2022 No. 2 – June 23, 2022
On June 22, 2022, representatives from the NPMHU Negotiations Team and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) met for the first session of main table bargaining at Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, DC. Both groups entered into the meeting with sincere optimism for positive and productive negotiations in the coming sessions. The purpose of these meetings at this early stage of the proceedings is to introduce and explain all of the parties’ official bargaining proposals.
National Contract Negotiations Begin
The National Postal Mail Handlers Union bargaining team met with representatives of the U.S. Postal Service on June 10, 2022 to mark the official start of the collective bargaining process for a successor agreement to replace the current National Agreement which is scheduled to expire on September 20, 2022. The NPMHU is committed to making every reasonable effort to reach an agreement that is good for our members, good for the Postal Service, and good for the American mailing public.
230 MHAs Converted to Career Full-time Regular
A new MOU signed by the NPMHU and the Postal Service to provide for additional Mail Handler staffing by converting 230 Mail Handler Assistants to full-time regular career employment no later than July 22, 2022. Also attached is a chart listing the 17 installations in which these conversions will take place and the number of conversions that will take place in each listed installation.
Additionally, the parties have agreed to a Joint Question and Answer document addressing and affirming the parties’ mutual understanding and interpretation of the provisions contained in this MOU.
Extension- COVID-19 Test Kit Fulfillment Pilot
The COVID-19 Test Kit Fulfillment Pilot is scheduled to end on May 27, 2022. Since the Biden administration has made available a third round of free COVID-19 test kits for the public, the parties have agreed to extend this COVID-19 Test Kit Fulfillment Pilot for an additional 63 days ending July 29, 2022.
This pilot provides Mail Handlers with the opportunity to perform an essential Public Health Service to the American Public in our battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Mail Handlers are proud to be a part of these critical efforts.
Get Free At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits
Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order a 3rd round of free at-home tests. Order yours today.
COVID Command Center Termination Clarification/Modification
May 5, 2022 Memorandum (pdf)
The USPS has decided to cease operations of its COVID Command center effective May 9, 2022. The Postal Service initially notified the NPMHU it would stop the recording and reporting of COVID-19 cases. The NPMHU and other postal unions believed that this decision was premature in that COVID-19 numbers and hospitalizations are slowly rising as of early May 2022, and there are many medical experts predicting a summer surge of COVID infections. The Postal Service has now issued a clarification/modification of its prior announcement:
“Although the COVID Command Team is being disbanded, as issues arise the appropriate stakeholder leadership will be engaged. The Return to Work Protocols and our Close Contact Tracing activities will continue for as long as necessary. All new cases of COVID 19 and Close Contact Quarantine will continue to be monitored and tracked in our HERO COVID 19 Tracker. We can produce the report on a weekly basis.”
The NPMHU will continue to monitor the situation and take any action that may be necessary.
NOTE: All COVID-19 MOUs expire on 5/6/22
Local 300 Endorses Grace Meng
Local 300 is proud to once again endorse NY Congresswoman Grace Meng’s re-election to NY’s 6th Congressional District representing a large part of Queens.
ALL Employees, required to reset their Self Service Profile (SSP) password after the April 24, 2022
All employees will be required to reset their Self Service Profile (SSP) password after the April 24, 2022 effective date, see the notification below.
If changed prior to April 24, 2022, it will have to be changed again as the system will require a reset of all passwords on April 24th. The Self Service Password is used to access various resources to include: LiteBlue, PostalEase, ePayroll, eRetire, eOPF, eReassign, IdeaSmart and HERO. Employees will not have access to these applications until their password is reset. Once reset, the password will be immediately available to access those applications.
The new password requirements are as follows:
- *SSP passwords must be 15 characters in length.
- *The last 5 passwords cannot be reused.
- *The password cannot contain the employees first name, last name or the Employee Identification Number (EIN).
