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 Economics Blog: Federal Reserve increases target interest rates https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-fed-interest-rates-increase Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-fed-interest-rates-increase On June 13, 2018, the Federal Reserve raised the target federal funds rate range by another 0.25%, bringing the target range to 1.75%-2.00% (up from 1.50%-1.75%).

During the Great Recession, the Fed’s interest rate target range was lowered all the way to 0.00%-0.25% and remained there for an extended period of time (see chart below).

During a downturn in the economy, lowering interest rates is one of the mechanisms used by the Federal Reserve to try to stimulate economic growth. During the Great Recession, the Fed dramatically lowered interest rates in order to try to boost economic activity. Back in September 2007 the target rate stood at 5.25%. Starting in September 2007, the Federal Reserve began lowering the target, ultimately lowering it 10 times, and ending with a target range of 0.00%-0.25% in December 2008.

In December 2015, as the economy began to show signs of improvement, the Federal Reserve began raising rates. The June 13 increase is the seventh increase since the last recession. The Fed’s full statement about the latest increase can be found here.

One frequent effect of increases in the Fed’s rates is increases in the rates that banks and credit unions use for making loans and paying interest on deposits.

 

CHART SHOWING THE UPPER AND LOWER FEDERAL FUNDS INTEREST RATE TARGETS
LOWER NOW AT 1.75%, UPPER AT 2.00%

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Notice to prospective candidates in the 2018 NALC election (updated) https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/notice-to-prospective-candidates-in-the-2018-nalc-election Fri, 15 Jun 2018 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/notice-to-prospective-candidates-in-the-2018-nalc-election NALC has changed email vendors for the 2018 election. Blue Bulldog Digital, a labor focused digital communication firm, has been retained to handle requests by candidates for national office in the 2018 NALC election to distribute campaign literature by e-mail.  NALC’s previously announced contractor, Kelly Press, will no longer be involved.

Beginning on June 15, Blue Bulldog Digital will be responsible for receiving campaign material from candidates and managing the distribution of this material by email.  Any candidate(s) wishing to arrange distribution of campaign literature by email, at his/her own expense, must contact Christian Norton Monday through Friday, 10am-6pm EST at christian@bluebulldog.digital

Blue Bulldog Digital will advise candidates of the cost and options for distributing campaign literature by email. Payments must be made in advance either through PayPal or by check. Payments by check must clear before work begins.

Blue Bulldog Digital requires 3 business days advance notice for set-up, preparation and formatting of e-mail campaign literature.

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. Candidates may also send emails separately to active or retiree members.

Members will continue to have the option of unsubscribing from receipt of campaign literature at any time.  Each candidate email will contain a link allowing recipients to unsubscribe from receiving future candidate email.

Finally, candidates should check the May issue of The Postal Record for additional information on convention displays and purchasing advertisements in The Postal Record (on the last page of this pdf). The information about the change to Blue Bulldog Digital will appear in the July issue of The Postal Record.

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Convention: June 18 is the housing deadline at the NALC rate https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/convention-june-18-is-the-housing-deadline-at-the-nalc-rate Wed, 13 Jun 2018 11:37:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/convention-june-18-is-the-housing-deadline-at-the-nalc-rate June 18 is the housing deadline at the NALC rate. If you have mailed your delegate eligibility list prior to the May deadline, but have not received your convention credentials, please call NALC Headquarters, Secretary-Treasurer office at 202-393-4695 immediately.

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Update on Trump executive orders attacking federal employees https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/update-on-trump-executive-orders-attacking-federal-employees Tue, 12 Jun 2018 11:01:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/update-on-trump-executive-orders-attacking-federal-employees On May 25, President Trump issued three executive orders designed to strip federal employee unions of long-established rights to workplace representation and to undermine their ability to negotiate collective bargaining agreement with their agencies. NALC posted the executive orders and requested a legal analysis from its outside attorneys. That analysis has concluded that the three executive orders do not apply to the Postal Service or its unions, a conclusion that was confirmed in writing by officials of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

NALC President Fredric Rolando issued the following statement on the executive orders:

“These executive orders are an outrageous attack on America’s civil servants, the everyday heroes who make sure that our airlines and foods are safe, our Social Security checks are distributed and the air, water and environment we depend on is clean. As my friend and fellow union brother J. David Cox Sr., the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said: ‘This is more than union busting – it is democracy busting. These executive orders are a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress has specifically guaranteed to the 2 million public-sector employees across the country who work for the federal government.’  I totally agree. The NALC stands in solidarity with AFGE and all the federal unions and will work with them to reverse these executive orders.”

