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- A Maintenance Management Order for each post office to increase their cleaning standards (including using cleaning products from before the CTC implementation) and provide gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
- New Memoranda of Understanding concerning pay, telework and leave include: Temporary Expanded Sick Leave for Dependent Care During COVID-19, Temporary Additional Paid Leave for PSEs, Telework for IT/AS unit, Customer Care Centers, and Mail & Shipping Solutions Center, and HRSSC.
- The newly announced policy of "Liberal Change of Schedule and Leave."
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- At 11 district offices, management said they required managers to obtain district office approval prior to terminating non-career employees. They did this to ensure non-career employees received performance feedback and were allowed an opportunity to improve their performance before being terminated.
- One district office created managerial policies and procedures for onboarding and training non-career employees. The managers were required to certify completion of the procedures.
- One district office required managers to personally greet new non-career employees, take them on a tour of the facility, and introduce them to other staff when they arrived at the facility.
- One district office provided refresher training to all non-career employees after their first 60 days on the job.
- Measure the cost savings associated with the NPA non-career employee turnover performance.
- Develop a comprehensive non-career employee national turnover strategic plan and procedures to provide more effective management oversight. The plan and procedures should focus on achieving measurable results to reduce non-career employee turnover at the local level by developing action plans to address exit survey results and implement district best practices nationwide.
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Since the early days of the Postal Service, we postal workers have helped stitch the fabric of the country together. Even in times of crisis – whether natural disaster, conflict, or economic calamity – the Postal Service has always been there, steadily reaching every American home and business in their time of need.
Today is a time of crisis unlike any we’ve seen in generations. A global pandemic threatens the health of millions and is leading to an economic collapse that could dwarf the Great Recession.
Hundreds of millions of people are sheltered in their homes, avoiding the grocery, pharmacies and other stores as we attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Many workers will soon be without paychecks. Public health officials are desperate to effectively disseminate health-saving information, tests, and drugs.
The United States Postal Service is critical to the country’s public health and economic stability in this moment. Postal workers are up to the task. Our network of 157 million daily delivery points, 35,000 post offices and more than 500,000 dedicated public servants is uniquely positioned to serve the country in the weeks and months ahead.
The Postal Service is the only way for millions of people to receive their medications. Last year, we delivered over a billion prescriptions. It’s the only way to disseminate stimulus checks and critical public health information and supplies to every household. Vote-by-mail will be essential to holding elections in November. And, in this new era of “social distancing,” it’s still a time- tested way to connect families and friends no matter where they are.
But if the Postal Service is to meet the challenge of the times, two immediate issues need to be resolved:
First, postal workers must have safe workplaces. Our union is working feverishly to ensure the Postal Service provides for the health and safety of our members and the mailing public. We have already secured important changes to leave, staffing and post office policies. We remain concerned that the distribution of personal protective equipment and sanitizers has been uneven across the country.
Every member from the shop floor to the national office must continue our demand that we have safe workplaces, safe staffing and the necessary equipment and supplies to fulfil our mission.
Second, Congress must act immediately to ensure the financial viability of the Postal Service. We were deeply disappointed that stimulus legislation nearing passage Wednesday does not include vital relief for the Postal Service. The economic fallout of the pandemic calls for measures far beyond the prefunding repeal we’ve long sought.
House legislation initially sought in excess of $25 billion in direct relief for the USPS. If Congress does not act soon and on a similar scale, the Postal Service will run out of cash in the coming months. Every member must demand of their representatives that postal relief is included in the next stimulus.
Reports surfaced this week that the White House and Treasury Department oppose cash support for the Postal Service. Their resistance would condemn the country’s most trusted and highest- rated federal agency to its demise. It would destroy the one institution capable of reaching every person, hinder the country’s public health response, and cripple the $1.4 trillion mailing and shipping industry.
Our union had planned to spend much of this month commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Great Postal Strike. Those plans have obviously changed. But let us remember one important lesson the 1970 strike proved: the country relies on the hard work of dedicated postal workers, especially in the toughest of times. I believe our current crisis underscores the value of our work and the universal network we uphold.
Finally, let me conclude by recognizing the extraordinary role postal workers have already played in the throes of this crisis. These are unusual times and many of us are understandably anxious – for ourselves, our families, our jobs and our communities. I, like so many others, am heartened by the extraordinary courage of seemingly ordinary workers serving their neighbors in times of need. Together, let’s support each other, encourage each other, demand safe workplaces together and continue to serve each other in these extraordinary times.
We constantly update resources available to members at apwu.org/coronavirus
Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s effectiveness in reducing non-career employee turnover and evaluate underlying reasons for non-career employee turnover.
The Postal Service hires non-career employees to supplement its regular workforce and reduce staffing costs. Non-career employees are temporary workers who do not receive the same employee benefits as career employees, are not always guaranteed a set schedule, and can work from one to seven days per week. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, the Postal Service had about 136,000 non career employees which represented about 21 percent of its 633,000 employees.
The Postal Service has four non-career employee labor designations or crafts:
■ Mail handler assistant position — unloads and moves mail in plants.
