Survey says…

As you may have noticed, we’ve returned to our original format for our front page. The response to our survey was pretty conclusive, with about 55% of respondents saying that they preferred the old look. About a quarter of you said that it didn’t matter one way or the other, and only about 20% said they preferred the new look. (If you’re one of those people, you can still switch to the “new” format by bookmarking postalnews.com/blog).

The new design also wasn’t achieving our goal, which was to make the site easier to read and navigate on all of the devices people use to access it. We’ll continue to look for better ways to do that, without tampering too much with our main page.

Here are some interesting facts we learned from the survey:

  • Sixty percent of you said you’ve been following postalnews.com for more than five years, and 22% have been visiting the site for over ten years
  • Two thirds of our audience are postal workers, and another 27% are retirees
  • 84% of respondents visit the site every day

Data Posted on Postmasters, Supervisors Performing Craft Work

Grievances Due June 5, If Necessary

A key feature of the Global Settlement Remedy Agreement, which was signed on Dec. 5, 2014, were provisions making it easier for union representatives to monitor when postmasters and supervisors perform bargaining unit work in excess of the hours allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The USPS recently provided the APWU with the first set of reports by postmasters and supervisors showing how many hours they worked. The reports, which are available to local and state presidents only, are posted in the Member’s Only section of the APWU website. Local and state presidents were previously notified of the reports and have been working hard to get employees paid.

The first reports date back to Dec. 6, 2014, the day after the settlement was signed. The USPS granted time-limit extensions for addressing the violations until June 5, 2015.

Locals may want to request extensions beyond this time frame, because the process is new and there is a lot of information to review.

The initial reports are large because they cover several weeks of violations, beginning with last December.  Future reports will be smaller as they will typically cover violations for a four-week time period.

Given the large initial reports, we have prepared reports that show only the offices where management acknowledges that violations took place.  This will make it easier to address self-reported violations quickly.

However, presidents are strongly encouraged to check all the reports because the information provided is self-reported by postmasters and supervisors and may not be accurate.  Local and state presidents should request data to check the self-reported information with other material, such as POS reports.

A key area to check is whether postmasters and supervisors attempted to circumvent the agreement regarding counting their time on the window.  Allhours that postmasters and supervisors in affected offices spent working alone is considered time spent staffing the window.  When postmasters or supervisors work in conjunction with a clerk, they will be charged for all time spent from the moment they log into POS or similar window technology until they perform their end-of-day report in POS or similar technology. The end-of –day report requires completion of a PS From 1412.

Sample forms are available only to local and state presidents in the Members’ Only section of the APWU website to assist presidents in determining payment to union members and resolving issues related to payments.

Most of these sample forms were quickly put together.  Many thanks to Tampa Area NBA Pat Davis Weeks for providing a template for settlement agreements and to Montana State President Gary Phillippe for providing a sample GATS pending proof of payment form.  We all benefit by sharing our work.  We encourage union officers and members to tweak and improve upon the forms provided so far.

When postmasters or supervisors routinely violate the work-hour limits, it likely demonstrates that creation of Clerk Craft assignment is warranted.  If locals are unable to secure an assignment or otherwise resolve such ongoing violations, they should seek assistance from their NBA who will contact the respective USPS Area Manager of Labor Relations to discuss the issue.  If the parties are unable to resolve the issue at the area level, then it will be discussed by the parties at the national level.

The Global Settlement Remedy Agreement will save a lot of time handling violations of limits on bargaining unit work.  However, there is still much work to do to make sure that a Clerk Craft employee is paid for each violation and that Clerk Craft assignments are created when there are repetitive violations.

Creating additional assignments will also provide better service to our communities and reduce stress to current workers who are short-staffed.

Source: Data Posted on Postmasters, Supervisors Performing Craft Work | APWU

Sanders Welcomes USPS Decision to Back Off Plans to Close Plants This Year

WASHINGTON, May 30 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today welcomed news that the U.S. Postal Service quietly backed off a self-defeating plan to shutter nearly all of 82 mail sorting facilities which were on the chopping block this year.

