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APWU 133

Apwu133

Executive Board
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  1. Postal Management and the American Postal Workers Union signed a major Memorandum of Understanding to help address the chronic understaffing at mail processing facilities throughout much of the country. Under the terms of the new agreement, over 5,500 new career positions will be created at 192 installations. The number of career positions will vary by installation based on management’s determination. 5,524 PSEs will be converted to career status as soon as possible, but no later than March 13, 2021. As a transition to the creation of the new career positions and PSE conversions, combined with the severe backlog of mail and packages, the APWU has agreed to extend the period where management can retain “peak season” PSEs above the PSE cap. “This is a major breakthrough and a great way to bring in the New Year, said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “The Union has consistently been raising staffing shortage problems. Postal management has finally gotten the message and we appreciate that this agreement will take pressure off the current “Function 1” workforce, better the lives of over 5,500 PSEs and enable postal workers to better serve postal customers.” Full Article
  2. Longtime APWU Retiree, Byron Denton, age 92, was a postal worker. As an old timer, he has experienced some tough times, but nothing compared to the hardships faced by today's postal workers. They have delivered through an unprecedented global pandemic and they deserve support. Show you will stand with postal workers and a public US Postal Service: sign the petition to #SaveThePostOffice www.apwu.org/petition
  3. The APWU Health Plan has been serving America’s postal and federal workers and retirees for more than 60 years. See APWU Health Plan 2021 Benefits. Open Season runs from the Monday of the second full work week in November 9 through the Monday December 14. All federal and postal employees and retirees who are eligible to enroll in the FEHB Program may become members of APWU Health Plan. See 2021 Benefits
  4. Union Member Benefits Insurance APWU Health Plans Learn about the differences between the two health plans so you can choose the one that meets your needs. High Option Consumer Driven - available to PSE's after one year of service The Voluntary Benefits Plan provides voluntary insurance benefits designed especially for APWU members. It offers disability, life, dental, hospital indemnity, automobile insurance, as well as numerous other programs. AFLAC Specified Health Event and Cancer Insurance These comprehensive, affordable benefits, made available through American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac), are being offered exclusively to APWU members and their qualifying family members. Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance In addition to the Basic, there are three forms of Optional insurance you can elect. Union Plus Discounts and Services Travel + Fun AT&T Discount Auto Discounts More! APWU Scholarships The E.C. Hallbeck Memorial Scholarship Vocational Scholarship UnionPlus Scholarship Program Financial and Retirement APWU Union Plus Credit Card Mortgage Program Flexible Spending Accounts Thrift Savings Plan Hardship Accident Benefit Association provision for the payment of benefits to its members and their beneficiaries in case of temporary disability, dismemberment or death resulting directly from a covered accident Postal Employee's Relief Fund To aid postal employees and retirees whose homes are completely destroyed or left uninhabitable as a result of a major natural disaster or house fire
  5. "When you respond to the 2020 Census, you help inform how billions of dollars in federal funding flows into communities across West Virginia,including money for schools, hospitals and health clinics, roads, public transportation, and other vital services. Unfortunately, West Virginia has one of the lowest 2020 Census response rates in the country. If we don’t respond to the Census, we will miss out on important federal funds that make our communities stronger. Every person in West Virginia that does not respond to the Census equates to $20,000 lost in federal funds for West Virginia and our communities over the next ten years. If 100 people do not respond, that's $2 MILLION lost in federal funds to West Virginia over the next ten years. We simply can’t afford that. So please, Be Counted and respond to the census today by visiting 2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020. Responding to the Census by phone or online is safe and secure, and it only takes a few minutes of your time. So again, please respond to the Census today by visiting 2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020. Thank you." - JOE More Information In Solidarity Glenn Wilson Legislative Director
