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Friday, December 16, 2016


The following is a summary of the tentative agreement reached between representatives of the NPMHU and the Postal Service to establish the terms of the 2016 National Agreement.

Term The 2016 National Agreement will cover three years and four months, or 40 months, and will expire at midnight on September 20, 2019.

General Wage Increases

All career Mail Handlers will receive three general wage increases during the term:

-- the first, retroactively effective to November 26, 2016, will be 1.2%;

-- the second, effective on November 25, 2017, will be 1.3%; and

-- the third, effective on November 24, 2018, will be 1.3%.

For Mail Handler Assistants (MHAs), the general wage increases will be 1% higher per year, or 2.2% in November 2016, 2.3% in November 2017, and 2.3% in November 2018. MHAs will not receive Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), but also will receive an additional 50 cents per hour in their base pay, set as another 9 cents per hour effective in November 2016, 20 cents per hour in May 2018, and 21 cents per hour in May 2019. The Level 4 rate for MHAs that started in 2013 at $13.75, and has recently been $14.71, will immediately go to $15.12 per hour effective last month. The Level 5 rate will be $15.94 per hour. In 2019, the Level 4 rate will be at $16.21, and the Level 5 rate will be over $17 per hour. Cost-of-Living Adjustments

All career Mail Handlers will receive seven cost-of-living adjustments, using the July 2014 CPI index as a base:

-- the first COLA will be retroactively effective in September 2016, and will be $21

-- the second COLA will be effective in March 2017

-- the third COLA will be effective in September 2017

-- the fourth COLA will be effective in March 2018

-- the fifth COLA will be effective in September 2018

-- the sixth COLA will be effective in March 2019

-- the seventh COLA will be effective in September 2019

All cost-of-living adjustments paid during the 2016 National Agreement will be rolled into basic salary immediately.

The exact amount of the COLAs will be based on future increases in the Consumer Price Index. As Mail Handlers know from previous years, because of wild and largely unpredictable fluctuations in the rate of inflation, economists have great difficulty in accurately projecting the amount of these COLAs. For example, the COLAs paid during the entire five-year term of the 2011 National Agreement averaged $183 per COLA, even though several COLAs were 0 because of minimal inflation in the economy. If that average were to repeat itself during the term of the 2016 National Agreement, the COLA provision, by itself, would provide almost $1,300 in additional base wage increases over the next three years. Of course, should inflation moderate, these guaranteed COLA payments will be lower, and should inflation increase more than expected, these guaranteed COLA payments could provide larger wage increases.

Overall Impact of Wage Increases

For a Level 4 Mail Handler at top step, the wage increases during the forty months of the 2016 National Agreement – not including COLA – will total $2,137, including $675 retroactively effective in November 2016; $731 effective in November 2017; and $731 effective in November 2018. For a Level 5 Mail Handler at top step, these general wage increases – again not including COLA – will total $2,177 over the forty months of the contract, including $687 retroactively effective in November 2016; $745 effective in November 2017; and $745 effective in November 2018. When projected COLA payments are added in at the consensus estimate of $250 per increase, at top step for career employees there will be an additional $1,750 in base wage increases – over and above the general wage increases described above – during the term of the 2016 National Agreement. And, of course, protection against future inflation is precisely why the COLA provision remains an important component of the National Agreement.

For MHAs, at Level 4, the rate that was at $13.75 in 2013 and at $14.71 in 2016 will go to $15.12 per hour effective on November 26, 2016 and to $16.21 per hour in 2019, before the next round of bargaining. No Layoff Clause

All career Mail Handlers employed as of May 20, 2016 will be protected against layoff or force reduction during the entire term of the Agreement, unless Congress repeals or significantly relaxes the Private Express Statutes. Health Insurance

In 2017, there will be no change in the percentage of employee contribution to health insurance. Starting in 2018, the Postal Service’s share of the cost of health insurance, which currently is 76% of the weighted average formula used by OPM for federal employees with a maximum percentage of 79.25%, will be decreased by 2%, and then there will be another 1% decrease in 2019. Thus, the Postal Service will contribute 76% of the weighted average in 2017; 74% of the weighted average in 2018; and 73% of the weighted average in 2019. For comparison purposes, the federal government pays 72% of the weighted average health insurance costs for federal employees, who receive exactly the same health insurance benefits.

