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Westchester, NY Merged Branch 693 National Association of Letter Carriers
BRANCH NEWS & INFORMATION

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Growing

Thrift Savings Plan Catch-Up Contributions

On November 27, 2002, the President signed Public Law 107-304, which permits eligible Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants to make catch-up contributions into their TSP accounts beginning in or after the year in which they turn age 50. Catch-up contributions are supplemental tax-deferred employee contributions, which are in addition to regular contributions. These supplemental contributions can be made by participants age 50 or older who would like to make contributions above the maximum amount they could otherwise make to the TSP

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SPAGHETTI DINNER SOLD OUT!
 
Our first endeavor at raising funds for COLCPE in the form of a dinner holds promise to be a resounding success.  Over 140 tickets have been sold at $10 each.  The dinner is a complete sellout.
 
Anyone who will be attending is reminded that the Branch will not provide alcoholic beverages, however they are permitted at the hall, so BYO if you wish.  Hope to see everyone there.

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Voluntary Withholding for COLCPE
Available Using PostalEASE System

Information En route to All Active Members

The first of several efforts to inform and mobilize NALC members in the union's fight to save letter carrier jobs and the Postal Service has begun. A letter from NALC President William H. Young has been mailed to all active members with information on how they can contribute to NALC's Committee on Letter Carriers Political Education (COLCPE) through payroll deduction.

Easy-to-follow instructions appear on the reverse of the letter, advising NALC members to use PostalEASE to initiate voluntary withholding of COLCPE contributions.

The mailing will soon be followed by a separate letter to non-members enclosing Form 1187 the dues authorization form and urging them to join the NALC to help defend their wages, benefits and job security.

"Bringing our message from Washington isn't nearly enough," Young said, calling on branch officers and stewards to take the next step by directly organizing every non-member into the union for the critical fight ahead.

The two mailings are the first steps in a campaign that will take center stage at the National Rap Session September 6-7 when more than 1,300 NALC members will gather in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Upcoming steps towards mobilization:

Videotapes of President Young explaining the crisis facing letter carriers and the USPS will soon be mailed to 230,000 active members and non-member letter carriers. The videotape, entitled "Your Job, Your Future, YOUR FIGHT: Saving the Postal Service in the Internet Age" will be accompanied by a reply card seeking volunteer activists.

NALC's e-Activist Network an e-mail sign-up section open to NALC members on the union's website, www.nalc.org will be launched at the same time, enabling members to receive the Internet tools to contact legislators and other public officials when urgent action is necessary.

After entering their e-mail addresses, members will be transported to a page containing an information form that, when completed, will put members on a list for periodic updates on legislative and other matters affecting active and retired carriers.

In writing non-members and also sending them a videotape, President Young is emphasizing that the NALC needs the help of all letter carriers to assist the union in continuing its historic mission of defending letter carrier wages, work conditions and job security "because the battle to save the Postal Service has just begun."

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THIS IS WHAT WE
HAVE BEEN
WARNED ABOUT!
 
 
Report of the Workforce SubcommitteeFinal Recommendations to the Commission

 The Workforce Subcommittee submits the following recommendations to the Commission:

Developing an Appropriately-Sized Workforce. As the Postal Service works to meet the challenges of the 21ST century, it must develop a world-class workforce appropriate tofu/filling its universal service obligation. Fortunately, the Postal Service will soon be presented with a unique attrition opportunity with some 4700 of current career employees eligible for retirement by 2010. The Subcommittee urges the Postal Service to take full advantage of this attrition opportunity and to exercise maximum discipline in its hiring practices in order to right-size and realign its workforce with minimal displacement.

Collective Bargaining: Process Improvements. The Subcommittee affirms the collective bargaining process and recommends that it be retained However, the Subcommittee believes that the collective bargaining process can be improved to create additional incentives for the parties to reach negotiated settlements, and, when the parties fail to reach a negotiated settlement, to ensure that arbitration awards are made within a reasonable period of time. In particular, the Subcommittee recommends the following:

           Basic process. A negotiation process, beginning 90 days prior to the expiration of an existing agreement, followed by a 30-day mandatory mediation process and, ~f mediation fails, an immediate 60-day interest arbitration process.

 

           Mandatory mediation and Med-Arb. The 30-day mandatory mediation process would be conducted by a mediator who would become a member of the arbitration panel should mediation fail. The purpose of the mediation process would be to either reach a negotiated settlement or to narrow the range of issues to be submitted to interest arbitration.

 

           Interest arbitration. The 60-day interest arbitration process would be conducted by a three-person arbitration panel comprised of three neutral arbitrators, one having served as the mediator. The interest arbitration process would incorporate the Last Best Final Offer   (LBFO ) mechanism, and a 10-day period during which the parties would have a final opportunity to reach a negotiated settlement prior to the arbitration panels final award.

