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USPS Chief Operations Officer Megan Brennan to Replace Patrick Donahoe as Postmaster General

November 17th, 2014

At Friday morning’s U.S. Postal Service Board of Governor’s meeting, Chairman of the Board Mickey Barnett announced that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe would be retiring from the Postal Service, effective February 1, 2015. Chairman Barnett also announced that the PMG Donahoe’s successor will be Chief Operations Officer Megan Brennan, making her the first female Postmaster General in the history of our national postal system. NAPUS Government Relations Director Bob Levi was present at the Board meeting and reported that many of those in attendance provided PMG Donahue a standing ovation. During his address to the Board, the the PMG reflected on his 39 years of USPS service and the sacrifices that his family made in support of his dedication to the government agency. NAPUS looks forward to working in collaborative fashion with the incoming Postmaster General, as we have done in the past.

Also, the Board meeting covered USPS finances and the projected budget for 2015. In part, Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett reported on an improvement in USPS financial solvency and revenue growth; however, he also expressed concern over increasing expenses attributable to inflation and contractual obligations. In addition, he referenced the Postal Regulatory Commission’s order that the one-year old exigent rate increase would end in July 2015, and this lapse would have a revenue impact. Chief Operations Officer Brennan reported on USPS improvement in meeting its delivery standards.

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Additional APWU POStPlan Arbitration Q & A Released.

November 4th, 2014

The Postal Service has released additional information pertaining to the recent APWU POSTPlan Arbitration Q&A. The information provided, in a question and answer format, list forty-eight questions and responses. Also announced, is the formation of an USPS/APWU Alternate Dispute Resolution Process to identify and resolve POStPlan disputes.

Please continue to monitor NAPUS web-site for updates.

 

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PostPlan MOU Clarification, Pecking Order MOU, Q & A

November 3rd, 2014

On October 30, 2014,  POStPlan MOU Questions and Answers were provided by USPS regarding September 22, 2014, MOU Re: POStPlan Staffing of Offices, Filling of Assignments, PSE Usage and Conversions, and the October 8, 2014, MOU Re: Pecking Order for Newly Created Positions in the POStPlan Installations.

Both documents, the October 30, 2014, POStPlan Questions and Answers and the October 8, 2014, MOU, Pecking Order, have been added to NAPUS web-site under POSTPlan Information.

Please continue to follow web-site for breaking news.

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LIMITED AREA OF CONSIDERATION (LAC) POSTINGS FOR PTPOs, EAS 18 POSTMASTER AND EAS VACANCIES

October 17th, 2014

Both Postmaster organizations are very pleased that the Postal Service is taking additional steps to give those remaining impacted Postmasters limited competition postings to get landing spots prior to January 9, 2015. The message below was received by both Postmaster organizations today:

We are continuing to seek placement for the remaining impacted Postmasters.  The following limited area of consideration (LAC) language will be on postings for specific vacancies between now and the RIF effective date.  This language supersedes any related previous guidance you may have received over the last few months.

LAC language for PTPO Vacancies through January 9th, 2015 (open to all remaining career POStPlan-impacted Postmasters 2 & 4 hour offices only):

This position is posted with a limited area of consideration (LAC) to all remaining career POStPlan-impacted Postmasters whose offices were re-evaluated as a 2 or 4 hour office service-wide.

NOTE:  You must submit your application through eCareer in order to be considered competitively for this vacancy.  You may request a non-competitive lateral or downgrade by submitting a written request to the selecting official.

LAC language for EAS-18 Postmaster vacancies through January 9th, 2015 (open to all remaining career POStPlan-impacted Postmasters):

This position is posted with a limited area of consideration (LAC) to all remaining career POStPlan-impacted Postmasters whose offices were re-evaluated as a 2, 4, or 6 hour office service-wide.

LAC language to be used for all other EAS vacancies through February 6, 2015:

(Include standard language for area of consideration, e.g., district-wide, area-wide) all remaining career POStPlan-impacted Postmasters AND all eligible impacted career, non-bargaining HQ/HQ related employees.

NOTE:  You must submit your application through eCareer in order to be considered competitively for this vacancy.  You may request a non-competitive lateral or downgrade by submitting a written request to the selecting official.

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VACANT PTPO 6-HOUR OFFICES TO BE POSTED

October 9th, 2014

USPS Organizational Effectiveness has advised that the Postal Service is moving forward with postings concerning all vacant PTPO 6-hour offices from October 14th through October 29th. The limited area of consideration will remain impacted Postmasters whose offices are evaluated as 2 or 4-hour offices.

The Postal Service will not be posting the PTPOs that have incumbents because those incumbents have the opportunity to take the 6-hour assignment during the RIF process.

Area and District HR has been provided with materials outlining the eCareer application procedure. This is to assist further those impacted Postmasters who wish to apply.

Initial results of the Postmaster Career Discussions show that many Postmasters are expressing interest in other positions, but eCareer application data show that many have not applied. The Postal Service has made the application material referenced immediately above available in order to help those who might need such help in order to apply correctly in eCareer.  Further, Field Human resources are being encouraged to ensure guidance is available to impacted Postmaster who seek help in this process.

As of October 14th, there were about 214 Part-time Post Office (PTPO) vacancies.

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Decision is Reached on POStPlan Arbitration

September 22nd, 2014

NAPUS and the LEAGUE have received Steven Goldberg’s arbitration decision on POStPLan. Both organizations are deeply disappointed with the decision and are still working through the details of the arbitration document. Clearly this will have an impact on PMRs in 4-hour RMPOs, vacant 6-hour RMPOs and 6-hour Postmaster positions in the future. We can be thankful that incumbent 6-hour Postmasters (including those being RIF’d to 6-hour Postmaster positions), will keep their Postmaster position as long as they do not vacate the office. Once these offices are vacated, they too will be staffed by clerks.