In today’s dollars, a 1% increase in health care contributions is equivalent to an increase of approximately $70 per year for self-only coverage and between $100 and $160 per year for family coverage, depending on the particular health plan selected. These amounts automatically are paid with pre-tax dollars, so the actual out-of-pocket cost to each Mail Handler should be less by the percentage of income taxes usually paid.

Night Shift Differential

A small 4 cents per hour increase in night shift differential will apply to all MHAs and during the first year of career employment for current and future career employees.

Clothing Allowance

There will be a 2.5% increase in clothing allowance during each year of the contract.

Employee Complement

The tentative agreement includes a one-time conversion of MHAs in installations which have 200 or more man years of employment, with the conversion to take place within 60 days of ratification. As of the date of ratification, any MHA with 2.5 or more years as an MHA at that time will automatically be converted to full-time career status, without the need to serve another probationary period. The parties at the National level also will meet one year later to discuss the possibility of another one-time conversion in early 2018.

The agreement also will reduce casual employees from 5% to 3% by installation, and in return will increase the percentage of MHAs by 3.5%. This will mean approximately 1,400 additional members of our bargaining unit, which will be good for the employees who are new MHAs and good for the overall strength of the Union.


MHAs will receive holiday leave pay for six holidays per year: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This pay will be 8 hours per holiday in installations which have 200 or more man-years of employment and 6 hours per holiday in other offices. And if MHAs work on a holiday, they will be able to choose annual leave rather than pay for the 8 or 6 hours.

Other Contractual Provisions

Article 4 will be amended to ensure that Local representatives will be notified and entitled to meet about deployment of any new automation or mechanized equipment, whether the machinery is local purchased or nationally deployed.

Any agreements to exceed the percentage caps on MHAs set forth in Article 7, by either installation or district, will require the approval of the National parties, much like local agreements to exceed the percentage cap on casuals.

A change in Article 8 will allow employees transferred or reassigned into an installation or into the Mail Handler craft to place their names on the Overtime Desired List immediately.

Another change to Article 8 will make clear that available and qualified casuals, MHAs, and/or PTFs will be working overtime before full-time regulars not on the list are forced to work.

A small change in Article 10 makes clear that requests for vacant weeks of vacation must be submitted no less than 7 days in advance, and not precisely 7 days in advance.

The MOU governing administrative leave for donations of bone marrow, stem cells, blood platelets, and organs has been amended to provide for leave in hours, rather than days, and to clearly cover PTFs, PTRs, and MHAs.

The definition of “parent” under the MOU on Bereavement Leave now will cover mother, father, mother-in-law, and father-in-law.

The parties have formed a Task Force on Sick Leave to discuss opportunities, beyond the annual leave exchange option (which will continue), to provide incentives for those Mail Handlers who do not use their sick leave.

The tentative agreement ensures that MHAs are covered by regulations governing wounded warrior leave for the first year of employment, pursuant to which veterans with a 30% disability can use up to 13 days of wounded warrior leave for medical appointments and treatment. This benefit has since been extended to all current postal employees with a 30% or more disability, for the one year period from November 5, 2016 to November 4, 2017.

All MHAs who are converted after completing one year or more as an MHA will not have to serve another probationary period as a career employee.

The previous MOU on Relative Standing for MHAs, based on their date of hire, will be fully incorporated into the contract.

The previous MOU on Discipline of MHAs will be incorporated into the contract, stating that just cause requires that discipline be both progressive and corrective in nature and based on the individual facts and circumstances of each case.

The MOU on Filling Residual Vacancies, which has significantly increased the number of MHA conversions to career, will be incorporated into the contract, but with improvements over the existing MOU. This revised version of the MOU continues the conversion process, but also allows MHAs to be converted as unassigned regulars rather than waiting for the E-reassign process to play itself out.

The parties have agreed to an MOU providing that the Article 12 Task Force will discuss the potential for offering MHAs conversion opportunities to any newly established or vacant part-time career positions within 50 miles, including PTR and PTF positions.

Under Article 12, no Mail Handlers, including MHAs, will be moved off of their assignment until all employees from other crafts performing Mail Handler work (under articles 7.2 or 13) are moved first.

A new MOU provides that the separation and reappointment of MHAs for lack of work, if they occur, will be based on inverse relative standing.

If employees from other crafts are involuntarily reassigned into the Mail Handler craft, they will be treated as detailed and not allowed to bid for the first 120 days, so that they cannot obtain bids in preference to Mail Handlers also being reassigned into the installation.

