National Association of Letter Carriers News Feed http://www.nalc.org/rss/ National Association of Letter Carriers News Feed Wed, 1 Oct 2014 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 Former NALC Vice President Hutchins has died https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/former-nalc-vice-president-hutchins-has-died Wed, 17 Oct 2018 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/former-nalc-vice-president-hutchins-has-died Hutchins started his letter carrier career in 1957, joining Richmond, VA Branch 496. He served several terms as branch president and vice president. He also was Virginia State Association president and newsletter editor before becoming a regional administrative assistant.

In 1980, NALC President Vincent Sombrotto appointed Hutchins national business agent for the District of Columbia region. He was elected in 1987 to the office of national vice president, a position he held until his retirement in 1994.

“Brother Hutchins was a true champion of letter carriers,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “He made an incredible difference at all levels of the union, from Richmond to the mid-Atlantic region to Washington, DC.”

Funeral services were held on Oct. 15 at Mimms Funeral Home, 1827 Hull St., Richmond.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to FeedMore Central Virginia, Nashville Kidney Foundation and Florence Neal Cooper Smith Sickle Cell Professorship.

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Missing: Letter Carrier Kierra Coles 27 y/o Female https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/s Tue, 16 Oct 2018 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/s Kierra Coles is a Letter Carrier for the USPS. She is 27 years old, 5'4" and 125 pounds, with a tattoo of a heart on her right hand, and another that says 'lucky libra' on her back. Coles is three months pregnant and was last seen leaving her apartment at 81st and Vernon on October 2nd.

Any information about her whereabouts, please call

  • Detectives Joyner or Micetich: 312-747-8274
  • Chicago Police Department: 911
  • NALC Branch #11: 773-624-4209
  • Postal Inspectors Hotline: 877-876-2455
  • Or Call 1-800-UTELLUS (800-883-5587)
 
Announcement by the NALC Chicago Branch 11
 
Announcement by the USPS
 
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Statement: U.S. Mail: Not For Sale Nationwide Rallies https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-u-s-mail-not-for-sale-nationwide-rallies Mon, 15 Oct 2018 09:50:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-u-s-mail-not-for-sale-nationwide-rallies On Monday, October 8th, thousands of letter carriers and other postal employees held rallies in over 150 cities to publicly send a message to Washington that we will not accept Postal Privatization.  The NALC and its allies from the other unions said loud and clear: The U.S. Mail is Not for Sale.

I would like to extend my warmest regards and thanks to all who were involved: from the organizers, letter carrier participants, other postal employees, and friends and family, to local residents, our union allies and all the Members of Congress who attended.  Together, with the APWU, NPMHU and NRLCA, we sent a strong unified message that we will fight to protect the public’s Postal Service at all costs.  Postal privatization is a dangerous idea, proposed by the Trump Administration’s Office of Management and Budget – and purportedly by the President’s Postal Task Force.

Selling the USPS to Corporate America would surely eliminate mail routes and reduce service, cutting off rural communities and making it difficult for the elderly, disabled, and small businesses to receive important mail in a timely fashion. Putting the USPS in private hands could even terminate service altogether in some areas while threatening hundreds of thousands of middle-class postal jobs. We will continue to do everything in our power to positively reform the USPS and preserve it as a public service.

After our strong showing of solidarity on Monday, let’s keep the momentum going! Continue to proudly support the #NotForSale movement against Privatization by wearing your shirt proudly, sharing on social media and voting in November.  We need to elect a Congress that believes in supporting workers and in a strong USPS.

Brothers and sisters, the US Mail is #NotForSale!

-President Fredric Rolando, NALC

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NALC national elections https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-national-elections Thu, 11 Oct 2018 17:21:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-national-elections The National Election Committee, appointed at the Detroit National Convention to conduct the election of national officers for NALC for four-year terms, has announced the results.

