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National Postal Mail Handlers Union Re-Joins AFL-CIO- The 50,000-member National Postal Mail Handlers Union (Mail Handlers) returned to the AFL-CIO today and became the 54th affiliate union in the 10-million-member AFL-CIO. (pictured at left - Mail Handlers President John Hegarty, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney) (12/12/06)



National Postal Mail Handlers Union Contract Negotiations

"The NPMHU will be producing periodic bulletin board postings to keep the membership informed regarding the status of this year’s contract negotiations.  These 2006 Contract Updates will be mailed to all officers and stewards, for posting on the Mail Handler bulletin board in each facility.  Please read these updates to stay informed about these important contract talks."

Contract Update No. 1
Contract Update No. 2
Contract Update No. 3
Contract Update No. 4


Mail Handler Contract Update:

[Mail Handler President John Hegarty] went on to say that he was optimistic that the NPMHU and the USPS could come to an agreement, if both sides made and accepted reasonable proposals. Postmaster General Potter agreed, adding that the “worst possible outcome” for the Postal Service was to allow the terms of the next contract to be decided by an interest arbitrator. He expressed the Postal Service’s desire for a reasoned agreement with the representative of its employees. At the same time, the PMG emphasized the challenges that the Postal Service is currently facing. In particular, he described how the Postal Service’s financial situation is impacted by the increasing use of electronic means to transmit messages and conduct business. He also discussed the enormous impact on the Postal Service of rising health care costs, especially legacy costs for Postal Service retirees. (08/29/06)

USPS Issues Staffing Jurisdiction On Modified AFSM-100 Sorting Machines to Mail Handlers - "After full review of the duties associated with the Automated Induction (AI) and the Automatic Tray Handling 100 (ATHS) systems on the Automated Flats Sorting Machine 100 (AFSM-100), the USPS has issued its primary craft jurisdiction determinations for each of these machines. In accordance with these determinations, on any AFSM-100 with AI, the Mail Handler craft has been assigned as the primary craft for employees working at the Load Station, for employees working at the Prep Station, and for employees operating the ATHS. The clerk craft has been assigned to the one employee working the Feed station on the AFSM-100 with AI. For non-AI AFSM-100s with ATHS, the staffing will be four clerks to allow for ergonomic relief.  (02/09/06)

Memo to NPMHU Locals | Craft Determination Letter

Postal Service Reverses Course-Issues Bids to Subcontract Mail Handler Bargaining Unit Work at AMC Boston - The Postal Service made a National Level Decision to Subcontract work at the Boston AMC less than one week after notifying the Union that they were rescinding their proposal to subcontract Air Mail Center Work Nationwide and less than seventy-two (72) hours after assuring Local Union Leadership that they were not going to subcontract our work  (10/26/05)
First Health Announces Enhanced Product Offerings for the Mail Handlers Benefit Plan; Office of Personnel Management Publishes 2005 Rates -After extensive research with federal employees, a number of changes to the MHBP offering have been made for 2005, including the introduction of a new MHBP Consumer Option, which combines a Health Savings Account (HSA) with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), and the MHBP Standard Option, which has been enhanced. The Consumer and Standard Option are two of the best values for federal and postal employees and annuitants nationwide. (9/13/04)
(posted 6/1/04)

NPMHU Oppose Worksharing, OWCP Changes in Senate Reform Bill

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Carper (D-DE) have now introduced postal reform legislation in the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. Although the bill, S. 2468, rejects many of the anti-labor and anti-worker recommendations previously submitted by the Postal Service and recommended last year by the Presidential Commission studying the future of the Postal Service, it also contains two major provisions opposed by the NPMHU.