When Mail Handlers are being involuntarily excessed both into other crafts in the installation and to Mail Handler positions in other installations, a new provision will allow the senior employees to choose whether to stay in the installation or move to another.

Another change to Article 12.2G4 will mean that a Mail Handler who voluntarily reassigns to another craft in the installation and then returns within 90 days to the Mail Handler craft will not get credit toward seniority for the time actually spent in the other craft.

A change to Article 12.3B3 will require management to determine whether to revert vacant duty assignments and post those assignments for bid within the same 28 day period, thereby eliminating the Postal Service’s ability to postpone its reversion determination indefinitely, as management often does under the 2011 National Agreement and prior contracts.

The language of Article 12.3B12 has been improved, to require a temporary supervisor to return to the craft not simply for 14 consecutive days, but for at least one continuous pay period, before the temporary supervisor can bid or retain an existing bid.

A change to Article 12.6B2 will require local management, if and when it learns that an installation is released from withholding, in whole or in part, to notify the Union.

A new MOU provides that, if there is excessing from 200 man year facilities because only Part-Time Mail Handler work remains, the parties at the Regional level will be allowed to agree to create PTF positions to allow Mail Handlers to stay in that installation.

A revision in Article 15 will allow District violations of MHA caps to be grieved at Step 3 by the appropriate Regional Director.

The MOU on Purging Letters of Warning has been obtained again for all Mail Handlers, and it will apply to MHAs.

Article 38 is amended to provide that MHAs must be counted when determining the number of Mail Handlers and the frequency of labor-management committee meetings.

The tentative agreement makes permanent the rule that all new career employees, whether or not they are on probation, will be entitled to bid.

A revision to the MOU concerning on-the-job training instructors will provide that Level 5 Mail Handlers who train will receive Level 6 pay. This has been a Union proposal for at least 25 years, finally obtained.

Changes to the MOU on Transfers, through the next version of the Contract Interpretation Manual, will provide that the 18-month and 12-month lock-in periods will not apply to Mail Handlers who are involuntarily reassigned to an installation, and to ensure that time as an MHA will count toward an otherwise applicable lock-in period.

A change in Article 17 will provide for orientation if a current postal employee is reassigned to the Mail Handler craft.

Article 30 is amended to establish the period for negotiations over Local Memoranda of Understanding to run for 30 consecutive days between March 1, 2017 and April 29, 2017.

The Article 32 MOU on Subcontracting has been continued, as the parties continue to discuss insourcing of work from the Surface Transportation Centers, the Mail Transport Equipment Service Centers (MTEC), and the bedloading or consolidation-deconsolidation centers.

MHAs will be covered by Article 35 governing alcohol and drug recovery programs and EAP.

All other MOUs and Letters of Intent have been continued, except for the Clean Air Act Committee, the Reassignment Made Pursuant to Article 12.6C6c, and the MOD-15 MOU, which have been deleted as outdated or obsolete.

The Joint Education and Training Fund will be continued, with additional funding of $1 million per year.

All other provisions of the 2011 National Agreement are being maintained, except for date changes or other cosmetic changes that may be necessary to accommodate the new contract.



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2016 Contract Update #9

  2016 Contract Update #9

Read 2016 Contract Update #9 (pdf)

With the completion of the 2016 NPMHU National Convention, the National Office and representatives of the U.S. Postal Service have returned to the bargaining table to reach closure on the issues that remain open before an overall settlement can be announced on the terms of the 2016 National Agreement.

As previously reported by National President Hogrogian, at the original midnight deadline on May 20, 2016, the parties agreed to extend their negotiations. There were two primary reasons for that extension: first, the parties had made substantial progress in bargaining, with many tentative agreements already initialed and verbal commitments on approaches to address the outstanding issues; and second, both parties wanted to wait for the release of the final arbitrated award covering the contract between the Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union, which was expected to be available in June 2016.

The APWU arbitration award was eventually issued on July 8, 2016, through a panel headed by Stephen Goldberg. The decision awarded a contract covering 40 months, through September 20, 2018. On the key economic issues, the award provides career employees with three general wage increases of 1.2%, 1.3%, and 1.3%, as well as a potential for five cost-of-living adjustments during the same time period. Non-career employees who are not eligible for COLA were awarded wage increases of 2.2%, 2.3%, and 2.3%, plus another 50 cents per hour spread over the contract. The award also included layoff protection for career employees currently on the rolls.

