NPMHU REBUFFS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL TO PRIVATIZE POSTAL SERVICE

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:

Congress Collaborates in Support of Federal Workers

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.

President Hogrogian and Secretary-Treasurer Dwyer Meet with Presidential Task Force During 120 Day Study of USPS

The Trump Administration issued an Executive Order creating a task force charged with evaluating the operations and finances of the U.S. Postal Service, covering topics like pricing, USPS policies, and workforce costs. Specifically, the Task Force is being chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury or his designee, and other members include the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and any other department or agency head the Chair may designate.

 
National President Paul Hogrogian and National Secretary-Treasurer Tim Dwyer, were invited to the Treasury Building on May 15, 2018 to meet with representatives of the Task Force. In attendance were a host of government officials designated not only by the Treasury Department, but also by OMB and OPM. The “listening session,” as the Task Force described it, was led by Kipp Kranbuhl, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Small Business, Community Development & Housing Policy, and Clay Berry, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for the Office of Financial Markets.

 
Hogrogian and Dwyer led the conversation, starting with a description of mail handlers, their work, and their contribution to the Postal Service. Because the NPMHU was the first outside stakeholder invited to meet with the Task Force, the Union also provided a short overview of USPS finances and its network operations since enactment of the PAEA in 2006, through the Great Recession of 2008, and in relation to the recent electronic diversion of mail volume. There also were discussions relating to ongoing legislative efforts at postal reform, the need to reject additional enforcement of pre-funding for retiree health or pension costs, the use of USPS assumptions in calculating unfunded liabilities, and the intrinsic value attributable to the existing USPS monopolies, the network infrastructure maintained by the Postal Service, and the need for continuing universal service.

 
Once the evaluation is completed, the Task Force is supposed to develop recommendations on administrative and legislative reforms for the Postal Service. Only time will tell whether this Task Force is able to stimulate appropriate reform, or whether its written report provides just another addition to the landfill of prior reports that were essentially pointless and therefore correctly ignored.

The Local 301, NPMHU 18th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

The Local 301, NPMHU 18th Annual Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the New England Center and Home for Veterans will be held on Friday, June 1, 2018.

Place: George Wright Golf Course, 420 West Street, Hyde Park, MA

Time: 7:30 am (scramble format with a shotgun start)

Registration Fee: $125.00 each / $500.00 foursome

Registration Forms are available at your Branch Union Office or contact Kathy Caulfield at 508-651-2227, ext. 105.

White House Issues Executive Order to Review Postal Finances, Pricing, Policies and Workforce Costs

April 12, 2018- President Trump issued an Executive Order to form a task force charged with evaluating the finances of the U.S. Postal Service including pricing, policies and workforce costs.

The White House reports that the Task Force will be comprised of multiple agency heads including the: Secretary of the Treasury as Chair; Director of the Office of Management and Budget; Director of the Office of Personnel Management; and other agency heads. The Executive Order goes on to highlight consultation with the Postmaster General and the Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission and the Secretary of Labor.

Postal Unions were not named in the EO as task force participants, however the Order does note that task force recommendations shall also consider the views of the USPS workforce; commercial, non-profit, and residential users of the USPS services; and competitors in the marketplace. In politics, it is often said that if you are not sitting at the table, you are being eaten for lunch. The leadership of the NPMHU believes that the voice of labor must be included in this USPS task force review. We will do everything possible to ensure that the interests of craft labor are properly represented.

In a report due (in 120 days) or no later than August 10, 2018, the task force will provide a “thorough evaluation of the operations and finance of the USPS, including: 1) the expansion and pricing of the package delivery market and the USPS’s role in competitive markets; 2) the decline in mail volume and its implications for USPS self-financing and the USPS monopoly over letter delivery and mailboxes; 3) the definition of the “universal service obligation” in light of changes in technology, e-commerce, marketing practices, and customer needs; 4) the USPS role in the U.S. economy and in rural areas, communities, and small towns; and 5) the state of the USPS business model, workforce, operations, costs, and pricing.”

The NPMHU remains committed to the mission of the United States Postal Service, one that includes affordable and universal service to all boundaries of the United States while providing fair wages and benefits to the workers that accomplish this mission daily. The most immediate step to secure financial relief and sustainability for the USPS would be to address the 2006 Congressional mandate to pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance – an onerous burden that no other private or public entity in America is required to carry.

