March 16, 2009
Charles Mapa, President
Early outs, again?
The VER for Postmasters, supervisors, and field EAS will be completed in just about two weeks. Approximately 2000 of these managers took advantage of this golden opportunity to leave the Postal Service early enough to build a new life with a pension to back up their dreams and plans. They’ve left a big hole and it will take some time to fill it. The sooner we get to filling supervisor and Postmaster Positions, the better. There is a strong rumor out there that there will be another VER coming soon. At this point it is just that, a rumor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Postal Service, in an effort to continue downsizing in response to reduced volumes, announces another VER. In a related area, the Postal Service has indicated that it would like to fill vacancies within 60 days of their announcement. This is a positive step; the trick will be to get the jobs announced in a timely manner! All the more important for Postmaster, PMRs and supervisors looking to promotion to have their profiles up and ready to go once the announcements for the jobs they have been eyeing come open.
Rural route counts are finally over. No doubt, most rural carriers have taken a sizeable hit on volumes and will see a decrease in their compensation. It is a tough time for them, as this will hit them where it will really hurt them; right in the pocket book. While we are all diligently looking for ways to trim costs from our operations, we want to remain sensitive to the needs of our employees. These counts are the method that we use to determine pay for our rural carriers. When the mail volumes are up, they do much better on pay. We can all do our best t increase volumes and hope that a turn for the better in the economy will start to happen soon.
These counts also showed a continued lack of regard for the workweek of Postmasters. In many places few resources were provided to aid Postmasters in doing counts. In offices where supervisors would normally be available, Postmasters were told that they could not use their supervisors if it would put them in a position t have them go over 40 hours in a week, even thought those extra hours over 40 would be only at straight time! The clear message from Postal Headquarters was that we could further abuse the Postmasters’ workweek by piling a few more hours on Postmasters. Why not? They are working those extra hours for free! There were a few bright spots; I was even made aware of instances where MPOOs actually pitched in to help with the counts. Now that’s what I call support! Unfortunately, that sort of support was rare. Elsewhere, lower level Postmasters dutifully volunteered to help with the counts, and then were told, because they volunteered, they wouldn’t be paid the premium pay to which they are entitled for working Saturdays. I wonder how many will ‘volunteer’ for next year’s count? Additionally, clerks who volunteered were paid at level 17 supervisor pay; Postmasters were paid at their office level, whether it is level 11, 13, or 15. That’s just another example of the great regard the Postal Service has for its Postmasters. This inequity could be remedied by a stroke of a pen at Postal Headquarters.
We’ve been able to get some movement on NPA. We’ve had very little substantial input to the program since its adoption several years ago. Finally, after some strong pushing on the parts of NAPS, NAPUS and the LEAGUE, we’ve had some meaningful dialogue with the program’s developers at Postal Headquarters. This program is supposed to be a motivator. If it fails to motivate, it needs to be jettisoned or modified. Fortunately, Postal Headquarters has seen the wisdom of working with the management associations to agree on changes that will improve the NPA/PFP process. We’ve made enough progress to give us a sense that there is hope for the program, and that with some meaningful change, (including the implementation of some reasonable goals); we will end up with a process that actually does motivate managers. We will meet in April to discuss NPA/PFP for FY 2010. We are pleased with the momentum that we have created with our recent face-to-face meetings with Postal Headquarters on this very important issue.
From the Legislative corner
You have all been able to follow the progress of HR 22 on this website as it moves through the House of Representatives. Our Legislative Chair, Bill Krejci, and Co-chair Cathy Yager have a real passion for legislation and have been encouraging Postmasters all across the country to make contact with their Representatives to get them to co-sponsor this important legislation. If you haven’t contacted your congressmen regarding HR 22, take the time to do it this week. We are getting closer and closer to the number of cosponsors needed for a simple majority vote when the bill goes to the floor of the House. Thanks to Bill, Cathy, the Legislative Committee and all of you who have acted on this issue.
Do Not Mail Legislation continues to pop up with little warning. This week it was scheduled to appear in the Florida legislature. Perhaps due to the quick response of the League and other postal groups, it has been removed from this week’s agenda, but it will certainly come up again soon in Florida. This legislation will continue to appear in state legislatures across the country. You will be needed to provide a grassroots response in your state. You can prepare to do just that by reading our position papers on this website, Bill Krejci’s commentary here and in the Advocate and our Legislative Counsel, Bob Brinkmann’s articles in the Advocate. Additional material can be found at mailmovesamerica.com. Do Not Mail legislation will certainly be presented in your state or municipal legislature eventua
PMG Potter’s pay
There has been a lot of ink expended on Postmaster General Jack Potter’s pay and some will be expended here. Uproar over the recently published salary of the PMG has even led to Congress looking into the PMG’s pay rate. According to the Employee Labor Relations Manual, the pay for postal employees should be close to similar work in the private sector. Frederick W. Smith, the CEO of FedEx, averages $10 million a year. The Postal Service is monstrous compared to FedEx. Jack Potter’s salary is $265 thousand dollars plus deferred compensation. Mr. Potter oversees 37,000 post offices and stations, a sizeable number of plants and about 700,000 employees. He is accountable to Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the Board of Governors and the American people. Many of the least paid Major League baseball players make more than he does. Is he overpaid? I don’t think so.
It’s springtime! Do something for yourselves!
President, National League of Postmasters