Here is an overview of the arbitration:
• 2-hour RMPOs will stay staffed with PMRs
• 4-hour RMPOs will be staffed with PSEs. The PMRs in these offices will have the opportunity to take the test and apply for the positions.
• 6-hour RMPOs will be staffed by NTFT employees or traditional employees. Those offices with incumbent Postmasters, including those accepting their own office as a RIF offer with a reduction to 6 hours, will stay in the jobs until vacated.
• PTPOs 6-hour offices will stay staffed with a Postmaster. These offices were not part of the arbitration decision since they still have all of the Postmaster administrative responsibilities.

When any RMPO or PTPO is evaluated and increases to a Level 18, the office will then be posted and filled by a non-bargaining employee and managed by a Postmaster.

All Level 18 offices will be staffed with PTFs instead of PSEs, ending the staffing issues for many Level 18 Postmasters.

Both Postmaster organizations continue to review the POStPlan Arbitration. Clearly the fact that Postmaster administrative duties were removed from the 6-hour Postmaster positions and the 4-hour RMPOs weighed heavily on the arbitrator’s decision.

We will keep you posted as to further developments regarding the arbitration as well as the timeline for conversion of the 4-hour RMPOs from PMR to PSE employees.

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Members Make Decisive Changes to Ensure Viability of NAPUS

September 22nd, 2014

USPS Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Megan Brennan told NAPUS members Wednesday morning she welcomes the opportunity to engage with them. She thanked retirees for their continued advocacy on behalf of the Postal Service.

She also thanked Postmasters for another successful year. “I need to acknowledge your yearlong effort—the winter that never ended. Thanks for managing through that. As the operations manager and part of the team, our responsibility is to drive continuous service for our customers.”

Brennan explained the Postal Service will continue to rightsize and leverage the infrastructure, which, after employees, is the agency’s most valuable asset. She commended managers for their ability during the change and overall decline in the mail mix to consolidate operations, optimize the transportation network and adjust workhours based on customer use. “We’ve kept service at predictable levels and the industry has applauded us for this,” she said.

She talked about POStPlan, describing it as a compromise solution. There were 13,000 candidate offices that, given the workload, potentially were going to close. There were many meetings with the Postmaster organizations to identify how to maintain that identity in communities—the touch point for consumers—and adjust hours based on customer use.

Over the past two years, working with NAPUS and the League, they have offered the RIF avoidance, two years’ saved salary and grade, the upgrade of more than 4,500 positions, limited rounds of LACs for Postmasters only, establishment of the zone of tolerance and, ultimately, expansion of the RIF timeline—all efforts to ensure affected Postmasters had opportunities to find spots.

“Over the course of the two years,” she said, “we ‘ve had many career conferences. This is not failing to acknowledge Postmasters in Level-6s will be impacted. You will be, but you have an opportunity to stay in your office.”

There still are some 700 impacted Postmasters. Some are eligible to retire, but, at a minimum, there are 319 Postmasters to work with in terms of placement. She asked that impacted Postmasters be flexible and let them know of their interests so they can help. Area and district HR teams will have one-on-one discussions with these Postmasters; they will continue to work to place every Postmaster.

“These are challenging times,” she said. “I recognize that; it’s not been easy. We don’t take it lightly; we know it’s unsettling. But you know we have to change.”

Brennan discussed many aspects of operations; complete coverage will be in the October/November issue of the Postmasters Gazette.

She touched on the use of personal vehicles, assuring that the Postal Service won’t force it, but has resolved to provide insurance for when Postmasters use their personal vehicles. Some processes need to be ironed out and then it will be in place. Also, Postmasters in Level-6 offices if, in two years, they are promoted into EAS positions, will revert back to their former salaries. Again, they still are working on the details.

“The organization is going to survive,” she declared, “and, despite all these challenges, is doing a tremendous job of putting us on firmer financial footing with what we can control. Thanks for being part of the sales effort and engaging your employees and giving them time and encouraging them to be part of the sales effort.”

During the question-and-answer period, a member asked Brennan where she sees Postmasters in five years and beyond—will there still be Postmasters? Brennan replied that, with POStPlan and administrative post offices and plant consolidations, the agency is asking, “What is in the best interests of the organization?” It is evolving.

“We’re always going to have Postmasters,” she said. “POStPlan is not an assault on Postmasters; you’re the leaders and chief marketing officers. In the coming years, I see Postmaster roles expanding.”

Based on the many activities in which retirees participated and the success of their dance Tuesday evening, PM Retired President Ann McDorman told convention attendees, “Retired Postmasters rock!”

She talked about traveling—one of the fun things retirees do. “I enjoy new experiences,” she said. “I enjoy seeing old friends, old places and sharing our past experiences and memories precious to us. Being a NAPUS member as an active Postmaster, as well as a retiree, has allowed me to travel from coast to coast, border to border. NAPUS has allowed me to meet wonderful people all over and have fun and learn. That alone is a reason to be a NAPUS member.”

When you travel, she explained, you have to make preparations; you make arrangements and reservations and make sure someone will take care of what you leave behind—you can’t take all your “baggage” with you.

And, once you arrive at your destination, you need a new purpose and strategy to accomplish goals. “A journey requires a change of mind and attitude,” she said, “the courage to change and start over.” Things change—we can’t live in the past or in the glory days of yesterday.

“NAPUS is on a journey, a transition,” she went on. “NAPUS must change because it never will be the same again once POStPlan is fully implemented. Small-town Postmasters will be no more.” Despite this, NAPUS will continue to fight for the rights of Postmasters.

She stressed the need to build more bridges and fewer walls—reach out to others and seek solutions. “Sometimes the longest journey is from our head to our hands,” she said. “We think about it, but it takes our hands and feet to actually put it into practice. Prepare your head, heart and hands to make sure NAPUS remains strong.”

