Voluntary Early Retirement
APWU, USPS Reach Agreement on VERA
Interested, Eligible Employees Must Notify Union Immediately
APWU News Service Bulletin #24-03, Dec. 19, 2003 | PDF
The APWU and the Postal Service have reached an agreement that will give all eligible APWU-represented employees an opportunity to take voluntary early retirement (VER). APWU President William Burrus announced the settlement on Dec. 19 following several meetings with USPS officials.
Employees who were eligible by Oct. 31, but who were denied the opportunity for early retirement for any reason, must notify the APWU immediately if they wish to retire early. The APWU is responsible for providing their names to the USPS by Jan. 9, 2004. (See form [PDF]) The APWU has compiled lists of names from two previous solicitations of employees who were denied the opportunity to take VER. We believe our list is fairly complete. However, the parties have agreed to extend the deadline for submission of names until Jan. 9, 2004 in order to ensure the fullest possible accounting of employees interested in VER.
Employees who fail to provide their names to the APWU prior to the deadline will not be permitted to retire early. Employees who have already submitted the form to the union, however, do not need to do so again.
In the Crafts
The agreement requires the Postal Service to offer VER to all eligible employees in the Clerk Craft, as well as to employees in the Maintenance and Motor Vehicle crafts in Level 5 positions and below. The offer is to be made to such employees during calendar year 2004. Authority to offer VER to these employees was granted previously by OPM.
In addition, the agreement requires the Postal Service to promptly petition the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for VER authority for eligible Maintenance and Motor Vehicle Craft employees in Level 6 positions and above, and Material Distribution Center employees. These employees were previously excluded from OPM’s authorization. The agreement requires the USPS to make the petition, “acting in good faith and with the intention that authority will be granted.”
Once authority is granted, the Postal Service shall offer such employees early retirement during calendar year 2004. However, if operational needs require and OPM permits, the effective dates of retirement for Maintenance employees, level 6 and above, motor vehicle employees, level 6 and above, and retail clerks may be delayed past calendar year 2004, but not later than July 1, 2005.
Identifying Eligible Employees
The agreement also requires the Postal Service to identify employees who become eligible for early retirement during the period between Nov. 1, 2003, and Feb. 29, 2004, and offer them VER. (For Maintenance and Motor Vehicle Craft employees in Level 6 positions and above, and for Material Distribution Center employees, OPM approval must be obtained.)
Employees who become eligible during the period from Nov. 1, 2003 to Feb. 29, 2004, should not submit their names to the APWU. The Postal Service will solicit those employees to determine which of them wish to be offered VER.
Under the settlement, the Postal Service must petition OPM and upon approval must offer VER to employees covered by the IT/ASC Collective Bargaining Agreement or by the Operating Services Collective Bargaining Agreement. IT/ASC employees who were eligible by Oct. 31, 2003 , must provide their names to the APWU .
The APWU has been compiling lists of eligible employees who have been denied VER.
"List A" consists of employees who met the age and service requirements by Oct. 31, 2003, and for whom the Postal Service has authority from OPM to offer early retirement but has heretofore denied them the opportunity.
"List B" includes employees who met the age and service requirements for voluntary early retirement by Oct. 31, 2003, and occupy Level 6 positions and above in the Maintenance and Motor Vehicle Crafts, and for Material Distribution Center employees.
A separate list will be compiled of eligible employees covered under the IT/ASC Collective Bargaining Agreement who were eligible for VER by Oct. 31, 2003.
The parties also agreed to a limited waiver of the prohibition on excessing outside an employee's local commuting area -- a 50-mile radius -- when the excessing is necessary to fill a residual position that is vacant due to the Voluntary Early Retirement of an employee.
Excessing beyond the 50-mile limit is permitted only to fill a residual vacancy created by the 2004 Voluntary Early Retirement that cannot be filled from within the installation or the local commuting area. Such excessing can be done only on a one-to-one basis, i.e . only one person excessed for any residual vacancy. (A residual vacancy is a duty assignment that remains vacant after the completion of the voluntary bidding process.)
The provisions of Article 12 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement will continue to apply to excessing covered by the agreement.
This includes Section 5.C.5.b.(3), which provides that, "Any senior employee in the same craft or occupational group in the same installation may elect to be reassigned to the gaining installation." It also includes provisions for relocation expenses for excessed employees, including those who volunteer.
