A message to all employees of the United States Postal Service from Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe.
Issa’s latest bill would let USPS mandate centralized delivery, allow anyone to put stuff in your mailbox
Congressman Darrell Issa, the self-appointed “watchdog” of the US Postal Service, has introduced yet another “reform” proposal. So far, none of Issa’s proposals have gotten much support, even from his own party- whether or not this one does remains to be seen.
Issa is obviously desperate to get someone, anyone, to back him. How desperate? He’s dropped the most outrageous provisions of his earlier bills, like the one that would have laid off any postal worker eligible for retirement, and he’s come up with what I’m sure he considers a master stroke- he claims his bill is actually Barack Obama’s idea.
Don’t believe me? According to the draft version, the bill’s title is “The Administration’s Postal Reform Act of 2014″. (You can’t make this stuff up!) Presumably he will present the bill as an incredibly clever “gotcha” moment that will provide him with some especially snide remarks to make at his next
show trial committee hearing.
So what’s actually in “The Administration”‘s bill? A couple of items that have appeared in the administration’s budget proposals (but which have never actually been introduced as legislation), like allowing five day delivery, and some that the administration has expressed some support for, like reducing the PAEA trust fund mandate. But the items that will no doubt attract the most attention are ones that Issa himself admits were never proposed by “the Administration”:
- The bill would allow the USPS to drop Saturday mail delivery, but would also allow “periodicals, newspapers and unstamped mail to be placed in mailboxes on days when the Postal Service does not provide mail delivery service“.
- Requires the Postal Service to convert residential addresses from door delivery to curbside or centralized delivery on a voluntary basis where possible and authorizes the Postal Service to require such conversions in areas the Postal Service “deems appropriate.”
- Permits the Postal Service to create a “Legacy Door Delivery Service” that allows residents to pay a fee to continue to receive door delivery if their addresses have been identified for conversion to curbside or centralized delivery.
If Darrell really wanted to pass a postal reform bill, he could do it tomorrow. Allowing the USPS to eventually drop Saturday delivery would be fought by postal workers, but would probably pass, as would reducing the PAEA mandate, allowing centralized delivery for new developments, etc. But if we’ve learned anything over the last couple of years, it’s that Darrell and his party aren’t really interested in proposing legislation that can pass both houses and be signed into law by the President.
So instead of a comprehensive postal reform package, we’ll continue to get bills like this one, designed not to solve problems, but to score points. Even minimal band-aid legislation will probably only become possible if the USPS actually approaches a cash flow crisis that endangers its ability to pay its employees and suppliers. At that point, Speaker Boehner might, as he has on rare occasions in the past, decide it’s better to cut his losses and allow legislation to reach the floor that could pass with the support of the Democrats and a minority of moderate Republicans. You know, by majority vote- the way we were told our Government worked back in Civics class- what a concept!
The Royal Mail privatisation will be the subject of fresh scrutiny by MPs next week when bankers from Goldman Sachs and UBS – which handled the sell-off of the 500-year-old institution – are summoned to give evidence to a high-profile parliamentary committee.
The public accounts committee, chaired by Margaret Hodge, who has previously conducted tough evidence sessions on corporate tax, will also hear from top City regulators and senior executives at Royal Mail at sessions next week.
Her committee, which convened the Royal Mail hearings in the wake of the National Audit Office’s damning verdict on the privatisation, is expected to scrutinise how 16 City firms were allowed priority access to the shares.
24th April 2014
An agreement that will see a pay increase of up to 7.3 per cent for Crown Post Office workers has been reached between the CWU and Post Office Limited this week, following months of negotiations and industrial action.
Talks for a pay deal began last year following CWU Post Office counter staff walking out across the UK in March 2013 after an 88 per cent strike vote in a national ballot.
The milestone pay deal covers three years and includes pay rises and one-off lump sums for staff working in the Post Office’s Crown network.
The deal includes:
- 3.9 per cent pay increase from 1st April 2014
- Payment of a further 3.4 per cent paid in 1 per cent instalments when targeted savings are achieved
This pay deal results in a £2,300 lump sum paid to post office workers with the remaining £1,000 paid in 2014/15 through two equal instalments of £500.
The CWU represents over 200,000 postal and telecommunication workers.
CWU national officer Andy Furey said: “This is an excellent settlement that is the result of long and difficult negotiations. Post Office workers have been very patient in waiting for this well-deserved pay deal since the first industrial action was taken in March last year.
“We have worked with the Post Office to come up with ideas that have helped to achieve a result significantly different from where we started at the beginning of the dispute. We have no hesitation in recommending this pay deal to postal workers in an individual member ballot, which will take place shortly.”
CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: “There’s no doubt that the solid action taken by postal workers across the UK has helped us achieve this very good three-year pay settlement.
“This has been one of the most protracted disputes this union has ever been involved in and we have made considerable progress to get where we now are.”
TORONTO — As more Canadians turn to online shopping, FedEx hopes an agreement to open shipping centres at Home Hardware Stores Ltd. will help it grab a larger piece of the growing e-commerce market.
