National Association of Letter Carriers News Feed National Association of Letter Carriers News Feed Wed, 1 Oct 2014 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 POSTAL FACTS: April 16, 2018 (Updated) Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:37:00 -0500 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

Will Trump task force give Postal Service the reform it’s been looking for? (Federal News Radio)
After Amazon Spat, Trump Orders Postal Service Review (Bloomberg)

NALC President Rolando was quoted on April 13 in Federal News Radio and Bloomberg stories on the administration's proposed task force charged with evaluating the finances of the U.S. Postal Service including pricing, policies and workforce costs.

Click here to read the Federal News Radio article.

Click here to read the Bloomberg article.

2 taken to hospital after Margate house fire (WSVN)

WSVN (local Fox TV affiliate) aired a story on April 12 about a heroic letter carrier in Margate, FL, who was injured in a house fire as he attempted to extinguish the blaze.

Click here to watch the report.

Postal Worker Pulls Double Duty As Rescuer (CBS Chicago)

CBS2 (local CBS TV affiliate) aired a story on April 19 about Connie Allen, a Northwest Indiana letter carrier, who alerted a resident to a fire in his house, saving him and his dog.

Click here to watch the report.

Make a contribution toward your MBA retirement plan before April 16 Sun, 15 Apr 2018 11:00:00 -0500 Reminder: April 16, 2018 is the last day to make a contribution to a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA for the 2017 Tax Year. The United States Letter Carriers Mutual Benefit Association (MBA) has announced that the Interest Rates paid on MBA Policies will remain the same for 2018.  The MBA is currently paying 3.25% interest on the Retirement Savings Plans (except for those policies which guarantee a higher minimum rate). 

Go here to find out more about the MBA's Retirement Savings Plan.

Food Drive poster orders deadline extended until April 20 Mon, 16 Apr 2018 07:25:00 -0500 The deadline to order posters to promote the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has been extended until April 20, so get your order in.

President issues executive order to evaluate USPS finances Thu, 12 Apr 2018 16:00:00 -0500 Today, President Trump issued an executive order (viewable here) to form a task force charged with evaluating the finances of the U.S. Postal Service including pricing, policies and workforce costs.

The task force has been instructed to regularly consult with the postmaster general and chair of the Postal Regulatory Commission, and will be comprised of department and agency heads or their designees, including chair of the task force Steven Mnuchin (Secretary of the Treasury), Mick Mulvaney (Director of the Office of Management and Budget), Jeff Pon (Director of the Office of Personnel Management) and any other department and agency head the chair may designate.

In a report due no later than Aug. 10, 2018, the task force will provide a “thorough evaluation of the operations and finance of the USPS, including:

  • the expansion and pricing of the package delivery market and the USPS's role in competitive markets;
  • the decline in mail volume and its implications for USPS self-financing and the USPS monopoly over letter delivery and mailboxes;
  • the definition of the "universal service obligation" in light of changes in technology, e-commerce, marketing practices, and customer needs;
  • the USPS role in the U.S. economy and in rural areas, communities, and small towns; and
  • the state of the USPS business model, workforce, operations, costs, and pricing.”

Once the evaluation is completed, the task force will develop recommendations on administrative and legislative reforms to USPS. According to the executive order, recommendations will consider the views of the USPS workforce and industry.

“NALC is hopeful that the inclusion of the Postal Service workforce in this evaluation and report will provide NALC the opportunity to provide input throughout the process,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

“We know that 90 percent of the Postal Service’s losses are not due to improper pricing, but are the direct result of the 2006 congressional mandate to pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance – an onerous burden that no other private or public entity in America is required to carry. NALC looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to address this issue and to restore financial stability to the agency while protecting the employees and the universal network that is so critical to Americans and their businesses, large and small.”