COVID-19 Memoranda Extended to 5/6/22
- MOU: Temporary Expanded Sick Leave for Dependent Care during COVID-19
- MOU: Temporary Exception Period COVID-19
- Liberal Changes of Schedule and Leave
- MOU: Temporary Additional Leave for MHAs
- Re: Appointment Opportunities for MHAs Separate for Lack of Work
- Temporary Extension on Step 3 and Arbitration Appeals
New MOU: Annual Leave Carryover for Leave Year 2023 and Annual Leave Exchange Option for Leave Year 2023
The MOU on Annual Leave Carryover allows regular work force employees to carryover 520 hours of accumulated annual leave from Leave Year 2022 to Leave Year 2023.
Annual Leave Exchange Option for Leave Year 2022 will allow career employees to sell back a maximum of 80 hours of annual leave prior to the beginning of the leave year provided criteria is met.
1,202 MHAs Converted to Career
37 MHAs converted to Career at the NJI-NDC
COVID-19 Test Kit Fulfillment Pilot Extended
Local 300 Thanks Senator Schumer for Postal Reform
Local 300 Thanks Congresswoman Maloney for Postal Reform
Senate Passes Postal Service Reform Act
We are very pleased to announce the Senate just passed the Postal Service Reform Act, H.R. 3076, with a vote of 79-19, and it now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The bill targets two of NPMHU legislative agenda items as it repeals the 2006 mandate to prefund retiree healthcare benefits and calls for Medicare integration for future retirees. According to the Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 3076 will saves $1.5 billion over ten years and will offer fiscal stability to the Postal Service.
Additionally, President Hogrogian issued a statement on its passage:https://www.npmhu.org/media/news/statement-of-national-president-paul-v-hogrogian-on-the-senate-passage-of-the-postal-service-reform-act
This has been a long process, and we thank all of you for your support and input on matter.
Local 300 Celebrates Women’s History Month
The Local 300’s Women’s Caucus has made an excellent newsletter celebrating Women’s History Month.
U.S. Department of Labor updates COVID-19 Claims Processing Guidelines Relating to Reinfections and Home Test
US Department of Labor amending previous FECA bulletins. COP for COVID-19
Postal Service Reform Act Passes House of Representatives
The House of Representatives passed the bill in a bipartisan vote of 342-92. Now it’s being fast tracked in the Senate, with Leadership aiming for a vote on it by the end of next week.
Many of you participated in our Call to Action, sending letters to your Representatives asking them to vote “YES” on the bill. The letter has been updated to reflect the Senate vote. We ask you to reach to your Senators, urging them to vote in favor of the bill.
The letter is already up on the Action Center: https://npmhu.quorum.us/
Again, thank you for your support. We would not be seeing the advancement of this legislation without your help.
Additionally, some of you have reached out to clarify the language on Medicare integration.
Under H.R. 3076, postal employees and annuitants would continue to take part in what would be a postal-only version of their FEHBP plans within FEHBP, the Postal Service Health Benefits Program. All the major plans now available to participants –the Mail Handlers HBP, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser, etc. – would continue to be offered to postal employees and retirees in this postal-only version of their FEHBP plans. While the benefits would remain the same, the premiums would be significantly reduced because postal participants would be placed in a separate risk pool with new rules related to Medicare enrollment.
The legislation would not change a current postal annuitant’s right to decide whether they want to enroll in Medicare. Nor would this right to decide about Medicare change for any active postal employee who retires before January 1, 2025, or for any active employee at least 64 years of age as of January 1, 2025. Additionally, those who opted not to enroll in Medicare when eligible, but have since changed their mind, they would not be held to the late enrollment fee.
Active employees under the age of 64 as of January 1, 2025, would (when both retired and at least age 65) enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, apart from a few exceptions (those enrolled in TRICARE or Indian Health Services, or those living abroad). Currently, around 90% of postal annuitants enroll in Medicare Part A (hospital services) and around 80% are voluntarily enrolled in Medicare Part B (medical services).