First, the NPMHU opposes provisions that would single out postal employees and cut their workers' compensation benefits for future injuries or illnesses. One part of the Senate bill would deny compensation to injured workers during the first three days an employee misses work. Mail handlers and other postal employees would have to use sick or annual leave or take leave without pay, even though they have completely legitimate compensation claims. The NPMHU also opposes a change that potentially could reduce workers’ compensation payments for future job-related illnesses or injuries, by requiring the employee at the age of sixty-five either to retire on regular retirement or accept only a fifty percent OWCP benefit. Again, this proposed language has been included in the Senate bill only with regard to postal employees, and would not apply to federal workers covered by the Federal Employees Compensation Act that governs OWCP.

Second, the NPMHU is opposed to "worksharing" language in the Senate bill that could open the door to more "outsourcing" of career postal jobs to private mailing companies.

The House bill that was introduced earlier in May, H.R. 4341, leaves OWCP in tact. It also rejects outsourcing that causes the Postal Service to lose money. The NPMHU generally supports the current House version, as it is more favorable to mail handlers and other postal employees.

In most other respects, by rejecting most of the anti-worker proposals submitted by the Postal Service and the Presidential Commission, the Senate bill is similar to the earlier-introduced House legislation. Neither bill would change retirement or health benefits, or impose collective bargaining restrictions that could tilt negotiations in management's favor. Both bills contain provisions that would fix an over-funding problem in CSRS and both bills would require the U.S. Treasury rather than the Postal Service to pay for the retirement costs of military veterans.

To encourage the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs to make important modifications in the Senate bill, mail handlers need to call or e-mail their members on that Senate Committee. The vote on this bill may come as soon as June 2, so prompt action is necessary. Our message to Committee Senators is two-fold: support amendments that (1) stop any changes to workers' compensation and (2) adopt the House version of "worksharing" language to prevent excessive outsourcing.

Mail handlers in the following states have Senators on this Committee: Alaska (Stevens), Alabama (Shelby), Arkansas (Pryor), Connecticut (Lieberman), Delaware (Carper), Hawaii (Akaka), Illinois (Durbin and Fitzgerald), Maine (Collins), Michigan (Levin), Minnesota (Coleman and Dayton), New Hampshire (Sununu), New Jersey (Lautenberg), Ohio (Voinovich), Pennsylvania (Specter) and Utah (Bennett). If you live or work in one of these states, please be certain to click on this link to send an instant message to your Senator.

(source: National Postal Mail Handlers Union)

Mail Handlers Early Retirement Info

The Mail Handlers Update: April 2004

EARLY RETIREMENT BEING IMPLEMENTED-The Postal Service's voluntary early retirement offer has been distributed to eligible mail handlers, and hundreds of mail handlers now have the opportunity to retire early - at a reduced annuity - on May 31, 2004. As previously announced, specific decisions about whether or not the Postal Service should utilize the OPM-granted authority to offer early retirement to eligible mail handlers are being made by postal management locally, at either the Installation or District level. Meanwhile, the NPMHU National Office is working hard in an effort to maximize the options available to eligible mail handlers, while at the same time encouraging those mail handlers who are offered early retirement to consider carefully the financial and personal impact of that option if it becomes available to them. (source: NPMHU)


March 23, 2004-"The VER effective date has been changed to May 31, 2004.  This is a result of the late receipt of Statement of Interest (SOI) Forms by interest mail handlers caused by mail irradiation and the time to review operational data necessary to determine the number of allowable VERs.  Most of the materials and implementing instructions contained in the January 7 memorandum are still valid, except for those documents that have been updated to reflect the new VER effective date."



Guidelines in PDF format


        The Postal Service has received approval from the Office of Personnel Management under its Voluntary Early Retirement Authority to offer VER to career employees who occupy positions in the mail handler craft (see Attachment L).  Eligible employees identified in Section II who elect to take advantage of this VER offer will have a retirement effective date of May 31, 2004.  


A.          Age and Service Requirements 

                To be eligible to retire under this VER offer, the employee must meet one of the following age and service requirements: 

                       Age is at least…                             and Creditable Service* is at least… 

                50 as of May 1, 2004                                20 or more years as of April 30, 2004

                        Any Age                                          25 or more years as of April 30, 2004               

                Note:  FERS employees eligible for a reduced or postponed minimum retirement age (MRA)+10 retirement are eligible if they have at least 20 years of creditable service* as of April 30, 2004. 

