WASHINGTON—The latest steps by Trump-named Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to cut Postal Service costs by cutting service have drawn bipartisan flak from Capitol Hill and prior protests from USPS workers from Medford, Ore., to Newburgh, N.Y.
And from the Postal Rate Commission, too. DeJoy told the regulators last month his cuts are—in so many words—none of their business and to sit down and shut up. The panel, whose usual work is to consider and vote on postal rate hikes, refused. They plan to review his “reorganization.”
But then, such behavior is to be expected from DeJoy, a Republican big giver and denizen of the corporate class. Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a banker known for wrongful foreclosures during the pandemic, forced DeJoy on USPS as part of the price for sidelining right-wing attempts to privatize the U.S. mail. DeJoy’s sneered at congressional and other oversight ever since.
The latest saga has its origins in DeJoy’s ten-year plan to put the USPS on a sound financial footing. Past parts of the plan include slowing mail deliveries, closing smaller sorting centers in favor of mega-facilities, forcing workers to move or quit, and incessantly raising prices.
And, in one area where DeJoy and the nation’s postal unions agreed, both lobbied successfully for the section of a postal reform law which ended the $6 billion yearly pre-payment a prior GOP-run Congress and GOP President George W. Bush imposed on the Postal Service, to prepay future retirees’ health care costs.
Under DeJoy’s plan, the USPS was to break even this year, on paper, for the first time in at least 15 years. But DeJoy reported a $1.7 billion loss from April-June and forecast a $5.2 billion loss for fiscal 2023, which ends Sept. 30.
His latest cost-cutting move, launched last year in a test run in Georgia, closes “back office” functions in hundreds of post offices and forces Letter Carriers to drive dozens, if not hundreds, of round-trip miles to regional “Sort and Delivery Centers,” to pick up the mail they now sort in post office back rooms before heading out to deliver it.
Most individual post offices would stay open, but only to sell stamps and provide similar services. But not all: A post office in the rural Baltimore County, Md., town of Fort Howard, whose residents are mostly elderly and without cars, is scheduled to close by Sept. 30. Their postmaster told them about it. Now, residents walk to the post office—Fort Howard’s that small—to get their mail.
There’s no Letter Carrier route. They’d have to drive 14 miles roundtrip to Dundalk to get mail. They came out in 96-degree heat to sign a petition to keep the post office open, WMAR TV reported. Their congressman, Rep. Kwesi Mfume, D-Md., sought a meeting with DeJoy about it. No answer yet.
DeJoy’s also made it impossible to mail anything other than small first-class letters from the blue mailboxes on street corners. In 2020, he yanked out sorting machines for first-class flat mail. And new blue mailboxes have small letter slits at the top, not the pull-down doors able to take large flat envelopes and small packages.
As typical of a corporate chieftain, which is what DeJoy was in the private sector before becoming Postmaster General, his excuse is to cut costs and his method is to load the burden on workers. DeJoy said the move to the central sorting plants would save money and be more efficient.
Have to navigate distance
But distances to the sorting centers which Letter Carriers would have to navigate before even starting their routes would further slow down the mail. That prospect led to workers’ demonstrations in May in Medford, Ore., and elsewhere—and to separate objections from Reps. Paul Ryan, D-N.Y., and Pete Huizenga, R-Mich., whose mostly rural district includes Kalamazoo.
The Medford workers feared their jobs would be moved to Portland, 274 miles away. Kalamazoo residents fear being overwhelmed by mail trucks coming all at once to pick up pre-sorted letters from all over Southwest Michigan, Huizenga wrote DeJoy.
“Consolidating our area’s postal operations to a Sort and Delivery Center” there “threatens to disrupt the current standard of delivery experienced by Southwest Michigan residents,” Huizenga, who represents Kalamazoo and surrounding rural counties, explained.
“Mail carriers would be required to divert to this single center to pick up the mail before proceeding on their route. The workforce would be stretched thin, having to travel much farther to reach communities they serve.
“Residents, including the many older households, rely on prompt mail delivery for time-sensitive materials like medical bills and financial documents.” Besides, masses of vehicles from all over Southwest Michigan converging on one center would cause daily traffic jams, vexing residents.
Huizenga also told DeJoy local citizens and governments have been left in the dark about his plans: No timeline for back-office closures or for opening the sorting center, and no notice to local governments and citizens, much less consultation with them, as last year’s postal law mandates.
