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 Obamacare repeal fails http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/obamacare-repeal-fails Sat, 25 Mar 2017 15:16:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/obamacare-repeal-fails President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) withdrew the American Health Care Act (AHCA) before a scheduled vote in the House of Representatives on Friday. The GOP leadership’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—also known as Obamacare—was expected to lose handily in the House. Polls showed that only 17 percent of Americans supported it, and a massive wave of constituent opposition convinced the Republicans to suspend, at least for now, efforts to repeal the landmark 2010 health care reform law.

The controversial AHCA, introduced just three weeks ago without any public hearings or bipartisan support, would have eliminated insurance coverage for 24 million Americans and deregulated the private insurance market. It would have also raised deductibles and increased insurance premiums dramatically—including those paid by letter carriers—by shifting the cost of health care for the uninsured to those with insurance.

NALC President Fredric Rolando issued the following statement:

“This is good news for millions of working families. Thanks to all the NALC activists who answered the call to weigh in with their members of Congress to oppose this destructive bill. Let us hope that, after seven long years of partisan warfare over our health care system, the two parties can finally start working together to fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act without throwing away the progress we’ve made since 2010.”

]]>
NALC submits comments in PRC’s rate-setting review http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-submits-comments-in-prcs-rate-setting-review Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:48:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-submits-comments-in-prcs-rate-setting-review The Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) required 10-year review of the way the U.S. Postal Service sets its prices for postage and postal products is underway, with NALC making an official submission to the agency before the public comment window closed on March 20.

Chief among NALC’s recommendations is that the PRC should eliminate the price cap on so-called “market dominant” products such as First Class Mail.  The cap has failed to provide the means to achieve the most important objective of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Financial Act (PAEA): financial stability for USPS.

The price cap is tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), an index that is not relevant to the cost of universal mail delivery and fails to provide postage rates high enough to cover the Postal Service’s legitimate costs, to pay down what its owes to the U.S. Treasury, to make needed capital investments in vehicles and facilities, and even to earn modest profits. Such profits would let the agency build up some cash reserves to help it ride out any emergency situations or other unforeseen circumstances.

Further, the cap has kept the Postal Service from fulfilling the PAEA’s mandate to pre-fund the health benefits of future postal retirees. No other public agency or private company has to pre-fund even one year in advance; USPS must pre-fund these benefits decades into the future.

Pre-funding, in fact, is responsible for 90 percent of the Postal Service’s reported losses over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, the cost of the pre-funding mandate was not factored into PAEA’s rules for rate-setting.

And without adequate revenue, USPS cannot fulfill its fundamental mission of providing prompt and reliable mail delivery to every residential and business address in the U.S. at least six days a week.

NALC’s submitted comments were reinforced by the inclusion of a study performed at the union’s request by well-known experts, including two former PRC research directors. The study concluded that capping USPS’ rates at the rate of growth in the CPI prevents the agency from achieving financial sustainability.

The CPI is a common measure of inflation, factoring in the average prices of a wide set of basic consumer goods. But this broad index used by the PRC to set limits on postage rates bears little relation to the actual costs incurred by the USPS as it conducts business and provides universal delivery services. NALC believes that the regulators should drop the CPI price cap and introduce a more flexible system of regulation.

NALC also urged the commission to allow USPS to file for a one-time rate adjustment to allow the agency to make a moderate operating profit and help it achieve a measure of near-term financial stability. This so-called “true up” increase should be implemented before the new system of rate regulation is introduced to replace the CPI price cap.

The regulators are reviewing not just the CPI cap, but all of the rules and regulations governing postage rates for market-dominant products and whether the current price indexing system should continue. The PRC could end up making no changes to its current rate-setting system or creating an entirely new one.

Although the public comment period has ended, NALC continues to work with the other postal unions to help ensure that the PRC goes about the review in a constructive, positive way. Postal management, mailers, trade associations and other interested parties also are taking part in these review discussions. Any proposed change in the rate-setting system is likely to involve another public comment period. The union fully intends to take part in the commission’s future deliberations—gathering data, evaluating alternatives, making recommendations and submitting testimony.

NALC remains hopeful that the PRC will restore rates to sensible levels before implementing a new rate-setting system.

