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Mary Alice Burkhard - NAPS Branch 244 President

Mary Alice Burkhard - NAPS Branch 244 President

The following articles have a response from Mary Alice Burkhard.

Amazon Sunday deliveries are expanding just as projected last year-they are seen as successful. NAPS HQ dropped the ball on this when they did not discuss it adequately or come up with guidelines for supervisors working on Sundays. I receive daily concerns about it-many supervisors are working very long hours on Sunday and even though they are getting paid for all of them and even getting 25% premium pay-many would rather have it off for religious reasons or just because they want to do things with friends and family. Some supervisors are rarely getting a day off, even though that will change now that we are hiring-they have suffered since November. It should be volunteers-but it is not. NAPS HQ just sticks to the excuse that it is a temporary program. A five year+ contract that is expanding to all major cities and surrounding areas is temporary?? What now happens is that 204B's or CCA's do the supervisory work in many of the Sunday hubs. There should be lists of volunteer supervisors willing to do it and/ or post positions with Sunday.

Amazon, Postal-Service-gear-up-to-launch-Sunday-delivery

STL Today (St. Louis)
February 28, 2014
Kavita Kumar

Amazon is working with the local district of the U.S. Postal Service to roll out Sunday delivery in the St. Louis region by mid-March, a move that’s expected to put additional pressure on local retailers.

The online retailer, which has been breathing down the necks of brick-and-mortar stores for years, made a big splash in November when it first announced that it had partnered with the Postal Service to make Sunday delivery of packages a reality. It launched the service in the New York and Los Angeles metro areas.

Amazon said at the time that it would expand Sunday delivery to “a large portion of the U.S. population in 2014” and said some of those new markets would include Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix. St. Louis was not specifically mentioned.

But leaders of the local postal unions said they had been told that the target date for Sunday delivery in this region was March 16.

That’s the same date provided by David Martin, district manager for the Postal Service’s Gateway District, which covers the St. Louis region, in a recent interview with the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill. Martin said this region would be among the first markets outside of New York and Los Angeles to get the service.

“Seven-day delivery is now a reality for us, and that’s our future,” Martin told the newspaper.

Valerie Welsch, a spokeswoman for the Gateway District, said that she could not give out any details about the program and referred questions to Amazon. And she said Martin would not be made available to speak about the issue.

Amazon declined to comment on the launch of Sunday delivery in St. Louis. Kelly Cheeseman, an Amazon spokeswoman, wrote in an email that she didn’t have any information to share about it. 

But Bill Lister, local union president for the National Association of Letter Carriers, said Sunday delivery in this region was originally set to launch this month. The delay to March, he said, was due in part to the Postal Service’s needing more time to hone its scanning procedures and to update some of the local hubs with the technology needed to download information about delivery routes.

He said that it would be the Postal Service’s lower-wage employees with minimal benefits — the “noncareer” workers whose employment is renewed on a yearly basis — who will be delivering the packages on Sunday. New employees will be hired to handle those routes, he said.

In the union’s most recent newsletter, Lister wrote that the packages would be delivered from about 15 hubs in the St. Louis region, with a goal of each carrier’s delivering about 12 parcels an hour. The estimated volume for St. Louis area ZIP codes is more than 7,000 packages for Sunday delivery.

While he is wary of the Postal Service’s increasing the ranks of these lower-wage employees, Lister said he welcomed Sunday delivery, which could help boost the fortunes of the struggling Postal Service.

“I think the Postal Service needs to embrace new forms of service,” he said. “Parcel delivery is one we gave away many years ago when UPS started. … So naturally we want a percentage of that back. It will help sustain us into the future.”

And Lister said the hope was that there would be a spillover effect from Sunday delivery. If more people are interested in that option, they will probably be ordering packages from Amazon throughout the week, too, he said.

Fred Wolfmeyer, president of the local American Postal Workers Union, which represents other postal service employees such as clerks and mechanics, echoed Lister’s sentiments. 

“It’s got to help the bottom line,” he said.

As has been well-publicized in recent years, the Postal Service has been struggling financially amid the recession and the sharp decline in mail volume as much traditional mail has been supplanted by the Internet. The Postal Service has closed hundreds of branches. And last year, it flirted with the idea of getting rid of Saturday delivery altogether. But then Congress stepped in to halt that move.

The introduction of Sunday delivery also benefits Amazon, enabling it to increase pressure on competitors, said Jason Long, a St. Louis-area retail consultant with Shift Marketing Group.

“It’s a big, big deal,” Long said. “I don’t think the Earth is going to shift. But it’s just another incremental loss for brick and mortar. And I think this just helps sustain the overall movement to online ordering.”

Members of Amazon’s popular Prime membership program can already get free delivery within two days. By adding Sunday delivery, those Prime members who might otherwise have gone to a store over the weekend if they needed an item for Sunday or Monday, may be more willing to order from Amazon in those instances.

“This will take out some of those trips to local brick-and-mortar retailers,” Long said.

And there is talk that Amazon could raise the prices for its Prime membership by $20 to $40. Right now, an annual membership is $79. Long noted that adding Sunday delivery might help blunt some of the outcries about the higher membership fees and might help deflect the fact that Amazon is now charging sales tax in many states where it is required to do so.

Though this will be a clear competitive advantage for Amazon for some time to come, Long wondered whether other retailers would be able to follow suit and partner with the Postal Service for Sunday delivery.

For now, though, Amazon is it.

 

Staples not only taking craft jobs but supervisory ones as well. Of course outsourcing is nothing new-we have had Approved Shippers, UPS stores, VPO's in major cities, etc for many years also selling our products and services. We also have had Mail Service Providers that work as mini plants for years. Again-NAPS HQ and everyone else is a bit late on this-it is already established business practice for the USPS and was well advertised in advance-why were they not asking to be at the table when it was being openly discussed? Jay Killackey was talking a lot about fighting Staples when he spoke in Sacramento a few weeks ago. I expect to hear a lot more in DC in a week.

 

Union let post office sell financial services and staff staples postal outlets
The Street
February 28, 2014
Ted Reed

The way the president of the American Postal Workers Union sees it, the post office has two ways to go. One is downscale, letting Staples workers sell its products as its business diminishes.

The alternatives, Mark Dimondstein said, are to have post office work done by post office employees, who receive middle-class salaries, and also for the post office to offer financial services to the 68 million Americans who are generally unbanked and utilize payday lenders and other less desirable financial services. 

"We're for expanding and offering enhanced services to people, for looking at the postal service in a broader way," said Dimondstein, who took over in November as president of APWU, which represents about 200,000 primarily postal workers.

Dimondstein is taking an activist approach that starts with opposing aspects of a plan to put post offices in Staples outlets. That plan was unveiled two weeks after Dimondstein took office and gave a speech citing the past glory of the labor movement, including the UAW's sit-down strike at GM in Flint, Mich., in the mid-1930s. "To succeed, postal workers must build a movement," he said.

The Staples deal would put post offices in 82 to 84 stores as pilot projects, with plans to expand to 1,500 to 1,600 stores. It is viewed as a way to make postal products more widely available to the public, and the postal service said it does not displace any employees.

"We strenuously object not to the pilot, or to extending hours, but because these (outlets) are not staffed by postal workers," Dimondstein said. "It represents a shift of living wage jobs to non-living-wage jobs, and to workers who are not well-trained, familiar with regulations or accountable to the people of this country and the security and privacy of the mail."

While U.S. Postal Service workers made between $15 and $24 an hour and have substantial benefits, Staples workers start at $8 or $9 an hour and have minimal benefits, Dimondstein said.

The APWU plans protests next week in Atlanta, one of the four locations for the pilot project, with additional demonstrations slated in central Massachusetts, Northern California and Pittsburgh. Staples is scheduled to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on March 6. The impact of the demonstrations "is up to investors," Dimondstein said. "We're not going to be shy about it. If Staples does not staff these stores with postal workers, we will encourage people to take their business elsewhere."