Ryan, who represents the Hudson Valley, not only wrote DeJoy, but took his protest public on May 17 in Rock Tavern, N.Y., joined by members of the Letter Carriers, the Postal Workers and the Rural Letter Carriers, three of USPS workers’ five unions. DeJoy wants to close the back-office operations in favor of a big sorting center in Newburgh, N.Y.
“Hudson Valley families deserve only the best service from their post office, but DeJoy is threatening reduced customer service, increased wait times, and post office closures,” Ryan said. “This is completely unacceptable for both postal workers and residents. I will keep fighting alongside my friends in labor to make sure every post office stays open, our postal workers are protected, and there are not any service delays.”
“The APWU is extremely concerned about the proposed transfer of the S&DC” to Newburgh, “specifically as it relates to diminished customer services, increased safety issues, and the possibility of selling and relocating post offices,” added Postal Workers Local 3722 President Diana Cline.
Specifically, a sorting center at Stewart Airport in the town of Newburgh would force Letter Carriers from counties on both banks of the Hudson River to come there to pick up their pre-sorted mail before delivering it. Those coming from the east bank would have to battle their way across the incessantly jammed Newburgh-Beacon Bridge—in morning rush hour—to get it.
Ryan said his constituents “emphatically oppose this change. Moving mail sorting away from our local post offices would surely lead to downsizing and reassignment which risks the wholesale closure of a branch. That is a disservice to Hudson Valley residents, and it is a disservice to hard-working union members across the region.
“Mail carriers from my district are also particularly concerned about the delays to service, added hours in commute time, and the destabilizing effects this plan will have,” Ryan said. It will add to carrier stress and burnout, he warned. He’s gotten no answer from DeJoy.
Greater New Jersey P&DC in Kearny to close in February
August 31, 2023
The Postal Service has announced that the Greater New Jersey P&DC in Kearny, NJ, will be closed early next year. The discontinuance is targeted for February 24, 2024.
The package volume processed in the P&DC will be moved to Jersey City’s Network Distribution Center (NDC), which will become the Regional Processing & Distribution Center (RPDC) for the region.
A town hall was conducted on August 24th with all non-bargaining employees. Impacted employees received a Specific RIF Notice dated August 29, 2023, with a RIF separation effective date of February 9, 2024.
The townhall presentation says the Greater Newark P&DC resides in a leased building, and the primary package equipment is outdated. Some equipment was damaged during the roof collapse that occurred in September 2021.
In 2022, the plant may have employed as many as 800 mail handlers, mail processing clerks, equipment operators, and other workers and supervisors
The year was 1970. Congress just increased its salary by 41%. Postal Workers were furious. Full-time Postal Workers were being hired in at $118.76 a week while those working 21 years could earn no more than $162.34 a week. These salaries qualified Postal Workers forfood stamps!!!! Postal Workers were not permitted to engage in collective bargaining and felt that benefits were poor and working conditions were unhealthy and unsafe. Moe Biller, who became the first APWU president said at the time that: “...post offices are like dungeons, dirty, stifling, too hot in the summer and too cold in winter.” At the time, Postal Workers were separated into eight (8) craft unions with no right to bargain collectively over wages and were forbidden to strike. After years of debating but not acting, the Senate in March 1970 voted a 5.4% increase for Postal Workers which was less than the rate of inflation. But the House said it would delay action on the wage increase. Again, Postal Workers were furious! On March 17, Letter Carriers defied the law in New York City, took a vote and went on strike. Clerks and other Postal Workers refused to cross the picket lines. Then, like wildfire, wildcat strikes among Postal Workers spread across the country. Within a week, over 200,000 Postal Workers from New England to California walked off the job. President Nixon vowed to “crush” the Postal Workers and called 23,000 Armed Forces personnel to NYC to process the mail without training or success. Courts were issuing injunctions and imposing fines and threatening jail time and discipline for strikers and Union leaders. But the strike continued. This strike shut down New York's financial district, it kept 9000 young men from receiving draft notices to serve in the Vietnam War, delayed tax refunds and the census. The Postal Strike of 1970 disrupted communication in the United States. And the Postal Workers defied the President of the United States who said there would be no negotiations until Postal Workers returned to work. They did not return to work. As a result, the Secretary of Labor entered into negotiations that brought the strike to an end after two weeks. And as a result of this strike, no Postal Worker was disciplined and the government agreed to a 6% wage increase retroactive to 1969 with an additional 8% with the enactment of the Postal Reorganization Act in April 1970. This Act allowed Postal Workers to reach the top of the pay scale in 8 years instead of 21 years. This Act gave Postal Workers' Unions full collective bargaining rights to negotiate wages, benefits and working conditions and significantly for Postal Workers today binding arbitration over wages and other national collective bargaining issues was included in the Act in lieu of the right to strike. And in July 1971, with this new formation of the Postal Service, five distinct unions of postal clerks, mail processors, maintenance, special delivery and motor vehicle workers merged into a new AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION. The APWU, with the merger of these crafts along with the Carriers, Mail Handlers and Rural Letter Carriers were now able to provide one strong unified voice in matters of collective bargaining negotiations and the nations political agenda regarding government , and most importantly, Postal Workers' rights.