The postal-only plans in FEHBP will be regulated and run in the same way current FEHBP plans are today. There will be an annual Open Season that will allow participants to choose among a range of plans with separate rates for postal and non-postal participants. Indeed, many annuitants use the Open Season to select plans that work best with their Medicare coverage, once they obtain that coverage.
Statement of National President Paul V. Hogrogian on the Passage of the Postal Service Reform Act
After more than a decade of working with our union brothers and sisters, postal management, Democrats, and Republicans, the NPMHU is pleased to announce that the House of Representatives passed the Postal Service Reform Act, H.R. 3076, on February 8, 2022.
Because of dedicated and collaborative work between and among stakeholders, we are now one step closer to fiscal stability for the United States Postal Service.
While the bill is narrow in scope, it addresses the largest financial burdens of the USPS.
First, it repeals the 2006 mandate requiring the Postal Service to prefund its retiree healthcare benefits. No other private sector business or federal agency uses this practice, and it is the cause of annual losses of $5 billion a year for over a decade. In the 116th Congress, members of the House passed a standalone bill to address this onerous issue.
Second, it provides Medicare integration for future postal retirees and their annuitants. The majority of postal retirees already participate in Medicare, and postal employees have contributed $34 billion to the program since 1983. USPS estimates integration as well as the repeal of the prefunding mandate would generate savings of $40 billion over ten years.
Additionally, H.R. 3076 helps to stabilize service and provide avenues for revenue growth by codifying six-day delivery and allowing for agreements with state, local, and tribal governments to provide noncommercial services. Furthermore, the bill offers greater transparency to postal customers to ensure that service meets the demands of American households and businesses.
This bill does not fix every problem with the Postal Service. But it shows the dedicated work of elected officials, recognizing the value of the Postal Service and its dedicated workforce.
I urge the Senate to now act, and take up the House-passed legislation, to protect the viability of this invaluable institution.
USPS and White House Contract to Deliver 500 Million COVID-19 Test Kits to American Households
January 12, 2022 Memorandum of Understanding – COVID-19 Test Kit Fulfillment Pilot (pdf)
The USPS has contracted with the Biden administration to deliver 500 million COVID-19 Test Kits. To facilitate the federal government’s efforts to deliver at-home COVID-19 test kits to American households, the Postal Service will establish 43 fulfillment centers. As part of the contract, the 500 million Test Kits will be packed and labeled in the 43 facilities, which are identified as fulfillment centers in the attached agreement.
The NPMHU and USPS negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding which establish guidelines regarding the staffing of the fulfillment centers. The parties have agreed to extend the exception period for the hiring and continued employment of MHAs in excess of the 24.5% installation cap (up to the number listed in the agreement) in the identified installations. The MHAs, identified as being utilized for the pilot, will be used solely for the purpose of performing the work of the pilot except for a three-week implementation period which began on January 1, 2022. The duration of the pilot will be seventy-five days from January 12, 2022, unless extended by mutual agreement of the parties.
This pilot provides Mail Handlers with the opportunity to perform an essential Public Health Service to the American Public in our battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Mail Handlers are proud to be a part of these critical efforts.
COVID-19 Positive? FECA OWCP Claims for Pay Compensation
Diagnosis of COVID-19. In order to establish a diagnosis of COVID-19, an employee (or survivor) should submit:
a. A positive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test result; or
b. A positive Antibody or Antigen COVID-19 test result, together with contemporaneous medical evidence that the claimant had documented symptoms of and/or was treated for COVID-19 by a physician (a notice to quarantine is not sufficient if there was no evidence of illness); or
c. If no positive laboratory test is available, a COVID-19 diagnosis from a physician together with rationalized medical opinion supporting the diagnosis and an explanation as to why a positive test result is not available.
In certain rare instances, a physician may provide a rationalized opinion with supporting factual and medical background as to why the employee has a diagnosis of COVID-19 notwithstanding a negative or series of negative COVID-19 test results.
Medical reports from nurses or physician assistants are acceptable if a licensed physician cosigns the report.