Here are the results, listed in ballot order. Winners are highlighted in italics. Note that voting for the regional national business agent offices was limited to NALC members in good standing from the respective regions:


President

— Fredric Rolando, Sarasota, FL Br. 2148: 48,977

— David Noble, Washington, DC Br. 142: 11,099

Executive Vice President

—Brian Renfroe, Hattiesburg, MS Br. 938: 42,708

—Rachael Elmore, Freehold, NJ Br. 924: 16,064

Vice President

—Lew Drass, Huntsville, AL Br. 462: 38,732

—Sara Gresham, Newport News, VA Br. 609: 19,314

Secretary-Treasurer

—Jerry Kerner Jr., Baltimore, MD Br. 176: 15,317

—Nicole Rhine, Lincoln, NE Br. 8: 42,981

Assistant Secretary-Treasurer

—Paul Barner, Roswell, GA Br. 4862: 35,315

—Kathryn R. Myers, Billings, MT Br. 815: 22,153

Director of City Delivery

—Christopher Jackson, Garden Grove, CA Br. 1100: 43,886

—Thomas A. Houff, Richmond, VA Br. 496: 13,470

Director, Safety and Health

—Manuel L. Peralta Jr., Garden Grove, CA Br. 1100: 42,006

—Douglas L. Peters II, Lansing, MI Br. 122: 16,071

Director of Life Insurance

—Alan Nagata, Salt Lake City, UT Br. 111: 17,889

—James W. Yates, Long Island Merged, NY Br. 6000: 39,449

Director, Health Benefit Plan

—Robert R. Brunette, Sheboygan, WI Br. 102: 14,363

—Stephanie Stewart, Central Iowa Mgd. Br. 352: 43,355

Director, Retired Members

—Daniel Toth, Lorain, OH Br. 583: 43,952

—Thomas E. Fath, Decatur, IL Br. 317: 13,047

National Trustees (three positions)

—Lawrence D. Brown Jr., Los Angeles, CA Br. 24: 41,832

—Michael Gill, South Florida Br. 1071: 40,170

—Carol E. Paxton, New Orleans, LA Br. 124: 27,487

—Rolando Rodriguez, Anderson, IN Br. 489: 16,029

—Mack I. Julion, Chicago Br. 11: 35,138

Region 2 National Business Agent

—Michael Wahlquist, Salt Lake City, UT Br. 111: 1,084

—Nick Vafiades, Longview, WA Br. 2214: 1,300

Region 4 National Business Agent

—Dan Versluis, Tucson, AZ Br. 704: 1,801

—Anita Lewallen, Conway, AR Br. 1592: 1,337

Region 9 National Business Agent

—Lynne Pendleton, Central Florida Br. 1091: 3,481

—Kenneth R. Gibbs Jr., Brunswick, GA Br. 313: 2,977

 

The official announcement will be in the November issue of The Postal Record.

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Branch Officers Training set for Jan. 7-10 in Orlando, FL https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/branch-officers-training-set-for-jan-7-10-in-orlando-fl Wed, 10 Oct 2018 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/branch-officers-training-set-for-jan-7-10-in-orlando-fl NALC Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Rhine has announced that Branch Officers Training will be held January 7-10, 2019, in Orlando, FL.

Branch Officers Training consists of three and a half days of educational seminars tailored to assist branch presidents, vice presidents, treasurers, recording secretaries, financial secretaries and trustees in the performance of their duties.

These sessions cover the basics for financial officers: taxes, accounting systems and maintenance of proper controls, reporting to the Department of Labor, fiduciary duties under the Landrum-Griffin Act, bonding of branch officers and IRS reporting requirements.

Additional topics include the NALC Constitution and branch bylaws, branch operations and identifying branch policies, maintaining accurate and complete meeting minutes, member notification requirements, record keeping, branch elections, branch dues and how to read a dues roster.

The registration form for the Orlando Branch Officers Training will be included in the next NALC Bulletin. Branches must use the registration form to register for the class. Note: Please do not make airline reservations until you receive an acceptance letter. The daily room rate for the training is $129 plus tax. 

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NALC responds to Hurricane Michael https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-responds-to-hurricane-michael Tue, 09 Oct 2018 15:06:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-responds-to-hurricane-michael To our brothers and sisters in the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael, we need your help to make sure that we are notified of the needs of our membership in your area. 

