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Postal News Roundup

Package Investigation Puts Spotlight On Postal Service Screening

NPR - “As the hunt intensifies to try to find who sent at least 10 potentially explosive devices to Democrats and critics of President Trump around the country, a second important question lingers: how exactly were the dangerous packages sent? The FBI and the investigative arm of the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, both declined Thursday to confirm to NPR how the packages reached the destinations at which they were intercepted…There are no indications at this point that the Postal Service plans to make any policy changes in the short or long term related to suspicious packages. A spokesperson for the American Postal Workers Union told NPR that although much of the media attention this week has been focused on the public figures the packages were addressed to, it's often forgotten that workers are in danger too. Two postal workers died in 2001 when anthrax was sent through the mail, a crime that may have been committed by Army biologist Bruce Ivins. ’The reality is, there are a lot of people along the way,’ the APWU spokesperson said. ‘They're all certainly at risk here too.’”

Postal Police Play Key Role in Mail Bombs Case, Employees 'Deeply Concerned' for Safety

Government Executive - “The Postal Service is in the process of educating employees on recognizing suspicious packages and training them on the protocols to follow after one is identified, as the mailing agency’s law enforcement arm is playing a key role in the investigation of a series of mail bombs discovered in recent days…The agency immediately began discussing the situation with the American Postal Workers Union, as required by its collective bargaining agreement. ‘Our members are rightfully deeply concerned for their own well-being and that of the public we serve,’ APWU said. The union added its leadership is in “constant touch” with postal management. ‘We urge all our members to be alert and vigilant to protect your safety and well-being and that of your co-workers and the public.’”

Postal Workers Praised for Flagging Explosives
NBC Washington - “D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton says postal workers are to thank for keeping explosive devices from their intended targets.”       

Savings Not Delivered

USPS OIG - “It’s hard to argue with the rationale behind rightsizing the postal network. With mail volumes in decline, it made sense for the U.S. Postal Service to see if it could consolidate facilities and equipment. That’s what USPS did from 2011 to 2015 as part of a two-phased network rationalization plan when it consolidated 223 facilities. As part of Phase II, the Postal Service also revised its First-Class Mail service standards, eliminating overnight delivery for single-piece FCM and shifting some FCM from the two-day service standard to three days. These revisions enabled the Postal Service to expand its mail processing operational window to process mail on fewer machines, thus using less facility square footage. This part of the change is known as the Operating Window Change (OWC), and USPS projected the OWC would save a total of $1.6 billion in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. But to quote the poet Robert Burns: ‘The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry.’ The OWC changes did not deliver the expected savings, our recent audit report found.”

Working-class people are underrepresented in politics. The problem isn’t voters.

Vox - “The president is the billionaire head of a global business empire, and his mostly millionaire Cabinet may be the richest in American history. His opponent in the 2016 election was a millionaire. Most Supreme Court Justices are millionaires. Most members of Congress are millionaires (and probably have been for several years). On the other end of the economic spectrum, most working people are employed in manual labor, service industry, and clerical jobs. Those Americans, however, almost never get a seat at the table in our political institutions.”

Trump’s NLRB Just Quietly Ruled to Make Union Pickets Illegal
In These Times - “An all-Republican panel of President Trump’s National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) recently ruled that janitors in San Francisco violated the law when they picketed in front of their workplace to win higher wages, better working conditions and freedom from sexual harassment in their workplace. The ruling could result in far-reaching restrictions on picketing that limit the ability of labor unions to put public pressure on management.”

Under new Oregon law, all eligible voters are registered unless they opt out

LA Times - “Americans are required to register if they want to vote; as of this week, Oregonians will have to register not to. In front of a packed and cheering audience Monday, Gov. Kate Brown signed a first-in-the-nation bill to automatically register all eligible Oregonians to vote when they obtain or renew a driver's license or state identification card.”

107,000 purged from Georgia voter rolls for not voting in past elections: report

The Hill - “Georgia officials removed an estimated 107,000 people from voter rolls because they decided not to vote in prior elections, according to a new report. An APM Reports analysis found the voters were removed under the state's ‘use it or lose it’ law, which starts a process for removing people from voter rolls if they fail to vote, respond to a notice or make contact with election officials over a three-year period.”

United Airlines and American Airlines flight attendants talk merger

Chicago Business Journal - “Talk is heating up about a potentially historic merger of two of the nation’s largest flight attendant unions — the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). AFA, headed by a forceful leader in Sara Nelson, represents some 24,000 United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) flight attendants, as well as flight attendants at 19 smaller airlines.”

Postal workers’ union begins rotating strikes

The Telegram - Canada - “Rotating strikes by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) were held Monday in Victoria, Edmonton, Windsor and Halifax. Whether rotating strikes will continue today in Canadian cities — and if so, which cities will be involved — won’t be known until any negotiations wrapped up on Monday.”

Postal workers saddled with wrong-delivery costs: lawmaker

The Korea Herald – South Korea - “Based on data from Korea Post, postal workers paid a total of about 25 million won ($22,000) for dealing with delivery errors, a lawmaker said Monday…Most delivery errors occur when postal workers mistype the recipient information or when mail center employees sort out parcels manually. Because incorrect delivery does not fall under the company’s compensation regulations, the post office employees are obliged to pay for the costs.”