There is the possibility that Postal Employees can be compensated through OWCP. The hyperlink below has information on this. While the DOL states federal positions that interact with the public, we believe that Mail Handlers can claim similar exposure to other federal employees due to the confined nature of our works areas, since we work in a a high-risk environment.
All federal employees who develop COVID-19 while in the performance of their federal duties are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage pursuant to the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). See https://www.dol.gov/owcp/dfec/.
DOL acknowledges, however, that it is difficult to determine the precise moment and method of virus transmission. Therefore, when an employee claims FECA benefits due to COVID-19, federal workers who are required to have in-person and close proximity interactions with the public on a frequent basis – such as members of law enforcement, first responders, and front-line medical and public health personnel – will be considered to be in high-risk employment, thereby triggering the application of Chapter 2-0805-6 of the FECA Procedure Manual. In such cases, there is an implicit recognition that a higher likelihood exists of infection due to high-risk employment. Federal workers in such positions routinely encounter situations that may lead to infection by contact with sneezes, droplet infection, bodily secretions, and surfaces on which the COVID-19 virus may reside. Therefore, the employment-related incidence of COVID-19 is more likely to occur among members of law enforcement, first responders and front-line medical and public health personnel, and among those whose employment causes them to come into direct and frequent in-person and close proximity contact with the public.
Accordingly, DOL has created new procedures to specifically address COVID-19 claims. Employees filing a claim for workers’ compensation coverage as a result of COVID-19 should file Form CA-1, Notice of Traumatic Injury through your employer using the Employees’ Compensation Operations & Management Portal. The new procedures will also call the adjudicator’s attention to the type of employment held by the employee, rather than burdening the employee with identifying the exact day or time they contracted the novel coronavirus.
- If a COVID-19 claim is filed by a person in high-risk employment, the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) DFEC will accept that the exposure to COVID-19 was proximately caused by the nature of the employment. If the employer supports the claim and that the exposure occurred, and the CA-1 is filed within 30 days, the employee is eligible to receive Continuation of Pay for up to 45 days.
- If a COVID-19 claim is filed by a person whose position is not considered high-risk, OWCP DFEC will require the claimant to provide a factual statement and any available evidence concerning exposure. The employing agency will also be expected to provide OWCP DFEC with any information they have regarding the alleged exposure, and to indicate whether they are supporting or controverting the claim. If the employer supports the claim and that the exposure occurred, and the CA-1 is filed within 30 days, the employee is eligible to receive Continuation of Pay for up to 45 days.
For full information, click below…
USPS COVID-19 Close Contact Tracing Program
The USPS Close Contact Tracing Protocol was last updated in July of 2021. There have been many questions regarding COVID-19 positives and Close Contract Tracing. These guidelines followed the CDC recommendations, but that was in July of 2021. We are expecting an updated protocol soon. When we receive a new update, it shall be posted here.
COVID-19 Positive Employee’s Responsibility:
- Notify immediate supervisor of positive finding of COVID-19
- Provide medical documentation from treating physician or public health official to Occupational Health Nurse (OHNA)
- Assign close contact investigation to either OHNA or Safety
- Notify Area HR Director of close contact investigation
- Pull together a timeline of potential close contact days, times & locations
- Provide names of potential close contact employees based on potential exposure
- Contact district HR
- Monitor progress of close contact investigation
Click here for the full Close Contact Protocol…
Local 300 Happy Holidays Card
The Local 300 Happy Holidays card for all members with a 2022 calendar was produced by the printer prior to “Juneteenth” being recognized as a holiday for career employees by the USPS. Please note it as a holiday when you receive your card in the mail.
OIG seeking comments… How USPS Handles Sexual Harassment Complaints
The USPS Office of Inspector General is starting a new audit on the USPS Response to Sexual Harassment complaints which will evaluate the Postal Service’s response to sexual harassment complaints involving postal employees to include how the complaints are investigated, handled and resolved. The OIG has asked us to share this with our members, as they looking for feedback, comments and thoughts from employees. These can be made anonymously.
