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 POSTAL FACTS: Sept. 18, 2017 (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-sept-14-2017 Thu, 14 Sep 2017 15:06:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-sept-14-2017 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

Service: NALC’s Heroes of the Year include Legionnaires  (The American Legion Magazine)

Logo for The American LegionThe September issue of The American Legion Magazine featured a piece on last year’s NALC Heroes of the Year, focusing on the three winners who are Legionnaires: Hazelwood, MO Branch 5847 (Central Region Hero); Mason City, IA Branch 471’s Bradley Gentz (Humanitarian of the Year); and Lynn, MA Branch 7’s Patrick Byrne (Education Award). The in-print story follows the Legion’s online story from April. The American Legion Magazine has a circulation of 2.2 million readers.

Click here to read the print version (PDF).
Click here to read the online version.

Thank you military veterans (Idaho State Journal)
Letter: Mail a letter, support a vet (Twin Falls Times-News)
Vets: Heart of Postal Service (The Coeur D’Alene Press)
Use the mail, thank a veteran (Idaho Press-Tribune)

Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers President John Paige had a letter to the editor run in several newspapers: Idaho State Journal on Sept. 5, Twin Falls Times-News on Sept. 6, The Coeur D’Alene Press on Sept. 8 and the Idaho Press-Tribune on Sept. 15.

Click here to read the letter in the Idaho State Journal.
Click here to read the letter in the Twin Falls Times-News.
Click here to read the letter in the The Coeur D’Alene Press.
Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Press-Tribune.

Postage stamps (Idaho State Journal)
Carriers: Stamp of success (The Coeur D’Alene Press)
Letter: When a stamp is more than a stamp (Twin Falls Times-News)
Postage stamps are symbols of America (Idaho Press-Tribune)
Paige letter: Postage stamps (Idaho Statesman)

Logo for Idaho Press-TribunePaige also had an earlier letter to the editor run in several newspapers: Idaho State Journal on Aug. 7, The Coeur D’Alene Press on Aug. 9, Twin Falls Times-News on Aug. 11, Idaho Press-Tribune on Aug. 16 and Idaho Statesman on Aug. 18.

Click here to read the letter in the Idaho State Journal.
Click here to read the letter in The Coeur D’Alene Press.
Click here to read the letter in the the Twin Falls Times-News.
Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Press-Tribune.
Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Statesman.

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Economics Blog: CPI increases slightly in August, driven mostly by gasoline and shelter costs http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-cpi-increases-slightly-in-august-driven-mostly-by-gasoline-and-shelter-costs Thu, 14 Sep 2017 15:29:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-cpi-increases-slightly-in-august-driven-mostly-by-gasoline-and-shelter-costs The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for August 2017 today. Overall prices increased 0.4 percent in August and 1.9 percent since August 2016. It has remained in the range of 1.6 percent to 2.3 percent on an annual basis since June 2011.

Almost all of this increase came from the gasoline and shelter indexes, with the gasoline index increasing 6.3 percent and the shelter index increasing 0.5 percent.

In addition, the rent index increased 0.4 percent. The increasing cost of housing and rent is particularly troubling for working people in a time of low wage growth.

The indices for motor vehicle insurance, medical car, and recreation all increased in August as well. 

A surprising piece of data has been the decelerating cost of medical care. Medical care cost increased a mere 0.2 percent in August and 1.8 percent since August 2016, making it the smallest increase since 1965. This is most likely due to an unusual decline in the pay of doctors, according to the CPI index.

While August registered an increase in the CPI index, overall the data indicate a continued trend of historically low inflation that has been most acutely seen since the onset of the 2007 financial crisis. The persistently low inflation may influence the Federal Reserve to hold off on increasing the federal funds rate, a key short-term interest rate that influences the cost of borrowing.

A graph of the CPI-U (base year = 1967) is show below:

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NALC responds to Hurricane Harvey (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-responds-to-hurricane-harvey Tue, 05 Sep 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-responds-to-hurricane-harvey As we’re all aware, Hurricane Harvey has left a huge area of destruction throughout Southeastern Texas and Southwestern Louisiana, with the extremely high winds at the storm’s landfall, the massive flooding that resulted in the days that followed and the potential for tornadoes.

The ongoing news reports on this disaster can be difficult to fully comprehend: the rising death toll, thousands injured, tens of thousands homeless or still without power, and property losses in the billions of dollars.