We seek your help in identifying those letter carriers who have been displaced from their homes by providing the following information: 

Name
Address
Phone Number
Branch Number
Work Location

Please remember to record any damage to your home and cars with photos.  

Please provide this information to NBA Steve Lassan’s office at 256-828-8205 for Region 8 (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana) and Kenny Gibbs’ office at 954-964-2116 for Region 9 (Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia).  You may also email one of the NBAs, RAAs, Disaster Foundation President or Vice President at: 

lassan@nalc.org
walker@nalc.org
strickland@nalc.org
gibbs@nalc.org
pendleton@nalc.org
lyerly@nalc.org
cdavidson@nalc.org
peralta@nalc.org 

Helping to account for each other's needs is the beginning point for assistance.

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H. Res. 993 reaches 219 cosponsors https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/h-res-993-reaches-219-cosponsors Wed, 03 Oct 2018 08:50:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/h-res-993-reaches-219-cosponsors A bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives has cosponsored House Resolution 993, calling on Congress to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the Postal Service remain an independent agency of the federal government and not be subject to privatization. The resolution now has 219 cosponsors. For more information on H. Res. 993, click here.

An identical resolution introduced in the Senate (S. Res. 633) now has 41 cosponsors. For more information on S. Res. 633, click here.

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U.S. Mail: Not for Sale rallies being organized https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/u-s-mail-not-for-rallies-being-organized Fri, 28 Sep 2018 11:44:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/u-s-mail-not-for-rallies-being-organized The list of rally locations is being updated daily. Please see if a rally is planned near you and sign up to attend.

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Senate resolution introduced on USPS privatization https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/senate-resolution-introduced-on-usps-privatization Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/senate-resolution-introduced-on-usps-privatization

Today, a bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced a Senate Resolution (S. Res. 633) calling on Congress to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the Postal Service remain an independent agency of the federal government and not be subject to privatization.

The introduction of this bipartisan resolution follows an identical House resolution (H. Res. 993), introduced July 16, 2018, which has accumulated 190 cosponsors as of press. Both resolutions were introduced in response to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) government reorganization and restructure plan, which calls for privatizing the Postal Service and ahead of the Postal Task Force report, which is unlikely to be released to the public ahead of the midterm elections.

The list of cosponsors is as follows:

  • Sen. Angus King (I-ME)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
  • Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
  • Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
  • Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
  • Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
  • Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MT)
  • Sen. Shelden Whitehouse (D-RI)
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
  • Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
  • Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)
  • Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) 

“NALC is proud to see such a strong bipartisan defense in both the House and Senate against what amounts to an attack not simply on letter carriers and other postal employees, but the American people as well. Privatization of the U.S. Postal Service would hurt both low-income and rural Americans especially who live in areas where it might not be profitable to deliver to them.”

“NALC’s hope is that Congress progresses with sensible postal reform that would improve the establishment’s finances instead of resorting to hack-and-burn privatization policies.”

In the effort to reach a bipartisan majority in both the Senate and the House (51 in Senate, 218 in House), NALC encourages all letter carriers to contact their Senators to become cosponsors of this new resolution and to contact their members of Congress to become cosponsors of H. Res. 993, if they have not yet done so.

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What to do if you do not receive an NALC ballot https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/what-to-do-if-you-do-not-receive-an-nalc-ballot Thu, 20 Sep 2018 09:36:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/what-to-do-if-you-do-not-receive-an-nalc-ballot The ballots for the election of national officers for NALC have been mailed.

The National Election Committee, appointed at the Detroit National Convention to conduct the election, reviewed and approved all nominating forms and created the ballot for mailing. Official election instructions are included with all ballots mailed to eligible NALC members.

To be eligible to vote, a person must be a regular member of NALC and in good standing as of June 1, 2018. National business agents (NBAs) will be elected by the members in their respective regions.

If you are eligible to vote and do not receive a ballot by Friday, Sept. 21, or if you have spoiled your ballot or need another ballot for any reason, you must notify a branch officer to request a duplicate ballot. When making
this request, you should provide the branch officer with your name and current mailing address. Branch officers are instructed to immediately contact NALC at 202-393-4695 to request a duplicate, replacement ballot. If you cast your original ballot and a duplicate ballot, only the duplicate ballot will be counted.

