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Postal News Roundup - Feb. 1, 2017

San Francisco Bay View: 'The US Mail is not for sale’: Union victory over Staples and postal privatization
“Five years ago the Post Office began a series of moves aimed at the step-by-step privatization of the U.S. Postal Service, the country’s largest unionized employer. One such move was a 2013 program to farm out postal window services to so-called “postal counters” at 500-plus Staples office supply stores. The American Postal Workers Union confidently swung into action, with an ambitious campaign to beat back the Staples challenge – from nationwide boycott, internet organizing and mass demonstrations at Staples stores, to legal action, Inspector General investigations and Labor Board appeals...”

Government Executive: Internal Promotions, Postal Service and CIA amount Trump’s Hiring Freeze Exemptions
“A slew of positions are now exempt from President Trump’s government wide hiring freeze, according to new guidance from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management. In the second piece of guidance obtained by Government Executive since Trump signed the presidential memorandum last week ordering the freeze, Mark Sandy and Kathleen McGettigan, the respective acting OMB and OPM directors, spelled out in significant detail what exemptions the administration will permit. Trump’s memo initially said only positions in “national security and public safety” -- as well as those determined to be necessary by the OPM director -- would be free from the moratorium, though agencies have since interpreted that to include public health and other areas…”

House.gov Press Release – Committee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Postal Reform Legislation
“Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee leaders introduced H.R. 756, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017. The bill addresses unfunded liabilities of the United States Postal Service (USPS), makes reforms to keep mailing costs affordable for consumers, and encourages innovation, all without additional borrowing capacity from the U.S. taxpayer… ‘This bipartisan measure will make the policy changes that are most urgently needed to put the Postal Service on sound and sustainable long-term financial footing. This collaborative reform effort places the Postal Service on a path toward a viable future…’”

FedSmith.com: Legislation Introduced to Reform Postal Employees’ Benefits
“Legislation has been introduced in the House to make a number of reforms to the Postal Service. The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756) would make pension funding reforms, allow for postal rate increases and even allow the Postal Service to provide non-postal services in some cases. The bill is being introduced by Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and is co-sponsored by Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), and Stephen Lynch (D-MA)…”

Postal News Roundup - Jan. 31, 2017

Business Insider: An award-winning proposal could turn underused post offices into food delivery stations
“The winners of Urban SOS: Fair Share — a competition that asks undergraduate students to find solutions to cities' most urgent issues — hope to address this problem. Students at Washington University in St. Louis created the winning proposal, which would turn LA post offices and their distribution networks into a food delivery system. Their submission, called ‘First Class Meal,’ would send postal service trucks to pick up food donations from grocery stores, agencies, or individuals along their regular routes. The trucks would either deliver the free food to specified households or bring it back to the post office for later delivery or pick-up. While most of the city's post office buildings would continue to process mail, the proposal would turn underutilized areas of the buildings into food pantries. People could also pick up goods at the post offices...”

Pew Research Center: Most Americans see labor unions, corporations favorably
“With President Donald Trump’s labor secretary nominee set to appear before the Senate next week, the public has broadly positive views of both labor unions and business corporations. About six-in-ten adults today have a favorable view of labor unions (60%) and business corporations (56%), according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Views of both have grown more positive since March 2015, when roughly half of adults (48%) expressed a favorable view of each… Young people are far more likely than older adults to view labor unions favorably. Three-quarters of those ages 18 to 29 say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions, while only about half of those 50 and older (53%) have a positive opinion of unions…”

Postal News Roundup - Jan. 26, 2017

TownHall: What You May Not Know About the U.S. Postal Service – Op-ed by NALC President Fredric Rolando
“The U.S. Postal Service delivers to 155 million homes and businesses from coast to coast, six and increasingly seven days a week. It’s based in the Constitution and is consistently rated the public’s most-trusted federal agency. The USPS is particularly critical to small towns and rural areas as well as to small businesses, and is the nation’s largest civilian employer of military veterans. For these and other reasons, the Postal Service enjoys enthusiastic support from the public and from lawmakers across the political spectrum, including from many conservative and Republican legislators. A narrow subset of commentators, however, who seek to privatize some or all of its functions, have been writing ‘sky-is-falling’ pieces that mislead about Postal Service finances while ignoring the broader context of its value to our society…”

Federal News Radio: Chaffetz: Postal Reform bill needed to reform ‘unsustainable’ trajectory
“After years of pressuring from the Postal Service and a series of stalled bipartisan bills, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has made postal reform a top priority for this Congress. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the committee’s chairman, told lawmakers Tuesday at a goal-setting organizational meeting that last year’s efforts served as a “good starting point” for getting a postal reform bill on President Donald Trump’s desk within the next two years. ‘They’re on a financial trajectory that is unsustainable and we need to engage in bipartisan postal reform,’ Chaffetz said…”