“We will work with the White House, task force members and Congress, and will champion pro-active steps to restore financial stability to the Service while protecting all mail handlers,” said President Hogrogian.

McConnell v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Issues Final Decision

The EEOC has rejected the Postal Service’s request for reconsideration after finding the National Reassessment Process discriminated against injured postal workers and violated their rights under the Rehabilitation Act.

This matter concerns a class of Postal Service employees consisting of rehabilitation and limited-duty injured-on-duty (IOD) employees whose positions were assessed by the USPS National Reassessment Program (NRP) between May 5, 2006 and July 1, 2011.

The NRP subjected qualified rehabilitation and limited-duty IOD employees to disparate treatment and resulted in rehabilitation and limited-duty IOD employees with disabilities having their reasonable accommodations withdrawn, as well as being subjected to disability-based harassment and having their confidential medical information accessed by unauthorized persons.

The Postal Service is now required to comply with a number of orders listed in the final decision. Impacted Mail Handlers were not required to file an EEOC complaint to be part of the class but members of the class are required to file a claim within 30 days of receiving notice from the Postal Service to avoid forfeiting any potential relief.

The Postal Service has begun complying with the EEOC order by notifying impacted employees Important Information about How to Submit a Claim and the Deadline to Make a Claim can be seen on the Law Firms website at www.nrpclassaction.com.

 
Please note: The NPMHU makes no representation about the accuracy or quality of the information that is being provided by the law firm or its website. The claim form provided by the law firm commits claimants to being represented by these attorneys. Claimants should carefully review the terms of the retainer agreement, including how their chosen representative is paid. Claimants also should know that they are not required to use a lawyer to make a claim. The NPMHU cannot endorse the use of any law firm to submit claims and cannot give legal advice on whether to make claims directly to the Postal Service or to retain legal assistance for any part of the claim process.

NLRB Issues Complaint Challenging Postal Service’s Refusal to Provide NPMHU with Full Information on F-1 Scheduler

By memorandum dated February 27, 2018, President Hogrogian notified Local Presidents of a Complaint and Notice of Hearing issued by the National Labor Relations Board against the U.S. Postal Service. The Complaint is based on the Postal Service’s refusal 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.

The Complaint also alleges that the Postal Service, even with regard to other information that it eventually did provide to the NPMHU, acted unlawfully by unreasonably delaying its responses and disclosures to the Union.

The Postal Service has been given until March 7, 2018 to answer the Complaint, and a hearing already has been set for May 24, 2018.

First Cost of Living Allowance of 2018 – $520 to be effective March 3rd

Effective on March 3, 2018, career Mail Handler craft employees are scheduled to receive the fourth 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 January 2018 Index, and provides an annual increase of $520 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. The increase will appear in paychecks dated March 23, 2018.

 

 

Unions Rally to Reject the Privatization of Veterans’ Health Care

February 13, 2018- The National Postal Mail Handlers along with LIUNA and several other affiliated unions of the AFL-CIO joined the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) marching shoulder-to-shoulder to voice concerns over the privatization of the Veterans Administration (VA). The AFGE is the largest federal employee union representing over 70000 federal and D.C. government workers nationwide and overseas. As part of their Legislative & Grassroots Mobilization Conference, AFGE organized a rally on the steps of the AFL-CIO which sits just feet away from the White House. Speaking at the rally were AFGE President J. David Cox Sr., AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and several other labor leaders who all expressed their concerns over the US Governments’ attempt to attack the VA and its jobs. Many speakers addressed the VA staffing shortages and the ramifications of more than 30,000 vacant positions. The message was unified, “Save the VA.”

Also, in attendance were Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Congressman Rueben Gallego (D-Phoenix) and Mark Takano (D-California) who got the crowd fired up, chanting, “Staff the VA.”. The rally ended on a high note with AFGE President J. David Cox thanking the hundreds of guests and Union representatives that came out in the cold to stand up and with the faces of labor to join in their fight in protecting the jobs of veterans. The rally piggy-backs on the recently adopted AFL-CIO Convention Resolution 40, Rejecting the Privatization of Veterans’ Health Care.