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 Penalty Overtime Exclusion scheduled http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/penalty-overtime-exclusion-scheduled Tue, 28 Nov 2017 09:23:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/penalty-overtime-exclusion-scheduled As referenced in Article 8, sections 4 and 5, of the USPS-NALC and USPS-APWU national agreements, the December period during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable consists of four consecutive service weeks.

This year, the December period begins Pay Period 25-17—Week 2 (Dec. 2, 2017) and ends Pay Period 01-18—Week 1 (Dec. 29, 2017).

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Questions and answers about changes to TSP withdrawal options http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/questions-and-answers-about-changes-to-tsp-withdrawal-options Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/questions-and-answers-about-changes-to-tsp-withdrawal-options The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board developed a package of legislative changes that would provide withdrawal flexibility for Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants and shared the package with members of Congress. Congress recently passed the TSP Modernization Act and President Trump signed it into law.

Click here to read a fact sheet that answers frequently asked questions about changes to TSP withdrawal options.

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Now accepting applications for the 2018 NALC Leadership Academy http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/now-accepting-applications-for-the-2018-nalc-leadership-academy Fri, 01 Dec 2017 14:49:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/now-accepting-applications-for-the-2018-nalc-leadership-academy NALC is now accepting applications for the 2018 NALC Leadership Academy, which is open to all active NALC members including CCAs.

Click here to access the application form, which is fillable online and can be saved or printed. Those who have applied previously but were not selected must reapply to be considered. (If you have problems with the fillable form, simply print it out and fill it out by hand.)

The application form has two main parts, one for the applicant to complete and one for the mentor. The applicant’s portion requests contact information, union positions held and any other experience, skills or knowledge the applicant may want to list. Applicants must complete a 300-500 word essay explaining their interest in the Leadership Academy and qualifications to participate in it. The second part is to be completed by a mentor chosen by the applicant.

The mentor must provide a written recommendation explaining how long they have known the applicant, why they believe the applicant should be accepted to the Leadership Academy and their sense of the applicant’s leadership potential. The form also contains a statement of mutual commitment that the mentor and applicant must sign.

Working with a good mentor is one of the most important components for a student to have a successful Leadership Academy experience. For this reason, applicants are encouraged to choose their mentors carefully. Generally, a good mentor would be someone with advanced leadership skills who is willing to spend a significant amount of time interacting with the student while providing guidance and encouragement. A mentor should also be in a position to provide the opportunities and venues for the student to practice the skills they have learned at the Academy and be available to observe their work and provide appropriate feedback. Branch presidents or other branch officers are often good choices for mentors as they have opportunities to work closely with the student and can provide the help needed with the outside learning projects. Leadership Academy graduates, national business agents, regional administrative assistants and state association officers have also mentored past students and are another good source.

The Leadership Academy consists of three week-long sessions held over a five-month period at the Maritime Institute near Baltimore, MD. After graduation, the students will spend a fourth week working in a national business agent’s office. In between the three weeks of classroom sessions at the Academy, students are required to complete at-home learning projects based on the curriculum covered during the previous week’s session and submit a written report about it.

The Academy curriculum is designed to both develop and enhance the knowledge and skills that are essential for NALC leaders. In addition to the Leadership Academy staff, each of the resident national officers, as well as many headquarters staff members, help teach at the Academy, providing students with NALC’s top experts in each field.

Upon selection, students will be advised of the exact dates they will need to be available for each class. Transportation, room, meals, wages and other associated costs while attending the Academy and working in the business agent’s office are paid by the NALC.  

Any active member who is interested in attending the Academy is encouraged to select a mentor and apply. Completed applications must be postmarked by Feb. 28. Confirmation of receipt of the application form at NALC headquarters will be sent to the applicant. 

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Back pay update http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/back-pay-update Fri, 01 Dec 2017 21:21:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/back-pay-update Active letter carriers

All active career letter carriers received their back pay in today’s paycheck. This payment covers the period of time from Sept. 3, 2016, through August 18, 2017. During this period, career letter carriers received three wage increases: a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of $21 annually, effective Sept. 3, 2016; a general wage increase of 1.2 percent effective Nov. 26, 2016; and a COLA of $333 effective March 4, 2017.

