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December 24, 2020 transcript of From The President's Desk

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 12/21/20

Greetings everyone!

Welcome to the December edition of From the Presidents Desk.   

What a year it has been in so many many ways.   For some parts of the country, we started the year with record snowfalls, then there were the wildfires, along with the hurricanes and tropical storms that have affected many parts of the country and now dealing with freezing rain and more snow since we are at the start of the winter in these past couple of weeks.  

As difficult as all of that has been and continues to be, of course the most challenging part of this year has been the pandemic and the affect it has had on each and every one of us.   For those of us that have not been required to go into the Post Office on a daily basis, it has affected us differently than those of you that have had to go to work as “essential workers” day in and day out.   Dealing with staffing shortages that have been created by the pandemic and quarantining that is required because of the virus has been a heavy burden for many of you. Then, as if that weren’t enough, then you have had to deal with the added burden of the increased package volume that was part of the stay-at-home orders, etc. that resulted from the pandemic has been and continues to be something else.   Then we had an election season that was one for the record books that most of us will not soon forget (while it is over for most of us, our friends in Georgia will be dealing with the election until January 5th and beyond).   Then right after the election you all jumped headfirst into a PEAK season like no one has seen in the history of the Postal Service.    Yes, I understand there are delays in getting the mail processed and delivered; however, you need to know that even though you have had to deal with a record of number of “where is my package” inquiries, for the most part the American public understands and appreciates all that you have done and continue to do!!    I will continue to pray that you can all make it through this last week and that hopefully once we get past Christmas Day things will at least get somewhat better for all of you.

Last week I received the official letter from Postal Service Headquarters outlining what the new EAS and Part-time Postmaster’s pay schedule will be starting on January 2, 2021.   For those of you that have not seen the new schedule, it is posted on our website.    For 2021, the Postal Service increased the top of each of the pay bands in the schedule by 1%.    They then took that dollar amount and added it to the number that had been the starting salary in the schedule for 2020.    Over the years the Postal Service has generally aligned the increases in our pay schedule with that of the Federal Government and this year it does not appear that there will be any increase to the pay schedules offered by the government; however, the Postal Service made the decision that they would add in the 1% for our workers.   

At this time, I am still waiting to have further discussions on what the NPA and PFP programs will look for 2021.   It is frustrating that we are almost at the end of the first quarter of the year and we do not know what our goals are; however, with all the emphasis on the election mail and then with PEAK season this just has not been a topic that has risen to the top at this point.   I have been assured that we will be reopening discussion on this issue early in the new calendar year and we should have something ready to present by the middle of January at the latest.    Once we have the final numbers and the breakdown of what the expectations for 2021 are, I am going to try to schedule some ZOOM meetings, or webinars, to give you a chance to get the information and have your questions answered.  

After our November National Executive Board meeting, I signed a sponsorship agreement with FedPoint, which is the group that administers the Federal Long Term Care Program and also shares information on our health benefits, etc.    A part of that sponsorship agreement is that FedPoint has agreed to share their platform for webinars to allow us to do some training throughout the year.    We have two dates set up in January and I am hopeful that the topic that we can cover is the NPA system, but we will have to see if it is ready by then.   The dates for those sessions are Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 7:30 PM EST and Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 9:00 PM EST.   Once I have the call information available, we will be sure to post that on the website and I will also include the information in my Friday Message updates.    Please stay tuned for more details.

With the tentative agreement reached between the NALC and the Postal Service and making the assumption that the contract will be ratified, we will be entering into pay consultations with the Postal Service sometime early in the new calendar year.   With that in mind I have put together a team of UPMA members who will look at issues that need to be brought forward and then put together some proposals that I will then take forward for discussion at Postal Service Headquarters.   The pay talk team will be having their first meeting the first weekend in January to lay the foundation for what changes we want to see made in the areas of pay and benefits for our members.    Please keep in mind that by law, we can only consult on behalf of Postmasters, however, in most cases whatever is agreed to for Postmasters generally applies to all EAS employees in the organization.    If you have issues you would like to see brought forward please share those with me, or another member of the team.   The pay talk team is comprised of myself, David Ravenelle our Executive Director, Edmund Carley, Tony Leonardi, Tammy Powell, and Richard Zurowski.    While I will not be able to share everything as we go forward, I will do my best to share as much information as possible throughout this process.

In closing, I want to wish each and every one of you and your families a very Happy Holiday Season.   As I said at the opening, we have all faced some real challenges in 2020 and I hope and pray that we will see significant improvements as we move into the New Year 2021.

Take care and stay safe until next month!