McDorman assured everyone the retirees are ready to fill in the gaps and mentor those who are new. “Get on board for the journey of your life!” she invited.

NAPUS members elected eight national vice presidents: Area 1—Edmund Carley, IL (two-year term); and Jim Maher, MO (three-year term); Area 2—Barbara Swiderski, ME (two-year term); and Richard Hui, MA (three-year term); Area 3—Susan Rice, AL (two-year term); and Tammy Powell, SC (three-year term); Area 4—Joan Mallon, CO (two-year term); and Brent Cofield, OK (three-year term). Postmasters Retired members elected Rodney Boland, FL, secretary-treasurer.

Dan Heins, Postmaster of Stewartville, MN, newly elected NAPUS secretary-treasurer, 2015-2017, addressed convention attendees. He thanked members for their hospitality during his campaign travels to the many state conventions. “We truly have a tremendous organization,” he said. “And that is because of all the tremendous Postmasters.”

He told members it is impossible to know what the future holds, but he believes in NAPUS’ future. “I believe there is a vital role for NAPUS to play in the lives of our members and the Postal Service. That is why I’m standing before you today.

“I will work to make it as strong as it can possibly be,” he pledged. “With each of us moving forward together to tackle the issues before us, we can and will find solutions that are best for our membership and our future.”

President Tony Leonardi addressed the convention. He thanked the New Jersey Chapter for putting on a first-class show. And he thanked everyone who participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge and the ALS Association’s involvement during the convention. “I appreciate anybody who works to help knock out this disease. I am truly thankful your support.”

He recapped the information provided by Postal Service executives this week, including some new initiatives. The new Postmaster training Chief Human Resources Officer Jeffrey Williamson plans to roll out will include an off-site segment that will be broken into separate sections for Levels-18-20, 21-22 and 24 and above.

The Postmaster organizations had stressed the importance of dividing it between the levels. Leonardi thanked Williamson for taking this information to heart.

The Postmaster General assured Executive Board members at their breakfast Tuesday morning the agency is working to purchase new vehicles. They realize there are different needs for different parts of the country and are taking that into consideration. And probably the most important issue he said he will address is out-of-control telecons. Donahoe has pledged to put a stop to the problem. “We’re going to follow up,” Leonardi said. “We’re going to make sure they free you up to do the job you need to do.”

He told Postmasters that Megan Brennan is the person with whom he deals the most. “She is fair,” he stressed. “She has a job to do and understands the economic challenges, but she listens and tries to come up with fair solutions.” Overall, staffing is getting better; they are trying to get the mix right. He pledged to continue to work with Postal Headquarters to make sure Postmasters have the staff they need.

Leonardi said they are going to sit down and discuss the Postmasters still impacted by POStPlan and their options—Postmasters in locations where there may be no options. Regardless, he will continue to underscore the agency’s commitment to find everyone positions.

He said the Postal Service’s announcement that Level-6 Postmasters, if they are able to go back into the EAS ranks within two years, will be slotted into their previous salaries is a fair gesture. “I appreciate them doing it,” he said.

He explained further the initiative soon to come out to provide insurance if you have to use your personal vehicle. The Postal Service looked at providing a blanket policy, but that was not possible due to variations in state laws. Coverage will be through eBuy. You will provide what you pay for coverage for your vehicle versus what the additional cost would be to purchase coverage for using your personal vehicle for work; the difference will be paid through eBuy. “That doesn’t mandate you have to use your personal vehicle,” he explained. “What it means is sometimes you have to use your personal vehicle and this ensures you will have the necessary coverage.”

Leonardi turned to organizational matters, commending the retirees for voting for constitutional changes that will help stabilize many chapters. “They care about the organization,” he said. “They want to work with us and we thank them for that.” He thanked PM Retired President Ann McDorman for her leadership and friendship.

“As we continue to change, we will continue to put a plan together,” he said. “We may be different, we may have to change again, but we still will be here to represent everyone in this room and anyone who wants to be a member. We will find the answer.” The Executive Board has directed Leonardi to start discussions with the League about merging. “We need to find out if they’re ready to come up with an agreement that will truly make us one Postmaster organization.”

He also pledged to find ways to grow the organization; membership will be the focus. The Executive Board is fully engaged and will work with state presidents, membership chairs and secretary-treasurers to find out what’s working, what’s not. The tools will be provided to let Postmasters know NAPUS is working for and making it better for them.

“As proud as I am of all the changes we have addressed, I know there will be more to come,” he predicted. “But the key is to deal with the changes respectfully, inclusively and transparently. When you give Postmasters all the information and facts—tell them what they’re up against—they will stand up, take on the task and do the right thing.”

He referred to the quote he used Monday morning: “It’s not how many times you get knocked down that counts; it’s how many times you get up back.” Leonardi pledged to work with everyone in the room to make sure NAPUS continues to be something they are proud of and want to belong to—and continues to be viable to represent Postmasters.

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NAPUS President Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

September 17th, 2014

President Tony Leonardi (center) took the Ice Bucket Challenge Monday at the national convention in Atlantic City in memory of his friend, Jeff Johnson, who died from ALS. Also participating were Jeff’s brother and sister. John Sertich, Area 13 vice president and Postmaster of Belleville, IL, gladly dumped the water. The ALS Association was designated as NAPUS’ charity at this convention. Connecticut Chapter Executive Director Mike Burke and staff were on hand to do fund-raising and provide information on ALS so Postmasters can go home and help fight ALS in their communities. (Photo by Lynn Wilson)LWPX0148 LR

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USPS Strives to be Dominant Player in the Package Business

September 17th, 2014

NAPUS Executive Director Dave Ravenelle told members Tuesday morning at the convention there is a tendency to look back at past successes and challenges, but the need to look forward leaves little time for reflection. The National Office has looked at everything closely and made significant cuts to expenses, as well as increasing revenue. He commended staff members for their dedication and role in these endeavors.