 Collective Bargaining: New Subjects. The Subcommittee believes that the Postal Services pension and post-retirement health care plans should be subject to collective bargaining meaning that the Postal Service and its unions should have the flexibility to develop new plans that are separate and apart from existing Federal pension and retiree health care plans. However, the Subcommittee is also concerned about the uncertain impact such a change would have on the Federal system as a whole and on other Federal employees in particular. As a consequence, the Subcommittee recommends that the Postal Service work with the Department of the Treasury, the Office of Personnel Management, and any other persons or entities deemed necessary to determine the impact separate Postal Service pension and retiree health care programs would have on the existing Federal systems. As a first step, the Subcommittee recommends that:

           The Postal Service be authorized to negotiate Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) eligibility requirements and employee contributions;

            The Postal Service be authorized to negotiate the eligibility and retiree contribution requirements for the post-retirement health care component of the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP), specifically for future Postal Service retirees, and

            The current statutory requirement that [n]o variation, addition, or substitution with respect to fringe benefits shall result in a program of fringe benefits which on the whole is less favorable to the officers and employees than fringe benefits in effect on [July 1, 1971] be repealed

Pay Comparability. The Subcommittee recommends that the 1970 Act be amended to clarify  the meaning of the term comparability, and that the new Postal Regulatory Board be authorized to determine comparable total compensation for all Postal Service employees. In determining comparable total compensation, the Subcommittee recommends that the Postal Regulatory Board be authorized to determine the appropriate sector(s) of the private sector workforce to be used as the basis of comparison. The comparability determination of the Postal Regulatory Board should be enforced as a cap on the total compensation of new employees. In addition, if the Postal Regulatory Board determines that a total compensation premium exists for current employees, the Subcommittee recommends that it be authorized to determine the appropriate period of time during which the premium must be eliminated, and to review periodically its initial determination and the Postal Service s progress in eliminating the premium.

Pay-for-Performance. The Subcommittee believes strongly that performance-based compensation programs are effective tools that, when designed correctly, can be used to align the goals of management and labor and result in improved efficiency and service quality. The Subcommittee, therefore, recommends that the Postal Service undertake a careful study of performance-based compensation programs for both management and represented employees, and that it work with the unions and management associations to design and implement a performance-based compensation program that is meaningful to Postal Service employees and assists the Postal Service in meeting its productivity and service quality goals.

Grievances. The Subcommittee believes that the current dispute resolution process must be revised if the Postal Service is to operate in accordance with the best practices of private sector companies with highly unionized workforces. As a first step, the Subcommittee recommends that the Postal Service work diligently with its unions to implement best practice grievance procedures, including those recently implemented by the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Workers Compensation Claims. The Subcommittee recommends that the Postal Service be provided relief from certain requirements of the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA). Specifically, the Subcommittee recommends the following:

             The Postal Service should not be required to pay benefits until after the expiration of a three-day waiting period;

             The Postal Service should be allowed to limit benefits to 2/3 of the maximum weekly rate; and

             The Postal Service should be allowed to transition individuals receiving workers compensation to the Postal Services retirement p/an at such time as the employee would have become eligible for retirement notwithstanding the injury giving rise to the workers compensation benefits.

Executive Compensation. The Subcommittee recommends that the current statutory salary cap be repealed The Subcommittee further recommends that the Board of Directors be authorized to establish rates of pay for officers and employees at levels competitive with the private sector, and that performance be considered by the new Board of Directors as a key component of the pay for senior executives. 

Management Structure. The Subcommittee recommends that the Postal Service restructure its management to eliminate redundant positions and geographical divisions and standardize and clarify job functions The Subcommittee also recommends that the new Board of Directors conduct a review of the entire management structure, size and cost to determine whether they are necessary and consistent with the best practices of the private sector and to require managers to justify their functions and the size of their staffs. 

Accounting for Retiree Health Care Obligations. The Subcommittee recommends that the new Board of Directors review the current Postal Service policy relating to the accounting treatment of retiree health care benefits, and work with the Postal Service s independent auditor to determine the most appropriate treatment of such costs in accordance with applicable accounting standards and in consideration of the Postal Services need for complete transparency in the reporting of future liabilities. The Subcommittee also recommends that the Postal Service Board of Directors consider funding a reserve account for unfunded retiree health care obligations to the extent that the Postal Services financial condition allows.

Funding Military Service. The Subcommittee recommends that responsibility for funding CSRS pension benefits relating to the military service of Postal Service retirees be returned to the Department of the Treasury.

 

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Ever Wonder What Your Local Rights Are?
If you want to know how vacations are bid, or how many people can be off during any one week, or, can you cancel your vacations, and many more answers, think about checking below for your LOCAL AGREEMENT.
  Know Your Rights!

GET A COPY OF YOUR
LOCAL MEMO
VIA E-MAIL ATTACHMENT
***
e-mail us at nalc693@aol.com
leave your name and office name

 

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Route Overburdened?
               Getting hassled by management?
                             Working in the Dark?
                                          Can't get a day off?
                                                        Use your rights!
REQUEST A SPECIAL ROUTE INSPECTION!!
 
Here's how........
 
As per the Methods Handbook M-39, note the following:
271.g"If over any 6 consecutive week period (where work performance is otherwise satisfactory) a route shows over 30 minutes of overtime or auxiliary assistance on each of 3 days or more in each week during this period, the regular carrier assigned to such route shall, upon request, receive a special mail count and inspection to be completed within 4 weeks of the request."
 
The Branch has prepared forms for carriers to complete and hand in to make such a request and to create a record in the event a grievance is necessary.  Questions?  Call the Union.
 
 
 

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