Sanders had led an effort in Congress to keep the Postal Service from closing the plants as part of an ill-considered cost-cutting plan by the money-making mail service. Word of the Postal Service decision came in a low-key formal notification yesterday to members of Congress. Continue reading

Missouri Letter Carrier Pleads Guilty to Stealing Mail

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former postal worker in Warrensburg, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to stealing thousands of pieces of mail that were not delivered.

David Thompson, 54, of Warrensburg, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to the delay and destruction of mail by a postal employee.

Thompson, who began his career with the U.S. Postal Service in 1990, was the regular mail carrier assigned to a delivery route from the Warrensburg post office on 201 E. Gay Street. He was placed on off-duty status on Jan. 21, 2014, and he is no longer in the employment of the Postal Service.

By pleading guilty today, Thompson admitted that he stole at least 20,000 pieces of mail addressed to 5,571 recipients from May 2012 to Jan. 18, 2014. Thompson admitted that he threw the mail into a dumpster or kept it in his house and personal vehicle rather than delivering the mail to its recipients. The mail was unopened and no specific monetary loss was identified.

US-Department-Of-Justi_fmtThompson’s supervisors suspected in late 2013 that he was drinking alcohol while on duty and while delivering mail on his official route. During their investigation, a covert camera was installed in his delivery vehicle. Thompson was observed pulling mail already sorted for delivery and placing the mail in a white tub, which he hid in a carport at his personal residence. The next two days, he also pulled mail already sorted for delivery, and each day he bundled it and put it into his personal vehicle. On Jan. 11, 2014, Thompson was recorded throwing a bundle of mail into a trash container, and later placing a tub of mail underneath the carport at his residence. On Jan. 13, 2014, he placed his coat over a tub of mail and placed the mail into his personal vehicle. On Jan. 15, 2014, he took a tub of mail and placed it under the carport at his residence. The next two days, he did the same thing. He took more mail on Jan. 18, 2014. On Jan. 17, 2014, a federal agent recovered four black plastic trash bags of mail from Thompson’s route from the dumpster behind the Elk’s Lodge (where Thompson was a member and served as Exalted Ruler)  located at 822 E. Young Avenue in Warrensburg.

Under federal statutes, Thompson is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

Fire at New Brunswick NJ post office

Photos of a fire at the New Brunswick NJ post office have been posted on social media:

Update: still very much on fire. I guess a transformer exploded

A photo posted by @dclark0 on

WABC in New York reports that “Official say the flames were sparked by an underground transformer explosion just before 11 a.m. at the building on Bayard Street and Kirkpatrick Street.”

Video: Roanoke APWU official sheds light on delay of postal consolidation plan

The U.S. Postal Service cited “operational considerations,” and the need to ensure “prompt, reliable and predictable service,” when it announced it will delay its consolidation plan.

A local union leader says the facility in Greensboro that was slated to process Roanoke’s mail cannot handle the increase.

Carlton Cooper is the President of American Postal Workers Union Local 482.

He says Roanoke’s mail now goes to Greensboro to be cancelled. Then he says, 60 to 80 percent of it is hauled back to Roanoke for processing.

“You need to fight for first class service for a first class stamp,” Cooper told WDBJ7 Thursday morning. “And I know that the postal service is not coming to their end of the bargain.”

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Source: Union leader sheds light on delay of postal consolidation plan | Local News – WDBJ7.com Central and Southwest VA

Video: Thousands of pieces of mail found in “hoarding situation” in Springfield MA

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a story you’ll only see on 22News and wwlp.com.  Thousands of pieces of missing mail delivered years later.The 22News I-Team first reported this story in April.  Now they’ve dug deeper and discovered new information.  The U.S. Postal service has been delivering mail to people in western Massachusetts that was originally sent back in 2007.   The mail came with a note that vaguely mentioned it had been held as evidence in a federal case.

We discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request, the mail was found in 2011 when Springfield police condemned the home of a former postal service employee. A federal search warrant was executed and authorities found what appeared to be a hoarding situation.

Source: I-Team: Thousands of pieces of mail found in hoarding situation | WWLP.com

Top news stories of the week May 23-29