                *Creditable service requirement must include at least five years of creditable civilian service (career or non-career). 

B.              Covered Position Requirements 

                The employee occupies a position in the mail handler craft (Attachment L) as of January 10, 2004, that has been either identified as excess to the mission of the Postal Service, or is a potential reassignment opportunity for an employee whose position is being excessed. 

C.              Excluded Employees 

Employees who do not occupy a position in the mail handler craft are excluded from this VER offer: 

                Because of errors in personnel records, some employees may receive a Statement of Interest (SOI) package in error, see Section IV.  Conversely, some employees may not have been identified as eligible due to a classification error.  Personnel offices must correct the erroneous employee data and make a determination whether the employee meets the eligibility requirements for this VER offer.  If employees believe that they should have received an SOI but did not, the personnel office must provide a copy of the materials provided to eligible employees (see Attachments C, D, E, and F) so long as the employee is in the M rate schedule. 


A.          Printout       

        Career mail handler employees covered by either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) (retirement plan codes 1, 5, 8 or A) who meet the eligibility criteria in Section II.A have been identified based on

        current CMS data.  A listing of these eligible employees will be electronically transmitted to all area and district HR managers, and managers, Personnel Services on January 12, 2004. 

B.          Employee Notification 

        All employees identified on the printout referenced above will be mailed a SOI package on January 15, 2004, at their address of record, informing them of their eligibility for the VER offer.  The package will be comprised of Attachments C and D, an annuity estimate, and a return envelope.  Any SOIs that cannot be delivered will be returned to the employees’ work location where their supervisor will hand deliver the SOI.  Approximately 8,900 mail handler employees have been identified as potentially eligible for this VER offer.  

C.          Employee Bulletin Board Notice 

                Attachment K is an employee bulletin board notice that must be posted on all employee bulletin boards during the period January 15, 2004 through April 16, 2004, the end of the VER window period.  Post the list of covered positions (Attachment L) with Attachment K. 

D.          SOI Respondents List 

Periodically, during the SOI response period, SER will distribute the SOI respondents list to facilitate the completion of RTR processing.  The SOI respondents list will be in the form of an MS Excel spreadsheet, and will include 3 worksheets.  Worksheet 1 (Employee Details) is a list of employees who submitted SOIs and are in covered positions/finance numbers.  Worksheet 2 (Ineligible) is a list of employees who are not eligible for this VER offer because they are NOT in covered positions/finance numbers. Summary (Worksheet 3) is a summary of the Employee Details worksheet. 


                Eligible employees interested in taking advantage of the VER offer must submit their SOI forms to Headquarters, Selection, Evaluation, and Recognition (SER), postmarked no later than February 5, 2004.  SER will verify that the employees occupy positions covered by this VER offer. 

                Throughout the SOI response period, January 15, 2004 through February 5, 2004, SER will electronically forward, on a weekly basis or more often as the volume dictates, the listings outlined above, in Section III.D, to each manager, district HR managers with copies to area HR managers.        

        Personnel offices are responsible for ensuring that employees meet the age and service requirements for this VER offer as specified in Section 11/A of these guidelines.  You must remember that RTR determines what the record should be, and if a retirement plan code error is found, a deeper review is needed.  An employee should NOT be declared ineligible due to RTR results until after HQ Compensation is notified of the error and the district is advised of appropriate action.  Although our ultimate goal is to have all employee records in RTR as soon as possible, ONLY THOSE EMPLOYEES WHO SUBMIT AN SOI FORM must have their retirement plan codes and retirement computation dates in CMS verified IMMEDIATELY through the RTR system (See SOP2, Establishing an RTR Record).                       

        Errors in Retirement Computation Dates (RCD) must be corrected immediately in CMS and a determination made as to whether the employee still meets the creditable service requirement for this VER offer (see SOP 21, Correcting Retirement Computation Date (RCD) Errors (NOA 882).  Errors in retirement plan code must be reported to HQ (see SOP19, Correcting Retirement Plan Code Errors (NOA 008 and NOA 803).  Employees must be advised of any corrections made to their personnel records. 

