1. NDC excessing canceled!!!! We successfully negotiated the cancellation of the last excessing event in Local 302's jurisdiction. With the end of the excessing comes the end of withholding, and we can now aggressively campaign for the conversion of MHAs throughout the Local.
This has already resulted in the advance approval of 6 MHA conversions in San Jose and a request to hire 20 additional MHAs at NDC. I will be actively pushing to convert MHAs wherever possible. ?
2. Congratulations to our two newest Branch Presidents, Anthony Dering in San Jose and David Santos in Fresno! Both have agreed to fill the vacancies in their facilities. Please offer them all the assistance and guidance they will need as new BPs.
3. RI399 global settlement announced by NPMHU, APWU and USPS. I sent out the links to the agreement earlier this week, and much more information is available on the National website. This promises to make our summer very busy, as we will finally be able to refresh our 20+ year old inventories in every office and resolve most of our old jurisdictional disputes.
4. Trump declares war on your job! Trump has called for the privatization of the USPS. This is in addition to the 3 Executive Orders he signed last month to limit Union time, Union offices in buildings and increase Management's ability to discipline employees.
5. Supreme Court Janus decision. The SCOTUS voted 5-4 to allow employees to opt out of Unions who charge them "fair share" or agency fees for collective-bargaining services. Postal Union members already have the option to get out of Unions and become scabs because we are not a closed shop. However, this will most likely profoundly impact our parent organizations LIUNA and AFL-CIO, and have an adverse effect on Union's everywhere.
6. Amazon's creates new delivery business. Amazon announced that they are offering business opportunities for potential contractors to start their own Amazon delivery business for as little as $10,000. Amazon will help them lease up to 40 vans and hire employees to deliver their packages to their customers. This promises to put a dent in the USPS' bottom line in the near future. As everyone knows, all of USPS woes are brought on by declines in mail volume. This will definitely affect mail volume.
7. USPS has agreed to provide the NPMHU with the F1 scheduler data in accordance with an NLRB settlement. Management is relying less and less on this stupid scheduler, so hopefully this will help us put the nail in it's coffin.
8. APWU opens contract talks with the APWU. While we are obviously not covered by their agreements, we routinely end up with "me too" style language in our contract mirroring items they have bargained for or are awarded in arbitration. Our contract ends a year after theirs (Sep 21, 19), so we will be in negotiations ourselves next year.
Rest assured Local 302 will be here to continue to fight and represent our members! To that end, we will be conducting another New Steward Training shortly. I am working out the details, and hope to secure authorization at our next Eboard meeting. I need an attendance total, so please forward me a list of potential stewards that need this training so we can get a count.
I'm looking forward to the Union picnic next month. National President Hogrogian will attend, and is going to do a walk through of the Sacramento P&DC the following day. We will be asking the BPs to help distribute the tickets so we make sure they get out quickly and safely.
Reno will be holding their picnic the following week on August 5th, which will be attended by Regional VP Don Sneesby.
The next Eboard meeting is scheduled for July 24th, so if you have any proposals, ideas or shop steward of the quarter submissions- get them in!
June 21, 2018
Trump proposes privatizing USPS
Donald Trump today introduced a wide ranging proposal to reorganize the federal government, including privatizing the US Postal Service. Despite having lost the popular vote by a wide margin, Trump apparently feels he has a mandate to fundamentally reshape major American institutions- and the post office is one of his targets.
While the Trump regime has established a “task force” to investigate the USPS, based on false claims by Trump that the agency was subsidizing postage rates for Amazon, it looks like the task force’s recommendation is already a forgone conclusion: privatization.
The Trump proposal mentions the possibility of a “sustainable business model” for a public postal service, but the only concrete proposal it offers is privatization, with significant reductions in service, and postal workers’ pay and benefits:
A private postal operator that delivers mail fewer days per week and to more central locations (not door delivery) would operate at substantially lower costs. A private entity would also have greater ability to adjust product pricing in response to changes in demand or operating costs. Freeing USPS to more fully negotiate pay and benefits rather than prescribing participation in costly Federal personnel benefit programs, and allowing it to follow private sector practices in compensation and labor relations, could further reduce costs.
Postal workers currently enjoy relatively good compensation and working condition thanks to collective bargaining agreements. But it’s worth pointing out that those agreements exist only because of provisions in the original law establishing the USPS that require the USPS to bargain with its unions, and submit disputes to binding arbitration.
With Trump in the White House and a GOP majority doing his bidding on Capitol Hill, those requirements could disappear tomorrow.
Here are Trump’s proposals:
Restructure the Postal Service
Summary of Proposal: This proposal would restructure the United States Postal System to return it to a sustainable business model or prepare it for future conversion from a Government agency into a privately-held corporation. Like many European nations, the United States could privatize its postal operator while maintaining strong regulatory oversight to ensure fair competition and reasonable prices for customers. The President’s Task Force on the United States Postal System will make recommendations on reforms towards this goal in August 2018.
