• December 12, 2017

    May 27

    Trump and Congress Take Aim at Federal and Postal Employees

    The last few days have seen a litany of proposals, both from the White House controlled by Donald Trump and from a Congress controlled by a Republican majority, that are aimed at the benefits of federal and postal employees. It is time for mail handlers across the country to pay attention and take action, lest these proposals ever get adopted or implemented.

    On May 23, 2017, the Trump Administration released its budget for Fiscal Year 2018. Called “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” the budget supports what can only be called catastrophic reductions in spending on the pension benefits currently enjoyed by all federal and postal employees, including all mail handlers.

    For active postal employees who participate in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the Trump budget calls for gradually equalizing contributions made by employees (including mail handlers) and the Postal Service, which effectively would be up to a six percent (6%) cut in pay over the next six years, depending on precisely when an employee was first hired.

    For active postal employees participating in FERS or in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the Trump budget calls for reducing pension benefits for future retirees by basing annuities on an employee’s average pay over five years (high-5) instead of over three years (high-3). The proposal also would terminate the “Social Security supplement” that covers the gap for workers who retire under FERS before they qualify for Social Security benefits at age 62.

    For current and future retirees, the Trump budget calls for the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for annuitants under FERS (which covers any employee hired after 1984). For those under the Civil Service Retirement System, COLAs would be reduced by one-half of 1 percent (that is, 0.5 percent) each and every year. These changes, if adopted, would destroy the financial well-being of retirees who rely on annual COLAs to keep up with the cost of living.

    The full scope of these proposals – called both terrible and cruel by various political leaders – are probably dead on arrival in the Congress. But it will take a lot of hard work to ensure that no portion of these proposals, however small, finds its way into any legislation that passes the Congress.

    With regard to the Postal Service itself, the Trump budget is no wiser or kinder. It calls for $46 billion in cuts over the next decade, and proposes reductions in the frequency of mail delivery and in door-to-door delivery, and the cuts in mail processing that would accompany such changes.

    “The Trump budget is an embarrassment, and should be opposed by all thoughtful Members on Capitol Hill. There is no basis for cutting retirement benefits; nor is there any reason to reduce any services provided the Postal Service. Fortunately, the existing coalition of postal stakeholders (unions, management, and mailers) already has identified legislation that would fix many of the Postal Service’s financial issues, and the entire Trump budget can simply be ignored as not worthy of serious consideration.”

    Notably, the Trump budget does not attack only federal and postal employees, but also takes aim at Medicaid, children’s health, food stamps, student loans, and Social Security disability programs, among others. Even the NLRB faces massive cuts in its budget, reducing the protections that the Board provides for workers and their unions and the entire collective bargaining process.

    As if not wanting to be outdone by the Trump budget, certain Members of Congress also have introduced and supported other unacceptable proposals. For just one example, on May 24, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1293, on an unrecorded voice vote, to require the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to submit annual reports on the use of official time by federal employee representatives. This is a thinly-veiled attempt to attack unions representing federal employees, and demonstrates the anti-union and anti-worker atmosphere that permeates large portions of Congress.

    All mail handlers are encouraged to contact their Congressional representatives and to stay actively aware of the evolving legislative process.

    Important Links
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      LOCAL 302 COUNCIL
      CHRYSTAL WILSON, KIM GARCIA, JUANITA CONTRERAS, TONY COLEMAN, JOEL GONZALES, MATTHEW STORY, GLENN BELL, EDWARD ALCATAR, CHRISTINA DAVIS
      LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE
      SENATOR CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO
      LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE
      SENATOR BARBARA LEE'S OFFICE
      LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE
      Congressman Brad Sherman
      LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE
      CHRISTINA DAVIS BRANCH PRESIDENT OF THE YEAR 2016
      SHAWN DALTON SHOP STEWARD OF THE YEAR 2016
      SACRAMENTO BRANCH OF THE YEAR 2016
      JORGE PEREZ SHOP STEWARD OF THE 1ST QTR 2017
      CARLOS QUIZAR SHOP STEWARD OF THE 4TH QTR 2016
      CHRYSTAL WILSON LOGO AWARD 2016
      SAN FRANCISCO BRANCH MEETING
      TONY BELL LOGO AWARD 2016
      MATTHEW STORY LOGO AWARD 2016
      SACRAMENTO TRAINING 2017

      President's Message

      I would like to sincerely thank the members of Local 302 for giving me the opportunity  to lead our membership into the future. I vow to work vigorously to continue to earn your trust and respect as Local 302 President.