        Personnel offices are reminded that employees legally attain a given age on the day before their birthday. (See Compensation Letter 92-020)   Under this VER offer, employees must meet the eligibility requirements on or before April 30, 2004, therefore based on the ‘birthday rule’, employees whose 50TH birthday falls on May 1, 2004, would be eligible for this VER offer. 

V.          PROCESSING VER REQUESTS               

A.          District Offices 

                        After verification through RTR that an employee meets the eligibility requirements, personnel offices must coordinate with Operations to determine if a maximum will be established for allowable retirements.  Maximums can be established for districts, finance numbers, occupations codes, or levels.  

        B.     Responding to Employee SOI Requests 

Personnel offices must advise employees, in writing, concerning the status of their SOI requests. 

1.           VER Eligible Employees 

        A VER offer package will be prepared and mailed to eligible employees no later than April 2, 2004.   The VER offer package includes:         

·         VER Offer/Approval Letter (Attachment G)

·         Acknowledgement of Irrevocability of Voluntary Early Retirement Decision (Attachment H)

·         Retirement History screen print or the Retirement Plan Correction Report from RTR

·         Retirement Application (SF 2801 for CSRS employees or SF 3107 for FERS employees) 

        Certain sections of the VER offer letter must be completed prior to mailing.       

2.           Approval/Disapproval Notice 

After the close of the VER window period, each employee who submitted an application for retirement will be sent either an Approval Notice or a Disapproval Notice.  A VER eligible employee who occupies a covered position can be disapproved only if the maximum number of allowable retirements has been reached. 

3.           Ineligible Employees 

                        Employees who do not meet the eligibility requirements in Section II.A, or who are not in a covered position, must be notified using Attachment I, VER Disapproval Letter as soon as local personnel become aware of the information. 

                        Ineligible employees identified by Eagan or OPM must NOT be returned to the rolls until HQ Compensation is notified and instructions are provided.  It is mandatory that Headquarters be notified before any action is taken for these employees. 

                        Ineligible employees could become eligible if the appropriate deposit or redeposit is made to OPM.  

                        Employees who will be eligible once the deposit or redeposit is completed will be given a retirement effective date of the last day of the month in which the paid-in-full statement is received from OPM.  

C.     Group Retirement Counseling Sessions 

                Because of the potential interest in the VER offer, personnel offices must conduct a series of group retirement counseling sessions during the VER window period.  Eligible employees, who are provided a VER offer letter, must be notified of scheduled sessions at the time they are given their offer letter.  Employees must be encouraged to review the information provided in their SOI package prior to attending the counseling sessions and to bring their annuity estimates and RTR service history worksheets with them when attending the sessions.  These sessions must be structured along the lines of that provided in EL-502, CSRS Retirement Guide, and include information  for FERS employees, including the reduction and postponement options for MRA+10, FERS annuity supplement, etc. 

                During these sessions, it must be emphasized that CSRS employees who retire under this VER offer will have their annuities reduced by two percent (2%) for each year (or one-sixth of one percent for each full month) they are under the age of 55.  This reduction also applies to the frozen CSRS component for those employees who transferred to FERS.  There is no reduction to the FERS portion of the annuity for those who transferred, or to a FERS annuity without a frozen CSRS component, regardless of the employee’s age. 

                        At a minimum, personnel offices must cover the eligibility requirements for the VER offer, creditable service including civilian and military service, reduction for early retirement, Social Security benefits including the impact of the Windfall Elimination and Public Pension Offset provisions, and the impact of Social Security benefits on CSRS Offset employees, health and life insurance, thrift savings plan, and the process for submitting retirement applications under the VER.               

