19), Idaho Press Tribune (Jan. 19), Coeur d’Alene Press (Jan. 19) and magicvalley.com (Jan. 14), largely about voting by mail.

Idaho Statesman

Idaho Press Tribune

Coeur d' Alene Press

Magicvalley.com

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Houston letter carrier shot on his route https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/houston-letter-carrier-shot-on-his-route Tue, 31 Dec 2019 11:14:08 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/houston-letter-carrier-shot-on-his-route NALC is saddened to learn that letter carrier Adrian Jackson, a member of Branch 283 in Houston, Texas, was shot multiple times on his route December 28. Jackson is currently hospitalized in stable condition. Authorities have classified it as a random shooting and a suspect has been apprehended. Jackson, a 5 year letter carrier, is currently assigned to Longpoint Station in Houston.

“We are saddened by the news that Brother Jackson was shot in a random, senseless act of violence while serving his customers. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers as he continues to fight and recover from his injuries.” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

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PRC publishes revised notice of proposed rulemaking https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/prc-publishes-revised-notice-of-proposed-rulem Thu, 05 Dec 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/prc-publishes-revised-notice-of-proposed-rulem In early December, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued a revised proposed rulemaking for the system that regulates the rates and classes of the Postal Service’s Market Dominant products. This follows an initial proposed rulemaking in December 2017 that was never implemented. The new proposal is based in part on comments received following the initial rulemaking. NALC’s comments figure prominently in the new filing. The notice is viewable here and the press release is viewable here.

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006 required the PRC to review the existing rate and classification system of Market Dominant products after ten years. The review’s mandate is to determine whether the legislated rate-setting system is achieving the objectives set forth in the PAEA: to create a “flexible, stable, predictable, and streamlined ratemaking system that ensures the Postal Service’s financial health…and maintains high quality service standards and performance.” According to the PRC’s initial proposed rulemaking in December 2017, the system was not meeting these goals.

The first proposed rule, which would have liberalized the price cap to allow rates to rise by up to two percentage points more per year than the increase in the Consumer Price Index, was never finalized in part because of vacancies on the PRC. The last of those vacancies was recently filled.

NALC is pleased to see the PRC return to this important review. NALC is currently reviewing the proposed rulemaking’s impact and will fully participate in this process.  Our goal, as always, is to strengthen our nation’s universal postal service. Comments on the new proposed rulemaking will be accepted through February 3, 2020.

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Senate Introduces Companion Repeal Bill, House Bill Reaches Critical Mass https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/senate-introduces-companion-repeal-bill-house-bill-reaches-critical-mass Tue, 03 Dec 2019 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/senate-introduces-companion-repeal-bill-house-bill-reaches-critical-mass

Today, Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the USPS Fairness Act (S. 2965), a bill to repeal the mandate to prefund postal retiree health benefits. The bill is identical to House legislation (H.R. 2382), which was introduced earlier this year and has the support of a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives. With the introduction of a Senate companion, there is now demonstrated bipartisan and bicameral support for repealing the mandate.

As letter carriers know, repealing the mandate to pre-fund retiree health remains at the top of NALC’s legislative agenda. The mandate, which no other company faces, is responsible for 90 percent of the financial losses incurred by the Postal Service since 2007.

Pre-funding repeal is a key to achieving postal reform in the future. It will free USPS to invest in its infrastructure, and better utilize its vast networks to further serve business and residential customers. 

In the House, H.R. 2382 continues to gain bipartisan momentum and has surpassed the “House Consensus Calendar” threshold of 290 cosponsors, which means that the bill can now be placed in the queue for a House floor vote. Under House rules, once a bill is placed in this queue, the Committee of jurisdiction (in this case the Committee on Oversight and Reform) has 25 legislative days to take action on the measure. If no action is taken, the bill becomes eligible for a floor vote. As of today, the House bill officially has 294 cosponsors (including 233 Democrats and 61 Republicans), though in actuality that number is 292 cosponsors (232 Democrats and 60 Republicans) due to the resignations of Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY) and Katie Hill (D-CA).

“Letter carriers should be proud of the work we have done to garner support for this very important bill, but we cannot let up,” said NALC President Fredric V. Rolando. “I encourage every letter carrier to thank their members of Congress who have supported the House bill and ask them to urge House leadership to do what is necessary to enact this critical legislation into law. If your member of Congress has not cosponsored this bill, please ask them to cosponsor it.”

While our focus remains on increasing the number of cosponsors on the House bill, we will provide more information on what NALC members can do to build support on the Senate bill in the near future.

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Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/2019-penalty-overtime-exclusion-period Wed, 27 Nov 2019 11:13:47 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/2019-penalty-overtime-exclusion-period As referenced in Article 8, Sections 4 and 5 of the USPS-NALC National Agreement, the December period (during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable) consists of four consecutive service weeks.

This year, the December period begins Pay Period 25-19, Week 2 (Nov. 30, 2019) and ends Pay Period 01-20, Week 1 (Dec. 27, 2019).

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Update on Contract Negotiations https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/contract-update-statement Fri, 22 Nov 2019 15:19:17 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/contract-update-statement NALC and management negotiators have reached the end of the 60-day mediation period following the Sept. 20 expiration of our National Agreement with USPS. The parties remain at impasse and are discussing the selection of a neutral arbitrator.

Although NALC will continue to bargain in good faith, we will not delay the interest arbitration process.

Under the law, both NALC and postal management will name one arbitrator and select a third neutral arbitrator to serve as the chair of the arbitration board. Both sides will present evidence and testimony to the arbitration board that will, following hearings, issue a final and binding decision on the contents of our next collective-bargaining agreement. While these impasse procedures are taking place, the terms of our 2016-19 National Agreement remain in effect.

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Postal Facts: November 20, 2019 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-november-20 Thu, 21 Nov 2019 15:51:58 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-november-20 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.


Postal Service Sees More Red Ink, Despite Increased Revenue 

President Rolando is quoted in a Nov. 14 article by Bloomberg that covers the USPS' FY 2019 financial report and the congressional pre-funding mandate that is largely reponsible for the net loss.

Click here to read article
 

USPS begins search for new postmaster general amid 13 years of net losses 

President Rolando is quoted in a Nov. 14 article by Federal News Network that covers the search for a new postmaster general, the USPS' FY 2019 financial report and the causes of the net loss.

Click here to read article

Is another year of financial losses beyond USPS control? 

President Rolando is quoted in a Nov. 14 article by Federal Times exploring causes for the USPS' FY 2019 net loss and the need for pre-funding and rate-setting reform.

Click here to read article 

Postal Service Doubles Annual Losses to $8.8 Billion 

President Rolando is quoted in a Nov. 14 piece by Government Executive that covers the USPS' FY 2019 financial report and factors behind the loss.

Click here to read article 

 

NALC’s Rolando uses USPS financial report to restate demand for legislative end to red ink 

President Rolando is quoted in a Nov. 15 piece by Press Associates Inc. that underlines the impact of the 2006 pre-funding mandate and also discusses the increase in earned revenue. 

Click here to read article 

The U.S. Postal Service Just Lost $8.8 Billion. Why That’s Actually Pretty Good 

A Nov. 14 piece by Barron's delves into the numbers from the USPS' FY 2019 financial report.

Click here to read article 

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