Active city carrier assistant (CCA) letter carriers will receive their back pay in their Feb. 9, 2018, paychecks. A CCA’s back pay will cover the period from Nov. 26, 2016, through Sept. 15, 2017. This payment will include the 2.2 percent general wage increase and the addition of two $0.50-per-hour step increases in the new CCA pay scale where applicable. The two $0.50-per-hour step increases are payable at 12 and 52 weeks of service.

Letter carriers who converted from CCA to career during the back pay period received the career portion of their back pay today and will receive the back pay for their time spent as a CCA in their Feb. 9, 2018, paycheck.

Retired and separated letter carriers

Most career letter carriers who retired between Sept. 3, 2016, and August 18, 2017, and those career letter carriers who were active on August 7, 2017, and have since separated from the Postal Service, also received their back pay today. These former letter carriers received their back pay in the form of a paper check mailed to the last office in which they worked, and they should contact their former office to arrange getting the check.

The remaining 3,600 carriers in this category will receive their back pay the same way on Dec. 15, 2017. This unfortunate delay is due to a coding error related to the terminal leave payments made to these carriers.

Former CCA letter carriers who were active on August 7, 2017, and have since separated from the Postal Service should check back for further updates on when and how their back pay will be distributed.

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NALC challenges change to promotion pay provisions http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-challenges-change-to-promotion-pay-provisions Thu, 02 Nov 2017 09:33:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-challenges-change-to-promotion-pay-provisions Many letter carriers currently receiving promotion pay after being promoted to a Grade 2 assignment recently received PS Forms 50 notifying them of additional waiting time added before reaching their next step increase. This is a result of a recent revision to the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM). NALC has challenged this revision.

Pursuant to Article 19 of the National Agreement, USPS notified NALC of proposed revisions to ELM Section 422.2, City Carrier Schedule. The revision eliminates the requirement that two times the most prevalent step be added to a Table 2 Grade 1 letter carrier’s salary when promoted to a Grade 2 assignment. If this pay rate fell between two steps, the carrier would then receive the higher step. This calculation resulted in Table 2 Grade 1 letter carriers receiving a two-step increase when assigned to a Grade 2 assignment.

Additionally, USPS notified NALC that it would be holding employees who previously received the two-step promotion pay increase in place in their current step for an additional 92 weeks less any time served since their last step increase.

The ELM revision and the “hold in place” were effective Oct. 14, 2017.

NALC has filed a national class-action grievance (Q16N-4Q-C 17638188) on the issues and appealed it to arbitration. Any local grievances should be held in abeyance pending resolution of the national grievance. Branch officers, representatives and members with any questions should contact their national’s business agent’s office.

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PRC completes its review of the postage rate-setting system http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/prc-completes-its-review-of-the-postage-rate-setting-system Fri, 01 Dec 2017 15:54:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/prc-completes-its-review-of-the-postage-rate-setting-system The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) today posted its findings of the so-called 10-year review of the postage rate-making system established by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). That law indexed the prices of so-called "market dominant" products (e.g., letter mail, periodicals and catalogs) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), often referred to as the CPI price cap. The law also called on the PRC to launch a review of the system after 10 years to determine whether the new system was working to fulfill the nine objectives identified by the law, including financial sustainability and service quality and predictability.

NALC filed comments in the review case, which was launched Dec. 20, 2016, arguing that the current system was failing to meet the key objectives of the PAEA. We also urged the commission to approve a one-time—or “true-up”—increase to restore the Postal Service’s financial stability. In addition, we called on the PRC to propose a new system without a price cap.

On our first argument, the PRC agreed with NALC, as well as USPS and the other postal unions, that the current system is not working. Given that virtually all of the other interested parties urged the commission to conclude otherwise, this is a victory. 