  6. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed every aspect of our daily lives, including how Americans and West Virginians will be able to vote this year. The 2020 election is quickly approaching and West Virginians need access to accurate, reliable information on how to vote during these unprecedented times. This week I launched a voting resource page that compiles accurate facts on how to register to vote, polling locations, requesting an absentee ballot and more. Every eligible West Virginian should exercise their right to vote and have their voice heard this fall. - JOETo view the voting resource webpage please click here. Information provided by Senator Joe Manchin In Solidarity Glenn Wilson Legislative Director
  7. View Our Products A Better Fit for APWU Members MetLife Auto & Home provides insurance coverage tailored to your needs. Get a quote today. Voluntary Benefits Plan P.O. Box 12009 Cheshire, CT 06410 1-800-422-4492 Contact Us
  8. A Free New Benefit for APWU Members We are excited to announce that The Voluntary Benefits Plan will now be offering all APWU members discounts through The LifeBalance Program. This new program is available to all Active, PSE, Retiree and Associate APWU members. With LifeBalance, you and your household family members can save on the activities and purchases that leave you feeling fit, happy, and fulfilled. There are thousands of savings waiting for you on all kinds of fun and healthy purchases on the LifeBalance platform! Read on to learn how to access the program, and to check out popular savings and savings categories.  How to Access LifeBalance Program Discounts Getting started with LifeBalance is easy! Simply: · Visit LifeBalanceProgram.com and enter your email address (work or home email will do) · Enter your name, a password, and your zip code And you'll be all set! You can now log in to LifeBalanceProgram.com any time to utilize program discounts. This benefit is available to your household family members, as well, so don't hesitate to encourage them to follow the steps above to create their FREE accounts. Popular Program Savings Below are a few examples of savings that are currently popular with LifeBalance members! APWU members can now take advantage of these and thousands of additional program discounts! Clicking on the links below will take you to set up your free account, after which you can redeem these savings online. Get healthy meals delivered to your door! Save $60 on your first four orders from Freshly. Download or stream over 1,700 online yoga, meditation, Pilates, barre and fitness classes with YogaDownload! Members save 50% on annual memberships. Stay motivated and active with FitBit! Members receive exclusive savings on trackers that monitor activity, exercise, food, weight, and sleep. Shop in-store or online at wholesale prices! Save up to 40% on a Sam's Club membership that you can use from anywhere -- even if there are no Sam's Club locations near you. From coffee cups that keep coffee steaming hot, to tumblers that keep wine chilled, Hydro Flask has some amazing gifts on sale! Save 25% on sale items. Enjoy comfortable, durable, long-lasting footwear when you shop with KEEN! Members save 20% on purchases of $100 or more. Take a deep breath! Calm's award-winning app will help you improve sleep and manage stress. Save over 50% on annual memberships. Need meds for your furry family members? Save 15% on your purchase from 1-800-PetMeds.
  9. Welcome to Our 2020 APWU Health Plan Virtual Open Season Health Fairs! As the coronavirus continues to impact families nationwide, the Health Plan wants to be sensitive to the COVID-19 risks related to work, travel, and social distancing. While in person health fairs are being canceled, we wanted to give your employees an opportunity to meet with APWU Health Plan staff virtually. Postal, Federal, and Retirees who are eligible for the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program can access and attend our virtual health fairs safely online. During Open Season, every Tuesday and Thursday, from 12-2pm EST a Health Plan staff employee will be online to answer questions and discuss plan features. Please forward this email to your employees so that they can participate. Click on the register now to confirm your attendance. Once registered you will get an email confirmation with a GoToMeeting link and dial-in information. On the Monday before the virtual health fair date you selected, we will email you a reminder and include the dial-in information with instructions. Register Now! for any of our Virtual Health Fairs. Tuesday, November 10 - 12pm-2pm EST Tuesday, November 17 - 12pm-2pm EST Tuesday, November 24 - 12pm-2pm EST Tuesday, December 1 - 12pm-2pm EST Tuesday, December 8 - 12pm-2pm EST Thursday, November 12 - 12pm-2pm EST Thursday, November 19 - 12pm-2pm EST Thursday, December 3 - 12pm-2pm EST
  10. We want to thank Senator Joe Manchin, Doug Skaff Jr, Sen Corey Palumbo, and Ben Salango for visiting the Charleston WV Post Office and them calling for protection of the USPS #SaveThePostOffice
  11. With the election nearing and many parts of the U.S. in the grips of COVID-19, mail-in ballots have become a prominent issue. But President Trump has disparaged both the U.S. Postal Service and the integrity of voting by mail. What effect could his criticism have? William Brangham talks to Mark Dimondstein of the American Postal Workers Union and then Spencer Cox, lieutenant governor of Utah.
