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Postal News Roundup

Miracle On Your Street: How The Post Office Handles Holidays

NPR 1A - Podcast - “Think about this. If you pay 49 cents and you drop a letter into a blue bin on the side of the road, in only a couple of days, your intended recipient will get it delivered to their door. And you didn’t have to do (really) a darn thing. It’s kind of miraculous…Guests: Devin Leonard Bloomberg Businessweek staff writer, author of: 'Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service', @devinleonard; Mark Dimondstein President, American Postal Workers Union; Robert Reisner Consultant, Guidehouse; former Vice President for Strategic Planning (1996-2001) at USPS; Jim Tankersley Economics and tax reporter, The New York Times.”

Trump admin’s proposed USPS package hike could push Amazon to bolster private shipping business

Geekwire - “President Donald Trump’s mission to get the United States Postal Service to extract better deals from retailers like Amazon got a boost Tuesday when a review he ordered reported that ‘packages have not been priced with profitability in mind.’ Although the package delivery business more than covers its costs, the report recommends charging companies shipping consumer goods more to alleviate the Postal Service’s financial distress…That’s a future feared by Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union. ‘Recommendations would slow down service, reduce delivery days and privatize large portions of the public Postal Service,’ he said in a statement Tuesday. “Most of the report’s recommendations, if implemented, would hurt business and individuals alike.’”

Task Force on USPS Recommends More Contracting, Less Bargaining

Fed Week - “A task force on the USPS commissioned earlier this year by the White House has stopped short of recommending privatizing the postal agency although it has recommended more use of contractors and changing the law to end bargaining over pay and benefits. The report is the latest in a long line of proposals to shore up the Postal Service’s finances after years of losses related largely to the shift from physical to online communications–only partly offset by substantial growth in delivery of packages. It recommended better defining that is, potentially narrowing–the ‘universal service obligation’ requiring that USPS service all addresses; greater flexibility in setting prices for both mail and package items that are not deemed ‘essential services’; expanding use of ‘private sector partners in areas such as processing and sortation’; more flexibility to lower service delivery standards; exploring potential new revenue options including ‘licensing access to the mailbox’ but not creating postal banking; and restructuring–but not eliminating–the requirement to pre-fund future retiree health insurance costs that the USPS has been unable to pay for years, resulting in a $43 billion obligation on its books.”

Postal workers claim USPS managers force them to falsify package deliveries

Fox 13 - “United States Postal Service employees are saying that USPS managers force employees to falsify delivery information on packages, in order to keep up with on-time delivery rates. The employees said the delivery rates directly correlate to manager salaries. Customers around the Salt Lake Valley have voiced concerns on social media that packages shown as 'delivered,' don't arrive for another one to three days on their doorstep.”

U.S. Postal Service Governors Appoint Inspector General

USPS Press Release - “The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service today announced the appointment of Tammy L. Whitcomb as the third Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service. The Office of Inspector General conducts audits and investigations to promote efficiency, and detect and prevent fraud, in Postal Service programs and operations.”

Walgreens links up with FedEx for nationwide next-day delivery service

MedCity News - “As the prospect of Amazon’s disruption of healthcare continues to makes waves in the industry, many stakeholders are looking to shore up their business by introducing Amazon-esque features and services. Case in point is Walgreens launch of a nationwide service with FedEx for next-day prescription deliveries. Currently available in major markets including Dallas, Chicago and New York, the delivery service will be expanded to more markets in 2019.”

Incoming Oversight Chair Blasts New Hatch Act Guidance Limiting Talk of ‘Resistance’ in the Office

Government Executive - “Weeks before he is scheduled to assume the chairman’s powers at the House oversight panel, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., on Friday took aim at the new Hatch Act guidance released last month by the Office of Special Counsel. OSC’s evolving efforts to advise agency employees on how to avoid violations during discussions of such Trump-era language as ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘The Resistance’ may be unconstitutional and should be rescinded, Cummings wrote in a Dec. 7 letter to Special Counsel Henry Kerner. Cummings called the guidance—which OSC modified two days after releasing it because of multiple questions from agencies—'a radical departure from past guidance’ that ‘is certain to have a chilling impact on federal employees.’”

