Hearing on USPS-Staples Deal Dominated by Legal Wrangling

From the American Postal Workers Union:

apwulogoA hearing on charges that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples was dominated by procedural wrangling on Aug. 17 and 18. The hearing before Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will resume on Nov. 2.

Region 5 of the NLRB issued a complaint against the Postal Service on June 26 in response to an “unfair labor practice” charge filed by the APWU against the Postal Service. The complaint asked the NLRB to order the USPS to cancel its Approved Shipper deal with Staples and return work that existed on July 31, 2014, to the APWU bargaining unit.

At the hearing, the Postal Service withdrew its request to defer the hearing to arbitration.

Both the Postal Service and Staples continued to resist complying with subpoenas issued by Region 5 of the NLRB and the APWU for use at the hearing, claiming that many documents contain confidential, proprietary information.  Judge Bogas will rule on their claims at the Nov. 2 hearing.

Bogas granted a motion by Staples to intervene in the case, after Staples argued that it could not rely on the Postal Service to defend its interests in the proceedings. The Postal Service supported Staples’ motion.

The judge’s ruling is not supported by legal precedent, attorneys for the APWU and the NLRB General Counsel noted, and announced plans to appeal.

“The APWU deplores the ongoing collusion between the Postal Service and Staples to transfer the work of highly-trained USPS employees who are accountable to the people of the country to low-paid Staples employees,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said.  “This ploy enriches Staples executives while advancing the privatization of the public Postal Service,” he added.

“The APWU will fight with everything we’ve got in the legal arena, but we know the truth: We must defend our rights and interests by increasing members’ participation in the Stop Staples campaign and spreading word of the boycott,” he said.

For more info on the case, click here.

Source: Hearing on USPS-Staples Deal Dominated by Legal Wrangling | APWU

Alaska mail processing clerk charged with stealing drugs from mail

The United States Attorney for Alaska has announced the indictment of James H. Dzimitrowicz, 47,  of North Pole, on charges of mail theft.  Dzimitrowicz was employed as a career mail processing clerk at the main post office Fairbanks, where the thefts are alleged to have occurred from July 2011 through  January 2014. Dzimitrowicz is alleged to have specifically targeted packages he believed contained prescription drugs.

Dzimitrowicz is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on August 27.

Kansas PSE charged with mail theft

Maria S. Alvidrez, 30, Plains, Kan., is charged with two counts of theft of mail while she was employed as a postal worker at the post office in Kismet, Kan. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in April and May 2015.

If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count. The U.S. Postal Service – Office of Inspector General investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger is prosecuting.

Source: Indictment: Crystal Meth Was Shipped FedEx | USAO-KS | Department of Justice

Employee’s hunch leads to life-saving rescue

Camden, NJ, Letter Carrier Felix Bocchicchio

Camden, NJ, Letter Carrier Felix Bocchicchio couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong.

While on his route recently, Bocchicchio noticed mail piling up in a customer’s box, along with flowers that remained on the home’s porch long after a florist dropped them off.

Bocchicchio’s suspicion gnawed at him all day. Finally, he alerted a neighbor with a key to the home, and together they tried to enter but the door was blocked.

The duo then looked through a window and saw the woman lying on the floor.

Bocchicchio called 911. Police and emergency personnel were able enter the house through a broken window. The customer was severely dehydrated and incoherent, but she is expected to recover.

Source: Heroes’ corner | USPS News Link

What do those four charts really explain?

Kevin KosarBack in my previous life as a financial analyst, one book that was always on my shelf was “How to Lie With Charts” by Gerald Jones. The title is meant to be tongue in cheek- Jones’s purpose is to help presenters avoid creating misleading charts and graphs. But I couldn’t help thinking of the title after reading Kevin Kosar’s article “Four charts explain the Postal Service’s financial struggles“, which was posted on the RStreet blog yesterday. Kosar was formerly an analyst with the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, where he frequently wrote analyses of the postal service’s finances. He now works for the very partisan RStreet lobbying organization.