Today, Postal Workers, probably more than any other group of organized workers, participate in the collective bargaining process by filing grievances; and they do so knowing they are well represented at every step of the grievance procedure. And any Postal Worker, reluctant to file a grievance, must look back at those Postal Workers in 1971 who:
The U.S. Postal Service is preparing layoff notices that could take effect in September, notifying staff earlier this month of the potential for workforce reductions.
USPS is allowing impacted workers to apply for lateral or downgraded positions, anticipating it can absorb the employees elsewhere. The changes will affect non-union staff in the logistics division serving in management positions. James Lloyd, a USPS director for labor relations policies and programs, said the reductions were developed "based on an evaluation of staffing criteria and manager levels" by headquarters personnel.
Some operations and industrial engineers, transportation managers, operations support specialists and network specialists will be impacted, according to information USPS provided to the National Association of Postal Supervisors. The supervisor association has taken issue with the Postal Service's process, accusing postal management of avoiding its obligations to consult with the association over its plans and the "RIF avoidance" procedures.
“NAPS will be monitoring the RIF Timeline to ensure that [impacted employees] are getting every opportunity to be placed prior to the RIF date of September 9, 2023,” the group told its members earlier this month.
USPS called NAPS' allegations "not accurate," saying it first notified the association of its plan in February. At the time, the Postal Service said only its staffing changes "may result in employee impacts requiring a reduction in force to be administered." USPS then told NAPS it intended to help affected workers in "securing landing spots." After not hearing back from NAPS, according to Bruce Nicholson, another labor relations director at USPS, the agency notified the group in April of its final decision to implement the RIFs.
NAPS President Ivan Butts countered that "notifications are not consultations, nor is it participation."
Impacted employees have until Sept. 8 to request new assignments and they will have two periods—one starting Tuesday and another in August—to search for openings. Employee separations from USPS will take effect Sept. 8, while reassignments and demotions will take effect Sept. 9.
Darlene Casey, a Postal Service spokesperson, said the agency expects that everyone who wants to continue working for the organization will be able to do so.
“We will deploy a RIF avoidance process that provides any potentially impacted employees an opportunity to find other positions with the Postal Service,” Casey said, adding it is a process USPS has deployed “numerous times” in the past.
She declined to detail exactly how many positions will be cut, or the impetus for changes. The Postal Service is also creating some new positions related to logistics operations and network supervision.
In 2020, shortly after Postmaster General Louis DeJoy took office, USPS restructured the organization to create three business operating units: retail and delivery operations, logistics and processing operations, and commerce and business solutions. The agency shifted some jobs around to fit into the new silos, including some that are now impacted. Butts said the Postal Service was still hiring for some of those roles just two weeks before it announced the RIFs.
"I don't know what they are doing," Butts said. "I'm not 100% sure they know what they are doing."
He added that an untold number of employees have already been reassigned to new jobs, but hundreds more still received the RIF notifications. Even those who find new roles will be placed in a different state or in facilities four-to-five hours from where they live, Butts said. He criticized USPS for failing to use a consistent process for placing impacted workers.
USPS last issued layoffs in 2021, also aimed at non-union management and administrative staff. Those changes were part of the restructuring put in place by DeJoy. Last year, DeJoy said he would likely need to reduce USPS' headcount by 50,000 positions as part of his long-term plan to stabilize the agency.
Spread the word APWU Folks, far and wide. We must support APWU HQ as we seek to expose the ever declining work environment in offices all across this nation.