Ravenelle said he was encouraged by USPS Chief Human Resources Officer Jeffrey Williamson’s recognition of the challenges faced in hiring and retention, as well as his commitment to fixing the problem. He pointed out that a majority of Postmasters will not be getting increases this year. “We must work with the Postal Service to address these injustices,” he declared.

POStPlan continues to change the landscape of small offices; there has been a mass exodus of dedicated Postmasters who either have retired or taken other positions. “It’s the end of an era,” he observed. “Small offices and their Postmasters will be gone. It is a testament to the digital age.”

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe asked NAPUS President Tony Leonardi to dispense with his intro and simply introduce him as a 40-year postal employee. Donahoe thanked Postmasters for their excellent work and their patience as the agency works through POStPlan. He pledged to continue working with Postmasters who need to find landing spots.

He also has made a commitment to deal with the problem of lengthy telecons. When Donahoe attended the NAPS national convention in August, he heard the same complaints. He has instructed his chief information officer to devise a way to cut telecons off after one hour. “As Postmasters, you need to be talking to employees and customers, bringing them up to speed and selling things—not sitting and listening to people talk about how much mail was cased,” he said.

Donahoe said the agency is making good progress with its package business. He stressed the importance of competitive pricing. The Postal Service is delivering groceries for Amazon in San Francisco; it wants to expand the service. “Our people do a great job delivering,” he said. “We’ll be doing a lot of different things in the package world, but that’s what the market demands. We want to be ahead of it. We’ve got the network, people, product, visibility—everything to be the dominant player in that area. That will be our future.”

Single-piece First-Class Mail continues to struggle; it drops about 8 percent a year. Online is free, easy and convenient; it’s the way of the world. The PMG said the key is to move into areas that have been growing: packages and Standard and direct mail.

He explained the plan to close and consolidate plants next year is in response to what’s happening in the mailing business. Cell phone companies—Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobil—mail from just two or three locations; it’s all about consolidation.

Looking ahead at next year, the Postal Service is projecting a 9 to 10 percent increase in the package business. And it will work on growing the international package business.

Donahoe said the agency has to make decisions and think about options: How do we keep this organization healthy, viable and self-sustaining? Not just pay bills, but invest in the organization, as well.

He reiterated the Postal Service still is a good employer. “Look at the impact this economy has had on others,” he said. “The Postal Service still provides good salaries, health care and retirement. It’s all our responsibilities to do everything we can to keep this organization vitally strong. If it weren’t for us, it wouldn’t happen.”

He said he is very frustrated from the legislative standpoint. “At some point,” he declared, “people have to realize the world is changing and we to have the flexibility we need to stay in good shape in the future.”

NAPS President Louis Atkins told NAPUS members it was a pleasure to be among friends. Atkins was re-elected president at the NAPS convention in August. “We want to be partners with members of NAPUS; we have many things in common,” he said. “We are working together to ensure the long-term viability of the Postal Service as a whole.”

He told Postmasters that NAPUS President Leonardi has made a difference since coming to Washington, DC, in January. “He brings passion and energy to the position,” he declared. “He brings positive choice that will serve you quite well now and into the future.”

Atkins referenced the remark a NAPUS member made to the PMG, saying Postmasters need to be able to manage their offices. “We can manage!” he declared. “If I’m doing something wrong, correct me. But give me the opportunity to do the right thing. Let us do our jobs!”

He said the agency’s growing revenue is evidence it is emerging from the sharp economic downturn. “Everyone in this room is responsible for the Postal Service finally turning the corner, with a continued commitment to serve the American people,” he said.

With POStPlan and plant closings and consolidations, the collective beliefs of the organization will be tested as never before. When it comes to reducing workplace costs, the price in terms of workplace morale was more costly than ever before. “It’s imperative to make sure we get what we deserve with the next NPA,” he said.

The positive momentum is beginning to build; the Postal Service is developing footprints in the business world. Despite this, the agency continues to reduce the infrastructure to the point where its ability to serve customers will be compromised. “NAPS will draw a line in the sand,” he promised, “in order to keep our commitment to serve the American people and defend the livelihoods of all EAS employees. We hope our friends at NAPUS will stand with us in solidarity!”

NAPUS Secretary-Treasurer Mike Quinn told members the organization is fiscally strong. POStPlan makes the budget process a lot more challenging. He credited the National Office with doing a fantastic job of reducing expenses.

“Less than one hour from now, we will vote on changes to our Constitution that will shape our organization for the future,” he said. “These are some of the most important decisions we will ever make for our organization. The future of NAPUS is in our hands.”

He referenced the terrible Boston Marathon bombing; despite the tragedy, people rallied together. Good things can come out of challenges. POStPlan has had a very negative impact on many Postmasters. Despite it, NAPUS came together as family—with one voice. “We became the NAPUS organization,” he declared. “It is smaller, but stronger.”

Quinn’s term ends at the end of this year. He thanked members for the opportunity to serve them as secretary-treasurer. “I am indebted to all of you; you gave me wisdom, humor. You taught me to be an honorable Postmaster.”

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NAPUS Works to Adjust to a Changing Postal Environment

September 16th, 2014

The New Jersey Chapter got the 110th National Convention off to a rousing start Monday morning, Sept. 15, in Atlantic City; nearly 900 members were registered. President Tony Leonardi welcomed everyone to the convention. He talked about this year—a year of change in response to changes in the Postal Service. “We have had to change with it!” he declared.

