One Beltway Center
5904 Richmond Highway
Alexandria, VA 22303-1864 Tel: 703-329-4550 Fax: 703-329-0466 Email:Information@Postmasters.org
August 3, 2013
The Postal Service announced another round of initial postings for 6-hour Postmaster jobs.
There are about 452 of these jobs across the country being posted in eCareer on August 20th and which will close September 4, 2013. These positions are for all the 6-hour offices which implemented POStPlan between May 4th and July 27, 2013. The LEAGUE office needs to know if these positions do not get posted. These jobs can be posted District-wide or Area-wide. The LEAGUE has suggested that these jobs be posted Area-wide to create more opportunity to find jobs. The hourly pay rate that should be posted on these positions should be $12.42 to $18.36 per hour (there was an increase effective 1/12/2013).
ELIGIBILITY STATEMENT FOR INITIAL POSTING:
This position is posted District-wide or Area-wide with a limited area of consideration (LAC) to all career EAS Postmasters and EPM Postmasters Levels 51-55. All qualified career Postmasters are eligible to apply for this position.
Noncompetitive requests from qualified career Postmasters at the same or higher grade, including DUO-impacted Postmasters applying for reassignment at their saved grade/level within their commuting area, may be submitted directly to the selecting official for consideration outside this competitive process. Noncompetitive applicants are encouraged to include a copy of their eCareer profile along with their request.
Under POStPlan, a Postmaster Level 16 or below who requests and accepts a 6-hour Postmaster position will maintain his or her currently hourly rate for hours paid in the PTPO or RMPO Postmaster position. If the current hourly rate exceeds the maximum for the grade, the rate will be protected until September 30, 2014. Beginning October 1, 2014, the hourly rate will be reduced to the maximum for the pay grade. For a summary of effects on benefits and leave for full-time Postmasters placed into part-time Postmaster positions, see Organizational Change FAQ #148 at https://liteblue.usps.gov/humanresources/organizationalchanges/pdf/oc_faq.pdf
If the initial posting does not result in a selection, the District may repost
the 6-hour Postmaster positions to all career EAS employees. These "Sequence 2" postings are limited to career EAS employees, including EAS Postmasters and EPM Postmasters Levels 51 - 55. They can be posted District-wide, Area-wide, or Service-wide.
There was also more legislative news. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Committee Chair of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, along with Ranking Committee Republican Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), introduced postal reform bill S. 1486. Click here for the entire bill. It has some language that mirrors H.R. 2748. We are happy to see movement on the Senate side but, at first glance, we have a number of concerns with the legislation. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has already released comments on the bill and has many concerns. The LEAGUE's Legislative Counsel Robert Brinkmann will do a thorough review of this bill and will give our opinions shortly.
December 19, 2012
Release of 2013 Pay Schedules and NPA Update
The LEAGUE National Office received the non-bargaining unit salary schedules (PDF) for 2013. These schedules will go into effect January 12, 2013. Although there were no pay increases for 2012, the new schedules will raise the caps on most all EAS positions.
PFP salary determinations for FY/2013 will be subject to the Postal Service’s review of compensation practices throughout the United States economy. Based on this review, PFP program ratings will either be suspended or applied to salary determinations. For FY2014 and FY2015, PFP rating will be applied to salary determinations.
Last week, LEAGUE and NAPUS started preliminary meetings with Postal Headquarters regarding NPA and the Administrative Rules. These rules will have to be updated to remove CORE requirements. Much of the discussion centered on the need for continued communication and goal setting for Unit and Corporate goals. For 2013, NPA will be weighted with 60 percent of the NPA composite coming from Corporate goals and 40 percent coming from the Unit goals. Clearly the need to discuss how these goals can be met, progress on how we are doing during the year, and the end of year results need to be part of the process. The need for individual mitigating circumstances on Unit goals was also one of the items being discussed. The LEAGUE office will keep you updated on the final changes and complete new Administrative Rules when they are available.
December 3, 2012
Incentive Payment Information
The LEAGUE office has been getting a number of questions regarding the incentive payments for those Postmasters that took the VERA with the $20,000 incentive this past summer. The LEAGUE office received the following information regarding those payments.
The incentive payment is an adjustment that is included/generated in the normal payroll period pay cycle. The first installment is scheduled to be paid in PP 26/2012 (included on payroll checks dated 12/21/2012). The second installment is scheduled to be paid in PP 26/2013 (included on payroll checks dated 12/20/2013). Because these payments are included in the normal payroll cycle, they follow the normal payroll mailing cycle.
These checks will be mailed to the installation from which the employee retired or separated. They are included with the other checks normally sent to the office each pay period (like terminal leave payments). Former employees make arrangements with their former installations for picking up incentive payments or having those payment mailed to the former employees. There is an exception concerning employees who retired and are reemployed as PMRs. Employees who are due the incentive payment and who have been reemployed as non-career Postmaster Reliefs (PMRs) will have the incentive payments processed as part of their current pay. The incentives will be included on the checks sent to their current employing offices (or included with their Net-To-Bank amounts if that is what they have set up for the handling of their current pay.) We have approximately 275-300 employees that have come back as PMR’s.
Former employees can pick up the checks at the installations from which the employees retired or separated, or they may provide PS Forms 3077 to their final employing offices to have the checks mailed to the addresses provided by the employees on PS Forms 3077 or to the employees’ addresses of record. PS Forms 3077 must NOT be submitted to the Eagan ASC.