The deadline for branch officers to contact NALC is 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, Sept. 24.

Ballots must be received by 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, to be counted. The counting of ballots will begin that day.

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NALC responds to Hurricane Florence https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-responds-to-hurricane-florence Wed, 12 Sep 2018 15:45:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-responds-to-hurricane-florence To our brothers and sisters in the areas impacted by Hurricane Florence, we need your help to make sure that we are notified of the needs of our membership in your area. We seek your help in identifying those letter carriers who have been displaced from their homes by providing the following information: 

Name
Address
Phone Number
Branch Number
Work Location 

Please provide this information to NBA Vada Preston’s office at 757-934-1013 for Region 13 (Virginia, Maryland, DC) and Kenny Gibbs’ office at 954-964-2116 for Region 9 (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia).  You may also email one of the NBAs, RAAs, Disaster Foundation President or Vice President at: 

preston@nalc.org
mcelroy@nalc.org
gibbs@nalc.org
pendleton@nalc.org
lyerly@nalc.org
cdavidson@nalc.org
peralta@nalc.org 

Helping to account for each other's needs is the beginning point for assistance.

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NALC ballots being mailed https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-ballots-being-mailed Wed, 12 Sep 2018 18:21:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-ballots-being-mailed The National Election Committee, appointed at the Detroit National Convention to conduct the election of national officers for NALC, is in Washington, DC overseeing the printing, stuffing and mailing of ballots.

Candidates for 12 of the 15 national business agent (NBA) positions were unopposed and elected by consent at the Detroit convention. Two candidates were nominated from the floor for each of the following positions: president, executive vice president, vice president, secretary-treasurer, assistant secretary-treasurer, director of city delivery, director of safety and health, director of life insurance, director of health benefits, director of retired members, and NBAs for Regions 2, 4 and 9. Five candidates were nominated from the floor for three national trustee positions.

The election is being conducted by mail ballot in accordance with the NALC Constitution. The Election Committee has retained the services of Hartsfield Resolution Group of St. Clair Shores, MI, to assist it in supervising the conduct of the election. The committee has also retained Mosaic, a print communications company located in Cheverly, MD, to prepare and mail the ballots.

The committee has reviewed and approved all nominating forms and has created the ballot for mailing. Official election instructions will be included with all ballots mailed to eligible NALC members.

To be eligible to vote, a person must be a regular member of NALC and in good standing as of June 1, 2018. NBAs will be elected by the members in their respective regions.

Ballots are currently being prepared, inserted and mailed. All ballots are expected to be mailed by September 14.  

If you are eligible to vote and do not receive a ballot by Friday, Sept. 21, or if you have spoiled your ballot or need another ballot for any reason, you must notify your branch officers to request a duplicate ballot.  When making this request, you should provide your branch officer with your name and current mailing address.  Branch officers are instructed to immediately contact the NALC at 202-393-4695 to request a duplicate, replacement ballot. If you cast your original ballot and a duplicate ballot, only the duplicate ballot will be counted.

The deadline for branch officers to contact NALC is 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, Sept. 24. 

Ballots must be received by 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, to be counted. The counting of ballots will begin that day.

Nominees who will appear on the ballot (in the order that they will appear on the ballot) are:

