Letter from Doug Tulino, Vice President, Labor Relations
Letter from Doug Tulino, Vice President, Labor Relations
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.
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.
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.
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.
Part-Time Postmasters – PTPMs – (RSC F) are eligible for the 1% increase. Those who have saved rate salary-protection will receive a lump-sum payment to be included their February 28, 2014 paychecks. This will apply to many PTPMs impacted by POStPlan. Those who do not have such salary protection should have received the 1% salary increase. However, this increase will not raise their hourly rates above the new maximum of $18.64 per hour. If the 1% increase would put a PTPM over the new maximum hourly rate, he will receive an increase to $18.64 per hour in Pay Period 04, and he will receive a lump sum payment in Pay Period 05 for the balance of the 1% total increase.
On February 7, 2014, the Postal Service notified NAPUS of the redesign of the Point of Sale (POS) receipt based customer survey. The redesign is one of several initiatives to improve the customer experience. Research has shown that customer surveys have become the retail industry standard for obtaining customer feedback.
The redesigned POS Survey has five core questions and one open ended question. The customer is asks to rate five questions that are designed to measure customer satisfaction, sales associate knowledge, and wait time in line. The final open ended question asks the customer “What should this Post Office do to improve your satisfaction with the service you received?”
To promote this initiative the Sales and Service Associate (SSA) will be required to ask customers to complete an on-line survey and will be required to circle the URL at the bottom of the POS Receipt at the end of all customer transactions. By drawing the customer’s attention to the survey website, we can increase the response rate and gain feedback actionable feedback to improve the customer experience.
The survey will not be used as an evaluation of the SSA, nor will it be used to administer any corrective action. Additionally, there is no information that will be entered into the survey that links the customer response to SSA. The survey responses entered by the customer are rolled up into National, Area and District reports to provide data on overall customer satisfaction.
The Postal Service has announced today, that in recognition of the contributions of Postmasters to the success of the organization during these difficult times, non-bargaining employees will receive a one percent (1%) salary increase. The salary increase will be implemented effective January 25, 2014. In addition, Pay-for–Performance (PFP) ratings will apply to salary determinations in FY 2014.
Click on link to read announcement
National President, Tony Leonardi, conducted a chapter president’s telecom on January 14, 2014. The purpose of the telecom was to update chapter presidents on the upcoming Leadership Conference and National Convention. President Tony also took the opportunity to solicited chapter presidents on training ideas, as he finalizes plans for the upcoming 2014 Leadership Conference to be held March 15-19. Chapter officer training is the priority focus of our Leadership Conference
The telecom signaled Tony’s hands on approach to open and frequent communications with NAPUS state leadership and supports his belief that “the strength of our organization is our state chapters.” The telecoms will occur monthly, with separate telecoms for NAPUS Area Vice-Presidents and State Presidents.
David Ravenelle, Executive Director
As a result of a recent meeting between NAPUS President Bob Rapoza and incoming President Tony Leonardi with Postal Service representatives, a clarification has been issued on the effective date of Level 18 offices that would be downgraded in FY 2016. The original statement from Postal Headquarters was that while encumbered EAS-18 offices would continue to be evaluated under POStPlan on an annual basis, none of these offices would be downgraded until FY 2016. During a recent meeting with Postal Service representatives, NAPUS requested that the downgrade of encumbered EAS-18 offices be extended through FY 2016, and that request was approved, with an effective date of the end of September, 2016.
December 26, 2013
This Christmas will be the last one Sharon and I spend in Virginia. On Dec. 27, we leave to be with our family in Hawaii. As we reflect on the challenges and the accomplishments of these past four years, we have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. We are extremely thankful we had the opportunity to serve our nation’s Postmasters during one of the most challenging times in NAPUS’ history.
I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. Serving as your national president has put a lot of things into perspective for me—personally and professionally. These past four years, NAPUS’ leadership was confronted with challenges that took us into uncharted waters as we worked toward making the best of the situations presented to us, which would have been much worse without NAPUS’ representation.