Untold numbers of letter carriers and other members of our postal family are among those hardest hit.

The U.S. Postal Service is a fixture in every community. As a result, whenever disaster strikes, some of us are always in the path of danger. But the fact that we touch every community is also one of our greatest strengths. When some of us need help, NALC members across the country stand ready to provide assistance in one form or another.

A harm to one is a harm to all. We always take care of our own.

If your branch was affected by Hurricane Harvey

Here are some links to information and resource materials to help you deal with the recovery process.

Red Cross

Direct Relief

Donate blood

  • AABB: 301-907-6977
  • American Red Cross: 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767)
  • Armed Services Blood Program: 703-681-5979

FEMA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

GoFundMe

Greater Houston Community Foundation

USPS

PERF

Texas AFL-CIO

Union Plus

United Way

Volunteer Houston

NALC members who need assistance in getting help can contact NALC Community and Membership Outreach Coordinator Pam Donato at 202-662-2489.

If your branch wasn’t affected by Hurricane Harvey

Please commit to reaching out to your co-workers, family members and friends and ask them to make an immediate donation to the Postal Employees’ Relief Fund (PERF). PERF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization operated by the various union and management organizations of the U.S. Postal Service to solely benefit postal employees. Tax-deductible donations can be made in a variety of ways. Click here to learn more.

As much as you might wish to send items to help your brother and sister letter carriers, shipping and distributing goods in the affected areas is nearly impossible for now. Donating money and allowing the agencies on the ground to spend it as needed is the best immediate thing you can do.

Postal uniforms/footwear/rain gear

You can send slightly used or new postal uniforms, footwear and/or rain gear to the following branches that can act as hubs for uniforms for the surrounding branches/letter carriers:

Houston Branch 283
c/o Harvey Help
2414 Broadway Blvd.
Houston, TX 77012

Corpus Christi Branch 1259
c/o Harvey Help
1220 S. Alameda
Corpus Christi, TX 78404

NALC Region 10’s office will do its best to assist these branches with distribution. Other affected branches can get in touch with the Region 10 office for help in getting affected letter carriers what they need.

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Help postal employees hurt by Hurricane Harvey (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/help-postal-employees-hurt-by-hurricane-harvey Mon, 28 Aug 2017 09:06:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/help-postal-employees-hurt-by-hurricane-harvey Help postal employees hurt by Hurricane HarveyYou can help postal employees hurt by Hurricane Harvey right now by making an immediate donation to the Postal Employees' Relief Fund (PERF).

Visit postalrelief.com to make an immediate donation with your credit card.

You can also mail a donation check to:

Postal Employees' Relief Fund
P.O. Box 7630
Woodbridge, VA 22195

PERF helps postal employees and retirees whose homes were significantly damaged by natural disasters or house fires.

PERF is not an emergency relief or immediate needs replacement agency such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the Red Cross or insurance companies that are paid to replace property.

Rather, PERF (Combined Federal Campaign #10268) provides relief grants to help qualifying individuals get re-established after a loss, based on an application process.

Visit postalrelief.com to learn more.

Postal uniforms/footwear/rain gear

You can send slightly used or new postal uniforms, footwear and/or rain gear to the following branches that can act as hubs for uniforms for the surrounding branches/letter carriers:

Houston Branch 283
c/o Harvey Help
2414 Broadway Blvd.
Houston, TX 77012

Corpus Christi Branch 1259
c/o Harvey Help
1220 S. Alameda
Corpus Christi, TX 78404

NALC Region 10’s office will do its best to assist these branches with distribution. Other affected branches can get in touch with the Region 10 office for help in getting affected letter carriers what they need.

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Agreement reached on implementing new Article 8 provisions http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/agreement-reached-on-implementing-new-article-8-provisions Tue, 29 Aug 2017 11:14:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/agreement-reached-on-implementing-new-article-8-provisions In the memorandum of understanding (MOU) Re: Article 8.5.C.2 Overtime Assignments (Revised Language) (M-01886), NALC and the U.S. Postal Service agree that absent local agreement to apply the new provisions of Article 8.5.C.2.e and 8.5.C.2.f of the 2016-2019 National Agreement earlier than Oct. 1, 2017, these provisions will be effective Oct. 1, 2017.

