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The Postal Service lies to the people of the Bronx


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January 4, 2012

The Postal Service lies to the people of the Bronx

By Chuck Zlatkin

The United States Postal Service is planning to close thousands of post offices and hundreds of mail processing centers all over the nation. As part of this process public hearings are held. The author attended a number of these hearings in the Bronx in this capacity as the legislative and political director of the the New York Metro Area Postal Union.


In May, the Postal Service held a hearing on the ending of mail processing at Bronx GPO. It was supposed to be the chance that residents, churches, business and cultural institutions would have to comment on the impact that the closing as detailed in the Bronx AMP would have on them. Postal management failed to notify the community sufficiently that the hearing was taking place. As reported in The Union Mail, the Postal Service contracted for the use of the Pregones Theater, which has a seating capacity of 130. The Bronx has a population of 1.3 million people. The Postal Service knew that it had done a lousy job of promoting the meeting, no need to book the 367-seat theater at Hostos Community College a few blocks away.

At the meeting, the community voiced its fears that the ending of mail processing in the Bronx would delay the mail for everyone in the Bronx. The Postal Service argued that there would be no change in mail delivery. The Postal Service cited the short distance between Bronx GPO and Morgan as the main reason there would be no negative impact. They lied.

The Postal Service said that the Bronx AMP was going to be implemented primarily to save money. When mail processing operations were shut down at Bronx GPO in October, chaos ruled. Morgan was not prepared to handle the influx of mail that was now descending upon it following the change. Trucks were backed up on Ninth Avenue waiting to find a space, truck bays were filled with trucks waiting to be unloaded, transportation platforms were saturated with mail and equipment. Too few employees were there to handle the work. Overtime was everywhere. There weren’t enough drivers to handle the new schedule; motor vehicle operators were getting penalty overtime on a regular basis. In addition to that, the Postal Service had to be paying for a lot more gasoline.

When you consider that everyone who was excessed from Bronx GPO would have a job with the USPS somewhere and you add in the cost of overtime and gasoline, you see clearly that when the USPS said they would save money by ending mail processing operations in the Bronx, the Postal Service lied.

The Postal Service’s next move against the Bronx was to “study” the closing of 17 post offices in the borough. 50% of the post offices to close in New York City would be in the Bronx, one of the two boroughs that had a population that was growing.

The Postal Service is required to hold hearings to get input from communities before it decides to close a post office. The Postal Service scheduled hearings and then sent out notices of the hearings obscured in a hard-to-read mailer instead of using an easy to read and cheaper post card. People received the notices a day or two before the hearing, if they received them at all.

The inconvenient venues selected by the Postal Service, make it difficult for impacted communities to attend. The University Heights station hearing was held at Bronx GPO, two miles away. The Postal Service knows better than anyone that the people who most depend upon its services are the elderly, the disabled, the poor, and small business owners. But despite the attempt to keep these people away from the hearings they continue to come. Yes, there were seniors and disabled people at the University Heights hearing. What wasn’t at the hearing was a translator. In addition to sending out the hard-to-read notices, the Postal Service only sends them in English, even in communities that predominantly speak other languages. Julio Pabon, President of the South Bronx Community Association helped his Spanish-speaking neighbors by translating for them as a volunteer. At the end of the hearing, he told Postal management that they should be ashamed of themselves for not providing translation, and that he should submit a bill to them. At the next hearing for Stadium station, also held at Bronx GPO, the Postal Service provided a translator.

Getting Community Input?

The Postal Service is supposedly holding these hearings to get community input as part of the decision-making process. It is 2011, block associations, church groups, political clubs record their meetings using audio or video, not the Postal Service. Most public hearings use a stenographer to take minutes for the record, not the Postal Service. No, the Postal Service has someone taking notes, not using a laptop, but by longhand. And what if you want to see a copy of the minutes submitted as the official record? “File a freedom of information request” was the answer to that question by LaTrayer Sumter-Moreau, Discontinuance Coordinator for the Postal Service.

Incompetence or disrespect?

But something unusual happened, even for the Postal Service, at the hearing on December 15, 2011 at the Hunts Point Recreational Center where the “discontinuance” hearing for the Hunts Point post office was taking place. There was Postmaster Howard Sample flanked by a number of postal managers. There were more people from every aspect of the Hunts Point Community wanting to speak than there were chairs for them. There were TV cameras from Bronx Channel 12 and NY1 and reporters from the Amsterdam News and The Chief. There was the postmaster’s opening remarks followed by dozens of impassioned pleas for the maintenance of the Hunts Point Station. There was someone ready to translate if necessary. There was one thing missing: someone taking notes!

With no record of this hearing, there is no input from the community in the decision-making process, making this the biggest lie of all.

The Postal Service announced a moratorium on postal closing until May 20, 2012

This article originally appeared in the January 2011 edition of The Union Mail.

Submitters Bio:

Chuck Zlatkin is the Legislative and Political Director of the New York Metro Area Postal Union, APWU, AFL-CIO.