]]>
POSTAL FACTS: March 15, 2017 (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-march-8-2017-2 Wed, 08 Mar 2017 09:24:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-march-8-2017-2 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

Things aren’t that bad for the Postal Service (USA Today)

logo for USA Today

NALC President Fredric Rolando’s letter to the editor of USA Today ran on March 8. The letter rebutted an earlier, negative news story the paper ran, a doom-and-gloom piece about postal finances that also failed to distinguish between regular benefits and the requirement to pre-fund the benefits of future retired letter carriers—a failure that made it seem as if retired letter carriers weren’t receiving their health care benefits.

Click here to read the letter.

Letter: Postal service did good work (Northwest Herald)

Logo for Northwest HeraldOak Brook, IL Branch 825 member Mike Montes’ letter to the editor of the Northwest Herald ran on March 10.

Click here to read the letter.

]]>
Filmmakers set out to tell letter carriers’ stories http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/filmmakers-set-out-to-tell-letter-carriers-stories Tue, 07 Mar 2017 12:11:14 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/filmmakers-set-out-to-tell-letter-carriers-stories Postal TalesEvery letter carrier has stories. Stories about co-workers. Stories about routes. Stories about customers.

“What’s interesting about letter carriers, they’ll talk and talk,” joked retired Johnstown, PA Branch 451 member Joe Antal.

Carriers often have so many stories because they’ve worked in the same place, sometimes on the same route, for so long, he added. “We had carriers in Johnstown, and we probably have them in other areas, where once a guy got on a route, he never got off, 20 or 30 years. They got to know people.

“Even with me,” Antal said, “I moved around a little bit, but you see the kids go to school, get married and they invite you to the wedding. That makes it very personal.”

Recognizing this, a group of international artists based in Los Angeles is putting together a collection of these stories and hopes to create a library of videos and podcasts. The brainchild of renowned artist Christian Moeller, professor and chairman of the Department of Design and Media Arts at the University of California—Los Angeles, and his former student and current research assistant Dasha Orlova, “Postal Tales” intends to tell the stories of letter carriers across the United States. They’ve already made two videos and the results are beautiful.

Moeller was inspired when reading an article about letters to Santa that the Postal Service received.

“I was touched by the beauty of how carefully the United States Postal Service handles those letters,” he said. “We spent some time gathering more information about the ‘Letters to Santa’ program and came to realize that we were tapping into something way more interesting—an aspect of humanity revealed through the multitude of untold stories of letter carriers.”

After doing some research about the Postal Service, the group started to reach out to postal workers and ask for their stories, through Facebook and its website, www.postaltales.org.

“One day, we were unexpectedly contacted by a retired letter carrier by the name of Don Podrasky,” Orlova said.

The Branch 451 member, who lives in Windber, PA, told them, “You don’t want to hear my stories.” But Orlova insisted that they wanted any kind of story, whether it be scary, funny or sad.

What Orlova got was a story about “an old forgotten mining town called Eureka 40 where he delivered mail and came across a familiar ghost who saved his day,” she said.

“Nobody can make up stuff like this and we wanted to find more,” Moeller said.

Podrasky told them to contact his former branch president, Joe Antal, who also gave them a few stories, including one about delivering letters to grateful immigrants from Eastern Europe during the era of the Soviet Union.

Postal Tales imageThe tales made quite an impression. “Postal workers serve their community in much deeper ways than I could have imagined because being a letter carrier goes way beyond the daily job description,” Orlova said. “It is the empathy and humanity the letter carriers bring to their work that I found truly inspiring in the stories I’ve heard.”

Knowing that they had good stories to work from, the artists set out to the Johnstown area in the fall of 2015.

“Johnstown is a special place because it captures a glimpse of a classic American town where the post office is a center for the community,” Orlova said. “Driving around, we were fascinated by the sights of empty coal mines and abandoned storefronts juxtaposed with a vast autumn landscape that cast a golden glow on the surrounding homes and railroads.”

That November, a team of four started the film shoot. The team included Moeller and Orlova, along with multimedia artist and sound engineer Dino Zhang and photographer/filmmaker Serge Hoelschi, who has worked on independent photography projects as well as Hollywood productions.
The artists filmed Antal and Podrasky over the course of a week, which was quite unlike anything Antal had experienced before.

