NAPS statement on USPS 5 day delivery plan

From the National Association of Postal Supervisors:

This morning the United States Postal Service announced that it would end Saturday delivery of First Class Mail while maintaining Saturday delivery of parcels and keeping open Post Offices with established Saturday hours. The Postal Service believes that these actions will result in cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually.

The National Association of Postal Supervisors has consistently warned in the past that moving to Five-Day delivery should be the last resort for the Postal Service after all other responsible options have been exhausted. That is because the success of our nation’s postal system has been built upon timely, reliable and affordable service to all points around the country. Actions that compromise the timeliness and reliability of our postal system will only hasten further problems, not solve current ones. Moreover, moving to five-day delivery is inconsistent with current law. Continue reading

Adjustments to Delivery Unit Optimization (DUO) Process Announced

From NAPUS:

Postal Headquarters Responds to Management Association’s Concerns

In response to concerns raised by the three management associations (NAPUS, NAPS and the League,) Postal Headquarters officials announced adjustments to the DUO process, which will be rolled out this Thursday, January 24, 2013.  Adjustments will include changes to the DUO Financial Worksheets in CSDC, as well as an approval process through the Area Vice President.

Leaders of the three management associations have been involved in a series of meetings with  top Postal officials on issues concerning DUO implementations that were being done without following the proper guidelines and failed to show cost savings.  One of the most important adjustments to the DUO process will now require a signoff by the Area Vice President, which should ensure that guidelines are followed and cost savings estimates are valid.

As previously posted on the NAPUS website, on January 11, 2013, the USPS announced a temporary suspension of DUO implementations, pending adjustments to the process.  With the roll out of the new process on January 24th, 2013, DUO activities will be resumed; except in offices that have rural routes that will be counted in the national rural count, where the DUO moratorium will be in effect.  Updates to the DUO process will be posted on the NAPUS website as it becomes available. DUO Suspension

Charlie Moser
January 22, 2013

 

NAPS response to BOG’s order to speed up USPS cost cutting

Statement by President Louis M. Atkins
National Association of Postal Supervisors

naps-logoYesterday, the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service issued a directive ordering USPS management to accelerate the restructuring of operations in order to strengthen Postal Service finances. The Governors cited the inaction of the United States Congress up to this point to pass any legislation that would deal with the core financial issues of the United States Postal Service.

NAPS agrees with the fact that Congress must act in accordance with their Constitutional obligation to ensure the prosperity of our nation’s postal delivery system. Congress has to engage in a substantive debate on the Postal Service’s future. While the passage of S. 1789 last year was encouraging, the fact that the House of Representatives failed to move any comprehensive Postal Reform during the entirety of the 112th Congress is a grave disappointment.

NAPS understands why the Postal Service feels compelled to act at this juncture, we echo the caution that has been expressed by others in the Postal community.

The United States Postal Service is the most trusted government entity in the United States because of its commitment to dependable and cost-effective service. It is essential, especially in the current economic climate, that the USPS not waiver from that commitment.

NAPS advocates a more pragmatic and common-sense approach to the Postal Service’s fiscal crisis. NAPS has long urged the Postal Service to proceed along a course of “rightsizing”, in cooperation with the PRC and Congress, rather than unilateral closures of facilities. This path preserves service standards while offering substantial cost savings at a minimal impact to the workforce. Additional measures include shifting the Postal Service’s future retiree health benefit obligation to a schedule that is much more sustainable than the current 10 year plan along with giving the USPS the ability to offer non-postal products and services. These steps will serve to stabilize the USPS financially through a reduction in overhead and a much need influx of revenue.

Over the coming weeks and days, NAPS will request to consult with Postal management on this directive and will work to ensure that both the interests of the USPS and the American people are protected.

