A message to all employees of the United States Postal Service from Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe.
A message to all employees of the United States Postal Service from Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe.
Op-ed piece by Senator Bernie Sanders in the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. Postal Service is one of our most popular and important government agencies. It provides universal service six days a week to every corner of America, no matter how small or remote. It supports millions of jobs in virtually every other sector of our economy. It provides decent-paying union jobs to some 500,000 Americans, and it is the largest employer of veterans.
Whether you are a low-income elderly woman living at the end of a dirt road in Vermont or a wealthy CEO living on Park Avenue, you get your mail six days a week. And you pay for this service at a cost far less than anywhere else in the industrialized world.
Yet the Postal Service is under constant and vicious attack. Why? The answer is simple. There are very powerful and wealthy special interests who want to privatize or dismember virtually every function that government now performs, whether it is Social Security, Medicare, public education or the Postal Service. They see an opportunity for Wall Street and corporate America to make billions in profits out of these services, and couldn’t care less how privatization or a degradation of services affects ordinary Americans.
For years, antigovernment forces have been telling us that there is a financial crisis at the Postal Service and that it is going broke. That is not true. The crisis is manufactured. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON, DC – The Alaska Delegation today vigorously defended Alaska’s bypass mail system against proposed changes that would leave Alaskans with higher costs and less reliable delivery during a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. U.S. Senator Mark Begich and Representative Don Young testified before the committee and Senator Lisa Murkowski submitted testimony as part of the delegation’s joint efforts to protect bypass mail. During the provocatively titled hearing, “Alaska Bypass Mail Delivery: A Broken System” the Alaska Delegation sent a strong message to the committee: It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it. Read the rest of this entry »
ALEXANDRIA, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This morning, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which endorsed the Postmaster General’s proposed plan to eliminate six-day mail delivery. The following is a statement released by Jeanette Dwyer, President of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association:
“The Administration’s budget released today simply misses the mark when it comes to solving the current fiscal crisis plaguing the U.S. Postal Service. For decades, the Postal Service has provided consistent quality service to each and every household nationwide. Despite the Postal Service posting a profit delivering mail and packages in 2013, elected officials continue with misguided and unacceptable attempts to slash and eliminate service.
“Our Postal Service is in need of true reform, not ill-advised, counter-productive attempts to slash service. By re-working the Postal Service’s funding of its retiree health benefits, an obligation which accounts for 80% of USPS losses over recent years and is forced on no other public or private entity, lawmakers could take the easiest and most-sensible step toward getting this venerable institution back on the right page. Allowing the Postal Service to continue to innovate with same-day parcel delivery and other services will provide a great opportunity to generate needed revenue and allow the USPS to remain a competitive player in the shipping and delivery industry. We need to grow our Postal Service not shrink it.
“While many say the Postal Service should be run like a business, it has been shackled by burdensome obligations and left to drown in red ink. Misguided legislation and a dysfunctional Congress have brought the Postal Service to this point, but these problems are easily solvable.
“Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for the protection of six-day mail delivery. The NRLCA and its members urge President Obama and his administration to support the U.S. Postal Service and abandon its insistence on slashing and eliminating service.”
Today, President Obama unveiled his Fiscal Year 2015 Budget and it includes a number of proposals that relate to the Postal Service.
In addition, the President’s budget would permit the Office of Personnel Management to:
Finally, the President’s budget does not propose to implement the so-called chained-CPI
(Excerpt from the March-April 2014 edition of The American Postal Worker.)
Many APWU members have asked, “What makes the Staples program so important? How is it different from the other programs that outsource postal retail functions – the grocery stores that sell stamps and the Village Post Offices in hardware stores and gas stations in small towns?”
“The difference is the scale,” said Clerk Craft Director Clint Burleson. “We’re not happy about Village Post Offices or grocery stores selling stamps, either,” he said. “But Staples is a national chain with 1,600 stores. And the Staples postal units are performing many of the functions our retail clerks perform.
The USPS Five-Year Business Plan dated April 2013 reports that 40 percent of retail operations are provided through “alternative access,” including personal computers, stamps-only sales at grocery stores and other outlets, Burelson pointed out.
“Contract Postal Units account for less than 2 percent of retail revenue,” he noted. “But if the Staples plan takes hold, it would be another major step toward full-scale privatization of retail operations.”
And the Five-Year Business Plan states management’s goals for retail operations. Among them: “Increase alternate access retail revenue from 40 percent to 60 percent.”