A Political Revolution for Labor
Jacobin - “My argument here is a simple one: If we want a powerful movement, workers have to fight their employers not just at the ballot box but at the workplace, too. These two kinds of struggle can complement each other; union fights, in particular, pose clear class battles that raise consciousness. In addition to this year’s electrifying teacher strikes, we can learn from three other large-scale union victories that took place in the year before Donald Trump was elected.”

AFL-CIO Alleges Secret Industry Sway Over Joint Employer Rule

Bloomberg - “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association, and more than a dozen other business groups secretly had ‘extensive input”’on the NLRB’s proposal to change its legal standard for joint employer liability for labor law violations, the AFL-CIO alleges. The labor federation said in a Dec. 7 filing to the National Labor Relations Board that the business groups submitted rulemaking petitions to the agency that appear to have substantially affected how the board wrote its proposed joint employment rule.”

The Next Big Legal Case to Assassinate Unions Is On The Way

Splinter - “This summer, the Supreme Court gutted America’s public labor unions with the Janus ruling. Now, another case has the potential to further destroy the very basis of organized labor in America. This is serious. Uradnik v. Inter Faculty Org is a case brought by the right wing Buckeye Institute with the specific aim of dismantling a key part of U.S. labor law. The case seeks to end the practice of exclusive representation in public unions—the rule that a union represents all of the workers in a workplace. In the case, a college professor is arguing that the requirement that the union in her workplace negotiate on her behalf even if she does not want to be a union member is an infringement of her free speech.”

Progressive Marriott union contract could have ripple effects
Boston Globe - “A series of settlements hammered out over the past few weeks between Marriott and its striking workers in Boston and seven other cities are ushering in groundbreaking benefits that could set a precedent not just for the service industry but for workers nationwide. The Boston agreement, reached after workers spent more than six weeks on the picket lines, marching and chanting in the wind and rain and snow, includes a roughly 20 percent increase in wages over 4½ years, a 37 percent increase in pension contributions, and six weeks of paid maternity leave, plus two weeks for spouses.”

Cabinet approves MoC between India and Japan for cooperation in Postal field

uniindia.com - India - “The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday gave ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan for cooperation in Postal field. The MoC seeks to improve postal services and cooperation in the postal field between the two countries,”

Amazon Workers in Spain and Germany Announce Strikes Ahead of Christmas: 'Change Must ...

Gizmodo - Spain - “Following protests over workers’ rights across Europe during the Black Friday crunch last month, Amazon workers in Spain and Germany continue to strike ahead of Christmas. Multiple protests are planned over what workers and unions describe as poor work environments, anti-union tactics, and demanding conditions resulting in physical and emotional pain.”

If unions fail, our democracy may well be at stake

The Globe and the Mail – Canada - Op-ed by Christo Aivalis a postdoctoral fellow in the history department at the University of Toronto - “Canada has a long history of union victories that have defined national events and made for a more just and humane society, led by Canada’s most prominent unions. But some of those major players have recently suffered major setbacks, in a span of just a month: On Nov. 27, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers – the union that made maternity leave a mainstream expectation in Canada – was legislated back to work in the midst of a fight for job equity and workplace safety. Meanwhile, UNIFOR – Canada’s largest private-sector union – got news that they would lose at least 2,500 members in Oshawa when General Motors announced it would cease production there next year…When it comes down to it, we need economic systems that reflect the democratic principles we so cherish, the ones through which we define so much of our Canadian identity. Unions have been a force for generations, giving workers at least some input into the operation of their workplaces, and organized labour will always have an irreplaceable role in building and preserving a democratic spirit that goes beyond the ballot box. It is in all our interests that unions succeed in organizing the workplaces of the present and future, that our governments enact policies that assist in this process, and that we as citizens retain a skeptical eye towards the further concentration of economic power in unaccountable private hands. If unions fail, our democracy may well be at stake.

Macron Pressed on All Sides for Grand Gesture to End Crisis

Bloomberg - France - “Secluded in his Presidential palace, Emmanuel Macron is looking for a miracle. An angry France is waiting to see if he finds one. Macron is due to address the nation on Monday evening. Everyone, from Yellow Vest protesters to his dwindling number of supporters, is anticipating some solution to end the downward spiral of Europe’s second largest economy, started last month with a grass-roots movement against fuel tax hikes. Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux promised on Sunday his boss would bring ‘tailor-made solutions’ to ‘find the way back to hearts of French people.’ First, he’s meeting union leaders and local government heads Monday morning to discuss his proposals.”