June 2023 Update
Summer is now in full swing and the implementation of the 2022 National Agreement is well underway. The new Step B for MHA’s, the eliminations of Step BB for Mail Handlers covered by wage scale M7, and the change in waiting periods for wage scale M7 from 52 to 48 weeks, were implemented effective June 17th. Retroactive pay remains scheduled to be received on the pay checks dated September 15, 2023. Any Mail Handler or MHA who has a question, or who feels that their pay has not been properly adjusted, should contact their Union representative immediately.
Details concerning the Postal Service Health Benefit Plan are beginning to be circulated. You may have noticed this information contained in the spring issue of The Mail Handler magazine. The Union at both the National and Local levels will continue to publish this information to ensure that all Mail Handlers have sufficient information to make their upcoming decisions.
The Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 (PSRA) was signed into law in April 2022. Since then, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in conjunction with the Postal Service, has been working to implement a new Postal Service Health Benefits (PSHB) Program. PSHB is a new, separate program within the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program and will be administered by OPM. The first opportunity to select a PSHB plan will take place during Open Season in late 2024, and coverage under the PSHB health benefits program will begin January 2025.
Eligible Postal Service employees and Postal Service annuitants must enroll in a PSHB plan during the PSHB Program Open Season in late 2024. Postal Service employees and Postal Service annuitants currently enrolled in FEHB plans who do not enroll in a new PSHB plan during Open Season in 2024 will automatically be enrolled in a PSHB plan.
While the actual implementation of the PSHB Program is more than a year away, it would be prudent for all Members to begin considering their health insurance options more carefully. I, as well as many of your Officers and Representatives, have found the Mail Handlers Benefit Plan (MHBP) to have benefits which are comparable, and in some cases better, than other plans at a cost-effective price. I know many of you enrolled in other FEHB plans experienced sticker shock after last year’s double digit rate increases. Look at the MHBP during this year’s open season, it will be offered in the PSHP when the change occurs.
Lastly, the 2023 metro area picnic was held on June 11th at Como park in St. Paul. The picnic staff was comprised of Dean Abatte, Shawn Wicks, Jonta McPherson, Jordan Yaritz, Brian Newhouse, Shane Ryden, Jarred Hoover, John Frey, and Jaqueline “PP” Loken; I’d like to express my gratitude to every one of them for a well-planned and well-run event. Many Members and their families enjoyed the day as well as fellowship with their Union Brothers and Sisters.
Special thanks to the “Yo-Yo Guy” Brandon Pankratz for his enthralling performance at this year’s event. The Members were captivated by his award-winning mastery of the Yo-Yo arts. There’s a good chance you’ll see the “Yo-Yo Guy” back next year.
Pictures from this year’s picnic have been posted to the Photo Galleries.
The Officers and Representatives of Local 323 continue working hard to address contractual violations and Member concerns. Because that’s what we do!