News

 

NALC fights plant closures and consolidations: Momentum is building for a one-year moratorium on the closure and consolidation of any additional USPS processing facilities. As half the Senate weighs in, NALC is backing a similar effort in the House. More

Customer, employee rights when USPS solicits customers to change the mode of mail delivery: Updated: NALC is aware of an effort by the Postal Service in different parts of the country to convince customers to agree to change their mode of delivery to cluster box or centralized delivery. Click here for the latest information that details the rights of both postal customers and letter carriers.

Stop Staples: The NALC’s Executive Council has voted to endorse the boycott of the Staples office supplies chain. “NALC stands with the growing list of unions and progressive allies who have joined in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the APWU against outsourcing decent jobs,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “The Postal Service should not undermine its own superb network by sub-contracting work to low-wage, low-skill workers at chain stores. It should embrace new revenue strategies and innovation to better serve the public.” Click here to read more.

 

 

Communities and Postal Workers United teleconference call  11/18/14

Participants:  Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Austin
National Day of Action, Nov. 14th called by all postal unions, to call on the Postmaster General and the Postal Board of Governors to Stop the Delay of America’s Mail.  Highly successful  nationwide.  150 actions in 50 states.  Good national and local press.  A number of Veterans Day actions as well – Honor Vets, Don’t Delay their Mail.
 Plant closures – Many of the plants scheduled for “consolidation” at the beginning of 2015 have been pushed back to July.  USPS expects to save $1+ B but with no projected business loss.
Oregon is pushing the Congressional delegation to demand meetings with the PMG.  At the Portland rally, which featured Sen Jeff Merkley, they held signs asking him to intervene with the PMG.  Portland is trying a City Council resolution to the PMG, Portland District and Congressional  delegation.  Eugene is lining up local mayors to meet with Congressional reps., asking them to intervene with the PMG.  
APWU national is asking local and state organizations to push the USPS to re-do AMP (feasibility) studies and community hearings, since much has changed in 3 years since they were done, esp. lower labor costs, ie. PSEs & MHAs and exploding parcel volume.  Best way to push USPS is to mobilize local Congressional delegations.  Also APWU encouraging locals to hold their own town halls on consolidations.
Besides postal management, the National Day was also aimed at Congress to call for a 1-year moratorium on plant closures and maintenance of service standards as part of the “continuing resolution”.  Congress will pass another “continuing resolution” in early December.
Financials – The USPS announced FY 2014 loss of $5.5 B but actual operating surplus of $1.4 B  (the paper loss due to pre-fund mandate and workers comp pre-funding).  Letter revenues are up (the USPS says it’s temporary due to postage price  rise).  Parcel volume up 9%, a record.  Some will issue press releases, calling on the new PMG to do the right thing.
New PMG – We can celebrate, claim victory in the resignation (retirement) of Patrick R. Donahoe.  His replacement, as of Feb. 1, Megan Brennan, was the chief operations VP so is expected to carry on the same policies.  Delivery standards are expected to change on Donahoe’s watch (Jan. 5).  He says he is leaving before contract negotiations begin.  We should take advantage of the new regime to press again, harder for a plant closure moratorium.
New Congress – Likely bad postal legislation will emerge in the new session.  Little is likely in lame duck.
Stop  Staples –USPS/Staples announced on Oct 7 that the Approved Shipper program would be extended from 82 to all 1,500 Staples stores .   Portland is doing weekly visibility at Staples stores, securing union and community endorsements (letters to Staples/ APWU), considering more dramatic action in near future, especially when postal counters are slated to open.   
Walmart Black Friday (Nov. 28) – Some areas will combine with “Fight for $15 and a Union” demonstrations/ strikes at Walmarts to highlight the Go Postal – Walmart contract.  Another reason to boycott Walmart.  The USPS has okayed an expansion of the Approved Shipper program (providing the most popular USPS services – Express, Priority, 1st Class, Parcel Post, Exp Int’l, Priority Int’l, Delivery Confirmation, Signature Confirmation, Return Receipt, Certified, Insured) into 2,000 Walmart stores (half of all Walmarts in the US).  Go Postal is a subcontractor but the USPS brand will be displayed along with UPS, FedEx, DHL and whatever other service Walmart might offer.  The prices will be slightly above postal prices, same as Staples now.   
Dark Delivery – Portland NALC branch is debating a resolution to resist “Amazon Fresh” grocery deliveries (CCAs, 3 – 7am in the dark), or at least to enforce the LMOU which secures monetary remedies when carriers deliver in the dark, currently.  And to secure LMOU language guaranteeing high-powered headlamps and reflective clothing.  The branch president is opposed to resistance and activists are divided.  San Francisco continues the program with “volunteer” CCAs.
Post Office sales -  Despite the Berkeley victory in establishing a “zoning overlay”, disallowing private uses for the  post office building, the USPS has announced it has sold the office.  Citizens will appeal to the Postal Regulatory Commission.  Berkley Post Office Defenders have been camped out on the steps for two weeks.  The City has secured a temporary injunction on the sale until Dec. 9th
Website – The website was lost in the transition from Baltimore to NYC and is currently under construction. www.cpwunited.com
Conference calls – 1st & 3rd Sunday
-          Next call Dec. 7th .
 