When he assumed office this past January, Leonardi said he wanted to keep the promise made to make sure everyone affected by POStPlan had an opportunity to stay in the Postal Service. He and League President Mark Strong have had continual discussions with the Postal Service; they have achieved some concessions.

The RIF deadline was extended until Jan. 10, 2015, to allow Postmasters more time to find positions or retire after the holidays—to leave with a sense of pride and resolve. They were able to secure another VER with a $10,000 incentive. And there was another LAC for Postmasters, giving them preferential bidding.

“The work is far from over,” Leonardi said. “I will continue to remind the Postal Service of its obligations to its valued Postmasters to find them landing spots.” He pointed out these Postmasters did nothing wrong; they’re casualties of POStPlan.

Another critical issue is training. Chief Human Resources Officer Jeffrey Williamson has listened to the Postmaster organizations’ concerns and discussed how to reach mutual goals. It is imperative to provide training to the people who will, one day, be leading the Postal Service.

NAPUS has designated the ALS Association its charity for this convention. Leonardi talked about losing his best friend, Jeff Johnson, to this disease. “No one talks about ALS,” he explained, “because there is no cure—no good stories. You don’t have a great life; you get worse every day.”

“Putting it into perspective,” he said, “most of the time, many of us are blessed to have our health and family. We need to take a step back and think about that.”

Mike Burke, executive director of the Connecticut Chapter of ALS, discussed the disease; it’s affecting more than 30,000 people in the United States right now. There is no cure or treatment.

It’s been 75 years since Lou Gehrig gave his speech, “I’m the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” and retired from baseball. “Everyone in this room is a liaison to the community,” Burke stressed. “You are a link to the people where you live and serve. When you go home, see if there is something you can do to help fight ALS.”

Burke played a video that explained the how the Ice Bucket Challenge started. Leonardi announced he would do the challenge right after the morning’s business session in honor of his friend, Jeff.

Rep. Frank. LoBiondo (R-NJ) was introduced as a friend of NAPUS and the Postal Service. He thanked Postmasters for what they do every day. He explained that, little more than 20 years ago, he didn’t know who Jimmy Fusco (2014 Convention chair and retired NJ Postmaster) was or much about the Postal Service.

When LoBiondo was elected to Congress, Fusco invited him to visit his post office to see how it worked. “I made a promise then: Any decision I made would be based on what produces results.”

He acknowledged that, with the dysfunction in Congress, it will be a challenge to pass postal reform legislation. LoBiondo acknowledged NAPUS has advanced some great ideas. He pledged to listen to “the people on the ground” before voting on any initiatives.

Jeffrey Williamson, USPS chief Human Resources officer, addressed NAPUS members. Nothing happens without people, he explained. “Everything we do in HR and the Postal Service truly is about what you and those who work for you do on a daily basis.”

Everything is based on how to build and retain the most competitive work force that, on a daily basis, goes above and beyond not only delivering the mail, but whatever needs to be delivered at any point in time, when needed.

Williamson said his core mission is to improve the employee experience. “If I can make your experience better as an applicant, a new hire, a new Postmaster—you’re more likely to be engaged,” he said. “And a truly engaged and motived work force delivers exceptional customer service.”

The Postal Service is revamping Postmaster training. It will include a classroom, face-to-face component. He pointed out that a key element of bringing people together is networking and building relationships, which develops and motivates people. “No one has the answer to every problem,” he said. “We only can solve them collectively—not individually.”

Williamson stressed he wants to make very employee’s life cycle an enjoyable one. “My purpose and mission is to make this the best place to work and improve the employee experience; that starts with our interaction. If you have issues, concerns, thoughts or comments, let me know,” he invited. “The only way we can make your experience better is to understand how we can make it better.”

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POStPlan – SOV Update

September 11th, 2014

LEAGUE and NAPUS Presidents met this past week with Headquarters to discuss POStPlan questions that have surfaced and to see where we were on impacted Postmasters. After the LAC posting, and the VER incentive, there are far fewer impacted Postmasters that need to find jobs. There are a few Districts in the country that concern us more than other, but headway is being made to find landing spots, while many have chose to retire. Headquarters and the organizations continue to monitor the impacted list to do all we can to reduce this number; Postmasters need to do all they can to help themselves.

One question that keeps coming up was answered by Headquarters this week. There has been a concern that Level 11 and 13 Postmasters could be placed in Level 17 supervisor jobs. This can’t be done under a RIF as it is a promotion and a Postmaster can’t gain from a RIF. They can apply and compete but they can’t be placed into a supervisor 17 job as a RIF offer.

We also were told the SOV and CSV has been updated for all Level 18 Postmasters, with the maximum number of hours a Postmaster can work as a clerk in this level office. The Management Involvement for CSV and the Postmaster Administrative Time all have been updated to reflect the number of hours they can work as a clerk. This should show more earned time and help with some of the staffing issues we have had in Level 18 offices.

We will continue to keep you updated on POStPlan as information becomes available.

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POStPLAN IMPACT POSTMASTERS IN RMPO 6 HOUR OFFICES INCLUDED IN SPECIAL POSTING, SEPARATION INCENTIVE, VER

July 7th, 2014

Postal Service is sending a  letter to all Postmasters of POSTPlan post office who took a voluntary reassignment to a 6 hour  RMPO position.

The letter explains options being offered to them during their RIF avoidance period. Options include their inclusion into special incentive offer to separate, voluntary early retirement (VER), as well as their eligibility to apply during the special limited area of consideration (LAC) job postings from July 8-23 for career POStPlan impacted Postmasters.

View copy of sample letter by clicking on link below:

POStPlan – Voluntary Downgrade to 6 Hour Offices

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LEVEL 6 POStPLAN OFFICES NOT INCLUDED IN LIMITED AREA OF CONSIDERATION POSTING

June 27th, 2014

NAPUS National President, Tony Leonardi, and LEAGUE National President, Mark Strong, received the following explanation from Vice President, Labor Relation, Doug A. Tulino, concerning the inclusion of Level 6 POStPLAN offices during Limited Area of Consideration (LAC) posting scheduled for July 8, 2014 through July 23, 2014.