However, on our second argument, the PRC did not call for a “true-up” increase or a new system without a price cap. Instead, it proposed a new price cap allowing the Postal Service to raise rates by up to two percentage points above the CPI each year (CPI+2) with the possibility of raising rates by an additional one percentage point (CPI+3) if efficiency and service-quality targets are met. This proposed system is set to last for five years before a new review. It will be the subject of a rule-making proceeding that will involve a 120-day comment period for interested parties. 

“We will vigorously participate in this new rate-making proceeding,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said, “and we remain committed to achieving a sensible system of rate-setting that will be good for the public and the Postal Service.”

NALC is now reviewing the PRC’s 293-page report on its findings from the 10-year review, as well as the 190-page order of proposed rulemaking, and we will report more fully on both in the January Postal Record.

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Carriers encouraged to give through CFC (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/carriers-encouraged-to-give-through-cfc-1 Thu, 02 Nov 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/carriers-encouraged-to-give-through-cfc-1

2017 Combined Federal Campaign: USPS Information and FAQs on permissible CFC events and activities (PDF)

United States Office of Personnel Management CFC Charitable Giving User Guide 2017 (PDF)

Donate online via opm.gov/showsomelovecfc (registration required).

2017 Combined Federal Campaign pledge form (PDF)

As federal employees, letter carriers can make charitable donations through the world’s largest annual workplace giving program, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), through deductions from our paychecks.

“Letter carriers are known for taking care of our communities,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “The CFC is a convenient way for letter carriers to support their favorite charities.”

Pledges made by donors during the campaign season support eligible non-profit organizations chosen by the donor.

This year, CFC is making it easier for all federal employees to donate online and giving federal retirees an easy option for donating through deductions from their annuities. To donate online, an employee needs to register an account at opm.gov/showsomelovecfc

To facilitate these changes, the campaign dates have been moved to later than past years. Federal and postal employees may designate the organizations they want to support from Oct. 2 through Jan. 12.

Carriers can choose the charity or group of charities they want to support from a list of more than 2,000 eligible charities, and an amount they choose will be deducted from their paychecks each pay period and automatically sent to each charity.

“The combined effort of letter carriers and other federal employees makes a huge difference to the charities that support our communities each year,” Rolando said.

All letter carriers can participate in the CFC.

In a letter, Rolando asked NALC members to contribute through the CFC in addition to the other ways they support the community.

“Each day, within the communities where we live and deliver the mail, many of us encounter people who are enduring real-life problems,” Rolando wrote. “Throughout the year, we help our communities in a number of ways while looking after those who are vulnerable. In addition to what we do each day in the neighborhoods we serve, the Combined Federal Campaign gives us an easy way to contribute money through payroll deductions to the charities you care about.”

NALC is directly involved in three such charities:

  • The Postal Employees’ Relief Fund (PERF) provides financial support to postal employees whose homes are damaged or destroyed by natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The charity is run by the four postal employee unions and three management organizations, whose members support PERF through voluntary donations. PERF grants money to homeowners and renters alike to help with deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses that insurance claims don’t cover, and to assist with replacement of lost property and temporary housing. Information and applications for PERF assistance can be found at postalrelief.com.
  • The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is NALC’s only official charity. It is the world’s leading non-profit health organization sponsoring research into the causes of, and effective treatments for, neuromuscular diseases. MDA research grants support about 150 research projects worldwide, as well as camps and activities for children who have one of these diseases. For more information, go to mdausa.org.
  • United Way Worldwide is the leadership and support organization for the network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 40 countries and territories. The United Way’s focus is creating community-based and community-led solutions that strengthen the cornerstones for a good quality of life: education, financial stability and health. For more information, go to unitedway.org.
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Tell your senators to vote ‘no’ on tax bill http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-on-tax-bill Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:06:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-on-tax-bill Last month, House Republicans advanced a tax reform measure, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1), which does little to benefit middle-class working families.

Now, their Senate counterparts are racing to jam through the Senate a similar version of the bill (S. 1) after just one hearing, with a vote expected on the floor this week.

