Effective November 24, 2018 — For career mail handlers, the basic annual salary for each grade and step of Table One and Table Two shall be increased by an amount equal to 1.3% of the basic annual salary for the grade and step in effect on May 20, 2016. This is the third of three-scheduled general wage increases as outlined in the 2016 National Agreement. In addition to the general increases provided in Section 9.1, MHAs will receive an additional increase of 1.0% annually, for a total of 2.3% effective November 24, 2018, as specifically outlined in Article 9.7 of the 2016 National Agreement.
2019 NATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS
*OFFICIAL CALL FOR BARGAINING PROPOSALS*
With preparations underway for negotiations over the terms of the 2019 National Agreement between the NPMHU and the Postal Service, the National Office has issued its official call for bargaining proposals from all members and Local Unions.
To be fully considered prior to the onset of negotiations, proposals must be submitted by January 18, 2019. Although formal bargaining is not scheduled to begin until June, the Union’s Field Negotiating Committee will be meeting for a full week in February of 2019 to review all submitted proposals and outline the changes in the National Agreement that should be proposed by the NPMHU.
To be sure, planning for collective bargaining is a continuous process at the National Office, as the National Officers and representatives working in the Contract Administration Department routinely identify and collect proposals for improving the language currently found in the 2016 National Agreement. But an equally important aspect of preparing for bargaining is the collection and review of proposals generated by mail handlers across the country. Thus, National President Paul Hogrogian has issued this official call for bargaining proposals from the membership, the Local Unions, and other subordinate bodies of the NPMHU.
If you have any proposals that you would like to have considered for the upcoming round of bargaining, now is the time to submit them to the National Office. Every proposal submitted will be fully analyzed by the NPMHU’s Field Negotiating Committee and the National Negotiations Team while the Union develops its opening bargaining proposals.
All proposals should set forth the Article, Section, Paragraph, and/or Page of the National Agreement that you are suggesting should be changed; the specific language you would like to see added to, or deleted from, the current National Agreement; and your specific reasons for suggesting the change. If you have supporting evidence or documentation that you believe would support the change that you propose, please submit those materials to the National Office along with your proposals.
The National Office is asking that all proposals be submitted as soon as possible, but in no event later than January 18, 2019. The National Office also has issued a form that can be used to submit proposals. Copies of that form have been mailed to all Local Unions and can be downloaded on the NPMHU website.
Once again, proposals from any member (or group of members) and any Local Unions or other subordinate body should be submitted to the National Office by January 18, 2019 using the following address:
National Postal Mail Handlers Union
1101 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Effective Pay Period 19, September 01, 2018, career Mail Handler craft employees are scheduled to receive the fifth of seven possible cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments as outlined in Article 9.3 of the 2016 National Agreement. This COLA increase is based on the upward change in the relevant Consumer Price Index (CPI) following release of the July 2019 Index, and provides an annual increase of $645 for all Steps in Table 1 and for Step P of Table 2. The remaining Steps in Table 2 will receive the proportional COLA increase percentages as outlined in Article 9.3 of the National Agreement.
We are pleased to provide a linked copy of a National Arbitration Award issued by Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg on August 6, 2018 in a case concerning the use of Union LWOP for political activities under the National Agreement. The matter was heard in June 2018, briefed in July 2018, and decided earlier this week. The case was initiated by the APWU, with the NPMHU and the NALC intervening.
Based on the investigative findings of the Office of Special Counsel, and on political pressures from Senator Johnson and his supporters, the Postal Service unilaterally issued a Corrective Action Plan, which included changes to the ELM and its regulations on the use of Union LWOP and to the Form 3971. Those changes were made unilaterally, and without any bargaining or even consultation with the major postal unions.
Arbitrator Goldberg easily found that these unilateral changes violated the National Agreement, and ordered that they be rescinded. He also ordered the Postal Service to bargain with the APWU about any changes to Union LWOP. To reach this conclusion, he rejected the USPS claim that the Office of Special Counsel has the authority to demand that USPS make these changes.
With this arbitral victory, bargaining over the changes to Union LWOP submitted by the Postal Service is expected to occur over the coming weeks and months.
Earlier this week, ten Members of Congress formed a bipartisan coalition to introduce a resolution in the House of Representatives opposing privatization of the Postal Service. If adopted, the resolution (H. Res. 993) would express the sense of the House of Representatives “that Congress should take all appropriate measures to ensure that the United States Postal Service remains an independent establishment of the Federal Government and is not subject to privatization.”
The resolution was introduced by Republican representative Rodney Davis of Illinois and Democratic representative Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts. Other cosponsors include Republicans Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Paul Cook (R-CA), Brian Mast (R-FL), and Don Young (R-AK), as well as Democrats Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH).
H. Res. 993 is a direct response to the Trump Administration’s so-called Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations – formally entitled the OMB’s Report on Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century – which includes various Trump proposals for reorganizing the federal government. Buried deep in the Report is the President’s plan to restructure the Postal Service into a “sustainable business model” and thereby “prepare it for future conversion . . . into a privately held corporation.” National President Paul Hogrogian already has rejected the Trump plan: “The inevitable result of such privatization,” said Hogrogian, “would be to destroy universal postal services for every American.” Such service has been a mainstay of the nation’s systems for communications and commerce ever since the Founding Fathers put the Post Office into the U.S. Constitution.
Also relevant is the Trump Task Force on the Postal Service, which was established in April 2018 and is charged with evaluating the finances of the U.S. Postal Service, including pricing, policies, and workforce costs. This Task Force has a mid-August 2018 deadline for issuing its report and may be considering certain privatization plans while preparing a final set of written recommendations.