Staples and the USPS spokespeople said putting post offices in Staples stores benefits customers of both institutions.

"Staples continually tests new products and services to better meet the needs of our customers," said Staples spokeswoman Carrie McElwee. "We are currently operating a pilot program in select stores that is testing specific services and offering added convenience for our customers." She did not disclose financial details of the program or salaries.

USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said the partnership "increases access to postal products and services while broadening customer access through an increased number of locations open seven days a week. With its appeal to business customers, Staples is an attractive partner because it is a leading office supply market leader. The Postal Service is the exclusive mailing and shipping services provider for customers at these pilot stores." 

That means USPS gets first shot at customers who might otherwise use UPS or FedEx . "The program is an opportunity to grow our business and part of our plan to return to long-term financial stability," Partenheimer said, adding that no postal service jobs are threatened by the program.

The postal service reported a $5 billion loss in the last fiscal year and a $354 million loss in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. The loss includes the accrual of $1.4 billion of the $5.7 billion retiree health benefits funding required of the post office, but not required of any U.S companies. USPS is seeking to enhance revenue, but Congress has placed the agency in an untenable financial position. Without legislative change, the post office will be forced to default on the $5.7 billion funding requirement by Sept. 30.

A second union goal involves the potential to enhance USPS revenue through an expansion into financial services. A report issued last month by the Office of Inspector General for the postal service said the post office would be an ideal provider of non-bank financial services for the underserved.

"Millions of Americans do not have a bank account, or use costly services like payday loans and check cashing exchanges just to make ends meet," the report said. "The postal service could greatly complement banks' offerings," especially with banks closing branches in low-income rural and inner city communities.

About 68 million adults are underserved in terms of financial services: They spent $89 billion in 2012 on interest and fees for alternative financial services including check cashing, money orders, remittances, payday lending, pawnshops, rent-to-own agreements and other similar products, the report said.

Other findings: The post office is the leader in the domestic paper money order market, with a 70% share that produced $166 million in revenue in fiscal 2012. Also, 51% of post offices are located in zip codes with either one bank branch or no bank branches. Also, 68% of survey respondents found the post office reliable and trustworthy, while only 26% assigned the same qualities to banks.

Between 1911 and 1967, the post office accepted savings deposits. In 1947, it took in $3.4 billion in deposits. But the practice was discontinued in 1967.

The report suggested that the best vehicle for post office involvement in financial services would be to issue reloadable prepaid cards. They would function in the same way as the plastic cards issued by banks and other vendors do, and could be swiped for purchases.

How could the post office easily lend money? If an employer made regular direct deposits to a cardholder's account, that would establish credit worthiness. Someone who didn't pay off their loans could have their tax refunds debited. Interest rates need not be excessive.

"It's a blockbuster report," said Dimondstein, who noted that postal banking is available in many European countries. "We're for expanding services," he said. "The post office could provide great service in a neighborhood location in a trusting atmosphere."

The banking industry does not back the concept, even though the report suggested that the post office would partner with banks in offering financial services. 

"We're deeply concerned that the U.S. Postal service is trying to drive the creation of a new GSE engaged in banking services, which is not subject to the same level of regulation," said Ken Clayton, chief counsel of the American Banking Association, in a prepared statement. "This new entity could be perceived by many as a government-endorsed and preferred provider of financial products. The impact on community banks already serving these towns would be substantial."

 

Raise in pay for some North Dakota craft employees. Interesting and brand new thought process. Shows what they can do if they want to.

 

Sen. Hoeven announces agreement to raise pay for postal employees

Inforum (Fargo, ND)

2/27/2014

Bryan Horwath

Sen. John Hoeven’s office announced Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Rural Letter Carriers Association aimed at recruiting and retaining employees in the Bakken.

Effective May 17, the incentives are designed to attract and retain rural carriers to western North Dakota, an area that has been home to multiple mail delivery issues since the population in the oil-rich region began to skyrocket several years ago.

“This is great news for western North Dakota,” Hoeven, R-N.D., stated in a news release. “We’ve been working to improve postal service in western North Dakota and this agreement will help do that by recruiting and retaining more carriers in Williston and beyond.”

Hoeven invited USPS Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to visit Williston last August to hear from business and community leaders and local postal employees about challenges to mail delivery. In November, the senator arranged a follow-up visit to the state with Drew Aliperto, Postal Service vice president of area operations for the western area.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., hosted a town hall meeting Jan. 10 in Dickinson in an effort to help kickstart some solutions to the postal service issues.

“It is crucial that we hire and retain more rural letter carriers in western North Dakota,” Heitkamp stated in a release. “This is a positive step toward making that possible. This is one piece of the puzzle that the USPS has filled in western North Dakota. We also need to improve working conditions for the full array of postal employees beyond just rural letter carriers.”

Postal Service and union officials outlined the basics of the agreement to Jon Cameron, Hoeven’s western North Dakota regional director, according to Hoeven’s office.

Stipulations of the memorandum would require that all newly hired or converted career rural carriers receive a 9 percent increase in their base pay. All part-time or “flexible” rural carriers would also receive a 9 percent increase in base pay, and all rural carrier associates will receive a 20 percent increase.

“Since I launched my Fix My Mail campaign, I have heard stories from so many North Dakotans, including postal employees throughout the state, who are incredibly frustrated and rightfully so,” Heitkamp stated. “I’ll continue to relay these concerns to the postmaster general and use my seat on the Senate Committee with oversight of USPS to put pressure on the Post Office to continue to make much-needed improvements in North Dakota.”

The increases outlined in the agreement will result in starting hourly wages in the $21 to $22 range, plus fringe benefits as applicable, according to Hoeven’s office.

All employees in the three categories also will receive a $500 hiring bonus 90 days after being hired and another $500 bonus at the end of one year. The agreement — which includes Dickinson, Minot, Williston, Watford City and other communities in western North Dakota — will allow for cities or towns to be added or removed without having to modify the agreement.

 

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in President 632

I am back from the NAPS event in Covington, Ky-it was very good and well coordinated- Louis and Jay were there as well as other leadership :  

The Area VP that was responsible for the training event, Chuck Mulidore, provided us with a hired speaker, Monty Lobb, who owns his own company, Kenosis, LTD. The training is based on the premise that character changes leadership and that results in workplace environment changes which leads to more success for individuals and the company or association.  He also provided us with "Good Character is the Cornerstone of Good Citizenship" pamphlet/books from the Ohio Center for Civic Character. If we ever had one of those in Cali we must have eliminated it years ago:)

 He spent 4 hours teaching character, ethics, integrity, total honesty, standing up for what is right, persistence, doing what is hard instead of what is easy, being willing to take the ramifications of speaking up rather than being silent and providing tacit approval, etc....it was very refreshing and there was lots of interaction. This is the type of course large corporations have been giving to their executives in the last few years to hold on to employees, enhance real profits and cut back on legal issues etc. The members in attendance were very into it, which made it even better.  Louis even wanted to hire him for other events. If only everyone would apply it.....but this is a start and Chuck told us that he was going to bring him back for other training events. 

Website is www.kenosisltd.com 

Chuck Mulidore and Regional VP Ivan Butts also provided a really good ELM 650 overview and refresher on EAS representation, negotiation, settlements, etc. When they send the power points I will share them. 

Louis and Jay each talked a bit about the upcoming changes and they seem to be backing off on insisting on 6 day but instead hoping for some legislation that would provide financial relief and allow us to keep 6 day....read below- I do not see that happening. 

There are a lot of good people in that area of the country that are mostly still employed and representing EAS, so they were very much engaged in the presentations. They were very friendly to us and most seemed impressed that 3 people from California came to the event. (Mary D and Sylvia also attended). They also made a point to invite and include us in all the activities before and after and treat us to dinner at a revolving restaurant that allowed us to have beautiful views of the entire city of Cincinnati. We hit snow/ice the first day and then the weather was great until it rained on Monday-really hard-like we rarely see here.