Here is the link (and below): How Effectively Does the USPS Respond to Sexual Harassment Complaints? | USPS Office of Inspector General (uspsoig.gov)
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General is to evaluate the U.S. Postal Service’s response to sexual harassment complaints involving Postal Service employees, including how complaints are reported, investigated, and resolved. In order to conduct a thorough analysis, we are encouraging Postal Service employees to share their experiences on these matters. Any and all feedback is important. Click herehttps://go.usa.gov/xe7Sf to read more and comment on your experience submitting a sexual harassment complaint as a USPS employee.
USPS Non-Career Health Benefit Plan Rates for 2022
The Postal Service has finally posted the non-career health benefit rates for 2022. They can be found at: USPS Health Benefits – Non-career – Human Resources – Liteblue.usps.gov
USPS Recognizes Juneteenth
The USPS shall recognize Juneteenth National Independence Day, effective 2022 for all career (FTR & PTR) employees.
All Mail Handlers to Receive Wage Increase Effective November 20, 2021
As provided for in Article 9.1 of the NPMHU 2019 National Agreement, the wage scales for all Mail Handler employees will be adjusted upward effective November 20, 2021. This is the third of three guaranteed wage increases provided for in the 2019 contract. Specifically, with regard to career employees: Effective November 20, 2021 – the basic annual salary for each grade and step of Table One and Table Two shall be increased by an amount equal to 1.0% of the basic annual salary for the grade and step in effect on September 20, 2019.
In addition to the general increases provided in Section 9.1 above, MHAs will receive an increase of 1.0% annually, for a total of 2.1% effective November 23, 2019, 2.0% effective November 21, 2020, and 2.0% effective November 20, 2021.
As a result of the negotiated wage increase, and terms of the MOU Re: PAY SCHEDULE ADJUSTMENT, all mail handlers will receive an additional increase of 0.8%. MHA’s will receive a total increase of 2.8%. Career Mail Handlers will receive a 1.8% increase.
Join The Union, Join The Fight!
On behalf of nearly 50,000 active members of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), we ask that you take a few minutes to review this brochure, which highlights some of the reasons that we believe you should join the NPMHU. We encourage you to join your fellow mail handlers in the fight to preserve the United States Postal Service, and in the continuing struggle to obtain and secure higher wages, increased benefits, and improved working conditions. (More info to Join the National Postal Mail Handlers Union)
The NPMHU’s new employee orientation video.
Join the Union Form
Standard Form 1187 is used to Join the Union. The form must be complete, the mail handler and union official must sign and date, and the completed document must be submitted Local 300 Headquarters for processing.
Local 300 has moved! Right behind the Empire State Building.
We have finally completed the move. A project which was begun in 2015, has reached fruition. Please come by and pay your HQ a visit.
20 W 33rd Street, Suite 8A New York, NY 10001.
NPMHU Local 300 – Smartphone APP now in Apple APP STORE
Local 300 is proud to have completed a smartphone application, only for the members of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 300. We are the first & only NPMHU Local Union in the nation that has developed a smartphone app for its members. The app is available for download to all Local 300 Members via the Google App store, or the Apple App store (NPMHU Local 300). The app will send ‘push notifications’ on breaking news, events, contract information, salary increases, etc. It also contains many other useful resources, such as the National Contract, Contract Interpretation Manual (CIM), etc. To download this member-only app, click on the link for android users: Google App Store for iPhone users APPLE STORE
Or search the Google or Apple APP Store “NPMHU Local 300”
The process for the app download is as follows:
1. Download the app via your iPhone or Android device.
2. Signup as a new user to the app. (Complete all fields)
3. You will first be sent an automatic ‘verification code’ to your email this is verification of your email, and does not give you access to the app.
4. After you enter the code into the app you will be sent an email advising you that have been approved, but pending membership verification. Be aware that you will not have automatic access to the app until we verify that you are a member of Local 300.
5. After the verification of your membership, you will receive a final email message indicating that you are approved. Log in, enter your password and start using the app.