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NALC priority resolutions reach majority support https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-priority-resolutions-reach-majority-support Fri, 08 Jun 2018 21:07:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-priority-resolutions-reach-majority-support As of June 5, all NALC priority resolutions now have a bipartisan majority of Congress supporting them. With that milestone met, it is highly unlikely that some in Congress might try to use the legislative process to cut them.

Over the course of the 115th Congress, thousands of letter carriers have contacted their House representatives, educating them on the importance of Saturday delivery as well as service standards and door delivery. Capitol Hill saw hundreds of letter carriers visit their representatives in their offices over this Congress, and it clearly has made the difference. Our resolutions have seen broad bipartisan backing in recent years, and that is no small feat. We need to carry this momentum through the midterms though, remember what resonated with lawmakers, and be ready to educate any new freshman in the 116th as well as any incumbents who failed to sign on in this Congress. Until then, well done!

NALC’s Priority Resolutions

H.Res.15 - Co-sponsors: 253 (182 Democrats – 71 Republicans)

Introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), it expresses the sense that House members should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of the Postal Service’s six-day mail delivery service. In fact, next week the House Appropriations Committee plans to mark up the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations measure, specifically upholding six-day mail delivery for the fourth year running.

 

H.Res. 28, - Co-sponsors: 244 (185 Democrats – 59 Republicans)

Introduced by Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), it expresses the sense that House members should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of the Postal Service’s door delivery for all business and residential customers. While postal reform may still be a way off from advancing through Congress, efforts have improved significantly and better legislation is coming forward. One bill, H.R. 756, actively phases out door delivery for new customers, but S. 2629 rejects such unnecessary changes to door delivery service for business and residential customers.


H.Res. 31
- Co-sponsors: 226 (176 Democrats – 50 Republicans)

Introduced by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), it expresses the sense that House members should take all appropriate measures to restore the Postal Service’s service standards that were in effect as of July 1, 2012. In addition to rejecting changes to door delivery, S. 2629 called for a two-year moratorium on changes to service standards in order to stem further misguided service cuts. While not the standards of July, 2012, it would at least impede further unnecessary cuts.

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POSTAL FACTS: June 8, 2018 (updated) https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-june-1-2018 Fri, 01 Jun 2018 14:26:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-june-1-2018 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.


'We are honored to be able to help our fellow citizens' (Tecumseh Herald)

In a letter to the editor published on June 7, NALC President Fredric Rolando complimented the Michigan newspaper for its story on a local letter carrier who’d moved to Florida and was killed after staying late in year’s Clearwater (FL) food drive to make sure all the food was transported to local pantries. The paper wrote a moving story on his wife's involvement in this year's food drive in Tecumseh, which she had moved back to. Rolando also discussed the broader value of USPS and letter carriers.

Click here to read the letter (and the original story).

The Postal Service will thrive if Congress takes the right steps (Washington Examiner)

In a commentary piece published on June 1, NALC President Fredric Rolando rebutted a commentary from last week. He also spelled out the financial situation of USPS, the agency's value and the public policy fixes required.

Click here to read the commentary.

Letter to editor: Voting by mail makes perfect sense  (MagicValley.com)
VOTE: Do it by mail (Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press)
Voting by mail is a good idea (Idaho Press)

Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers President John Paige’s letters to the editor of the MagicValley.com, the Coeur d'Alene/Post Falls Press and Idaho Press ran on May 29 and May 30.

Click here to read the letter on MagicValley.com.

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

Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Press.

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NALC submits postal workforce recommendations to White House https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-submits-postal-workforce-recommendations-to-white-house Tue, 05 Jun 2018 16:22:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-submits-postal-workforce-recommendations-to-white-house In a meeting with the White House today, NALC President Fred Rolando delivered policy recommendations to the White House Task Force on the Postal Service. The Task Force, comprised of the heads of OPM, OMB and the Department of the Treasury, was established in April via executive order from President Trump. It has been charged with evaluating the finances of USPS -- including its pricing, operations and workforce costs. (Find the Executive Order here).

