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February 2021 transcript of From The President's Desk

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 02/24/21

From the President’s Desk – February 2021

Welcome to the February edition of From the President’s Desk!

In some ways it does not seem possible that we have been dealing with all the issues related to the COVID-19 Pandemic for a whole year already, but here we are.    For all of us our lives have definitely been changed forever.    Whether you are one of the individuals that has survived the virus, or if you know someone that has, you have been changed.   If you are one of those that has lost a loved one, or a friend, to the disease it is that much more difficult.    As the government is able to get more and more doses of the vaccine out in the public; I hope and pray that that might just bring us back to a more stable way of living.   I know many people say we need to get to a new normal.    For me, I do not think any of us will really know what normal is for quite some time.    From what the experts are saying we are going to have to continue to wear masks and wash our hands frequently and practice more social distancing than we are used to when we see our friends at events throughout the country.    As always make sure to take care of the things you can take care of and keep yourself, your family, and your employees as safe as possible now and into the future.

Last Saturday the National Executive Board had the privilege of having our Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy attend our meeting here in Arlington, Virginia.    The meeting gave Louis a chance to share some of the components of his vision for the future of the Postal Service including the areas of concentration he feels we, as an organization, need to focus on going forward.     He feels it is very important that with our ever-changing economy and the needs of the America people that the United States Postal Service finds ways to innovate and meet those needs while at the same time never losing sight of our mission to bind the nation together.  One of the ways he envisions us doing that is through efforts to reconnect our carrier workforce and our “retail centers” to the American public and to meet their needs.  He talked about the District restructuring that will be announced very soon and how that fits into his overall plan for the future.  The plan he has put together would result in savings of $160 Billion over the next ten years.  His goal is that the USPS would be at a break even point at the end of those ten years, if not before.    To get there we need to take advantage of the pricing flexibility that we have with the new rules that have been approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, we need to have comprehensive Postal Reform legislation passed by Congress that includes items like Medicare integration, relaxing of the pre-funding requirement and the ability to look for ways that we can be more innovative going forward.    He has been working hard to build bi-partisan support to help move the legislation through both houses of Congress.     Louis is also working with the Executive Leadership Team at USPS Headquarters to implement some growth strategies especially in the area of the small package business to allow us to expand our current market share to help keep us sustainable for the long term.  

On Saturday, we also had the honor of having Doug Tulino, the Chief Human Resources Officer of the Postal Service with us.    Doug talked about some of the issues that seem to be obstacles with the Fast Track hiring process and that are being looked at the Headquarters level.    Doug stated we should know what the District restructuring will look like early in March and then we will hear more about what the timelines will be for the implementation of that restructuring plan.   As far as the Voluntary Early Retirement Authorization (VERA) is concerned, Doug stated that the VERA should be announced around the same time as the restructuring plans.

For many of you I know you have been asking questions regarding the Fiscal Year 2021 NPA and PFP goals and objectives and when they will be rolled out.   At this time USPS Headquarters is still putting the finishing touches on the plans and what the program will look like.   Unfortunately, I do not have any more information than that.   I know there have been a lot of rumors flying around out in the field as to what things are going to look like for this year; however, we do not know what that is going to be now, or in the future, so please do not get caught up in the rumors.    When I have more information, I will make sure I share that with you.

Beginning next month, we have our first Chapter Conventions scheduled in Florida and Illinois.   So far, we have thirty-one chapters that have provided the National Office with the information on when and where their conventions will be held.   We post this information on the national website, and it is also included in the UPMA Leader magazine each time that publication comes out.   If you are interested in attending your Chapter’s Convention and/or getting involved be sure to reach out to your Chapter President, or another officer to get the information you need.   This year we will be electing a National President, as well as four National Vice Presidents and we need as many of you as possible to participate in that process at the Chapter Convention level as we can have participate.

The National Executive Board has voted to modify our free dues promotion from six months to one year of free dues for all EAS employees that join the organization between March 1 and August 31, 2021.   If you know of a neighboring EAS employee who is not currently a member of UPMA, this would be an excellent opportunity to help them get signed up with the understanding that they have an entire year to get a better understanding of the benefits of membership in our organization and that opportunity is offered to them free of charge for the first year.  If you have any questions on this change, please contact us at the National Office.

With all the unusual weather we have had our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that has been affected by the record cold temperatures, the snow in many places that do not normally have snow and the damage that you may have suffered from the loss of heat and having your pipes getting frozen and then bursting.   It is never easy to deal with issues like these and as with so many other aspects of our lives it is compounded with the issues related to COVID.   I hope and pray all will be back to more seasonable weather soon.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to talking with you again next month!   Take care, stay safe and wear your masks when out in public and when you are at work.