Baltimore Post Examiner: Baltimore’s Black Worker Center organizes
“’Research is important, but statistics alone don’t touch the heart,’ Courtney ‘C.J.’ Jenkins, a processing clerk with the United States Postal Service told attendees. ‘We will organize by telling our stories and listening to each other,’ says Jenkins, who worked at Burger King, California Tortilla and a Baltimore box company before finally taking his mother’s advice and applying for a job with the U.S. Postal Service. He is now the youngest elected officer on American Postal Worker Local 181’s executive board and a member of the AFL-CIO’s Young Worker Advisory Council. Jenkins and other activists say they hope the center will promote vocational education, help incubate collectively owned businesses where young workers can ‘monetize their skills’ and ‘formalize their access to resources and networks, jobs and schools…’”

Postal News Roundup

USPS Link: Peak Performance: USPS number add up to busy season
“The holidays are over, but the numbers that show how much work the Postal Service accomplished are still emerging. USPS surpassed its projections of delivering 750 million packages during peak season, according to new data. On Dec. 19, one of the season’s busiest days, the Postal Service delivered more than 34 million packages...”

CBS News: President Trump vows to start renegotiating NAFTA
“President Trump offered up a brief preview of his priorities for meetings with international leaders in the coming weeks, suggesting Sunday that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could be on the chopping block in the near future. ‘We’re going to start some negotiations having to do with NAFTA,” Mr. Trump said in his opening remarks at a White House event to swear in senior administration officials. “I ran a campaign somewhat based on NAFTA. But we’re going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration, on security at the border…’"

CBC News, Toronto: Never miss a package again: Toronto inventor has a solution to missed postal deliveries
“’I love driving across town to pick up my missed deliveries — said no one ever,’ is how Eric Martin felt when he came up with the idea for Boxr, a "smart bench" that doubles as a secure mailbox. The prototype for this practical piece of furniture will be featured at the Interior Design Show this weekend. The bench has a lock activated by a keypad. The homeowner can then share that code in the delivery instructions for mail orders. Martin also envisions the box being used for food deliveries…”

Postal News Roundup - Jan. 19, 2017

In These Times: How the American Postal Workers Union Scored One of its Biggest Wins Ever
“Members of one of the largest labor unions for post office workers are celebrating the success of a three-year campaign to roll back a commercial alliance between the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and office supplies retailer Staples that threatened a major advance in the privatization of the national mail system. Coming just before the accession of Donald Trump to the White House, the victory marks one of the most successful corporate campaigns by any labor union during the Obama era. The success also marks the rejuvenation of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) under the leadership of Mark Dimondstein. First elected as president in 2013, Dimondstein promised union members a more aggressive attack on USPS privatization initiatives and a more progressive union overall. He delivered on those promises with the Staples campaign...”

Postal News Roundup

Retail Dive: Walgreens adding FedEx dropoff, pickup locations nationwide
“The deal between Walgreens and FedEx is like the one that office supplies retailer Staples has with United Parcel Service. Staples recently agreed to shut down similar United States Postal Service operations following outcry from the postal workers union, abetted by an unfavorable ruling from the National Labor Relations Board. The move takes advantage of the growth in e-commerce, which has an increasing number of U.S. consumers dealing with the logistics of accepting (and returning) online orders…”

The Week: England – Post Office to close 37 branches in latest franchise push 
“A further showdown between Post Office bosses and unions has been sparked by the announcement that the service is to close another 37 of its "crown" branches. According to the Communication Workers' Union (CWU), the move will put 290 core jobs at risk, plus 127 specialist financial services staff. Bosses say they intend to replace the branches with franchised concessions in retailers, in line with the vast majority of the 11,600 outlets trading under the brand across the country…”

Metro: England - Life as a Post Office employee
“I joined the Post Office as a Financial Service Specialist some eight years ago. When I was working in a Basildon branch, the bombshell announcement came – we were up for franchise. It was a huge shock and I remember that Tuesday morning very clearly. Some of the staff were lost for words, others cried and the rest of us just could not understand why this was happening. In the days and weeks that followed, the uncertainty was palpable and the confusion dominated the topic of conversation.”

AFL-CIO Blog: Union Plus Scholarships Provide the Keys for Immigrant Families to Unlock the American Dream
“Michelle Huang of Brooklyn, N.Y, whose parents emigrated from Guangzhou, China, is studying to become a pharmacist. She looks at how far she’s come along her educational journey and knows that she would have never been able to take the first steps without her father Zhantu’s membership in the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 10. Relating the story of how her father went on strike and helped pass the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, Michelle recalls, ‘My father became empowered to speak up for his rights. I am not sure how I can ever repay APWU…’” 

Postal News Roundup

Federal News Radio: Mark Dimondstein: Postal union pleased with NLRB decision
Radio interview with President Dimondstein about the end of the USPS/Staples deal. 