While the House and Senate bills are not identical, they both aim to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans on the backs of letter carriers and working families.

Take action now!

In particular, passage of the Senate bill would result in:

  • Higher taxes for 93 million Americans who earn less than $75,000 by 2027—after short-term cuts expire. Meanwhile, the richest Americans (the top 0.1 percent) would receive a $208,000 average annual tax cut and mostly permanent relief.
  • Permanent and massive tax cuts for corporations and other special-interest provisions that would incentivize companies to outsource American jobs overseas and develop other tax-avoidance schemes.
  • A repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, raising health insurance premiums for a majority of Americans and resulting in 13 million losing insurance by 2027.
  • A repeal of the deductions for the state and local taxes (SALT) and other tax provisions important to lower- and middle-class working families.
  • Adding $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over a decade, which would inevitably be paid for with future cuts to vital programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and with spending offsets, which would put federal employee health and retirement benefit cuts on the table.

NALC urges you to call your senators now and tell them to oppose S. 1 when it comes to the Senate floor. Tell them that this bill is grossly unfair and bad for working families. Dial the U.S. Capitol’s switchboard at 202-224-3121 and be ready to provide your ZIP code to get connected.

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Economics Blog: Consumer sentiment is at its highest levels since January 2004 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-consumer-sentiment-nov-17 Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:34:21 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/economics-blog-consumer-sentiment-nov-17

The University of Michigan released numbers for consumer sentiment in November 2017 yesterday, part of the university’s Survey of Consumers. Consumer sentiment is a measure of how consumers are feeling about the economy overall and this can translate into higher amounts of spending in the economy. It is especially crucial going into the holiday season as retailers and delivery providers attempt to gauge the likelihood that consumers will want to purchase goods and services. This has direct implications for the USPS, as well as postal competitors such as FedEx and UPS, as willingness to spend translates into higher volumes of package delivery.

The index of consumer sentiment was 98.5 for November 2017, down 2.2 percent from October 2017 but an increase in 5.6 percent from November 2016. Consumer sentiment is at its highest levels since January 2004 despite relatively stagnant real wages and a slight decline in real earnings in October 2017. Consumers are most likely reacting to low official unemployment (4.1 percent in October 2017), increasing expectations for future employment, and persistently low inflation (inflation expectations are the lowest on record).

These numbers are very encouraging and signal an expected gain of 2.7 percent in real consumption expenditures in 2018, in addition to the best run-up to the holiday shopping season in a decade. This should have a beneficial effect on package volume for the USPS for the first quarter of 2018, boosting already bourgeoning package volume and revenue. Shipping and package volume increased 11.4 percent in FY 2017 and the resulting revenue increased 11.8 percent. Shipping and packages accounted for 28 percent of USPS operating revenue in FY 2017, a 27.3 percent increase since FY 2015, and amounted to 3.8 percent of total mail volume, and increase of 31 percent since FY 2015.

However, there are some factors which may cause consumer enthusiasm to pause. Given the length of the current expansion from the 2007-2009 recession, it is possible that the economy is nearing what economists call a cyclical peak, a high point of economic activity right before a recession. There are also significant fiscal and monetary policy actions looming, including the Republican tax plan and possible rate increases by the Federal Reserve in December. So far these potential policy changes have not affected consumer confidence.

Below is a table of results from November 2017 from the University of Michigan Survey Of Consumers: 

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POSTAL FACTS: Nov. 22, 2017 (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-nov-13-2017 Mon, 20 Nov 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/postal-facts-nov-13-2017 What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.

On Nov. 14, the U.S. Postal Service released its financial report for Fiscal Year 2017. NALC President Fredric Rolando was quoted prominently in a number of news stories covering the report's release. (Click here to read Rolando's statement about the report.)

Postal Service Suffers First 'Controllable' Loss in Five Years (Government Executive):

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the Postal Service’s losses can be attributed largely to factors outside of the normal operations of the agency.

