APWU Reaches Monetary Settlement with USPS on POStPlan Staffing Violations

02/23/2018 – On February 9, the Clerk Craft reached a $49.9 million dollar settlement with the USPS on POStPlan staffing violations. The monetary settlement follows a ruling by Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg that the Postal Service violated Arbitrator Goldberg’s previous award of September 5, 2014 and a subsequent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated September 22, 2014. Continue reading

NAPUS says GAO report supports its call for a moratorium on PO changes

From the National Association of Postmasters of the US:

napusOver the past 18 months, NAPUS has raised concerns about the lack of data to indicate the amount of money the U.S. Postal Service saved as a result of reduced post office hours and post office re-classifications. In fact, one year ago, President Tony Leonardi testified before a Senate forum on rural mail issues at which he called for a moratorium on further post office hour reductions and re-classifications, particularly with regard to current Level-18 post offices. In part, NAPUS declared at the forum that the lack of accurate data, no assessment of rural impact, and the absence of information relating to revenue losses justified a pause in post office hour reductions and re-classifications. Shortly thereafter, Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Tom Carper introduced S. 1754 and S. 2051, bills that include NAPUS-supported provisions to implement the post office moratorium.

This past Friday, April 29, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) added its expert voice to the legislative discussion. At the request of House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and House Government Operations Subcommittee Chair Mark Meadows (R-NC), the GAO conducted a performance audit of POStPlan. In sum, the GAO concluded that the Postal Service’s “estimates of expected POStPlan cost savings have limitations that affect their reliability.” (Highlights of GAO-16-385, April 2016) The GAO went on to point out that these limitations include “imprecise and incomplete labor costs, including errors in underlying data; lack of sensitivity review; and the exclusion of other factors that affect net cost savings, particularly the potential impact of reduced retail hours on revenue.” (Highlights of GAO-16-385, April 2016) And, the GAO report concluded: “Although POStPlan was an initiative that affected about 66 percent of US post offices and Postmasters, USPS did not produce cost-savings estimates with the level of rigor that an initiative with such a large footprint may have warranted.”  (GAO-16-385, April 2016, p. 31)

NAPUS believes that the GAO report reinforces its call for a post office hour reduction and reclassification moratorium.

You may view the GAO Report in its entirety here.

Source: NAPUS

Video: USPS Says It Is Addressing Delivery Delays In Nyack NY

NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Residents in a Rockland County town say they have a postal problem.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, if you’re going to send a package to Nyack, send it sooner rather than later. Residents say they have been having a snail mail problem.

Imagine, it’s your birthday, you are waiting patiently for a special care package to arrive from family, but no mail delivery arrives that day, or the next, or the next.

That’s what happened to 60-year-old Joe Carlin in September.

Read more: Postal Service Says It Is Addressing Delivery Delays In Nyack « CBS New York.

Senator Tester tells Megan Brennan new USPS service standards are a disaster

(U.S. SENATE)-Senator Jon Tester today met incoming Postmaster General Megan Brennan for the first time to discuss strengthening the Postal Service and the need to improve delivery standards in rural states like Montana.

Tester emphasized the Postal Service’s delivery standards have become a disaster for USPS and for the Montana families that rely on the Postal Service to deliver medication, election ballots and ultimately, to stay connected. He also voiced the need to reform funding of the Postal Service’s employees’ retiree health benefits to maximize returns and limit the waste of current funds.

“I live in the sticks and I’m telling you the Postal Service is critically important for rural America. Folks around the country rely on the mail every day for essential deliveries,” Tester said. “I was pleased to meet Ms. Brennan and I look forward to continuing our dialogue to restore mail delivery standards in rural America.”

Tester highlighted that closing processing plants and cutting service standards will greatly impact the speed of delivery around the country. Since 2011, 141 mail processing facilities have been closed, including six in Montana. Eighty-two more facilities are expected to close by September of this year – a plan that Tester calls “short-sighted.”

Tester is a member of the Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee that oversees the Postal Service. He has been critical of the previous Postmaster General for taking steps to privatize the agency and opposed the committee’s postal reform bill because it did not preserve strong enough mail delivery standards in rural America or adequately support postal workers.

This week Tester sent a letter to Brennan calling on the USPS to ensure accuracy, as well as its accountability to others, when tracking how long it takes for mail to get from place to place.

Bipartisan group in Congress calls for end to USPS service slowdown

West Virginia Congressman David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for an end to the postal slowdown and a return to prior service standards.

On July 1, 2012 the United States Postal Service (USPS) initiated an aggressive plan to cut costs by closing rural post offices, mail processing facilities and reducing First Class Mail delivery. This has had a disproportionate impact businesses and families in rural areas.

“We’ve heard from hundreds of West Virginians — newspapers, businesses and individual postal customers negatively impacted by these delivery changes. By restoring prompt and reliable service, we can rebuild trust in the postal service and give rural Americans peace of mind” said McKinley.