■ Postal support employee position — processes mail and sells postage at post offices.
■ City carrier assistant position — delivers mail on designated city routes.
■ Rural carrier associate position — delivers mail on rural routes.
The Postal Service establishes a non-career employee turnover goal as part of its annual National Performance Assessment (NPA). This goal is used to measure non-career employee turnover to help reduce the Postal Service’s cost of training non-career employees. In FY 2019, the goal was 34.08 percent.
We conducted site visits at 14 district offices, 12 post offices, and two processing and distribution centers (P&DC). These visits represented all seven Postal Service areas and included sites with higher and lower unemployment and non-career employee turnover rates.
Over the last four years, Postal Service Human Resources Headquarters (HR‑HQ) management took actions to reduce non-career employee turnover. Although the annual turnover decreased from 42.8 percent in FY 2016 to 38.5 percent in FY 2019, it still exceeded the NPA goal of 34.8 percent in FY 2016 and 34.08 percent in FY 2019. Also, the FY 2019 turnover rate exceeded the FYs 2017 and 2018 rates. In FY 2019, the city carrier assistant positions had the highest turnover at 45.8 percent while the postal support employee positions had the lowest turnover at 34.4 percent.
To meet the FYs 2018 and 2019 34.08 percent NPA non-career employee turnover goals, the Postal Service would have had to retain almost 3,000 more non‑career employees in FY 2018 and almost 5,900 more non‑career employees in FY 2019. We calculated this would have reduced the cost of onboarding and training by about $4.1 million in FY 2018 and about $9.6 million in FY 2019 based on management’s estimate of total onboarding and training costs.
Management estimated the Postal Service saved about $8 billion in labor cost from FYs 2016 to 2019 by employing non-career employees. However, they did not measure the cost savings associated with the NPA non-career employee turnover performance. On average in FY 2019, non-career employees who left, worked for the Postal Service for about 81 days. Measuring the potential cost savings associated with reducing non-career employee turnover would help ensure management focuses on improvement.
Also, non-career employee turnover could be improved if HR-HQ management developed a single comprehensive strategic plan for recruiting, hiring, and retaining non-career employees. HR-HQ management developed individual strategies to assist in non-career employee retention at the local level. The strategies included developing engagement training for all employees and revising onboarding training to better address the needs of new non‑career employees.
However, during our site visits, we found inconsistent application of HR‑HQ strategies. Specifically, at seven of the 14 district offices and four of the 14 facilities we visited, management said they had not received training on retaining non-career employees.
Because HR-HQ management did not develop a single comprehensive national strategic plan for recruiting, hiring, and retaining non-career employees of all four crafts, districts developed local strategies to help reduce non-career employee turnover. We found the following examples of local strategies at the 14 districts we visited to help reduce turnover.
These strategies could be incorporated into a comprehensive strategic plan for all districts to follow.
We also found that HR-HQ personnel e-mailed a voluntary exit survey to non‑career employees who left the Postal Service and made summary results available to local management with access to the Postal Service’s information technology network. From FY 2016 to June 30, 2019, about 28 percent of the non-career employees responded to the exit survey. In FY 2016, the survey’s top two reasons for non-career employees leaving the Postal Service were “Lack of Schedule Flexibility” and “Physical Demands”. From FY 2017 to June 30, 2019, the top two reasons were “Lack of Schedule Flexibility” and “Didn’t Like Supervisor”.
Management at 10 of the 14 district offices we visited were aware of the voluntary non-career employee exit survey and six of the 10 district offices said they used the results to improve non-career employee turnover. However, they were not provided any guidance on how to use the data. We also found that six district offices said they performed their own exit surveys.
HR-HQ management said they monitored the reasons for non-career employees leaving the Postal Service and used the data to deploy strategies to address them. However, they had not established any nationwide processes to ensure non-career employee exit survey results were reviewed by district office personnel and appropriate corrective action plans were developed. Establishing a nationwide policy on use of this exit survey information would better enable effective and consistent actions to address non-career employee turnover.
A comprehensive national strategic plan and procedures would help ensure management consistently focuses on reducing non-career employee turnover, provides better oversight, and ensures best practices and feedback is shared.
We recommended HQ-HR management:
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Source: USPS Office of Inspector General
On Feb. 25, postal workers and the communities we serve are standing up for our public Postal Service. It's time to protect America's most cherished institution.
The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed the USPS Fairness Act. Now let's get it through the Senate. We are telling our Senators to pass the Senate companion bill, S.2965.
In 2006, Congress saddled our public Postal Service with an unfair and unsustainable burden of pre-funding retiree health care benefits for the next 75 years! That means paying now for USPS workers who aren't even born yet.
The USPS Fairness Act will start to put that right by removing the unfair burden. By repealing the prefunding mandate, the Postal Service would then be able to focus on investing and innovating services in order to better meet its mission to service every American household and business.
Join us supporting our public Postal Service. Sign up to call your Senators to support S.2965 on Feb. 25, 2020.