  12. Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Gary Peters (D-MI), today introduced the Protect Our Services Today (POST) Act which mandates that the U.S. Postal Services cannot close any post office facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, Senator Manchin asked Postmaster General DeJoy for clarification on reported post office closures across West Virginia and received assurances there would be no closures at this time. However, USPS did inform Senator Manchin that an ongoing review was underway which could significantly reduce facility operations throughout the Appalachian District. Specifically, USPS confirmed that 12 post offices were identified for feasibility studies for potential closures, and another 24 locations were proposed for reduced hours. Despite Senator Manchin’s explicit request for this information, USPS not disclose what locations were impacted, why they were selected, or when a decision might be made, leaving the door open for potential closures in the future. “Post offices across the United States provide essential services to Americans and serve as hubs for our rural communities. In the Mountain State, they run rural mail routes serving West Virginians who are unable to drive long distances to retrieve their mail, including many of our Veterans who receive their medications in the mail, and support small businesses in the Mountain State who depend on these services to survive. It is unconscionable to consider interrupting these vital services during an ongoing pandemic, especially as millions of Americans, including many West Virginians, will rely heavily on mail in ballots to cast their vote in the upcoming presidential election,” Senator Manchin said. “That is why I introduced the Protect Our Services Today (POST) Act to ensure no post offices are closed in the middle of this crisis. We must ensure everyone has access to crucial postal services, no matter where they live in America. I will advocate for this language to be included in future COVID-19 relief packages and hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in supporting this commonsense legislation.” “The Postal Service is the only carrier that delivers to every address in the country, and it’s especially important for our rural communities who often don’t have any other options to stay connected or receive critical supplies,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “As the Postal Service continues to make unacceptable changes that limit its effectiveness, this commonsense bill will prevent the closure of rural post offices and help ensure that services won’t be compromised for rural residents.” Background information on the POST Act can be found here. Bill text can be found here.
  13. Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) asked the U.S. Postmaster General DeJoy for clarification on the reported closure of post offices and reduction in hours at additional post offices across West Virginia. The Senator said in part, “I am receiving troubling reports from West Virginians that there are numerous post office locations in my state and across the nation that are scheduled for imminent closure or significant reduction in hours and services. Yesterday, there were signs hung in some of these locations announcing their proposed closure with an effective date of August 22nd or August 24th. This would likely be a violation of both federal law and United States Postal Service (USPS) rules that prescribe a specific closure process which requires, at minimum, 120 days’ notice. In response to this letter, I request a list of all the specific changes affecting mail delivery you have directed since assuming the role of Postmaster General, including a detailed list of any and all individual post office locations that are being considered for closure. In the event that there are specific locations being considered for closure, please also provide an explanation for why and a rough timeline for when those closures might take place.” To view Senator Manchin’s letter to Postmaster General DeJoy, please click here. Dear Postmaster General DeJoy: I am receiving troubling reports from West Virginians that there are numerous post office locations in my state and across the nation that are scheduled for imminent closure or significant reduction in hours and services. Yesterday, there were signs hung in some of these locations announcing their proposed closure with an effective date of August 22nd or August 24th. This would likely be a violation of both federal law and United States Postal Service (USPS) rules that prescribe a specific closure process which requires, at minimum, 120 days’ notice. In response to this letter, I request a list of all the specific changes affecting mail delivery you have directed since assuming the role of Postmaster General, including a detailed list of any and all individual post office locations that are being considered for closure. In the event that there are specific locations being considered for closure, please also provide an explanation for why and a rough timeline for when those closures might take place. Let me be clear, I have not, do not, and will not support any measures to privatize USPS. As a public service, USPS is legally required to deliver mail, to all postal addresses in all regions, at a flat rate, no matter how far it may have to travel. The Service’s affordability and continued accessibility are essential for rural communities, especially those with high rates of poverty. In many areas where reliable broadband is not an option, the Postal Service is their only link to medicine, social security checks, and family members. Nearly 18 percent of Americans pay their bills by mail. Among adults over 40 who take medication for a chronic condition, 20 percent get those pills by mail order. Under new social distancing mandates, the Postal Service has become even more essential in keeping rural communities connected and economically viable, allowing rural consumers the ability to get groceries, medical supplies, and other essential goods delivered to their doorstep. In March, a few months before you assumed the role of Postmaster General, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act; P.L. 116-136) which included Section 6001 expanding USPS’s authority to borrow an additional $10 billion from the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The goal of this funding, as with many provisions in the CARES Act, was to help USPS navigate the immediate, unforeseen, and unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic without gutting the essential services on which Americans have come to depend. Unfortunately, not only has little to none of that funding been utilized, you are now proposing the very cuts that we sought to avoid with that emergency line of credit. As a former businessman, I respect and appreciate your desire to make government work more effectively and efficiently, but the USPS is not just another business. It’s a part of and a reflection of the communities all across America that it serves day after day. The men and women of USPS provide a public service that is too critical to too many to be changed unilaterally without the input of those that will be most affected. I agree that USPS faces some difficult challenges, but they can only be fixed in an open, transparent, and bipartisan fashion. I remain committed to supporting the ongoing operations of USPS, and I look forward to your prompt response to this letter.