With this award public, talks began to resolve outstanding issues between the NPMHU and the USPS. A short hiatus was taken for the National Convention, but now it appears that a tentative agreement is within reach. Of course, such an agreement will be subject to ratification by the entire membership.

Our agreement will include general wage increases and COLAs for career employees, as well as wage increases and other financial improvements for MHAs. The parties also have reached tentative understandings on important work rules, to provide additional protection to career employees and much-needed improvements for MHAs. Still to be resolved are various MHA-related items, a possible reduction in the percentage of casual employees, and even the total duration of the agreement. But the parties remain optimistic that an overall settlement can be reached soon.

As developments occur, circulation of these Contract Updates will continue, so please check your bulletins for more information.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

The great big Postal Service lie

  The great big Postal Service lie

"...look out, because a cabal of corporate predators and Koch-headed ideologues are scheming to take "public" out of this pubic agency and strip "service" out of the Postal Service by spreading a diabolical Big Lie. Their bogus claim is that this essential public service is a hopeless money loser, sucking billions from taxpayers every year. Unfortunately, our lazy media establishment..."

Reference: Federal Employee News  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Open Season: September 1 - 30, 2016

  Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Open Season: September 1 - 30, 2016

Take advantage of the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Open Season. For the first time in 12 years, as a FEGLIeligible employee you can enroll in or increase your FEGLI coverage for yourself and eligible dependent family members – without answering any medical questions or having a physical examination. All career employees are eligible to participate.

    Almost everyone needs life insurance; how much is for you to decide. Through the FEGLI Program, you have several choices in selecting the amount of life insurance that’s right for you. FEGLI offers:
  • • Basic Life — Provides the first level of financial protection. Unless waived, all eligible Federal employees will receive Basic term life insurance in an amount equal to your salary, rounded up to the next $1,000, plus $2,000. If eligible, the Federal Government pays one-third of the cost of your Basic insurance. You must have Basic Insurance before you can enroll in Optional Coverage.
  • • Option A — Standard, in the amount of $10,000.
  • • Option B — Additional, in an amount from one to five times your annual rate of basic pay after rounding your salary up to the next $1,000.
  • • Option C — Family, one to five multiples of coverage for your spouse and each of your eligible dependent children under age 22. Each multiple is equal to $5,000 for the death of a spouse and $2,500 for the death of each eligible dependent child. Generally, only unmarried dependent children are eligible for coverage under Option C.

Protect your family from the loss of your income. When considering the amount of coverage you need, think about the funds your survivors might need in addition to funeral expenses. Examples are: mortgage, rent, credit card debt, school loans, uncovered medical costs, taxes and attorney’s fees.

Find out what coverage you currently have:

Review your Life Insurance code on your Earnings Statement. Log on to, go to Employee Apps – Quick Links and click on ePayroll. There will not be a line for Basic coverage because the Postal Service pays the full amount. You cannot have Optional coverage without Basic. If you are not sure whether you have Basic only, check your most recent PS Form 50.

Determine the right amount of coverage for you and your family:

Use the FEGLI Calculator or MetLife's Coverage Calculator to estimate the coverage needed. The FEGLI Calculator computes premium amounts based on the coverage you select. You can also see how much your coverage will cost in retirement. MetLife's Coverage Calculator helps you evaluate your needs and identify an appropriate coverage amount.

The FEGLI Open Season brochure provides additional information about Open Season and what FEGLI offers.

Ready to make changes to your FEGLI coverage?

Complete the SF 2817, Life Insurance Election. Sign for all of the coverage you want, even if it includes coverage you already have. Any coverage not signed for, will be cancelled on the effective date of your Open Season election. The effective date of your Open Season election will be October 14, 2017, provided that you are in a pay and duty status. If you are in a nonpay status, your new coverage will become effective upon your return to pay and duty status.

Mail your completed SF 2817 to:
HR Shared Service Center
ATTN: FEGLI Open Season
PO Box 971300
Greensboro NC 27497- 1300

There is a one year delayed effective date for coverage elected through the FEGLI Open Season. Elections will take effect on the first day of your first pay period that begins on or after October 1, 2017, provided you are in pay and duty status. If you do not want to wait, you can elect coverage without a delayed effective date by providing satisfactory medical information on the Request for Insurance form, SF 2822.1 You can also elect basic and optional coverage within 60 days of a qualifying life event (e.g., marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, birth/adoption of children).

