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    Updated February 23, 2004    
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  No. 04-03 February 20, 2004       
  On the Front Lines !
  Carriers Asked to Deliver
Antibiotics in Emergency
  USPS Drafts Plan for Catastrophic Biological Attack
    NALC Press release
NALC President William H. Young looks on as (l-r) Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, PMG John Potter and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson sign Agreement to draft plans for letter carriers to deliver antibiotics in event of biological attack.

NALC President William H. Young looks on as (l-r) Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, PMG John Potter and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson sign Agreement to draft plans for letter carriers to deliver antibiotics in event of biological attack. Standing with Young are Rural Letter Carriers President Dale Holton, center, and Gen. John Gordon, Assistant to the President and homeland security advisor to the White House.

Letter carriers are being asked by the government to help save American lives in the event of a catastrophic biological attack by volunteering to deliver antibiotics from the Strategic National Stockpile to residential homes along their normal routes.

With NALC President William H. Young in attendance, a Memorandum of Agreement to develop the draft plan was signed February 18 by Postmaster General John E. Potter with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. National Rural Letter Carriers President Dale Holton was also present.

Young noted that because letter carriers deliver mail six days a week in every state, every city and every neighborhood in America, they develop a close attachment to the families they serve – families they would want to help in an emergency.

"In the event of a dangerous bioterrorist attack, we consider it essential to help our postal customers protect their health," Young said. "We all hope that such an incident never occurs, but if needed I am confident that members of the NALC would regard this volunteer activity as a patriotic duty not only for their friends and neighbors, but for the nation as a whole."

NALC Director of Safety and Health Alan Ferranto has been involved in meetings for several months as the plans were drafted to ensure the protection of letter carriers if they are asked to carry out this task, including use of protective clothing and respirators, decontamination, and administration of antibiotic prophylaxis for carriers. Additional information is available on the Safety and Health section of the union's website: www.nalc.org.

Details of the plans are still being developed.

In a statement, the Postal Service said it was approached because of its extensive delivery reach and the trust its carriers have in the nation's neighborhoods. It said further discussion of the plan with state and local officials will be required to determine the feasibility of incorporating these capabilities into emergency planning by municipalities.

USPS said the delivery plan would supplement the public health system in the event of a catastrophic emergency, with procedures under consideration adding to – not replacing – local plans.


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  We're No. 1 in Public Trust

Americans have a higher level of trust in postal employees – and specifically letter carriers – to maintain their privacy than any other government employees, according to a survey of 6,000 Americans by the Ponemon Institute, a leading privacy think tank.

In light of public concern over government invasion of privacy following September 11, the survey asked adults to indicate their confidence, as it relates to protecting privacy in 60 different government agencies from the Postal Service to the new Department of Homeland Security.

The organization said the Postal Service achieved the highest privacy trust rating – 78 percent – and had the lowest percentage of "unsure" responses. Other ‘trusted" agencies included the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.

"When we spoke with some of the survey respondents, they indicated having the most confidence in the Postal Service because of their personal relationship with their mail carrier; that relationship translates into trust of the Postal Service overall," said Institute founder Dr. Larry Ponemon.

Dr. Ponemon, who also serves as adjunct professor of ethic and privacy at the CIO Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, said organizations that didn't have high privacy trust ratings included the CIA, Justice Department, and the Office of the Attorney General.


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  Third COLA - $187
    The third regular cost-of-living adjustment under the National Agreement will be $187 annually based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for January announced February 20 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The cost-of-living adjustment, effective the pay period beginning March 6 (pay date March 26), is the third of eight regular COLAs called for in the 2001-2006 contract. It was based on the increase in the CPI-W between July 2003 and January 2004.

The third COLA of $187 annually is equivalent to 9 cents per hour, or $7.20 per pay period.

The accumulation towards the 2005 retiree COLA stands at 0.3 percent based on the January CPI-W. The 2005 COLA is to be based on the increase in the CPI-W between the third quarter of 2003 and the third quarter of 2004.

The COLA for Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) beneficiaries in the year 2005, determined on the CPI-W from December 2003 to December 2004, stands at 0.6 percent based on the January data. As previously announced, FECA recipients will receive a 2004 cost-of-living adjustment of 1.6 percent, effective in March.


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  NALC Abstains Due to ‘No Consensus'
As AFL-CIO Backs Kerry for President

NALC President William H. Young abstained February 19 when the AFL-CIO General Board met in Washington to vote on endorsing a candidate for President of the United States.

Young said his decision to abstain came after results were tallied of a poorly responded survey of NALC members via a special ballot card in the Postal Record. Only 13,000 of a potential 305,000 members bothered to return the survey form.

"Since there was no consensus expressed among the NALC membership – and the number of survey forms returned was insufficient to determine a solid leaning toward anyone – I decided to remain neutral at this stage and abstain," Young said.

In the end, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) won the nod of the labor movement.

In the NALC survey, former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO), who later dropped out as a presidential candidate, led those on the Democratic side of the political scale. President George W. Bush was the top Republican.


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  Valpak to Mail 40 Million Packets
Boosting May 8 NALC Food Drive

Val-Pak Direct Marketing Systems, Inc., which produces and distributes direct mail advertising packets to homes in all 50 states, joins as a major national supporter of the food drive this year. Between March 24 and May 3, the firm will promote the drive on the front of the envelope and local and regional businesses will also be able to join in support via inserts inside the envelopes.

  Valpak envelope graphic

NALC President William H. Young praised the generosity of Valpak in supplementing the 105 million Campbell Soup/U.S. Postal Service postcards being mailed to homes a few days before the drive.

"This effort by Valpak provides a one-two punch that should have a significant impact on alerting the public of the drive and encouraging donations," Young said. "We applaud the company's unselfish move to help fight hunger in America and welcome them into our family of food drive supporters."

Melissa Fisher, senior vice president of Marketing & Communications for Cox Target Media, provider of Valpak networks products, said this is the first time Valpak has nationally supported a non-profit effort, noting the drive "is tied so closely with the letter carriers, who ensure the quality delivery of our product." By reminding our more than 40 million Valpak households this April about the food drive, we hope to raise the awareness of this campaign."

Nearly 1,200 NALC branches were registered for the drive as the NALC Bulletin went to press. Coordinators should check the NALC food drive website to confirm their branch is registered.


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