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Information provided is thought to be of interest to rural craft members. Links to articles do not represent an endorsement of any particular website nor does any particular article represent the opinion of the WARLCA.


PMG Patrick Donahoe
PMG at the NRLCA Convention
 
Postmaster General Booed
 
Postal Service is too important to be allowed to just wither away

Arbitrator Appointed
Arbitrator Appointed in NPMHU/USPS Bargaining Impasse
 
APWU, USPS to Begin Testing Electronic Grievance Program

D'oh! USPS Stuck With 682 Million Unsold Simpsons Stamps
In a move that wasted $1.2 million in printing costs, the service produced 1 billion of "The Simpsons" stamps and sold 318 million.
Read the story from Bloomberg HERE

Top 13 must-see US post offices
FoxNews.com
Postal Service needs a break
The U.S. Senate has given postal workers at the Lacey postal sorting center a reprieve over the summer, but no one knows when or if Congress will act to stabilize the financial crisis at the U.S. Postal Service.
theolympian.com

Retirement backlog continues to fall
GovernmentExecutive.com

Several thousand postmasters call it quits
FEDERALTIMES.com

 


Postal Service launches investigation into region-wide mail theft
A recent spate of mail thefts on Vashon has led authorities to launch an investigation into the crimes, which has also seen an uptick in other parts of King and Snohomish counties as well. Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

The General Services Administration has issued guidance to federal agencies on how to consolidate their mail management practices to help reduce both economic and environmental waste. GSA makes several specific suggestions for mail consolidation in the memo, including using U.S. Postal Service flat-rate boxes. Read the article from govexec.com HERE.

It’s official: The U.S. Postal Service is dangling more employee buyouts.
The buyouts, available to most mail handlers, will amount to $15,000 total, payable in separate $7,500 installments this December and December 2013, according to a bulletin on a Postal Service web site. federaltimes.com
 
Postal Service will offer $15,000 in two installments to full-time mail handlers who take early retirement or leave the agency msnbc.com
 
Online salary information for USPS employees can be found HERE.

Postal Service To Start Closing Plants This Summer
The U.S. Postal Service is moving forward with a multibillion-dollar cost-cutting plan that will close nearly 250 mail processing centers, saying it can no longer wait as Congress remains deadlocked over how to help according to an Associated Press article on npr.org.
 
See the list from usps.com HERE.
 
As part of the strategy unveiled Thursday, USPS also will issue a new rule in the Federal Register modifying service standards for overnight delivery that by 2014 would “initially shrink the geographic reach of overnight service to local areas and enable consolidation activity in 2013,” USPS said in a statement Thursday. The service will be able to maintain most local next-day delivery through 2013. Read more from govexec.com HERE.

House passes fed pension hike
Federal employees would have to contribute more to their government pensions under a bill approved by the House Thursday.
 
Union Members can click HERE for additional information from the NRLCA.

LOCAL

'Stamp out Hunger' food drive collects 20 tons for Help Warehouse
Longview and Kelso postal carriers collected 41,570 pounds of dry goods residents stacked beside mailboxes during Saturday's food drive.
From The Daily News (tdn.com)

Feds give TSP thumbs up
An article from govexec.com
 
Thrift Savings Plan Roth option is official
TSP's Roth offering allows participants to invest money that already has been taxed so it cannot be taxed again upon withdrawal.
 
TSP Roth implementation a work in progress
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board emphasized Monday that the Thrift Savings Plan's Roth option is an ongoing endeavor; fully verifying that all Roth transactions are working correctly will take years. govexec.com
 
TSP funds finish April with mixed results
More than half of Thrift Savings Plan funds finished April in the red after posting mostly positive returns in 2012.
 
Most TSP funds down in May
Thrift Savings Plan returns for May continued April's downward trend, with most funds finishing the month lower than they started. govexec.com
 
Bill to boost TSP contribution rates set for official debut
Lawmakers will introduce legislation next week to automatically increase contribution levels in some federal employees' Thrift Savings Plan accounts. govexec.com
 
A sophisticated cyberattack on the computer of a third-party Thrift Savings Plan contractor compromised the personal information of tens of thousands of TSP participants. govexec.com
 
Lawmakers press for answers on Thrift Savings Plan cyber breach
Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have pledged to look into the July 2011 cyberattack on the servers of a third-party Thrift Savings Plan contractor, which compromised the personal information of 123,000 TSP participants. govexec.com
 
Is your TSP account secure?
That 10-month delay between when a Virginia TSP data center operated by Serco Inc. was hacked by unknown individuals, and when the victims were told has angered many TSP participants — and at least one leading lawmaker, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. federaltimes.com