Anyone having issues with the incentive payment can contact the Accounting Help Desk at 1-866-974-2733 for assistance
November 8, 2012
LEAGUE Headquarters has just been notified that the FLSA exempt issue for the upgraded level 18 has been corrected. On Oct 6 there were 2858 offices upgraded to level 18 and all of these office were coded non-exempt on their Form 50. Headquarters has now evaluated all 2858 offices and found that 1168 of these offices should be upgraded to FLSA exempt status. This is the list (EXCEL) of those offices. The exempt upgrade will be effective 11/17/2012.
I wanted to share a POStPlan update, 495 offices will be impacted by POStPlan implementation and converted to RMPOs on November 17. This spreadsheet (EXCEL) shows those 495 offices, hours of operation and the APO they report to. POStPlan activities will be suspended during Thanksgiving week, Monday, November 19 through Sunday, November 25. No community meetings will be scheduled for that week and there will be no implementation activities. POStPlan activities will be suspended during the peak Christmas season, starting Saturday, December 8 and continuing through January 6, 2013.
We were also advised that Delivery and Post Office Operations decided that Delivery Unit Optimization implementations and Post Office closures will be suspended temporarily starting Monday, November 19 and continuing through Friday, January 4, 2013. This is the normal moratorium that takes place during the holiday season.
Mark W. Strong
November 5, 2012
Last week LEAGUE and NAPUS Presidents met with Postal Headquarters regarding FLSA changes and level 18 Postmaster jobs. The classification of the upgraded level 18 Postmasters jobs to non-exempt when in fact most of these positions were exempt continues to be a problem in the field. Headquarters has assured the organization heads that this issue will be fixed expeditiously and the correct status applied to each position. The FLSA law has not changed and there is no disagreement on what justifies a non-exempt vs. an exempt position. This will be corrected on those impacted Postmasters soon.
We have also been getting inquiries on why there are a number of level 18 Postmaster jobs not being posted in some parts of the country. Headquarters has stated that all new postings will have all available vacant Postmaster jobs posted including level 18s. These vacant Postmaster job opportunities are no longer limited to Postmasters only.
On the Postal Service's Blue Page you can find the new training available for RMPO and APO Postmasters. The easiest way to find this training and administrative guide is to go to the Blue Page, click on Human Resources and go to HR Home Page. Type in the search menu APO Training. There you will find the Administrator Guide as well as the training matrix.
This week we will be meeting with Postal Headquarters on the vacant level 6 jobs that will be available after community meetings and the 30-day notification has been made to reduce the post office to 6 hours. These jobs could be filled as early as November 17 but Headquarters is working with LEAGUE and NAPUS on how and when they will be made available. We will post more information on our website as details are worked out.
Mark W. Strong
November 2, 2012
Help Your Postal Family Recover from Natural Disasters such as Hurricane Sandy - Contribute to the Postal Employees Relief Fund (PERF)
The League is asking it's members and all other members of the Postal Family to contribute to the Postal Employees Relief Fund (PERF), which gives aid to postal employees and retired postal employees who sustain significant property damage as a result of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy. It is operated jointly by postal unions and management associations.
Please send checks or money orders to: Postal Employees’ Relief Fund, P.O. Box 7630, Woodbridge VA 22195-7630, Click to download a Contribution Form. Credit card contributions can be made by visiting www.postalrelief.com and clicking on “Donate to PERF.” Contributions also can be made through the Combined Federal Campaign by designating CFC#10268. Contributions are tax deductible.
October 23, 2012
NEWSBREAK - On October 6, 2012 POStPLan level 18 offices with incumbent Postmasters received their upgrades. The LEAGUE national office has received numerous inquiries from these Postmasters who were recently upgraded to level 18s and have since been classified to a non-exempt status. Many of these Postmasters have been exempt Postmasters for years and still meet the criteria of being exempt. The LEAGUE office has notified Postal Headquarters officials that it is our position that EAS 18 Postmasters who manage two or more full time equivalent employees (FTEs) should be classified as exempt. FLSA law has not changed and this fact is not disputed by Postal Headquarters.
Headquarters officials have responded to the LEAGUE by saying that they are looking into the matter and will provide a clarification as soon as possible. An update will be posted on the LEAGUE website as soon as information is received from USPS headquarters.
This morning, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe and Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan held a press conference regarding the Postal Service’s plan to keep rural post offices open while addressing the declining mail volumes and declining revenue. This new program is called the POStPlan which stands for Post Office Structure Plan. For details visit The LEAGUE's POStPlan site POStPlan
May 09, 2012
Postmaster Pay Package Announced
After months of trying to get a pay packaged that was agreeable, the Postal Service released the pay package that all parties have found common ground on. LEAGUE and NAPUS had decided to take the pay package to third party mediation at one point in the consultative process. All parties felt that an agreement could be reached without outside intervention. In December of 2011 we went back to the table. Although far from the perfect pay package, we believe it is fair to all parties and in line with the financial difficulties facing the Postal Service while recognizing the hard work of Postmasters.
During the debate of S. 1789 two things should be noted, Congress felt that even top management should feel the pain of the cuts going on in the post office. Amendments were placed in the bill that cut the top management of the organization and amendments were introduced to get postal employees health care contributions in line with the federal government. By 2015 of this pay package, Postmasters and PCES employees will be contributing the 28 percent that all federal employees pay. Postmasters have done more than their part to contribute to the bottom line of health care costs. The pay package can be found here
Pay for FY/11 and FY/12 will be froze. This is not unlike any of the other contracts and follows the federal government pay freeze. Applying PFP for FY/13 will be subject to the Postal Service’s review of compensation practices throughout the United States economy. Based on that review, PFP program ratings will either be suspended or applied to salary determinations. Raises based off PFP are locked in for FY/14 and FY/15.