Note in the articles below that the unions are mentioned but NAPS is not...... this is also the week the newspapers are lobbying Congress to try and stop our August 5th changes. Newspapers would be hurt the most by changing what we deliver on Saturday. NAPS will be there on April 9th and 10th. 

 

Newspaper industry to lobby to retain Saturday mail delivery

The Norfolk Daily News
March 11, 2013
Kent Warneke

Members of Congress are going to be hearing a lot from newspapers this week — not via their editorial pages but in person.

There’s only one topic on the agenda: the U.S. Postal Service and its stated plans to eliminate many kinds of Saturday mail delivery later this year.

The National Newspaper Association is coordinating the lobbying effort that will involve newspaper representatives from across the nation, including those in Nebraska like the Daily News.

"It's a business decision for us just like it's a business decision for them (the postal service)," said Max Health, a postal consultant for the Publishing Group of America. "It's not over until it's over."

Early last month, the postal service announced it plans to drop Saturday delivery of first-class mail beginning in August, a move intended to save it $2 billion annually. The postal service plans to continue to deliver packages and pharmaceutical drugs on Saturday, but not direct mail, newspapers, periodicals or first-class mail.

The Greeting Card Association, National Newspaper Association, American Forest & Paper Association, National Rural Letter Carriers Association and Envelope Manufacturers Association trade groups, along with the National Association of Letter Carriers labor union, are among many pushing to preserve Saturday delivery.

"We all lose if the postal service doesn't continue with Saturday delivery," said Rafe Morrissey, vice president for postal affairs at the Greeting Card Association.

Part of the argument to be relayed to members of Congress this week is that the postal service it acting illegally in its plans to unilaterally end Saturday mail delivery. That’s because Congress, through a series of continuing resolutions, has kept in place a requirement for six-day delivery.

The current resolution, however, expires March 27, which prompted the postal service to announce plans for the end of Saturday delivery, Heath said.

“Whether Congress passes a complete appropriations bill or another continuing resolution, it could still keep the (six-day-a-week delivery provision). The expiration date is not a valid legal reason to make a decision, unless you are trying to make a force play to get a lot of attention,” Heath said.

Another argument to be made by the supporters of retaining Saturday mail delivery is that the projected annual savings of about $2 billion is exaggerated.

In fact, the U.S Postal Regulatory Commission has said it believes the estimate of savings is considerably too high. U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who is a co-sponsor of the House bill to preserve Saturday delivery, also said the postal service has not substantiated its projected $2 billion in annual savings from ending Saturday delivery.

Regardless of the accurate figure, the savings won’t come close to solving the postal service’s financial problems. In fact, it may simply drive more business away from the postal service, Heath said.

“The real problem is the unfair requirement from the 2006 postal reform act for the U.S. Postal Service to prefund future benefits over a 10-year period at more than $5 billion  per year. This is over and above the $2 billion paid from the postal service operating budget each year already,” he said. “No other government agency has this requirement. It was just a budget trick that year to help the deficit.”

Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa added, “By requiring the postal service to pre-fund retirement health benefits to the tune of over $50 billion over 10 years, which no other agency or business has to do, Congress is tying their hands. The USPS would not be in the dire situation it is today if it had not been required to pre-pay these funds.”

Another key factor is the impact ending Saturday delivery would have on rural areas, the elderly and some businesses, such as smaller daily newspapers.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, said, “Cutting down mail delivery to five days per week will not save the postal service from insolvency. This short sighted measure will deal a crippling blow to the millions of Americans and small businesses who rely on the timely and reliable delivery to every community in our nation.”

While newspaper industry representatives and many others will continue to press for a continuation of Saturday delivery — while also pushing for comprehensive financial reform measures that would improve the postal services’ bottom line — discussions are taking place and plans are being made if the effort is unsuccessful.

Heath said, “Newspapers with Saturday issues should get their department heads together and analyze options.”

That’s what has been taking place at the Daily News, led by Cristina Anderson, the newspaper’s circulation manager, in recognizing the importance of the several thousand Northeast and North Central Nebraskans who receive the newspaper via the mail.

Expansion of motor routes, more use of electronic delivery of the newspaper and other possibilities are all being discussed.

 

Four Months After Sandy, Bay Station Post Office Reopens With Limited Service
Sheepshead Bites
March 11, 2013
Ned Berke

After four months of repairs following extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy, the Bay Station Post Office at 2628 East 18th Street reopens today offering limited service.

Community Board 15′s liaison to the United States Postal Service, Don Brown, informed us over the weekend that box mail and parcel pickup services resume today. The retail service should be operational by the end of the week, he wrote, though that’s not yet definite. Until then, mobile unit operations will continue to provide service until the interior retail service resumes.

The station is open Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., according to the USPS website.

 

I-Team Consumer Alert: Postal money bounce
WHEC
March 11, 2013
Brett Davidsen

Small business owners might be targeted for fraud by scammers using the U.S. Postal Service as a way to gain your trust.

According to U.S. Postal Inspectors, international con-artists are now targeting small business owners with a scheme that could add up to big money. This is a scenario that is actually pretty easy to spot if you're armed with the right information.

News10NBC is talking about counterfeit U.S. Postal money orders.    You see someone pay with one of these money orders, and you might be inclined to trust that it's legit. But be warned, that's what con-men want you to think. But you can guard against this fraud if you see the warning signs.
 
This scam began with an e-mail order placed with a minuteman press store. The order was for fliers and business cards.

Ken Schaeffer, fraud victim, said, "Everything appeared to be legitimate."
 
Then the payment arrived.

Schaeffer said, "We received a postal money order and it was for more than what it should have been."

The owner was told that part of the payment was for the printing expenses. The other for business expenses for the person picking up the order.

Schaeffer said, "He asked us to go to the bank, deposit it, and if we could please take what was left and send the balance to his partner."

Schaeffer did that and a few days later checked his bank account.
The phony money order had bounced.

Schaeffer said, : "A wonderful scammer, par excellence"

In fact, the con-man even sent a second money order and was about to try the same scam. But, by then, Schaeffer was on to him.

Schaeffer said,  "In fact, they had the same serial number on the bottom."

So how can you avoid being a victim?

Blanca Alvarez, U.S. Postal inspector, said, "If it's a postal money order, go to the post office. Ask then to look up the money order and find out if its legitimate."

Schaeffer said, "You feel violated. You feel taken advantage of. You're saying, 'Gosh, I should have known better.'"

Schaeffer ended up losing about $800. Unfortunately, this can be an effective scam because Americans trust the U.S. Postal Service and the perceived security of their money orders.
   
But you can protect yourself. Postal money orders do have security features you can check like water marks and security threads.  For more on these features, click here.

 

Postal Service Sells Georgetown Post Office to EastBanc
Georgetown
March 11, 2013
Robert Devaney

The United States Postal Service has signed a contract with local developer EastBanc to sell the historic Georgetown post office on 31st Street, as first reported by the Washington Examiner. The price of the sale is more than $4.5 million.

Anthony Lanier, president of EastBanc, said a post office will remain on the first floor of the 19th-century building which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to the Examiner, "a spokeswoman for the Postal Service confirmed that it had formed a contract with a buyer and that a retail post office would remain on the premises after the sale."

The sale to EastBanc has been years in the making. EastBanc's design and use for the building was reviewed by the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, the Old Georgetown Board and D.C.'s Board of Zoning. Future use of the post office building calls for offices, a back addition with much of the new space below grade, according to the Georgetown-Burleith ANC.

