President Issues Executive Order on USPS (APWU)

Web News Article #:  38-2018
04/13/2018 – President Trump has issued an Executive Order to form a “task force” to evaluate the finances of the United States Postal Service. Such evaluation will include pricing, policies and the costs of the workforce.
The Task Force will be chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, and comprised of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management as well as other department and agency heads the chair may designate.
The Executive Order calls for a full report within 120 days to provide a “thorough evaluation of the operations and finance” of the USPS to include:
the expansion and pricing of package delivery
the USPS role in competitive markets
the decline in mail volume and implications of USPS financing
the USPS monopoly over letter delivery and mail boxes
the USPS business model, workforce, operations, costs and pricing.
The task force will potentially develop recommendations on administrative and legislative reforms regarding the U.S. Postal Service.
The primary reason for the financial challenges facing the Postal Service is the 2006 Congressional mandate forcing the USPS to “pre-fund” retiree health benefits 75 years into the future. This crushing burden is faced by no other company or agency and is being used by those who wish to destroy the postal service.
“The APWU looks forward to working with anyone truly interested in maintaining a vibrant public Postal Service for generations to come. If given the opportunity to meet with the task force, we will forthrightly tell the truth, share our views and promote the protection of the rights and benefits of postal employees,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “One step toward USPS financial stability is to fix the pre-funding debacle by passing the bi-partisan postal reform legislation currently stalled in both the House and the Senate.”
The new Executive Order is of real concern to the APWU and we will continue to keep all members informed and up to date.

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Oprah received a letter from Jesus Christ, will she run for president now?

By Joshua George · 16:00 PST, 16 Mar 2018
Oprah Winfrey said she’d only run for President if she received a clear sign from God, and now she’s received a letter from Jesus Christ herself.

A Wrinkle In Time’ star Oprah Winfrey had previously said that she would only run for President if she received a clear sign from God telling her that she needed to run, and ever since, people (like Stephen Colbert) have been doing their best to find ways to convince Oprah that to replace Donald Trump is her divine calling.
When a woman from Maine named Jesus Christ recently sent her a letter, people immediately called it the sign she was looking for.

After her rousing speech at the 75th Golden Globes in acceptance the Cecil B. DeMille Award for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment,” a social media movement was born, exhorting Oprah to make a dash for the country’s highest office once Donald Trump’s term was up in 2020.
However, the media mogul told PEOPLE that she prayed, “‘God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it.’ And I haven’t gotten that.” Fans claimed that the letter was the sign she was looking for.
CBS 13 News tracked down Christ and discovered that she was an 83-year-old woman from N. Waterboro, Maine, who had changed her name 50 years ago.

Christ told them that people did not take well to her name. She said, “Most of them think I’m plain crazy and ignore me.”
However, she was unaware of the social media campaign seeking to have Oprah run for the President’s office. She said that her goal in sending the letter was to tell people about faith, peace, and priorities.
She said, “God and the Bible. I try to live every moment of my life under God’s will.”
However, Christ did express her support for Oprah’s potential bid for office, saying “If she does I’ll vote for her – that’s for sure.” She was unaware of how viral her letter had gone ever since Oprah’s best friend Gayle King, who is also the ‘CBS This Morning’ anchor, uploaded a picture of the letter to Instagram, saying that she sent the letter to Oprah because she liked her.

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APWU Reaches Monetary Settlement with USPS on POStPlan Staffing Violations

Web News Article #:
02/23/2018 – On February 9, the Clerk Craft reached a $49.9 million dollar settlement with the USPS on POStPlan staffing violations. The monetary settlement follows a ruling by Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg that the Postal Service violated Arbitrator Goldberg’s previous award of September 5, 2014 and a subsequent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated September 22, 2014.

The dispute was initiated after the Postal Service admittedly failed to honor their agreement that after December 22, 2014, the ‘POStPlan’ Remotely-Managed Post Offices (RMPOs) open 4 or 6 hours a day would be staffed with bargaining unit clerks, and Level 18 offices would be staffed with career employees. Long after the agreement, Postmaster Reliefs (PMRs) were still working in 4 or 6 hour RMPOs across the country and Level 18 offices reported still using PSEs instead of career employees.

“Our goal is for management to abide by their contractual obligations in the first place. When they don’t, it is best if management addresses the problem as quickly as possible, in this case to properly staff the POStplan offices,” remarked President Dimondstein. “Unfortunately, neither happened, and I congratulate the Clerk Craft in insuring that these management violations have consequences as a deterrent to future violations.”

The money from the settlement will be distributed among Clerk Craft employees to be identified by the National APWU. The Postal Service is required to cooperate and provide information necessary for the union to identify employees eligible for payment. Updates on the implementation of the settlement agreement will be provided to local/state organizations and the membership through the APWU website.

“It is important we have arbitrators willing to rule that monetary payments and other strong remedies are necessary to address willful and/or repeated violations of the contract,” said Clerk Division Director Clint Burleson, “It is even more important that the membership work together to develop the leverage to win grievances at the local level and ideally prevent violations from occurring in the first place.