We continued to eat the elephant, one bite at a time. The bites we took these past four years were critical and allowed us to preserve NAPUS’ integrity and credibility. The changes we made to our organization’s structure allow us to be better prepared to face future changes as we continue to professionally represent Postmasters.
The successful transition to the new NAPUS leadership team has been completed. Our membership is in good hands with President-elect Tony Leonardi, Secretary-Treasurer Mike Quinn and incoming Executive Director Dave Ravenelle. Let us look toward the future with hope for the new opportunities and challenges with which these individuals will be confronted.
Kindness rules as we put our own wishes aside and think about others around us. Let this tradition continue as we remember those who are less fortunate and those who are grieving the loss of loved ones during this holiday season. And let us all keep our fighting men and women in our prayers.
Sharon and I send you best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season. Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) and Hauoli Makahikihou (Happy New Year)!
God bless you and God bless America.
Postmasters whose FY 2013 overall numeric rating is 3 or below will receive an adjective rating of contributor.
Following years of management associations (NAPUS, League and NAPS) objections to non-bargaining employee’s performance ratings of non-contributor, most recently during our ongoing pay consultations, the Postal Service has decided to allow non-bargaining employees who received an overall numeric rating of 3 or below to receive an adjective rating of contributor for FY2013. Today the Postal Service made the following announcement:
The Postal Service has decided, through the consultation process with the management associations, to adopt a recommendation concerning the FY2013 Pay for Performance Program. Any non-bargaining employee whose FY2013 overall numeric rating in the Performance Evaluation System (PES) is 3 or below, will receive an adjectival rating of contributor.
The favorable rating change decision could serve to protect some EAS employees whose “non-contributor” rating could have caused them to lose their rights to be assigned to a different position in Round 2 of the RIF process.
I would like to take this final opportunity to wish incoming President Tony Leonardi and new Executive Director, Dave Ravenelle a hearty welcome as they begin their terms in 2014. On behalf of President Bob Rapoza and the NAPUS national office staff, we would like to wish you and your family a Happy Holiday Season.
December 20, 2013
Click below for President Rapoza’s Thanksgiving Message
Starting in 2014, vacant 6 hour positions will be posted on an individual basis, approximately the second Tuesday after implementation.
The next round of job postings for level 6 positions will be posted in eCareer on December 17, 2013. The positions (level 6) were implemented (or will be implemented) from August through November of this year.
Starting with the 2014 implementations, postings of jobs that become vacant will be done on an individual basis versus the mass posting procedure we are currently following. The requirements will be that the
job is vacant and has been implemented; this means that the job most likely would be posted approximately the second Tuesday after implementation. This is being done to escalate the possibility for current employees to fill the positions as the actual POStPlan RIF date gets closer.
This posting and the future postings will be limited to the first 2 phases; Limited Area of Consideration (LAC) Postmasters and then all EAS.
This information was provided to NAPUS today, by the Postal Service.
November 14, 2013
A reminder that Postal Service Headquarters previously annouced a moratorium on the implementation of offices into the POStPlan between November 18 through December 31, 2013. There will be no implementation of offices after November 16, 2013, with the next implementation period beginning on Saturday, Janauary 11, 2014.
A postal spokesman said this action was taken to reduce the need for network and operational changes during these higher volume holiday time frames.
November 13, 2013
POStPlan office evaluations will still take place as originally planned
As announced earlier, encumbered EAS-18 offices that are evaluated under POStPlan in FY 2014, won’t be changed until FY 2016. POStPlan offices will continue to be evaluated at the end of each Fiscal Year, but EAS-18 offices outside the zone of tolerance will not be downgraded until FY-2016. This decision comes as welcome news to Postmasters who were upgraded to EAS-18 under the POStPlan process last year, thus allowing them additional time to remain at their current salary levels.
October 17, 2013
David Ravenelle, Postmaster, Groton, Connecticut, selected to fill Executive Director vacancy in 2014-2015
On Thursday, October 3, the NAPUS National Executive Board concurred with President-elect Tony Leonardi’s selection of David Ravenelle, to serve as the Executive Director at the NAPUS national office beginning in 2014.