 

Parton homicide investigation: 9 arrests to date

April 10, 2014—On April 3, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service arrested Emmanuel Alphonse and Steven Toussaint. The two are accused of laundering money obtained from stolen identity tax refund fraud. These latest arrests bring the total number to nine for subjects charged in connection with the murder of South Florida Branch 1071 letter carrier Bruce Parton (right). Parton was a letter carrier at Miami’s Norland Post Office in northern Miami-Dade County. A 30-year veteran, Parton was murdered on December 6, 2010, while delivering mail to condominiums on his route. Click here to read more.

 

 

Government Snooping Revelations Should Give The Postal Service

A Huge Opportunity

      

                         
Woman Mailing a Letter  

(Photo credit: SmithsonianInstitution)

For all the talk about the failures of the USPS, the latest revelations about government eavesdropping on our emails and telephone calls should be a big commercial for the benefits of physical mail and package delivery. The Post Office is uniquely positioned to exploit the opportunity.

Of course, it would help if Congress stopped trying to put it out of business. For years now, politicos of a certain ideological bent have been going after government services in general, and those with significant union populations in particular. They’ve legislated that the USPS must fully fund its entire retirement obligation, which is something it has obligated no other Federal agency to do (and few corporate retirement programs are similarly front-loaded).

                                      
                          

That fact aside, though, the USPS has been facing challenges from services that displace its business (email can effectively replace letters, magazine delivery, and junk mail) and competitors that often outdo it (FedEx FDX +1.07%, UPS). Many have suggested that its size and structure preclude it from operating fast enough, let alone innovating.

The surveillance issue is a gift from the Gods of Marketing, because it could allow the USPS to reposition its presumed weakeness as unique strengths and benefits. Here’s how:

Security. Short of being opened or read by some secret X-Ray machine, snailmail letters are far more secure than emails or phone calls. Correspondence can be certified as received and insured along the way, though regular mail is just as safe from prying eyes. I’d make a big deal out of this, even innovating a version of regular service — call it SecureMail, or something — that provides additional qualities that ensure confidentiality. Heck, why not start selling invisible ink or Enigma-like code machines?

Pricing. Having the choice of using a giant, lumbering public utility masquerading as a service provider means that the USPS helps keep market prices in check and, more so, can’t arbitrarily raise them. Just think about how ISPs have tinkering with different rates for different users. There’s a populism message here that’s very powerful and compelling; the USPS was invented early-on in our country’s history because our Founding Fathers saw the vital importance of a level playing-field on which commerce could be transacted. Where’s this heritage in today’s branding? Why isn’t every expenditure on sending a letter or package via the USPS understood as an investment in perpetuating this important infrastructure?

Reliability. I know, I know, you can’t depend on the Post Office like you can, say, FedEx. But that’s not really true, especially these days (and anecdotal stories aside), and it certainly isn’t the entire story. The USPS is required to deliver to any person in the U.S. regardless of location. Its competitors aren’t. So why not make this point boldly, almost as a dare to the industry to step up and service the greater good of the country? Oh yeah, its competitors only have to make money. Sounds like a competitive position that can’t be topped.

The privacy point is the most compelling positioning point, by far. The USPS should hit it bluntly and hard.

                 
 
 

 

 

 

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May 9, 2014—NALC President Fredric Rolando released a statement following today’s release of the U.S. Postal Service’s financial statement for the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2014. “The Postal Service today reported a quarterly operating profit of $261 million, which brings the operating profit for the first half of fiscal 2014 to more than $1 billion,” he said. “Driving the quarterly performance were the 8 percent jump in package revenue and—in a turnaround—the 1.6 percent increase in letter revenue. These results reconfirm the steady improvement in the finances of the Postal Service.” Click here to read more.

 

Convention coverage: The NALC's 69th Biennial Convention took place in Philadelphia July 21-25. Select videos from sessions are now available, as are Convention Chronicles covering the entire week plus Flickr photo albums covering proceedings, workshops, activities and more. Click here to read more.