The APWU has filed a national level dispute regarding the Postal Service’s decision to staff Level 6, Level 4, and Level 2 offices with part-time career Postmasters and PMRs.  The case has been arbitrated, the parties have submitted briefs, and we are awaiting the arbitrator’s ruling.  Until we get that ruling, it would be inappropriate to include the Level 6 offices as a viable landing spot for Postmasters, because if we receive an adverse ruling from the arbitrator, those offices would not be a viable landing spot.

 

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POStPLAN CLARIFICATION – RIF TIMELINES UPDATE

June 27th, 2014

The Postmasters organizations have had numerous meetings with Postal Headquarters regarding the final implementation of POStPlan, since the announcement of the extension of the POStPlan RIF date from September 30, 2014 to January 9, 2015.  As a result of these meetings, a number of clarifications on the implementation and the POStPlan Timeline were shared with the field.

Megan Brennan, COO and Executive Vice President, shared a letter clarifying the results of the re-evaluation of POStPlan offices using FY/2013 data and how the remaining offices being implemented for POStPlan would be impacted.

Community meetings will take place in those remaining offices and the implementation process completed by September 30, 2014. Those POStPlan offices that are vacant, will have the operation hours changed, consistent with current guidelines. Offices with encumbered Postmasters, will maintain their current grade, salary and hours of operation until  January 9,  2015, or it becomes vacant. The letter also states, that Postmasters will not be involuntarily moved from their office for assignments or details.

This letter helps clarify some problems we were having in the field, where POStPlan Postmasters were being told that their hours would be reduced to the level of the POStPLan office regardless of the RIF date or they could be sent to another office to work. We encourage Postmasters to seek details and assignments to improve their chances of getting a promotion or being placed into another position, but that decision is voluntary.

Click on  POSTPlan Org Change/RIF Timeline to view  the dates and events that lead up to the January 9, 2015, Effective date of RIF separation. Key dates include the official mailing to all impacted Postmasters, the annuity estimates, VER package, POStPlan memo which includes the implementation timeline. Impacted Postmasters who qualify for Optional or VER retirement have another decision to make, as the VER window period is from 6/30/2014 – 8/18/2014 with a VER effective date of 9/30/2014.  There is a ten thousand dollar incentive for the early retirement but it is only for impacted Postmasters who qualify for Optional or VER retirement.

Another event of importance to the impacted Postmasters is the Limited Area of Consideration (LAC) posting, opening on July 8 and closing on July 23, 2014. This posting, will be for eligible impacted career Postmasters only.  We have had two LAC postings for all Postmasters over the POStPlan implementation period but this is the first one for impacted Postmasters only. Please review the POStPlan Org Change/RIF Timeline for those positions that will be included in this LAC posting.

The RIF timeline gives the dates to all the specific events leading up to a possible RIF separation date of January 9, 2015, and RIF assignment date of January 10, 2015. It is our hope, that no one falls into the RIF separation category.  Contact your local HR manager, or HRSSC with questions you may have. As always, the NAPUS office will do all they can to assist with questions you may have.

One more significant agreement was worked out for those Postmasters who had voluntarily taken a downgrade to a 6 hour PT Postmaster job. Originally the saved salary was to have expired on October 1, 2014. Headquarters has agreed to extend this timeline to mirror the RIF timeline and this saved salary is now protected until January 9, 2015. Headquarters did not want to penalize Postmasters who had already taken steps to find a landing spot, freeing up POStPlan offices, and we could not agree more.

We will continue to share information on the final POStPlan implementation as it becomes available.

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Postmaster Organizations informed that RIF effective Date Postponed until 01/10/2015

May 21st, 2014

There are a lot of anxious POStPlan impacted Postmasters waiting for final news on the specific RIF timelines and events associated with this phase of POStPlan implementation. We continue to meet with Postal Headquarters and minor changes come from each of these meetings which will push back any formal announcement.  The Postmaster organizations and Postal Headquarters have spent a great deal of time discussing the implementation and events that will lead up to the final RIF date, with the same end result in mind—get everyone placed before the RIF effective date. These discussions have been in the best interests of all Postmasters who are still impacted and because of this the RIF timeline has been extended. The effective RIF date for impacted Postmasters will now be 1/10/2015.

Timelines for notification of impacted Postmasters, Specific RIF dates and possible VER dates will be released in the upcoming weeks. We clearly understand the importance of getting all the dates and events out to impacted Postmasters we hope the extension of the RIF effective date relieves some of that stress.

Everyone needs to be very clear on what data will be used to evaluate the remaining 3,200 plus offices. For two years we have shared the process agreed upon with Postal Headquarters. That being said, before RIF letters are sent out, all remaining offices with incumbent Postmasters will be evaluated using FY/13 data to determine the level of the office.  Some will go up, some will go down and some will stay the same. This does not change anything for level 18s with incumbent Postmasters -they will be locked at level 18 until the end of FY/16. Those offices that meet the AEWL criteria will be upgraded the first Pay Period in October, 2014.

After the level 16 and below offices are reviewed for the official POStPlan level, the impacted Postmasters will receive official notification about the timeline, voluntary assignment options, possible VER and PM career options. If you believe there has been a mistake in either receiving or not receiving notification, you need to contact your District immediately for clarification. Please contact us at the NAPUS National office if you have any questions.

It is still the intent of Postal Headquarters to find a landing spot for every Postmaster who wants to stay in the Postal Service. The Postmaster General included that statement in both of his last two State of the Business video found on the Link.  Postmasters need to help themselves to become good candidates for available positions and be flexible about new opportunities. I encourage you to apply for all career position as they become available to insure that you are placed prior to the RIF effective date.

