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March 26, 2021 Update from Dan Heins, UPMA National President

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 03/26/21

Friday Message – March 26, 2021

One Year Anniversary – Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Friday Messages.   It does not seem possible that when I started sending these out last year that we would still be dealing with the Pandemic one year later, but we certainly are.   As we see more and more areas of the country opening up and travel becoming more and more prevalent, make sure that you are still taking all of the precautions necessary.   Even if you have had your shots (or shot) and you feel you are protected, from what I have been able to find out, that does not mean you cannot still be a carrier.   So, I would encourage you to practice social distancing and wear your face masks when you should be for the protection of yourself and others.

Ten-Year Plan – On Tuesday, the Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, released the ten-year plan for the Postal Service.   There are many components that are part of this plan.   If you wish to see the plan it is posted on our website,   Remember as you look at the ten-year plan there are several topics covered and possible changes that are talked about; however, the plan does not contain a lot of specifics on what may happen, or what will happen.   I caution you not to get caught up in listening to or spreading rumors.    The rumor mill can be very destructive and very often causes unnecessary anxiety for people.    When we need to know specifics, the Postal Service will share those with us.   In many cases the items you are hearing and reading about the future are one person’s spin on the issue and may indeed have no basis in fact.   I would encourage you to familiarize yourself with the plan for your own benefit.   There are a number of issues contained in the ten-year plan that I have concerns over and that members have expressed concerns over.   Those items include the change of delivery standards, who will determine what mail goes on planes and what mail goes by surface transportation, possible changes in retail hours and consolidation of units, and others.   When I have the answers to my questions, I will let you know what I find out.

Legislation connected to the Ten-Year Plan - One of the larger components must be done through Postal Reform and relief that will have to be granted by Congress.   We have been aware for some time now that Chairwoman Maloney and Ranking Member Comer from the House Oversight and Reform Committee have been working on putting together some type of bi-partisan legislation.   They were waiting for the plan to be released before they put the final touches on the legislation.    We will continue to monitor the legislation and to see if we can get something moving forward in the Senate soon, as well.   Once we have some bills out there, we will work with all of you to make sure that we are reaching out to our members of the House and Senate to rally bi-partisan support to get something passed and on President Biden’s desk for his signature.   I know nothing will come out in the next few days, but I am hopeful that we might see something in the next few weeks, at the very latest.

Special Exempt Pay Continues – On Monday, March 22nd I received a letter from the Postal Service authorizing the use of Special Exempt Pay for all Postmasters due to COVID related circumstances until June 4, 2021.   This is the same provision that has been in place since May of last year.  So, if you must work extra hours, or work on your non-scheduled day due to COVID shortages in your office PUT IN FOR IT.    Let your manager know that you need to work and why and get it approved.   You are entitled to it and you should be paid for the time you are spending making sure the mail is moving.    All the Memorandums of Understanding that were in place with the various unions have also been extended until the June 4th date.

Joint Task Force on Service Performance – On Tuesday, March 23rd the press release went out announcing the formation of a new Joint Task Force on Service Performance.   On Monday, the presidents of the two management associations and the presidents of four of the unions were brought together to be briefed on this new task force.   At this time, we are still working through the logistics of what is involved and exactly what our involvement as UPMA members might be.   For now, the focus is going to be on the Processing and Distribution Facilities and the Delivery Units that are still struggling to get the mail processed and delivered and to see what can be done to make improvements in those areas.   While the “focus list” has not been finalized it will most likely include locations such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Central Pennsylvania, Richmond, Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Denver, and Chicago on the processing side and some of the sites on the delivery side will include Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, Atlanta (certain areas), Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles.   With that said, however, if you are having issues with mail not getting to you, or consistently getting to you late; or routes that you cannot get delivered on a consistent basis, wherever you are, please get that information to me so that I can share it with the Task Force and those ongoing situations can be addressed.    As with many other items, I will keep you as informed as possible as things develop and as we see the service improving.

So, as always, stay safe, wear your masks, and practice social distancing when appropriate.

Take care,

Daniel Heins
UPMA National President