Don’t forget to name a beneficiary!

During this Open Season, we encourage you to verify, add or change your beneficiary elections to ensure that your benefits will be paid according to your wishes. Updating your beneficiary designation is completely voluntary. If you do not name a beneficiary, your benefits will be paid according to the order of payment set by law. If you want to update your designation, you can complete a Designation of Beneficiary (SF 2823, available at and submit it to your human resources office or shared service center.

Additional material available for download:
2016 FEGLI Reference Guide (pdf)
2016 FEGLI Brochure (pdf)
SF2817 Life Insurance Election (pdf)


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mail Handler Contract Update

  Mail Handler Contract Update

What's the latest on the mail handler contract update? The big question for most mail handler's is what is going to happen with the new contract? The answer to that question is unknown. The last contract update was in May on the national site. Will we finally garner a decent wage increase or will the arbitrator simply follow the arbitrator in the APWU arbitration and receive a tiny 1% increase for career employees while incomes of typical Americans rose in 2015 by 5.2 percent? Sadly, as parcel growth increases exponentially, the postal service continues to cry poor-mouth, especially at contract negotiations time. Will mail handlers garner wages to catch them up to somewhere close to that of other crafts or will health insurance costs continue to drive down any wage increases while mail handlers struggle to survive while middle class incomes see the first significant boost to middle-class pay since the end of the Great Recession and the fastest increase ever recorded by the federal government? Only time will tell if we continue to slide economically while the rest of the nation reaps the benefits of an improving economy. Stay tuned for more and hope you will be rewarded for your hard work and loyalty.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Feds charge dozens of Southern California postal workers

  Feds charge dozens of Southern California postal workers

"...One case alleges that a former Mail Handler Union executive stole more than 150 mobile phones at a distribution center in the Moreno Valley and traded them through a website..."


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How does LWOP affect me?

  Effect of Extended Leave Without Pay (LWOP) (or Other Nonpay Status) on Federal Benefits and Programs

"...An aggregate nonpay status of 6 months in any calendar year is creditable service. Coverage continues at no cost to the employee while in a nonpay status. When employees are in a nonpay status for only a portion of a pay period, their retirement deductions are adjusted in proportion to their basic pay (5 U.S.C. 8332 and 8411).

High-3 average salary computations are based on periods of creditable service. Thus, periods of nonpay status of 6 months or less in a calendar year that fall within an employee’s average salary period are included in the calculation of the average salary using the rate of basic pay in effect during the period of nonpay status. For example, if a full-time employee whose annual rate of basic pay is $85,000 per year is placed in nonpay status for 3 months, that 3-month period would be credited in the average salary calculation using the $85,000 basic pay rate. (If the rate of basic pay changed to $86,500 per year after 2 months of the nonpay period, the first 2 months of the nonpay period would be credited in the average salary calculation using the $85,000 basic pay rate and the last month of the nonpay period would be credited in the average salary calculation using the $86,500 basic pay rate.)..."

Notes: Effect vs Affect

How to file an NLRA complaint against the employer or union thru the NLRB

  How to file an NLRA complaint against the employer or union thru the NLRB

"...If you believe your NLRA rights have been violated, you may file a charge against an employer or a labor organization. You can find charge forms here. Please contact an information officer at your nearest Regional Office for assistance. The NLRB receives about 20,000 to 30,000 charges per year from employees, unions and employers covering a range of unfair labor practices described in Section 8 of the Act..."


Understanding and Defending Past Practices

  Understanding and Defending Past Practices

"...Stewards need to know what a valid past practice is and what the past practices in their workplace are—to defend them from erosion by management. A past practice is any longstanding, frequent practice that is accepted and known by both union and management..."


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Is an EAS 16 a confidential employee/manager? You might be surprised

  Don’t Just Look For the Management Label

"...The agency demoted Hayden to a PS-4 Mail Handler because she entered incorrect data involving a grievance filed by an employee accused of mail theft. That accused employee happened to be Hayden’s sister. (p. 3) In the demotion letter the agency advised her that she could appeal to the MSPB..."


How much more do clerks make (pay) than you?

  APWU Pay Scales

"...The new pay scales under the 2015-2018 contract are now posted at According to information provided by the Postal Service, management will implement the new pay rates on Aug. 6 (Pay Period 17) and they will be reflected in paychecks dated Aug. 26..."