“Many thanks goes to Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lynn Pallas Barber,” Burleson continued, “who served as the case officer for the grievance, provided testimony at the hearing, and developed the leverage to secure the $49.9 million in remedy. Thanks also go to Assistant Craft Director Lamont Brooks for his assistance in negotiating the final settlement.”
POStPlan Staffing Violation: Remedy – June 7, 2017 (403.04 KB)

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Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike Anniversary APWU

50 Years Later, Unity of Labor and Civil Rights Lives On
(This article first appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

This spring marks 50 years since sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Mountaintop” speech and his subsequent assassination.
In February 1968, Memphis denied its sanitation workforce – consisting of mostly black men – not only a safe working environment, but also the right to form a union. The workers needed a solution, but the city, led by Mayor Henry Loeb III, refused to negotiate. With no other choice, they walked off the job in what would be a two-month strike.
The sanitation workers fought not just for themselves, but for all workers. Churches and community groups joined the picket line, with ministers leading daily demonstrations.
Labor Movement & Civil Rights
The sanitation strike is a prime example of the intersection between the labor and civil rights move- ments. When working people fight on the same team, we all reap benefits. King understood the importance of labor unions in securing good jobs for African-Americans and all working people.
Just before the strike, King launched the Poor People’s Campaign, in which he traveled around the country, building a movement of working people who demanded better jobs, homes and education. He believed that when workers join together, anything can be accomplished, and that the key to a thriving society was a workforce paid a living wage in safe work environments.
“I think it is necessary for us to realize that we have moved from the era of civil rights to the era of human rights… In short, we have moved into an era where we are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society,” King said months before the strike.
King had long been arguing that unions failed to reach poor people – organized labor had not gone far enough beyond the ranks of well- paid, blue-collar industrial workers, he said, and had not begun to address “economic inequality.”
He pointed out that unions have a positive effect on all who labor – even those who were not unionized. In his last Sunday sermon, King said, “We read one day: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal… among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.”
Setting the Stage
Memphis was a crucial piece of the Poor People’s Campaign. More than half of the city’s black residents were living below the poverty line in 1968, compared with only one out of seven whites. Four out of 10 sanitation workers qualified for welfare, and they received no medical insurance, workers’ compensation, or overtime pay.
The workers didn’t only want improved conditions, they also wanted a union. Workers had been trying to organize with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for five years, but Mayor Loeb refused to recognize the union.
Boiling Point
During a heavy rainstorm on Jan. 31, 1968, about two dozen Memphis sewer workers – all of them black – were sent home without pay. Their orders came from supervisors – all of them white – who were paid.
The next day, two black sanitation workers were crushed to death by a malfunctioning compactor.
On Feb. 12, workers learned virtually nothing was being done about their fallen comrades and they would be compensated only two hours’ pay for the full day missed. More than 1,000 black municipal employees walked off the job in a wildcat strike, demanding union recognition.

March 29, 1968 protest

Within days, the strikers’ garnered national support. Memphis NAACP members endorsed the strike and AFSCME International President Jerry Wurf declared the strike could end only when the workers’ demands were met.
‘We Go Down Together’
A month into the strike, King visited Memphis during his Poor People’s Campaign. On March 18, more than 10,000 workers, preachers, homemakers, and students greeted him at Mason Temple.
“You are doing here in Memphis what I am trying to do nationally,” King said. “You are reminding America that it is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages.”
Afterward, a March 28 rally was marred by violence, resulting in a dusk-to-dawn curfew and National Guardsmen sent to Memphis by the governor of Tennessee.
King announced that he would be back for a “massive nonviolent demonstration” on April 4 and returned April 3. His staff and local officials agreed to postpone the march until April 8. However, a pre-march rally the evening of April 3 was not to be delayed, and that is when King delivered what would become known as “The Mountaintop Speech.”
“You may not be on strike, but either we go up together, or we go down together,” King said to strike supporters. “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountain-top… And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything.”
King was fatally shot the next day as he left his hotel room to go to dinner.
On April 8, a march did take place in Memphis. A crowd estimated at 40,000 walked silently in memory of King.
Lessons Learned
In the wake of the tragedy, and Mayor Loeb still refusing to negotiate with workers, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson stepped in. He instructed Undersecretary of Labor James Reynolds to take over contract mediation and settle the strike.
Reynolds met with Loeb, and then AFSCME, in separate meetings. The following week, Loeb and the union came to an agreement. On April 16, workers voted to accept it, ending the strike.
President Johnson and Tennessee’s governor pressured the city into recognizing AFSCME Local 1733 and allowing the check-off of union dues – key components that enabled the union to bargain over other grievances.
Within 10 years, Local 1733 had grown from about 1,300 sanitation workers to more than 7,000 government employees, with jurisdiction in the city and county school boards, fire commission, city courts and auto inspection stations.

How You Can Celebrate
To commemorate these events, AFSCME launched the I AM 2018 campaign. There are local days of action in January, followed by springtime town hall meetings and rallies, culminating with 50th anniversary events in April.

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