Congratulations to the 2018 Scholarships Recipients:
Local 301 NPMHU Scholarships
Christine Twohig – Daughter of Boston P&DC Mail Handler Maureen Twohig.
Gabrielle Wenc – Daughter of Springfield NDC Mail Handler Kenneth Wenc.
NPMHU Arthur S. Vallone National Scholarship
Anson O’Young – Son of Nashua P&DC Mail Handler Crosby O’Young.
Arthur E. Coia Educational Scholarship
Anson O’Young – Son of Nashua P&DC Mail Handler Crosby O’Young.
Central MA AFL-CIO Scholarship
Jacob Gomes- Son of Central MA P&DC Mail Handler Michael Gomes.
The National Labor Relations issued a Complaint and Notice of Hearing against the U.S. Postal Service, based on an unfair labor practice filed by the NPMHU alleging that the Postal Service had illegally refused to respond to a series of information requests about the F-1 Scheduler that were filed by the NPMHU Contract Administration Department during the period running from May through November of 2017.
After the Complaint was issued, and hearings were scheduled first for May 24 and then for June 26, 2018, the NLRB, the Postal Service, and the NPMHU entered into settlement discussions, the result of which will provide to the National Office of the NPMHU all of the information requested.
The Postal Service is required to post the below referenced notice in all mail processing plants and on LiteBlue, and to certify compliance with its terms, which includes providing all information requested no later than July 9, 2018.
We are pleased to provide a linked copy of a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding – executed earlier today by the NPMHU, the American Postal Workers Union, and the U.S. Postal Service – that updates the RI-399 Dispute Resolution Procedures that were originally signed in 1992. The parties have been negotiating and discussing the terms of this Update MOU for several years, and its execution marks an important milestone in the history of RI-399 and the process for deciding jurisdictional disputes between NPMHU mail handlers and APWU clerks.
The Update MOU resolves many of the pending disputes now being held at the National, Regional, and Local levels. The Update MOU also requires all local facilities employing both mail handlers and clerks to develop updated or “Revised 9-1-2017 Inventories” to reflect the actual assignment practices in each facility as of September 1, 2017, with a status quo agreement being enforced as of that date on most jurisdictional issues. If the local facilities do not sign their own inventories, then the National parties will send in representatives to complete these documents. The Update MOU provides for certain monetary payments to mail handlers and clerks, with details about the distribution of such amounts still to be determined. And, the Update MOU adopts new procedures to reduce future disputes and to keep the RI-399 process from again becoming a bottomless pit where jurisdictional disputes reside, but never get resolved.
The Trump Administration on June 21, 2018 released its so-called Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations – formally entitled the Office of Management and Budget’s Report on Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century. The plan includes various Trump proposals for reorganizing the federal government. Buried deep in the Report is the President’s plan to restructure the Postal Service into a “sustainable business model” and thereby “prepare it for future conversion . . . into a privately held corporation.”
“The plan itself is unsustainable,” said NPMHU President Paul Hogrogian after reading through the 128-page report. “It starts by noting that public trust in the federal government has declined over the last decade, but then proposes to dismantle the most trusted component of that government – the Postal Service – and move it into the private sector.” “The inevitable result of such privatization,” said Hogrogian, “would be to destroy universal postal services for every American,” which has been a mainstay of the nation’s systems for communications and commerce ever since the Founding Fathers put the Post Office into the U.S. Constitution. If postal services were privatized, as the Trump Administration envisions, many Americans would lose their daily access to postal services, and the cost of those services for other Americans would increase greatly.
To be sure, the Postal Service currently faces a difficult financial situation, principally caused by the mandatory pre-funding of retiree benefits ordered by Congress in 2006. But there is legislation currently pending in Congress and proposed rules already issued by the Postal Regulatory Commission to address USPS finances. Taken together, these proposals provide a roadmap for sustaining the Postal Service as the cherished American institution that it always has been. Policymakers and others interested in how to ensure the future of the Postal Service should take the time needed to read the materials that all four major postal unions recently submitted to the White House Task Force on the USPS. That joint submission is linked here:
This week, some members of Congress reached out to the White House in unified opposition to President Trump’s recently issued Executive Orders issued on May 25, 2018. The Executive Orders were a direct attack on federal employees and the unions that represent them. Concerned House members urged the President to uphold the current law and long-standing federal labor statutes that protect America’s civil service from discrimination, unfair treatment, and sexual harassment. The letter outlined the importance of employee representation rights, collective bargaining, and due process, highlighting the need to work collaboratively to ensure that the workplace is safe, fair, and productive.
A contingency of Senators also raised collective objections, in a letter to OPM Director Jeff T.H. Pon, to Trump Administration proposals to cut federal retirement benefits to federal and postal employees. Specifically, the group addressed legislative and budget proposals that would increase Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) contributions from employees, eliminate the FERS supplement for employees who retire beginning in 2018, base retirement calculations on the average of the highest 5 years of salary instead of the current 3, and reduce or eliminate cost-of-living adjustments. The Senators wrote in part, “we urge you to move past draconian cuts that harm the financial security of federal employees in every state across the country, and instead commit to comprehensive reforms that modernize our government’s compensation system in a way that encourages the best and brightest talent to join the ranks of our dedicated civil servants.”
The Executive Orders issued by the White House on May 25, 2018, and the various legislative and budget proposals emanating from the Trump Administration, should remind members that elections have consequences. As we approach the 2018 midterm elections, you are encouraged to register and vote.