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

Postal Service forecasts ‘much-needed revenue’ from approved rate hike (Federal News Radio):

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers postal union, said that fixing the pre-funding and pricing issues is critical.

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

Postal Service blames revenue shortfall on declining letter volume (Linn’s Stamp News):

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the 2017 results show “the underlying business strength of the U.S. Postal Service while also indicating the need to address external matters beyond USPS control.”

He said the $814 million “controllable loss” was a product of the 2¢ rollback in April 2016 in first-class postage rates, which cut postal revenues “by $2 billion annually.”

“Without the two-cent reduction in stamp prices, fiscal 2017 would have an operating profit of $1.2 billion,” he said.

NALC’S Rolando: If price of stamps hadn’t dropped, Postal Service would have finished FY2017 in the black (Press Associates, Inc.):

If the price of stamps hadn’t dropped last year, the U.S. Postal Service would have finished fiscal 2017 with a $1.2 billion operating profit, not an $800 million loss, Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando says.

[...]

Rolando alluded to the prepaid retirees’ health care costs in his statement. Both postal unions and Brennan want the current GOP-run Congress to repeal that mandate.

“With the original stamp price, the annual figure would be on a par with those of the past three years, which had a combined operating profit of $3.2 billion,” he pointed out.

“We would be talking about a government entity producing an impressive operating profit through earned revenue. The April 2016 rollback in stamp prices was the first since 1919, and it makes little financial sense because the Postal Service already has the industrial world’s lowest rates.”

The federal Postal Regulatory Commission is now reviewing postal rates, as the 2006 law mandates, and may adjust them above the inflation, Rolando noted.

“Meanwhile, Congress should address the pre-funding burden, which requires USPS -- alone among all public and private entities -- to prefund future retiree healthcare benefits decades into the future. This produces an onerous annual burden of billions of dollars.

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

The Trucks Competing to Be the Next USPS Delivery Vehicle, Third Prototype Spotted (Trucks.com)

NALC Executive Vice President Brian Renfroe was quoted in a Nov. 6 story for Trucks.com about the next generation of postal delivery vehicles.

Click here to read the story.

Thanksgiving for 300 planned by East Harlem mailman with community help (AM New York)
Postal worker hosts Thanksgiving for his community (WNYW-TV)
Harlem USPS mailman, friends deliver annual Thanksgiving feast (Harlem World)
Postal worker continues tradition of hosting Thanksgiving for community (WTXF-TV)

New York City Branch 36 letter carrier Miguel Perdomo has led an effort over the last 10 years to provide a Thanksgiving meal to scores of people in the community where he delivers mail. A story about his work ran in AM New York on Nov. 15, on WNYW-TV and on Harlem World magazine's website on Nov. 16, and on Philadelphia's WTXF-TV on Nov. 21.

Click here to read AM New York's story.
Click here to watch WNYW-TV's story.
Click here to read Harlem World's story.
Click here to watch WTXF-TV's story.

Letter: Postal service ready for holiday season (Times News)
The mail brings us together (Idaho Press-Tribune)
U.S. Postal Service (Idaho State Journal)
Paige letter: U.S. Postal Service (Idaho Statesman)

Idaho State Association President John Paige’s letters ran in Twin Falls’ Times News on Nov. 19, the Idaho Press-Tribune on Nov. 17, the Idaho State Journal on Nov. 13 and in the Idaho Statesman on Nov. 7.

Click here to read the letter in the Times News.
Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Press-Tribune.
Click here to read the letter in the Idaho State Journal.
Click here to read the letter in the Idaho Statesman
.

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House advances 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act' http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/house-advances-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-1 Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:08:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/house-advances-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act-1 Today, the House approved the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1) by a vote of 227 to 205. 

The bill, which was introduced on Nov. 2 and rushed through the House Ways and Means Committee last week, cuts taxes by $1.5 trillion—but it has serious implications for working families nationwide. It offers an increased standard deduction and a modest tax rate cut for middle-class families, but explodes the budget deficit with huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy while taking away popular tax deductions used by ordinary Americans.