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Postal Service has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Rural Letter Carriers Association that will grant pay increases and bonuses to recruit and retain rural carriers in the Bakken region, including Minot, Dickinson, Williston, Watford City and most of the communities in western North Dakota, effective May 17, 2014. The increases are designed to attract and retain rural carriers.
In August 2013, Hoeven invited Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to visit Williston to hear from local business and community leaders and local postal employees about challenges to mail delivery in the region owing to economic and population growth. In November, the senator arranged a follow-up visit to the state with Drew Aliperto, United States Postal Service (USPS) vice president of area operations for the western area.
Hoeven wanted them both to see firsthand the tremendous commercial and demographic growth in western North Dakota and its impacts on postal service. As a result of these visits, the Postmaster General and regional vice president committed to addressing the difficulty local post offices were having in efforts to recruit new workers. Wage levels were not competitive with other area jobs owing to the region’s rapidly growing economy.
“This is great news for western North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “We’ve been working to improve postal service in western North Dakota and this agreement will help do that by recruiting and retaining more carriers in Williston and beyond.”
USPS and union officials outlined the basics of the agreement to Jon Cameron, Hoeven’s Western North Dakota Regional Director. The terms are described as follows:
1. All newly hired or converted career rural carriers will receive a 9 percent increase to their base pay.
2. All part-time/flexible rural carriers will receive a 9 percent increase to their base pay.
3. All Rural Carrier Associates (RCAs) will receive a 20 percent increase to their base pay.
The career rural carriers and the part-time/flexible carriers also receive fringe benefits in addition to their wages, as well as some of the rural carrier associates. The increases outlined in the agreement will result in starting hourly wages in the $21.00 to $22.00 range, plus fringe benefits as applicable.
All members of the three categories above will also receive a $500 hiring bonus 90 days after their hiring or conversion and another $500 bonus at the end of one year. Current rural carriers will receive a $500 retention bonus “as soon as practicable” and a second $500 bonus at the end of one year.
The agreement will allow for cities or towns to be added or removed as agreed upon without having to modify the agreement.
APWU Web News Article #031-14, Feb. 19, 2014
More than 150 union members braved sub-zero degree winds on Feb. 17 to deliver an icy greeting to U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, the author of legislation (H.R. 2748) that would lead to the demise of the Postal Service.
Issa (R-CA) was in New Hampshire to deliver the keynote speech to Republican donors at the New Hampshire GOP’s President’s Day fundraiser.
Chanting “the U.S. Postal Service is not for sale,” more than 150 members of the APWU and other postal unions picketed Issa’s appearance at Grappone Convention Center in Concord. They were joined by union teachers, carpenters, members of the Alliance for Retired Americans, and other labor and civic activists.
APWU members traveled from all across New England to participate, and the big turnout made the rally “a huge success,”said Manchester Area Local President Dana Coletti.
“It was great to see so many APWU people turn out despite the weather,” he said “and to see so many others join us in solidarity.
“We had enough participation,” he added “that were able to create a second picket line to cover another entrance to the facility.”
Allowing a real estate broker to represent both sides in a property deal would seem to be an obvious conflict of interest, but the US Postal Service doesn’t seem to think so. In a report issued last week, the USPS Inspector General warned of the possibility of conflicts of interest arising out of the contract the USPS has with CBRE, the big real estate firm chaired by the husband of California Senator Dianne Feinstein. USPS Management disagreed, and does not plan to modify its contract with CBRE to eliminate possible conflicts. From the OIG Report:
The U.S. Postal Service awarded a contract in June 2011 to CB Richard Ellis, Inc. (CBRE) to be the sole provider of Postal Service real estate management services. The Postal Service believed that leveraging the capabilities of a national real estate firm would allow for a more effective use of limited resources. As the largest real estate owner in the world, CBRE has one of the broadest industry platforms. In 2012, CBRE was responsible for more than $189.8 billion in property sales and lease transactions globally and managed more than 3.3 billion square feet of commercial properties and corporate facilities. Read the rest of this entry »
(U.S. SENATE) – On a day usually reserved for chocolates and flowers, Senator Jon Tester is sending the Postmaster General a different kind of Valentine: a letter sharing Montanans’ frustrations with inadequate mail service.
Tester today mailed Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe a letter comparing the Postal Service’s pledge to make sure all Americans get their mail reliably and efficiently with feedback he’s receiving from Montanans. Read the rest of this entry »