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Nine Drug Traffickers Charged After Mailing Cocaine From Puerto Rico To Manhattan

  Nine Drug Traffickers Charged After Mailing Cocaine From Puerto Rico To Manhattan

"...One of the defendants was a U.S. Postal Service employee who used the federal agency’s expansive distribution system as a drug delivery service. The fairly elaborate narcotic peddling scheme was foiled due to an overcommitment to retain lost goods...."


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Birmingham Postal Worker Rising in Music Industry

  The Lives and Deaths of Birmingham Hip-Hop

"...For Collins, who works for the U.S. Postal Service when he’s not running the label, founding Clockwork 247 has been “a constant headache.” “I tell everybody this is organized chaos,” he says. “”Every day, we’re constantly moving forward, but we may not know where we’re going.” Clockwork 247 might be one of the Birmingham hip-hop community’s newest members, but Collins says ..."


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

NPMHU Issues Contract Update #8: Contract Negotiations Extended Beyond Deadline

  Contract Negotiations Extended Beyond Deadline
As expected, a lot happened during the final days of this year’s regular bargaining period. The Postal Service and NPMHU negotiated right up until the clock struck midnight on Friday, May 20. Despite these efforts, however, an agreement on all of the outstanding terms and conditions of employment could not be reached before the deadline.

Read 2016 Contract Update #8 (pdf)

Friday, May 20, 2016

What's going on with the APWU Contract Arbitration Hearings? Contract Arbitration Hearings Conclude for APWU


Decision Expected in 30 to 60 Days

Contract Arbitration Hearings Conclude

During 18 days of hearings that focused primarily on the economic provisions on the new contract, the union and management presented their positions, called witnesses, submitted evidence, and offered rebuttals.

For more information on the negotiations and the fight for a good contract, click here.


How do other businesses treat employees during hard times? 4.8 percent pay raise for workers at VW

  Scandal-hit VW agrees to 4.8 percent pay rise for workers

"...the kind of raises that could help the 19-country eurozone lift inflation from dangerously low levels. The company said Friday that almost 120,000 workers would get 2.8 percent more on Sept. 1 and then another 2.0 percent on Aug. 1, 2017..."


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Memorandum Addresses NPMHU Bidding Procedures During Bargaining

  Memorandum Addresses NPMHU Bidding Procedures During Bargaining

Employees represented by the NPMHU will be allowed to bid under the new contract, whether or not the parties reach a tentative settlement, extend bargaining, or enter into impasse procedures. Successful bids on or after May 21, 2016 will be counted towards the bid maximums established in the 2016 National Agreement.

Read the Union's memorandum and related USPS document addressing bidding procedures during the ongoing negotiations and/or in the event of an impasse. (pdf)


NPMHU Issues Contract Update #7

Contract Expiration Approaches - Bargaining Intensifies
NPMHU Issues Contract Update #7
With the contract expiration date nearing, bargaining has entered its final stage. The parties have launched a series of meetings at a hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. These meetings will occur with increasing regularity as the week progresses.

The NPMHU bargaining team is hard at work. Postal Service representatives also are working to ensure that the agency’s interests are represented in this new contract. Much of this work is done at the eleventh hour, however. Considerable progress is expected between now and midnight on Friday, May 20.

Read 2016 Contract Update #7(pdf)


Thursday, May 12, 2016

NPMHU Issues Contract Update #6

USPS Delivers Financial Presentation
NPMHU Issues Contract Update #6
This past week the Postal Service presented the NPMHU bargaining team with its official, on-the-record Financial Presentation. This did not include a proposed wage or benefit package for the 2016 National Agreement, but rather focused on the Postal Service’s current financial situation.

The presentation was slightly dated, primarily relying on data from Fiscal Year 2015 (ending on September 30, 2015) and the first quarter of FY2016 to reach its conclusions. It also focused on the termination of the exigent rate increase that led to a reduction in postage rates last month. However, it appears that the projections made in the presentation were fairly accurate. Outlined were the Postal Service’s views on the root causes of its financial instability, the steps it has taken thus far to deal with this financial situation, and the additional actions that it believes are still necessary to cope with the formidable financial challenges that lie ahead.