The minimums and maximums for salaries are being raised by 1% in FY/12, 1.5% in FY/13 and 2% both both FY/14 and FY/15. This is a 6.5% raise in salary maximum s for the life of the agreement.
March 26, 2012
Postal Legislation: Senate Consideration Likely To Be Delayed
Late last week it seemed that the final stages of the process to pass postal legislation through the Senate would start today, Monday, March 26. However, developments late this morning have changed that and indicate that consideration might be put off until after the upcoming Senate Easter recess, which is scheduled for the first two weeks of April. A procedural vote on cloture could occur later this week. Watch our website for updates.
Here is what is happening. Today the Senate convenes at 2:00 pm and it is scheduled to deal with routine morning business until 4:30 today. After that, the Senate is scheduled to take up the oil and gas bill, S. 2204 (The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act). Somewhere around 5:30 this afternoon, there will be a roll call vote on a motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the oil and gas bill S. 2204.
A Motion to Proceed is a motion to actually schedule a bill for floor time. Invoking cloture on a motion to proceed is a procedural way to place a time limit on Senate floor consideration of a bill, and thus ensure that there will not be a filibuster. A vote of sixty ayes is necessary to invoke cloture and set a time limit. NOT invoking cloture—i.e., not setting a time limit for debate—often results in a bill not getting to the floor for fear of a filibuster.
Now, if cloture is not invoked on the oil and gas bill (i.e., they don’t limit debate), then there immediately will be a second roll call vote today on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 1789, the Postal Reform Bill. This is, according to the Democratic Senate website, that could set the postal bill in motion for consideration on the floor this week.
Last week it looked as if cloture would not be invoked in the oil and gas bill—e.g., that there would not be enough votes to limit debate on the oil and gas bill—thus freeing the postal bill up to proceed to the floor. However, late this morning we found out that it looks as if the Republicans (who are the minority in the Senate) will give the Democrats cloture, thus allowing the oil and gas bill to go to the floor for a time-limited debate. This will delay the postal bill.
The net result of this would be that no cloture vote would occur today on S. 1789. A cloture vote on S. 1789 could easily occur later this week, in order to schedule the bill for a time-limited floor debate and vote after the Easter recess. Our understanding is that they have the sixty votes for cloture.
Importantly, today’s developments suggest that S. 1789 is not yet ready to go to the floor. The most obvious reason that this would be so is because the manager’s amendment is not yet ready. Let me explain.
When the bill eventually gets to the floor (with a time-limited debate, cloture having been invoked) the first thing that will happen will be that a manager’s amendment will be offered to the bill. This is an amendment offered by the four co-sponsors of the bill Sens. Lieberman (D CT), Collins (R ME), Carper (D DE), and Brown (R MA), (who are the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate committee and Senate subcommittee of postal jurisdiction, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and its Financial Management Subcommittee). Sen. Sanders (D VT) and some thirty other senators are pushing for certain issues to be in the manager’s amendment, and they are working out details with the four sponsors. It is expected to pass as a matter of form.
The amendment will be in the nature of a substitute and thus will simply replace the text of the existing bill with the text of the amendment. This amendment will include the original language of S. 1789, contain some changes to it, and contain some additions that have been worked out in the last several weeks on a dozen or so issues. Substantively, the manager’s amendment should include provisions that will strengthen the post office closing protections even more than they were strengthened at markup, protect the quality of postal delivery service, and add language somewhat protecting six-day delivery among other things. There is one caveat. No one has yet seen the actual language of the bill, so nothing will be certain until we do.
Once the manager’s amendment is adopted, that becomes the text of S. 1789 that will be considered and debated by the Senate. Then the fireworks start.
There will most likely be up to 30 hours of debate on the bill. Any senator can offer any amendment. Thus, there will be a series of amendments to the bill, on any subject, including amendments not germane to the Postal Service. It could be quite a zoo, and would be quite entertaining and amusing if the subject matter were not so critical, and the consequences of not-getting-it-right less disastrous.
Substantively, I have heard that the issues holding up the manager’s amendment, and thus the bill, are concerns from senators about a proposed nickel increase on the Single-Piece First Class stamp in the manager’s amendment, and concerns from senators about the closing of facilities in their own states.
Once the bill gets to the floor, live coverage of the proceeding will be cablecast on C-Span 2, on your local cable network or on the c-span webcast. As I said earlier, it looks right now as if floor consideration will not occur until after the Senate returns from its Easter recess on April 16. Having said that, let me warn you that when a bill is just about ready to go to the Senate floor, as is S. 1789, any of the timing can change at the last minute.
December 3, 2011
Final Rule on Consolidations and Staffing of Post Offices is Effective December 1, 2011.
On November 30th the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued their decision denying a complaint filed by the LEAGUE and NAPUS. On November 7, 2011 the LEAGUE and NAPUS renewed a complaint previously filed on the changes proposed to 39 CFR part 241. The PRC denied our request for an expedited process as well as a request to prevent the Postal Service from implementing the Final Rule on December 1, 2011. The PRC did leave it open for the Postmaster associations to file another complaint against the Postal Service on the issue of consolidation and staffing of Post Offices.
