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 USPS elects not to implement payroll tax deferral https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-elects-not-to-implement-payroll-tax-deferral Wed, 23 Sep 2020 13:50:48 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-elects-not-to-implement-payroll-tax-deferral  The Postal Service has notified NALC that it will not implement the temporary employee payroll tax deferral established by a recent Presidential Executive Order. If implemented, the order would defer payroll taxes through December 31. The taxes would be owed at that time barring any further action. The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance (Notice 1010-65) making clear that employers are not required to implement the deferral. As a result, letter carriers will see no change in payroll taxes as a result of the executive order.

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Election mail task force update https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/election-mail-task-force-update Wed, 23 Sep 2020 13:48:45 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/election-mail-task-force-update Over the past several months, there has been a concerted effort by some to cast doubt on the security of vote by mail and on the ability of the Postal Service to meet the expected surge in vote by mail this year. We have pushed back on this narrative and communicated that we are confident we will rise to the occasion. Toward that end, NALC and the other postal unions and management associations formed a task force with the Postal Service to prepare for the anticipated increase in election mail this fall.

The National Election Task Force has engaged in several cooperative and productive meetings to discuss communication, operational needs and potential issue resolution. We have made progress in continuing past policies and efforts as well as developing additional protocols and commitments to ensure that election mail is handled appropriately. We also produced a video with Postmaster General DeJoy to outline our goals.  

In the initial meetings, the Task Force was fully briefed on the Postal Service’s months-long preparation for the November election, which included dramatically increasing the number of personnel to serve as liaisons with local election boards in the Postal Service’s district offices and steps to taken to replace all the postmark printers across the country to ensure high-quality postmarks on ballot envelops. Also covered was the Postal Service’s external and internal communications plans.

The Task Force has agreed to develop local election mail task forces in each postal facility to ensure appropriate communication is accomplished with all employees and to quickly identify and resolve issues that may arise. The union and management representatives on these local task forces will be educated on the protocols that have been developed at headquarters. They will have constant communication locally throughout the election season.

Among the topics being discussed are ways to ensure every ballot is delivered on time even if they are mailed later than the recommended seven days before the election and how to ensure that every ballot handled by the Postal Service can be postmarked, even for types of mail that don’t usually need a postmark. The latter is important because some states use postmarks to determine whether a ballot is cast on time.

The Task Force is also discussing contingency plans in the event of potential Covid-19 outbreaks this fall that could impact postal operations. Toward this end, the MOU negotiated in the spring to allow for increased staffing in facilities impacted by the coronavirus was extended through the end of the year.

We look forward to continuing our efforts and are confident the Postal Service is well positioned to handle and deliver whatever volume of election mail we are given this fall.

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COVID-19 Related MOUs Extended Until End of Year https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/covid-19-related-mous-extended-until-end-of-year Fri, 18 Sep 2020 08:31:35 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/covid-19-related-mous-extended-until-end-of-year By joint agreement (M-01929), several COVID related memorandums of understanding have been further extended through December 31, 2020. These memoranda include: temporary expanded sick leave for dependent care (M-01910); temporary additional paid leave for CCAs (M-01911); temporary use of the 7:01 rule (M-01913); temporary workplace changes to promote social distancing (M-01915); and temporary use of TCAs (M-01916).

NALC and the Postal Service also agreed to another temporary time limit extension on Step B and arbitration appeals (M-01930), and an agreement giving local parties the ability to develop a sign-up process for full-time employees who previously did not, or could not, place their names on either the overtime desired list or work assignment list (M-01931). Both of these agreements will expire on December 31st as well.

Also extended through December 31st is a USPS memorandum (M-01914) which instructs managers and supervisors to allow liberal changes of schedule to accommodate employees who are dealing with childcare issues related to the pandemic. The memorandum also provides for liberal sick leave usage for employees who are sick and liberal annual and leave without pay (LWOP) to the extent operationally feasible, treats COVID-19 related leave as scheduled (as opposed to unscheduled) leave, and directs that leave taken for COVID-19 related reasons during this time not be cited in discipline for failing to maintain an assigned schedule.

Each of the MOUs and the USPS directive can be found in NALC’s Materials Reference System on the NALC website.