In a report due no later than August 10, 2018, the Task Force is required to provide a “thorough evaluation of the operations and finance of the USPS,” along with possible legislative and administrative actions to reform the agency. In the executive order, the White House committed to considering the views of the USPS workforce and industry and NALC was invited to meet with the task force.

NALC coordinated with the other three postal unions (APWU, NRLCA and NPMHU) to prepare a comprehensive analysis of the Postal Service’s current situation and to offer concrete recommendations that can be taken to stabilize the USPS, a treasured and Constitutionally mandated agency.

The materials provided and the workforce recommendations can be found through the links below:

The NALC, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Postal Mail Handlers (NPMHU), and National Rural Letter Carriers (NRLCA), collectively represent more than 500,000 Postal Service employees who are a critical part of the $1.4 trillion mailing industry, which employs 7.5 million Americans in total. 

At the meeting NALC made it clear that the Postal Service, an agency with an 88 percent favorability rating with the American people, does not need a new business model or a fundamental restructuring. Instead, Rolando called on the Task Force to focus on the real source of the Postal Service’s financial crisis:  The mandate to prefund retiree health benefits decades in advance, which accounts for 92% of the agency’s reported losses since 2007.

During the meeting, the representatives of Treasury, OPM and OMB engaged Rolando and his team about the materials provided by the four unions, asking questions and making comments on the proposals offered by the white paper.

 “NALC’s goal is to protect the interests of all its members, active and retired alike,” Rolando said. “We appreciate the opportunity to engage with the White House to find real solutions to the financial crisis caused by the 2006 mandate to prefund retiree health benefits,” he added. “Our shared goals should be to restore the USPS to financial stability while protecting its employees and strengthening the universal mail delivery network that is so critical to Americans and their businesses, large and small. NALC looks forward to working with the Postal Task Force in the weeks and months ahead,” he concluded.

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Hellman to retire; Rolando to appoint Stewart https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/hellman-to-retire-rolando-to-appoint-raa Tue, 05 Jun 2018 08:03:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/hellman-to-retire-rolando-to-appoint-raa Brian Hellman, director of the NALC Health Benefit Plan, announced that he will retire after the 71st Biennial Convention in Detroit in July.

Hellman, a member of New York City Branch 36, was first elected health benefits director in 2010 during the 67th Biennial Convention in Anaheim, CA. He also served as NALC director of safety and health, director of life insurance and national business agent (NBA) for Region 15 (New York, northern New Jersey, western Connecticut, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).

“Brian has served our union in so many ways, and his contributions have been invaluable,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “We wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Rolando will appoint Stephanie Stewart to fill the remainder of Hellman’s term. Stewart is currently a regional administrative assistant (RAA) for Region 5 (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas).

A member of Central Iowa Merged Branch 352, Stewart began her letter carrier career in Des Moines, IA, in 1995. She served in many roles for the union, including Branch 352 president and Iowa State Association vice president, before Rolando appointed her as RAA in 2015. Stewart graduated from Leadership Academy Class 9 in May 2010.

“Join me in welcoming Stephanie to the NALC Health Benefit Plan,” Rolando said. “Stephanie will continue the health plan’s tradition of offering excellent benefits at reasonable costs.”

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Executive orders on federal employees https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/executive-orders-on-federal-employees Thu, 31 May 2018 11:16:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/executive-orders-on-federal-employees NALC is currently investigating if the executive orders issued by President Trump on Friday May 25 have any impact on the United States Postal Service. We will report our findings as information becomes available.

The executive orders:

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Food drive collection results forms due by June 9 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/food-drive-collection-results-forms-due-by-june-9 Thu, 17 May 2018 13:53:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/food-drive-collection-results-forms-due-by-june-9 Branch collection results forms are due at NALC Headquarters by June 9. You can download and print the form from here.

A final national total for the drive is scheduled to be announced shortly after that; a detailed report on the drive, including branch-by-branch results, will appear in The Postal Record.

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OPM proposes retirement changes https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/opm-proposes-retirement-changes Wed, 16 May 2018 08:18:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/opm-proposes-retirement-changes On May 4, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Jeff Pon sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan making four legislative recommendations that, if enacted, would require current and future federal employees to make larger pension contributions, and also would scale back retirement benefits for current retirees. The proposals would mainly affect Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) employees; Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) participants would be affected to a lesser extent.