Read 2016 Contract Update #6 (pdf)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NPMHU Issues Contract Update #5

  NPMHU Issues Contract Update #5
Bargaining is entering its final phase as the month of May 2016 approaches. With the contract slated to expire at midnight on May 20, 2016, both the NPMHU and the Postal Service have begun to draft tentative agreements.

Tentative agreements, or TAs, as they are known in the world of collective bargaining, are crucial to the practice of contract negotiation. They serve as markers of everything that is agreed upon during the period of negotiations. At the moment, both parties have signed off on only a handful of tentative agreements, but there certainly will be more to come. Read 2016 Contract Update #5 (pdf)


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

NPMHU Issues Contract Update #4

  NPMHU Issues Contract Update #4
At the main table session on Tuesday, April 5, the parties reconvened after a brief hiatus to receive and discuss several counterproposals from the Postal Service. Each proposal was presented by a different member of the Postal Service’s bargaining team. At the end of each presentation, the Union had an opportunity to seek clarification and ask questions.

Read 2016 Contract Update #4 (pdf)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ex-Postal Worker from Huntsville is CMA award-winning and Grammy-nominated songwriter Jim McBride

  Jim McBride returns for Arts Center show

"...continued to write songs while he was employed by the United States Postal Service. He reluctantly left the comfort of a government job for an uncertain career in Nashville in 1981..."

Reference: News-Postal  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

NPMHU Issues Contract Update #3

  NPMHU Issues Contract Update #3
The NPMHU and the Postal Service have now been engaged in collective bargaining for approximately one month. During the month of March, the Union has been meeting with management representatives an average of three days per week. Some of the meetings were on the record (also known as “main table”) and some have been off the record, in the form of more informal but focused subcommittees. The meetings are expected to occur even more frequently as bargaining moves forward.

Read 2016 Contract Update #3 (pdf)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

NPMHU Issues Contract Update #2

  NPMHU Issues Contract Update #2
Bargaining is underway! Representatives from the Postal Service have now met at least three times with representatives from the NPMHU Negotiations Team for productive rounds of on-the-record meetings.

Read Contract Update #2 here (PDF)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Did you Know? The USPS offers a 'Hold Mail Service'

  Hold Mail Service

"...If you’re going away for a while, take advantage of the Postal Service Hold Mail service. The USPS will keep your mail safely at your local Post Office™ until you return. Schedule the service up to 30 days in advance, or by 2AM CST (Mon-Sat) on the start date. Each address can have one Hold Mail scheduled at a time. All mail will be held, rather than an individual's mail. Fill the form out online..."


Postal worker struck and killed in parking lot of Kearny distribution center

  Postal worker struck and killed in parking lot of Kearny distribution center

"...Dominic V. Daniels Processing & Distribution Center in Kearny, where a 54-year-old employee was struck and killed in the parking lot on Tuesday, March 22, 2016..."


Friday, March 18, 2016

How are your wages in comparison to the U.S. average hourly earnings? Not so good

  How are your wages in comparison to the U.S. average hourly earnings? Not so good

Are you curious if your wages are keeping up with the average hourly wages in America? Well, the Postal Service does not seem to be keeping up with the wage growth that the average worker is experiencing and contract negotiations with postal unions do not bode well for repairing the stagnant wages of postal workers.

Average hourly earnings increased by 0.5% to $25.39, the Labor Department said Friday. From a year earlier, hourly wages are up 2.5%, a slight slowdown from the prior month’s 2.7% annual advance, but again one of the best performances since the recession ended.

As you can see, the Postal Service wage is not keeping up by far, for example, a starting Level 4 Career Mail Handler is only $17.07/hour. Even sadder, a Mail Handler that is topped out at the level 4 rate earns only $27.03/hour ...not so much for a laborious job with odd hours and off days. All of this while the Postal Service continues to profit, yet argues against unions for even average pay raises. All of this while doing more with less. Can you expect the 2.5% average U.S. worker annual advance being garnered by others? If contract negotiations with other unions are any indication, you can rest assured you will not see it from the USPS. That is not to say the USPS will not do the right thing and provide a 2.5% increase, but it does not look likely. An arbitration agreement may provide some relief should negotiations fail to provide adequate wage increases and it comes to that.

However, in spite of being well below average in wages, the average Mail Handler continues to provide excellent service to the employer and this great country. Sometimes the only reward we get as a postal worker is the pride we feel in providing the best service available in the mailing industry for the best price and with the best attitude toward our loyal customers. All of this from a group of workers that have largely already served our country as military service men and women. We all know that serving our country is in our blood and we continue to do so with pride and quality.