USA Today: Amazon says it will create 100,000 full-time jobs in U.S. by 2018
“Amazon will create 100,000 full-time jobs in the United States with full benefits over the next 18 months, the tech giant announced in a statement Thursday. The Seattle-based company says the positions are for workers across the country and across all skill and experience levels. Most of the positions will be at fulfillment centers, including new ones under construction in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. The new employees will also work in areas such as cloud technology, machine learning and advanced logistics…”

Washington Post: National Postal Museum director retires after 14 years leading Smithsonian branch
“Allen Kane had zero experience in museum administration when he became director of the National Postal Museum in 2002. He wasn’t a stamp collector, either. But Kane knew the U.S. Postal Service, having spent 30 years working there, including stints managing its Gulf War Crisis Team and leading its $800 million marketing effort. Because the Postal Service is the museum’s landlord and largest funder, Kane got the job…”

Postal News Roundup - Jan. 10, 2017

Workers World: The U.S. Mail is Not for Sale!’ Union victory over Staples and postal privatization
“Five years ago the U.S. Post Office, a publicly traded company, began a series of moves aimed at the step-by-step privatization of the U.S. Postal Service, a government agency and the country’s largest unionized employer. One such action was a 2013 program to farm out postal window services to so-called “postal counters” at 500-plus Staples office supply stores. The American Postal Workers Union swung into action with an ambitious campaign to beat back the Staples challenge. The APWU used many strategies, from a nationwide boycott, internet organizing and mass demonstrations at Staples stores to legal actions, USPS Inspector General investigations and National Labor Review Board appeals…”

ECommerce Bytes: Would Removing Job Security Improve the USPS?
“A lawmaker wants to remove job security for Federal employees, including postal workers. A key provision of Congressperson Todd Rokita's Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency (PAGE) Act would change the law regarding employees in the civil service so that they would be hired on an at-will basis, according to Postal News. ‘Such an employee may be removed or suspended, without notice or right to appeal, from service by the head of the agency at which such employee is employed for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all.’”

Postal News Roundup - Jan. 9, 2017

NASDAQ: U.S. Postal Service Ends Retail Deal with Staples
“U.S. Postal Service, Staples, Inc., SPLS… The U.S. Postal Service is being forced to end its deal with Staples, Inc. that offers certain services to customers. This deal was put in to place following complaints from the American Postal Workers Union over attempts to open mini post offices inside of SPLS locations…”

AFL-CIO Blog: After Years of Protest and Boycott by APWU and Allies, the Deal Between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples to Sell Postal Services Ends
“The U.S. Postal Service announced in a letter to the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) that the deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples has ended… This is a big win for the public, as well as the 200,000 members of APWU and the union’s allies who waged a national campaign, Stop Staples, against the office-supply chain and a battle against the USPS over the Postal Service’s partnership with the national office supply retailer…”

Postal News: GOP bill would eliminate union representation and other protections for new postal workers
“A bill introduced by GOP congressman Todd Rokita of Indiana would eliminate civil service protections, including the right to union representation for all new federal employees, including new postal workers…” 

Postal News Roundup - Jan. 6, 2017

Washington Post: U.S. Postal Service to halt retail sales at Staples stores after union complaints
“When the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and Staples birthed a retail partnership in 2013, USPS said ‘it’s time to celebrate.’ But now, that program has been sentenced to death and it is postal labor leaders who are rejoicing. They cheer the demise of a program that had been the target of a vigorous campaign by postal unions that don’t want the post office privatized. USPS will discontinue retail services at Staples stores by the first week in March, according to the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which led the fight…”

Bloomberg: U.S. Postal Service Drops Service at Staples Amid Union Pressure
“Following union-backed boycotts and an adverse labor board ruling, the United States Postal Service has agreed to curb a controversial arrangement allowing private employees to provide its services at Staples Inc. stores... The cancellation is a coup for the Postal Service’s largest union, which mounted a three-year, multipronged campaign against the arrangement, fighting Staples’ failed attempt to merge with Office Depot Inc., and leafleting outside stores urging customers to boycott the company, according to Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union...” 

Biz Journal: After union pressure, Staples loses deal with U.S. Postal Service
“The union had waged a three-year effort against the retailer and the Postal Service for its deal with Staples. The union said the deal with Staples had essentially privatized postal retail operations and shifted postal services from neighborhood post offices to Staples locations. The union said the effort undermined the public’s right to ‘good quality and secure postal services and represented a shift of good living wage positions to low-wage jobs, thereby hurting the well-being of the communities where the union’s members lived…’”

Mercury News: Postal Service terminates Staples program amid protests by union
San Jose, CA - “The U.S. Postal Service has terminated an agreement that allowed Staples employees to operate post office desks inside the retailer’s stores, union and postal officials said Thursday. ‘The program is over,’ Augustine Ruiz, a Bay Area spokesman for the USPS, confirmed Thursday. Ruiz didn’t know how many Staples stores in the Bay Area provide postal services…”

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