Federal Express Canada Ltd. said Wednesday that the centres, which serve as mini-hubs, will offer more “points of access” for customers to drop off and pick up parcels.
The new FedEx locations will look very similar to the Canada Post outlets that are tucked into stores operated by Shoppers Drug Mart, Jean Coutu (TSX:PJC.A) and others such as convenience stores and news stands across the country. They would operate similar to the FedEx storefronts that are situated primarily in urban centres.
YouTube may have to make this a separate category!
APWU Web News Article #077-14, April 23, 2014
“The tentative contract resolves all the articles that were in dispute,” said Support Services Craft Director Steve Brooks, when the agreement was announced. “It will provide new benefits and will clarify working conditions for postal nurses represented by the National Postal Professional Nurses Local, APWU,” he said. In addition, as a result of an Occupational Health Nurse Business Plan, management will post 38 new positions, Brooks said.
NPPN members Idell Mitchell, Suzanne DeWeese, Annu Rajan, and Luevonnie Clark worked with Brooks to complete the negotiations.
The new agreement is scheduled to expire Aug. 18, 2017.
For an Overview of the Tentative Agreement [PDF], click here.
For the Tentative Agreement [PDF], click here.
For an Update on the Business Plan [PDF], click here.
Occupational Health Nurse Business Plan
The Occupation Health Nurse Business Plan, which was developed in 2009 as a result of an ruling by Arbitrator Goldberg, was completed in August 2012. The business plan was a five-step process, which consisted of closing postal health units and transitioning nurses into new positions that emphasized occupational health rather than clinical work. The business plan identified where the new positions would be housed and identified several incumbent positions that would be eligible for excessing considerations upon expiration of the contract.
In the new agreement, the union and management identified the number of positions to be filled in each district, which totaled 38 new positions. Management also agreed to convert the incumbent positions to full time and leave them domiciled in their current facilities.
WASHINGTON – Thousands of members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and community activists will engage in National Day of Action on Thursday, April 24, to protest the Postal Service’s sweetheart deal with Staples that is moving mail service into Staples stores. Events will be held at more than 50 Staples retail locations [PDF] across 27 states.
In October, the USPS announced a no-bid deal to open postal counters in more than 80 Staples stores. The U.S. Postal Service plans to expand this “pilot” project to Staples’ 1,500 stores nationwide.
Staples employees, who work for low wages and meager benefits — and who have received minimal training — operate these unsecured postal counters.
Although Staples and the Postal Service have worked hard to keep the details of their arrangement a secret, the APWU recently obtained a heavily-redacted copy of the agreement. Despite the fact that many of the pages were blacked out, the document provides clear evidence that the Staples sweetheart deal will compromise the quality, security and reliability that consumers expect and deserve in the handling of their mail.
“The American people have a right to know that their mail is handled by highly-trained uniformed postal employees who have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail and who are accountable to the people of the country — whether it’s at the Post Office or an office-supply store,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
Research shows that consumers have high regard for postal employees and are skeptical about the Staples deal, according to InfoTrends, which recently completed a report for the USPS Inspector General. Many postal customers, the firm reported, “were uncomfortable with co-location of Post Offices not staffed by USPS employees, such as with the Postal Service’s recent partnership with Staples stores.”
‘I want a real postal employee to handle my mail,’ said one woman from an urban location. ‘It’s like when you go in to a drug store to get a flu shot. You don’t want to get it from a regular Walgreen’s employee.’
An internal USPS document [PDF] makes clear that the goal of the program is to replace the good, living-wage jobs held by USPS employees with low-wage jobs in the private sector.
“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” Dimondstein said. “Many people are outraged that a tremendous public asset is being turned over to a struggling private company.” Staples recently announced that it would close 225 stores by 2015.
“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” Dimondstein said.
“As a nation, we need to decide what kind of Postal Service we want. Are we going to have a vibrant, modern, public mail system that serves all of the people, or are we going to let privatizers kill this great institution?” The APWU supports expanding postal service — by improving accessibility as well as the variety of services offered, he said.
Today’s National Day of Action follows protests by postal workers and community allies in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Berkeley and other cities since January.
Many teachers, who regularly buy school supplies at Staples, have joined the APWU in protesting this attempt to privatize postal services. On April 28, the California Federation of Teachers will vote on a resolution asking their members to buy school supplies from other retailers. This will likely be the first of many similar actions by educators to boycott Staples. It’s estimated that 30 percent of Staples revenue comes from back-to-school sales.
A copy of the agreement between Staples and the USPS – heavily redacted [PDF] – is available on the APWU website, at www.apwu.org.
For additional background information, see these recent stories from the Huffington Post, New Republic and the Associated Press:
(KTVI) – The US Postal Service has been struggling over the past decade, losing billions of dollars because of the decline in mail volume and the rise of the internet and electronic mail. Now there are new strategies and new partnerships in place to keep the US Postal Service going.
Randi Naughton talked with US Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe about the future of the Postal Service.
USPS is losing $5 billion per year. Now, a bill in the Senate could help the loss, but cause major changes for other federal workers.
Joe Davidson, Federal Diary columnist with The Washington Post, discussed how Congress plans to stabilize the USPS, with Capital Insider.