The LEAGUE and NAPUS Presidents will be meeting with legal counsel next week to review our options. Read further for the events leading up to the Final Rule going into effect.
On March 31, 2011, the Postal Service filed a 30 day notice to change 39 CFR part 241 to streamline the discontinuance process and make it easier to close post offices. The Postal Service was asking for a top-down approach, giving them the authority to start the closing process from headquarters, where before it had to be initiated from the district manager. This will reduce the time frame for closings and give stations and branches the same closing process as independent post offices, less the appeal process. It also created more criteria for initiating the closing, earned hours, revenue declines, population declines, volume declines etc. All of these are just smoke and mirrors to enable headquarters to close an office for running at a deficit.
Two major changes, other than these, were the consolidation rules and who could be in charge of a post office. In the past, the term “consolidation” applied to changing the status of a post office from an independent post office to a station or branch, as well as to changing the status of a USPS operated facility to a Contract Postal Unit (CPU). The staffing change states that a Postmaster does not need to be in charge of an independent post office; it can be managed by any postal employee.
On May 23, 2011, The LEAGUE and NAPUS, along with two retired Postmasters, filed a formal complaint before the PRC asking the Commission to order the Postal Service to withdraw its proposed regulations relating to post office discontinuance. The heart of this complaint was the two major changes which we believe to be changes in the law of U.S. Code Title 39, not just rule changes.
In July the USPS filed the final rule to make all the proposed changes to 39 CFR part 241, without the two major items being amended. All the other changes went into effect on July 14, 2011. In doing so it made our formal complaint with the PRC moot since they did not include the consolidation language or the staffing language in the final rule.
On August 11, 2011 the PRC dismissed the original complaint, filed May 23, 2011 by the LEAGUE and NAPUS without prejudice and in the last line of its dismissal order, the Commission specifically invited the complainants to renew their complaint should the two claims become ripe for adjudication.
As predicted on October 26, 2011, the Postal Service filed the final rule with the Federal Register amending regulations with regard to Post Office closings. These changes are regarding the staffing of post offices and the definition of “consolidation." Their proposed changes became effective December 1, 2011.
This final rule is very confusing to read, but here is the bottom line -there are the two main issues that will impact Postmasters and post offices. First, a post office can be changed to a station without going through any closing process. The new discontinuance process is required only when a post office, station or branch is changed to a contracted facility. This would allow the Postal Service to change the hours of operation to whatever hours they choose, and for EAS-11 and above, they would no longer be required to staff the post office for 8 hours because it is now a station. Second, a post office can be staffed by any post office personnel; it does not have to be a Postmaster. So we change the post office to a station, open it for 4 hours and staff it with a PSE. Dollars saved-easy to calculate…. impact to service, brand and long term revenue - impossible to measure.
On November 7, 2011 the LEAGUE and NAPUS jointly filed to renew the complaint we had filed. We also asked that the complaint be expedited since the final rule is to be implemented December 1, 2011.
On November 30th the PRC denied the complaint so the changes are in effect. I will keep you posted on any further development.
November 9, 2011
Postmaster Pay Package Released for Fiscal Years 2011-2015.
During the past four months, The LEAGUE and NAPUS have been engaged in pay talks with the Postal Service. During this time we presented our case and put forth our best arguments to no avail due to the current financial condition of the postal service. Today we received the final pay package delivered to our offices. Below is a joint statement from The LEAGUE and NAPUS.
At the beginning of Pay Talks the postal service had projected a loss of $8.5 billion and now, 120 days later, the projected loss is $10 billion. This financial crisis we are in is through no fault of the more than 26,000 Postmasters who work extremely hard to manage the postal services most critical operations and provide universal service to the American public. While realizing that the financial condition of the Postal Service dictated the tone of the pay talk’s process, we believe that some of our recommendations could have been included in the package without adding significant costs to the program.”
The Pay Package includes a 6.5% increase in the minimum and maximum salary ranges of the EAS pay schedule from January 2013 through January 2016. However, PFP Program ratings will be suspended and not be applied to salaries for FY 2011 and FY 2012. A determination as to whether PFP ratings will be applied to salaried for 2013 through 2015 will be based on the economic condition of the Postal Service during those years.
The Performance Evaluation System (PES) is discontinued and a joint work group will be established by the Postmaster associations and the Postal Service, to determine how to incorporate the compensation portion of the discontinued PES into the NPA component of the PFP Program.
It is also very import to note the change annual leave and sick leave. Effective Jan. 14, 2012, individuals hired from outside the Postal Service as supervisory or managerial employees or as Postmasters will accrue annual and sick leave at different rates than current employees. The accrual rate for current employees in these positions — as well as current employees who are promoted to these categories in the future — will not change.
“It is not just Postmasters that will have to manage without a pay raise in 2011 and 2012. The entire federal work force is in the same boat and there are a lot of people around the country who’ve lost their jobs, and others who seen a decline in wages.”
For more information on changes to leave and health benefits contributions, please click here to see the entire EAS Pay Package for Postmasters (FY 2011-2015.)
September 6, 2011
LEAGUE President Mark Strong submitted a Statement today to the Senate hearing on the Postal Service Crisis. View the press release addressing the League statement. Click read the entire statement submitted to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the United States Senate.
August 15, 2011
League of Postmasters Releases Statement on USPS Newsbreak Regarding Retirement and Health Benefit Proposal.
