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Postal News Roundup

Finding comfort in routine, Northern California wildfire evacuees pick up the mail

SF Gate - “They arrived all day, parking in front of the modest building in Santa Rosa and taking a place in line. Some wore clothes they’d been wearing all week, or clothes they’d picked up at a shelter. Their faces betrayed a deep weariness, but they were upbeat, even those whose homes had been wiped out by one of California’s most damaging fires. They came on Saturday to take part in a routine of life that had been lost. They came to pick up their mail.”

Post Office Pickup Brings Fire Evacuees a Sense of Normal

NBC Bay Area - “A week after the North Bay fires began to ravage Sonoma and Napa counties, many residents are trying to get back to a sense of normal. Some did it by getting their mail.”

Munster man charged in East Chicago post office explosion

ABC News - “Eric Krieg, 45, of Munster, Ind., has been charged in an explosion at an East Chicago, Ind., post office that injured a pregnant postal worker. The U.S. Attorney for Northwest Indiana said Krieg, an engineer, is currently in federal custody and is facing charges of knowing possession of a destructive advice and transporting explosive materials. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on both counts.”

Drug Shipments Raise Concerns about Postal Employee Safety

FedWeek - “The bipartisan leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have asked the Postal Service IG for an assessment of the protections for postal employees against the risks posed by illegal shipment of drugs through the mail, particularly synthetic opioids.”

Local postal union, residents fight against potential post office sell-off

Amsterdam News - “They tried and failed in Chelsea, but the United States Postal Service wants to sell off a post office building in Harlem and residents aren’t happy….“They tried to do the same thing at Old Chelsea and the community fought it,” said New York Metro Area Postal Union representative Chuck Zlatkin. “The Postal Service then tried to sell the air rights above the post office and keep the post office.” In this case, the post office is looking to relocate to a new leased facility on the landmarked Striver’s Row on 138th Street. Residents at a community hearing at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Central Harlem last night voiced opposition to the relocation, stating that Striver’s Row lacks the proper parking to accommodate a post office.”

USPS plans to deploy self-driving mail trucks by 2025

Supply Chain Dive - “The United States Postal Service (USPS) will work with the University of Michigan on an autonomous mail delivery truck, American Shipper reported last week. The USPS intends to introduce a swarm of the small self-driving trucks on rural routes across the country by 2025.”

Highway Contract Route Contracting Practices and Conflicts of Interest

USPS OIG Report - “Our objective was to determine if the U.S. Postal Service’s Highway Contract Route (HCR) contracting practices, including avoidance of conflicts of interest, are in compliance with Postal Service policies and procedures and in line with industry practices…We found that the Postal Service’s HCR contracting practices were not always in compliance with its policies and procedures regarding conflicts of interest or in line with industry practices.”

Amazon to add 120,000 temporary workers for holidays

USA Today - “Amazon.com will nearly double its U.S. warehouse workforce for the holidays. The online retail and tech giant plans to add 120,000 temporary jobs this year, the company said Thursday.”

A pending Supreme Court case threatens to silence workers’ voices

The Sacramento Bee - “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the latest case attacking public employee unions seemed inevitable. Labor leaders were resigned, knowing a majority of the justices seem bent on ending labor’s ability to levy dues on workers who seek a free ride. Right-to-work advocates and their rich benefactors anticipated it, seeing it as a way to weaken one of the few obstacles to their political ascendancy.”

Will the Supreme Court Unravel Public Employee Unions?

The Atlantic - “…This term at the U.S. Supreme Court seems likely to end with an assault foretold—on America’s public-employee unions. It will come in a case called Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, which was granted review on September 28. Janus challenges—for the third time in five years—the financial stability of public employee unions. By coincidence, these unions are an important pillar of the Democratic Party.”

White House pitches corporate tax cut as win for workers

Reuters - “U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday gained crucial support for a vote on a budget resolution that is vital to President Donald Trump’s hopes of signing sweeping tax reform legislation into law before January…the Trump administration said in an analysis released on Monday that middle-class Americans would see incomes rise…”

A new study shows how little tax the super-rich pay

The Economist - “Of life’s two certainties, death cannot be dodged even by the well-to-do. Taxes are another matter. Quantifying quite how much they manage to keep from the taxman, however, has always been tricky. One common approach governments take is to conduct randomized audits of tax returns. This methodology can give regulators a rough sense of overall tax revenues lost. But it is far from ideal. For instance, studies based on randomized tax audits are usually both too small and too crude to reflect accurately the financial shenanigans of the most egregious tax-dodgers: the super-rich.”

Labor unions bring real rebuilding assistance to Puerto Rico

People's World - “Unionists on the extended relief mission to hurricane-smashed Puerto Rico call the situation there, three weeks after Maria hit, dire. And the head of the Puerto Rico Labor Federation is blunt about the attitude of the U.S. government: “They want us to die.” The group, including doctors and nurses from California and Oregon, are just a few of more than 300 unionists who headed for the island in a mission the AFL-CIO assembled. They spoke in an October 13 AFL-CIO-arranged conference call.”

Royal Mail wins High Court injuction to block postal worker’s strike

Metro – United Kingdom - “Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) were set to walk out from October 19 after voting massively in favour of industrial action in a long-running row over pensions, pay and jobs. The strike would have been the first national walkout since Royal Mail was privatised four years ago. Royal Mail says that CWU is in breach of its contractual obligation not to call for strike action until the external mediation process, which began on October 5, is exhausted.”

Royal Mail shareholders paid over £800m in past four years while services are scaled back

The Independent – United Kingdom - “Royal Mail shareholders have been paid over £800m in the past four years while the company scaled back the number of postal workers, delivery offices and planned cuts to pension schemes for employees.”