President

— Fredric Rolando, Sarasota, FL Br. 2148

— David Noble, Washington, DC Br. 142

Executive Vice President

—Brian Renfroe, Hattiesburg, MS Br. 938

—Rachael Elmore, Freehold, NJ Br. 924

Vice President

—Lew Drass, Huntsville, AL Br. 462

—Sara Gresham, Newport News, VA Br. 609

Secretary-Treasurer

—Jerry Kerner Jr., Baltimore, MD Br. 176

—Nicole Rhine, Lincoln, NE Br. 8

Assistant Secretary-Treasurer

—Paul Barner, Roswell, GA Br. 4862

—Kathryn R. Myers, Billings, MT Br. 815

Director of City Delivery

—Christopher Jackson, Garden Grove, CA Br. 1100

—Thomas A. Houff, Richmond, VA Br. 496

Director, Safety and Health

—Manuel L. Peralta Jr., Garden Grove, CA Br. 1100

—Douglas L. Peters II, Lansing, MI Br. 122

Director of Life Insurance

—Alan Nagata, Salt Lake City, UT Br. 111

—James W. Yates, Long Island Merged, NY Br. 6000

Director, Health Benefit Plan

—Robert R. Brunette, Sheboygan, WI Br.102

—Stephanie Stewart, Central Iowa Mgd. Br. 352

Director, Retired Members

—Daniel Toth, Lorain, OH Br. 583

—Thomas E. Fath, Decatur, IL Br. 317

National Trustees (three positions)

—Lawrence D. Brown Jr., Los Angeles, CA Br. 24

—Michael Gill, South Florida Br. 1071

—Carol E. Paxton, New Orleans, LA Br. 124

—Rolando Rodriguez, Anderson, IN Br. 489

—Mack I. Julion, Chicago Br. 11

Region 2 NBA

—Michael Wahlquist, Salt Lake City, UT Br. 111

—Nick Vafiades, Longview, WA Br. 2214

Region 4 NBA

—Dan Versluis, Tucson, AZ Br. 704

—Anita Lewallen, Conway, AR Br. 1592

Region 9 NBA

—Lynne Pendleton, Central Florida Br. 1091

—Kenneth R. Gibbs Jr., Brunswick, GA Br. 313

The Election Committee, as appointed by President Fredric Rolando, is made up of Garden Grove, CA Branch 1100’s Barbara Stickler (chairperson); Mike O’Neill, New Jersey Merged Branch 38; Rod Holub, Manhattan, KS Branch 1018; Delano Wilson, Silver Spring, MD Branch 2611; Antonia Shields, Birmingham, AL Branch 530; Paul Roznowski, Royal Oak, MI Branch 3126; Ethel Ford, Houston, TX Branch 283; Tom Dlugolenski, Syracuse, NY Branch 134; Margaret Parker, Aurora, IL Branch 219; and Brian Wiggins, Seattle, WA Branch 79.

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USPS Board of Governors activity in Senate and White House https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-board-of-governors-activity-in-senate-and-white-house Thu, 30 Aug 2018 16:03:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-board-of-governors-activity-in-senate-and-white-house Update: September 6, 2018 The White House has formally sent the nominations of Bloom and Martinez to the Senate for consideration.

On August 28, 2018, the Senate confirmed the nominations of David Williams (D) and Robert Duncan (R) to serve as members of the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors, each for one term.

David C. Williams was confirmed to serve the remainder of a seven-year term that ends December 8, 2019. Williams has a long history of government service. He joined the Secret Service after a tour of military duty in Vietnam, and then served as part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Strike Force. Following his work on President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Organized Crime, he led the Office of Special Investigations at the General Accounting Office (since renamed the Government Accountability Office). He was then confirmed as the Inspector General (IG) for several federal agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Social Security Administration, the Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. His longest stint as an IG, at the Postal Service (from 2003 until his retirement in 2016), led to his nomination to the Board of Governors.

Robert M. (Mike) Duncan was confirmed to serve for the remainder of a seven-year term that ends December 8, 2025. He is a banker and currently the chairman and CEO of Inez Deposit Bank, as well as chairman of the President’s Commission on White House Fellows. Previously, Duncan served on the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority and was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2007 to 2009.

Additionally, the White House announced its intention to nominate two more individuals to the USPS Board of Governors, Ron Bloom (D) and Roman Martinez IV (R).

Ron Bloom, who will be nominated for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring December 8, 2020, began his career as an investment banker and union consultant before serving as the special assistant to the president of the United Steelworkers for many years. President Barack Obama appointed Bloom to serve as the Assistant to the President on Manufacturing Policy in 2009, when he helped rescue the auto industry during the Great Recession. In 2011, he returned to investment banking at Lazard Company, where he served as Vice Chairman, U.S. Investment Banking. During his time at Lazard, he advised the NALC on postal issues and appeared at both a national rap session and a national convention. Bloom is currently Managing Partner and Vice Chairman at Brookfield Asset Management, where he helps manage the firm’s private equity investments.