                D.     Processing Retirement Applications 

                        Upon receipt of a completed retirement application (SF 2801 for CSRS employees or SF 3107 for FERS employees) and the Acknowledgement of Irrevocability of Voluntary Early Retirement Decision (Attachment H), personnel offices must follow the instructions and processing steps outlined in SOP 42, Counseling for and Processing an Optional Retirement (NOA 302).  Since the employee’s eligibility has already been determined through the RTR system, personnel offices must begin with item 6 of SOP 42.  Keep in mind that certain materials and information may have already been provided to and/or received from the eligible employee and that the employee’s retirement effective data has been predetermined.                               

E.     Processing Personnel Actions 

See CMS Update 2003-39 (Attachment M) for instructions for processing personnel actions.  For this VER offer, the OPM Authority Number is 2004-008 and Approval Date is July 9, 2003. 

F.          Reporting Requirements 

WebCOINS will be used to report VER information to OPM and senior management.  

Each District must update WebCOINS with employee VER notes data using the following schedule:

·     VER PACKAGE MAILED (EMP) note by April 12, 2004

                                                                   i.      This note is attached when the offer letter is sent to the employee.  The subnote date of 04/30/2004 box should be checked.

·     VER APPLICATION REC’D (EMP) note by May 21, 2004

                                                                   i.      This note is attached when the application for retirement is received back from the employee and the employee will be allowed to retire.  The subnote PROCESSED box should be checked.  If an employee withdraws an approved application before COB on 4/16/2004, the WITHDRAWN box should be checked.

·     VER DISAPPROVED (EMP) note by May 31, 2004

                                                                   i.      This note is attached when an application is received from an employee, but the number of employees requesting the VER exceeds the maximum allowable number.  The subnote OPERATIONAL NEEDS box should be checked.  For the unlikely event that an application is received from an ineligible employee, the subnote DID NOT MEET AGE/SERVICE REQUIREMENTS box should be checked. 

Each District can also optionally update WebCOINS with a job VER note as follows:


                                                                   i.      This note is attached when the application for retirement is received back from the employee and the employee will be allowed to retire.  The subnote date of 04/30/2004 box should be checked.  This will allow for tracking the position of the VER employee after the employee retires.

Questions regarding WebCOINS updating should be directed to your Area Complement Coordinator. 

Each District must report their VER allowable maximums to Area HR by March 31, 2004 using the allowable max spreadsheet (Attachment N) provided in the original guidelines dated January 7, 2004.  

G.         Employees on Active Military Duty 

Employees who are on active military duty will receive the SOI package at their address of record.  Some employees are stationed locally and will be able to participate in this process as if they were in a pay status.  Others will not be able to participate because of their military obligations.  When these employees return to work, they must be notified of any VER offers that would have covered them, and provide them 30 calendar days to accept the offer.  If they accept the offer, the VER effective date will be the last day of the month of the offer acceptance. 



posted 1/15/04

Information about Voluntary Early Retirements for Mail Handlers

As announced in the December 2003 Mail Handler UPDATE, the voluntary early retirement (VER) for eligible mail handlers will be implemented starting on January 15, 2004, with voluntary retirements scheduled for April 30, 2004. The NPMHU National Office also is making available on this website the documents that postal management has circulated to all managers of human resources in order to guide implementation of the Mail Handlers VER.

The following Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) documents have been distributed from USPS Headquarters to USPS Human Resource and Personnel Offices:

At bottom, all eligible mail handlers (essentially mail handlers who are age 50 or older as of May 1, 2004 with at least 20 years of creditable service, or at least 25 years of creditable service regardless of age) will be sent a memorandum on January 15, 2004 to determine whether they are interested in voluntary early retirement. Attached to that memorandum will be a "Statement of Interest for Voluntary Early Retirement," which must be returned with a postmark no later that February 5, 2004 if the employee may be interested in retiring early. The filing of this statement of interest is not a commitment to file for retirement or an application for retirement, but simply a statement of interest that will cause the employee's personnel office to verify eligibility and then generate an actual offer of retirement. Final retirement decisions will not have to be made until March and April, with decisions to retire becoming irrevocable on April 16, 2004.

