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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
PRESIDENT RON SUSLAK HAS MADE IT AVAILABLE FOR YOU AS A RETIRED MEMBER TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR WEBSITE’S INFORMATION.
WE HAVE PRE-LOGGED YOU IN
IN ORDER TO LOG IN YOU WILL NEED YOUR EIN (EMPLOYEE ID NUMBER) USING THAT AS YOUR USER’S NAME AND PASSWORD. ONCE ON YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR USER’S NAME AND/OR PASSWORD. IF YOUR EIN HAS A “0” AS IT’S FIRST CHARACTER YOU DO NOT NED TO ENTER IT. IF ONLY 5 DIGITS NO LEADING “0” (OLDER EIN’S USED THIS) JUST THE 5 DIGITS.
WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR WEBSITE FOR THE UP-DATED INFO.
IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY SIGN IN PROBLEMS, PLEASE CONTACT US USING THE “CONTACT TAB” ON THE LEFT SIDE TO CONTACT US USING ADMINISTRATOR LINK
LABOR HISTORY---Part 2 THE STRIKE THAT STUNNED THE
NATION BIRTH OF A UNION:
APWU 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 for food 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: âÂÂ...post offices are like dungeons, dirty, stifling, too hot in the summer and too cold in winter.âÂÂ 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 âÂÂcrushâÂÂ 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 didn't and the Secretary of Labor entered into negotiations that brought the strike to an end after two weeks. 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 was now able to provide one strong unified voice in matters of collective bargaining negotiations and the nations political agenda regarding workers' rights. QUESTION: So what do we think of these Postal Workers who defied defied the federal government and risked discipline, fines and imprisonment? ANSWER:
We can only say THANK YOU BROTHERS & SISTERS!!!!!!!!!!
In accordance with the 2021-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement, career employees represented by the APWU will receive a $1.18 per hour cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), effective August 27, 2022.
The increase is the result of a rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). It will appear in paychecks dated September 16, 2022 (Pay Period 19-2022). The value of the COLA for full-time employees in each step and grade will increase by $2,455.00 annually, and the hourly rates for part-time employees will be adjusted accordingly.
The COLAs are in addition to general wage increases. This is the second cost-of-living increase under the 2021 contract. The first, effective in February, amounted to $0.63 per hour or $1,310 annually. The COLAs received so far during the 2021-2024 National Agreement total $3,765.00 this year.
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 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is in our outstanding new union contract. The COLA is our best protection against inflation. Postal Workers are some of the few U.S. workers who receive COLA increases. Even in the postal world, we are the only postal union that has maintained full COLA in our union contract.
“At times of high inflation, our union-won COLA is invaluable to ourselves and our families,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “It pays to be union! It’s always a struggle to keep these COLA provisions and every postal worker should be proud we fought hard and prevailed to keep full COLA in our latest contract.”
After Pressure, Management Sets Retroactive Pay Date! August 5, 2022
Share this article Last week we announced the APWU was preparing collective actions in response to the unacceptable delay in retroactive payments won in the 2021-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Today, after concerted struggles with postal management, management has finally provided the union with firm dates the payments will be received by postal workers in APWU-represented crafts.
The retroactive payments will be processed on October 11, 2022. They will appear as a pay adjustment on
paychecks received October28, 2022.
Those in management responsible for overseeing these payroll changes had so little respect for postal workers that they apparently thought a May 2023 date for the retroactive payments would somehow be acceptable. This was outrageous,âÂÂ said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. âÂÂPostal workers earned this pay, we deserve it, and weâÂÂre not in the business of giving management interest-free loans on the back of our labor. While weâÂÂre still unsatisfied with the delay, we sent a message and have gotten firm dates months in advance of managementâÂÂs plan.âÂÂ âÂÂThis delay in retroactive payments was unacceptable to everyone in our union,âÂÂ said APWU Director of Industrial Relations Charlie Cash. âÂÂWhile weâÂÂre glad to have dates to look forward to, we will still file a national-level grievance seeking an appropriate remedy for all affected postal employees.âÂÂ The CBA included the following pay adjustments:
Effective November 20, 2021: General wage increases of 1.3 percent Effective Nov. 20, 2021: Additional 1 percent pay raise for PSEs (who do not receive COLA) Effective September 25, 2021: New pay scale for Grade 11 Effective Feb 26, 2022: Sixty-three cents/hour COLA, for career employees Effective April 9, 2022:
Fifty cents/hour increase for the PSEs effective Each of the above adjustments were programmed and included in our wages on June 4, 2022, with the exception of the 50 cents/hour due to the PSEs. That management error was corrected and included in pay from July 30, 2022. The retroactive payments due to workers consist of the above adjustments on hours worked from June 4, 2022 going back to their respective effective dates, and between April 9 and July 30 for the PSE fifty-cent increase. We will keep members updated on the grievance process regarding this unacceptable delay.
