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February 28, 2020 transcript of From The Presidents Desk

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 02/28/20

Greetings everyone!

Welcome to the February 2020 edition of From the President’s Desk.   Let me begin by saying a huge thank you to all our members that made the trip here to the Washington, DC area this past week for our annual Legislative Summit.    If you were part of the 420 members and guests that made the trip, thank you from the bottom of my heart.   If you were not able to join us, I would encourage you to put the dates of February 21 through 23, 2021 on your calendar now.    We plan to make this event even better next year.

A special thank you goes out to our national legislative chair, Edmund Carley, for coming in early to work on getting things finalized and ready for the Summit so that we could hit the ground running when the members arrived.

If you were here for the first time, or if you have been coming for many years, this is one of the great things that we do as an organization.  Part of our mission statement says that we represent our members.   That representation includes representing you in the political arena.   So, on behalf of our membership and those that are not able to actually be here to walk the halls of Congress, I can tell you without question that your fellow members represented you very well.

Our legislative Position Paper is available on the UPMA website and will be included in the next issue of the UPMA Leader magazine.    That position paper outlines the issues that we brought to our Representatives and Senators and their staff members.     At times it may seem like nothing happens as far as postal related issues are concerned, but we always need to keep in mind that the benefits that we protect are just as important as the issues that we are trying to have included in a comprehensive postal reform bill.    Last year we left the Summit enthusiastic that we might see a bill and we continue that optimism into 2020.

This morning I had the opportunity to sit across the table from the Chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Carolyn Maloney from New York and address some of her questions while at the same time asking what kind of assistance she needs from us to move legislation forward.    I would encourage any of you, if you have the chance to speak with your representatives or senators at home, or here in DC, to do so.    Share our position paper with them and if they happen to have a question you cannot answer forward that to us here at the national office, or to one of the members of our government relations team, Chris McCannell, Joel Riethmiller or Brian McLaughlin.  Any of us will be happy to get you the answer, or it opens the door for us to have further contact with the member, or their staff.

During our Executive Board Meeting prior to the start of the Legislative Summit we had the honor of hearing from USPS COO David Williams.    Dave addressed us on issues that are going well (service at all time highs and accident rates being down dramatically) and thanked everyone for their efforts throughout the fiscal year thus far and especially through the always challenging PEAK Season.    He did request, however, that with the continuing financial struggles that the Postal Service faces that each and every Postmaster, Manager and Supervisor make sure that when you are using overtime that it is justified.   We need to make sure the money we are spending is warranted.    We also heard from Bruce Nicholson, our representative from the Labor Relations Department at Headquarters.   He talked about Fast Track and some other issues we are currently working on and will continue to work on.   I want to thank both of them for giving up time on a Saturday morning to be with us.

Fast Track hiring continues to be a hot topic.    I just want you to know that I continue to address this issue with USPS Headquarters and the team there is working hard to get some things changed to improve the system.    They will be doing some pilot projects when it comes to Rural Carrier Associate (RCA) hiring in some parts of the country to see what changes can be made.    We are making progress and we will continue to address issues until we finally get it correct.    If you have specific issues with your office, or a neighboring office please share those with me.    As I work with the Headquarters team it is much easier to look at the specifics of a situation in an office so that they can delve in and find out what went wrong during the process and then address those items.    In most cases, if you are having an issue probably someone else is having that same issue.  We need to do what we can to get this taken care of.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to talking with you again next month.

Daniel M. Heins
National President
United Postmasters and Managers of America