OPM’s proposals reflect the White House’s last two budget requests, which called for:

  • Increasing FERS federal employee pension contributions to 7.25 percent. Currently, there are three tiers of FERS pensions, with newly hired postal and federal workers in 2013 and 2014 paying more of the contributions (3.1 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively) into the FERS retirement system with no corresponding benefit increase. This proposal would call for all current and future FERS participants to contribute 1 percent more toward their annuities each year until they are contributing 7.25 percent of their basic pay into the pension. This increase comes without any corresponding pension increase, representing a significant pay cut for postal and federal employees.
  • Replacing the high-3 with the high-5. This would significantly cut the retirement annuity of postal and federal employees.
  • Eliminating and reducing the federal retiree COLA. This would eliminate the COLA for FERS participants and cut the COLA for CSRS participants, preventing postal and federal retiree pensions from keeping pace with inflation.
  • Eliminating the FERS annuity supplement. This proposal would take away the possibility for many postal and federal workers to retire before the age of 62. It also needlessly harms firefighters, law enforcement officers and others who must retire before age 62.

The White House has called on Congress to adopt these changes and while it has yet to do so, these proposals can come up throughout the remainder of the 115th Congress, so letter carriers should be prepared.

“These proposals are nothing but a blatant attack on postal and federal workers,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “We will do everything in our power to prevent Congress from putting the burden of paying for federal spending on the backs of letter carriers, other federal employees and retirees.”

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POSTAL FACTS: MAY 21, 2018 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-may-21-2018 Tue, 22 May 2018 08:36:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-may-21-2018 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

USPS cash hurdle

New York PostNALC President Fredric Rolando’s letter to the editor in the New York Post on May 20 rebuts a business column over issues of postal finances, including the pre-funding burden and operating profits. The newspaper is the fourth-largest daily newspaper in the country.

Click here to read a scan of Rolando’s letter.

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NALC statement on USPS Q2 financial report for FY 2018 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-statement-on-usps-q2-financial-report-for-fy-2018 Fri, 11 May 2018 13:40:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-statement-on-usps-q2-financial-report-for-fy-2018 NALC President Fredric Rolando’s statement on the May 11 release of the U.S. Postal Service’s financial statement for the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2018, covering the months of January, February and March of 2018:

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

For the first six months of FY 2018, the Postal Service is close to breaking even – showing a year-to-date operating loss of $302 million. Without the exigent stamp price rollback, the half-year would have an impressive operating profit of about $700 million. These figures, of course, involve only earned revenue; by law, USPS gets no taxpayer money for its operations.

This reflects USPS’ vitality and its importance to the public and our economy – as well as the need to resolve key public policy issues. In April 2016, the price of a stamp was rolled back by two cents, reducing postal revenue by about $2 billion a year. That was the first rollback of stamp prices since 1919 and it makes little financial sense because the Postal Service already has the industrial world’s lowest rates.

Fortunately, the Postal Regulatory Commission is in the midst of a legally mandated review of the postage rate-setting system. At present, USPS is constricted in its ability to adjust rates by no more than the Consumer Price Index, 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 prefund future retiree healthcare benefits decades into the future. Without that $1.9 billion cost for the first six months of FY 2018 and the $1 billion cost of the price rollback, USPS would have a net profit of more than $1 billion.

Fixing the external financial burdens posed by the price rollback and pre-funding will 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.

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POSTAL FACTS: May 15, 2018 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-may-15-2018 Tue, 15 May 2018 13:46:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-may-15-2018 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

Coverage of the Postal Service's quarterly report

Media coverage of the May 11 USPS quarterly financial report focused on the numbers but also on the rise in packages and the need for postal reform. The postmaster general and NALC president Fredric Rolando were widely quoted. Below are links to some of the reports:

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Notice of nominations for NALC national officers https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/notice-of-nominations-for-nalc-national-officers Mon, 07 May 2018 14:30:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/notice-of-nominations-for-nalc-national-officers Nominations for national officers of the National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO, will be held on Wednesday, July 18, at the national convention in Detroit. The notice of nominations and additional information for those campaigning for NALC national office was run in the May issue of The Postal Record, available by clicking here.

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