We continue to be asked if there will be a VER. The Postal Service already has authorization to offer the VER but what continues to be discussed with the Postal Headquarters is the question about an incentive tied to the VER. This is still on the table and an important part of future meetings.

It may be a few weeks before any formal communication is released with all RIF dates, timelines, and RIF events: we are working towards the best end result we can get during this timeframe. We will continue to message out the information as soon it becomes available.

 

Tony Leonardi

NAPUS National President

 

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Important News on DUO Implementation

April 21st, 2014

Letter from Doug Tulino, Vice President, Labor Relations

Important News from USPS Headquarters

 

 

 

 

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POStPLAN PLAN IMPLEMENTATION

April 3rd, 2014

The Postal Service and NAPUS President, Tony Leonardi along with League President, Mark Strong continue to discuss final POStPLAN  implementation.

Post Offices were scheduled to be notified of their daily earned workhours using FY 2013 data  by close of PQ II (03/31/2014). The delay in notification by Postal Service was due to ongoing discussions and validation of data.

A determination and timeline on implementation is expected soon. We will update our website when information is finalized.

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Sen. Carper and PMG Donahoe Paint a Brighter Future for the Postal Service

March 18th, 2014

Despite Monday’s snowstorm and the congressional recess, Sen. Tom Carper, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, traveled to Washington, DC, to update Postmasters on postal reform legislation at the NAPUS Leadership Conference.

Both the House and Senate have reported postal reform bills, which are awaiting consideration by the full House and Senate. Carper described the legislative effort as a long, slow, tedious process.

He acknowledged the way we communicate has changed and people are less dependent on the mail. “Does that mean the Postal Service no longer is relevant?” he asked. “Absolutely not.” Carper said he and Sen. Tom Coburn, the committee’s ranking Republican, want to pass legislation that ensures the USPS isn’t just hanging on, but that it’s vibrant and robust.

He said the especially unique thing about the USPS is it’s the only entity that goes to every mailbox, residential and business, five or six days a week. “What we have to do,” he urged, “is be smart and figure out how to use the Postal Service’s legacy and distribution network in a way that enables it to make money. We need to think outside the box so the Postal Service can be around and profitable for a long, long time.”

Just cutting jobs, mail distribution and post offices won’t get the job done. The Carper-Coburn bill, S. 1486 allows the agency to be more creative and innovative; it makes the legacy distribution organization relevant in a digital world. The intent of the bill also is to find ways to provide service in communities across the country without closing their post offices. And it’s imperative that the agency be financially strong.

Carper said he does not want to pass legislation and then have to do it again a few years down the road. Rather, they need to fix the problems and provide the mechanics to avoid those problems going forward. “If we can push this legislation through the House and Senate,” he said, “then we will have a Postal Service not just hanging one, but one the rest of the world will admire, that continues to have the customer service ratings it has had over the years. And customers who run businesses will have the certainty the Postal Service will be here and provide the service they need.”

Postmaster General Pat Donahoe took time out of attending the National Postal Forum, going on at the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center nearby, to address NAPUS members. He thanked Postmasters for the tremendous job they are doing. He gave an overview of the business, saying the trends are positive; packages continue to increase, which is transforming the agency’s revenues. He credited this growth to Postmasters’ excellent work in terms of delivery and service. “Our intent is to grow that even faster because that will be the future in terms of revenue growth,” he said.

Amazon continues to grow and for certain ZIP codes, the USPS will be a seven-days-a-week package delivery company. “That’s the growth and job security for the future,” he declared. What the Postal Service offers that beats its competitors is value, visibility and service.

Donahoe told Postmasters they do an outstanding job and acknowledged it’s been hard working through the many changes. Tough decisions and sacrifices have been made and a lot of costs have been taken out of the organization. He said it’s time for Congress to get legislation resolved so the focus can turn to growing the organization—the only way to stay healthy in the long term.

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NAPUS Chapter Presidents Learn the Nuts and Bolts

March 16th, 2014

President Tony Leonardi welcomed chapter presidents to their breakout session at the NAPUS Leadership Conference Sunday, March 16. He explained NAPUS wants to give the officers the tools they need to be comfortable in their positions. “Members need the information and to know we’re working for them,” he said.

He told the chapter presidents how important they are and how proud he was when he served as Connecticut Chapter president. “You are the leaders and your positions are of value,” he exhorted.

Michigan Chapter President Linda Gurka and Missouri Chapter President Craig Slate provided binders to each chapter president with myriad resources and information to help them do their jobs. The binders provide ready references and information, including contact numbers for the NAPUS National Office, a list and contact info of state presidents, how to be an effective chapter, protocol for installations, the current dues schedule, reference documents, the NAPUS Constitution and more. It’s a living document intended to be a useful reference that can be updated as necessary.

One of the initiatives Leonardi has undertaken since assuming office is having monthly telecons with the chapter presidents. As Gurka explained, it’s getting information straight from the “horse’s mouth:” Postal Headquarters gives the information to the NAPUS president, who gives it to the chapter presidents. They, in turn, are responsible for getting it out to members.

Executive Director Dave Ravenelle discussed the Resolution Log. It is NAPUS’ vehicle, recognized by the Postal Service, to escalate issues for resolution. The log, available on NAPUS’ website, is simple to fill out. Ravenelle explained it is important to provide documentation, which allows the National Office to move issues up for resolution. The intent of the log is to resolve issues at the lowest possible level; it brings issues forward and makes people respond. And it makes people accountable.

“We’re managers, we’re reasonable and we want to solve things at the lowest level; we want accountability,” he said. A chapter president pointed out it’s important to keep district managers informed of the process: It’s not personal; it’s business.