Survey will be done via the mailbox. Check your mail often.
Dear APWU Family,
We received thousands of surveys from our members as part of the fight against the ever-increasing hostile work environments.
In addition to our internal union survey, we have contracted with Hart Research to conduct an additional survey of our members.
A “professional” survey will carry more weight in national negotiations, grievances and arbitrations as well as with our political allies in Congress, thus it is important that our members participate.
The survey will start on Tuesday June 20th and run for approximately six days. This will be a “random” survey of the members. The research firm will randomly select members to contact to participate; not every member will be surveyed.
It is important for you and our members to know that this survey is not a management survey and are thus encouraged to participate in this important APWU endeavor.
As always, we appreciate for all your hard work and union activism and leadership.
The air quality in many states on the East Coast is deteriorating rapidly due to the wildfires in Canada. We have reached out to Postal Service on the issue. I want to know what plans they have to protect all employees during this event. Once I have a response, I will share it with you.
Remember, all employees can voluntarily wear a face mask at any time. The MI on PPE clearly states that employees can wear FFP (filtering facepiece) voluntarily and that management will provide that FFP and what they must do when an employee requests an FFP.
Again, as soon as I have more info on the status of the AQI issues, I will let you know.
It had been brought to our attention that the Postal Pulse survey contained Employee Identification Numbers on them. The Postal Service has admitted that this is the case and they are blaming Gallup for the error. Of course, the APWU has always recommended that employees DO NOT TAKE THE SURVEY! It is even more imperative this year to get the message out as it appears that both Gallup and the Postal Service can identify who submitted the survey. The Postal Service is instructing units that still have the surveys to destroy them or send them back to Gallup. They are also instructing employees to destroy their surveys—something the APWU whole-heartedly agrees with. However, the Postal Service is in the process of reprinting the surveys without the EIN information and resending the surveys.
HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO HELP SHAPE THE FUTURE ALL A.P.W.U. MEMBERS NOW HAVE THE OPPOUNITY TO GUIDE OUR REPRESENTIVES IN DC OF WHAT WORRIES US THE MOST. YOU HAVE BEEN MAILED A A.P.W.U. SURVEY WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO COMPLETE IT AND RETURN.
THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NOT MEMBERS AND WANT TO JOIN IN THE SURVEY CAN CALL THE UNION OFFICE AT 718-843-8113 OR CONTACT YOUR STEWARD FOR A MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION.
PRESIDENT SUSLAK REPORTS
I wanted to provide an update involving the various self-service applications related to HR on LiteBlue. These include the payroll direct deposit and allots as well as eOPF (electronic Official Personnel File).
As most are aware, in late 2022, some postal employees had their direct deposit and allotments misdirected to fraudulent accounts. At that time, the Postal Service shut down access to changing direct deposit and allotments. They also shut down eOPF because the Postal Service was concerned about the amount of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) that is in an eOPF. The Postal Service has since moved to Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to help with security. When MFA was instituted, the Postal Service turned the ability to change payroll direct deposits/allotments back on. However, after a few weeks, it was turned off again because another security risk was identified.
Late last week, I met with the Postal Service on the issues related to Cyber Security and where they are headed. Below is an update on what I found out.
Starting tomorrow, March 21, 2023, the Postal Service is implementing new security procedures to help with MFA and registering for MFA. Once the new MFA process are tested, the access to payroll changes will be reopened for all employees to use. It is expected to be available within the next 7-days.
eOPF is another story. At this time, eOPF is not expected to be available for up to six months. Many records have handwritten documents with social security numbers and other PII. Based on standard best practices, documents with PII should not be transmitted over the internet. The Postal Service is currently identifying documents with this type of information and redacting this information. Once completed, eOPF will be reopened.
In the meantime, employees can call HRSSC to request a copy of their eOPF. The Postal Service is currently taking the position that the first copy is free and any additional requests will be at the expense of the requester. Let me be clear, until eOPF is up and running, the APWU doesnâ€™t agree that anyone should be charged for a copy of their personnel file. I am in continued discussions on eOPF access. I made it perfectly clear that anyone being required to pay for a copy of their OPF is unacceptable.