The National league of Postmasters fully recognizes the gravity of the financial position the Postal Service finds itself in, but is extremely concerned about the Postal Service’s radical notion to abandon the Federal retirement system and the Federal Health Benefit Plan, the most efficient and effective set of health care plans in the United States. Not only would such an action throw postal employees to the wolves, but withdrawal of postal employees from the Federal Plans could put the continued health and stability of those plans into jeopardy.
We have recently seen action by certain elements in the government that have taken the notion of federal government irresponsibility to a new high. Not surprisingly, we have seen the disgust of the American public with that type of irresponsibility also reached a new high. Suggestions such as these by the Postal Service fit into the same category and should not even be considered.
Were the Postal Service a private business, it would stop prefunding a pension plan that was already overfunded, and it would be allowed to transfer the existing surplus from its pension funds to its retirement health benefit funds. But, because it is a federal government entity, it is not allowed to do that because such actions would disrupt the smoke and mirrors that the government has used for years to make itself look good.
It’s time for Congress to do the right thing. Stop forcing the Postal Service to make payments into a fund that is already overfunded, and start allowing it to use the surplus in its pension funds to prefund its retiree health benefits. Were those actions to be allowed, this nonsensical talk of withdrawing from the federal pension system and from the federal health benefit system would disappear, and some semblance of rationality could once again begin to creep back into policy discussion in Washington, D.C..
August 14, 2011
OIG Gives Final Response to Requested 2009 NPA Investigation
On August 27, 2010 LEAGUE and NAPUS jointly signed a letter asking that the OIG investigate the 2009 NPA process, specifically the suspected reduction of CORE scores to many Postmasters by higher level management. It was suspected that this unilateral reduction in scores without the immediate manager’s approval or input was driven by higher levels of management. On August 8, 2011 the results of the investigation were shared with the organizations and found that our concerns were true.
One district manager stated the area vice president verbally instructed all district managers in the area to align employees’ core requirement ratings with the average NPA unit score for their districts. As a result, the manager reviewed and lowered the core requirement ratings for 606 employees.
Another district manager stated that managers lowered core requirement ratings after reviewing a few of CORE scores in that district and determining that they were disproportionate to the district’s NPA score. The process states that a district manager only reviews the PFP of direct reports and employees whose core requirement ratings are identified as ‘non-contributor’ or ’exceptional’ by the PES which until 2009 was the case. The intent of CORE was to recognize individual performance outside of the NPA scores that may have not been within the individuals control. Of course CORE scores could be both higher and lower then the district NPA score, that is how the process is suppose to work.
It is unfortunate that Postal Headquarters did not shoulder full responsibility for this action and in fact stated that it may not be statistically correct since only a small portion of the 60,000 were interviewed. They also stated that the OIG did not recognize that part of the process was for the higher level manager to evaluate the score and act accordingly if the score was not justified. We all know that in 2008 far fewer scores were reviewed by District Managers than in 2009 and that tells the real story about whether or not a directive was given.
The OIG has recommended that the Organizations work with Headquarters to improve the process. NPA/PFP will be part of the pay talks we are starting August 15. We will work to improve the NPA process and will spend time discussing the value of having CORE scores and what benefit if any this portion of the process could have with the PFP program. The entire investigation results are linked below for your review.
On Thursday the PRC issued an order dismissing the complaint filed by the LEAGUE and NAPUS. The complaint was filed on March 31 because of the USPS proposed changes to CFR 39. Although there were numerous changes proposed to the closing regulations, the complaint centered around three issues we felt were against the law. First, we felt that these changes required an Advisory Opinion from the PRC. On July 27th the Postal Service requested this Advisory so this complaint was dismissed. The other two parts and the most important was the complaint against the parts that would allow the Postal Service to “consolidate” a Post Office into a station or branch without going through the full closure process and the second issue was allowing the Postal Service to designate a postal employee other than a Postmaster as a person in charge of a Post Office. This would strip the title of Postmaster from an independent Post Office. These two claims were dismissed by the PRC “without prejudice” (meaning that we are welcome to file them again) since the Postal Service has not yet adopted a final rule on the two.
On July 14th when the Postal Service gave the final rule on the proposed changes, they did not incorporate these last two changes so the PRC said we were premature in filing. The complaint was not dismissed on merit, just on timing. This leaves the door open to file again if the Post Office was to try and implement the final two issues.
On another note with regard to the PRC, the LEAGUE has officially filed for intervention with the PRC in the Advisory Opinion regarding the retail optimization (closing of 3600 offices). We will keep you updated as these progresses.
July 27, 2011
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe Meets with Management Organizations
On Wednesday July 27 The LEAGUE along with NAPUS and NAPS met Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe regarding the financial situation the Post Office is facing. Volume continues to decline in most categories with First Class Mail causing the greatest concern. Although standard mail stayed fairly flat the revenue from FCM continues to erode the bottom line with the other mail classes not able to fill the gap.
Pat shared some of the strategies the Postal Service was looking at to get the Postal Service on track. Legislation is still needed to get 5 day delivery and the $5.5B prepayment on the retiree health benefit plan but that will not be enough. Further reductions in labor and network optimization were a few of the plans reviewed.