Western Area VP Sylvester Black to retire

The USPS has announced the retirement of Western Area Vice President Sylvester Black. Black achieved notoriety in postal circles in 2009 when it was reported that he had made violent threats against subordinates in the course of area teleconferences. At the time, National Association of Postal Supervisors Ted Keating wrote to PMG Pat Donahoe demanding that Black be fired. In the letter, Keating wrote “My question to you today Pat is, what would have happened to a supervisor or postmaster who made similar remarks about craft employees during a service talk? I think we both know the answer to that question.” No action was taken.

Here is the announcement of Black’s retirement from USPS News Link:

Sylvester Black, the 37-year USPS veteran who has served as VP, Area Operations for the Western Area, since 2002, will retire from the Postal Service Oct. 1.

Black began his career in 1975 as an accounting assistant at the Bulk Mail Center in Des Moines, IA, and has since held several positions of increasing responsibility. As New York, NY, Postmaster, Capital Metro Area’s Operations Manager, and then VP for the former New York Metro Area, Black’s hallmark achievement was improving service performance. As VP for the Western Area — which serves 49 million customers in all or parts of 18 states — Black demonstrated once again that even the largest, most geographically challenged area in the Postal Service can provide excellent customer service.

A key leader during the difficult period following the Sept. 11 attacks and the subsequent anthrax crisis, Black helped guide USPS through one of its most challenging periods. He earned a reputation as a consummate team player and mentor to USPS managers and executives, earning the Board of Governors Award three times and two Diversity Achievement Leadership Awards.

“Sylvester’s breadth of experience, expertise and dedication has served our organization extremely well over the years,” said PMG Pat Donahoe. “We will miss his leadership tremendously.”

An announcement about a replacement for the Western Area VP position will be made at a later date.

Read more: USPS News Link Story – Sylvester Black to retire.

NAPS: House GOP Leaders Give Postal Reform the Cold Shoulder

House Republican leaders have given up on passing postal reform legislation for the foreseeable future.  They have indicated that they do not intend to take up either the Senate-passed postal reform measure or alternative House legislation before the month-long August recess, which begins on August 4.

Even after the House returns on September 10, it is unlikely that postal legislation will be brought to the floor during the eight days in September and early October when Congress will be in session, before taking a six-week break for the election recess.  And chances of Congressional action on postal business during the lame duck session (between Thanksgiving and Christmas) are dim.  That’s because weighty tax cut, deficit reduction and debt ceiling issues will then dominate the legislative agenda.  The election results could also push postal business over to next year.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the Issa-Ross postal bill (H.R. 2309) in January, and the Senate passed their bill (S. 1789) in late April, but House Republican leaders since then have not expressed interest in completing House action.  Why?  Several reasons are possible, including other GOP legislative and political priorities, and insufficient Republican votes to pass the Issa-Ross postal bill.  In addition, rural GOP lawmakers are especially edgy, only months away from the election, about voting for a measure that could lead to the closure of their own post offices.  (The Issa-Ross bill would establish a commission for closing thousands of post offices in a fashion similar to the military base-closing process.)

All this means that the Postal Service will continue to pursue the preliminary plans they announced earlier this spring to reduce operating hours in thousands of post offices, as well as begin to consolidate scores of mail processing centers — without critical systemic and financial relief from Congress.  It means that the cash-strapped Postal Service will default on August 1 in failing to pay $5.5 billion into a retiree health fund, an obligation that was originally due last September, but deferred.  And on September 30, the Postal Service is likely to default again, this time on a $5.6 billion payment to the same fund.

Who’s to blame for the situation?  A Federal Times editorial this week plainly suggested: ” The House’s failure to act is disgraceful. Through their inaction, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., are demonstrating contempt for the Postal Service and a lack of respect for the law and for the obligations of their own institution.”

Is Semi-Retirement Something You Should Consider?

Retirement-eligible federal and postal employees will become able to phase into retirement by working part-time, while receiving a partial annuity and mentoring new employees, under a bill recently signed into law by President Obama.

Under the measure (Section 100121 of H.R. 4348, beginning on page 512), semi-retired employees who work part-time will continue to earn credit toward their retirement annuity and contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan.

How will phased-retirement work and who should consider doing it?  Check here for the answers.