As the process is further implemented, the NPMHU National Office will provide additional information. The NPMHU urges all Mail Handlers who may be affected by this VER opportunity to remember that retirement decisions are personal matters, and that the role of the Union is to provide information, rather than retirement advice.

source: National Mail Handlers

Some of the key dates associated with this VER offer are:

  • January 7, 2004 - Implementation instructions provided to area and district Human Resources.
  • January 15, 2004 - Statement of Interest (SOI) package mailed to potentially eligible employees.
  • February 5, 2004 - End of SOI period.
  • March 12, 2004 to April 16, 2004 - VER window period.

Management Timeline Mail Handler VER

note: some timeline dates were removed 1/13/04



Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Final version of implementation plan sent to Areas and Districts

Monday, January 12, 2004

Listing of employees included in the SOI mailing is sent to Areas and Districts

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Statement of Interest (SOI)/Annuity Estimate Mailing by Eagan IBSSC

Thursday, February 05, 2004

End of SOI response period

Thursday, February 05, 2004

HQ SER Collect/Forward SOI data



Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Monday, February 09, 2004

OPF validation/RTR data entry period



Monday, March 01, 2004


mid-February 2004

Telecom to communication ground rules for VER offer.  Attended by HQ HQ Labor, HQ EMR, HQ Operations, Area HR, Area Labor, Area Operations

Monday, March 01, 2004

Final number VERs allowed

Monday, March 08, 2004

Offer packages delivered to interested employees

Friday, March 12, 2004

VER window



Friday, April 16, 2004


Friday, April 16, 2004

Decision to retire is irrevocable. Send Approval/Disapproval notices as appropriate

Monday, April 19, 2004

Send Approval/Disapproval notices as appropriate

Monday, May 10, 2004

All retirement cases due to Eagan IBSSC

 source: USPS

Early Out Retirement Offered to Mail Handlers After Oct. 1st-NPMHU

Mail Handlers contract extension agreement| Discussion Forum

June 27, 2003

FROM: John F. Hegarty, National President, NPMHU
            Mark A. Gardner, National Secretary-Treasurer, NPMHU

RE: USPS Application for Voluntary Early Retirement
            Authority (VERA) for Eligible Mail Handlers

Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding of Workforce Repositioning that was included in the recently ratified extension to the 2000 National Agreement, the NPMHU and the Postal Service have engaged in a series of discussions about offering Voluntary Early Retirement to eligible mail handlers throughout the United States.

Earlier this week, in accordance with those discussions, the Postal Service requested approval from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) for eligible mail handlers. Although not guaranteed, we expect that request to be granted during the next few weeks, at which point approximately 8,400 mail handlers who have 25 years of Federal/postal service regardless of age, or who have 20 years of service and are at least 50 years old, will begin to receive information about the possibility of Voluntary Early Retirement directly from the Postal Service.

Actual early retirements will not be allowed until all eligible employees are contacted, and those employees interested in early retirement are fully identified. The Postal Service, in consultation with the Union, then will determine the precise locations and dates at which voluntary early retirements will be allowed. We expect the process to take several months, with actual retirements to occur no earlier than October, and possibly not until early 2004.

Of the approximately 8,400 employees who will be contacted, only a very small percentage are expected to choose early retirement. The NPMHU is neither encouraging nor discouraging mail handlers from retirement, but simply is making this opportunity available as an option for eligible employees.

Moreover, employees will be informed that there will be no incentive payments provided by the Postal Service, and that employees who choose early retirement are subject to a reduction in their annuity. We urge any mail handler thinking about early retirement to consider the matter carefully, and to make use of the information and retirement counseling that the personnel offices will provide.

More detailed information will be widely circulated, both by the Union and by the Postal Service, during the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, we wanted to ensure that all Local Unions and all members were informed that the process for implementing this opportunity for voluntary early retirement has been initiated.

Copies of this memorandum are being mailed to all Local Union officers and stewards, for posting on all bulletin boards.

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