During the meeting the Management Organizations asked about the impact on those Postmasters that are currently under review for closure. Headquarters shared said they too were concerned with the impact to Postmasters in the Discontinuance study. They again emphasized that the Discontinuance Plan was at the infancy stage and it was a review of over 3600 offices. Postal Headquarters committed to working with the Management organizations to use every option afforded all the other employees that have faced redesign and layoffs. They told the Management Organizations the needed a positive working relationship through this process and will look at RIF Avoidance and Voluntary Early Retirements (VER) as part of the process. They welcomed input from the Organizations on any ideas we may have to help reduce the impact of the Discontinuance Plan.
The LEAGUE wants to remind Postmasters that this is a review process and you need to continue to watch our website for more information on how the process will be rolled out. Past history shows that not all offices that are in the initial review process are closed. On Wednesday July 27 the Postal Service filed for an Advisory Opinion with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) regarding their Post Office closure plan and this too provides opportunity for Postmaster and community input into the Discontinuance Plan. The LEAGUE is committed to working with Headquarters as well as Postmasters and communities to reduce the impact of office closings. Read Postal Service filing with PRC
July 21, 2011
Post Office Shares Discontinuance Plan
On Wednesday July 20th the LEAGUE along with the other Management Organizations met with Postal Headquarters regarding a discontinuance plan being rolled out to review about 3600 offices for closure. Of this 3600, 700-800 are stations and the remaining offices are independent Post Offices. Thursday July 21st the plan was rolled out to the Area and District Managers and some of their staff. Those impacted Postmasters should be notified by their Districts that their office is under review prior to July 27th. On July 27th the Post Office will file for an advisory opinion with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on their plan to discontinue post offices, a nationwide service change. At this time a list of all offices being reviewed will be available.
The PRC will make sure the interests of all parties are considered in their advisory and it could take some time for their opinion. Although the Post Office will begin their review process immediately it is our understanding that the final decision cannot take place until the advisory from the PRC is given.
The Postal Service informed the organizations that any office that had started the discontinuance process prior to July 8th would follow the old Handbook PO 101 guidelines and closing process. Those started after July 8th will follow the new Handbook PO 101 guidelines that changed with the final notice to the CFR 39 on July 14th.
This is a major change in the closing process because some of these offices will have standing Postmasters in them. We want those on the list to remember this is just the review process and a lot can happen to change the outcome. The LEAGUE will be available to give you guidance through the review process and is hard at work to give you answers should the worst occur and your office is closed.
We will continue to keep everyone informed as this discontinuance plan rolls out.
July 14, 2011
Post Office issues Publication on Final Rule on Retail Discontinuance Actions:
The Post Office has issued a statement regarding the publication of final rule on the proposed changes to CFR 39. These changes are part of the proposed changes when the Postal Service filed formal notice through the Federal Register in late March. The changes are to the Discontinuance (closing) process for Post Offices found in 39 CFR Part 241. The Postal Service invited comments to these changes which had to be received by May 2, 2011. After review of the comments, the Postal Service has decided to make a number of changes to the discontinuance process.
As you are well aware, LEAGUE and NAPUS have taken legal action in the form of a formal complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission on other key elements of these proposed changes, which have not been implemented at this time. We are still awaiting the outcome of this complaint. The changes we have pursued legal action with are far more detrimental to Rural Post Offices, Postmasters and service to the communities they serve. We continue to work with our legal counsel on these changes.
July 14, 2011
Pay Talks will begin for the LEAGUE and other Management Organizations:
Title 39 stipulates that 45 days after the largest union ratifies their contract the management organizations will begin their pay consultations. Accordingly the Postmaster organizations have entered into pay talks beginning July 7th, 2011. We have received the Postal Service initial pay policies and fringe benefits proposals. Pay consultations are normally completed within 90 days. During pay consultations the parties do not discuss the specifics of their talks until the process is complete.
These pay talks are coming during very difficult times for the Postal Service. We are well aware of the agreement that has been reached by the APWU and other action taken by Postal Headquarters in recent weeks due to the Postal Services financial situation. The LEAGUE along with NAPUS and NAPS has been meeting to prepare for the pay consultations and will work hard to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of all parties.
July 6, 2011
LEAGUE and NAPUS File a Response to the Postal Service’s Motion to Dismiss Postmaster Organization’s Complaint Over Proposed CFR Changes:
On 6/13/2011 the Post Office filed a motion with the PRC to dismiss the complaint that LEAGUE and NAPUS filed on 5/23/2011 asking the PRC to stop the Post Office from making the proposed changes to 39 CFR part 241. On July 5th NAPUS and LEAGUE filed a response to the Request to Dismiss. All the documents can be found at the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC)
July 1, 2011
The League has received information from Anthony J. Vigliante Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Postal Headquarters regarding the suspension of employee awards spending for nonbargaining employees. You may have seen the article from the Federal Times on the same subject. Below is the text from the Vice President’s memo.
As we are approaching the end of an especially challenging fiscal year, we must continue to identify opportunities to reduce spending where possible and eliminate costs which are not deemed essential for the continuation of our operations.
As part of this effort, effective July 1 the eAwards program for employee recognition and incentive awards is suspend until further notice. This temporary policy change applies to all Executive Administrative Service and Postal Career Executive Service employees. This prohibits all expenditures for cash, cash equivalent, and non-cash tangible items intended for employee recognition. Such awards include, but are not limited to, spot cash awards, American Express Gift Cheques, gift certificates and tangible items, such as clothing, event tickets or other merchandise items.
Please note that gift certificates and American Express Gift Cheques that have been purchased prior to July 1 may still be presented to employees for performance recognition throughout this fiscal year. These awards must still be reported in the eAwards system upon issuance.