USPS offers buyouts to postmasters, drops plan to close post offices
Under heavy pressure from Congress, the U.S. Postal Service is shelving plans to close up to 3,700 post offices and instead will offer $20,000 buyouts to 21,000 postmasters as a way to save money.
An article from federaltimes.com
 
Postmasters have until June 22 to accept buyout offer
Postmasters will have until June 22, 2012 to accept the offer and must agree to leave the Postal Service effective July 31, 2012. Postmasters accepting the offer will receive two payments — $10,000 on Dec. 21, 2012, and $10,000 on Dec. 20, 2013, less withholdings and taxes.
From postalnews.com
 
USPS is providing Postmasters additional time to take advantage of their Special Incentive Offer.
Postmasters who meet the criteria now have until July 2, 2012 to take advantage of the offer.postalnews.com
 
Postmasters will not see pay-for-performance increases in their 2012 paychecks, according to a new agreement with the U.S. Postal Service ... read more from govexec.com HERE.

From cbsnews.com: If you know anyone living outside the U.S. who wants a tablet, laptop, camera or smartphone from the States, it's best to send it to them before May 16. As of next week, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is banning all international shipments containing lithium ion batteries ... read more HERE.
 
Beginning May 16, 2012, consumers may no longer make the shipments, including to army and diplomatic post offices. That means friends and family will have to use more expensive private companies such as UPS and FedEx to ship electronics to U.S. troops based abroad. Read more from the Washington Post HERE.

USPS to Keep Rural Post Offices Open
USPS to Cut Hours, Not Close Post Offices
Modified window hours could keep Post Offices open
Postmaster says he listened to customers in rural America
Postal Service drops plans to close thousands of post offices
Keep rural post offices open, but cut employee hours and benefits

S. 1789 21st Century Postal Service Act Passes in the Senate

Senate-approved legislation designed to deal with the critical financial situation of the U.S. Postal Service doesn't get the job done, according to the chairman of the USPS Board of Governors. Postal Board of Governors knocks Senate legislation washingtonpost.com

 
Despite Senate approval of a bill to help the debt-ridden Postal Service, thousands of post offices across the country still face closings beginning in two weeks if the House has not completed work on its version of the legislation. Fate of Postal Service Awaits Action in House nytimes.com
 
A Senate bill to overhaul the cash- strapped U.S. Postal Service would make it more difficult to shutter post offices considered too costly to maintain. Postal Service Offices Harder to Close Under Senate Overhaul sfgate.com (bloomberg)
 
A Senate bill passed this week to rescue the indebted U.S. Postal Service is drawing fire from key agency officials and House Republican leaders. And it's looking increasingly unlikely that the House and Senate will agree on a plan to save the Postal Service by May 15, when a moratorium on closing postal processing plants expires. Postal Service bill faces roadblocks cnn.com
 
Postal workers are luke-warm to Senate proposal washingtonpost.com
 


One big piece of news in the federal retirement arena lately was the announcement that federal employees (well, some federal employees anyway) will be able to opt in to the Thrift Savings Plan's new Roth option starting May 7. This new benefit has been in the process of being implemented since the TSP Enhancement Act was signed into law in 2009. The TSP has been working diligently to implement the benefit for all active federal employees and (eventually) members of the uniformed services. Read more on retirement planning from govexec.com

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced an agreement April 19 to consider 39 amendments to the postal reform bill (S. 1789), with debate on amendments beginning on Monday, April 23. A cloture vote to end debate is expected Monday evening. If the motion passes, voting on amendments will begin on Tuesday, April 24. A 60-vote super-majority will be required to pass amendments and the final bill, and 18 amendments will be considered by voice votes.
 
More from the APWU website can be found HERE

Senate begins debating Postal Service relief bill
 
The Senate agreed Tuesday to begin debate on a bipartisan bill to overhaul U.S. Postal Service operations. The bill would allow the Postal Service to offer buyouts and early retirements to 100,000 employees during the next three years to save $8 billion annually, said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., the bill's lead sponsor.
 
Senator Tester is ‘going after the high salaries of top Postal Service executives’
 
U.S. SENATE – As the Senate works to reform the U.S. Postal Service, Senator Jon Tester is introducing multiple measures to protect rural post offices in Montana and clamp down on the salaries of the organization's top employees.
 
Senate Postal Consideration Continues – 74 Amendments Filed
 
The Senate continued to debate S. 1789, the Lieberman-Collins-Carper-Brown postal relief bill. There was considerable discussion underscoring the importance of post offices to communities they serve. However, the Senate could not take up the so-called managers' amendment to the bill, because Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) raised an objection. He wanted to offer a "non-relevant" amendment to S. 1789 to suspend foreign aid to Egypt. Paul was denied the opportunity to offer the amendment, so he objected to the "motion to proceed" to the managers' amendment. This means that tomorrow the Senate needs to muster a 60-vote super-majority to "end debate" (i.e., cloture) on the motion to proceed.
 