Until LiteBlue is fully functional, employees can call HRSSC to address their direct deposit needs. Also, they should be allowed to use a postal computer to change direct deposit if they request to do so. If management denies anyone access to a computer, please email Lee Branca at email@example.com so Industrial Relations Department can track these issues. As soon as I have been informed that the LiteBlue direct deposit/allotments have been reopened I will share with the field.
In the meantime, the APWU encourages all employees who have not signed up for MFA do so. This is another level of security that will protect you from any bad actors on the internet. It will be required in order to access the LiteBlue self-service applications. The APWU fully supports the MFA initiative.
The APWU has filed a national dispute on those who had their direct deposits stolen. However, local action should still be taken and I have attached information I previously sent out on that issue.
The number of those who had their direct deposit stolen is less than 1% of our total membership, but an injury to one is an injury to all. The APWU will continue to pursue an appropriate remedy for those who had their direct deposits stolen.
I will provide further updates when additional information is available.
In accordance with the 2021-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), career employees represented by the APWU will receive a $0.10 per hour cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), effective March 11, 2023.
The increase is the result of a rise in the January Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). It will appear in paychecks dated March 31, 2023 (Pay Period 07-2023). The value of the COLA for full-time employees in each step and grade will increase by $208.00 annually for full time, career employees.
The COLAs are in addition to general wage increases. This is the third cost-of-living increase under the 2021 CBA. The first increase, effective in February 2022, amounted to $0.63 per hour or $1,310.00 annually. The second, effective in August 2022 was $1.18 per hour, or $2,455.00 annually. The COLAs received so far during the 2021-2024 CBA total $3,973.00.
In light of the fact that Postal Support Employees (PSEs) do not receive cost-of-living increases, they have received several additional increases beyond the general wage increases for all employees in the APWU bargaining unit under the 2021 contract.
Rising inflation underscores just how important the continuation of our negotiated COLA is in our outstanding new CBA. The COLA is our best protection against inflation. Postal Workers are some of the few U.S. workers who receive these increases. Even in the postal world, we are the only postal union that has maintained full COLA in our CBA.
No postal worker or federal retiree will see a gap or reduction in pension payments or healthcare coverage.
The Treasury Department announced on Thursday that the United States government has hit its statutory “debt limit.” The next several months will be full of political drama, with serious risks at hand for working people and working-class retirees.
While the debt limit was technically reached this week, the Treasury Department has begun certain accounting measures to extend its ability to pay the government’s bills. Among the “extraordinary measures” announced by Treasury are some that are of serious concern to postal workers.
The Treasury Department has announced it will begin a “debt issuance suspension period” which will affect the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF), the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund (PSRHBF), and the G Fund of the Thrift Savings Plan
Attached you will find a National Dispute that was filed on the theft of direct deposits. The APWU believes that management bears a significant responsibility for the loss of these direct deposits. We know that as early as 2013 the Postal Service was made aware of vulnerabilities in there computer systems that could lead to these types of problems. It was also brought to the attention of the Postal Service cyber team in early 2022 of the “fake” LiteBlue websites as well.
We are seeking all employees who lost pay through the theft of their direct deposit be repaid for lost monies due to these thefts. As more information comes forward on this issue, I will keep you informed.
I received an update on the issue with employee’s direct deposit. See below. However, I reiterate that everyone should go change their password and make sure they are using the appropriate website which is: LiteBlue (usps.gov)
Do not share your information with anyone! Including members of your family, friends, etc.
Here is the message received from Vice-President of Labor Relations Tom Blum:
VP Heather Dyer and the Inspection Service have confirmed Postal Service employees are often unknowingly providing their usernames and passwords to criminal websites, while attempting to access PostalEase.
Employees are using Google and attempting to access PostalEase; however, Google in-turn has been redirecting them to criminally run websites that mirror the look and access of PostalEase.
VP Dyer and the Corporate Information Security Office (CISO) are working with the Postal Inspection Service and drafting letters to the impacted group of approximately 119 employees, while also preparing a second letter addressed to all postal employees. Both drafts are currently under review by the Privacy Office and Law Department.
We have received reports representations have been made at the district level confirming Postal Inspectors are contacting impacted employees, as well as employees who may have unknowingly been compromised, and requesting their EINs and passwords.
Please note . . . Postal Inspectors have not contacted postal employees and requested their EINs and/or passwords.
If you know of any financially impacted employees, please have them immediately contact the Eagan ASC Helpdesk at 866-974-2733. Staff members are available to assist.