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Economics Blog: New OIG report sheds light on post office usage, especially among the young http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-new-oig-report-sheds-light-on-post-office-usage-especially-among-the-young Wed, 13 Sep 2017 13:25:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-new-oig-report-sheds-light-on-post-office-usage-especially-among-the-young The total number of visits to post offices can be a difficult variable to measure. One of the main problems with the official statistics is that they only measure visits based on transactions. If a customer walks in and checks a P.O. box, it is not counted in the official numbers as a visit to the post office.

A new model developed by the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is attempting to factor in non-transactional visits to provide a better estimate of post office usage. The model and findings are the subject of a new study, released this week by the OIG, which indicates that there are more customers who visit post offices than official statistics show.

The OIG estimates that the total number of visits in Fiscal Year 2016 was 2.7 billion, triple the official figure of 877 million. This news is not only valuable for the Postal Service’s business operations, but also the future of the Postal Service as an entity.

The survey results for millennial usage are also encouraging for the Postal Service’s long-term future. Contrary to popular belief, this age demographic (usually described as individuals born between 1980 and 2000) visit post offices more than older generations. In fact, the OIG found a negative correlation between age and frequency of visits.

The OIG also found that millennials are more likely to visit a post office to pick up free materials, visit P.O. boxes and make a kiosk transaction, more than other age groups. The most popular activities among all age groups continue to be counter transactions and dropping off mail or packages.

How to capture and hold the market for younger customers will be a major concern of the Postal Service going forward, especially as technology and lifestyles continue to change. However, the main results of this study indicate that post offices are more visited than previously believed and that young people are a factor driving this high usage. 

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Economics Blog: NAFTA renegotiations show differences between Canadian and U.S. wages and unions http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-nafta-renegotiations-show-differences-between-canadian-and-u-s-wages-and-unions Mon, 11 Sep 2017 11:34:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-nafta-renegotiations-show-differences-between-canadian-and-u-s-wages-and-unions Will Canada help end right-to-work? That is the topic of a recent op-ed by labor journalist Steven Greenhouse in the Los Angeles Times which offers a fascinating perspective on Canadian vs. American wages and labor practices.

In the recent talks regarding the renegotiation of NAFTA among the three parties, the Canadian government has argued that the low wages and labor standards in the United States are creating pressure on Canadian wages, as firms struggle to compete with lower-wage American workers. The Canadian government is therefore insisting that the United States end so-called right-to-work laws. The concerted effort to smash labor unions in the United States has been so effective that the country is increasingly regarded as “low-wage” by other industrialized nations, such as Canada. 

The low wages caused by right-to-work laws have been well documented. According to the Economic Policy Institute, states that have enacted these laws have wages 3.1 percent lower than in non-RTW states.

While the efforts on behalf of the Canadian government are no doubt self-interested, it is a highly revealing look into how the two countries, both very similar economically, diverged with regard to wages, benefits and union rights. It underscores previous data shown below published in the Summer 2016 issue of Jacobin magazine showing the divergence in union density between Canada and the United States over the past 50 years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that union density in the United States was 10.7 percent in 2016, down from 20.1 percent in 1983. Union density in Canada by contrast was 28.8 percent in 2014, down from 37.6 percent in 1981 according to Statistics Canada.

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Wage increase update http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/wage-increase-update Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:08:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/wage-increase-update On Aug. 19, career letter carriers began earning the first two cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) payable under the new contract link that were effective Sept. 3, 2016, and March 4, 2017, as well as the 1.2 percent general wage increase that was effective Nov. 26, 2016. These increases will be reflected in the Sept. 8, 2017, paychecks. Back pay on these increases will be calculated from their effective date through Aug. 18, 2017.

Career letter carriers will begin earning the third COLA payable under the new contract, effective on Sept. 2, 2017. This will be reflected in the Sept. 22, 2017, paychecks. Back pay is not applicable for this increase as it will begin being earned on its effective date.

The U.S. Postal Service has informed NALC that due to the complexity of implementing the new pay scale for city carrier assistants, CCAs will begin earning their pay increases on Sept. 16, 2017. The increases will be reflected in the Oct. 6, 2017 paychecks. 

The new CCA pay rates will include the 2.2 percent general wage increase that was effective Nov. 26, 2016, as well as the two step increases that were also effective on that date ($0.50 per hour for those CCAs with 12 weeks of service and an additional $0.50 per hour for those CCAs with 52 weeks of service). CCAs will be placed in their appropriate step based on their weeks of service. Back pay on these increases will be calculated from Nov. 26, 2016, through Sept. 15, 2017.

