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
National Postal Mail Handlers Union
"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."
[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.
Staffing Jurisdiction On Modified AFSM-100 Sorting Machines to
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.
Oppose Worksharing, OWCP Changes in Senate
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
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
Mail Handlers Early
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."
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.
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
Age 25 or more years as of April 30, 2004
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 civilianservice (career
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.
Employees who do not
occupy a position in the mail handler craft are excluded from this VER
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Detailsworksheet.
ELIGIBILITY THROUGH THE RTR SYSTEM
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
A VER offer
package will be prepared and mailed to eligible employees no later
than April 2, 2004.
The VER offer package includes:
Offer/Approval Letter (Attachment G)
Acknowledgement of Irrevocability of Voluntary Early Retirement Decision
History screen print or the Retirement Plan Correction Report from RTR
Application (SF 2801 for CSRS employees or SF 3107 for FERS employees)
of the VER offer letter must be completed prior to mailing.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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:
·JOB OF VER APPROVED EMPL. (JOB) note
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Some of the key dates associated with this VER
January 7, 2004 -
Implementation instructions provided to area and district Human
January 15, 2004 -
Statement of Interest (SOI) package mailed to
potentially eligible employees.
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.