Lanier's EastBanc group owns and has redeveloped many M Street retail buildings. It is known for its development of Cadys Alley and the adjacent stores. Another EastBanc development is in the works for condos at Wisconsin Avenue and the C&O Canal to be built on the Verizon parking lot, next to Grace Church The United States Postal Service has signed a contract with local developer EastBanc to sell the historic Georgetown post office on 31st Street, as first reported by the Washington Examiner. The price of the sale is more than $4.5 million.

 

Issa says new USPS delivery schedule can go ahead
Fierce Government
March 11, 2013
Geoff Whiting

The Postal Service has the authority to adopt its proposed new delivery schedule even if the next continuing resolution doesn't provide specific language allowing it, says Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Issa said on the House floor March 6 that he believes the proposed CR would not prevent the Postal Service from adjusting its delivery schedule even though bill language ties $100 million in appropriations to 6 day and rural mail delivery. The language is a standard clause Congress has included in spending bills since late 1982; the ambiguity of its wording led the Postal Regulatory Commission to conclude in 2008 that "the Postal Service exercises considerable flexibility in determining how it delivers the mail."

Issa said since USPS plans to deliver packages and certain priority and express mail on Saturdays, it will fulfill the 6-day requirement.

Postal Service spokesman Dave Partenheimer said USPS is currently looking into Issa's statement but does not have a specific comment about the House's proposed CR.

Partenheimer did say the move is expected to save USPS $2 billion annually once fully implemented and is a responsible approach to the service's current financial situation. "The Postal Service is losing $25 million per day and must close a projected $20 billion gap by 2016 or risk becoming a long-term burden to the American taxpayers," he said.

He said the Postal Service still plans to move to the reduced delivery schedule on August 5.

 

United States Post Office Tweaks Mail Delivery Schedule
WQAD
March 11, 2013
Katrina Lamansky

According to the United States Postal Service, the Postmaster General is introducing a six-day package, five-day mail delivery plan. On Monday – Saturday, packages will be delivered, and Monday – Friday mail will be delivered to street addresses.

  • Post Offices and P.O. Boxes will continue to be open six days per week.
  • Express mail will still be delivered seven days per week.
  • Mail will no longer be collected from blue collection boxes on Saturdays.

The Postal Service has projected a $238 billion shortfall over the next decade, promoting the changes.

Changes are expected to begin in August of 2013.

 

USPS customers concerned with mail delays
WALB
March 12, 2013
Krystyne Brown

The United States Postal Service shut down the mail processing facility at Albany's main post office on South Slappey Boulevard on February 23rd.

Now, even if you're mailing a letter across town, it goes to Tallahassee, Florida before it travels back to the "Good Life City."

"Now, I'm wondering how long it takes and that's a big concern for me. Because I need to know when my mail is going to get where it's going to get," said Joy Williams, USPS Customer.

When we asked USPS representatives about the delay, they issued a statement saying the service postal customers are getting now is not the level of service they wish to provide.

They say they have reported the issue and ask for patience while they work to ensure there won't be a change in customer service.

However, some Albany customers say they've noticed a difference.

One customer even says a package he received recently from Atlanta should have only taken three or so days, but ended up taking about two weeks.

"To Forest Park sorting facility, then also to Tallahassee and back to Forest Park and then here to Albany, It did seem to take about two weeks for a two hour trip," said Armond Holland, a frequent USPS Customer.

Other frequent customers haven't seen the change yet but say they are concerned about the delays they might experience in the future.

USPS representative said they are currently working through the kinks of the change and they hope to have things back to normal soon.

We'll have more on what they are doing to fix the delays when the information becomes available.

 

Union Plans Rally To Save Saturday Mail Delivery
New Jersey Today
March 11, 2013

PERTH AMBOY — The National Association of Letter Carriers, the labor union that represents city delivery letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service, is planning a day of action on Sunday, March 24, to raise public support for the continuation of Saturday mail delivery service. There will be a rally outside the Perth Amboy Post Office at 205 Jefferson Street from 1-4 p.m.

The March 24 date was chosen in hopes of encouraging federal lawmakers to maintain the six-day mail delivery language in the continuing budget resolution, expected to be renewed by Congress on March 27.

Last month, the Postal Service announced cost-cutting plans to move away from six-day mail delivery, eliminating most Saturday mail delivery beginning the week of Aug. 5. Packages would still be delivered Monday through Saturday.

“We want to make this fight about the cost of losing Saturday mail delivery and how it would affect people in each and every state,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

While the Postal Service faces a serious budgetary crisis, it is being hampered by a Congressional requirement to fund all retiree health benefits for the next 75 years, something that no other public agency or private company is required to do. In fiscal years 2007 through 2010, the Postal Service had a net operational profit of $611 million delivering mail.

Service reductions could drive more customers away from the Postal Service, potentially wiping out much or all of the anticipated savings.

 

No USPS Saturday delivery could hamper voting by mail
KERO
March 11, 2013
Wyatt Buchanan

Sacramento Bee - The recent decision by the U.S. Postal Service to end Saturday deliveries was met with shrugs by some people, but elections officials say they are alarmed that it could result in fewer votes being counted.

That's because increasingly across the country people are choosing to vote by mail. In last fall's election, 6.7 million people cast mail ballots, more than half of those who participated, according to the secretary of state.

Elimination of Saturday mail deliveries -- which postal officials said also includes eliminating pickups from mailboxes -- could cause some ballots to miss the Tuesday election deadline to be valid because most voters wait until the last several days to send them, elections officials said.

"We mail out a tremendous amount of our vote-by-mail ballots for weeks before, but the ballots come back really the last nine days, and they're really loaded to the last few days," said Steve Weir, Contra Costa County, Calif., clerk.

He said the most critical day is four days before an election because that's about the average amount of time it takes for ballots to arrive by Election Day. More than a quarter of all ballots counted by his office arrived in the mail on that final day, though some people also dropped them off at polling places and the county office, Weir said.

With elections held on Tuesdays, four days out just happens to be Saturday.

But Postal Service officials said it's not a concern.

"You can't really say that (dropping Saturday delivery) is going to affect any of that at all," said Gus Ruiz, a spokesman for the Postal Service in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Fresno, Calif. However, he said if there is a problem, "It's something we can work through."

States differ nationwide on deadlines for receiving ballots through the mail. Most of the 32 that have such a system are similar to California, and require that ballots be received by the time the polls close. But given the change with mail delivery, there may be political support for extending that, at least in California.

State Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, has introduced a bill, SB29, to allow the ballots to be counted up to three days after the election if they are postmarked by Election Day. A similar bill he introduced last year failed to win approval.

In some states, though, lawmakers have introduced bills to shorten the time ballots can be accepted. There is such a proposal in the Legislature in Washington state, where all elections are conducted via the mail.

Weir and others said they had opposed previous attempts to extend the time frame in California because of the potential for manipulating an election, but said they have changed their minds.

Weir said he's seen too many ballots that were postmarked plenty of days ahead of an election, but still arrived too late to be counted.

Elections officials said they have long dealt with logistical problems in conducting elections at least partly through the mail, like slow or misdelivery of ballots, though they said they had good relationships with postal officials and work together to try to solve issues.

Still, people who follow vote-by-mail issues said that problems with Postal Service delivery are well known.

Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation, said stopping Saturday delivery and pickup is a "huge concern" for coming elections.

She said her group recommends sending in ballots at least a week prior to an election, but added that it doesn't guarantee the ballot will be counted.

"The only thing worse than people not voting is people trying to vote and not being able to," Alexander said. "It's become serious."

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in President 613

See multiple reviews and viewpoints regarding the latest proposed Postal legislation by Congressman Issa-this is partial legislation-not comprehensive, it only covers discontinuing Saturday delivery of letter mail and keeping parcel delivery and retail operations on Saturday. 

