• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.

EAS Postings

FYI-this issue is the source of at least 10 calls to me per week-here is my standard explanation since it was a question sent to our website.

EAS nationally are being asked to do regular daily street supervision. For over a year this has been tracked by Dean Granholm. It does not mean that you are forced to use your personal vehicle-it does force the EAS to ask how they are expected to do this and be provided transportation if they do not want to use their personal vehicle. No one can mandate anyone to use their personal vehicle and it is not up to supervisors to figure out how to get a vehicle to do their mandatory street supervision.

If you are provided a delivery vehicle to use  then you need to request and be provided driver training on it and feel safe before you take it out. You need to put all of this in writing via email to the station manager and/or postmaster.

If you choose to use your own car then the mileage used should be claimed and paid out. USPS HQ has recently been working on an initiative regarding paying EAS to have an extra rider attached to their regular insurance policy. This will be months from now if ever. I have been told that no insurance will ever cover you under any circumstances if you are driving mail in your personal vehicle (POV).

There is no requirement to use your own vehicle-in fact NAPS HQ has always officially been against doing that. This is why we should not get started using a POV when it suits us.

No one can mandate that you do that. Simply send an email to whoever is giving the order and say that you cannot use your vehicle for street supervision because it is not insured for use at work. Unless you have a special rider, you do not have coverage. Accidents are not planned events-they happen when we least expect them.

Staff cars are only going to come back if we show a need. We have all stepped up to be EAS, we do not have shop stewards and there is no specific violation if someone wants to use their own car. It is necessary for the EAS to raise the objection-“NAPS” can’t come in each time and do the objection-that makes no sense-plus, unbelievably many EAS want to use their own cars and get upset when I tell them they should not because they are not insured.

The solution is to schedule use of whatever staff cars you do have, don’t use your staff cars as delivery vehicles-no matter what, train EAS to drive “extra” delivery vehicles, rent vehicles like we did during Christmas for parcel delivery, demand payment for mileage if you volunteer to use your vehicle so that this is not a “free” option to the USPS and/or locally start paying for insurance riders for those that volunteer use of their vehicles for Postal work.

Thanks,

Mary

Continue reading
in EAS Postings 829

Today they (PMA) just posted their by-laws and rules that will be voted on this summer.

Dues look reasonable-based on salary, they take every EAS, you have to be working to be an officer, there are 3 year term limits for all-so you can’t just stay in the same position…….these guys are going to give NAPS a real run for their money and I think the competition will do us good. Having officers at the top that stay there for decades, like NAPS does, is crazy and leads to the good ole boy club, bullying of those that dare try to change things and the perception of a tired and disconnected ineffectiveness that working members complain about.

Continue reading
in EAS Postings 563

I  just put an Involuntary Reassignment Presentation on the website -please take a look, it has good information regarding Involuntary Reassignments  which are a huge topic for EAS nationally.

A lot of EAS contact me regarding this issue, but they don't want to say anything, they want NAPS to be the one making the first move and want to be silent bystanders . Some EAS have moved so many times that it is almost impossible for even them to remember what their "real" assignment is. It is the EAS position that they were last officially awarded or on official detail to. The key word is "official." That is why if you change hours, days off or work location, you should always make sure that the change was officially made and that there is a paper trail, or if you are on a detail that there is a 1723. Many stay silent knowing that they have a "deal" and don't want to take the chance that someone will take it away once it is exposed. Don't forget-when EAS make "schedule deals" they are also not being fair to other EAS that might have put in for the position if it was posted with great days off, hours and work location.

This is very frustrating for me because we have been dealing with this issue nationally for decades and here in Sierra Coastal I think there are still a lot of EAS that do not realize there is a policy. Managers at all levels should be held accountable for moving EAS without following policy and procedure. Also, EAS need to stand up for themselves and when this occurs, let their manager know that there is a policy, process and procedure that they would like to follow and that they want NAPS involved. Many EAS want us to be the "sheriff" and do it for them so that we can "be the bad guy." We have our own jobs to do and are not full time officers patrolling the district, also, if they are not the ones that get us involved in a proper manner, then later, if they are offered a backroom deal for an assignment they like, many no longer want NAPS to continue working on the issue. It makes the NAPS officer look bad "for causing a problem" and also wastes our precious time!

We get involved after the EAS has let the manager know that they believe a schedule change is an involuntary reassignment and that they want NAPS involved.  Please read this presentation, it does a good job of explaining the issue.

Yes, the HQ letters are weak, but we should be looking at the spirit and intent of the letters and not allow others to pick them apart as if they are looking for loopholes in a union contract. These letters were provided to NAPS based on issues in the field that HQ says should not even be occurring.

Continue reading
in EAS Postings 750

Over the weekend at the Pacific Area Training event held at LAX on Saturday, the question of how to return to the craft continued to be discussed, since we used to be able to go back to the craft if we wanted to transfer, were just tired of it all, or were forced to negotiate this as an option for our client to retain Postal employment due to discipline. 

I was surprised that many there did not know this information, even though out of the 25 or so attendees, most were officers that represent. I even had to let labor relations know about this when they were going to let a non member go back to the craft a month ago.

I have underlined and bolded the important parts of this information.

Please read the portion that I have re-printed below-

4. NAPS would like to know the process an EAS employee must follow when requesting to 

return to the craft. If a request to return a craft position is approved for an EAS employee 

how does the USPS determine the former EAS employee’s seniority, pay range, job type, 

domicile and level they will be assigned within the respective craft position? Are there any 

MOUs or stipulations in the new CBA that affect this process?

USPS Response: There is always a “right” to request to return to craft, but there is no 

guarantee to return. There are many issues that affect how an EAS will go back to craft 

based on the various national agreements with the unions (i.e. CCAs, PSEs, MHA’s. etc.). In 

the past, if a position was available it was easy. Today, there are many factors that will 

determine where an EAS employee may be placed if they volunteer to return to craft. PSE’s 

are covered under APWU contract even though they are non-career; they still have rights 

under APWU Agreement above EAS requesting to return to craft. Each union has different 

provisions.

 Board asked if there is an option to make the carrier reserve position as like the USPS did in 

the past. USPS stated, no. That specific option was a result of an arbitration ruling that 

required the USPS to make some adjustments.

Charlie Scialla stated that if an EAS becomes a City Carrier Assistant (CCA), they back 

without benefits as an EAS. Freeze your pension. Basically, it is like resigning from the USPS 

and asking the USPS to hire you back as a CCA. You don’t get the benefits you had as an EAS 

including most likely sick leave.

NAPS stated each post office is their own unit, so there may be an option to explore, but 

right now there is no clear path right now for EAS to return to craft. The USPS followed up 

stating that union contracts open up to other crafts to transfer in before allowing EAS 

employees.

Executive Board,

Attached are the minutes for the March 2014 NAPS/USPS Consultative meeting that was held in conjunction with our Spring Executive Board meeting. Please share with your membership.

The 2014 Spring Executive Board minutes are still being developed.  When finalized, the board minutes will be sent to you for dissemination to your membership and printed in the next available issue of The Postal Supervisor magazine.

Thank you.

NAPS Headquarters

2014 March NAPS USPS Consultative Minutes-1

2014 March NAPS USPS Consultative Minutes-2

Continue reading
in EAS Postings 3788

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!

 

Continue reading
in EAS Postings 682