FEBRUARY 14, 2019 – Husch Blackwell announced today the publication of its Top 150 U.S. Postal Service Suppliers list, an annual look at the companies with the largest supplier relationships with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). All told, USPS spent nearly $16 billion on outside purchases, about $900 million more than the year before. Not surprisingly for an agency whose lifeblood is moving the mail, six of the top ten USPS contractors provide transportation services or equipment. Continue reading
08/31/2016 – The Motor Vehicle Service Craft has won some major battles in the fight against subcontracting, but challenges still lie ahead, MVS Craft Director Michael O. Foster said at the craft conference prior to the National Convention.
“We continue as a union as a whole, to try to get the Postal Service to see the value and benefit of work being performed by bargaining unit employees,” he said. The Postal Service continues to subcontract work under the guise of saving money, but Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) employees can often perform the duties as the same cost or less expensively, he added.
In addition, all Postal Support Employees (PSEs) in the MVS Craft will be converted to career.
“We have made some major strides forward and we made agreements that we’re going to do studies in different locations that’s going to help us prove to the Postal Service that if we do some of the work that the contractors do, as far as driving and if we can go further out distances, then our cost would be equal or cheaper than the Highway Contract Routes also to,” Foster said.
Foster also stressed that unlike contractors, postal workers are trained and sworn to preserve the sanctity of the mail.
“We will continue to challenge the Postal Service on the improper contracting out of initiatives,” Foster concluded.
05/25/2016 – After nearly a year of procedural wrangling, 10 days of testimony and more than 140 exhibits, the National Labor Relations Board hearing on charges that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples ended on May 24.
Region 5 of the NLRB issued a complaint against the Postal Service on June 26, 2015, in response to an “unfair labor practice” charge filed by the APWU. The complaint asked the NLRB to order the USPS to cancel its Approved Shipper deal with Staples and return the work to postal employees.
The NLRB General Counsel was represented by Daniel Heltzer and Cristina Cora, who worked closely with the APWU to demonstrate that the Postal Service refused to bargain with the union over its decision to contract out work to Staples.
Following Dimondstein’s testimony, the Postal Service and Staples presented their cases. The Postal Service called seven witnesses who attempted to justify the Postal Service’s decision to contract out Clerk Craft work.
NLRB attorneys cross-examined the USPS witnesses and re-called APWU Manager of Negotiations Support Phil Tabbita, who testified in February, to rebut their testimony.
A ruling by Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas is not expected for several months.
Many parts of the record and most documents introduced at the hearing remain under “provisional seal,” which prohibits the APWU from sharing the information contained in them.
Dimondstein vowed to fight to make the documents available to union members and the public. “The dirty deal between Staples and the USPS has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning,” he said. “But the people have a right to know about management’s attempts to privatize their Postal Service.
“Our country deserves public postal services that are provided by well-trained USPS employees who are accountable to the people,” he said.
FedEx was once again the top contractor for the US Postal Service in fiscal year 2015, taking in $1.37 billion, according to the annual contractor’s list published by Husch-Blackwell. Second on the list was electricity supplier Energy United at $439 million.
United Parcel Service just missed the top ten, coming in at #11.
Click here to download the full report from the Husch Blackwell web site.
The Mail Handlers Union has announced that the USPS has dropped plans to outsource the handling of non-machinable parcels (NMOs). The USPS had contracted with United Parcel Service to perform originating and destinating sortation of NMOs from the Des Moines and Chicago Network Distribution Centers in 2013. The USPS referred to the contract as a “pilot test”, but the union contended that the “test” violated the National Agreement, and filed a grievance. That grievance has now been withdrawn:
In a memorandum to all Local Presidents, NPMHU President Paul Hogrogian and CAD Manager T.J. Branch disseminated information relative to the NPMHU’s National-level grievance over the possible subcontracting of sorting and processing Non-Machinable Outside (NMO) parcels.
As set forth in the attached agreement, the NMP pilot test has ended; the NMO parcel operation is back to its normal operating procedures; and the Postal Service has ceased further evaluation of outsourcing for NMO parcels.
08/27/2015 – Imagine the danger posed by a sleep-deprived driver of an 18-wheel tractor-trailer – whether he’s on the highway or driving through your neighborhood.
Despite the hazard, private subcontractors that haul mail for the U.S. Postal Service are seeking an exemption from federal safety rules that prohibit commercial drivers from operating a truck for more than 14 hours after a 10-hour break. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking comments on the request, which must be submitted by Sept. 21.
“In their brazen pursuit of the almighty dollar, these contractors would risk the lives of their employees and tens of thousands of other motorists and pedestrians,” said Michael O. Foster, director of the Motor Vehicle Service Craft. “In addition, the exemption would make it easier and cheaper to outsource USPS work,” he said.
