2011 August 11 - postalnews blog

Archive for August 11th, 2011

NALC President Rolando Denounces PMG’s Latest ‘Radical’ Legislative Proposals

August 11, 2011 – NALC President Fredric V. Rolando has issued a statement to denounce Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s latest "radical" legislative proposals:

Today, city letter carriers across the country received a mandatory stand-up talk from supervisors as part of a concerted campaign by top postal management to convince Congress to slash postal employees’ health and pension benefits and override lay-off protection provisions in the postal unions’ contracts.

Just days before we formally open collective bargaining negotiations, the Postal Service has sent a clear message: It intends to use the financial crisis caused by the deep recession and the crushing congressional pre-funding mandates to strip postal employees of our bargaining rights.

Although we are prepared to seriously bargain over any proposal, we will resist this blatant attempt to subvert and circumvent collective bargaining.

In addition to the stand-up talk, the Postal Service issued a press release to the media and distributed two “white papers” to congressional decision-makers. One paper, "Postal Service Health Benefits and Pension Programs," asks Congress to allow the USPS to set up its own health plan and pension plans outside the FEHBP and FERS/CSRS systems for all other federal employees. The other paper, "Workforce Optimization," takes the extraordinary step of asking Congress to void the lay-off protection provisions of the various postal labor contracts.

Although the stand-up talk claimed that the postal unions had been “briefed,” the reality is quite different. The USPS developed their plans without any discussion or negotiation with NALC or any of the other unions. Not surprisingly, the health and pension proposals would dramatically cut employee benefits below those earned by other federal employees. Let me be clear: We would never agree to any benefit plan unilaterally designed by postal management.

I issued the following statement to the press:

The issues of lay-off protection and health benefits are specifically covered by our contract. Each of them has historically been covered in collective bargaining between NALC and USPS. The Congress of the United States does not engage in contract negotiations with unions and we do not believe they are about to do so.

Of course, pension benefits for federal employees, including postal employees, are set by law. But rather than advocating pie-in-the-sky proposals, we believe USPS and Congress should focus on pending legislation (H.R. 1351) that would allow the USPS to recover massive surpluses in its CSRS and FERS pension accounts. Under the bill, which has 181 co-sponsors from both parties, the surpluses would be used to cover the unfair burden of pre-funding future retiree health benefits—a burden that no other company or agency bears and which accounts for 100 percent of the Postal Service’s losses over the past four years.

Contract negotiations for NALC open Thursday, August 18.

USPS is free to bring these issues to the table. If they do so, we will bargain in good faith.

These new legislative proposals constitute a transparent attempt to gut our benefits and reduce our bargaining rights without negotiations. Indeed, the USPS admits in the two white papers that if these radical proposals were to be put before an impartial interest arbitrator, the USPS would not likely prevail. It’s time for postal management to negotiate; the time for unilateral legislative end-runs is over.

via Latest News | President Rolando Denounces PMG’s Latest ‘Radical’ Legislative Proposals.

APWU: USPS seeks to end layoff protection, take postal workers out of federal health and retirement programs

APWU President Cliff Guffey has condemned USPS legislative proposals that would destroy the collective bargaining rights of postal workers and interfere with the union’s contract, which Postal Service and the APWU agreed to in March.

Guffey made the statement in response to USPS announcements [PDF] that it would seek congressional support for legislation to eliminate protection against layoff from collective bargaining agreements; remove postal workers from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), and separate USPS employees from federal retirement programs. Read the rest of this entry »

APWU: NRP "eliminated" in name only

From the American Postal Workers Union:

An internal USPS document indicating that the reassessment of Limited Duty and Rehabilitation employees concluded on Jan. 31, 2011, is not cause for celebration, Human Relations Director Sue Carney says, because the National Reassessment Process (NRP) seems to have been eliminated in name only.

“Despite the declaration, we continue to receive numerous calls regarding work-hour withdrawals and recurrence claims,” she said. “Compounding suspicions that NRP has been eliminated in name only is a USPS field document that says existing limited-duty assignments will continue to be altered; asserts that revised NRP documents will be used prospectively, and specifies the agency will continue to rely upon the Electronic Search System to document its search efforts.”

The July 1 letter from the USPS Employee Resource Management Department was sent to USPS Area Vice Presidents.

To date, the APWU has received no notice from the Postal Service regarding changes to the NRP, Carney said.

Click here for more information.

via Management’s NRP Letter No Cause for Celebration.

Pennsylvania Mail Contractor Charged With Making False Mileage Claims

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A resident of Pittsburgh, Pa., has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of making false claims against the United States Postal Service, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The seven-count indictment named David Cooper, 62, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment, from on or about Sept. 3, 2009, to on or about Sept. 25, 2009, Cooper, who had a mail hauling contract with the United States Postal Service, made seven false claims against the Postal Service by submitting claims for mileage that neither he nor his employees drove.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 35 years in prison, a fine of $1,750,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

NY legislators ask PMG not to consolidate Mid-Hudson GMF

Newburgh, NY — Congressman Maurice Hinchey D-NY and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY this week urged U.S. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe to maintain and continue full mail sorting operations at the U.S. Postal Service USPS facility in Newburgh, New York. The lawmakers sent a letter yesterday to Donahoe in response to a current study that the U.S. Postal Service is conducting to potentially consolidate mail sorting operations at the Mid Hudson General Mail Facility GMF in Newburgh with the USPS processing and distribution center in White Plains. Hinchey and Gillibrand oppose consolidation, arguing that it would reduce the quality of mail services for the region’s residents and businesses, result in the loss of local jobs in the area, and fail to deliver significant, if any, cost savings for the USPS.

Read the rest of this entry »