  14. Our movement is growing. Together we can save the Post Office and convince lawmakers to do their jobs! Multiple bills have been introduced in the House and the Senate that would provide $25 billion in COVID-19 related relief for the Postal Service. But the clock is ticking and we mustn't run out of time. The Senate will return from recess soon. We need to push even harder to get them to vote to end this crisis. We are planning to put in 10,000 calls to Congress on July 23. Will you join us on this critical call-in day of action?? Sign Up!
  15. Take time to thank your local postal worker. Encourage others to get the word out and to focus on making every postal worker’s day just a little bit better. #NationalPostalWorkerDay
  16. TSP loan options for COVID-19-affected participants now available TSP participants affected by COVID-19 (as defined by the CARES Act, P.L. 116-136) may now apply for a TSP general purpose loan with an increased maximum loan amount. These participants may also temporarily suspend payments on TSP loans they currently have and on loans taken between now and November 30, 2020. The deadline for applying for a loan with an increased maximum is September 18, 2020. The deadline for requesting suspension of loan payments is November 30, 2020. Loan payment suspensions will last for the rest of calendar year 2020. Learn more about these temporary loan options for COVID-19-affected participants. You are subscribed to TSP Plan News for Thrift Savings Plan. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.
  17. APWU Health Plan COVID-19 Coverage Enhancements As we work together to slow down the spread of COVID 19, our lives continue to evolve and change in ways we could have never expected. The APWU Health Plan will continue to evaluate coverage enhancements as a result of COVID-19. Because the spread of the virus has slowed down considerably, we are removing the inpatient prior authorization wavier. Initially, the Health Plan wanted to remove this administrative burden as hospitals were overwhelmed. As we get back to the new “normal,” authorizations should be obtained. For the most up-to-date information visit our website at www.apwuhp.com/coronavirus-outbreak-update/ The Health Plan will: Cover telehealth (medical and mental health) visits at no cost* to the member when visits are performed through the Health Plan’s telehealth providers: High Option: Medical visits through Amwell are available at www.amwell.com and mental health visits through MDlive are available at www.mdlive/apwu at no cost* to the member Consumer Driven Option: Virtual visits through AmWell, Teladoc, and Doc on Demand are available at www.myuhc.com at no cost* to the member Cover telehealth visits to network providers at no cost* to the member when related to COVID-19 Cover COVID-19 testing at no cost* to the member when testing is prescribed by a clinical professional including antibody testing once it becomes widely available Cover health care provider office visits, urgent care center visits and emergency room visits that result in an order for or administration of a diagnostic test for COVID-19 at no cost* to the member** Cover in-network inpatient and outpatient care for COVID-19 treatment at no cost* to the member Reminder: Members are encouraged to use mail order form maintenance medications which provides a 90-day refill and the delivery is free *All deductible, coinsurance and copays will be waived **Your provider should be aware of this Families First Coronavirus Response Act and CDC guideline. If you are charged a copay or coinsurance at the time of your visit, you will be reimbursed
  18. With parks currently closed the bi-annual Apwu #133 picnic will be postponed. If feasible the picnic will be rescheduled for September or October.
  19. Update on CARES Act temporary loan and withdrawal options The CARES Act allows us to offer temporary loan and withdrawal options to TSP participants affected by COVID-19. We are working as quickly as possible to add these options to our system so you can count on efficient processing of these requests. You can check this webpage for updates about these options and when they will be available to you. We will post the next update by May 15, 2020.
