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October 2, 2020 Update from Dan Heins, UPMA National President

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 10/02/20

Friday Message – October 2, 2020

Let me begin by wishing you all a Happy New Year Fiscal Year2021!    It is at this time every year that we reflect back on the last year and look ahead to the next one.    I certainly wish that I could tell you that we know exactly what the goal and objectives are going to be for FY 21; however, those number have not been determined at this time.     I continue to work with Postal Service Headquarters and the management team there to try to determine what direction should be taken for this year and it is still a work in progress.

As we look back at FY 2020, to say that it was a challenging year would be an understatement.   With all of the natural disasters that many parts of the country have had to deal with such as hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires, it has been a challenging year.   However, as we all know there is one issue that none of us could have predicted at this time last year and that none of us ever imagined happening and that is the COVID-19 Pandemic.    As I have said many times over the past seven months, I truly do appreciate the leadership you have shown in your offices and in your communities in dealing with everything related to this ongoing issue that must be dealt with.    While I believe we are all praying that we will have a vaccine available sooner, rather than later, we all have to face the reality that at this time we just do not know when that is going to happen.    With the huge spikes in the number of packages that you have been receiving in your offices, to the shortage of staffing that many of you have experienced, these truly are unprecedented times.    As I listened in to the Western-Pacific Area end of year/kick off meeting being broadcast yesterday, it reminded me of the challenges and the opportunities that are out there now and into the future.    I realize that at times it can be overwhelming and you may want to just throw in the towel.    However, I want to remind you that there is a reason that you and the people you work with in your offices are  called essential workers, because that is INDEED just what you are.    Without your dedication and attention to details the commerce of this country and the ability of the citizens of this country to get basic supplies would be severely handicapped and may be impossible for many of them.  So, once again, thank you for everything you do.

With that in mind, I wish that I could tell you that there had been a decision made on what the NPA/PFP ratings and pay outs were going to look like for last year.   Again, this is an area that I am in contact with Headquarters on a regular basis.   It is my hope that well before the final numbers for FY 2020 are released we have a resolution regarding how everyone will fare and what the plan for administering the program will be.    I am sorry to have to ask you to hang on, but that is just what I am going to have to do for now.

The Election Mail Task Force that is meeting at the national level has been hard at work to address issues that are important to the Postal Service and to the mailing public.   As I have said from the beginning, we have delivered mail and absentee ballots for many election years without any issues being raised and I am confident that we can do so again.    One of the initiatives that has been put in place is Local Election Mail Task Forces at every plant in the country.   I have been working with the Chapter Presidents to put together a list of UPMA members who are willing and able to assist at the Plant level to address issues as they come up.   Another line of communication that is open to all of you is the Election Mail Coordinator at the District Level.    If you see issues in your office from how the mail is addressed to errors in the mailing list, report it.    We cannot get things corrected if we do not bring it to someone’s attention.    So, if you do not know who to contact, get in touch with your manager and find out!   Then report it.

Also, make sure that you are working closely with the craft employees in your offices.    On Thursday, I received a call from Ronnie Stutts the National President of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association.   Mr. Stutts pointed out that his members are serving in every size office in the Postal Service and he asked if we as Postmasters, Managers and Supervisors could make sure that we keep lines of communication open with the craft members.   In this way they are going to feel much more a part of the process to address issues and in turn they will be more willing to bring problems that they observe forward to be taken care of.   So, I would ask that those of you that have craft employees in your offices to reach out to them and get them involved in making this a very successful election season.

As we move forward this coming year make sure that whenever possible that you take time off to take care of yourself.    Take some time to spend with family and friends to get recharged and to prepare yourself for whatever challenges you may have and the issues that we all know will need to be addressed.     As always if you, or a family member, are feeling like you just can’t go on, remember to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for help.   Even if you just need someone to talk to that is why EAP is there and that is the very reason that the Postal Service has chosen to make that help available for all of you.    Take advantage of it.

Please stay safe and healthy and have a good week!

Dan Heins
UPMA National President