Roman Martinez IV will be nominated for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring December 8, 2024. He began his career as an investment banker in 1971 at Kuhn Loeb & Company until it was acquired by the now-defunct global financial services firm, Lehman Brothers. Martinez worked there as the managing director of investment banking until his retirement in 2003. Since 2003, he has served on the board of directors for several different companies and has been involved in various Republican presidential and Senate campaigns.

To be confirmed, they will need to appear for confirmation hearings before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (HSGAC). If approved by the Committee, their appointments will be subject to a confirmation vote by the whole Senate.

The USPS Board of Governors consists of eleven members, nine governors and two ex officio members, the Postmaster General and the Deputy Postmaster General. While the Board functions similarly to a board of directors of a publicly held corporation, it has not been fully staffed since 2010 and lost its final appointed governor in December 2016, leaving all nine positions vacant. If Bloom and Martinez are confirmed, four of the nine seats on the Board would be filled, enough to achieve a quorum if the Postmaster General and Deputy Postmaster General are present.

“NALC is pleased to see action taken by the Senate to fill the first two vacancies,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando. “We encourage the Senate to begin consideration of these additional nominations and we urge the administration to fill the remaining vacancies with qualified nominees.”

NALC will continue to work with the Senate and the administration to ensure that letter carriers’ interests are represented.

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Federal judge overturns Trump administration’s anti-federal union orders https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/federal-judge-overturns-trump-administrations-anti-federal-union-orders Tue, 28 Aug 2018 21:02:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/federal-judge-overturns-trump-administrations-anti-federal-union-orders On Saturday, a federal judge invalidated key provisions in three executive orders the Trump administration issued in May, which had made it easier for agencies to fire federal workers and placed strict limits on union activities. (The orders did not apply to the Postal Service and its unions.)

In her ruling, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the executive orders were a clear violation of the 1978 Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute of 1978. Under that statute, Congress gave federal employees the right to unionize and negotiate job contracts as a matter “of public interest.”

“The Court has concluded that many of the challenged provisions of the Orders at issue here effectively reduce the scope of the right to bargain collectively as Congress has crafted it, or impair the ability of agency officials to bargain in good faith as Congress has directed, and therefore cannot be sustained,”

The district court’s ruling on August 25 resolved four lawsuits filed against the Trump administration by several federal employee unions, led by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). The unions challenged the three orders Trump signed in May that rolled back labor protections for federal workers.

One order made it easier to fire and discipline federal employees. Depending on the agency, firing an employee for poor performance could take six months to a year, not including the appeals process. This order gave employees only 30 days to improve their job performance, instead of the current limit of up to 120 days. It also instructed agencies to ignore contracts that prioritized seniority during layoffs.

Another executive order directed federal agencies to spend less time negotiating contracts with labor unions and set a goal of no more than six months to reach an agreement, after which the agencies would be free to unilaterally implement contracts containing their “last best offers.” This would have destroyed the agencies’ incentives to bargain in good faith.

A third order placed limits on how much time employees in union leadership roles can spend on union activities during work hours. This is known as “official time,” and it can include helping other employees file grievances or resolve other workplace problems. The administration sought to limit official time to 25 percent of an employee’s yearly work hours.

The administration said it has the legal authority to give such guidance to executive agencies that answer to the president. But the orders prompted immediate litigation from government unions.

The American Federation of Government Employees, which is the largest union involved in the lawsuits, said the efforts were a “direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress specifically guaranteed to the public sector employees across this country who keep our federal government running every single day.”

Judge Jackson’s ruling described the Trump administration’s defense of the orders as an attempt to do “verbal jujitsu” with the law. She rejected the argument that the administration had the power to interfere with union negotiations that are protected under federal law.