“I had done interviews for TV and radio for postal legislative issues, but this was entirely different,” the former state association president said. “The sound had to be right. The location had to be right.”

And while that meant repeating lines more than once, Antal found the experience to be enjoyable.

“But you know, for me personally, it was interesting,” he said. “It made me feel good, because I got to talk about the post office that I put 38 years in carrying mail. It was nice that people were interested in what letter carriers do and picking me out.”

Podrasky had a better idea of what to expect, having seen the filming of “Slapshot” and “All the Right Moves” in Johnstown, but it still took some getting used to. “They wanted me to talk to the camera and I said that I needed someone to talk to,” he said. “They said, ‘No, it’s like on TV, when the camera is on the guy and he’s talking.’ Everything I’ve ever seen on TV in my entire life is going through my head as I try to figure out what do I need to do to not look like a dork right now,” he joked before laughing.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said.

The filmmakers received permission from the Windber Post Office and local citizens to film throughout the area. “No one was averse to helping,” Podrasky said. “Everyone I introduced them to, I was their mailman.”

They returned to Los Angeles and took a few months to edit the footage. They worked on the sound design and added carefully chosen pieces of traditional and contemporary American folk music to make the short films complete.

When Antal saw it, “I stopped for a minute and said, ‘It’s me!’ It really tells the story of the letter carrier,” he said. “They were always saying to me that this is art, but I say that this is the kind of stuff that we need because we’re always trying to keep the post office going, maintain six-day delivery and door-to-door delivery.”

Podrasky wants to see more carriers get involved. “If we actually get to tell our story from our point of view, rather than some kind of canned reference from the company, it carries a lot more weight,” he said. “I want to hear from the guys who are doing the actual jobs.”

You can watch both pieces at www.postaltales.org. But the artists hope you won’t stop there.

“We hope that letter carriers reading this in your magazine will be inspired to contact us and share their stories,” Orlova said.

“Everyone has a story to tell,” she said. “Whether the letter carrier is new to the profession or retired after 30-plus years of delivering mail, they have all experienced something worth sharing. The stories we are looking for span far and wide, from inspiring, funny, romantic, heroic, embarrassing, scary, supernatural—you name it.”

Contact Postal TalesThe site gives many ways to share a carrier’s story. Options including mailing in the story, submitting it through an online form, by e-mail, or even calling the artists to record the story by phone.

“We often contact our storytellers after receiving their story submission and interview them by phone,” Orlova said. “We have even helped letter carriers edit their stories into compelling pieces that capture the experience they intend to share.”

“I can see ‘Postal Tales’ becoming a large and constantly growing collection of short stories,” Moeller added. “A never-ending project dedicated to collecting stories and producing as many individual episodes, all three to five minutes long, that come our way. The internet and digital streaming technology have changed TV programming and people’s watching habits, and luckily have made room again for content in short form.

“Similar to the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm, the stories will become a vast collection of tales,” he said, “all told by letter carriers to create a beautiful portrait of America through the eyes of the postal worker.”

Podrasky echoed that humanizing element. When people might first see a letter carrier, they see the uniform, he said. Then, “the uniform starts telling a story, and by the time it’s done, it’s not a uniform anymore. It’s a real human being.”

]]>
Postal reform update: A changed political landscape requires a new strategy http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-reform-update-a-changed-political-landscape-requires-a-new-strategy Sat, 11 Feb 2017 10:47:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-reform-update-a-changed-political-landscape-requires-a-new-strategy Congress returned to business in January to a transformed capital city. We have a new president and one-party control of the federal government.

Fortunately, postal reform has strong bipartisan support and our goals have not changed. Our strategy, of course, will have to change to reflect the new landscape.

On Feb. 7, NALC President Fredric Rolando testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on postal reform legislation. The committee’s leaders have introduced two bills: H.R. 756, the Postal Reform Act of 2017, and H.R. 760, The Postal Service Financial Improvement Act of 2017. We used our testimony to provide suggested improvements to the bills, which may be marked up later this month. (A mark-up is a committee meeting where members can amend, delete or add provisions to bills under consideration.)  