Some of these articles seem to miss that fact and state that we would loose parcel business, loose employees and have dire consequences, which is why it is so important to understand the facts and take a lot of what you read as opinion, not fact, unless it comes with data.  We have thousands of vacancies nationally, our average age is over 54, the USPS has not laid anyone off yet and it is unlikely that they would have to.  They could also offer an early out to carriers and easily replace them with the massive number of CCA's we have been hiring and working. The possibility of not having letter delivery on Saturday is why we have not been hiring career employees for many years. When you ask employees, most say they would like to have Saturday off and most fight to get it off if they can. It would definitely result in fewer sick calls, less money spent and less chaos covering replacement employees. Note this latest bill also calls for 5 day delivery on weeks where there is a holiday.....to take away the argument that people would not get regular 5 day mail service every week.

I don't like the idea that this is not straight forward and is mixed in with the goal of restoring some military COLA benefits....but....This bill is a strategic way to narrow down who is for or against just the one issue-Saturday letter delivery-and possibly get something passed that would save the USPS big money and what 80% of our customers say they would be OK with. It is not like we are going to loose any business with this move-people would still mail what they are currently mailing. Other countries have already successfully done this. Up until now most in Congress have been speaking out of both sides of their mouth on this Saturday delivery issue. If this comes to a vote they will have to decide on just one issue, not the entire complex set of multiple Postal legislation bills covering numerous issues.

Don't forget that this request is in perfect alignment with what the USPS has for many years been clamoring for and President Obama has agreed with the USPS. Obama's budget requests last year and again this year include the elimination of Saturday letter mail (not parcel) delivery. Let's see what happens with this latest Postal legislation.

Also, see the lead article about an individual in the military not being treated correctly according to the law. One of the reasons that each year we are all mandated to take the USERRA refresher and test on-line. There is a lot of financial liability for not following the law if the employee serving military duty decides to fight back in MSPB.

Thanks,

Mary

 

Postal Service ordered to reinstate GI, potentially pay millions in back pay, fees
Stars and Stripes (Washington)

January 3, 2014
Chris Carroll

WASHINGTON — A federal board has again ordered the U.S. Postal Service to reinstate a National Guardsman wrongly fired from his job as a postal worker because he took military leave, telling the agency to pay him what could add up to millions in back pay, benefits and legal fees.

On Monday, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which rules on disputed federal personnel actions, reiterated that the decision in 2000 to fire Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson, now 50, violated federal laws designed to protect troops’ civilian jobs.

The board made a similar ruling in 2012 and ordered the Postal Service to immediately reinstate Erickson, a decorated long-time Special Forces member, even if it planned to appeal. But the Postal Service appealed the ruling without reinstating Erickson.

On Monday, the board also declared that a Postal Service argument that Erickson was not entitled to back pay and benefits because he did not meet a deadline to request reemployment was invalid because he had already been wrongly fired.

According to the ruling, which the board described as its “final decision,” the Postal Service has 20 days to reinstate Erickson and 60 days to provide back pay since 2000, plus interest and benefits. The Postal Service must also report back to the Merit Systems Protection Board and describe how it has carried out the actions, the ruling said.

Erickson’s attorney, Matthew Estes of the law firm Tully Rinckey, said that his client hopes the ongoing battle with the Postal Service — which has included numerous rulings from the Merit System Protection Board as well as a federal court — is over.

“As far as we’re concerned, this is the end of the road and we’re finally done,” he said.

Estes said the law firm has not yet made a precise calculation of what Erickson is owed, but said that with more than a decade of back pay, lost benefits and attorney fees, it could exceed $2 million.

Postal Service spokeswoman Darlene Casey said Friday she could not comment on the ruling or how the Postal Service planned to react.

“It is inappropriate for us to comment at this time, as litigation is ongoing and appeals are possible,” Casey said.

Erickson, who served with the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group at the time of his firing, has been battling for reinstatement for years. He was hired in 1988 by the Postal Service and joined the National Guard in 1990, he said.

He missed several years of work because of military service, but never surpassed the five-year limit established by the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. Nevertheless, the Postal Service argued he had abandoned his job.

Erickson, who is now active duty and works for U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., was on an operation with the Special Forces when he received a letter informing him that he’d been fired.

“I thought it was a joke at first,” he said. “Here I am doing my call to duty — what I’m required to do because I’m in the military — and they fire me for it.”

He said he knows other soldiers who have illegally lost jobs because of the obligations of military service, and said he hopes Monday’s ruling encourages them to fight back. And he hopes it serves as a warning to employers not inclined to follow the law.

Erickson, who said he has been fortunate to have the Army to support his family after losing his post office job, isn’t sure he wants to go back to a civilian job working for the agency that threw him out of a job and worked to keep him gone even though he’s entitled to it.

“It’s a shame,” he said. “You go over there and fight the enemy, then you come back here and have to fight your employer for your job.”

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US lawmaker introduces bill to end Saturday mail delivery
Post & Parcel

January 6, 2014

After another year failing to pass crucial postal reform legislation, US lawmakers have begun the process once again in Congress.

Congressman Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee has re-introduced his proposals to help the cash-strapped US Postal Service restore fiscal sustainability.

But the Bill, HR 3801 is anything but comprehensive, as USPS has been hoping for to solve its multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.

The measure would only provide the power for the Postal Service to reduce its delivery frequency to five days per week for regular letters, allowing it to end Saturday delivery for First Class and Standard Mail items.

Package delivery and express services would continue to take place six days per week, while post office opening hours would not be affected.

The proposals would require five days per week mail delivery even when a federal holiday takes place, and appears to require six days per week package delivery for competitive services only, rather than monopoly services.

Issa said: “This common sense reform will help restore the cash-strapped Postal Service to long-term solvency and is supported by the President and key Congressional leaders in both chambers.”

Bill

Issa’s bill includes postal reform measures alongside proposals on military retirement benefits.

The bill does not include the raft of measures that USPS has been calling for after after several years of massive annual losses. Importantly, it does not look to address the Postal Service’s heavy payment schedule to the federal government, in which it hands over more than $5bn a year to pay down future healthcare benefit liabilities for retirees.

USPS has suggested that moving to the five-day-a-week delivery schedule for regular letters would save as much as $2bn a year.

In order to allow the change, Congress would have to amend its budget appropriations legislation, which requires six-day mail delivery.

Issa wrote to House Appropriations committee chairman Hal Rogers last month requesting the change be made to the appropriations legislation.

The Republican Congressman from California said moving to five-day mail delivery would bring USPS in line with other national postal services, including Canada’s. He also claimed that 80% of American people are in favour of the change to mail delivery.

“If the Postal Service is not allowed to modernize its operations, a multi-billion dollar taxpayer bailout of the Postal Service will inevitably transpire in the coming years,” Issa said.

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Issa bill would end Saturday mail to repeal military pension cut
The Washington Post

January 3, 2014
Josh Hicks

A top House Republican has proposed legislation that would replace the controversial new cut in pension benefits for working-age military retirees by allowing the U.S. Postal Service to end Saturday mail delivery.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced the bill Thursday, saying his plan would trim the federal deficit by about $17 billion over 10 years.

The proposal is likely to draw criticism from postal-worker groups, such as the National Association of Letter Carriers, which has strongly opposed plans to end six-day mail delivery as a means of achieving savings for the financially troubled Postal Service.

The union has argued that the USPS, which reported a loss of $5 billion last year, would have posted a profit in 2013 if not for a congressional mandate requiring the agency to pre-fund retirement benefits for future retirees.

Issa has long been a proponent of ending six-day mail delivery, along with other proposed changes for the Postal Service. ”This common sense reform will help restore the cash-strapped Postal Service to long-term solvency,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

The chairman is hardly alone in asking for a repeal of the pension cut, which trims one percentage point off the annual cost-of-living increase for working-age military retirees as part of the budget deal that Congress and the president approved last month. The change is projected to save an estimated $6 billion over 10 years.

Lawmakers have lined up with legislation to replace the pension cut with savings in other areas after the measure triggered a major backlash from veterans, military groups and many lawmakers, including those who voted for the overall budget.