“There is no rational explanation for Defendants’ suggestion that Congress would have intended for the President to have the power to act in this fashion at all in regard to the matters that the FSLMRS specifically characterizes as negotiable. Quite frankly, it is hard to even imagine a rational statutory exception that is intentionally designed to swallow the rule,” she wrote.

Jackson effectively revoked most of the measures in the executive orders, although federal unions may need to take further judicial action to reverse actions taken under the improper executive orders.

“This is a huge win for all federal employees, including postal employees whose rights could have been targeted next” NALC President Fred Rolando said. “We thank our brothers and sisters at AFGE – and the other federal unions – for defending our rights under the law.”

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President Trump sets goals on international pricing/customs at UPU Congress https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/president-trump-sets-goals-on-international-pricingcustoms-at-upu-congress Tue, 28 Aug 2018 20:57:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/president-trump-sets-goals-on-international-pricingcustoms-at-upu-congress On August 23, President Trump issued a policy memorandum providing directions to the State Department for negotiations over international postage pricing at an upcoming meeting of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the United Nations organization that sets international postage rates and regulates the flow of international shipping between 192 nations. The UPU will hold a special Congress in September in Ethiopia.

The memorandum calls on the State Department to improve the UPU’s system of “terminal dues,” the fees postal operators like the U.S. Postal Service charge for delivering mail from other operators (e.g., the Royal Mail of the U.K. or China Post), and to negotiate changes in customs procedures for postal shipments to match those that apply to private shippers under different treaties. These fee arrangements and procedures are set by a treaty between the 192 member-nations of the UPU.

The terminal dues system has become controversial in the age of international e-commerce since it provides developing countries lower final delivery rates than it does to industrialized countries. As a result, e-commerce merchants in the United States complain that vendors in foreign countries are being unfairly subsidized with below-cost delivery services. This problem is especially acute with regard to e-commerce merchants based in China.  The USPS loses tens of millions of dollars providing such deliveries in the U.S. because China Post receives the lower rates charged to developing countries under the UPU treaty.

The UPU recognized the problems with the existing terminal dues system at the last regular UPU Congress in 2016 – and called for a special Congress in Ethiopia next month to address the problems.  (The UPU normally meets every four years.)

On customs procedures, for example, the Trump memorandum calls on the UPU to require postal operators to provide customs officials Advanced Electronic Data (AED) on shipments from foreign post offices – to help combat the flow of illicit opioids.  

Industry reaction

Response to the policy memorandum has been positive – both the USPS and the Postal Regulatory Commission issued statements in support.

The Postal Service and other postal operators in industrialized countries have been urging the State Department to improve the terminal dues system for years – but they have lacked the votes in the UPU to make the necessary changes. Private shippers (UPS and FedEx) have also called for higher rates too – believing that they lose possible business to postal operators charging below-cost rates.

Meanwhile, most industry stakeholders would welcome a UPU solution to the opioid trafficking issue.  Systemic solutions are much more preferable than the flawed approach offered by bills such as the STOP Act, which would place unreasonable burdens on the Postal Service.

NALC generally supports the policy goals outlined in the memo. However, we have two concerns.

  • First, any mandate to provide AED on international shipments should provide a sufficient transition period to postal operators in developing countries as well as the funding required to acquire the needed technology.
  • Second, the memorandum includes a threat by the Administration to unilaterally impose “self-declared” terminal dues rates if the UPU does not reach an agreement that embodies U.S. policy goals. In a complicated diplomatic situation like the UPU, such threats are rarely effective. The U.S. government is just one of 192 member-countries. Implementing unilateral rates should be a last resort since other countries might respond with retaliatory fees or tariffs on shipments from the United States.  This would leave all postal operators worse off by causing volume and revenue to fall.

“We welcome the UPU’s attention to this matter,” NALC President Fred Rolando said. “The UPU is the right forum for dealing with terminal dues, opioids in the mail and other customs procedures, but great care should be taken to preserve the free flow on international mail – which is beneficial to the international economy and essential for international freedom and democracy,” he added.

See the President’s memorandum here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-memorandum-secretary-state-secretary-treasury-secretary-homeland-security-postmaster-general-chairman-postal-regulatory-commission/.

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