March 2019 Update
While grievances continue marching forward and contract negotiations loom on the horizon, we’re keeping a watchful eye on the White House budget proposal and waiting to see if Postal legislation will be introduced in Congress. To be sure, there is no shortage of issues to be addressed by the Officers, Representatives, and Members, of our Union.
Grievance processing continues with some facilities working to address issues lingering from the peak season. In many facilities, peak season issued have been resolved; but in others, disputes over appropriate remedies remain. I must give credit to Representatives in both States who are holding the line to ensure that the Members are fairly compensated for contractual violations.
MHA conversions are ongoing. However, this process could be moving along faster. During the process of submitting contract proposals, the Local Union Council reviewed, and Local 323 submitted, some proposals designed to speed up this process. We will have to wait and see if any of these proposals are adopted. Until then, we will push for MHA conversions using the tools we currently have.
Following the release of the report of the Presidential Task Force on the Postal Service, the White House has now issued a budget proposal which has the potential to adversely affect Postal employees. Specifically, it has been proposed to change the retirement annuity calculation from a “high 3” to a “high 5” calculation, increase employee contribution to their FERS retirement, eliminate the supplement for FERS employees who retire before becoming eligible for social security, eliminate cost of living adjustments for FERS retirees, reduce the cost of living adjustments for CSRS retirees by 0.5 percent, reduce the interest rate of the TSP G fund, and move the retirement services and healthcare administration from the Office of Personnel Management to the General Service Administration. These are significant changes which have the potential to greatly impact the standard of living of Postal employees and retirees. More information regarding the White House budget proposal can be found on your bulletin boards or on the National Union’s web site at: https://www.npmhu.org/media/update/march-2019.
On the Congressional front, there have been several resolutions passed in the House of Representatives this year which pertain to the Postal Service. These resolutions are not a substitute for changes in the law; but they do serve to establish a sense of what legislative changes may be possible. All these resolutions appeared to support a viable Postal Service which remained as an independent agency of the government. We’ll be watching for any developments and we’ll be prepared to address any pending legislation. The NPMHU national legislative conference will be held this June and Local 323 will be sending Representatives so that the voices of Mail Handlers from the States of Minnesota and North Dakota can be heard on Capitol Hill.
So, we continue to march down the road to future. As we march down this road, we must remember that the road to the future isn’t always a road that’s easily traveled.