The fall 2013 closure of the USPS Mail Processing Facility in Bridgeport has required mail to be shipped to Pittsburgh or Charleston for processing, resulting in delays, increased costs, and unreliable service. Beckley mail is sent to Charleston for processing. This month, USPS announced it would end overnight delivery of First Class Mail in further efforts to cut costs.

“The recent changes implemented by the United States Postal Service are having a dramatic and negative impact on all businesses and residents living in rural parts of the United States,” said Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association. “This recent USPS decision is a national issue that is impacting the entire country. The newspaper industry across America is just one segment of the national economy that will suffer as a result of these changes. We hope other members of Congress will support his resolution and join in the discussion.”

“This postal slowdown is causing real harm across West Virginia as credit card bills are delayed, consumers cancel unreliable newspapers, and timely medicine deliveries are threatened. The Post Office should reconsider these changes and work with Congress to develop an alternative model,” McKinley added.

The bipartisan resolution, H. Res. 54, was co-sponsored by Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Don Young, R-Alaska.; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif; Richard Nolan, N.M.; David Joyce, R-Ohio; and Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.

APWU: New MOU to Create Hundreds of Career Jobs in Level 4 POStPlan Offices

From the American Postal Workers Union:

apwulogo01/12/2015An addendum to the Sept. 22, 2013, POStPLAN Memorandum of Understanding will place a number of career jobs into Level 4 post offices, which otherwise would have been staffed exclusively with Postal Support Employees (PSEs). The offices in question are open four hours per day.

The specific numbers and offices have not yet been identified, APWU President Mark Dimondstein said in announcing the Dec. 31, 2014, agreement, but identification is expected to take place within the next 30 days.

For more on the POStPlan, click here.

Four postal unions plan Nov. 14 ‘Day of Action’ on new round of USPS service cuts

On Friday, Nov. 14, members of the NALC will join with the three other postal unions for a national day of action to tell Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors: “Stop delaying America’s mail!”

“The Postal Service is set to make severe cuts in mail delivery service that, if implemented, would cause hardships for customers, drive away business, and cause incalculable harm to its reputation,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

This January, USPS plans to close or consolidate operations at 82 mail processing and distribution centers throughout the country. Such a move would practically eliminate overnight mail delivery—even from one address to another within the same city or town.

“This plan would sacrifice service while failing to address the real causes of the Postal Service’s financial problems,” Rolando said.

The agency’s reported “losses” actually are the result of a 2006 congressional mandate that forces it to set aside each year billions of dollars—money that’s raised solely by the sale of stamps and postal products, not taxes—to pre-fund the health benefits of future retirees. No other government agency or private enterprise is required to pre-fund such benefits at all.

Absent pre-funding, the USPS has earned more than $1 billion in profit from operations in 2014.

Rolando is encouraging active and retired letter carriers to work with and support their sisters and brothers in the American Postal Workers Union, National Postal Mail Handlers Union and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association on Nov. 14.

Why Nov. 14? That’s the date of the Board of Governors’ final public meeting of 2014. Postal workers all across America will use this day of action to send a message to the Board of Governors and Congress that these proposed service cuts are unwise and unnecessary.

Click here to read a letter signed by Rolando and the presidents of the other three unions.

PMRs and PMR Annuitants Receive MOU Impact Notice

From the League of Postmasters:

leagueLEAGUE Headquarters received copies of the letters sent to current PMRs and PMR annuitants regarding the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the APWU on the POStPlan arbitration. The notices let both the PMR and the PMR annuitants know that they could still be used in 2-hour offices if they chose to continue to be PMRs.

In addition, the Postal Service let the PMRs know that they could apply for PSE positions under the provisions of the MOU and because their knowledge, community connections and ability to provide great service make excellent candidates for these positions. The annuitant letter states that they, too, are eligible to apply for other postal positions if they desire to continue working; any such reemployment will subject the annuitant to the mandatory offset, or reduction, to salary normally required of a reemployed annuitant.

The PMR letter provided information on how to apply for PSE vacancies that are announced on www.usps.com/employment. The LEAGUE also has a PowerPoint to assist PSEs in application process.

Many of the PSE jobs started getting posted last week and will continue over the weeks to come. We urge our current PMRs who want to apply for PSE positions to do so. Do not delay if you are interested in applying for PSE positions – register and build your profile now at www.usps.com.

Read more: National League of Postmasters – Homepage.

‘Pecking Order’ Set for Filling New Positions in POStPlan Offices

apwulogo10/09/2014 – The APWU and USPS have agreed on a “pecking order” for filling newly created positions in POStPlan Installations. A recent arbitration award will result in the creation of 9,000 new Clerk Craft jobs in six-hour and four-hour offices affected by the POStPlan. The pecking order is based on the arbitration award and the subsequent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“The union attempted to come up with a clean and quick pecking order that would place bargaining unit employees from the area into the positions as soon as possible and make it easier for the locals and state organizations to manage the staffing process,” said Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson.

“Given the 3,000 or so jobs expected to be filled in six-hour Remotely Managed Post Offices (RMPOs) and the almost 12,000 part-time flexibles in the bargaining unit, the majority of the jobs are expected to go to PTFs within the installation (bid cluster) and/or in a 50-mile radius from the Administrative Post Office (APO),” he said.