Time to Save the Post Office

Recently I read the article by Mr. Ralph Nader, it’s time to save the Post Office. Mr. Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. In the article he describes the real reasons the Post Office is failing. Truthfully, I could not disagree with his findings. He states, the battered national consensus behind a national universal postal service- conceived by Benjamin Franklin-is heading for a free fall due to bad management, corporate barracudas, and a bevy of editors and reporters enamored with the supremacy of the internet which makes up their world.

He states that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is pursuing a strategy of cutting or delaying services while increasing prices. Usually that is a sure prescription for continuing decline. For Mr. Donahoe, the drop in first class mail has left the Post Office with over-capacity. He is closing over 200 processing centers, and shuttering hundreds of post offices, including Philadelphia’s original Ben Franklin post offices. He mistakenly thinks closing additional USPS facilities will not result in revenue reductions and service abandonment.. Never mind the intangibles of convenience, safety, receiving medicines, and collegiality that characterizes many rural, small town and suburban post offices.

Mr. Donahoe tells reporters that he is acting the way any beleaguered business executive would, even though he knows that the Postal Service is not just another big business feeding off corporate welfare. The USPS has not taken any taxpayer money since 1971.

By contrast the federal government has taken money from the USPS and owes our Postal Service between $50 and $70 billion dollars in excess retirement benefits payments. The other overpayments to the federal government are for the unprecedented advanced payment of health benefits of future retirees of the next 75 years by 2016, amounting to $5 billion a year, (Congress is considering a bill to rectify this problem). Without corrective legislation, the Postal Service says it would have lost $8.5 billion this year. (By comparison, in addition to lost lives and destruction, the Afghan War quagmire costs the U.S. taxpayer over billion a week, thanks to the Bush administration.

If all this sounds bizarre to you, it is. No other public department is a defacto creditor of the federal government. The USPS is a hybrid corporation, created in 1970, from the old Post Office Department. It has been run into the ground on the installment plan by commercial competitors and by a corporate Board of Governors ideologically rooting for corporate privatizers. Moves to privatize the Postal Service go back to the senior Bush administration

Mr. Naders article is right on the money and only recently has the public and Congress finally realized it. Congress has asked the P.M.G for a moratorium of 5 months to have realistic studies done on future closings and it was granted. Hopefully the Postal Service will survive the latest attempt at privatizing and remain a strong symbol of the greatest country in the world.

Tommy Roma


As the New Year 2012 arrives, there is finally some positive press concerning the postal service. NAPS, showing good faith, agreed to return to the bargaining table with the USPS to try to come up with a pay package that we all can live with during these trying times. If an agreement cannot be reached by the end of January 2012, NAPS will proceed with fact finding….It’s a win-win for both sides.

I read the following article on Postal and felt that I should share it with all of you. In my opinion it sum’s up what we are going through. “USPS nets 152 million from operations, loses $1.8 billion to politicians.”

The USPS took in 40 million more then it spent in November, and after two months of the new fiscal year, has a net income of $152 million. In the private sector that would be called a “profit”. Thanks to Congressional accounting gimmicks, however, the USPS will report a net loss of over $1.8 billion for the two month period. The entire 1.8 billion loss is due not to USPS operations, but to legislation enacted by the Bush administration and the GOP controlled Congress in 2006 that requires the USPS to contribute $5.6 billion to a so called “trust fund” which has so far amassed over 42 billion from USPS profits.

While right wing politicians claim the trust fund is simply a “prudent measure, no other agency or company has a similar burden. The real reason for the requirement appears to be the shifting of billions of dollars of the national debt on to the USPS which is, conveniently,” off budget”. The politically induced “bankruptcy” also provided cover for draconian legislation proposed by Darrell Issa, which would dismantle USPS bargaining agreements, and set up a postal “death panel” to gut the service’s infrastructure.

As far as “real world” financial results are concerned, USPS expenses remained level with the prior year, but revenue was down 3.5%. The decline in revenue reflected the continuing drop in mail volume, which dropped 6.3%, or 2 billion fewer pieces of mail. Standard mail, which has shown some growth last year, is down 7.3% in FY 2012 so far.

The only bright spot in the volume numbers was the 33.6% increase in shipping services volume. While ecommerce driven package delivery is an obvious growth opportunity for the USPS, the problem is that it still represents just 15% of total revenue.

In my opinion if Congress relieves us of the 5.6 billion which is used for prefunding retiree’s health benefits, streamlines through attrition, or incentives, allows us to compete on the open market, the Postal Service will be a viable option for years to come.

Stay Strong,
Tommy Roma.

Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011 – a Thank You

Dear Mr. Killackey:

This morning, President Obama signed the Civil Service Recognition Act of 2011 into law. This step could never have been achieved without your help.

When we began our effort to ensure that an American flag is provided to the next of kin of every federal civil servant who is killed in the line of duty, we knew that we would need broad support. In short, we had what we thought was a great idea, but great ideas are not enough. It takes dedicated people and their energy and hard work to turn ideas into reality. Thank you for being one of those people.