If you become aware of any employee experiencing access issues to PostalEase, please recommend they immediately contact 877-477-3273 to request assistance.
VP Dyer, the CISCO Team and the Postal Inspection Service continue working around-the-clock to enhance the security of PostalEase.
We will provide you with any additional information ASAP.
ATTENTION ALL APWU MEMBERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It has been reported to me from the field that postal employees around the country are receiving calls from someone posing as a Postal Inspector. The “inspector” is telling them their Liteblue account has been comprised and locked. The “inspector” is asking them to provide their EIN, and “previous” password in order to verify and unlock their account.
Unfortunately, we have had some folks pony up the info. Once the information has been provided, the scammers are then logging in to the Liteblue account and change their net-to-bank payroll information.
These are reports from the field and I just reported it to USPS HQ. I have no further information but PLEASE—DO NOT SHARE YOUR LITEBLUE/POSTALEASE LOGIN INFORMATION WITH ANYONE.The Postal Inspectors will not call and ask for this over the phone. If anyone has received this call and provided info, please attempt to login and check your Liteblue/PostalEase account immediately. Go immediately and change your password. If you can’t get in or something is suspicious—Call HRSSC immediately to fix your Liteblue/PostalEase account.
If I have official communications from the Postal Service or learn more—I will let you know. This exact reason is why the Postal Service is changing to MultiFactor Authentication (MFA)—using your cell phone or email to get a code to login. Again—please do not give out your info!!!
ON BEHALF OF RON SUSLAK, PRESIDENT OF THE QUEENS AREA LOCAL 1022 OF THE AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION,
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR CAREER APPOINTMENT!
Here is a brief overview of some of the benefits the APWU has achieved in negotiations on your behalf: TYPES OF CAREER POSITIONS IN THE CLERK CRAFT Full-Time Regular (FTR) FTR in a Non-Traditional Full-Time duty assignment (NTFT) Part-Time Flexible (PTF)
QUEENS AREA LOCAL PRESIDENT RON SUSLAK ALONG WITH TEACHERS UNION PRESIDENT RANDI WEINGARTEN AND APWU PRESIDENT MARK DIMONDSTEIN AND OTHERS ON SUNDAY APRIL 24th 2022 AT THE AMAZON UNION FORMING RALLY CLICK ON THE PHOTO NUMBER TO VIEW AND OR DOWNLOAD
Currently, there is a spike of COVID-19 diagnosis throughout the United States. Postal Employees are not exempt from contracting COVID-19. Following national trends, there is also a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases at the Postal Service. Not knowing how COVID-19 can affect any one person whether it is a mild illness, a severe case, a case of “long” COVID-19, what the long-term effects might be, or sadly even death, it is vital that those who contract the virus understand that it is their right to apply for worker’s compensation benefits to protect themselves and their families. If you are a postal employee, no matter if you are a career employee or non-career employee, you are entitled to file a claim with the Office of Workers Compensation Programs. The one caveat is that you must have worked at the Post Office at some point during the 21-days prior to your COVID-19 diagnosis. Employees that have claims approved are entitled to have their medical costs and lost wages paid. Approved Claimants are also entitled to request that any annual sick or annual leave used be “bought back” and redeposited to their leave balances. Also, should a postal employee pass away due to COVID19, their survivors are entitled to benefits under the compensation programs if there is an approved claim.
If confirmed, new nominees would give White House-backed members a majority on the postal governing board.
PRESIDENT BIDEN ON FRIDAY
two NEW INDIVIDUALS
TO SIT ON THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE’S
GOVERNING BOARD, POTENTIALLY
GIVING THE ADMINISTRATION MUCH
GREATER INFLUENCE OVER THE
If confirmed, Dan Tangherlini and Derek Kan, Biden’s nominees, would ensure the president's picks make up the majority of the board’s nine Senate-confirmed members. They would replace Ron Bloom, the board’s current chairman, and John Barger, both of whom are allies of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Both Bloom and Barger’s terms are soon expiring and Biden opted not to reappoint them.
Tangherlini is a former Obama administration official, having led the General Services Administration and served as a senior official at the Treasury Department. Kan previously served as an aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and later as a President Obama appointee to the Amtrak board and a President Trump appointee to Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget.