Notice to prospective candidates in the 2018 NALC election Tue, 03 Apr 2018 10:46:00 -0500 In accordance with federal law, NALC has arranged for Kelly Press to handle requests by candidates for national office in the 2018 NALC election to distribute campaign literature by e-mail.

Kelly Press will be responsible for receiving campaign material from candidates and managing the distribution of this material by email.  Candidates may begin email distributions on April 16, 2018.  Any candidate(s) wishing to arrange distribution of campaign literature by email, at his/her own expense, must contact Edeline M. Jean or Gary Locke, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, at 301-386-8285 or 301-583-5300.

Kelly Press will advise candidates of the cost of e-mail campaign literature. Payments must be in the form of a USPS Money Order or Certified Check prior to e-mail transmittance. Kelly Press requires five business days advance notice for set-up, preparation and formatting of e-mail campaign literature.

Members will have the option of unsubscribing from receipt of campaign literature before or any time after distribution of campaign literature begins.  Each candidate email will contain a link allowing recipients to unsubscribe from receiving future candidate emails. 

Candidates in the 2018 election may elect to send e-mails to: (1) all e-mail addresses in NALC’s current and archived databases; or (2) to email addresses that can be identified as being within specific National Business Agent regions.  NALC’s email databases consist mostly of members who provided their e-mail address to NALC when signing up for the e-Activist program.  There are approximately 70,000 email addresses in these current and archived e-Activist databases.  Candidates should be aware that NALC is no longer using these email addresses to communicate with members, except for those e-Activists who requested to continue receiving messaging by email.

Candidates should also be aware that the archived database includes a list of approximately 9,400 non-e-Activist addresses which has never been used by NALC to disseminate information to its members.  Candidates should discuss with Kelly Press whether to include this list in their email distributions.

Finally, candidates should check the May issue of The Postal Record for additional information on convention displays and purchasing advertisements in The Postal Record.

2018 NALC Guide to Route Inspections Tue, 10 Apr 2018 14:16:00 -0500 The 2018 NALC Guide to Route Inspections has been printed and is being shipped to each NALC Branch and the 15 National Business Agents’ offices (you can download it here). The guide is an updated version of the 2012 guide. It is a complete explanation of the route inspection process and was created to assist shop stewards and branch officers in identifying contractual violations that take place during management’s unilateral six-day route counts and inspections/adjustments, and with filing successful grievances on those violations.

The guide will take you through the inspection process in chronological order and provide an easy reference to various provisions and related national settlements that govern route inspections.

The guide also contains detailed descriptions of the forms used during the inspection/adjustment process as well as reports generated by the Carrier Optimal Routing (COR) program that is often used when territorial adjustments are made.

The pocket handbook that was created to be used by letter carriers as a quick and convenient reference during the week of route count and inspection is currently being updated for 2018. Once completed it will be available to NALC members through each NBA office and the NALC Supply Department. The NALC webpage and member APP will notify you when the pocket handbook is complete.

For more information about these NALC publications, ask your branch officers or national business agent’s office.

Promotion pay grievance update Sat, 07 Apr 2018 07:31:00 -0500 A national class-action grievance (Q16N-4Q-C 17638188) was originally scheduled to be heard January 30, 2018.  Unfortunately, this hearing was unexpectedly canceled by the arbitrator.  NALC has received proposed dates for rescheduling and we expect to have a firm date shortly.

This case involves the Postal Service’s revisions to the Employee Labor Relation (ELM) Manual Section 422.2.  The revision eliminated the requirement that two times the most prevalent step be added to a Table 2 Grade 1 letter carrier’s salary when promoted to a Grade 2 assignment. If this pay rate fell between two steps, the letter carrier would then receive the higher step. This calculation resulted in Table 2 Grade 1 letter carriers receiving a two-step increase when assigned to a Grade 2 assignment.

Additionally, USPS notified NALC that it would be holding employees who previously received the two-step promotion pay increase in place in their current step for an additional 92 weeks less any time served since their last step increase.