National Parliamentarian John Galera discussed parliamentary procedure with the group. The presidents’ binder has three pages on the subject—a down-and-dirty guide for presenting motions. But it doesn’t explain how to run a meeting, etc. He said every chapter should have a copy of “Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised,” 11th edition.

Galera pointed out parliamentary procedure is complicated; he encouraged chapters to appoint a parliamentarian. “I would not be comfortable in a meeting without a parliamentarian,” he said. A parliamentarian advises, knows the rules and helps meetings run smoothly. If nothing else, he advised that presidents be sure to have a copy of “Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.”

He encouraged chapters to develop members to be parliamentarians; he is available as a resource. “Most importantly,” he stressed, “parliamentary procedure tells you how to run a meeting fairly; everyone has a vote and the right to be heard.”

Secretary-Treasurer Mike Quinn addressed the presidents, explaining the Executive Board is looking at ways to cut the budget in response to declining membership, especially when POStPlan is implemented this September. “It’s a challenge,” he admitted, “but, being an optimist, it also presents opportunities.” It requires a change in thinking and impels the organization to look long term. But, he pledged, whatever decisions are made will be carefully thought out—no snap decisions. Quinn reiterated that more members need to step up and run for area vice president positions. The chapter presidents, as leaders in their states, need to encourage Postmasters to run and give back to the organization.

National PM Rep Committee Chair Larry Jones addressed the presidents. He said they have a responsibility to develop state PM reps to respond to Postmasters who are issued Letters of Warning. He pointed out a PM rep doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time to learn. The national PM reps are happy to help train state PM reps. Also, this is a position that should not have high turnover.

NAPUS SOV/CVS Guru and Wyoming Chapter President Curt Artery provided a detailed explanation of Form 150s and SOV and CVS. As concerns parcels, which a Postmaster may not get credit for, it’s imperative they keep logs of how many parcels they are working. This year’s numbers, he pointed out, will determine post office levels. “Document everything,” he urged. “And, if no one listens, use the Resolution Log.” As part of SOV, the RMPO worksheet is new. There was a lot of back and forth among chapter presidents about these forms. Artery encouraged the presidents to take the ideas back home and apply them to their operations.

Education and Development Committee Chair Becky Burbach discussed the importance of the NAPUS Knowledge Base, accessible at www.napus.org. Besides providing manuals, documents and programs, the Knowledge Base is a great membership tool. In order to download information, you must be a NAPUS member. Information also is available at this site to conduct training at state conventions. The intent of the Knowledge Base is to help NAPUS Postmasters do their jobs better.

Armed with their binders, NAPUS chapter presidents are better prepared to serve as leaders at the state level.

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‘Change Isn’t Coming—It’s Here!’

March 14th, 2014

NAPUS President Tony Leonardi welcomed Executive Board members to Washington, DC, Friday, March 14. He told members they have some tough challenges facing them, but not impossible. “It’s time to make critical decisions and not kick the can down the road,” he said. “How are we going to do this? I don’t have all the answers. But I ask questions and find people I trust.”

He alluded to Area 8 Vice President Louise Nix’s column headline in the March Gazette: “Change Is Not Coming—It’s Here!” “That’s our theme,” he declared. Leonardi reminded board members the decisions they make will affect people. “If we work together and talk it out, we’ll come up with goals we can live with and an organization we can be proud of—we’re here to lead.”

USPS Vice President of Labor Relations Doug Tulino explained in detail the Postal Service’s health care plan proposal. Health care is the second-largest cost for the agency outside of wages; 20 cents of every revenue dollar goes toward health care. He said the USPS does not want to walk away from its prefunding obligation, rather, find a way to reduce it.

The agency’s proposal focuses on Medicare integration. Medicare will become the primary payer for eligible retirees and FEHBP will be the secondary payer. This should reduce claims costs paid by insurance plans, which will result in lower premiums. “The USPS has paid $27 billion into the Medicare trust fund since 1983,” Tulino explained. “It’s time to use the benefit for which it’s been paying.”

This proposal should return the USPS to financial stability: It eliminates the need for future scheduled retiree health benefits prefunding requirements under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, achieves significant savings for the Postal Service and its employees and retirees, puts the agency in a better position to fulfill its commitment to providing retiree health care for everyone and staying in the FEHBP is a primary concern of stakeholders.

NAPUS Director of Government Relations Bob Levi discussed the latest on postal reform legislation. He stressed that NAPUS must continue its grass-roots activities. “We can’t lose our visibility on Capitol Hill and in the political environment,” he urged.

As regards S. 1486, some of the flashpoint issues from the employee associations include delivery issues, plant consolidations, arbitration, future retirement benefits and the Medicare mandate. Issues from the commercial mailers include the permanent extension of the exigent rate case recently enacted, the Postal Service’s authority to establish new rate schemes and the CPI index.

Levi highlighted provisions in S. 1486 that were influenced by NAPUS:

• EAS consultation rights

• EAS differential being applied to pay and benefits

• Post office closing language, including a one-year moratorium on closings, requiring that alternative post offices be within 10 roadway miles year round and establishing rate service standards

• Health benefits not be subject to collective bargaining

• Post office hours could not be reduced unless staffing is available

• EAS employees would continue in FERS and the TSP

Levi said NAPUS has been successful because it is respected on Capitol Hill as being able to work with members of Congress and negotiate.

USPS Chief Human Resources Officer Jeff Williamson took time from the Postal Forum to come and take questions from Executive Board members. He reiterated that investing in employees at all levels is the most important thing the USPS can do. He acknowledged there needs to be improvement in training and developing employees. “We will fix training,” he pledged: “What you need, the most effective method and how to get it to everybody.”

The Executive Board will reconvene Saturday morning.

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