This settlement resolves the union's grievances and lawsuit-filed earlier this fall –on the VER dispute.Voluntary Early Retirement
What You Must Do
APWU-represented employees who met the eligibility requirements for Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) as of Oct. 31, 2003, but were denied the opportunity to retire for any of the reasons listed in the form below, should complete the form and submit it to the union immediately if they still wish to retire early.
Employees are eligible as of Oct. 31 if they had:
The APWU has compiled lists of names from two previous solicitations of employees who were denied the opportunity to take VER. However, the parties have agreed to extend the deadline for submission of names until Jan. 9, 2004, in order to ensure the fullest possible accounting of employees interested in VER.
The APWU must provide the USPS with a list by Jan. 9, 2004. Employees who fail to submit their names in time for submission to the Postal Service on Jan. 9, 2004, will not be given the opportunity for voluntary early retirement.
If you have already submitted your name in response to previous requests from the APWU, please do not submit your name again.
Lists of employees who have submitted their names as of Dec. 19:
IT-ASC & Operating Services
These lists will next be updated after Jan. 2.
Employees who became eligible during the period between Nov. 1, 2003, and Feb. 29, 2004, should not submit their names. The Postal Service will identify such employees and offer them VER.
Eligible Operating Services employees should not submit their names. The Postal Service will identify such employees and offer them VER.
APWU-represented employees who were eligible for VER by Oct. 31, 2003, but were denied for any reason, should complete the form below and send it to the APWU at Industrial Relations, APWU VER-Form, 1300 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. You may fax the form to: 202-842-8587.
Please note that completing the form does not constitute an application for retirement.
Dec. 19 VER Form [PDF]
A decrease in the Consumer Price Index in November means that if the adjustment were made based on the fourth month of the six-month measuring period, the fifth Cost-Of-Living Adjustment period under the National Agreement would give employees an annual raise of $104.
The adjustment, which is subject to fluctuation in the next two months of accounting, would amount to a 5 cents per hour increase, which works out to $4.00 per pay period. The fifth COLA will be based on the January 2004 index point and will take effect in March 2004.
The most recent COLA increase ($291) took effect Sept. 6. Updated pay scales can be found in the November/December edition of The American Postal Worker. [Click here to view the most recent pay scales.]
Fox Postal Skit Prompts USPS
To Shift Advertising to NBC
In response to Fox Entertainment Group’s refusal to remove offensive programming from its schedule, the Postal Service pulled $200,000 of advertising from FOX-TV and instead ran its holiday commercials on NBC.
The switch was made last week, after Fox repeatedly aired a promotion for a little-watched Saturday night program. The promotion consisted of an excerpt from a skit on “Mad TV” that showed postal workers brandishing firearms and arguing about who should go on a killing spree first, while customers cowered in a post office lobby.
In a letter to FOX-TV executives, APWU President William Burrus wrote, “At a time when postal employees are working long hours to ensure that America’s holiday cards and packages arrive at their destinations on time, such a depiction is truly offensive.”
Burrus urged Fox executives to take the ad and the skit off the air. “The sentiments desecrate the memories of Postal Service employees injured and killed in the line of duty. Just two years ago, postal workers were being hailed as heroes,” the union president wrote. “The reality is that they were on the front lines in the war on terrorism – delivering mail despite very real concerns for their own safety.”
"Postal workers are dedicated to serving their country,” Burrus wrote, “and they do so with pride and dignity, one piece of mail at a time.”
Fox spokesman called the program “a satire and an equal opportunity offender.”
The USPS ads originally scheduled to run on Fox ran on NBC during two holiday movies Dec. 14 and in prime time and on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Dec. 15.
Relief Fund to Cover Home Fires
Postal employees victimized by fire to their primary residences are now eligible for relief assistance from the Postal Employees’ Relief Fund (PERF).
At the PERF Grantors’ Meeting on Dec. 18, a resolution was approved that expands the eligibility criteria under which postal workers can receive PERF assistance. The resolution permits active postal employees whose homes are damaged by fire to apply for and receive PERF grants.
APWU President and PERF Grantor William Burrus and Human Relations Director and PERF Executive Committee Co-Chair Sue Carney were in attendance to support the historic change.
PERF was created in 1990 to assist postal employees affected by natural disasters. To date, the fund has provided more than $5 million in assistance. For more information, visit www.postalrelief.com or call 202-408-1869.