The ELM revision and the “hold in place” were effective Oct. 14, 2017. NALC initiated a national-level grievance challenging both.

The two-step promotion pay was a result of the Das interest arbitration award which created Table 2 in the city letter carrier rate schedule (Q).  The steps in Table 2 are equal amounts, each being 2.75% of step O.  When the ELM rule for promotions within the city letter carrier schedule were properly applied to letter carriers in Table 2 moving from Grade 1 to Grade 2, it created this unforeseen result.  The same rule when applied to a letter carrier in Table 1 results in the promoted letter carrier remaining in the same lettered step in Grade 2.

Promotion pay within the city letter carrier rate schedule will no longer exist after November 24, 2018 when the provisions of the MOU Re: Pay Schedule Consolidation take effect.  Under this MOU, all Grade 1 letter carriers will slot into the equivalent step in Grade 2 of their respective pay schedule.  The new grade will be called “City Carrier” and “City Carrier Assistant.”  Career and CCA letter carriers who are assigned to Carrier Technician positions will receive additional compensation equivalent to 2.1% of the employee’s applicable hourly rate for all paid hours.

The referenced ELM revisions do not change the rules when promoted to a different rate schedule, nor do they change the rules concerning reductions in grade or re-promotions.

CCA back pay update Wed, 04 Apr 2018 12:40:00 -0500 NALC has filed a national level grievance regarding former CCAs who have not received their back pay to date. The grievance covers approximately 6000 former CCAs who had been converted to career employees prior to August 7, 2017 and have not yet received back pay for time worked as a CCA during the back pay period. These employees previously received back pay for time worked as a career employee during the back pay period.

There is no dispute between NALC and USPS at the headquarters level that these employees are owed back pay. USPS has been unable to determine when these employees will receive the rest of their back pay. NALC has asked for additional compensation for the unreasonable delay.

POSTAL FACTS: April 9, 2018 Mon, 09 Apr 2018 10:58:00 -0500 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

'I need a hero': Rochester mail carriers are officially as heroic as we think they are (Democrat & Chronicle)

In a news feature on April 8, the Democrat & Chronicle takes an extended look at the heroic actions of the Rochester area's letter carriers in recent years.

Click here to read the article.

As record snowfall piles high, Billings postal carriers plow through to deliver mail (KTVQ)

KTVQ aired a story on April 6 about a good-spirited letter carrier coping with the second-worst winter Billings, MT has had.

Click here to watch the report.

Stamp out hunger drive May 12  (Idaho Press-Tribune)
CARRIERS: Mark this date (Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press)

Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers President John Paige’s letters to the editor of the Idaho Press-Tribune and the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press ran on April 6.

Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Press-Tribune.

Click here to read the letter in the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press.

MDD Load Truck feature Fri, 06 Apr 2018 13:57:00 -0500 In October 2017, the Postal Service enabled a new feature on the Mobile Delivery Device (MDD) called Load Truck.  This feature involves letter carriers scanning their packages as they load their vehicle and the MDD provides them with visual and audible information regarding the delivery sequence number of the package and a numbered section (1 through 6) of the vehicle in which the package should be placed.  At the time this new feature was released, USPS also distributed a standup talk to delivery units which stated not all carriers will need to use the Load Truck feature.  The standup talk stated, “Regular carriers and others familiar with the route layout will probably not need the feature.”

In addition to using the Load Truck feature of the MDD, the Postal Service envisioned carriers unfamiliar with routes using the Package Lookahead feature that was introduced to the MDD one year earlier.  Through the MDD screen, Package Lookahead provides carriers with a manifest of all packages assigned to their route for the day, and as each package is delivered the manifest is updated to indicate it, thus providing which packages have yet to be delivered for the rest of the route. 