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DOL revises the definition of intermittent FMLA leave under the FFCRA https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/dol-revises-the-definition-of-intermittent-fmla-leave-under-the-ffcra Thu, 17 Sep 2020 14:55:51 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/dol-revises-the-definition-of-intermittent-fmla-leave-under-the-ffcra On April 1, 2020, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued the implementing regulations pertaining to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  The FFCRA created two new types of paid leave, Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA).  Both categories of leave allow an employee to be absent from work in order to care for a child whose school or place of childcare is either closed or unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The FFCRA grants employees up to 80 hours of EPSL and up to 12 workweeks of EFMLA for this reason.  Under the EFMLA rules, the first two weeks of leave are unpaid; however, the employee may use either their own paid leave or EPSL to receive pay.  The remaining ten of weeks are paid at no less than two-thirds of the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay, but capped at $200.00 per day and $10,000.00 total.  EPSL used during the first two weeks of the absence is payable at no less than two-thirds of the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay, also capped at $200.00 per day and $2,000.00 total.

According to the regulations issued on April 1st, employees were only allowed to take the EFMLA leave intermittently upon the approval of the employer.  On September 16, 2020, the DOL issued revised rules, clarifying the definition of intermittent leave.  Under this revision, employer approval of intermittent leave is not required when an employee needs to take leave due to their child’s school operating on alternate days of in-person and distance learning.  In these cases, each day the school is closed constitutes a new reason for the leave and the reason would cease once the school reopens. 

For example, if the school is open for in-person learning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the employee would be allowed to take leave on Tuesday and Thursday, when the child is not allowed to be present in the school.  The same rule applies in circumstances where the school is open for a portion of the day.  The reason for the leave would begin at the time the child was not allowed to attend class in the school and end upon their return to the building.  For more information regarding leave under the FFCRA, please see President Rolando’s statement dated April 3, 2020, on the COVID-19 page on the NALC website here.  

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Tell the Senate to provide USPS Covid Relief: Call Your Senator Now https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/tell-the-senate-to-provide-usps-covid-relief-call-your-senator-now Thu, 10 Sep 2020 11:53:19 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/tell-the-senate-to-provide-usps-covid-relief-call-your-senator-now

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would provide $25 billion in financial relief to the Postal Service. Now it’s up to the Senate to take action. Unfortunately, the Senate has failed to advance much-needed relief despite the public demand during the pandemic and leading up to Election Day.

This funding is urgently needed to deter service cuts and to ensure that letter carriers have every tool needed to meet the needs of the public in delivering, mail, essentials and in preparation for November.

Tell your Senator to provide relief to the Postal Service.

Call 844-477-7651 to be connected to your Senator.

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For Leave Year 2021, Maximum Annual Leave Carryover Amount Increased from 440 Hours to 520 Hours https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/for-leave-year-2021-maximum-annual-leave-carryover-amount-increased-from-440-hours-to-520-hours Thu, 03 Sep 2020 09:22:29 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/for-leave-year-2021-maximum-annual-leave-carryover-amount-increased-from-440-hours-to-520-hours NALC and the Postal Service have agreed to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that increases the maximum allowable annual leave carryover amounts outlined in the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM). For leave year 2021, regular work force career employees covered by the USPS-NALC National Agreement may carry over 520 hours of accumulated annual leave from leave year 2020 to leave year 2021. Normally, as defined in ELM 512.321(a.), bargaining unit employees have a maximum leave carryover of 440 hours.

This agreement does not modify any other provisions outlined in the ELM, including provisions for payment of accumulated leave. The MOU (M-01928) can be found in NALC’s Materials Reference System on the NALC website.