Among the other repeal bills:

* Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced legislation last month that would achieve equivalent savings through increased efforts to reduce fraudulent claims for child tax credits.

* Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) proposed a bill that would end “a tax loophole for offshore corporations” instead of trimming pension payments.

* Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) introduced legislation that bring about similar savings by ending payments to Egypt and Pakistan, along with selling mineral rights on federal lands, among other measures.

* Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) floated a bill that would simply repeal the pension cut without finding equivalent savings.

The movement to end the pension cut is gaining momentum, and lawmakers have no shortage of options for stopping it. The question is whether they can agree on a single plan.

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Issa Introduces Bill to Stop Military Pension Cuts
The Washington Free Beacon

January 3, 2014
Elizabeth Harrington

A new bill offered in the House of Representatives by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) would replace pension cuts to military retirees by ending the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) delivery of Saturday mail.

The proposal would save an estimated $17 billion over 10 years and eliminate a controversial provision in the budget deal passed last month that hit military retirees with a 1 percent decrease in their annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). The budget agreement did not cut pensions for federal civilian retirees.

“This legislation will restore cost-of-living adjustments for our military retirees and not only replace the savings but nearly triple them—saving $17 billion over 10 years according to conservative USPS estimates,” said Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“This common sense reform will help restore the cash-strapped Postal Service to long-term solvency and is supported by the president and key congressional leaders in both chambers,” he said. President Barack Obama recommended scrapping Saturday mail in his budget proposal last year.

The bill (H.R. 3801), introduced on Thursday, would authorize the USPS to switch to a “modified” schedule, eliminating the delivery of paper mail on Saturdays while keeping package delivery. The USPS has tried to drop Saturday mail in the past, a move U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says would save $2 billion per year.

Issa’s office said express and priority mail delivery would not change under the proposal, and post offices would continue to be open on Saturdays.

The bipartisan budget deal signed by Obama on Dec. 26 included a controversial provision that will cost military retirees up to $124,000 in lost retirement pay. Disabled military retirees were not exempt from the change.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) defended the cuts, saying it would save $6 billion over 10 years. Ryan has said he is open to changing the provision, which does not take effect until December 2015, if “people believe there’s a better way to solve this problem.”

Issa’s bill is the latest alternative to the cuts. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, has proposed closing a loophole in the Refundable Child Tax Credit, which currently allows illegal aliens to receive tax refunds, to make up the savings. A bill proposed in the House on Dec. 19 would offset the cuts by requiring an individual’s Social Security number in order to be eligible for refunds.

Sessions urged the adoption of his amendment to stop what he calls welfare for illegal immigrants in a letter to Rep. Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), the chairs of the House and Senate appropriations committees. The loophole cost taxpayers $4.2 billion in 2010.

“Clearly there are better ways for Congress to offset this two-year spending increase than to unexpectedly—and without coordinating with our military families and Department of Defense—slice into the lifetime pensions of those currently serving in uniform,” he said.

“Surely we can agree it is better to end the fraudulent abuse of our system by illegally present tax filters than it is to cut the pensions of military men and women, including those who are disabled as a result of their service to our nation,” Sessions said.

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Darrell Issa's Mischievous Postal Reform Bill
Bloomberg Businessweek

January 3, 2014
Devin Leonard

There is something politically mischievous about U.S. Representative Darrell Issa’s new bill to end Saturday letter delivery. The California Republican announced yesterday that he has introduced legislation that would use the saving from eliminating Saturday delivery to restore cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees that were cut in last year’s budget act.

A little context is helpful here. Issa is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees the money-losing U.S. Postal Service. He has emerged as the primary advocate of postal reform in Congress. Many of his proposals have already been successfully adopted in other countries. Last month, he lauded Canada Post’s decision to end home delivery in cities.

But Issa hasn’t been able to pass his sweeping reform bills in the House. He can’t get any Democratic support, and some of his ideas spook Republicans, too. Rank-and-file members of both parties are leery of alienating voters with service cuts. They are also beneficiaries of campaign contributions from postal workers unions. The unions are staunchly opposed to reform proposals, such as ending Saturday letter delivery, that threaten the jobs of their members.

Story: Why the Postal Service Really Wants to Skip Saturday

Issa claims ending Saturday letter delivery will save $17 billion—more than enough to restore the $6 billion cut to veterans while allowing the USPS to keep the rest. The new bill is clearly an effort by Issa to put his opponents on the spot. He’s forcing them to make a choice in an election year: Do they want their bills and junk mail delivery on Saturdays so badly that they are willing to shortchange veterans? If so, they can go public with their position.

Issa isn’t being entirely cynical. Other counties are choosing to adopt major postal reforms because they fear their current systems will became financial liabilities as consumers abandon paper-based communication for the digital kind. New Zealand is moving to three-day-a-week delivery in cities. Canada wants to save money by depositing mail in neighborhood cluster boxes rather than taking it to people’s homes.

Recently, America’s political leaders have been more comfortable doing nothing. If Issa has his way, the voters may hold them accountable for it.

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Darrell Issa’s Cruelest Cut: A Seriously Cynical Attack on the Postal Service
The Nation

January 4, 2014
John Nichols

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, has made no secret of his desire to diminish and dismantle the United States Postal Service.

Issa has for some time now peddled plans to end Saturday deliveries by the USPS—which continues to perform with more agility than private firms, as holiday delivery patterns illustrated—in ways that are all but certain to make the postal service vulnerable to privatization.

Issa has a right to his opinion.

But the cynical determination with which he is now advancing it is jarring.

Issa has proposed legislation to address one of the many flaws in the budget agreement that was cobbled together in December by House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray, D-Washington: a cut to military retirement benefits to veterans under the age of 62. .

Eliminating the benefit cut is a good idea, as it is part of an austerity agreement that seeks to balance budgets by placing more of the burden on government workers and military personnel—rather than multimillionaires like Issa.

But Issa is not proposing to offset the restoration of benefits by taxing the wealthy or closing loopholes.

Rather, he wants to do so by ending Saturday mail delivery.

Ending mail delivery on the weekend would dramatically undermine the ability of the postal service to meet the demands of modern shipping and communications. The likely result would be a rapid shift of traffic to private firms, which contribute heavily to politicians but which do not provide the universal, low-cost service that is the hallmark of the postal service.

And it has the potential to do something else: harm the employment prospects of veterans.

The USPS has historically been one of the nation’s largest employers of veterans—second only to the US Department of Defense, according to USPS figures. Roughly 120,000 postal service employees—more than 20 percent of the total workforce—have records of service in the military. Roughly a third of those employees are rated as 30 percent or more disabled, a reflection of the fact that the postal service goes out of its way to provide an array of employment services and options for veterans.

Cuts to the postal service threaten an institution that provides jobs to veterans and that—thanks to its own practices and strong commitments from postal unions—respects them once they are in those jobs.

Instead of embracing Issa’s latest and most cynical assault on a necessary service, Congress should do right by veterans. It can move to strengthen the USPS, along lines proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Congressmen Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, and Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin. And it can address the benefits issue by enacting the Military Retirement Restoration Act, which has been introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire.

Shaheen’s legislation would repeal the provision in the budget agreement that cuts benefits for military retirees, including disabled veterans who are eligible for retirement benefits. It would offset the estimated $6 billion cost of doing so by ending the abuse of so-called “tax havens” by US-controlled corporations that incorporate offshore and claim “foreign” status in order to avoid paying taxes in the United States.

As US Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat who is a key co-sponsor of the legislation, notes, this provision is identical to Section 103 of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and is expected to raise over $6.6 billion over ten years.

“This is a common sense measure built on the idea that everyone needs to pay their fair share,” explains Baldwin. “By closing this one corporate tax loophole, we can ensure our military veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”

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Issa bill would lift USPS mandate to avert lower COLA
The Ripon Advance (Washington)

January 3, 2014
Aaron Martin

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would prevent a lower cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees by using savings from a modified U.S. Postal Service delivery schedule to offset the cost.

