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Postal News Roundup

Postal Service, Census Bureau mull partnership for 2020 count

FederalNewsRadio.com - ‘“Post office operations are actually doing quite well,” Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, told Federal News Radio. “It’s challenging times, it’s changing times. But we also, with the internet, have a huge increase in packages — ordering online, package sortation, package delivery and so on … I think the future can be bright, but I think some of the challenges have to be addressed by Congress.”’

USPS Offers Early Retirement to 26000 Employees

GovExec.com - “Employees must have 20 years of experience and be at least 50 years old, or have 25 years of service and be any age, to qualify under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority. The Postal Service has received permission from the Office of Personnel Management to offer the incentives.” 

Postal Service: We're fighting opioid crisis

USA TODAY - “The U.S. Postal Service is deeply concerned about America’s opioid crisis and has been working aggressively with law enforcement and key trading partners to stem the flow of illegal drugs entering the United States. In collaboration with federal agencies and state and local law enforcement, improved investigative techniques have increased our ability to interdict opioids such as fentanyl. From fiscal year 2016 through 2017, the Postal Inspection Service has achieved a 375% increase in international parcel seizures and an 880% increase in domestic parcel seizures related to opioids. The Postal Service further executed an agreement with Customs and Border Protection to define responsibilities and leverage shared technological solutions to improve interdiction efforts and enhance global security.”

Who will fight for the US Postal Service?

Springfield News-Leader - “On July 26, 1775, President George Washington created the United States Postal Service and appointed Benjamin Franklin the nation's first postmaster… Both the federal government and business leaders understood from the very start that if this gigantic new country was to grow and succeed, it would be commerce — not politics or religion — which would be the unifying and driving force behind American expansion, and thus, as stated in the U.S. Code, "The Postal Service shall have as its function the obligation to provide postal service to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It should provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities." And for decades that was how it operated, as dedicated, hard-working clerks and mailmen (for early on they were all male) — going by foot, horseback, bicycles, boats, trains, and eventually airplanes — delivered correspondence and packages during all kinds of weather, the Civil War, epidemics of flu and other diseases, the Great Depression, and so on… The USPS is in its death throes, and all at a time when as much as ever, America desperately needs those "indissoluble ties." Yet nobody in power seems to give a damn. I suppose that the disenfranchised residents of Purdy could try to write to their national senator and representative, but there's no longer a place in town to purchase stamps.”

Reno's main post office seeing record-setting holiday season

KOLO - “It’s all hands on deck this month at Reno’s main post office on Vassar Street, as employees there are dealing with a record number of packages being sent. Randi Jones is the supervisor of customer service support at the Vassar Street office, and she says business is up substantially from last year. “Last year we had about 49,000 packages that went through,” she said. “This year we already reached 60,000.” And that second number only counts the number of packages sent through December 13. The rush doesn’t just mean a busier scene inside the post office, but a longer day on the road for mail carriers...And he agrees this one is busier than ever. “I think it could be record-setting,” he said. “Honestly I've never seen it like this.” Amazon's dominance aside, the rise of packages at the post office is no surprise. Given the fact that brick-and-mortar retail stores around the country have been shutting down, that pushes the business online, and those orders all require shipping.”

USPS reopens Pulaski post office

WSLS 10 - “After being closed for five months, the post office in downtown Pulaski is open for business. The building closed in July due to safety concerns following an Osha investigation into mold.”

OPM Tells Agencies to Stop Working Collaboratively with Unions

Government Executive - “Federal agencies may use President Trump’s executive order abolishing labor-management councils across government as justification for throwing out collective bargaining agreements with their workforces, guidance from the Office of Personnel Management suggested Wednesday. In a memo to agencies, acting OPM Director Kathleen McGettigan instructed departments to abolish their labor-management forums and eliminate any rules or policies related to those forums. The memo also ordered agencies to examine whether their agreements with federal employee unions include provisions involving the forums or other labor outreach for “pre-decisional involvement,” and when applicable, to renegotiate or get rid of them.”

For 13 million workers, fighting the boss just got harder

CBS News - “Bringing claims of harassment or other malfeasance against an employer just got a little harder because of a change in federal labor rules. The National Labor Relations Board  last week reversed a two-year-old decision that made companies and franchisers jointly responsible for workers managed through temporary agencies and franchises. There are about 8 million people in America who work for a franchise, according to the US Census Bureau. The system, where a large brand licenses out its name and other aspects of a business, exists in all sectors of the economy, but the best-known are food service places such as McDonald's, Jimmy John's and Dunkin' Donuts. Another 4.8 million workers are employed through temp or staffing agencies, filling jobs in offices, factories, warehouse and other facilities.”

Labor board burns through Obama-era rules

The Hill - “The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is delivering a flurry of wins to businesses now that it has a Republican majority under President Trump. The independent board tasked with enforcing fair labor practices and collective bargaining rights overruled three Obama-era rules last week in a series of 3-2 rulings.”

Top Republicans are already talking about cutting Medicare and Social Security next

Vox - “Their targets for closing the gap include Social Security, Medicare, and food stamps. “We're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said on a talk radio show. One of his top spending appropriators echoed the sentiment.”

Employers steal billions from some of nation's most vulnerable workers

CNNMoney - “Employers of some of the country's lowest-paid workers are stealing billions from their paychecks -- and federal and state law enforcement agencies have only been able to recover a fraction of those lost wages. According to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, government agencies — as well as private lawyers — recovered almost $2 billion in wages that should have been paid to workers in 2015 and 2016. For the last few years, labor advocates have sought to bring more attention to the issue of "wage theft," which can take many forms: Requiring workers to stay after their shift officially ends, failing to pay overtime or taking deductions that reduce total hourly pay to below the minimum wage.”

Warning given to bereaved Royal Mail postal worker sparks sudden strike in Greenock

Evening Times – United Kingdom - “We have no wish to disrupt postal deliveries, especially at this time of year, but we don't believe giving a warning was reasonable in the circumstances.” The union and workers are concerned that a warning could be the first stage towards a possible dismissal in future.   

French postal workers are doubling as elderly caretakers

VICE News - France - “French mail carriers are being redeployed as caretakers for the elderly in an innovative response to both the country's aging population and a decline in letters being sent by post. Distant relatives and town halls concerned about senior citizens at risk of neglect or loneliness can commission the local ...”

Workers at Israel's Teva Pharm block roads, continue protest over job cuts

Reuters - Israel - “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he planned to meet with Teva CEO Kare Schultz this week to try and minimize the impact on staff, after thousands of workers belonging to public sector unions staged a half-day strike on Sunday to show solidarity with Teva workers.”