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National-Level Grievance over Expedited Street/Afternoon Sortation (ESAS) Settled https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/national-level-grievance-over-expedited-streetafternoon-sortation-esas-settled Tue, 01 Sep 2020 14:56:22 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/national-level-grievance-over-expedited-streetafternoon-sortation-esas-settled NALC and the Postal Service have settled national-level case Q16N-4Q-C 20345187 concerning the Postal Service’s implementation of a test of the delivery initiative entitled Expedited Street/Afternoon Sortation (ESAS). As a result of the settlement, the parties agree that the ESAS pilot test is concluded and terminated as of August 19, 2020. Additionally, any future modifications or alternate applications to the Expedited Preferential Mail (EPM) Delivery Program, as outlined in Section 144 of Handbook M-39, Management of Delivery Services and Sections 223, 450, and 924 of Handbook M-41, City Delivery Carriers Duties and Responsibilities, will be subject to discussion through the City Delivery Task Force. Furthermore, any grievance pending as of the date of this agreement at any step of the Dispute Resolution Process asserting the ESAS delivery initiative violated the collective bargaining agreement will be closed.

The settlement (M-01927) can be found in NALC’s Materials Reference System on the NALC website.

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act Impact on Retirement and Thrift Savings Plan https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/families-first-coronavirus-response-act-ffcra-impact-on-retirement-and-thrift-savings-plan Tue, 01 Sep 2020 14:29:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/families-first-coronavirus-response-act-ffcra-impact-on-retirement-and-thrift-savings-plan The NALC has received notification from the Postal Service that leave taken under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is not eligible for retirement and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) deductions. This is in accordance with guidance issued by the Office of Personnel Management which oversees both benefits.

 Those that have taken leave under the FFCRA will be issued refunds by the Postal Service for any retirement and TSP contributions which will be reflected on your October 2, 2020 paycheck.

Leave used under the FFCRA (Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act Expansion) will not impact creditable service time towards retirement eligibility. This leave does not impact the High-3 Average Salary calculation used for an annuity computation. The annuity calculation for full-time career employees will not be impacted.

However, use of FFCRA leave for part-time career employees will have an impact on annuity calculations. Annuities with a part-time career component are prorated based on the hours worked when compared to a full-time position. Leave taken under FFCRA is not considered basic pay and is treated similarly to periods of Leave Without Pay (LWOP), which does not increase the total hours worked for the part-time component calculation. NALC members may contact the NALC retirement department with questions regarding part-time career service.

Carriers that wish to, may change their election of FFCRA leave to a different type of leave (such as sick or annual) to keep their retirement and TSP contributions. To avoid a refund, all requests must be entered in AdjustPay before September 11, 2020.

All TSP eligible employees may change their TSP election at any time during the year.

The FFCRA will expire December 31st, 2020, and any unused leave will be forfeited.

 The Postal Service Mandatory Stand-Up Talk dated August 27, 2020 regarding this refund can be found here.

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USPS - SER initiative update https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-ser-initiative-update Tue, 01 Sep 2020 13:02:36 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/usps-ser-initiative-update
On July 31, 2020, USPS notified NALC of a new delivery initiative titled the Post Office Sortation Equipment Rationalization (SER). SER was characterized as a “review” which would solicit “feedback” from employees regarding potential consolidation of casing and sortation equipment. However, subsequent documentation revealed the Postal Service had instructed local management to reduce casing equipment and cell sizes causing widespread violations of the handbooks and manuals while making casing more difficult and less efficient. On August 17, 2020, NALC filed a national level grievance on the Postal Service’s unilateral implementation of SER. In the last few days, the SER initiative has been halted pending our discussions with the Postal Service on the program. For more information regarding SER click here.

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Statement from NALC President Fredric V. Rolando https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-from-nalc-president-fredric-v-rolando-083120 Mon, 31 Aug 2020 13:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/statement-from-nalc-president-fredric-v-rolando-083120 President Fredric V. Rolando has issued his latest statement to letter carriers covering several evolving issues. The statement may be viewed here.

An audio version of the statement is also available on NALC's podcast feed on Podbean.com. You may listen here.

As a reminder, in addition to contacting your shop steward, branch officer or NBA, NALC has a new email address for members to ask any questions or provide information about the COVID-19 pandemic: COVID19@nalc.org. When sending your email, please be sure to include your name and NALC branch number to expedite getting information to you.

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NALC responds to Hurricane Laura and California Fires https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-responds-to-hurricane-laura-and-california-fires Fri, 28 Aug 2020 20:10:47 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-responds-to-hurricane-laura-and-california-fires To our brothers and sisters in the areas that have been impacted by Hurricane Laura or the California fires, we need your help to make sure that we are notified of the needs of our membership in these areas.