We also urged the committee to adopt the two bills because they contain all the essential elements to achieve our two core goals for postal reform:

  1. a workable resolution of the crushing retiree health pre-funding burden, achieved by maximizing participation in the Medicare program and investing the Retiree Health Fund more sensibly; and
  2. a partial restoration of the exigent rate increase that expired last year, to provide USPS with the revenues needed to stabilize its finances as the Postal Regulatory Commission conducts its 10-year review of the rate-setting system for market-dominant products.

The Oversight Committee’s consideration of H.R. 756, which we hope will be amended to include the provisions of H.R. 760, is just the first step in a very long process. Assuming the bill is approved by the committee, it will be referred to the Congressional Budget Office for a review of its impact on the federal budget (“scoring”).

The legislation will also be sent to the two House committees that share jurisdiction over the Medicare program: the Ways and Means Committee for the bill provisions involving Medicare Parts A and B, and the Energy and Commerce Committee for the Medicare prescription drug provisions. Once all the committees have had their say, the bill would next go to the floor of the House for debate, amendments and a final vote. Meanwhile, a similar process would have to take place in the Senate before a measure can be sent to the White House for a signature.

At each stage of the process, NALC will assess the bills and measure our progress toward achieving our goals. At this early stage, we can support advancing H.R. 756 and H.R. 760 through the Oversight Committee. Our goal is to work with our coalition of postal management, postal unions and mailers to keep the process going and make improvements along the way.

Our ultimate objective is to achieve the two core goals described above while protecting our jobs, our rights, our networks (including door delivery, Saturday delivery, etc.) and the interests of all annuitants from any unreasonable hardships caused by the bill’s Medicare provisions.

]]>
Dowdy retires; Preston named new Region 13 NBA http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/dowdy-retires-preston-named-new-region-13-nba Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:41:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/dowdy-retires-preston-named-new-region-13-nba Vada Preston

Vada Preston

Tim Dowdy

Tim Dowdy

NALC President Fredric Rolando has appointed Region 13 Regional Administrative Assistant (RAA) Vada Preston to serve as that region’s national business agent (NBA), effective March 6. Preston replaces the retiring Tim Dowdy, a member of Virginia Beach, VA Branch 2819, who has served as Region 13’s NBA since January of 2005.

“We thank Tim for his decades of dedicated service to NALC members and we wish him a happy retirement,” Rolando said.

Preston, a U.S. Air Force veteran, joined NALC as a member of Tidewater Virginia Branch 247 in 1986. He served his branch as a shop steward and vice president, and he was elected branch president in 2003.

Preston also has worked as a shop steward trainer, as a Dispute Resolution team member, as an arbitration advocate and as a local business agent.

In 2005, NALC President William Young appointed Preston to be an RAA for Region 13, which serves NALC members in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

]]>
Rolando testifies before House committee (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/rolando-testifies-about-postal-legislation-before-house-committee Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/rolando-testifies-about-postal-legislation-before-house-committee On Feb. 7, NALC President Fredric Rolando testified before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled, “Accomplishing Postal Reform in the 115th Congress.” (Watch his testimony at right.)

Also testifying at the hearing were Postmaster General Megan Brennan, Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Robert Taub, Government Accountability Office Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues Lori Rectanus and Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service Manager Art Sackler.

The hearing focused on the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756), which was co-sponsored by Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD); Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Ranking Member Gerry Connolly (D-VA); and Oversight Committee members Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Dennis Ross (R-FL).

The hearing also touched on the Postal Service Financial Improvement Act (H.R. 760), introduced by Reps. Lynch and David McKinley (R-WV).

Both bills were introduced last week.

News media coverage of the hearing

President Rolando’s congressional testimony sparked a variety of media coverage, and many outlets quoted the president.

During his testimony, President Rolando commended the committee for “setting a standard of bipartisan cooperation” and signaled broad support for the bill across the mailing industry, including among business and labor stakeholders.

Testifying on behalf of all four postal employee unions (NALC as well as the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the American Postal Workers Union and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union), Rolando said that a broad coalition of stakeholders believes that the two bills have the essential elements needed to stabilize and fortify the Postal Service for years to come.

In addition, the president said that H.R. 756 and H.R. 760 deal with “two core issues that must be addressed: the unaffordable pre-funding mandate and the expiration of the exigent increase.

“All four postal unions urge the committee to adopt this legislation,” Rolando said.

