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July 2021 transcript of From The President's Desk

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 07/28/21

Welcome to the July edition of From the President’s Desk.

It is my hope that you have all been able to enjoy some of our summer weather and get outside and do some things that you like to do.    I know that for the majority of you those hours to enjoy time with family and friends is invaluable and you cherish those moments.    Having traveled around the country to over twenty Chapter Conventions I have heard the stories regarding the long hours you are having to put in, the lack of help and the lack of consistency regarding who you should be contacting when you have issues that need addressing.    Unfortunately, we appear to have at least a couple more months before all the restructuring bidding and then changes in reporting structures will be finalized and we can move forward full steam.   With that said, that will be leading right into the PEAK mailing season and the challenges and opportunities that presents.    As I have said before, if you have issues regarding staffing, labor relations, finance, or any other area that you need assistance with and you are not sure who to contact, your first contact should be to your immediate manager.   If they are not able to resolve the issue, or they do not have the answer, they should be able to go reach out on your behalf and get you the answers, or assistance that you need.

As of today I am still waiting for the final word from Postal Service Headquarters regarding the National Performance Assessment (NPA) and Pay for Performance (PFP) processes for this current fiscal year.   I realize we are now through almost ten months of the Fiscal Year with no real shared goals up to this point.   Since the process has not been finalized, I am not at liberty to say exactly what it will look like because I do not know for certain.   As soon as I do I will make sure that information is shared with you.    Please be assured it is not for lack of trying on this issue; however, there have been other issues that have been consuming people’s time at the Headquarters level.

In a short two weeks we will be gathering at the Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Center in Sandusky, Ohio for our Fifth Annual UPMA National Convention.    The Ohio Chapter and Gerri Swarm from the National Office have been working hard to put together a convention that should be meaningful, enlightening, and enjoyable for every individual that attends.    We have training that will be offered, we have speakers coming from Postal Service Headquarters and we have some just plain “fun” activities during the evening hours, as well.    I am pleased to report that Louis DeJoy, our Postmaster General will be at the convention to address us on Monday, August 16th.   On Thursday, Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale will offer some insights on the work of the Inspection Service.   We will also hear from Shayne Hensley, the Manager of Labor Relations for the Central Area on either Wednesday, or Thursday morning we are still finalizing the agenda.  Also, the new Vice President for Retail and Post Office Operations Elvin Mercado will be addressing us on Thursday morning.    The National Executive Board will have the opportunity to meet with Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Human Resources Officer Doug Tulino on Saturday afternoon.    On Monday and Wednesday afternoons we will be offering a variety of training classes for those in attendance.   We are privileged to have a number of presenters from Postal Service Headquarters who will be leading these sessions.   The list of sessions will be finalized this afternoon and we will make sure it is posted on the website very soon.   For the first time ever, we will be offering one day registrations for the convention this year.   The cost of the one-day registration will be $75.00 payable onsite at Kalahari.   

There have been a number of calls and emails coming into the office regarding the talk that the President may make it mandatory that all federal workers be vaccinated.   At this time I am not certain what that would mean for the Postal Service, sometimes those types of actions do affect the Service and other times they do not so we will just have to wait and see what we have for information and requirements when the time comes.

I just wanted to bring you up to date on where we are at with the Pay Talk process Our original deadline for completion of the talks was July 22nd; however, due to some unplanned for issues that came up we were unable to meet that deadline.   As a result, the Postal Service has requested an extension until August 23rd and I have agreed to that extension.    The plan is that I will be given a briefing updating me on where we are at early the week of August 9th, so I will be able to at least update the National Executive Board and I will share as much information as I can at that time regarding the progress in the pay talks.     One of the items we were discussing was the issue of annual leave carry over and we did receive the official notice that the annual leave carry over amount for EAS employees will be expanded again this year to 640 hours and when it comes time for the leave exchange early in 2022 you will be allowed to exchange an additional forty hours at that time.

With the new issues with the COVID-19 Delta variant, I would encourage all of you to continue to take precautions and if new guidelines, or mandates, are issued regarding the wearing of face masks, be sure that you are following those directives and reminding the employees that work with you to do the same.

For now, stay safe and healthy.

Dan Heins
UPMA National President