Just weeks after the U.S. Postal Service implemented new standards to slow a significant portion of mail delivery, Democrats in Congress are on the verge of proposing legislation to create additional barriers for management before it can take similar actions in the future.
Lawmakers blasted the reforms implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy at a hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s panel on Government Operations that took place in Chicago on Friday, calling them harmful to the mailing agency and suggesting they were part of an intentional effort to undermine it. They similarly criticized USPS for ongoing failures to deliver mail on time, which has improved in recent months but remains below the agency’s targets.
Eddie Morgan, USPS’ postmaster in Chicago, which has been among the worst hit cities by the delays, blamed a rise in “street crime” and its impact on recruiting and retention. USPS has enough employees on the rolls, Morgan said of his region, but an insufficient number are actually showing up to work. He explained he is working to purge the agency’s rolls of employees with significant unexcused absences and to fill resulting vacancies.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who chairs the larger oversight committee, said she will soon introduce a bill to require postal management to conduct testing on its nationwide delivery standard changes. DeJoy’s recent changes impacted about 40% of First-Class mail, expanding the maximum time for delivery from three days to five. Postal management conceded they had not examined the impact of the proposed changes on rural versus urban populations, low income communities or elderly communities, nor had they solicited feedback on the changes from customers. The Postal Regulatory Commission, in reviewing the plan earlier this year, faulted USPS for failing to pilot test its slowdowns and creating projections it could not prove would be realized.
Maloney’s forthcoming legislation would empower the commission to pause such changes from taking place until it can review testing. It would also require a two-thirds vote from the postal board of governors to approve service standard revisions that had not been tested. Maloney has also sponsored bipartisan postal reform legislation that the oversight committee has approved but has yet to receive a vote on either the House or Senate floor.
“Hopefully we can bring postal reform to the floor soon,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who chaired Friday’s hearing.
House Democrats originally sought to stymie DeJoy’s efforts to implement the mail slowdowns in that postal reform legislation, but ultimately stripped the language from the measure to win bipartisan backing.
Connolly said the delays in Chicago were not anomalous and that Congress could not allow them to continue. He added he hoped to see a change in “the governance of the Postal Service to ensure we have a board of governors and a postmaster general who are, in fact, dedicated to the mission.” Lawmakers throughout the hearing said their offices have been inundated with complaints from constituents about mail issues. They cited a decision by management to start letter carriers on their routes later in the day as partially responsible for the problems.
Rep. Fred Keller, R-Pa., the lone Republican to attend the hearing, sought to shift blame away from DeJoy, arguing mail delays predated his tenure and worsened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On-time performance quickly plummeted after DeJoy took office, which the postmaster general has conceded was largely due to operational reforms he implemented. USPS has since rolled those back and, like Morgan, the Chicago postmaster, has said ongoing delays are due to employee absenteeism and other fallout from the pandemic. The Postal Service has restored service to pre-DeJoy levels and saw further improvement in the most recent quarter that ended just before the new service windows went into effect.
Lawmakers and a National Association of Letter Carriers official who testified at the hearing noted a recent inspector general report that found USPS frequently undercounted its late and undelivered mail. USPS numbers are not always accurate, said Mack Julion, the NALC representative, as front-line supervisors “provide misleading reports to appease upper management.”
Melinda Perez, an auditor in the USPS inspector general's office, said the agency's problems include staffing shortages, packages and mail going to the wrong facilities and mail not being pre-sorted when it arrives at post offices.
“USPS has plans to address these concerns, however implementing multiple initiatives to correct these issues will be challenging, especially now as the Postal Service is addressing its peak season,” Perez said, adding her office will soon release a report on USPS’ readiness for the holidays.
The Postal Service experienced unprecedented delays during the holiday season in 2020, with DeJoy eventually admitting the agency “missed our service standards by far and disappointed the nation.”
UPDATE!! ANNUAL LEAVE CARRYOVER AND PAYOUT
Subject: Annual Leave Carry Over and Lump Sum Payments at Retirement
The Industrial Relations Department has been fielding multiple questions on the amount of annual leave someone would be compensated for when they retire. Attached are the two MOUs the APWU entered into with the Postal Service on annual leave during the pandemic. Read More...