Recognizing the bipartisan manner in which the bill came together, Cummings complimented the stakeholders.

“You all have got to help us get the ball over the line,” Cummings said. “I have not seen unions work so hard to try to come up with solutions anywhere other than the postal unions. We could not have done this—and I’m sure everyone up here agrees—without the unions. I really thank you.”

When asked later for clarification about the four employee unions’ level of support, Rolando reiterated the unions’ continued commitment to working with the committee and stakeholders to move a positive postal bill forward.

“All four unions support this bill,” he said. “We mentioned two tweaks in the written testimony that we thought would be helpful. [We] support this bill coming out of committee.  We’ve got our members covered.”

A mark-up session for both H.R. 756 and H.R. 760 is expected to take place later this month. Such a session allows committee members to add, amend or delete provisions in the bill. If the bill is approved by the committee, it is expected to be referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for review and possible mark-ups.

The House and the Senate must reach consensus on a bill, and both must approve it, before it can be sent to the president to be signed into law.

Read President Rolando’s submitted written testimony here.

]]>
POSTAL FACTS: March 3, 2017 (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-feb-23-2017-5 Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-feb-23-2017-5 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

The United States Postal Service isn’t ‘in decline’ – far from it (The Guardian)

logo for The Guardian

NALC President Fredric Rolando’s Sunday, Feb. 26 letter to the editor of The Guardian responded to a Feb. 1 article in that newspaper. The Guardian’s website is the world’s third-most trafficked newspaper website with well over 100 million readers, including about 15 million in the United States, where it’s rapidly growing—especially among political, business, media and academic leaders.

Click here to read the letter.

Congress should acknowledge Post Service's value in efforts to reform (The Hill)

On Feb. 23, The Hill ran a piece by President Rolando, responding to a Feb. 16 think-tank piece that criticized postal reform efforts. President Rolando’s rebuttal presented “some easily verifiable information and context so all of us…can approach the matter on a shared factual basis.”

Click here to read the piece.

Getting the Mail to Your Home Is Way More Complex Than You Might Think (HowStuffWorks)

How Stuff WorksNALC Executive Vice President Brian Renfroe was interviewed for a HowStuffWorks piece about letter carriers’ delivery routes.

Click here to read the piece.

Letter: New York should adopt Vote by Mail program (The Buffalo News)

Logo for Buffalo NewsBuffalo-Western New York Branch 3’s Robert McLennan’s letter to the editor of The Buffalo News ran on Feb. 21.

Click here to read the letter.

Paige letter: U.S. Postal Service (Idaho Statesman)
Thank you for support of Postal Service (Idaho Press Tribune)
Letter carriers, thank you (Times-News)

Logo for Idaho Statesman

Letters from Idaho State Association President John Paige ran in the Idaho Press Tribune on Feb. 17, in Twin Falls’ Times-News on Feb. 18 and in the Idaho Statesman on Feb. 26.

Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Press Tribune.
Click here to read the letter in the Times-News (scroll down).
Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Statesman.

Second-generation mail carrier delivers over 2,000 letters daily (WKMG-TV)

Central Florida Branch 1091 letter carrier Dawn Sylvester was featured in a Feb. 24 story on WKMG-TV.

Click here to check out the story.

]]>
Former NALC Dir. of Life Insurance O’Connor has died http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/former-nalc-dir-of-life-insurance-oconnor-has-died Wed, 01 Mar 2017 13:43:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/former-nalc-dir-of-life-insurance-oconnor-has-died Michael J. O'ConnorFormer NALC Director of Life Insurance Michael J. O’Connor died on Feb. 28. He was 77.

O’Connor was born on June 20, 1939, in South Boston. A 1957 graduate of South Boston High School, he served in the Army before becoming a letter carrier. He was hired in 1969 by what was then the Post Office Department and quickly joined Boston Branch 34. He held several branch offices, such as shop steward, branch newsletter publisher, secretary-treasurer and president. He also served a term as president of the Massachusetts State Association of Letter Carriers and as one of NALC’s elected delegates to AFL-CIO conventions.

