New Benefits Secured for Postal Support Employees (PSEs) APWU

Web News Article #:
73-2018
07/26/2018 – In the 2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the APWU and the US Postal Service, the parties established a “Workforce Benefits, Employment Opportunities, Training and Education Fund.”  The purpose of the fund was to provide for the Postal Service’s share of health insurance benefits to PSEs and to provide additional resources for new PSE benefits.

The APWU filed a dispute over the Postal Service not using or mis-applying the money in the Fund.  The dispute was heard in arbitration on November 15, 2017.  Prior to receiving the Arbitrator’s ruling, APWU President Mark Dimondstein and USPS Vice-President of Labor Relations Doug Tulino settled the APWU’s dispute with an agreement securing benefits for PSEs.

The  five improved  benefits that will be part of the PSE compensation package are:

A Postal Service contribution of 65% in the first year of employment and 75% thereafter to the insurance premium for family or self-plus one for PSEs enrolled in the USPS Non-career Health Care Plan. Previously the USPS only contributed to only single coverage.

Full uniform allowance for retail clerk PSEs who meet the ELM criteria for eligibility.

Overtime pay after eight hours a day or after forty hours in a week.  Previously overtime was only paid after 40 hours of work.

Penalty double time pay for work over 10 hours a day, or 56 hours in a service week, same as negotiated overtime benefits for PTFs. Previously there was no penalty pay.

Four-hour work guarantee if called and reporting to work in 200 work year offices. Previously PSEs were guaranteed only two hours.

“This was a hard-fought case involving many hands at the national level including Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman, staff and attorneys which led to these important advances. The results underscore that it pays to be union,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “These not only improve the lives of non-career workers but secure important union principles that protect the entire workforce.”

The Postal Service is implementing these new benefits within 120 days from when the settlement was signed.  By October 11, 2018, these benefits must be in effect.

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USPS: World War I stamp honors those who served

The World War I: Turning the Tide stamp features a member of the American Expeditionary Force holding a U.S. flag.

KANSAS CITY — Post Offices across the nation are selling the newest stamps to honor the millions of Americans, both home and abroad, who participated in World War I, considered the seminal conflict of the 20th century. World War I: Turning the Tide Forever stamps were dedicated in a special ceremony today at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO.

“Even though the United States didn’t see action until the last year of the war, in 1918, American troops played an indispensable role in turning the tide of that war in favor of the Allies,” said dedicating official U.S. Postal Service General Counsel and Executive VP Thomas Marshall. “Today we pay tribute to the sacrifice of those soldiers, as well as the millions of supporters on the home front.”

wwistamp

World War I was a four-year global conflict (1914-1918) that reshaped the map of Europe. The United States remained neutral until April 1917, when it declared war on Germany and entered on the side of the Allies — Britain, France, and Russia. When the American Expeditionary Force, which ultimately grew to nearly 5 million troops, did finally engage in 1918, its actions helped end the war, thrusting the U.S. to the forefront of major world powers.

The stamp art features a close-up of a member of the American Expeditionary Force holding the U.S. flag. Barbed wire can be seen in the background, as well as an airplane in flight and smoke rising up from the battlefield. The artwork was painted in airbrush on illustration board, a technique that evokes the propaganda posters used during World War I. Art director Greg Breeding designed the issuance with art by Mark Stutzman. News of the stamps is being shared using the hashtag #WorldWarIStamp.

Customers may purchase the WWI: Turning the Tide Forever stamps through the Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Office locations nationwide.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 120 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Office facilities, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop or by phone at
800-STAMP-24. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in envelopes addressed to:

FDOI – World War I: Turning the Tide Forever Stamps
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO  64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by Nov. 27, 2018.

Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual item number and is offered in the USA Philatelic Publication and online at usps.com/shop. Customers may register to receive a free USA Philatelic Publication online at usps.com/philatelic .

Philatelic Products
Philatelic products for this stamp issue are as follows:
477406, Press Sheet, $60.
477410, Digital Color Keepsake, $11.95.
477416, First-Day Cover, $0.94.
477421, Digital Color Postmark, $1.65.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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AFL-CIO – Unanimous Resolution Against USPS Privatization

July 27, 2018  AFL-CIO

The U.S. Postal Service, which was created as the Post Office Department in 1792, has its founding principles in the U.S. Constitution. To this day, it remains a national treasure belonging to the people of this country.

The Postal Service has remained a self-sustaining, independent establishment of the federal government that does not receive taxpayer funding and relies solely on revenue derived from the sale of postal services and products.

The Postal Service employs more than 500,000 people who are at the center of a $1.4 trillion, 7.5 million employee mailing industry. The agency serves the needs of more than 157 million business and residential customers through its affordable universal network, providing service six and sometimes seven days a week.

This universal network connects the country’s rural, suburban and urban communities at fair and reasonable rates, providing equal access no matter who we are and where we are located. This unmatched infrastructure coupled with a dedicated workforce is the reason that the Postal Service is consistently the highest-rated agency of the federal government. In fact, a Pew Research Center poll, released in February 2018, showed that the Postal Service has an 88% favorability rating.