Of particular concern are the elimination of the personal exemption; reduced deductions for state and local income taxes (SALT) and sales taxes; deductions for tuition assistance, tuition expenses and student loan interest; and even deductions on which school teachers depend when purchasing classroom supplies not provided for by school administrations.

With almost no debate, the bill was passed with no Democratic votes, with only a small number of Republicans defections. In fact, besides Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), all Republican “no” votes came from the states of New York, New Jersey and California, where state and local taxes are among the highest in the nation, since H.R. 1 seeks to limit the SALT deduction to $10,000. Those members voting “no” were:

  • New York: Reps. Dan Donovan, John Faso, Pete King, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin
  • New Jersey: Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith
  • California: Reps. Darrell Issa, Tom McClintock and Dana Rohrabacher

Earlier this week, the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the House tax bill, if adopted, would add $1.5 trillion in new deficits over a decade, triggering mandatory “sequestration” spending cuts worth $136 billion in 2018 alone, including $25 billion in Medicare cuts.

As we have seen, tax cuts do not pay for themselves, and this staggering deficit increase would need to be addressed eventually, thereby jeopardizing programs such as our CSRS and FERS pensions and our FEHBP health plans. Social Security and Medicare also would be at high risk of cuts in future proceedings, should this legislation pass.

NALC joined the chorus of opposition and sent a letter urging House members to oppose the bill. 

“Adding more than $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade through tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest 1% is irresponsible,” NALC President Frederic Rolando wrote, “but doing so on the backs of middle class working families while risking essential health care and retirement programs is cruel.”

Click here to read President Rolando’s full letter to members of the House of Representatives.

While the House has now completed action on its tax bill, this week the Senate Finance Committee began consideration of its measure, also named the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Negotiations on this measure will resume following the Thanksgiving break with the hope of passing the bill next month.

While identical in name to the House’s bill, the Senate’s bill is shaping up to be something much worse. To satisfy arcane budget rules and to overcome a Democratic filibuster, the Senate bill would effectively increase taxes on working families by totally eliminating some deductions such as the SALT deduction. According to Congress’s own Joint Committee on Taxation, taxes would rise for every group with incomes under $75,000 a year, and for most families earning under $1 million a year.

The Senate bill also seeks to make tax cuts for corporations permanent while ending individual tax cuts in 2026.

As if that weren’t troubling enough for middle-class families, the Senate also is considering including a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, a move that is estimated to leave 13 million Americans without health insurance coverage—and higher health insurance premiums for the rest of us.

The Senate still has a lot of work to do when it returns to Washington after Thanksgiving, since its tax bill will need at least 50 votes to pass the Senate. With 46 Democrats—and two Independents who will vote with Democrats— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has very little margin of error and can ill afford to lose Republican votes. Several key Republican senators, however, have already signaled their concern with the tax bill, which means negotiations continue. 

Once work on the Senate bill is complete, the House and Senate would go to conference to iron out the differences between the two bills before sending a final measure to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature.

In the meantime, NALC will remain actively engaged as the process continues, and we encourage letter carriers to urge their senators to oppose any tax reform bill that would negatively affect working families.

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Help California letter carriers hurt by recent wildfires http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/help-california-letter-carriers-hurt-by-recent-wildfires Mon, 06 Nov 2017 13:14:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/help-california-letter-carriers-hurt-by-recent-wildfires Recently, NALC members in California lost their homes during the devastating wildfires in Sonoma and Napa counties.

The firestorm hit Santa Rosa, CA, early on Monday, Oct. 9, with the fire jumping across a six-lane freeway and igniting an entire neighborhood. Many areas of Sonoma County were affected in the week that followed.

At last count, 10 NALC members lost their homes. Many more evacuees may have property damage.

Santa Rosa Branch 183 has set up a dedicated fund to help the affected members—active and retired—get back on their feet.

If you would like to help, please mail donations to 2017 Fire Relief Fund, in care of Santa Rosa Branch 183, 888 3rd St., Santa Rosa, CA 95404-5429.