  20. Our number one priority during the Coronavirus pandemic is keeping members safe. It’s clear that the White House is withholding the funding that the USPS needs for safe and sustainable operations during this crisis. It’s so clear that the crisis at the Postal Service has now hit the headlines. Congress needs to hear from you! The White House refused relief for the Postal Service in the last stimulus and Congress left us out of the bill. Without immediate relief, the Postal Service could run out of cash by summer. Our jobs, our pensions and the vital service we provide is at risk. Big corporations are lobbying against the Postal Service because they want to boost their profits. We need to make sure that Congress hears us instead. That’s why you need to send a message to Congress. Congress needs to provide urgent funding in the next stimulus for the Postal Service to keep the country moving through the crisis. Everything is on the line and your voice can make the difference. Send them a message today: Tell them to provide the resources we need! In solidarity, American Postal Workers Union
  21. The APWU Health Plan will continue to evaluate benefit enhancements as a result of COVID-19. For the most up-to-date information visit our website at www.apwuhp.com/coronavirus-outbreak-update/ The Health Plan will: New! Cover health care provider office visits, urgent care center visits and emergency room visits that result in an order for or administration of a diagnostic test for COVID-19 at no cost* to the member** Cover COVID-19 testing at no cost* to the member when testing is prescribed by a clinical professional Cover telehealth visits at no cost* to member when visits are performed through the Health Plan’s telehealth providers: High Option: Visits through Amwell are available at www.amwell.com at no cost* to the member Consumer Driven Option: Virtual visits through AmWell, Teladoc, and Doc on Demand are available at www.myuhc.com at no cost* to the member Cover telehealth visits to network providers at no cost* to member when related to COVID-19 Waive inpatient prior authorization requirements related to COVID-19 Reminder: Members are encouraged to use mail order for maintenance medications which provides a 90-day refill and the delivery is free *All deductible, coinsurance and copays will be waived **Your provider should be aware of this Families First Coronavirus Response Act and CDC guideline. If you are charged a copay or coinsurance at the time of your visit, you will be reimbursed by the Health Plan
  22. The Postal Service has informed the APWU of the date that Postal Support Employees (PSEs) who have been employed in 125 workyear or larger offices for more than 2.5 years (30 months) will be converted to career status. Over 2,500 current PSEs will be converted on May 9, 2020, the beginning of pay period 11. These conversions are consistent with the Interest Arbitration panel’s award issued on March 10, 2020. Conversions of PSEs was one of the demands your negotiators made from the very start of negotiations. “Being able to achieve career status for PSEs was an important goal for us,” President Mark Dimondstein said. “These newly converted employees will see an immediate pay increase, an increase in benefits paid for by the Postal Service, guaranteed work hours, and in most cases fixed schedules.” As a reminder, as newly converted career employees, these PSEs will have sixty-days (60) from May 9, 2020 (July 8, 2020), to make benefit decisions. New career employees may choose new health insurance plans, enroll in the Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) plan, choose how much to contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), where to allocate TSP funds, and other benefits decisions. The Postal Service is supposed to send each newly converted employee a “benefits” book with all the necessary forms and instructions for making these extremely important decisions. The sixty-day limit is a hard limit and cannot be extended. Employees are encouraged to begin looking at their new benefits and not wait until the very end of the 60 days to decide. “The importance of these conversions cannot be overstated,” Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks said. “This isn’t the end of our battle for more career employees. We are proud that the APWU did not see an increase in the allowable usage of non-career employees in our new contract and we will continue to fight for what is right — an all-career workforce.”
  23. Under the new 2018 – 2021 National Agreement, employees will receive four retroactive pay raises. The current rates went into effect on February 29, 2020 and will be reflected for the first time in earnings for Pay Period 09-2020. Pay Period 09 begins Saturday, April 11. Pay checks will be dated for May 1, 2020. Retro pay covering the period from September 24, 2018 through April 10, 2020 will follow. The Postal Service has yet to confirm a date that employees will receive retroactive pay. Recently passed laws regarding the COVID-19 pandemic providing new and additional benefits to employees require immediate and extensive programming and have delayed the Postal Service’s confirmation of the date. WHAT IF I AM NO LONGER WORKING AT USPS OR IN AN APWU BARGAINING UNIT? Employees who worked during the retroactive period will be paid the higher rates due for that work. Workers who transferred, separated, quit, retired, deceased, etc. will be compensated for any time worked when higher rates were due. The higher rates will be reflected in adjustments to TSP, Retirement, terminal leave payments, and life insurance. Retirees will eventually get any necessary adjustments to annuity payments – including retroactive annuity adjustments. NEW SCHEDULE, NEW STEPS Employees in the new pay schedule in Grades 5 through 7 could not progress beyond Step J in the last contract. With the new contract, employees in Grade 5 can progress to Step K and those in Grades 6 and 7 can move into steps K and L. Employees in Grade 8 stopped at Step K in the last contract; now they can progress into Steps L and M. The step wait time for all steps for Grades 5 though 7 is 36 weeks. For Grade 8 steps, the wait time is 30 weeks. Most employees on the new schedule are well below the previous top steps, but about 200 employees are immediately eligible to move into the new steps. Eligible employees will be moved into the higher steps in Pay Period 11, effective May 9. They will move based on time waited in the previous top step. For example, a Grade 6 Step J employee who has been in Step J for 20 weeks would wait another 16 weeks before moving to Step K. Someone who has waited 40 weeks in Step J would move into Step K in PP 11-2020 with 4 weeks of wait time credit for advancement to Step L. An employee with 72 weeks of wait time in Step J would skip Step K and move into Step L in PP 11-2020.
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