“This will present a good opportunity for many PTFs to increase their hours. It also will offer an opportunity to improve their “high three” earning years, which are used to calculate retirement annuities,” Burelson pointed out.

“As a result of PTFs filling positions in the six-hour RMPOs, it is expected that Postal Support Employees (PSEs) will be converted to career by filling the vacant PTF positions. PSEs are also expected to fill the jobs in four-hour offices, where they will be able to move to career as future vacancies come up in the installation (bid cluster),” he added.

“Employees in six- and four-hour RMPOs will be the only person working in their offices and will have the opportunity and responsibility to help preserve the post office for their community,” Burelson noted.

“The APWU is working to gather the resources to help employees, locals, and state organizations preserve and enhance living-wage jobs and good service in our communities,” he said.

For more information about the POStPlan arbitration award and the MOU, click here.

APWU Wins Major Victory on Staffing ‘POStPlan’ Office

apwulogoThe APWU has won a major victory on staffing in post offices affected by the “POStPlan” – a victory that will result in the creation of at least 9,000 new Clerk Craft jobs within 90 days.

In a ruling dated Sept. 5, Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg concluded that jobs in four- and six-hour post offices must be assigned to clerks – not Part-Time Postmasters or Postmaster Reliefs (PMRs). A Sept. 22 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines procedures for implementing the award.

The ruling and MOU establish a minimum of 3,000 new Level 6 career jobs in six-hour offices and Level 18 offices. Positions in the six-hour offices must be staffed with full-time employees. The ruling and MOU also establish more than 6,000 new Level 6 non-career jobs in four-hour offices, to be filled by Postal Support Employees (PSEs). The union expects thousands of additional new career jobs to be created as the process unfolds.

The Dispute: Where Are Our Jobs?

The dispute arose in 2012, when management unveiled the POStPlan – which reduced the hours of operation at thousands of small post offices around the country from 8 hours to 2, 4 or 6 hours.  Very few of the affected offices employed workers represented by the APWU. In more than 13,000 offices, less than 350 jobs were held by clerks; the rest were held by postmasters and other non-bargaining unit employees.

In addition to reducing the hours, the POStPlan changed the organizational structure and the duties of postmasters who worked in the affected offices.  Under the POStPlan, management began replacing the postmasters, who no longer had managerial or supervisory responsibilities, with Part-Time Postmasters and Postmaster Reliefs – not clerks.

The APWU filed a grievance challenging the assignment of Part-Time Postmasters and PMRs to staff the POStPlan offices because the union believed it violated management’s commitment, outlined in the 2010-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement, to assign any newly created or revised retail positions that had no managerial or supervisory duties to Clerk Craft employees.

Several days of arbitration hearings were held in May and September 2013, and union officials felt the proceedings went well.

Serious Concerns

“But I had serious concerns that leaving the process solely to arbitration would lead to years of additional conflict with the Postal Service,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein, “with disagreements over the meaning and implementation of the arbitrator’s ruling leading to additional rounds of arbitration. To break the cycle of unending disputes, we entered into serious settlement talks with management in January 2014 and continued to work for a negotiated settlement.

“Although significant progress was made in our informal negotiations with the Postal Service, in the end we returned to Arbitrator Goldberg to rule on several outstanding issues. The arbitration award he issued and the accompanying implementation memo mean thousands of jobs within 90 days – not years from now,” he said.

Dimondstein praised his union predecessors for laying the groundwork for the positive outcome. “The previous administration filed a solid grievance and presented a strong case in arbitration, which gave us the foundation to engage in productive negotiations with management,” he said. “I appreciate the work of all those who participated, including National Business Agents, local union officers and APWU members who strategized on the case and testified.”

The Outcome

In his ruling, Arbitrator Goldberg denied the APWU’s claim only in the smallest offices (open just two hours per day), where the former postmasters never had any real supervisory duties.  In all the other POStPlan offices – those open four and six hours a day – he awarded the positions and work to clerks, assigning full-time career employees to six-hour offices and PSEs to four-hour offices.

Arbitrator Goldberg also ruled on a dispute over the Postal Service’s use of PSEs in Level 18 post offices, directing management to fill positions in those offices with career employees.  Noting the Postal Service’s need for cost-savings, he relaxed some of the limits on the use of PSEs in POStPlan offices. He ruled that there is no prohibition on PSEs in four-hour offices working the window.

Arbitrator Goldberg also upheld language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that prohibits supervisors in Level 18 offices from performing more than 15 hours of Clerk Craft work per week. The USPS had asserted that management wasn’t bound by the 15-hour restriction in approximately 4,800 offices that were upgraded to Level 18 offices.

The arbitrator remanded certain issues to the union and management to settle. These matters and several other issues were resolved in the Sept. 22, 2014, MOU.

“This is historic,” said Bob Johnson, the president of the Greater CT Area Local who assisted in the arbitration and the recent negotiations. “We haven’t had APWU members in most of these offices in decades, and now to have to have full-time positions in six-hour offices – that’s phenomenal!”