Branch 183 will work with Ukiah Branch 1563 and Napa Branch 627 to determine whether any of their members lost their homes and how they might also receive help.

For more information, call Branch 183 President Jerry Andersen at 707-318-1821 or send an e-mail to jerry183@sonic.net.

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NALC statement on USPS’ FY2017 financial report (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-statement-on-usps-fy2017-financial-report Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-statement-on-usps-fy2017-financial-report

As this graphic shows, without the price rollback the FY 2017 operating profit would be comparable to prior years, as shown by the black dotted line. The purple dotted line reflects a similar adjustment for FY 2016, after the rollback took place in early April. [Click the image to see the full-size version.]

Statement from National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando on the release of the U.S. Postal Service’s financial report for Fiscal Year 2017:

Today’s Fiscal Year 2017 financial report shows the underlying business strength of the U.S. Postal Service while also indicating the need to address external matters beyond USPS control.

The operating loss of $800 million reflects the impact of last year’s rollback in stamp prices, which reduces revenue by $2 billion annually. Without the two-cent reduction in stamp prices, Fiscal 2017 would have an operating profit of $1.2 billion.

With the original stamp price, the annual figure would be on a par with those of the past three years, which had a combined operating profit of $3.2 billion (as shown in the chart at right, based on USPS figures). We would be talking about a government entity producing an impressive operating profit through earned revenue. By law, USPS gets no taxpayer money.

The April 2016 rollback in stamp prices was the first since 1919, and it makes little financial sense because the Postal Service already has the industrial world’s lowest rates.

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

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

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

News media coverage

Postal Service Suffers First 'Controllable' Loss in Five Years (Government Executive)

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the Postal Service’s losses can be attributed largely to factors outside of the normal operations of the agency.

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

Postal Service forecasts ‘much-needed revenue’ from approved rate hike (Federal News Radio)

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers postal union, said that fixing the pre-funding and pricing issues is critical.

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

Postal Service blames revenue shortfall on declining letter volume (Linn’s Stamp News)

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the 2017 results show “the underlying business strength of the U.S. Postal Service while also indicating the need to address external matters beyond USPS control.”

He said the $814 million “controllable loss” was a product of the 2¢ rollback in April 2016 in first-class postage rates, which cut postal revenues “by $2 billion annually.”

“Without the two-cent reduction in stamp prices, fiscal 2017 would have an operating profit of $1.2 billion,” he said.

NALC’S Rolando: If price of stamps hadn’t dropped, Postal Service would have finished FY2017 in the black

If the price of stamps hadn’t dropped last year, the U.S. Postal Service would have finished fiscal 2017 with a $1.2 billion operating profit, not an $800 million loss, Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando says.

[...]

Rolando alluded to the prepaid retirees’ health care costs in his statement. Both postal unions and Brennan want the current GOP-run Congress to repeal that mandate.

“With the original stamp price, the annual figure would be on a par with those of the past three years, which had a combined operating profit of $3.2 billion,” he pointed out.

“We would be talking about a government entity producing an impressive operating profit through earned revenue. The April 2016 rollback in stamp prices was the first since 1919, and it makes little financial sense because the Postal Service already has the industrial world’s lowest rates.”

The federal Postal Regulatory Commission is now reviewing postal rates, as the 2006 law mandates, and may adjust them above the inflation, Rolando noted.

“Meanwhile, Congress should address the pre-funding burden, which requires USPS -- alone among all public and private entities -- to prefund future retiree healthcare benefits decades into the future. This produces an onerous annual burden of billions of dollars.