“Fortunately, we can do something about it,” Foster added. “I urge everyone who cares about safety on the road to submit a comment opposing the exemption.” Click here to make a comment before Sept. 21.
The group seeking the exemption, the National Star Route Mail Contractors Association (NSRMCA), represents approximately 17,000 small companies that transport mail for the Postal Service in trucks of various sizes. In 2005, the contractors association sought and won an exemption – with the help of the Postal Service – on a previous safety rule.
“Many of Star Route companies are so small that their drivers are exempt from drug and alcohol tests that U.S. Postal Service drivers must take,” Foster said. “Clearly, this amplifies the danger.
“Save a life. Oppose the exemption,” he said.
The USPS Inspector General has accused US Postal Service management of ignoring its own rules in contracting out the maintenance of USPS owned mail boxes. The OIG also found that the USPS failed to “assess price reasonableness or obtain higher level review and approval as required”, and that it didn’t bother to verify that the contract actually saved the agency any money. The USPS also used an inflated estimate of doing the work internally, overestimating those expenses by over $6 million: Continue reading
Linns Stamp News recently published an article entitled “Village Post Offices — are they really worth it for the USPS?“, questioning the viability of the VPO program. Now the USPS has posted a response which claims that a few of the author’s statements were incorrect:
A recent contributor author article in Linn’s Stamp News questioning the value of Village Post Offices (VPO) contained incorrect statements.
In a reply, USPS set the record straight:
Regarding the article titled “Village Post Offices – are they really worth it for the USPS?” dated May 30, 2014, USPS would like to address some incorrect information by writer Stephen Bahnsen. The U.S. Postal Service announced the concept of the Village Post Office in July 2011 as a way to continue providing convenient access to postal products and services in more rural communities across the nation.
The VPO program has been very successful. We have opened more than 600 VPOs since the program was announced. Additional information about locations can be found at usps.com/villagepostoffice.
The VPOs sell postage stamps and Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, two of the most requested products we offer. There are pay differences due to the locations of the VPOs and whether or not they offer PO Box services. The Glenn, MI, VPO has several hundred PO Boxes on their premises, which is why we pay them $9,200.They are the only VPO paid at that rate.
The Gratiot, WI, VPO was sold to a new owner this past March and may have run out of stamps, since this was their first month in operation. While this may happen occasionally, it certainly isn’t a trend. The Postal Service paid the 63 VPOs in Indiana a total of $79,880, as of April 30, and they sold more than $262,000 in stamps.
Clearly, the VPO program is working. Village Post Offices are making revenue for the Postal Service and serving our customers at more than 600 locations.
APWU’s Rich Shelley sends USPS’s Postal Police home!
Elmwood Park (Chicago Area) Staples Pilot Program protest.
More info: www.stopstaples.com
In a complaint issued Feb. 25, Region 5 of the National Labor Relations Board found merit in APWU charges that the Postal Service has improperly refused to provide the union with information about its agreement with Staples. [NLRB decision-PDF] The pilot program has placed postal counters in 82 Staples stores — staffed with Staples employees rather than postal workers. A hearing before an Administrative Law Judge has been set for March 31.
Region 5 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has also recommended that the board seek an injunction in federal court to compel the USPS to provide the requested information to the APWU.
The decision to recommend an injunction is extremely rare, according to the union’s attorneys. Violations carry heavy penalties for management officials who fail to comply, up to and including incarceration.
APWU President Mark Dimondstein applauded the ruling. “This is an important victory for the APWU and for postal customers. The Staples deal is a brazen attempt to privatize postal retail services and it has been shrouded in secrecy,” he said.
“Postal officials seem to forget that the Postal Service belongs to the people,” Dimondstein said. “We intend to keep reminding them.”
The union president said getting the complaint issued was a group effort. “Special thanks go to Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson and Assistant Director Lamont Brooks for all their work toward that goal.”
The information in dispute includes:
- Measures to protect the sanctity of the mail;
- Training of Staples employees;
- Criteria for determining any Postal Service compensation to Staples;
- Discounts, if any, to be offered by Staples, and
- Cost analyses of the Staples project.
The APWU is demanding that postal employees staff the postal counters at Staples stores. If Staples refuses, the union plans to ask Staples customers to take their business elsewhere. Postal management, on the other hand, plans to expand the program to Staples’ 1,600 stores across the country.
The union submitted an extensive set of questions about the pilot program to postal management in November, shortly after the deal was announced. In January, management brushed off the request, claiming that the Staples project was a pilot that was not covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The APWU has filed a national-level dispute over the Postal Service’s contract violations.