When communicating this information to your management teams, please assure them that this action in no way suggest a lack of appreciation for the tremendous job they do on a daily basis. Now, more than ever, it is paramount that each of us-as leaders of this organization-take the time to thank our employees for their efforts during these extremely difficult times. End of text.
In addition there has been a freeze of Postal Service Officers and PCES compensation as it relates to the Postal Service’s pay-for-performance program until further notice. Postmasters and EAS were not included in this pay-for-performance program announcement. I am sure we will start talks soon with regard to the 2011 pay package.
The severity of the challenging times is evident in the number of recent steps taken by Postal Headquarters to curb costs and retain cash. There has been the suspension of the Headquarters portion of the FERS payment to OPM, limiting promotional increases to 3 to 5 percent, the suspension of the eAwards program for the remainder of the year and the freeze of the Officers and PCES pay-for-performance program. I am sure there is more to come.
June 27, 2011
The LEAGUE office has received information from Postal Headquarters that the first round of postings in eCareer for the 2011 Redesign closed Monday, June 20 and they received a record number of applications. Due to the high volume of applicants, Headquarters is extending the processing time at the HR Shared Service Center (HRSSC) in order to review and determine eligibility of all applicants for selection packages. HRSSC plans to have all packages completed by COB Tuesday, June 28.
As selection packages are completed, they will be sent to the appropriate review committee and/or selecting official. In order to give selecting officials additional time, Headquarters has also extended the due date for selections from Friday, July 8, to COB Tuesday, July 12.
We also received the following information from a letter dated June 24th from Executive Vice President Anthony Vegliante to Headquarters Officers and the Areas. The fiscal health of the Postal Service continues to be at risk and as a result, we must remain focused on opportunities to encourage fiscal restraint. Therefore effective immediately, promotional increases must be limited to the following.
• Salary increase of 3 to 5 percent for promotions.
• Salary increase of no more than 8 percent if an employee is promoted more than once within 52 weeks.
All promotional increases that exceed the above guidelines must be reviewed and approved by the Chief Human Resources Officer. This applies to all Headquarters and field nonbargaining promotions, except under the following conditions:
• When a higher increase is necessary to bring the salary to the minimum of the new grade
• For promotions to designated supervisory positions covered under the supervisory differential adjustment provision, when a higher increase is necessary to bring it to the minimum salary rate.
Requests submitted for review must provide clear justification for exceeding the above stated promotional increase amounts.
It’s important to clarify that the above language provides for review of salary determinations and does not suspend or change existing salary-regulations. What does this mean; the provisions in the ELM for salary-regulations still exists but to increase salaries above the 3 to 5 percent for a promotion or 8 percent in a year will require the Chief Human Resource Officers review and approval.
The LEAGUE will continue to keep you informed of any more changes and developments regarding the current promotional opportunities.
Last week PMRs in level 15 and 16 Post Offices across the country received letters from Human Resources notifying them of an opportunity to apply for Postal Support Employee (PSE) positions since their current position will not exceed August 23, 2011. Below are portions of this letter.
Subject: Special Notice of Opportunity to Apply for Postal Support Employee Vacancies
This special notice of opportunity is provided since your current appointment as a Casual, Transitional or Postmaster Relief/Leave Replacement will not exceed August 23, 2011 in accordance with the new labor contract agreement with the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), AFL-CIO, which went into effect May 23, 2011.
PSEs are a new category of non-career employee established to provide the USPS with flexibility. PSEs will be appointed for a term not to exceed 360 calendar days. If there is still an operational need, a PSE may be reappointed for another not to exceed 360 day term after a five-day break in service. PSE employees will enjoy benefits including raises, health benefits and leave. Announcements for these new positions will be posted to all interested persons on usps.com/employment – continue to visit eCareer!
To apply for PSE vacancies announced on usps.com/employment, you must:
1. Create a new external email address (e.g., yahoo, gmail, etc.). You will need it for the Registration process where you create a unique Login ID and Password. (You cannot use your previously-issued applicant User ID(s), if any, because the ID is deactivated when the user is hired.) Be sure to make note of your new User ID and Password as they will be needed for future access to your new eCareer Candidate Profile.
2. Add the following email domains to the safe sender list on your new email address to ensure that communications related to your application are not filtered: @usps.gov; @panpowered.com; @geninfo.com.
3. Create a new external Candidate Profile using your new email address and unique User ID and password.
4. Search for jobs on usps.com/employment and use your new Candidate Profile to apply for PSE vacancies by the closing date. Submit a separate application for each PSE position for which you wish to apply.
5. Follow all instructions carefully and watch daily for further messages from eCareer and our vendors concerning actions required in connection with your application.
Based on the pay chart given to us PSEs in level 15/16 offices will be level 4 and start at $12.38 an hour. Casual replacements in higher level offices will be Level 6 and earn $14.60 per hour. There are leave benefits and health benefits for PSE positions after a year of service that PMRs do not have.
This APWU contract change from PMRs to PSEs does not apply to Level 13 and below offices.
The LEAGUE, as well as the other management organizations, has been asking for clarification of a number of issues with regard to the APWU contract and its impact on Postmasters, our customers and service. On Tuesday June 7th we will be briefed on specific questions we have submitted regarding the contract and we will clarify a lot of questions regarding the PMR positions. It is our intent to leave that meeting with a better understanding of the hiring process and what we can do to assist our dedicated employees who have stuck by Postmasters all these years. We will have more information on what PMRs and Postmasters need to do to make sure your PMR gets the opportunity to be hired. We hope to provide information and assistance to Postmasters to make sure they do everything they can to follow the correct process so that they can get replacements hired timely.