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

Postal Service: Red Ink for 11th Year in Row as Mail Slumps (Associated Press)

 


A Failed Mission: U.S. Postal Service Details Another Massive Loss For The 2017 Fiscal Year (Forbes)


  • USPS response to Forbes Contributor Steve Pociask – Time to Change the Broken Record (Postal Times)
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Tell the House to vote ‘no’ on tax bill (updated) http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/tell-the-house-to-vote-no-on-tax-bill-1 Thu, 16 Nov 2017 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/tell-the-house-to-vote-no-on-tax-bill-1 On Nov. 16, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1), a bill that ultimately seeks to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent, paid for on the backs of middle-class working families.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the House tax bill, if passed, would add $1.5 trillion in new deficits over a decade, triggering mandatory “sequestration” spending cuts worth $136 billion in 2018 alone and including $25 billion in Medicare cuts. Programs such as our CSRS and FERS pensions and our FEHBP health plans would be at high risk for cuts if H.R. 1 advances.

Click here to read NALC President Fredric Rolando’s letter to members of the House of Representatives, urging them to oppose H.R. 1.

NALC urges you to call your House representative now and tell them to oppose H.R. 1 when it comes to the floor. Tell them that this bill does anything but cut taxes and create jobs for middle class families. 

Dial the U.S. Capitol’s switchboard at 202-224-3121 and be ready to provide your ZIP code to get connected.

Be prepared to give your name and your city to whoever answers—and be ready to leave your entire message as a voicemail.

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NALC embraces AFL-CIO pledge to ‘Join. Fight. Win.’ http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-embraces-afl-cio-pledge-to-join-fight-win Fri, 03 Nov 2017 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.nalc.org/news/nalc-updates/nalc-embraces-afl-cio-pledge-to-join-fight-win

The 28th Constitutional Convention of the AFL-CIO convened in St. Louis Oct. 22-25 and representatives from NALC were there in force. Six of the seven delegates elected in 2016 at NALC’s Los Angeles convention were on hand: Providence, RI Branch 15’s Ingrid Armada; Medford, OR Branch 1433’s Denise Brooks; New Orleans Branch 124’s Lloyd Doucet; Chicago Branch 11’s Elise Foster; Los Angeles Branch 24’s Anita Guzik; and New York Branch 36’s Charles Heege. (York, PA Branch 509’s Stephen Hanna could not attend.)

In addition, NALC also was represented by President Fredric Rolando and Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Rhine, who are AFL-CIO delegates by virtue of their offices. There also were several other NALC members at the convention, serving as delegates for state and local labor bodies.

President Rolando appeared on stage on multiple occasions as a member of the Resolutions Committee, moving for the adoption of resolutions on fighting the privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs, promoting the rights of immigrant workers and defending voting rights in America. He also appeared as the co-chairman of the AFL-CIO executive council’s finance committee on the convention’s final day.

The quadrennial convention was held in Missouri, a central battleground in the national fight over so-called “right to work” laws. Recently, the Missouri state legislature enacted such a law, banning union security (closed shop) clauses in state labor contracts—a traditional way to weaken labor unions by letting free riders accept the benefits of collective bargaining without paying dues. The state federation in Missouri responded by collecting more than 300,000 signatures—three times the needed number—for a 2018 ballot initiative to repeal the law. On the second day of the AFL-CIO convention, hundreds of delegates from all over the country joined phone banks and neighborhood canvassing actions to promote the repeal initiative.

The convention discussed and debated many of the most pressing issues faced by the nation’s labor movement, and it adopted the federation’s plans to promote a “Workers’ Bill of Rights” across the United States. Delegates also overcame significant divisions and reached consensus on key public policies, including the means for achieving universal health care coverage and for addressing climate change while protecting existing energy-sector jobs.

Two resolutions promoted by NALC and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) also were adopted at the convention—one to promote voting by mail, which was folded into a voting rights resolution, and another to advance the concept of postal banking in America. Secretary-Treasurer Rhine addressed the convention on the vote-by-mail issue. (See a video of her appearance posted at nalc.org.)

NALC delegates attended a variety of seminars and training workshops, including those on common-sense economics, on organizing unions to be advocates for veterans, on recruiting union members to run for public office, and many others.

The current executive leaders of the AFL-CIO—President Richard Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre—were re-elected at the convention. President Rolando also was re-elected as a vice president of the federation.

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