When the United States Postal Service (USPS) was created out of the Post Office Department in 1970, the Congress tasked it with binding the Nation together through correspondence; half a century later, that role has been increasingly supplanted by less expensive digital alternatives. USPS has extremely high fixed costs as a result of relatively generous employee benefits combined with a universal service obligation that is understood to require mail carriers to visit over 150 million addresses six days per week. Historically, this level of service was supported by a high volume of mail. Despite significant decline in volume in the internet age, the size of the delivery network has continued to grow to meet expectations of the current operating structure. USPS can no longer support the obligations created by its enormous infrastructure and personnel requirements. USPS already has over $100 billion in unfunded liabilities, a capital investment backlog, has posted losses for over a decade, and has no clear path to profitability without reform. A new model that adequately finances USPS while meeting the needs of rural and urban communities, large mailers, and small businesses is needed.
A privatized Postal Service would have a substantially lower cost structure, be able to adapt to changing customer needs and make business decisions free from political interference, and have access to private capital markets to fund operational improvements without burdening taxpayers. The private operation would be incentivized to innovate and improve services to Americans in every community.
WHAT WE’RE PROPOSING AND WHY IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO
This proposal would restructure USPS by aligning revenues and expenses to restore a sustainable business model and possibly prepare it for future conversion from a Government agency into a privately-held corporation. Like many European nations, the United States could privatize its postal operator while maintaining strong regulatory oversight to ensure fair competition and reasonable prices for customers.
A private Postal Service with independence from congressional mandates could more flexibly manage the decline of First-Class mail while continuing to provide needed services to American communities.
REFORM PLAN AND REORGANIZATION RECOMMENDATIONS
Profitability and Privatization: Considerations for the Future of USPS
In 2017, USPS experienced faster than expected declines in both First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail. First-Class Mail has declined 40 percent since 2001. Marketing mail is more stable, down only 10 percent since 2001, but is incredibly sensitive to price and market downturns. At the same time, USPS has continued to grow its package delivery business, particularly the last-mile delivery that is relatively cheaper for them because of the huge fixed network they must maintain to support mail delivery. However, the revenues from lower-margin package delivery and other competitive products cannot replace declining revenue from the market-dominant (monopoly) products in the long-run. This year, USPS continued its six-year string of defaults and for the first time defaulted on pension-related payments rather than just health benefit prepayments. USPS’s current model is unsustainable. Major changes are needed in how the Postal Service is financed and the level of service Americans should expect from their universal service operator.
One successful model of Postal reform internationally has been to transition to a model of private management and private or shared ownership. USPS is caught between a mandate to operate like a business but with the expenses and political oversight of a public agency. A private postal operator that delivers mail fewer days per week and to more central locations (not door delivery) would operate at substantially lower costs. A private entity would also have greater ability to adjust product pricing in response to changes in demand or operating costs. Freeing USPS to more fully negotiate pay and benefits rather than prescribing participation in costly Federal personnel benefit programs, and allowing it to follow private sector practices in compensation and labor relations, could further reduce costs.
A privatized Postal Service could be structured like an investor-owned utility and continue to be regulated by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), a successor agency, or another Federal regulator such as the Federal Trade Commission, consistent with the existing models of privatization in Europe. Even with continued regulation, a privatized Postal Service would be more insulated from politics and more likely to succeed as a financially-viable business. A private entity would also have access to private capital markets to raise money for needed improvements like new vehicles without burdening taxpayers with additional liabilities.
USPS privatization through an initial public offering (IPO) or sale to another entity would require the implementation of significant reforms prior to sale to show a possible path to profitability. Most foreign posts that have been privatized have been profitable at the time of the sale. In contrast, USPS has lost over $65 billion since the last recession and recorded a $2.7 billion loss last fiscal year. To reach profitability, most international postal operations have gone through significant restructuring, including shrinking their physical and personnel footprints. In some cases, foreign governments have had to absorb legacy retirement liabilities in order to prepare a postal operator for sale. The existing unfunded liabilities
in USPS’s retirement programs total more than $100 billion. USPS owes an additional $15 billion to Treasury’s Federal Financing Bank and has further liabilities to the Department of Labor’s Workers Compensation program. According to the Postal Service’s own estimates, the Agency is insolvent, with liabilities exceeding assets by more than $120 billion.
DELIVERING GOVERNMENT SOLUTIONS IN THE 21ST 70 CENTURY
Forthcoming Recommendations by the Task Force on the United States Postal System
To address these major issues and identify solutions, possibly including private ownership, the President has issued Executive Order 13829: Task Force on the United States Postal System. The Task Force will conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations and finances of the Postal Service and make recommendations for reform consistent with this reorganization proposal. The Task Force will examine:
1. The expansion and pricing of the package delivery market and the USPS’s role in competitive markets;
2. The decline in mail volume and its implications for USPS self-financing and the USPS monopoly over letter delivery and mailboxes;
3. The definition of the ‘‘universal service obligation’’ in light of changes in technology, e-commerce, marketing practices, and customer needs;
4. The USPS role in the U.S. economy and in rural areas, communities, and small towns; and
5. The state of the USPS business model, workforce, operations, costs, and pricing.
The recommendations will include administrative and legislative reforms to the United States postal system that promote our Nation’s commerce and communication without shifting additional costs to taxpayers. The report will be available by August 10, 2018.
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June 26, 2018
NPMHU, APWU and USPS Reach Agreement to Update RI-399 Dispute Resolution Procedures
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