The Senate could begin consideration of amendments to S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, on April 19. Seventy-nine amendments were filed as of a 1 p.m. deadline on April 18, and they run the gamut from provisions that would eliminate workers' protection against layoffs, to language that would extend the moratorium on consolidations, to provisions to protect the benefits of injured workers. Read more HERE
 
USPS already has started considering how it would operate with a slimmed-down workforce. Tony Vegliante, chief human capital officer for the Postal Service, said there are three ways it is trying to reduce the number of employees: Attrition, control hiring and voluntary separation incentives. Tony Vegliante, Postal Service CHCO said the Postal Service has received voluntary early retirement authority (VERA) from the Office of Personnel Management. However, it has not yet started offering any buyouts or early outs, he added.You can read more HERE
Modern mail trucks roll onto Vashon

U.S. Postal Service Unveils Self-Service Parcel Locker
 
ARLINGTON, VA — The U.S. Postal Service's new self-service parcel locker, dubbed gopost, was unveiled today at a ribbon-cutting ceremony witnessed by hundreds of shoppers and retailers at the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, VA. Designed for today's on-the-go lifestyles, gopost contains dozens of individual parcel lockers that Postal Service customers can use to receive or ship packages while they're out shopping or doing other errands. You can read more HERE
USPS/NALC Mediation Fails
 
The mediation process with the National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO (NALC) has come to an impasse
and will now enter into interest arbitration, a process which would conclude later this year.
Mail workers to deliver anti-anthrax drugs in pilot program
 
The medications would be guarded by sheriff's office and corrections department staff for distribution to postal sites. From there, the volunteer letter carriers would distribute the medications door-to-door, with each carrier guarded by a police officer along the delivery route.
 
Test Run of Postal Service Anthrax Response Teams Scheduled For May
Sen. Susan Collins faults the Postal Service (and the Postmaster General)
 
"I find myself in a quandary, one created by the Postmaster General himself as he shifts from plan to plan, from negotiation to negotiation," Collins concluded. "This makes it extraordinarily difficult for those of us who want to save the historic Postal Service so it can continue to be a vital American institution for generations to come."
 
USPS supporter in Senate criticizes postmaster general
 
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has been steadfast in wanting to help the Postal Service climb out of its fiscal hole, but she is losing patience with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's plan to close facilities across the country. "The postmaster general and I fundamentally disagree on how to save the U.S. Postal Service," Collins said, on the Senate floor Monday. "I am concerned, indeed deeply worried, that he will continue to make decisions that will severely degrade the service and drive away customers. That will undermine the opportunity for our bipartisan legislation to be successful."
Happiness and Productivity Go Hand-in-Hand
Congressman requests immediate review of "loophole" the USPS may be using to close offices
 
“The American people deserve the truth in terms of what exactly the USPS is attempting to do,”

GOING TO LOSE BILLIONS? Shhh ... don't tell anyone!

A revenue and volume impact study that the U.S. Postal Service has been keeping under wraps reveals that USPS’s planned closures and service changes will cost the beleaguered agency billions of dollars in lost revenue. The USPS-commissioned study reveals that planned USPS service reductions will cost the Postal Service more than $5.2 billion in lost revenue. The report also shows that in the first year of the plan’s implementation, the Postal Service would experience a 9.1 percent reduction in volume of first class mail, and a 19.7 percent reduction in volume of periodicals (magazines). ... more from federaldaily.com
 
Postal Service steers attention away from 'flawed' revenue study
Secret market survey reveals USPS plans would cost over $5 billion in lost revenue

Senate action on U.S. Postal Service measure delayed

The great Senate debate on postal overhaul legislation ain’t happening—definitely not today and possibly not until mid-April
... more from the Federal Times

Senate Defers Work on Post Office Overhaul

The Senate on Tuesday voted down a motion to begin work on legislation that would have overhauled (read "destroyed") the Postal Service. The measure fell nine votes short of the 60 needed to move forward. The Senate will consider taking up the measure again in mid-April, when lawmakers return from recess. ... read more at nytimes.com (blogs)

USPS PLANS ARE UNREALISTIC AND DISASTROUS

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe will testify Tuesday that the U.S. Postal Service could save nearly $7 billion in the first year of running its own health care plan, largely through eliminating the need to prefund retiree health benefits. But a leading federal health care expert will blast the Postal Service's plan as unrealistic and disastrous ... more from the Federal Times

"Their proposal isn't going to save money. It's going to cost money,"

Walton Francis, author of the Checkbook's Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees, said FEHBP is a "winning model." But carrying out the Postal Service plan would "decimate" any plan that enrolls half or more postal employees ... read more from federalnewsradio.com
47, not 2, jobs to be lost in Pasco post office closure
 
PASCO - Postal Service employees in the Tri-Cities have been told they will be losing 47 jobs -- not two --
when mail sorting moves from Pasco to Spokane.

SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS ON THE POSTAL SERVICE

"The Postal Service is also required by law to provide, as nearly as practicable, the “entire population of the United States” with “adequate and efficient postal services at fair and reasonable rates.” This is called the universal mandate and ensures that the Postal Service cannot leave rural states or small towns behind."
"The crisis facing the Postal Service is dire, but it is not hopeless. With the right tools and action from Congress, the Obama Administration, and the Postal leadership, the Postal Service can reform, right-size and modernize."
"... the Postmaster General and I fundamentally disagree on how to save the U.S. Postal Service. He continues to make decisions that will severely degrade service and drive away customers and that undermine the opportunity for our legislation to succeed."
 
You can read the Senator's address HERE

A STUNNING ADMISSION

In response to a motion filed by the APWU, the Postal Service admitted March 9 that it has not considered the combined effect of several of its major proposals ...
 
"Congress must act now to stop the Postal Service from implementing massive service cuts that will delay mail, kill jobs, and hurt the economy."
 
Check out the story on postalnews.com
 
"It is fundamentally dishonest to tout the cost-saving impacts of your proposals, while ignoring the reality that those same proposals could lead to self-reinforcing declines in revenue," said Connolly. "This report should be made public so we can all see the complete picture and make informed decisions about the future business model of the United States Postal Service." So said Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly who filed a motion with the Postal Regulatory Commission March 14 to make public a study on the impact of mail service cuts on United States Postal Service revenue. The USPS has filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to keep the study secret.
 
You can read that story HERE
 
Does USPS want you to see the results of a revenue study?
govexec.com also has a story on the USPS attempts to "keep the study secret."
 
U.S. Postal Service officials say a research firm used a “seriously flawed” methodology in a study that concluded mail service cuts would cost USPS billions in revenue, but the agency would not reveal details of that methodology. ... more
 
March 23, 2012 the Postal Service issued a press release responding to revelations about a market research survey it commissioned last summer but chose not to tell anyone about. The press release contains several misleading statements that only serve to compound the Postal Service’s bad faith in keep the survey secret. ... more from savethepostoffice.com

The Senate could vote on a motion to begin debate on the 21st Century Postal Service Act as early as Monday (3/26/12).


It appears that the Postal Service intends to implement as many consolidations as possible between May 15 and Aug. 31; take a break, and resume consolidations early in 2013. But the USPS refuses to provide any information about when it plans to close which facilities.
 
Read more at postalemployeenetwork.com or apwu.org

According to the postal service's five-year "Plan for Profitability" released in February, the USPS has an ambitious goal of cutting annual costs by over $22 billion by 2016.
 
How to Fix the Postal Service
An interesting read from usnews.com
Thinking about retirement? (Aren't we all?)
 
Best Dates to Retire - 2012 (Article)
 
Best Dates to Retire - 2012 (PDF)
Includes month by month analysis
U.S. Postal Service Statement on Election Mail Process
 
The U.S. Postal Service will suspend closures of some processing facilities
USPS is suspending some of the closures during the election season.
 
With one freeze on plant closures still in effect, the Postal Service announces another
 
Postal Service to suspend closures during election season
The U.S. Postal Service may resort to early retirements and buyout offers

U.S. Postal Service plans to close, consolidate 223 processing centers
 
USPS Plans to Implement Consolidations As Soon As Moratorium Ends
Top-level postal managers were unable – or unwilling – to specify which mail processing centers would be closed immediately.

USPS to Lose $83.2 Billion by 2016 Unless Congress Acts
 
USPS is required to record $4.5 billion in losses that don’t actually exist.

Postal regulator defends travel records

Business Mailers Rankled by Obama Call to End Saturday Delivery

NALC President reacts to Obama 5 day delivery proposal

Competing Postal Bills -vs- Congressional Budget Office

This is what the Postal Service calls "the mail moment,"

No mail delivery on Saturdays?
USA Today Q&A with the PMG
"I think in 15 years, we'll probably be talking about delivering mail three days a week ..."
All Thrift Savings Plan funds post positive returns in January

Over the past four years, revenues exceeded costs by $837 million
An OP ED piece by NALC President Fredric Rolando.

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