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August 28, 2020 Update from Dan Heins, UPMA National President

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 08/28/20

Friday Message August 28, 2020

Good morning, everyone!

Over the course of the last week there has been a tremendous amount of activity as it relates to the Postal Service and the Congress of the United States.    As I mentioned in last Friday’s message, Postmaster General DeJoy testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last Friday and before the House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee on Monday.    Between those two hearings, on Saturday, August 22nd, the House of Representatives passed HR 8015, the Delivering For America Act dealing with issues within the Postal Service and the operation of the Postal Service.  It also contained provisions for an “Additional Appropriation for the Postal Service” which would give the USPS $25 Billion to deal with the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.    There was bi-partisan support for the measure with 224 Democrats and 26 Republican members voting in favor.    At this time, it does not appear that there will be any action on this legislation in the Senate; however, we are in a wait and see mode with that.  With that said, we are still in a waiting game for some type of action in Congress on a bill to give more far reaching COVID relief on a number of fronts and to a number of groups, including the United States Postal Service.    At one time we had hope that that would happen before we got to the Labor Day holiday, but that is looking very unlikely.   It appears that we will not see a bill until probably mid to late September.    Please stay tuned, because we will need you to contact your members of Congress when the time comes, and a bill is finally introduced.

As we have moved through the year since the COVID-19 pandemic started back in March a number of you have expressed concern regarding your ability to take annual leave.   Some of you are concerned that you may be in danger of losing some annual at the end of the year because you have been unable to get time off.   For the past few weeks, I have been consulting with Labor Relations at Postal Service Headquarters regarding what can be done to alleviate some of the stress that some of you are under because of this issue.    While I have not heard anything definite at this point, I believe I should be receiving a letter in a week, or so, that outlines what processes will be put in place.   It is looking like the plan may involve two components, one would increase the amount of annual leave you can carry over and the other would allow you the ability to sell back additional leave next year when that process opens up.   As always, I will do my best to keep you informed as this develops.

NPA continues to be a topic I am speaking with Postal Service Headquarters about on a regular basis.   The talks that we are having center around both what will happen going into Fiscal Year 2021, and what will the numbers be that are used to determine the final rankings for Fiscal Year 2020.   Currently, I know that there are a number of rumors flying around out in the field.   I want to assure you that they are just rumors at this point.    After having had a discussion with Headquarters yesterday, I know that there have been no decisions made at this point in time as to what is going to happen.    As I know more, I will be sure to share that information with you.

Your National Executive Board will be holding one of their three face to face meetings this coming Monday and Tuesday here in the DC area.   We will be live streaming the meeting via ZOOM and the information on the link for the meeting will be available on our website later today.    If you do log in to watch the meeting understand that the rules are the same as they would be if everyone were at the meeting in person, only board members are allowed to speak during the meeting.     Using ZOOM will be a new experience for us as we have not had any meetings using this format that have been longer than an hour, or so, prior to this, so we will see how it goes.    There may be some growing pains, but we are using an AV service to assist us with this, so I am hoping that any glitches will be minor, if they happen at all.

Last night your National Executive Board adopted the plans from a document I had prepared along with the input from our National Parliamentarian John Galera and from National Registered Parliamentarian, Mr. Thomas Balch, entitled “Guidelines for Extraordinary Conventions in 2020.”    What we have done is put out some additional information regarding the 2020 National Convention, as well as information that will allow chapters to have modified meeting formats should they so choose.   The guidelines will be sent out to the chapter presidents later today and will also be posted on our website.     With the unusual year we are having and as we continue to move through the COVID situation I felt it was important that we recognize even further that extraordinary conditions call for extraordinary measures.     If you have any questions on this, please feel free to reach out to me, or to John Galera for clarification.

As always, stay safe and healthy.   Have a great weekend and week ahead.

Dan Heins
UPMA National President