The Postal Service remains the nation’s second-largest employer of military veterans and is a source of decent and dignified union jobs and equal pay for workers from all backgrounds, including women and people of color. These employees are dedicated public servants who do more than process and deliver the nation’s mail. They serve as the eyes and ears of the nation’s communities and often respond first in situations involving health, safety and crime.

While there are many unknowns when it comes to privatization of the Postal Service, we know that if it is privatized in whole or in part, the decision to provide services will be based on whether a company can make a profit rather than what’s good for working people. Inevitably, privatization will lead to increased rates and diminished services for customers, especially in rural communities and potentially low-income urban areas.

Privatization of the Postal Service would jeopardize the booming e-commerce sector and cripple a major part of the nation’s critical infrastructure during a time where methods of communication are constantly changing, while mail, including letters, cards, periodicals, medicines, catalogs and packages, continues to be invaluable to individuals and businesses.

Recently, the White House Office of Management and Budget unveiled a plan for privatization of the Postal Service promoted by billionaire- and corporate-funded “think tanks” with powerful influence in the Trump administration and Congress. These corporate interests are not looking out for workers, communities or businesses who are currently well-served by the Postal Service as an independent establishment of the federal government.

As a member of “A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service,” the AFL-CIO will actively engage in the fight to save the Postal Service by mounting a serious defense to this threat and encouraging central labor councils and state federations to join with labor and community allies in concrete actions against privatization.

The AFL-CIO also will go on record unequivocally opposing the privatization of the Postal Service so it remains an independent establishment of the federal government.

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Major Victory For Expanded Postal Services APWU

Web News Article #:

72-2018

07/23/2018On Wednesday, July 18, the APWU and our allies won a big victory by defeating an attempt to prohibit the Postal Service from expanding financial services. In a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, an amendment to a government appropriation bill (H.R. 6147) offered by Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was rejected by a bipartisan vote of 212 to 201. The APWU greatly appreciates the bipartisan support from lawmakers who voted down this proposal.

In the short span of only two business days, APWU President Mark Dimondstein and the Legislative and Political Department launched a strategic campaign in coordination with our sister postal unions and other allies to defeat this stealth attack. “Make no mistake about it, this was an attack on our public Postal Service,” said President Dimondstein. “The defeat of this concerted effort to curtail financial and other innovative services is an important victory for those who believe that the Postal Service exists to serve the people of this country.”

The amendment would have prevented the Postal Service from using its existing legal authority to enhance its offering of basic financial services – including domestic electronic money transfers, bill payment services, expanded check cashing, and expanded international money transfers.

Not stopping there, it also preemptively banned future USPS innovations that have not already been approved by Congress. Earlier versions of the proposal even meddled with APWU collective bargaining, as it attempted to overturn the agreement reached in our last round of contract negotiations with the USPS to pursue expanded postal services.

The banking industry lobbied hard in favor of this amendment, joining with anti-government organizations like Americans for Tax Reform and the Heritage Foundation. These are the very groups that are determined to privatize our public Postal Service.

“This victory is an excellent example of what is possible through bipartisan outreach by the APWU to educate lawmakers of both parties about the importance of a robust public Postal Service,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard. “It also shows the importance of coalition building.”

The commitment of the National Association of Letter Carriers, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, as well as our allies in the Campaign for Postal Banking, the AFL-CIO, Americans for Financial Reform, and Take on Wall Street, won the day. “Only through the collective work of all our allies in the public interest, united in solidarity, could we defeat this attack,” Director Beard emphasized.

Standing up for robust postal services, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, urged his colleagues to “oppose this effort to impose arbitrary limits on the Postal Service’s ability to innovate.”

Speaking on the House floor, Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) urged their colleagues to vote “No” on the amendment. “The Postal Service,” said Connolly, “deserves better, our consumers deserve better, Postal Service customers deserve better, and we can do better.”

When Representative John Curtis (R-UT) – who was serving as Acting Chair at the time – called for a voice vote, it was clear the majority opposed the amendment. Despite this, however, he ruled that the amendment had been adopted.

Recognizing the strong bipartisan opposition to the amendment and that the Acting Chair had ruled incorrectly, Representative Kaptur demanded a recorded vote. When the votes were counted, she was vindicated as the House of Representatives rejected the amendment by a roll call of only 201 in favor and 212 opposed.

The Postal Service is in a unique position to provide basic, affordable, non-profit financial services via its existing infrastructure, as well as a host of attentional expanded services. These services provided by the USPS could help struggling families throughout the country achieve financial stability and strengthen the USPS mission to serve the public.

“Be heartened sisters and brothers, because this vote is testament to the support for our cause,” said President Dimondstein. “However, we have a ways to go. We must go forward and build on this victory to protect and enhance vibrant public postal services now – and for many generations to come.”

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