June 2018 Update
The cancellation of the Article 12 events, the continuing press for additional MHA conversions, and the need to keep an ever watchful eye on the legislative front, continues to keep us busy. Add to that the recent National MOU updating the RI-399 Dispute Resolution Procedures, and a summer of significant activity looms on the horizon. Indeed, there is no shortage of issues which require the attention of your Representatives.
The cancellation of the Article 12 events has begun the process of cleaning up some grievances and opened the door for continuing to pursue MHA conversions. Getting management back on track with implementing this process has been slow going; although, we have seen a few MHA conversions recently. Pursuing the conversion of MHA will, as always, be an ongoing process. In addition, the cancellation of the NDC event is allowing us to focus on implementing retreat rights for those Mail Handlers who were subjected to sectional excessing. This will also be an ongoing process.
We continue watching the progress of the President’s task force charged with evaluating the finances of the Postal Service. This primarily involves pricing, policies, and workforce costs. As noted in publications and on the NPMHU web site, National President Paul Hogrogian and National Secretary-Treasurer Tim Dwyer met with representatives of the task force in May.
We are also watching to see if legislation is introduces which proposes changes to our retirement systems. Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon sent a letter in May to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). This letter pushed four proposals that, over 10 years, would significantly cut retirement benefits for 2.6 million federal retirees and survivors. Saying he wants “to bring Federal benefits more in line with the private sector,” Director Pon proposed:
- Eliminating supplements for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) annuitants who retire before being eligible for Social Security benefits.
- Reducing federal pensions by basing them on workers’ basic pay five-year averages instead of three years.
- Increasing employee retirement contributions with no increase in benefits. The plan would sharply boost the 0.8 percent of basic pay most FERS employees contribute. The letter makes the impact on federal retirees clear. “Under this proposal, FERS employee deduction rates will increase by 1 percent per year until they reach 7.25 percent of basic pay. This proposal would require FERS employees to fund a greater portion of their retirement benefit.”
- Reducing or eliminating retirement cost-of-living adjustments. The administration plans “to reduce the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) by one half of one percent and to eliminate COLAs under FERS for current and future retirees.”
Lastly, we have begun taking steps relative to the National MOU updating the RI-399 Dispute Resolution Procedures. This process began with your Local Officers participating in the National Teleconference announcing this agreement; and, since then, I’ve convened a meeting of the metro-area Branch Presidents to discuss its application. As the roll-out of this agreement continues, I’ll be working with our Representatives throughout the Local to addressing circumstances in a Branch specific context.