April 2019 Update
The countdown towards the expiration of the National Agreement continues as preparations for bargaining are being finalized; yet, a wage increase for MHAs and a potential Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) remain to be implemented. MHAs will receive an additional $0.21 per hour effective May 25th which means that the MHA hourly rate will be $16.21 at level 4 and $17.07 at level 5. Regarding the COLA, that will be effective the first full pay period following the release of the July 2019 Consumer Price Index. That will be in September. Presently, this COLA sits at around $200.00.
Currently, the most frequent questions being asked concern the payment resulting from the National Level RI-399 settlement. Initially, it’s worth noting that the eligibility criteria for receiving the payment has already been circulated and posted on the National Union’s web site.
“In order to be eligible for payment, a Mail Handler had to be in the NPMHU Bargaining Unit (Career or Mail Handler Assistant) and on the rolls of the Postal Service during the Pay Period which ended on September 1, 2017 AND the Mail Handler has to be in the NPMHU Bargaining Unit (Career or MHA) and on the rolls of the Postal Service during the Pay Period which ends on March 15, 2019. A Mail Handler must satisfy both of these criteria to be eligible for payment.”
So, now down to the meat and potatoes. How much am I going to get; and, when am I going to get it? Well, the first part has been answered. You’re probably already aware that a system of “shares” is being employed to account for the different amounts of time people have been in the bargaining unit during the remedy period. There are 4 categories of Shares and each Share is worth $143.09.
• Eligible payees in the Bargaining Unit for less than 5 years (as of September 1, 201 7) will receive 1 Share, or $143.90.
• Eligible payees in the Bargaining Unit for 5 years or more but less than 10 years (as of September 1, 2017) will receive 2 Shares, or $287.80.
• Eligible payees in the Bargaining Unit for 10 years or more but less than 20 years (as of September 1, 20 17) will receive 3 Shares, or $431.90.
• Eligible payees in the Bargaining Unit for 20 years or more (as of September 1, 201 7) will receive 4 Shares, or $575.60.
So, when, when, when? I wish I knew. There are a couple of details which still need to be worked out. The implementation of nationwide settlements usually requires extensive review. This is necessary to avoid as many mistakes as possible; but there are always going to be some glitches. On that note, a small percentage (less that 2%) has been withheld from the initial payments to allow for any mistakes to be fixed. There has been some misinformation going around regarding this withheld percentage, particularly on social media. It has been suggested in some forums that the Union would be keeping this money. That is most certainly not the case. To begin with, the Union does not have this money, any of it, the Postal Service does. The Union is implementing a settlement; albeit, an extensive settlement, by providing the Postal Service with the names of the people and amounts to be paid. Any funds which remain after errors are corrected will be distributed to Mail Handlers.