The Postal Service has indicated that it will take some time to calculate the back pay for the more than 210,000 letter carriers, but that all back pay will be processed and paid as soon as practicable.

These new pay rates can be seen in the new letter carrier pay schedule link, also available for review on the free NALC Member App link for Apple and Android smartphones.

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Reminder for Branch Officers’ Training attendees http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/reminder-for-branch-officers-training-attendees Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:03:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/reminder-for-branch-officers-training-attendees For NALC members who have applied for one of the two Branch Officers’ Training sessions this fall and have received confirmation from NALC Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Rhine’s office that you have been accepted, please note the following deadlines for making room reservations:

  • San Diego: Housing deadline is Sept. 12.
  • Baltimore: Housing deadline is Sept. 27.

If you have not received your confirmation letter, please call Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Rhine’s office immediately.

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Economics Blog: Unemployment creeps up in August http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-unemployment-creeps-up-in-august Fri, 01 Sep 2017 12:04:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-unemployment-creeps-up-in-august The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released its employment numbers for August 2017. The economy added 156,000 jobs, falling short of the 176,000 average for 2017, as unemployment increased slightly to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent in July. Average hourly earnings increased $0.03 to $26.39, an increase of 2.46 percent since August 2016. The labor force participation rate stayed at 62.9 percent, but that remains one of the lowest rates since the late 1970s.

While the official numbers show a slight uptick in the civilian unemployment rate, many economists prefer to use a metric known as U6 to get a more realistic sense of the employment situation in the economy. U6 includes many variables that are not present in the official government numbers, such as discouraged workers and those working part time but would like to work full time. For example, in the official numbers an individual working one hour per week and wanting a full time job is counted as employed. U6 also includes discouraged workers who have stopped looking for work because economic conditions have convinced them that no work is available.

The U6 rate stayed at 8.6 percent for August 2017, a figure that has held since June 2017 although it has decreased from 9.7 percent in August 2016. While this is far lower than the 17.1 percent U6 rate in March 2010, job growth in the wake of the Great Recession has been sluggish, and low-wage, part-time work has become the norm. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the number of part-time workers has increased 44.6 percent from 2007. This new normal partly explains the persistent high level of U6.

Below is a graph generated by NALC's Research Department, using data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, showing the difference between the civilian unemployment rate (U3) and the total unemployment rate (U6). The shaded areas represent recessions. As the data shows, the civilian unemployment rate vastly underestimates the actual rate of unemployment in the economy.

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Nalcrest office to close on Sept. 9 in preparation for Hurricane Irma http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalcrest-office-to-close-on-sept-9-in-preparation-for-hurricane-irma Fri, 08 Sep 2017 09:25:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalcrest-office-to-close-on-sept-9-in-preparation-for-hurricane-irma As we’re all aware, Hurricane Irma is expected to cross the state of Florida sometime this weekend. Employees at Nalcrest – the letter carriers’ retirement community located in Central Florida – have been working diligently this week to prepare for the hurricane’s impact. All buildings, including the Nalcrest office, will be closed beginning Saturday, Sept. 9. Normal operations will resume once it is safe to do so. Information will be provided on the NALC website when normal operations resume.

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USPS reports Fiscal Year 2017 3rd quarter results (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-reports-fiscal-year-2017-3rd-quarter-results Thu, 10 Aug 2017 11:30:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-reports-fiscal-year-2017-3rd-quarter-results The U.S. Postal Service has released a report on its financial results for the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2017, covering April 1-June 30.

Here is NALC President Fredric Rolando’s statement on the report:

Today’s financial report shows the underlying business strength of the U.S. Postal Service while also indicating the need to address external matters beyond USPS control.

The quarterly operating loss of $587 million puts the Postal Service in the red by $55 million three-quarters through the 2017 Fiscal Year. These figures reflect the impact of last year’s rollback in stamp prices. Without the two-cent reduction in stamp prices, this quarter’s revenue would be $500 million higher and the year-to-date revenue would be $1.5 billion higher.

With the original stamp price, the year-to-date figures would show an operating profit of more than $1.4 billion. The figures would be on a par with those of the past three years, which had a combined operating profit of $3.2 billion. We would be talking about a government entity producing an impressive operating profit through earned revenue.