      In my first few weeks, Local 302 held an in-depth, two day new shop steward training to insure our new stewards had the tools and training necessary to effectively police the contract. This training was conducted by National Trainers/NPMHU National Executive Board members John Gibson and Lawrence Sapp. They did a great job covering all facets of grievance handling and representation that a new shop steward requires to be effective on the workroom floor. In March, we conducted another training for 10 new shop stewards. This training was conducted by Dwight Parker and Kenny Magarity, who also did an excellent job of preparing our new stewards to represent the membership. We also had an EEO training with attorney Cindi Fox, who provided our Branch leaders with a solid working knowledge of the EEO and REDRESS mediation processes. This June, National shop steward trainers John Gibson and Lawrence Sapp will return, along with National President Paul Hogrogian, National Secretary-Treasurer Tim Dwyer, Western Regional Vice President Don Sneesby and  Legislative and Political Director Bob Losi to participate in our annual Reno shop steward training. While we are in Reno, Western Regional Contract Administration Department Manager David Ross and Director Don Gonzales will conduct an arbitration training with key members of Local 302’s arbitration advocacy team. My intent is to continue to conduct comprehensive training sessions on a myriad of subjects to guarantee that every Local 302 shop steward has the highest level of training possible.

      I, along with Local 302 advocates Shawn Dalton, Edward Alcantar, Juanita Contreras and Tony Bell, have successfully settled over 100 pending arbitration cases during the last 3 months winning over $100,000 for mail handlers and returning 11 mail handlers to work throughout the Local. We are currently working on updating our grievance/arbitration record system in an attempt to clear the large backlog of cases pending arbitration.

      Local 302 is also battling the mass reversion of vacant mail handler bids. Management is utilizing a function 1 scheduler that has determined that most, if not all, of the processing facilities in the US are “over earned”, meaning that they have more mail handlers than the staffing model says they need. This is clearly wrong, and the Local 302 stewards will be fighting for every job that gets reverted. Management has also instituted a “hiring pause”, where no new mail handlers have been hired into the craft. They assure us this move is only temporary – and the continuing overtime clearly shows that the need for mail handlers is as strong as ever. Management has also changed hundreds of bid times for no apparent reason, but Local 302 will continue to fight for your rights, and jobs.

      All Postal workers will face many new challenges with a new U.S. President and the constantly changing USPS political landscape. Your Union will be doing everything we can to keep you informed on the issues that affect your livelihood and way of life. It is more important now than ever before to be politically active and make sure that your voice is heard in our Congress. In May, Local 302 Council members Matthew Story, Tony Bell, Edward Alcantar, Joel Gonzales, Juanita Contreras and I will be joining members from throughout the country in Washington D.C. to lobby Congress for sensible postal reform. You can help do your part by going to NPMHU.org and signing up on the NPMHU Action Alert List in “Legislative & Political” tab.

      The npmhulocal302.org website is a great resource, and will be updated more regularly. There is a host of information on the website including shop steward certifications, upcoming meetings, meeting minutes, USPS/NPMHU collective bargaining agreement and Contract Interpretation Manual, NPMHU Constitution, scholarship information,  wage charts, pictures and much more. It is imperative to remember that this is OUR UNION!  Please stay informed and if you have questions, concerns or information that relates to the Mail Handler craft, please let us know.

      Since my inauguration on January 14th, I have visited every facility with mail handlers in Northern California and Reno, and intend to visit each of these facilities frequently. My goal is to meet and personally speak to all 2000+ of Local 302’s Union members. If you have not spoken to me yet, and have a question or concern you would like me to address – please email me at 302prez@gmail.com or call my cell at (916) 541-3475.

       

       

      Nov. 3, 2017
      NPMHU Files Charges with NLRB 
      RE: Function-1 Scheduler And USPS Failure to Provide Information
      To protect against statutory deadlines, the National Office has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the Postal Service has failed to bargain in good faith by providing all of the relevant information requested by the National Union. The National Contract Administration Department has been pressing the Postal Service for months seeking information and worksheets relevant to the application of the Function-I Scheduler in any and all mail processing facilities that may be affected by this management tool.
      All employees who were on the rolls as of November 4 and who otherwise meet the Act's eligibility requirements may use up to 104 hours of Wounded Warriors Leave during the 12 month period beginning November 5, 2016. Any of these employees who used leave for a condition covered by the Act prior to this notice may request to have the leave converted to Wounded Warriors Leave.
      Read More...


      Feb 3, 2017  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Introduced Bi-partisan Postal Reform Legislation

      Earlier this week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee introduced bi-partisan postal reform legislation.  The lead sponsor was Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), but the legislation also is co-sponsored by Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Stephen Lynch (D-MA). Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Dennis Ross (R-FL-15).  This legislation (the Postal Reform Act of 2017, H.R. 756) is similar to legislation that was introduced last year in the 114th Congress.  That prior legislation was passed by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but never saw action on the full floor and died when Congress adjourned in December.

      The NPMHU appreciates the hard work that Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings, and the other co-sponsors have done with respect to this legislation.

      The NPMHU will review and analyze this bi-partisan legislation.  President Hogrogian is optimistic that, if this bill is passed by the new Congress and signed into law by President Trump, the Postal Service’s financial future will be more secure.

      The NPMHU will report further information as it becomes available.

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