A 36 year veteran of the Postal Service, Ravenelle has spent 25 years as Postmaster in various Post Offices and is currently the Postmaster of Groton, Connecticut. Ravenelle has served in many state and national NAPUS positions, including chapter president of Connecticut and the NAPUS National Executive Board. He has also worked with Postal Service headquarters officials on behalf of NAPUS Postmasters, concerning pay consultations, operational issues and POStPlan. For the past four years, he has led training sessions for NAPUS state presidents at the leadership conferences and national conventions.
David brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Executive Director position and said that he is looking forward to working at the national level to address issues that Postmasters are facing during these changing times. He will begin serving as the NAPUS Executive Director on January 2, 2014.
October 4, 2014
For the first time in recent history, the NPA Unit and proposed Corporate Indicator targets and thresholds will be available to Postmasters at the beginning of the Fiscal Year (FY-2014.) The files provide the finalized Unit and proposed Corporate Indicators weights and depths for each NPA scorecard, along with a brief description of all Indicator changes. Finalized Corporate Indicators will be provided upon approval by the Board of Governors.
The Performance Evaluation System (PES) for FY 2014 will open on Tuesday, October 1, 2014. Postmasters should confirm their profiles to begin the goal setting process, and evaluators must conduct one-on-one discussions. Information, materials and links pertaining to the PFP process, PES, and NPA can be found on the Blue Page by selecting Human Resources then Pay for Performance.
The above information was announced today by Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President Jeff Williamson. Mr Williamson led the cooperative effort between USPS groups and management association leaders to establish goals by the beginning of FY 2014. Please see the attachements below.
September 30, 2013
Earlier today, NAPUS President Bob Rapoza shared with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee the views of the nation’s Postmasters regarding S. 1486, the Carper-Coburn postal reform bill. The legislation is pending before the Committee, which is chaired by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE). President Rapoza’s prepared testimony can be viewed here. In addition, an online video recording of the complete hearing can be viewed on the Committee website.
In his testimony, President Rapoza summarized the sacrifices that Postmasters continue to make in order to sustain a viable Postal Service. In addition, he commented that innovation and entrepreneurship is crucial, in order that the Postal Service may be able to re-establish relevance to millions of Americans. President Rapoza observed that Postmasters are essential to any strategy that seeks to market new products and services. NAPUS’ testimony also identified a number of provisions included in last year’s Senate-passed consensus legislation (S. 1789), which protected postal-dependent communities, yet were omitted from S. 1486. Rapoza urged the Committee to add those sections to this year’s bill.
The NAPUS testimony referenced a number of sections in S. 1486 that would help provide some financial relief to the Postal Service, including modifying the payment schedule to prefund retiree health benefits, refunding excess pension contributions, and providing the Postal Service with enhanced pricing flexibility. However, NAPUS expressed concerns about sections of the bill that would deny future postal employees the opportunity to participate in FERS, and would create a postal-only health plan outside of the FEHBP. The testimony also discussed concerns regarding proposals to establish a postal “Medigap” plan for Medicare-eligible postal retirees.
President Rapoza ended his testimony by committing NAPUS to continue to work with Committee and the Postal Service in pursuit of responsible and constructive postal relief legislation.
Last week, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper and Committee Ranking Member Tom Coburn invited National Association of Postmasters of the United States President Bob Rapoza to testify before their panel regarding S. 1486, the postal reform legislation that they introduced mid-summer. The hearing, which is scheduled for Thursday, September 26, is entitled: “Outside the Box: Reforming and Renewing the Postal Service.” The hearing will begin at 10:00 AM EDT and is the second in a series of two hearings. Thursday’s hearing will focus on promoting a 21st Century Postal workforce, including postal health benefit proposals. Besides President Rapoza, the scheduled witnesses include: the Postmaster General, the presidents of the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, representatives from Office of Personnel Management and the Government Accountability Office, and two economists. You may view the hearing live or after the hearing is completed on the Committee website.
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