Biden has nominated and the Senate confirmed three members of the postal board, who have voiced their significant concerns with DeJoy’s 10-year-plan that includes slowing down mail delivery while raising prices at unusually high rates. Many advocacy groups and congressional Democrats have called on Biden to remove DeJoy from his post, but that had not previously been possible as he maintained universal support among the Trump-appointed members of the board. Only USPS’ board of governors can remove a postmaster general.
Dave Partenhemier, a USPS spokesman, thanked Bloom and Barger for their leadership and for contributing to the development of DeJoy's 10-year plan. He also welcomed the new nominees.
“The Postal Service congratulates Derek Kan and Dan Tangherlini on their nominations by the president to serve as governors on the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service," Partenheimer said. "We wish them well as they proceed through the U.S. Senate confirmation process."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday criticized DeJoy and praised the White House's nominees as "experienced public servants," but declined to suggest outright that they should remove the postmaster general.
"It’s up to the board to make a determination about leadership, but we have continued concerns about the postmaster general’s leadership," Psaki said.
It remains unclear if the board would be willing to take such a drastic step, or how Tangherlini and Kan, in particular, will respond to DeJoy’s initiatives. Still, the move won immediate praise from some of DeJoy’s biggest detractors.
“I am tickled pink that two DeJoy enablers have been replaced and thank President Biden for his leadership,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee panel with oversight of the Postal Service. “This action is a good thing for the Postal Service and, most importantly, a great thing for the American people.”
Porter McConnell, who leads the Save the Post Office Coalition and is Mitch McConnell’s daughter, also applauded Biden’s action.
"President Biden has listened to the millions of people across the nation demanding a return to the quiet competence of the post office before Louis DeJoy and his friend Ron Bloom took a wrecking ball to it,” Porter McConnell said. “Ron Bloom has no place in the USPS's future, and we are glad to see his tenure in the past."
Biden opted to replace Barger, a Republican, with Kan, who has historically aligned with Republicans. Federal statute requires no more than five members of the board be of the same party, but Biden likely could have still replaced Barger with another Democrat as one of his previous nominees, Amber McReynolds, is a registered independent. If Tangherlini and Kan are both confirmed, the makeup of the board will remain four Democrats, four Republicans and one independent.
Regulator Blasts Postal Service for 'Unachievable" Package Slowdown Plan
USPS will also begin slowing down mail delivery this week.
The U.S. Postal Service’s regulator criticized the mailing agency’s plan to slow down package delivery, calling it overly ambitious, non-specific and of little financial benefit.
The package slowdown is part of a larger strategy by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to allow USPS to break even over the next decade. The Postal Service, which is also about to implement slower delivery for regular mail, has said its existing schedules are unrealistic and too costly to sustain. The Postal Regulatory Commission took issue with the new package delivery schedule, saying management’s goals “appear reasonable” but rest upon unfounded assumptions.
PRC has no power to force the Postal Service to alter its desired course, especially in the realm of packages. As a general matter, USPS has the discretion to make business decisions on its offerings in the competitive space. Still, the mailing agency had to submit its plan to the commission for review, as it did for its mail slowdowns. USPS is seeking to lengthen service standards by one-to-two days for 31% of First-Class packages, while speeding them up by 1 day for 5%.
Postal management failed to demonstrate it could implement its operational plan, provide consistent and reliable service or achieve its anticipated efficiencies, PRC said on Wednesday in its advisory opinion. The mailing agency's assumptions were oversimplified and failed to weigh the complexity of its business, the regulators said, making its model an inaccurate reflection of the “operating environment likely to exist after the proposal is implemented.” Management’s overly rosy outlook included projecting the implementation of changes prior to the peak holiday season, which PRC called “too ambitious.” It added management predicted outcomes that are “potentially inaccurate and unachievable.” Even postal management conceded it would likely not achieve its goal of delivering 95% of packages on time by the end of fiscal 2022.
While PRC said the plan for package delivery would better enable USPS to meet its performance targets, it noted postal management failed to spell out any timetable to do so or assess the impact on customers. The Postal Service did not analyze the impact on recipients of pharmaceuticals, the commission said as an example. The regulator challenged even the proportion of mail that will be impacted, noting USPS relied on 2020 data skewed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The savings USPS expects from the changes are suspect, PRC added, and even if true would have little bearing on the agency’s overall finances. The commission made a similar finding for the Postal Service’s plan to slow down delivery for regular mail, which is set to go into effect Oct. 1. Postal management’s expected efficiencies rest significantly on shifting more package transportation to trucks rather than planes, calling it more reliable, but PRC said the agency provided insufficient data to support the claim and noted the change would not impact delays caused by failures within processing facilities.