We seek your help in identifying those letter carrier members who may be displaced from their homes and need help, by providing the following information to the NBAs offices or the NALC Disaster Relief Foundation.

Name
Address
Phone Number
Branch Number
Work Location

Please provide this information to one of the following emails that belong to an NBA, RAA, the Disaster Foundation, the Foundation’s President or Vice President at:

Region 1 (CA, HI, GU,NV)
almario@nalc.org
brookins@nalc.org
frazee@nalc.org
henry@nalc.org
rios@nalc.org

Region 8 (MS, LA, AL, TN)
lassan@nalc.org
walker@nalc.org
strickland@nalc.org

Region 9 (NC, SC, GA, FL)
pendleton@nalc.org
lyerly@nalc.org
lester@nalc.org
ali@nalc.org

Region 10 (TX, NM)
bernal@nalc.org
kimbrell@nalc.org
boyd@nalc.org

NALC DRF
cdavidson@nalc.org
peralta@nalc.org
DisasterReliefFoundation@nalc.org – 202-423-2443

Helping to account for each other's needs is the beginning point for assistance. If you would like to donate to the DRF, you can send your donation to NALC HQ.

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COVID-19 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/covid-19 Thu, 16 Apr 2020 13:29:52 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/covid-19 House and Senate Oversight Committees Question Postmaster General https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/house-and-senate-oversight-committees-question-postmaster-general Mon, 24 Aug 2020 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/house-and-senate-oversight-committees-question-postmaster-general The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform (COR) conducted back-to-back hearings Friday and Monday to question Postmaster General Louis DeJoy following several weeks of reported mail service delays.

Both Committees questioned DeJoy on a wide-range of issues, including: his work and interaction with letter carriers/unions; recently announced structural changes;, changes in overtime and operations resulting in service delays; preparations for the upcoming election; his views on needed legislative reforms and the need for Covid-relief; and his background, political leanings, and ties to the Trump administration and the private shipping industry from which he hails.

The hearings held August 21 in the Senate and August 24 in the House, sandwiched a successful bipartisan House vote Saturday night on the Delivering for America (H.R. 8015), which would provide $25 billion to the Postal Service for Covid-related losses/expenses and reverse any changes that result in mail service delays. While the vote on H.R. 8015 was bipartisan in nature, the hearings showed the sharp partisan divisions that exist between Democrats and Republicans on virtually every issue raised in both hearings.

HSGAC Chair Ron Johnson, who has refused to take up postal reform legislation for years, defended DeJoy’s service cuts as long-overdue reforms while Senate Democrats focused on the negative impact of the cuts as we approach the November election.

 “The country is anxious about whether the damage you have inflicted so far can be quickly reversed and what other plans you have in store that could further disrupt or damage reliable, timely delivery from the Postal Service,” said Ranking Member Gary Peters. “If you plan to continue pursuing these kinds of changes, I think my colleagues, and many of our constituents, will continue to question whether you are the right person to lead this indispensable public institution.”

Overall, the Senate HSGAC hearing was largely cordial with members tactfully raising questions about service and seeking assurances from DeJoy about halting disruptions that could lead to delays. The subsequent House hearing following the vote was anything but cordial.

That COR committee hearing spanned nearly seven hours. Joining DeJoy at the House hearing was Postal Board of Governors Chairman Mike Duncan. Both men were on defense for much of the hearing, with Democrats sharply criticizing the new PMG and recent changes on his watch.

“You're withholding information from us, concealing documents and downplaying the damage that you're causing,” said Maloney. "If you continue to withhold information or otherwise fail to comply, you can expect a subpoena."

On the Republican side of the aisle, members were complimentary in nature and at times apologetic for the aggressive treatment from the Democrats. Their line of questioning focused on whether USPS needs immediate financial relief and whether the agency has the capacity to process every ballot received by Election Day.  Some questioned if recent reports about the delayed processing of ballots were the fault of USPS as opposed to State Boards of Election.  Republicans also accused Democrats of conspiracy theories to smear the President.

Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) used the hearing to attack the character of city letter carriers, suggesting that they could not be trusted to handle ballots because NALC had recently endorsed Joe Biden for President. “Congressman Hice’s baseless claims are offensive and deeply troubling,” NALC President Fred Rolando said. “Letter carriers take their responsibility to protect the privacy and sanctity of the mail very seriously. We never let politics interfere with our duties as public servants – Congressman Hice owes every letter carrier in his district an apology.”

 With repeated questions over removal of sortation equipment and collection boxes during his brief tenure, Committee members grew frustrated with PMG DeJoy‘s  responses, leading some Democrats to call for his immediate resignation.

For his part, DeJoy was unapologetic and tried to assure lawmakers. “I am not engaged in sabotaging the election. We will do everything in our power and structure to deliver the ballots on time.” He went on to reassure lawmakers that the Postal Service could operate without taxpayer assistance  until 2021.

What was not covered by either Committee was the amount and scope of Covid-related losses and expenses, which clearly justifies a need for relief. In addition, members on both Committees failed to discuss how financial relief would be a much-needed shot-in-the-arm for the agency, which is unable to make basic infrastructure investments, such as new vehicles. In addition, there was little conversation about preparations for staffing shortages nationwide as the nation prepares for Covid-19 this fall, when cases are expected to rise, including among letter carriers and postal employees.

While the House and Senate hearings generated even more interest in the Postal Service, it is not likely the last postal-related activity on Capitol Hill during August recess. Members of Congress have returned home to their districts, but they are on high alert. Many are sending letters and inquiries to the new PMG. NALC remains focused on the need for financial relief, favorable loan terms and conditions, and hazard pay for letter carriers. With the House passing two separate measures aimed at addressing these issues, letter carriers should remain focused on contacting their Senators to urge them to act.

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House Passes Delivering for America Act in Unprecedented Vote https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/house-passes-delivering-for-america-act-in-unprecedented-vote Sat, 22 Aug 2020 11:00:00 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/house-passes-delivering-for-america-act-in-unprecedented-vote Today, members of the House of Representatives made their way back to Washington on a Saturday during August recess, during a pandemic, to pass the Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015), a bill that provides $25 billion in direct financial relief to the Postal Service and ensures that no changes in service can be made that would result in delays during the pandemic.

The bill passed by a vote of 257-150, with 26 Republicans joining Democrats to vote in favor of the bill including Reps: Don Bacon (R-NE), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Mike Bost (R-IL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Sam Graves (R-MO), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Will Hurd (R-TX), Dave Joyce (R-OH), John Katko (R-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), David McCaul (R-TX), David McKinley (R-WV), Tom Reed (R-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Mike Turner (R-OH), Fred Upton (D-MI), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Don Yong (R-AK).

“NALC deeply appreciates members of Congress setting aside partisan politics over the Postal Service and voting to ensure that letter carriers have every tool necessary to meet the needs of the public in delivering, mail, essentials and in preparation for November,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando. “We hope the White House and Senate will follow the lead of the House of Representatives and work to provide the same relief.”

Passage of the bill comes following a breakdown in negotiations among the White House, House and Senate on a larger Covid-relief bill. The House passed the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) four months ago and the Senate has subsequently announced two limited measures, neither of which has been discussed in the Senate. The Senate does not intend to return to Congress until after Labor Day, where it will have only a few weeks to reach a deal on a Covid measure and fund the government beyond September 30.

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Texas letter carrier passes away from coronavirus https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/texas-letter-carrier-passes-away-from-coronavirus Tue, 25 Aug 2020 14:16:48 -0500 https://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/texas-letter-carrier-passes-away-from-coronavirus NALC is deeply saddened to learn that 56-year-old letter carrier Paulino Huerta III, a member of Branch 2562, passed away Monday, August 24, from complications related to coronavirus. Brother Huerta worked at the Mercedes, TX Post Office. This November he would have celebrated his 20th anniversary with the Postal Service.

"On behalf of the entire NALC, we mourn the loss of Brother Huerta," NALC President Fredric Rolando said. "Paulino battled this horrible disease in an intensive care unit for well over a month before it unfortunately took his life. We send our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to his wife, daughter, other family members, loved ones, friends and co-workers.“

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