Huntsville Union Meeting on Saturday (March 19, 2016)

  Huntsville Union Meeting on Saturday (March 19, 2016)

The National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 317 - Huntsville, will host a union meeting at the China Buffet on Highway 20 in Madison. The meeting is scheduled for noon on Saturday, March 19, 2016. The State President, James Morris, will be in attendance as well as the Huntsville Local Branch President, Alex.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

2016 Contract Update #1

  2016 Contract Update #1

For the most current information available, please read the first of many Contract Updates produced and distributed by the NPMHU during the course of 2016 negotiations. These updates, along with the Union’s magazine and monthly bulletins, will keep mail handlers throughout the country informed and involved in the issues raised during this round of bargaining.


Postal employee deaths at Pontiac facility raise questions

  Postal employee deaths at Pontiac facility raise questions

"... This site is considered a brownfield. Brownfields are former industrial or commercial sites where future use is affected by environmental contamination. Brownfield sites are converted into usable space under the supervision of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)..."


Friday, March 4, 2016

Mail handler fired following work-related injury at Postal Service facility

  Mail handler fired following work-related injury at Postal Service facility

"...“The Postal Service terminated this employee for working unsafely, despite statements from co-workers and witnesses contradicting that story,” said Nick Walters, regional administrator or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Chicago. “No worker should be subject to such treatment. The department will do everything to prevent this type of unlawful retaliation.” The department’s lawsuit alleges..."


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Negotiations Kick-off with First Main Table Bargaining Session

  Negotaiations Kick-off with First Main Table Bargaining Session
March 01, 2016 - The National Postal Mail Handlers Union and United States Postal Service bargaining teams met for the first of many main-table negotiations. President Hogrogian presented the Union's first packet of non-economic proposals to the Service.

Friday, February 26, 2016

NPMHU and USPS Present Opening Statements as National Negotiations Begin in Washington D.C.

  NPMHU and USPS Present Opening Statements as National Negotiations Begin in Washington D.C.

"...The return of normal growth in the American economy and operational surpluses for the Postal Service should mean a return to more normalized collective bargaining. integrate the postal health care system into Medicare; to expand the mailing and other services that the Postal Service offers to the American public; and to stop the unwise closings and consolidations of mail processing facilities ..."


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Addendum to MOU Re: Filling of Residual Vacancies Signed

  Addendum to MOU Re: Filling of Residual Vacancies Signed
February 9, 2016- In a memorandum to all Local Presidents, President Hogrogian and CAD Manager T.J. Branch report that the NPMHU and the Postal Service have signed another MOU about the filling of residual vacancies, this one supplementing the earlier August 2015 MOU on this subject.

Through this February 8, 2016 agreement, the parties have executed an Addendum to the MOU Re Filling Residual Vacancies in which they mutually agree to change item 6 of the original MOU – governing the filling of vacancies based on the MOU Re Transfers, with the following language (new language underlined below):

“Based on the MOU Re: Transfers, all qualified bargaining-unit applicants without priority consideration, on a first-in, first-out basis. These reassignment (transfer) requests will be made with the normal considerations contained in the MOU Re Transfers. All residual vacancies will be posted in eReassign. The number of career reassignments allowed under this paragraph is limited to one in every four full-time opportunities filled in offices of 100 or more work-years and one in every six full-time opportunities filled in offices of less than 100 work-years.

As the new, underlined language makes clear, upon reaching item 6 in the MOU Re Filling Residual Vacancies, all residual vacancies will be posted in eReasign, and career employees from other installations may be transferred based on that system, with upside limits of 1 in every 4 full-time positions in offices with at least 100 work-years and 1 in every 6 positions in smaller facilities.

Copies of this new Addendum, as well as the original MOU, are available at this link.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Huntsville woman arrested in mail theft case

  Huntsville woman arrested in mail theft case

"...Madison Police arrested a Huntsville woman Thursday in connection with recent mail thefts and destruction of mail from residential mailboxes, according to a press release..."


Leighton post office drug shipment seized; meth and marijuana seized, two arrested

  Drug shipment seized, ICE and marijuana seized, two arrested

"...LEIGHTON Post Office — Working with the U.S. postal inspector’s office, state agencies and local law enforcement helped the Colbert County Drug Task Force arrest what they describe as a “major” drug dealer..."


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