From: Vance Zimmerman <email@example.com> Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2022 Subject: Sharnoff award on AFCS Jurisdiction
On January 31, 2021, Arbitrator Sharnoff issued a lengthy award on the APWU-NPMHU jurisdictional disputes over the AFCS and AFCS 200. The APWU successfully prevailed in protecting Clerk Work when Arbitrator Sharnoff affirmed that Clerks should be assigned to work the Operator position on the AFCS 200.
As part of the historic 2018 APWU-USPS-NPMHU RI-399 update agreement, the unions and the Postal Service agreed to arbitrate the unions’ cross-disputes on the AFCS and the AFCS 200. The APWU defended the Postal Service’s assignment of the AFCS 200 Operator position to clerks, an assignment the APWU felt was properly assigned to the APWU. The Arbitrator agreed with the APWU keeping the Operator position on the AFCS 200 assigned to Clerks.
Arbitrator Sharnoff confirmed that there is a high bar for overturning the Postal Service’s jurisdictional determinations – based on the information available to the Postal Service at the time it makes its decision, the Postal Service’s decision cannot be arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, based on improper considerations, or otherwise constitute “an abuse of the USPS’s discretion to make such determinations under the RI-399 Guidelines.” The NPMHU failed to get over this bar with its claims that the Operator position on the significantly redesigned AFCS 200 should be assigned to Mail Handlers. Given the changes to the Operator position and the distribution functions of the AFCS 200, Arbitrator Sharnoff confirmed that the Postal Service’s jurisdictional grant to Clerks was proper.
Arbitrator Sharnoff’s Award means that Clerks must be assigned to the Operator position on the AFCS 200. Any pending RI-399 disputes at the local level should be settled in accordance with this Award. Contact Lynn Pallas-Barber with any questions that may arise in implementing Arbitrator Sharnoff’s Award at the local level.
This was the second of four jurisdictional arbitrations presented to Arbitrator Sharnoff under the updated RI-399 process for protecting Clerk Craft work. In the first two cases, the APWU has successfully in defended Clerks continuing to work on the SPSS and the AFCS 200. Many thanks to the efforts of the APWU’s RI-399 national representatives Lynn Pallas-Barber, Assistant Clerk Craft Director, and National RI-399 Representative Ron Suslak, (President Queens Area Local); their guidance along with the expertise and involvement of APWU locals and employees, supported the APWU in once again keeping mail distribution work with Clerks.
Feel free to disseminate.
Industrial Relations Director
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
1300 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4128
The American Postal Workers Union and the U.S. Postal Service have reached a tentative three-year Collective Bargaining Agreement, announced APWU President and Lead Negotiator Mark Dimondstein. The Tentative Agreement was reached on December 9th and, in accordance with the APWU Constitution, was presented by the National Negotiating Committee to the Rank & File Bargaining Advisory Committee. On December 10th, the Rank & File Committee unanimously approved the Tentative Agreement for a ratification vote of the members. This is great news! We have reached an agreement that protects the rights and interests of our members,Mark Dimondstein said. The tentative National Agreement contains annual wage increases, protection of full COLAs and no-layoff protections, new opportunities for career work, gains for part time flexibles and a host of other improvements. The Tentative Agreement has the unanimous approval of the National Negotiating Committee and the support of the National Executive Board. I salute the entire bargaining committee for their outstanding and collective work. I was proud to serve on the National Negotiating Committee along with Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, who served as chief spokesperson for the union, Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy, Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Powell, Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks, Maintenance Craft Director Idowu Balogun, Motor Vehicle Director Michael Foster and Support Services Director Steve Brooks. The entire Negotiating Committee appreciates the due diligence and hard work exhibited by the Rank & File Bargaining Advisory Committee.Many headquarters officers, national business agents, and staff were also involved in the long process of planning and preparation of negotiations. APWU members across the country waged a strong campaign united in the demand for a good contract that rewards postal workers for their dedication and hard work. We look forward to the membership having an opportunity to vote on this tentative agreement that we believe offers improvements in the wages, hours and working conditions in all APWU crafts,Director Vance Zimmerman said. A detailed summary of the Tentative Agreement will be published on the APWU website Saturday December 11th. Furthermore, the APWU National Negotiating Committee will hold a webinar âÂÂÂÂÂ€ÂÂÂÂÂœtown hall with the members December 16th at 2:00pm. 6pm and 9pm EST. Register at apwu.org/townhall. In the coming weeks more information will be shared on the ratification process.