Overall, the commission cautioned in its opinion—which is advisory in nature and carries no enforcement mechanism—that USPS may run afoul of its statutory obligations in implementing the plan. It advised the Postal Service to set interim goals while trying to reach its ultimate target of delivering 95% of packages on time, create a “rigorous analytical methodology” rather than relying on “unproven assumptions,” monitor customer satisfaction and continue engaging stakeholders about the impact of the changes.
“The Commission is concerned, however, that the reasonableness of the proposal rests upon the Postal Service being correct in its assessments about consumer preferences and its ability to achieve the modeled increases in reliability, cost savings, and efficiency,” the commission wrote. “Should the Postal Service prove wrong in its predictions in the above areas, the rational basis for the proposal may prove illusory.”
PRC similarly faulted USPS' assumptions for its mail slowdowns, saying the proposal was not fully thought out and its success was far from guaranteed. Those slowdowns are expected to impact about 40% of First-Class mail. Industry groups, postal unions, members of the public and some lawmakers have all pushed back against the mail and package slowdowns. Critics of DeJoy’s plan have said slowing delivery while raising prices would accelerate ongoing declines in mail volumes and lead to further losses for the mailing agency.
OUR MEMBERS HAVE BEEN INQUIRING ON HOW THEY CAN PROVIDE EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME VERIFICATION TO BANKS,LENDERS AND OTHER AGENCIES TO PROVE THEY ARE EMPLOYEES WITH THE US POSTAL SERVICE. IN ORDER TO ACCOMMODATE THESE MEMBERS WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER SOME BASIC INFO ON HOW TO OBTAIN THAT INFORMATION.
Feds get special enrollment for health care flexible spending
Federal employees can enroll, re-enroll or change their flexible spending account coverage during the month of June, as the Office of Personnel Management announced June 14 that it authorized a special enrollment period as part of provisions outlined in the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan.
FSAs allow enrollees to set aside pretax income for use with out-of-pocket medical costs or dependent costs.
Because the Consolidated Appropriations Act authorized unlimited carryover of FSA funds for 2020 and 2021, feds that didn’t re-enroll in an FSA plan for 2021 but had remaining money left in their accounts in 2020 may wish to use the special enrollment period to reopen their accounts and gain access to those carried over funds.
The new flexibilities for the 2020 and 2021 plan years also allow enrollees with dependents who would have normally aged out of the program to continue to use those funds until the child is 14, rather than 13, and the government approved hand sanitizer and masks as FSA medical expenses.
The E.C. Hallbeck Memorial Scholarship will award $8000 ($2000 annually) to ten recipients (one male and one female from each of the five postal regions) to apply towards their four-year college tuition.
Vocational Scholarship winners will receive up to $3,000 for specialized training in such fields as culinary arts, medical or dental assistant, electrician, real estate, auto mechanic, certified IT/computer education, cosmetology, or massage therapy, etc. Eligible programs can be of a nine-month to three-year duration.
Best Essay Award One “Best Essay” winner is selected from the applicant pool to receive a one-time $2,000 award towards his or her four-year college tuition.
The scholarships are open only to high school seniors. Applicants may apply for only either Hallbeck or Vocational, not both.
Please note: APWU will be accepting unofficial transcriptions in lieu of official transcripts for the time being.
May 31, 2023 is the deadline for the APWU to receive completed applications.
The scholarships are open only to high school seniors. Applicants may apply for only either Hallbeck or Vocational, not both.
âÂ€Â‹Applicants must be a child, grandchild, stepchild, or legally adopted child of a current, retired, or deceased APWU member. Proof of membership required for deceased members. For more information and application information see the scholarship tab on the lower left side of our home page
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT RALPH DeVITO RETIRES FROM LOCAL
Executive V.P. Ralph DeVito, recently retired from the Queens Area Local, APWU after 33 years of service as a representative. Photo's show's Ralph, President Ron Suslak, newly appointed Executive V.P. Anna Anderson, and APWU National Business Agent Liz Swigert presenting Ralph with a plaque from the local, at a recent luncheon for him.