What led me to connect Kosar’s piece with Jones’s book wasn’t the charts themselves for the most part, but rather the conclusions Kosar wants the reader to reach based on the charts. He certainly isn’t lying- but his charts don’t always support his conclusions. And sometimes they show the exact opposite. Let’s look at them, one by one: Continue reading

Mail handlers, USPS reach agreement on procedures to fill residual vacancies

From the Mail Handlers Union:

npmhuThe National Office is pleased to report that the parties have come to an agreement on the procedures for filling residual vacancies.  On August 17, 2015, the USPS and NPMHU entered into a Memorandum of Understanding providing for a specific pecking order when filling residual vacancies.

The MOU only applies to those installations that are not subject to withholding pursuant to Article 12.  In those installations, the MOU provides a specific pecking order for filling residual vacancies that most prominently includes the right to return to the installation for those with active retreat rights, the conversion of PTF and PTR Mail Handlers, transfers through e-Reassign, and the conversion of MHAs to career status.  Overall, this MOU should provide greater opportunities for our MHAs to achieve career status.

In a separate but related matter, the parties have agreed that the MOU Re Filling of Residual Vacancies does not change current rules or practices on the demotion of EAS/management employees or the reinstatement of employees into the mail handler craft.  For clarity on this point, the parties have reached agreement by way of a separate MOU Re Demotion of EAS/Management Employees or Reinstatement of Former Employees into Mail Handler Craft, through which the parties agree to refer unresolved matters of demotion or reinstatement to the Article 12 Task Force.

Access copies of both MOUs and President Hogrogian’s notification to Local Presidents (pdf)

Source: Agreement Reached on Procedures to Fill Residual Vacancies – National Postal Mail Handlers Union

Former Postmaster of Capitan NM Post Office Sentenced on Embezzlement Conviction

uspsoigALBUQUERQUE – Kristi K. Sepkowitz, 56, of Alto, N.M., was sentenced Thursday afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to three years of probation and a $1,000.00 fine for embezzling money belonging to the United States.  Sepkowitz was the Postmaster of the Capitan Post Office in Lincoln County, N.M., when she committed the offense.

In her plea agreement, Sepkowitz acknowledged that as Postmaster of the Capitan Post Office, she held a position of trust with respect to funds belonging to the U.S. Postal Service that came into her possession.  Sepkowitz admitted that between Feb. 2012 and Dec. 2013, she betrayed that trust by engaging in an unlawful scheme pursuant to which she embezzled and converted funds, including cash and money orders, belonging to the U.S. Postal Service to her own use.

During the course of the scheme, Sepkowitz issued postal money orders to herself without making appropriate payment.  She also took cash from daily postal deposits and used the cash for her own purposes.  Sepkowitz attempted to pay back the postal funds she embezzled by writing checks on her personal bank account and depositing the checks with the daily postal deposits.

According to court filings, Sepkowitz embezzled and converted more than $450,000.00 in postal funds over the course of the scheme.  She has fully repaid the U.S. Postal Service for the postal funds she embezzled and converted to her own use.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock E. Taylor, of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.

New ‘Self+1’ FEHB option available to employees this year

Self Plus OneYou’ll have a new option when choosing your health coverage during this year’s open season: Self Plus One.

If you’re currently enrolled in a Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage plan, you’ve always had the option of choosing Self Only or Self and Family for your coverage.

Self Plus One offers coverage for you and one eligible family member that you designate, which can be your spouse or a child.

Self Plus One also may be a lower cost option when compared to Self and Family, if you have only one family member to put on your insurance.

Employees interested in switching to Self Plus One can do so during this year’s open season, which will be from Nov. 9-Dec. 14.

For more information, visit the LiteBlue Self Plus One site.

Rabbi: Elvis stamp sends wrong message to youth

From the San Diego Jewish World

ENCINITAS, California — The Postal Service has now released an Elvis “Forever” stamp.   Some of us opposed the original Elvis stamp, released by the Postal Service in 1993—even if we appreciated Elvis and respected his obvious admiration for black-style vocalization.

But Elvis Presley should not have a stamp in his memory. You can love Elvis, you can know every lyric of his haunting ballads, but you can still sense that there is something wrong with engraving this tragic man on our letters and cards.

Elvis Presley died ignominiously and self-abusively. He killed himself with drugs and reckless indulgence. The end of his life came to be a cacophony of blind extravagance and gross negligence.   He was not martyred; he was stoned.  He was a bad example for kids.

Read more: Elvis stamp sends wrong message to youth – San Diego Jewish World