National League of Postmasters
May 24, 2011
LEAGUE and NAPUS File Formal Complaint with PRC on Proposed CFR 39 Changes
On Monday The National League of Postmasters and, the National Association of Postmasters of the United States NAPUS and two retired Postmasters filed a formal complaint before the Postal Regulatory Commission PRC asking the Commission to order the U.S. Postal Service to withdraw its proposed regulations relating to Post Office Discontinuance. The LEAGUE and NAPUS believe that the regulations, which were printed in the March 31 issue of the Federal Register, violate current law. The organizations continue to work together to stop any proposed changes to CFR 39.
On April 28th the two organizations sent a letter to the PRC expressing our views on the proposed changes along with a legal opinion letter from Hal Hughes former General Counsel to the Postal Service. On May 2nd we filed our comments to the proposed changes.
The new rules undermine postal services in small towns and rural communities, permit the Postal Service to unilaterally consolidate Post Offices without community input, deny many communities appellate review of Postal Service decisions to their close Post Offices, and undercut the statutory position of Postmaster. In summary the proposed regulations violate numerous sections of Title 39 of the United States Code, and are contrary to the congressional intent underlying the statue. During the 30-day Public Comment period, approximately 500 pages of opposition to the regulations were filed by the American public, as well as Members of Congress. We understand that additional comments were received by the USPS after the May 2, the completion of the public comment period.
Current law, affords postal stakeholders the right to file a complaint with the PRC should the USPS not be operating in conformance with certain sections of the Title 39. LEAGUE and NAPUS are exercising their rights under the law.
May 17, 2011 - LEAGUE President Mark Strong testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security. Mark joined the Postmaster General Pat Donahoe and five other panelists to give testimony on the financial condition of the post office as well as addressing Senator Carper’s bill as well as the Collins bill.
Included in Mark’s comments was testimony on the overfunding of the pension funds as well as the prefunding of the retiree health benefits being at the source of the Postal Services financial condition. During his oral testimony Mark told the Senate Committee that “no business of any type, in any part of the country, could afford to pay a 5 Billion dollar supplemental annual income tax that its competitors do not pay, and remain viable”.
Marks remarks also covered the issue of closing of small post offices. Small office closings are one of those cost savings measures that are popular to some mid-level postal officials because they can look good with the impression that they are driving large cost out of the system. He further mentioned that Post Offices and Postmasters..…are the glue the binds rural America together. Something some urbanites have a hard time understanding but it is the truth, not rhetoric and not exaggerated.
August 30, 2010 - The League and NAPUS have formally requested assistance from the OIG to investigate the 2009 Postmasters Pay for Performance Program’s final core requirements ratings and appeals. Click to view OIG Letter (PDF)
July, 29 2010 - We are in receipt of the July 28, 2010 letter from Postal HQ stating effective immediately, all hiring, promotions and placement of non-bargaining employees at Headquarters, Areas and Districts are suspended until further notice. Selections received by COB 07/30/2010 will be processed by HR Shared Services but the postings have been placed on hold. We are communicating with Headquarters for more information, updates will be provided as they become available. Click to view Letter (PDF)
January 7, 2011
League Headquarters was notified by Postal Headquarters that the Southeast Area Office, based in Memphis, TN, will be closed to help streamline Postal operations. All previous Southeastern districts now will report to the Southwest Area Office, with two exceptions: Tennessee District will report to Eastern Area and Atlanta District will report to Capital Metro Area. No implementation date has been established yet.
This does not change the NPA/PFP payout that is effective January 15, 2011 for the 2010 NPA/PFP.
The reference to Section 6 is the Bone Marrow, Stem Cell, Blood Platelet and Organ Donations of our compensation package. EAS had negotiated the maximum administrative leave days per year to cover bone marrow, stem cells and blood platelets to 7 days and organ donor to 30 days. Section 519.522 of the ELM allows 3 days for bone marrow, stem cell and blood platelets, and 14 days for organ donors. Since the compensation package expired, the conditions of employment are governed by the ELM.
While not referenced in the letter Section 7 is the Bereavement Leave negotiated that allowed up to three workdays for annual leave, sick leave or leave without pay, to make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member. Since Bereavement Leave has not been incorporated into the ELM, this benefit has expired.
There has been no agreement reached with the APWU at this time. Within 45 days following an agreement, the Management organizations will begin consultation with the Postal Service on our pay policies and fringe benefits. We will keep you posted.
Delivery Unit Optimization (DUO) continues to roll out across the country. We have had numerous successful three digit meetings with DUO as the lead topic on the agenda. All National Officers, Area Coordinators and many of our Presidents have been trained on DUO. There is a new version of DUO on the website as of Wednesday with links to the 150, WSCs and lease information that can assist with the financial analysis on the candidate offices.
Linked below is a Letter from Anthony Vegiliante outlining a recent change just for DUO. Postmasters that are downgraded two or more grade levels as a result of DUO may voluntarily be placed non-competitively into a vacant position that is higher than their reclassification level and up to but not exceeding the previous grade level. The important part of this letter is that if you chose not to take placement your salary protection is not waived. Please read the attached and if you have any questions contact the LEAGUE office or one of our Board Members.