Earlier this year the Postal Service switched gears from its previous messaging that only carriers unfamiliar with routes should use the Load Truck feature, and made it a mandatory daily routine for all city delivery letter carriers as they load their vehicles.  Almost immediately, NALC headquarters and the 15 regional offices began receiving many questions from letter carriers and local union representatives regarding this change.  Some reported their local managers told them they could not separate their parcels in delivery sequence as allowed by and provided for in section 322.31 of Handbook M-41, City Delivery Carriers Duties and Responsibilities.  We also heard reports of managers not allowing letter carriers to reverse a letter in their letter separation, to indicate where they have a SPR too large to be cased, as provided for in section 225.22 of Handbook M-41.  They were told to only use the Package Lookahead feature instead.

After receiving those reports, NALC has met several times with officials at USPS headquarters to determine their position on these issues.  The Postal Service states the only directive being issued to the area and district levels is that all carriers should use the Load Truck feature by scanning each parcel and placing them into the numbered section of the truck indicated on the MDD.  USPS plans to use the scan to improve customer visibility soon. That is it; all rules and regulations regarding loading and delivery of parcels must still be adhered to.

If a letter carrier is instructed to load or deliver their parcels in a manner inconsistent with the procedures outlined in Handbook M-41, he or she should follow those instructions but inform a local union representative for further investigation.

Postal Facts: April 6, 2018 Fri, 06 Apr 2018 09:43:00 -0500 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

LBI Blessed With Hero Mail Carrier (WCBS TV)

Thomas Logue, a Long island Beach, NJ, letter carrier is being lauded for saving the life of an 86-year-old man on his route. Logue was NALC's 2012 National Hero of the year after he saved a boy who’d been pulled out to sea by a rip current and handed him to his father – on Father’s Day. The story about his latest heroic feat was aired on April 5 by WCBS in New York City.

Click here to watch the report.

No, the Postal Service isn't losing a fortune on Amazon (Politifact)

On April 2, Politifact checked the facts behind the president's recent tweets about Amazon and the Postal Service. NALC Chief of Staff Jim Sauber explains postal economies of scope.

Click here to read the article.

Mailman recounts daring rescue of woman from burning apartment (WHAM)

Chris Turner, a letter carrier in Spencerport, NY, rescued a woman from a burning house he noticed driving home from work. WHAM, the ABC affiliate, aired the story about Turner on March 22.

Click here to watch the report.

Letter carrier delivers a rescue (Osakis Review)

Jason Mounsdon, a letter carrier in Osakis, MN, witnessed a car accident and assisted an injured man until EMTs arrived. The Osakis Review covered the story on March 21.

Click here to read the article.

Daniel: Join the Postal Service in the battle against hunger (Athens Banner-Herald)

Patrick Daniel, president of Athens, GA Branch 388, had a letter to the editor in the Athens Banner-Herald on March 16, encouraging local residents to make food donations to the Stamp Out Hunger Foor Drive on May 12.

Click here to read his submission.

USPS (Idaho State Journal)

Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers President John Paige’s letter to the editor of the Idaho State Journal ran on April 3.

Click here to read the letter in the Idaho State Journal.

Safety Ambassador Program Thu, 05 Apr 2018 12:53:00 -0500 NALC advises all NALC activists to not volunteer to serve as a Safety Ambassador or participate in the newly developed Safety Ambassador Program.

The Postal Service advised NALC that it intended to establish national guidelines for the existing Safety Captain Program and rebrand it as the Safety Ambassador Program.  Meetings were held with the Postal Service regarding the guidelines.  After these meetings, NALC filed a national level grievance as we believe replacing the Safety Captain Program with the Safety Ambassador Program creates changes in working conditions that are not fair, reasonable, or equitable.  For additional information see Lew Drass’ article in the April Postal Record.