The Bipartisan Budget Act included a provision that reduced the COLA adjustment for working-age military retirees to one percentage point below the rate of inflation. The pension cuts are intended to save $6.2 billion over 10 years.

An unfunded mandate in annual appropriations legislation requires USPS to deliver paper mail six days a week. The postmaster general said USPS would modify its current schedule by reducing paper mail delivery to five days a week if the mandate were lifted.

Packages would continue to be delivered six days a week. Express and priority mail would not be affected, and post offices would remain open on Saturdays.

“This legislation will restore cost-of-living adjustments for our military retirees and not only replace the savings, but nearly triple them — saving $17 billion over 10 years, according to conservative USPS estimates,” Issa said. “This commonsense reform will help restore the cash-strapped postal service to long-term solvency and is supported by the president and key congressional leaders in both chambers.”

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in President 628

A good example of just emailing large files of information to the membership without any real reason or meaningful nexus with our role in the organization. This file is 1MB!

I usually just delete similar emails from them, but thought it would forward this to make a point that they should be only sending forward information that is of value and not just sending meaningless stuff to fill our email and then be able to say they sent us information.

We don't have time to vet through this and wonder why we are getting it. That is what our Resident Officers should be doing, and part of what they get paid to do-differentiate between meaningless and meaningful information. Instead, they want us to "Please distribute to your members."

Mary

NAPS Executive Board,

Attached is information from the Postal Service regarding the elimination of Registered Mail as a means to transport cremated remains. Please distribute to your members.

NAPS Headquarters

Cremated Remains Registered Mail Notice-1

Cremated Remains Registered Mail Notice-2

Cremated Remains Registered Mail Notice-3

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in President 624

Some interesting articles from today's papers which I have highlighted so you can see the most important sections:

Note the first article is pretty much what many customers and politicians think of us...misperceptions which our NAPS organization should be trying to turn around-people are focused on relatively high paid and benefited craft jobs and are lumping us all in together, which is a huge problem for EAS. We don't even have many craft benefits and EAS definitely do more complicated and time consuming work requiring specialized and unique skill sets with a high level of accountability.

Not sure I agree with one opinion article at the bottom about not closing/consolidating more facilities, but some of the other statements and thoughts in it were very accurate, so I put it in here.

There is going to be some Postal legislation next year-count on it-and it will move fast and purposeful so there will be less organized opposition-some of the legislation inserted will be guided by special interests that do not have the welfare of employees in mind. Most outside of government employees do not care about what we gave up for current benefits or what we were promised when we were hired. They are focused on taking away and "equalizing" us with those outside of government, even though this employment was open to all and others were either not qualified or not interested back when private sector employment offered more money and perks.

This is an area where the EAS employees and retirees could be negatively affected for life by taking away choices and benefits of current and past Postal employees. This is not Federal legislation, this is Postal legislation that will only affect Postal employees. Think healthcare.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Mary  

Cut expenses for U.S. Postal Service
Chico Enterprise-Record

December 21, 2013
Joseph J. Neff

The U. S. Postal Service refuses to address the cause of its near bankruptcy. Pay, benefits and pensions need halving to private-sector similar clerk positions. It is unfair to ask the 88 percent of nonunion private-sector workers and retirees to pay double to triple pay, benefits and pensions for government union employees.

Only 18 percent of private-sector workers have pensions and it is rare to inflation-adjust these pensions that are seldom granted prior to age 65. Civilians lose their employer medical coverage upon early or late retirement. Private-sector employees have six to nine days of vacation and few have paid sick days.

The reality is society has halved their use of stamped envelopes through email and texting. This decline started in the 1980s. In typical fashion, liberal government has bought union votes, through burdening taxpayers with golden union pay, benefits and pensions.

Cut the pay to $12 to $15 hourly, provide bronze insurance plans with employees paying one quarter, limit vacation days to nine that must be used in the year earned, end defined pensions and substitute a 401(k) with a 5 percent salary match plus 7.65 percent of salary for Medicare and Social Security, limit paid sick days to three yearly, and delay retirement to age 65.

 

First Class Bribery
The Washington Free Beacon

December 20, 2013
Lachlan Markay

The U.S. Postal Service steered millions of dollars in contracts to companies that bribed employees or had relationships with them that violated ethics laws, according to an inspector general report released on Wednesday.

The IG identified eleven instances of employees at USPS vehicle maintenance facilities accepting bribes from contractors, receiving kickbacks for steering work to certain companies, or awarding to contracts to family members.

The report attributed many of the procurement problems to poor oversight of USPS contract awards.

“As a result, Postal Service agreements with suppliers completing vehicle repairs and maintenance are at risk of fraud, including potential conflicts of interest, bribery, and collusion,” the IG said.

More than $13 million in contracts were awarded to two companies, both owned by the same person, after he paid “cash and noncash bribes” to vehicle maintenance facility employees, the IG found.

Two maintenance facility employees, one identified as a manager and the other as a supervisor, conspired with another contractor to file fraudulent invoices in exchange for a share of the funds.

One nonsupervisory employee steered contracts to his son, who assumed a false identity in order to hide their relationship. The resulting award violated procurement ethics rules.

“These violations occurred in an environment in which management did not define clear roles and responsibilities for VMRAs to ensure separation of duties,” the IG said.

Vehicle maintenance “personnel who selected the suppliers also influenced the assignment of repairs and approval of payments to the suppliers,” which reduced USPS’s ability to weed out fraudulent or otherwise illicit awards.

“Further, no one above the facility level monitored the payments and services allocated to each supplier or performed periodic audits of transactions, invoices, and maintenance at VMFs,” the report added. “VMF personnel confirmed that district personnel do not review their work.”

USPS management officials disagreed with the IG’s conclusion that a lack of clearly defined oversight roles allowed the violations to occur.

“The deficiencies discussed in [the report] indicate a willful intent to commit fraudulent activity for personal gain,” said USPS’s vice president for supply management in a letter to the IG.

“Based on the number of individuals involved in each case, collusion was clearly used to circumvent known policies,” they added.

The IG stood by its conclusion. “We contend that the lack of annual procurement ethics training contributed to an environment that allowed these violations to occur,” the report stated.

 

Trying to clear a way for postal legislation
The Hill

December 22, 2013
Bernie Becker

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee says he wants to clear postal legislation out of his panel in January, after delaying a mark up three times in recent weeks.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) says he and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), have used the delays to shore up their bipartisan postal proposal.

Carper said that he wants to meet with committee members on the legislation next month, and then schedule a fourth markup – one he’s more confident the committee will be able to follow through on.

“I think we’re making progress there,” Carper told The Hill on Friday.

Still, Carper and Coburn have acknowledged the challenges in getting postal legislation not only through their committee, but past the Senate and eventually to the president’s desk.

Lawmakers and outside groups are split on a string of complicated issues, including whether the Postal Service should reduce six-day delivery, the agency’s healthcare costs and whether to raise prices for sending letters or packages.

Carper and Coburn are also trying to move forward with their plan at a time when the partisan divide in the Senate is even starker than usual, following the Democrats’ invoking of the “nuclear option” to ease the passage of nominees.

“People who support the mailers don’t want to raise prices. People who support the unions don’t want to cut costs,” Coburn said. “You can’t solve it unless you solve it – which means everybody’s got to take some pain.”

Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee – mostly from rural, red states – have already raised a host of concerns about the bill crafted by Carper and Coburn, which would open the door to slower delivery standards.

More liberal Democrats, in fact, complained from the moment that Coburn and Carper dropped the bill in August that the measure wasn’t as strong as the postal legislation the Senate passed in 2012.

“There’s still some issues that have to be ironed out,” Coburn said.