The April 2016 rollback in stamp prices was the first since 1919, and it makes little financial sense because the Postal Service already has the industrial world’s lowest rates. The rollback reduces revenue at USPS―which gets no taxpayer money―by $2 billion a year.

Fortunately, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) is in the midst of a legally mandated review of the postage rate-setting system. The PRC has said it intends to issue a decision this fall. At present, USPS is constricted in its ability to adjust rates by no more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI), but the CPI is an economy-wide measurement of consumer goods and services that doesn’t fit a transportation and delivery provider. The PRC has the ability to correct this mismatch and relieve the resulting financial pressure.

Meanwhile, Congress should address the pre-funding burden it imposed in 2006, which requires USPS―alone among all public and private entities―to pre-fund future retiree health care benefits decades into the future. This produces an onerous annual burden of billions of dollars.

Addressing these external financial burdens would allow USPS―which is based in the Constitution and which enjoys broad public and political support―to continue providing Americans and their businesses with the industrial world’s most affordable delivery network.


The media coverage of the USPS 2017 third-quarter report was largely constructive.

Associated Press. AP ran a story in advance of the USPS report that indicated that the Postal Regulatory Commission was looking favorably on addressing the price decrease and made clear that pre-funding is something that no other entity, public or private, is required to do. The story called pre-funding “onerous” and said that Congress’ failure to address that issue made it more likely that the PRC would allow a price hike.

AP’s story the next day featured Postmaster General Megan Brennan’s push for a change in rate-setting and termed the rate cap “unreasonable.” The only person quoted other than Brennan was President Rolando:

"Today's financial report shows the underlying business strength of the U.S. Postal Service while also indicating the need to address external matters beyond USPS control," said Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers. "Congress should address the pre-funding burden it imposed in 2006."

Federal News Radio. The day of the announcement, Federal News Radio followed AP’s lead with a story whose headline spoke of USPS’ bid for “stamp price flexibility.” The story quotes Brennan, USPS Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett and Rolando:

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the rollback of the exigent postal rate made “little financial sense,” and called on postal regulators to give the USPS more pricing flexibility for its products.

“The PRC has the ability to correct this mismatch and relieve the resulting financial pressure,” Rolando said in a statement.

Government Executive. Similarly, Government Executive’s story cited the rate-pricing issue and pre-funding. Rolando and Brennan were the only people quoted.

The National Association of Letter Carriers noted that while USPS is slightly in the red this fiscal year in the controllable part of its business -- a net loss of $55 million -- it would actually would have turned an operational profit of $1.5 billion if PRC had not forced the Postal Service to roll back an emergency price hike it instituted in 2014. That marked only the second time ever, and the first time in 97 years, the agency decreased the price of a stamp.

“Addressing these external financial burdens would allow USPS, which is based in the Constitution and which enjoys broad public and political support, to continue providing Americans and their businesses with the industrial world’s most affordable delivery network,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando.

 

USA Today. Following AP’s lead, USA Today’s story focused on possible rate increase.

Washington Examiner. The Examiner, well-read among conservatives in Congress, had a story that highlighted the fact that USPS gets no tax money. It quoted Brennan, Corbett and Rolando:

Postal unions noted that lower stamp prices affected the results after the expiration of a 2-cent surcharge Congress imposed in 2014 and said the price should be higher. "These figures reflect the impact of last year's rollback in stamp prices. Without the 2-cent reduction in stamp prices, this quarter's revenue would be $500 million higher and the year-to-date revenue would be $1.5 billion higher," said Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers. "The April 2016 rollback in stamp prices was the first since 1919, and it makes little financial sense because the Postal Service already has the industrial world's lowest rates."


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New NALC-USPS contract is ratified http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/new-nalc-usps-contract-is-ratified Mon, 07 Aug 2017 13:30:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/new-nalc-usps-contract-is-ratified The active membership of the National Association of Letter Carriers has overwhelmingly ratified the proposed 2016-2019 National Agreement with the United States Postal Service. By a ratio exceeding 16 to 1, eligible members voted to accept the tentative agreement that was announced on May 12. The vote to ratify was 78,935 to accept the agreement versus 4,732 to reject it, as reported by NALC’s Ballot Committee chaired by Joseph DeRossi of Jamaica, NY Branch 562.

