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Letter Carriers’ 2014 Annual Food Drive collected 73 million pounds of food

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The annual food drive of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) collected almost 73 million pounds of food to help restock food banks, pantries and shelters around the country – an impressive result made all the more necessary by the slow-paced economy recovery and recent natural disasters.

The effort on Saturday, May 10, gathered 72.5 million pounds of food – the 11th consecutive year the NALC drive has surpassed 70 million pounds of food collected. Several local NALC branches still are compiling their figures.

This year’s results bring the total to more than 1.3 billion pounds since the national drive began in 1992. Read More

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Greeting Card Assn and Rural Carriers Union Issue Joint Statement on Postal Reform

Washington, D.C., April 8, 2014 – The Greeting Card Association GCA and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association NRLCA issued the following joint statement in advance of the House Committee On Oversight & Government Reform hearing, calling for meaningful reforms to strengthen the Postal Service, and condemning proposals that would cut essential services, such as six-day delivery:

“The GCA and NRLCA strongly oppose Congress’s constant attempts to eliminate essential services such as six-day delivery” said Rafe Morrissey, GCA Vice President of Postal Affairs. “This action would only serve to place a competitive disadvantage on the Postal Service and do nothing to fix the organization’s financial problems. Additionally, the estimated savings assumed by proponents of these cuts are inflated and unrealistic, as they fail to factor in the costs of continued weekend parcel delivery. The Postal Service is in need of true reform, not shortsighted cuts that would fail to solve current budgetary problems and diminish the agency’s ability to provide universal services relied upon by millions of Americans.

“The NRLCA and its members are proud to stand alongside the Greeting Card Association in support of six day mail delivery,” said Jeanette Dwyer, President of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association. “Americans nationwide have come to rely on the ability to send and receive mail on Saturdays, and the success of Sunday parcel delivery shows that there is increasing demand for delivery services. As the Postal Service looks to grow and thrive in the 21st century, scaling back delivery services is a misguided step backward that sends the wrong message to the Postal Service’s customers and partners.”

Read more: GCA and NRLCA Joint Statement on Postal Reform.

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Idaho rural carrier helps retrieve small girl from frozen river

From USPS News Link:

Saint Anthony, ID, Rural Carrier Vance Blanchard had just finished his route when he noticed people had gathered on the bank of a frozen river. He soon realized a 6-year-old girl had walked out on the frozen river and had fallen through the ice.

Despite the hazards of the rapidly running river and a wind chill of minus 6 degrees, Blanchard sprang into action. He found a tow rope in his car, which he used to rescue a man who had tried to walk out on the ice and had fallen through near the bank. Blanchard gave the man his coat and then threw the tow rope to the little girl.

At first, the girl put the rope around her neck, but Blanchard told her to put the rope around her arms and chest.

Firefighters arrived and pushed a ladder onto the fragile ice which they used to pull the girl from the water. Blanchard and others then pulled the ladder, with the girl and firefighter, back to shore.

Blanchard later said he thought the firefighter on the ladder was the hero. But Postmaster Corey Knapp disagreed. “I think they both were,” said Knapp. “Vance was very good at keeping the little girl calm, and he helped her get the rope on, which kept her from going into the current. He made some quick and good decisions, which saved her life for sure. She wouldn’t have lasted long in that cold water.”

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Rural carrier union president says Obama budget misses the mark on USPS reform

nrlcaALEXANDRIA, 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.”

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USPS agrees to offer bonuses and pay raises to recruit rural carriers in North Dakota

nrlcaWASHINGTON – 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.