EEOC finds USPS practiced disability discrimination Tue, 03 Apr 2018 17:26:00 -0500 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has found the Postal Service National Reassessment Process (NRP) subjected approximately 130,000 injured-on-duty employees to a pattern and practice of disability discrimination, in violation of the Rehabilitation Act. A letter carrier in Rochester NY, Sandra McConnell, initiated a class action EEOC complaint in 2007 after she was reassessed under the NRP. That class action complaint, covering all injured-on-duty employees who were reassessed under the NRP during the period 5/5/06 through 7/1/11, was decided by the EEOC in September 2017 and finalized in a March 9, 2018 decision.

The EEOC ordered the Postal Service to notify each class member, within 10 calendar days, of the EEOC decision. The Postal Service notice is required to advise class members who believe they are entitled to individual relief, that they must now file a written claim with the agency within 30 days of receipt of the notification from the Postal Service. The EEOC decision is linked here.

A sample copy of the notice and claim form provided by the Postal Service may be reviewed here.

The EEOC identified the following criteria as potential grounds for claiming relief:

  • Subjected to unlawful medical enquiry or had their confidential medical information accessed by unauthorized persons (see EEOC page 46, 6b)
  • Harassed, treated disparately, or had reasonable accommodations withdrawn (see EEOC page 46, 6c&d)
  • Given a new assignment that resulted in harm or loss of benefits (see EEOC page 46, 6e)
  • Given a total or partial no-work-available determination (see EEOC pages 46 & 47, 6f)
  • Constructively discharged (separated, resigned or retired) as a result of NRP (see EEOC page 47, 6g)

Letter carriers who were subject to the NRP and believe they are entitled to individual relief should file a written claim with the Postal Service at the following address:


PO Box 3787

Greenwood Village CO 80155


Many letter carriers have also received communications from the attorneys who won the case (Thomas & Solomon; Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris). An alternate claim form is available from these attorneys that some letter carriers may find simpler to fill out. By using and signing this claim form, an individual additionally designates the class attorneys as his or her representative in accordance with a retainer agreement that is attached. The retainer agreement includes the following provision: Contingency fees. You do not need to pay us any fee unless you receive a recovery. From any recovery, we will receive 30% of the gross value or amount as a fee (“Contingency Fees”). However, there is a provision allowing an individual to use the form to make a claim with the Postal Service, sign it, and opt out of designating the class attorneys as representative. It states: “With my signature below, unless I indicate otherwise in writing in this document, I have accepted the legal representation from Class Counsel under the terms of the retainer agreement that the law firms sent to me.”

More information about this EEOC decision can be obtained from those attorneys.

Attorney website:     

Attorney phone #s: 585 272 0540 or toll free 877 272 4066


The 30 day window to file a written claim (measured from the date a class member receives notice from the Postal Service) provides a short time period. In order to avoid disputes about timeliness of claims, letter carriers should mail claims to the Postal Service by April 12, 2018.

NALC is making every effort to contact current and former letter carriers that may be entitled to individual relief. Click here to read a sample of the letter being sent to those individuals. If you know current or former letter carriers that were subject to the NRP, please provide this information to them.


Copies of the 2017 and 2018 EEOC decisions are linked, here and here.

Recent presidential tweet storm Tue, 03 Apr 2018 17:15:00 -0500 In January, NALC reported on the first of the president’s tweets directed at the Postal Service and Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos who is also the owner of The Washington Post. The president, who objects to his coverage by the newspaper, targeted Bezos by attacking Amazon for allegedly exploiting the Postal Service. He charged that the Postal Service loses money by setting prices on Amazon’s deliveries too low.

As we noted at that time, “unlike its competitors, the Postal Service already is required, by federal law, to make a profit on every package it delivers – including those for Amazon.  Also unlike UPS and FedEx, the Postal Service is required by law to deliver to every address in the country six days a week.”

Over the past week, the president unleashed a stream of five tweets repeating his erroneous claims about USPS losses on Amazon packages and adding the charge that Amazon is unfairly avoiding federal taxes.

While Amazon can certainly address the tax issue by itself, letter carriers deserve to know the facts about the Postal Service with respect to the president’s latest tweets.