NALC will officially notify USPS of the August 7 ratification date.

Information on back pay and the implementation of the new contract will be released as soon as possible.

The new contract covers a 40-month term from May 16, 2016, to Sept. 20, 2019.


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Demand that the Labor Department fully implement the overtime pay rule http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/demand-that-the-labor-department Wed, 09 Aug 2017 08:58:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/demand-that-the-labor-department No one likes to have anything taken from them, especially when it is something that benefits you and your loved ones.

But that’s what lobbyists in Washington, DC, are attempting to do to millions of working families who finally became eligible to earn overtime pay just last year.

President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, Alexander Acosta, thinks the overtime rule is too generous to workers, and Acosta now has taken the first step to revise the rule—with an eye toward denying working people pay raises.

For years, working people pushed then-President Barack Obama to restore overtime protections that had been eroded over recent decades. The Obama overtime pay rule would have made 4.9 million more working people eligible for overtime pay, and it would have made it tougher for employers to deny overtime pay to another 7.6 million workers who already were eligible.

The overtime rule was issued after many conversations with interested individuals and nearly 300,000 comments—largely in favor of the rule—from the public. Working people should not have to wait any longer for the pay they deserve.

The AFL-CIO is joining with some of its coalition partners to help strengthen workers’ right to be paid fairly. Taking action now is a great way to make sure you have a seat at the table for this conversation.

Click here to leave a comment now for the Department of Labor and demand that it fully implement the overtime pay rule for millions of working people.


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House committee spending blueprint targets letter carriers http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/house-committee-spending-blueprint-targets-usps Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:04:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/house-committee-spending-blueprint-targets-usps On July 19, the House Budget Committee released and adopted its Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution, and it also published a non-binding policy statement. Drawing inspiration from the White House budget, proposed in May, and from a 2010 presidential commission on deficit reduction, the two documents set their sights on postal and federal employee benefits and target the U.S. Postal Service for massive cuts.

“The House budget would unfairly slash the incomes and benefits of federal employees and needlessly expose the Postal Service to crippling service cuts,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “Active and retired letter carriers must make their voices heard to fight these horrible proposals.” The president also directed NALC members to read the "Budget Battle 2017" web page.

The Budget Committee’s documents are meant to serve as a blueprint for the House Appropriations Committee as it works to adopt 12 federal spending bills covering various parts of the federal government. If the budget resolution is adopted by the House—which is far from certain because of divisions with the Republican majority there—the 12 bills are then expected to be combined in some manner, and they could include instructions directing each of the 12 congressional oversight committees to cut spending by certain amounts in the programs they oversee. These oversight committees, such as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that governs the Postal Service and the health and pension plans of postal and federal employees, would then have to adopt bills to cut spending accordingly. Using reconciliation rules can expedite the budget process and help prevent a Senate filibuster.

The budget resolution now being debated in the House calls for the Oversight Committee to find $32 billion in savings over 10 years, and an accompanying policy statement makes suggestions for cuts that copy many of the harsh cuts proposed by President Donald Trump in May as well as others, including those proposed by the Simpson-Bowles presidential commission on deficit reduction in 2010.

One of the more troubling proposals introduced by the Budget Committee is one to fold the financially independent U.S. Postal Service, which is an “off-budget” agency, into the formal federal budget. Moving USPS to “on-budget” status could expose the agency to across-the-board spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011—better known as “sequestration.” Such a move might also tempt members of Congress to pay for their spending priorities using Postal Service cuts that would threaten the quality of service we provide—and perhaps even our jobs. (These kinds of threats prompted Congress in 1989 to move USPS off-budget.)

Budget Committee staffers have suggested that the Postal Service could be protected from such threats, but there would be no guarantees. Regardless, any change in the Postal Service's budget status would require the Oversight Committee to draft legislation calling for such a change, and NALC will of course monitor any such efforts.

Another troubling proposal being floated (actually, recycled) in the budget debate is to cut the rate of return on Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) retirement savings invested in the plan's government securities index fund (or G Fund). Such a cut would cost retirees and savers up to $32 billion in income over the next 10 years, not to mention destabilizing the TSP and the retirement security of its participants.

“Congress should not damage the G Fund, which millions of retirees rely on to preserve the value of their retirement nest-eggs,” Rolando said.

Visit Budget Battle 2017 to learn how you can help fight these and other harmful proposals.

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