O’Connor was elected in 1986 to be one of NALC’s national trustees. In 1993, midway through a second term as trustee, he was appointed by NALC President Vincent Sombrotto to the office of assistant secretary-treasurer to fill a vacancy; a year later, O’Connor was elected to the first of two terms as director of life insurance, heading NALC’s Mutual Benefit Association. He stepped down from that position in 2002.

O’Connor was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, on Jan. 10. He is survived by three sons, seven grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will take place on March 2 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Keohane Funeral Home in Quincy, MA.

A celebration of life service will be held on March 3 at 9:15 a.m. at the funeral home, followed by a funeral at St. Ann’s Church in Quincy at 10 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be mailed to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.

Click here to visit keohane.com for more information.

]]>
NALC statement on USPS’ Q1 financial report for FY 2017 (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-statement-on-q1-financial-report-for-fy-2017 Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-statement-on-q1-financial-report-for-fy-2017

News media coverage

Media coverage of the financial report was largely constructive, shaped in part by NALC President Rolando, who—along with Postmaster General Megan Brennan—was widely quoted.

NALC President Fredric Rolando’s statement on the Feb. 9 release of the U.S. Postal Service’s financial statement for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2017, covering the months of October, November and December of 2016:

Today’s Postal Service financial report shows a $522 million operating profit for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2017, demonstrating the strength of the postal turnaround. USPS now has a total operating profit of $3.7 billion since the start of FY 2014.

That's impressive for a government entity that gets no taxpayer money—earning its revenue instead by selling stamps—while enjoying strong public support and providing Americans and their businesses with the industrial world's most-affordable delivery network. The continuing financial upswing shows the importance of maintaining and strengthening the unparalleled—and profitable—postal network.

These results reflect ongoing trends: stabilizing letter revenue as the economy gradually improves from the worst recession in 80 years and rising package revenue driven by online shopping.

Q1 FY2016 chart

USPS reported a $522 million operating profit for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2017. This profit reflects the growth of the Postal Service into the No. 1 e-commerce delivery provider. The agency provides more last-mile deliveries than any private carrier. The financial results also have been supported by growth in marketing letter mail and by a slowing rate of decline in First-Class letter mail. During the first quarter, USPS benefited from an influx of election-related mail, and a large volume of packages and other holiday mail (cards, catalogs, etc). It continued its operating profitability despite the loss of revenue from a 2016 stamp price cut, which reduced quarterly revenue and operating profit by $570 million. SOURCE: USPS 1Q 2017 Form 10-Q

The red ink you hear about has nothing to do with the mail but rather with congressional politics—the 2006 decision by a lame-duck Congress to compel the Postal Service to pre-fund future retiree health benefits. No other public agency or private company has to do this even one year in advance; USPS must pre-fund these benefits decades into the future. That multi-billion annual charge is not only the “red ink,” it actually disguises the operating profits USPS is earning.

The pre-funding issue can be readily addressed if Congress acts on practical, targeted postal reform. There is a strong consensus within a coalition consisting of the Postal Service, postal unions, business groups and key legislators for a reform package that all stakeholders can buy into.

It’s worth noting that the quarter’s operating profit would have been $1.1 billion had it not been for the first annual stamp price rollback since 1919. That rollback, which took place in April 2016, makes little financial sense, because USPS already has the industrial world's lowest rates. The Postal Regulatory Commission is now engaged in a review of the postage rate-setting system.

]]>
Register now for the 25th ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ Food Drive http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/early-registration-for-food-drive-underway Wed, 04 Jan 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/early-registration-for-food-drive-underway Early registration for the 2017 Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger®” Food Drive has begun for branch presidents who can access the registration form posted to the Members Only portal at nalc.org.

The 25th annual food drive will be held on its traditional second Saturday in May—Saturday, May 13, 2017. Those who register now will secure their orders for Food Drive-reminder postcards.

If you haven’t yet created your Members Only portal account, click here, then enter the simple information required to create your account access.

If you have any trouble creating your account, call the NALC Membership Department at 202-662-2836.

Once you’re in the portal, select the “Branch Presidents” button and then select the “2017 Letter Carrier Food Drive” button.

Complete all of the information fields, including how many residential deliveries are in your branch’s delivery area. Note that this becomes your order for postcards.

Also, be sure to confirm whether you have a sponsor for bags and, if so, identify the sponsor(s).