Below are the latest tweets that began on March 29 and ended April 3:

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump3h3 hours ago

I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy. Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrumpApr 2

Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country...not a level playing field!

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrumpMar 31

While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars. The Failing N.Y. Times reports that “the size of the company’s lobbying staff has ballooned,” and that...

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrumpMar 31

...does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a “lobbyist” and should so REGISTER. If the P.O. “increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion.” This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrumpMar 29

I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!

First and foremost, the proud men and women who deliver the nation’s mail, many of whom served in the military before coming to the Postal Service, might take umbrage with the term “Delivery Boy,” but there is no doubt that all letter carriers are proud to deliver for tens of millions customers every day, including Amazon.

Second, it is simply not true that USPS loses money on Amazon deliveries. A recent Politifactreport makes it clear. The charge that USPS loses $1.50 per package is a recycled and dubious claim by a hedge fund investor in FedEx using unverified data from United Parcel Service (as reported here). This hardly makes him an unbiased observer.

In fact, in August of 2017, the Postal Service made clear that “by law our competitive package products, including those that we deliver for Amazon, must cover their costs. Our regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), looks carefully at this question every year and has determined that they do. The PRC has also noted that competitive products help fund the infrastructure of the Postal Service."

Perhaps most notably from the tweet-storm are a few simple realities:

  • The Postal Service, by law, is self-supporting. It has not received any taxpayer subsidies since the early 1980s.
  • The Postal Service’s losses since 2007 have nothing to do with parcel pricing or Amazon. As letter carriers know, nearly 90 percent of the losses since then are due to the misguided 2006 Congressional mandate that requires the USPS to prefund — i.e., to pay 75 years in advance over a decade—future retiree health benefit costs. No other enterprise in America is required to carry such a crushing burden.
  • And most importantly, if the President really wants to help the Postal Service, he should focus on relieving the unreasonable prefunding burden.
NALC lauds bipartisan effort to advance postal reform legislation Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:15:00 -0500 Today, Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced S. 2629, “The Postal Reform Act of 2018,” a bill that incorporates elements of both the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Postal Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756) and Sen. Carper’s “Improving Postal Operations, Service and Transparency Act (iPOST),” which was introduced during the last Congress. Following introduction, NALC President Fredric Rolando released the following statement:

“NALC thanks and commends the bipartisan authors of this proposed legislation for working to strengthen the Postal Service. America’s letter carriers appreciate the significant improvements contained in the bill over prior reform efforts. These improvements, which we have long advocated, include:

  • Securing our country’s universal delivery system by protecting six-day mail delivery.
  • Rejecting unnecessary changes to door delivery service for business and residential customers.
  • Calling for a two-year moratorium on changes to service standards, giving the legislation time to work in a way that will relieve the pressure for misguided service cuts.
  • Granting the Postal Service the ability to innovate, including the use of its networks to ship beer, wine and liquor to boost revenue.
  • Exempting annuitants and their eligible spouses from the proposed mandate to enroll in Medicare Part B at age 65 if they can derive no benefit from enrolling (veterans with full VA care, native Alaskans, etc.) or if enrollment would cause extreme financial hardship.

We thank all four senators for their creativity in developing a variation of the Medicare-based approach to postal reform.  Assuming there is support for this approach from Sen Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and from the Committee’s GOP majority, we support using this bill as the basis for further legislative action.

NALC will monitor this bill and will continue to work with lawmakers and stakeholders through the legislative process to achieve quality postal reform.

As I laid out over a year ago, our objectives in any legislative process will be to protect our jobs, our rights, our networks and the interests of all NALC members.

Letter carriers know that the path ahead in Congress for this bill (or any bill) is uncertain. We look forward to reviewing the Postal Service’s financial analysis of the Postal Reform Act of 2018 and vow to remain engaged to work with both parties in the Senate to help the Postal Service thrive in the 21st Century.”