“If you move the bill too far, you won’t have any members on my side voting for it,” the Oklahoma Republican added, noting the complaints from the other side of the aisle. “So, you got to find the sweet spot. It’s difficult.”

Plus, some postal unions are taking even more of a hard line against ending Saturday delivery after USPS lost $5 billion in fiscal 2013 – less red ink than expected.

Those officials say that Congress can put the agency on firm ground by eliminating a requirement that the agency pre-pay for future retirees’ healthcare.

But Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and other top postal officials, while deriding the prepayment, say that the agency needs to make other changes, even after the agency consolidated mail processing centers and reduced hours at rural post offices.

Those changes include ending Saturday letter delivery, while still delivering packages – a growing part of the agency’s business – six days a week. USPS has also reached an agreement to deliver packages from the online giant Amazon on Sundays in some locations.

With all that in mind, one postal observer off Capitol Hill said the Senate bill still has a ways to go before making it through the Homeland Security panel.

“There remains deep concerns about Saturday, rates and governance, service standards and more,” the observer said. “It may be time to consider a more streamlined approach to the bill.”

In fact, lawmakers have struggled to get postal reform legislation across the finish line for going on three years now. The House Oversight Committee passed a measure in July, but the bill has yet to be scheduled for floor time.

Oversight passed a measure in the last Congress as well, only to see GOP leaders keep it off the chamber floor, worried about what would have been a tough political vote,

The Postal Regulatory Commission is also expected to rule soon on a proposed postal rate increase opposed by sectors that use the mail, a decision which could also alter the debate on Capitol Hill.

 

Letter: Costs put public/private parcel delivery services into perspective
Corvallis Gazette Times

December 20, 2013
Ronald N. O’Leary

Concerning the “perfect example of private vs. government run business”; regarding mail deliver (FedEx delivered, USPS didn’t) in Jennifer Hamilton’s letter on Dec. 12:

I would like to offer a couple of observations.

If Ms. Hamilton would like to use FedEx to send an envelope weighing one-sixteenth of a pound, here are some (approximate) FedEx rates for a couple of locations: East Coast U.S. $23; Corvallis $15. (USPS would do either location for 46 cents.)

Upping that to an eight-pound package would run: East Coast $47; Corvallis; $19 (USPS large-flat rate box goes for $16.85 either location).

Personally, at these price points, I think I can live with this specific case of “how the government has worsened people’s lives because they think they can do it better than private enterprise.”

As an aside, I would be interested in what were some of “all the other examples recently” mentioned in Jennifer Hamilton’s letter.

 

Editorial: A profitable Postal Service
Eugene Register-Guard

December 20, 2013

Obituaries for the U.S. Postal Service have been written so often that the pallbearers, including members of Congress and the service’s leadership, are growing impatient, and continue to press for measures that would hasten the nation’s mail delivery network to the grave. But the Postal Service is showing some color in its cheeks. It would recover fully if it were no longer forced to submit to harmful remedies.

Harmful remedies, however, continue to be prescribed — for example, the closure of the Gateway mail processing center in Springfield. Earlier this week a group of protesters gathered to oppose the closure. Seven were arrested. The closure would displace 169 employees and cause Lane County residents’ mail to be sorted in Portland, resulting in delays.

The Gateway closure and others like it across the country, along with such cost-cutting measures as an end to Saturday mail delivery, might be accepted as inevitable if the Postal Service were a dinosaur lumbering toward the tar pits of bankruptcy and obsolescence. But the service ended the 2013 fiscal year $600 million in the black. Service reductions and facility closures would cut losses that have already been reversed.

The Postal Service did not report its financial results as showing a profit. Instead, it announced a $5 billion loss for 2013. “We’re in a deep financial hole,” the service’s chief financial officer told a news conference. “We can’t continue to remain in this precarious position.”

The report is technically accurate, because the Postal Service carried on its books a $5.6 billion obligation to prefund retired employees’ health care benefits. No other government agency or private business is subject to a similar prefunding requirement — it results from a misguided effort by Congress to reduce earlier Postal Service surpluses without making the federal deficit look bigger.

Prefunding debits account for about $17 billion of the Postal Service’s $21 billion in losses in 2011 and 2012. Even without the prefunding obligation, the service has had deficits larger than last year’s results can erase. But the numbers are headed in the right direction. The volume of first-class mail declined steeply with the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, but held nearly steady in 2013. Total revenues are up, and expenses are down.

Most encouragingly, revenue from package deliveries rose by 8 percent last year — even before the Postal Service and Amazon.com announced a new agreement for Sunday deliveries. Last year’s increase flows in part from the fact that the Postal Service can reach many addresses more economically than private competitors such as FedEx and UPS. The Amazon deal shows that online retailers recognize the value of the Postal Service’s biggest asset, its universal distribution network,

Weakening this network by closing mail processing centers and curtailing deliveries would reduce its revenue-generating potential. Taking such steps just when the Postal Service is turning the corner to profitability would be doubly short-sighted. Yet the service’s leaders continue to press forward with plans to cut their way to solvency, while many in Congress applaud. No wonder people are angry enough to be arrested at protests.

Congress hasn’t been able to pass a postal reform bill in three years, partly because members can’t agree on whether to throw the Postal Service a life preserver or a brick. The brick-tossers include those who see the Postal Service as the epitome of big government, bloated and unionized. Those standing by with life preservers include Rep. Peter DeFazio, who is sponsoring legislation that would free the Postal Service of its unreasonable health care prefunding burden and give it more flexibility in services and pricing. The latest financial results should persuade Congress that the Postal Service has a future, and improve the prospects of proposals like DeFazio’s.

TAKING CARE OF POSTAL BUSINESS

2013 Holiday Mailing Season by the Numbers

15 Billion       Cards, letters and packages delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve

420 Million    Packages delivered during this year’s holiday period

6 Million        Customers who visited a Post Office on Dec. 16, the busiest shipping and mailing day of the year

6 Million        Customers who skipped the trip to a Post Office on Dec. 16, and instead did their shipping and shopping online at usps.com

 

607 Million    Cards, letters and packages mailed on Dec. 16

500,000       Shipping labels printed on usps.com on Dec. 16

75 Million     Customers who visited usps.com this holiday season

13 Billion      Cards delivered during the holiday season

528 Million   Cards, letters and packages processed on average day during the year

545 Million   Cards, letters and packages processed on average day during the holiday season

152 Million   Addresses the U.S. Postal Service delivers to

522,144      Number of outstanding, hardworking U.S. Postal Service employees!

 

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in EAS Postings 682

Watch what you wish for......take a look at this message-looks like we liked this bill in 2006 when it passed, but you would never know it now from the rhetoric we hear from virtually the same players. They were all literally fighting to get in the picture for the signing of this legislation, which made the cover of many publications, including The Postal Supervisor. This legislation was declared a big victory for the membership in 2006.

So, when the same groups rally around any of the current Postal legislative bills out there, make sure we learn a lesson from history. Take a long and hard look at what exactly "our" representative groups are pushing for and the long term ramifications it will have on our individual careers and benefits-even into retirement.

Is this why they say "History repeats itself"?

Mary  

Postal-Reform-2006

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in Postal Reform 680

They use Fed Ex-check out what the sign says..... Priority Mail can beat that!

NASA

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in President 726

Open the attachment. It is interesting that on the same day the Postal Service responded to NAPS Headquarters they signed this agreement with the APWU.

Mary  

APWU/USPS agreement for Mail Flow Control Jobs

APWU-USPS-agreement-for-Mail-Flow-Control-Jobs

Camera-Tickets 5-8-13-2

 

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in President 2068

Attached is a policy statement from USPS Labor Relations regarding employees’ responsibility when it comes to traffic camera tickets that may be accrued while on official USPS business.

Mary  

Camera Tickets

Camera-Tickets 5-8-13-1

Camera-Tickets 5-8-13-2

 

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in President 793