When you are finished, select “Complete registration.”

You must complete all fields for your registration to be confirmed. You will receive a confirmation notification once you are confirmed.

]]>
POSTAL FACTS: Feb. 6, 2017 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-feb-6-2017 Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:55:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-feb-6-2017 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

Washington Examiner logoThe Postal Service is a success. Here’s what Congress can do to make it better (Washington Examiner)

NALC President Fredric Rolando has an op-ed in the Feb. 6 Washington Examiner, responding to an earlier commentary in the paper that urged the U.S. Postal Service to reduce services to not compete with the private sector. Rolando pointed out the economic and societal value of USPS and letter carriers. The Examiner is a leading conservative voice that circulates heavily in the D.C. area and is read closely on Capitol Hill.

Click here to read the piece.

Terre Haute Tribune-Star logoUSPS delivers good service to all (Tribune-Star)

Rolando's op-ed in Terre Haute, IN’s Tribune-Star also ran on Feb. 6. This one was partly in response to an earlier news article the paper ran.

Click here to read the piece.

]]>
Bipartisan postal reform bills introduced http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/bipartisan-postal-reform-bills-reintroduced Wed, 01 Feb 2017 18:14:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/bipartisan-postal-reform-bills-reintroduced On Jan. 31, House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) reintroduced the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756), and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), a member of the OGR Committee, reintroduced the Postal Service Financial Improvement Act (H.R. 760). The OGR Committee has jurisdiction over the U.S. Postal Service.

NALC President Fredric Rolando has been invited to testify during a Feb. 7 OGR Committee hearing on both bills. Last May, Rolando testified before the committee about the need for comprehensive postal reform legislation.

The two new bills are similar to postal measures that were introduced in the House of Representatives in the 114th Congress. Following a mark-up session shortly after last May's hearing, both of those bills were overwhelmingly approved by the committee.

OGR Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and committee members Mark Meadows (R-NC), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Lynch have signed on as original co-sponsors of Chaffetz' H.R. 756.

NALC is reviewing these new bills and any amendments that may have been made since last year.

]]>
OMB and OPM say USPS exempt from hiring freeze http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/omb-and-opm-say-usps-exempt-from-hiring-freeze2 Wed, 01 Feb 2017 12:58:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/omb-and-opm-say-usps-exempt-from-hiring-freeze2 On Tuesday, the acting directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management issued a memorandum to provide guidance regarding the hiring freeze instituted by President Donald Trump on Jan. 23. The guidance included the following:

“3. Exemptions. The following exemptions to the Federal civilian hiring freeze are permitted:

f.  Hiring by the U.S. Postal Service.”

]]>
POSTAL FACTS: Jan. 27, 2017 (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-jan-26-2017-2 Thu, 26 Jan 2017 11:09:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-jan-26-2017-2 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

Logo for The Weatherford Democrat

U.S. Postal service an American treasure (Weatherford Democrat)

On Jan. 27, Texas’ Weatherford Democrat ran a commentary by NALC President Fredric Rolando that discussed postal finances, the value of letter carriers and the USPS, and the legislative way forward.

Click here to read Rolando’s commentary.

Logo for Jeffersonville News and TribuneROLANDO: A national treasure: The U.S. Postal Service (News and Tribune)

Rolando’s commentary piece for Jeffersonville, IN’s News and Tribune ran on Jan. 27.

Click here to read the piece.

Logo for TownhallWhat you may not know about the U.S. Postal Service (Townhall)

On Jan. 26, Townhall featured a commentary by President Rolando that makes the case for why people all along the political spectrum should, and often do, value the Postal Service. Rolando’s commentary rebutted one that Townhall ran on Sunday.

Click here to read Rolando’s commentary.

Logo for Greensburg Daily NewsA national treasure: The U.S. Postal Service (Daily News)

Rolando had a guest column in the Jan. 26 edition of Indiana’s Greensburg Daily News. The column is partly in response to an earlier news article that the paper ran.

Click here to read Rolando’s column.

Logo for Federal News RadioChaffetz: Postal reform bill needed to reform ‘unsustainable’ trajectory (Federal News Radio)

The president is quoted in a Federal News Radio story about postal legislation. The only others quoted in the story are Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE).

Click here to read the story.

]]>