As you know, the legislation passed both Houses of Congress without a dissenting vote. Your timely letters, the support of the National Association of Postal Supervisors and your leadership, and your personal commitment to do the right thing for civil servants who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country were a joy for us to witness.

We have always believed that this nation’s federal workers represent the very best in America in their traditions of serving with honor and excellence. Thank you so much for helping us recognize them for their devotion to the nation.

We wish you the very best this holiday season and in the coming year. We know that many others benefit as well from your wonderful work. We’re proud and thankful to count ourselves among those fortunate to have your help.


Robert Gest III and Terry Newell


Robert and Terry,

I was more than glad to offer my assistance in your efforts to provide proper recognition to federal employees who give their lives in service to our country. I was more than happy to intercede with the organizations that were objecting to your worthwhile cause.

Once I explained what the meaning of your bill was, the organizations seemed more than willing to change their objections and now federal civilian and law enforcement authorities who make the ultimate sacrifice for our country (and their families) will be recognized accordingly. You have made my day by sharing this news with me.

Merry Christmas!

Jay Killackey
Executive Vice President
National Association of Postal Supervisors

Pay-for-Performance, Fiscal Year 2011, End-of-Year Rating

The economic downturn and unprecedented weather conditions have contributed significantly to National Performance Assessment (NPA) ratings. The national corporate NPA score is a low contributor. Employees who worked diligently and contributed to the organizations performance may receive an end of year rating of 3 or less and a personal adjective rating of non-contributor. This may not be an accurate reflection of their work throughout the year.

Download complete letter here.

NAPS to Return to Pay Talks

Executive Board Members,

NAPS to Return to Pay Talks

December 8, 2011

The executive board of the National Association of Postal Supervisors voted today to accept the Postal Service’s offer to return to the table for an additional round of pay consultations. NAPS will continue their efforts to reach a new pay agreement that would cover over 28,000 active association member’s pay and benefits for the period from 2011 through 2014.

Prior consultative meetings with the Postal Service ended without an agreement on November 16, 2011. NAPS exercised their rights to request to enter Fact Finding, a statutory right they have within 39 USC Section 1004. The Postal Service made the offer to re-open pay consultations to NAPS on December 7th after a request had been made by the two other management associations to re-open pay talks.

President Atkins advised the membership of NAPS that the officers and executive board have considered all the factors involved in obtaining a fair and reasonable pay and benefit package for the members of NAPS and believed that continuing discussions would be advantageous at this time.

The new deadline for pay talks is January 27, 2012.

NAPS still maintains the right to invoke Fact Finding should the extended deliberations not be fruitful.

NAPS Headquarters

Paul Lewis Letter


I have let some time pass before I prepared this message to you, because it took me some time to compose myself from the level of disgust and disappointment that I had in your accusations that I have sold out NAPS to management and that I only did so because I also hold a senior management position in the Postal Service.

I take my role as an executive board member very seriously and I represent everyone in my region to the best of my ability. I spend long hours on the phone, on email and on the road making sure that the members of NAPS in the Northeast Area receive the best representation possible.

I have toiled for many years representing members and take extreme offense to your characterizations of me undermining members of NAPS. As a retiree you appear to have ample time at your disposal to sit at your computer and take shots at the leadership of this organization. I regularly see emails from you and your posts on the website where you disparage leadership of NAPS at all levels. For the most part I read your posts and remind myself that you have a right to your opinion about how the organization is managed.

I have known you since we first met in Las Vegas and we have interacted numerous times in person. Although I don’t always agree with your position on certain matters, I have given you the respect that you should have in both your opinions and positions.

However, you have crossed the line when you challenge my integrity as a NAPS officer. First, you don’t have all the facts. As usual, you have this penchant for saying: “Ready, Fire, Aim” and you shoot buckshot at a target before you even know what you are shooting at.

I’ll tell you something Paul, you can challenge decisions I make, how I do my job, etc., but don’t ever, ever challenge my integrity in this organization. By the way, the issue that caused all of this consternation doesn’t even involve your area, it is a Northeast Area issue but, as usual here you go again with “Ready, Fire, Aim”.

Although I don’t believe that I have to explain any of my actions to you, I will let you know that the discussions that were held between NAPS leadership and the Northeast Area concerning the Postal Service’s decision to abandon the requirement to conduct Pre-Disciplinary Interviews was initiated by the Postal Service, not NAPS! PDI’s are not referenced in the ELM and are not required as a precursor to discipline.

The elimination of the PDI process does not take away any rights to representation of NAPS members by our organization at any time a member believes that they need representation. No member of NAPS in the Northeast Area has lost any of their rights under Title 39, ELM 650 or any other handbook or manual.

By your own admission, you claim to be an expert in collective bargaining with your many years as a steward and a craft representative. This coupled with your service in NAPS one would think that you would understand more than you do. It is apparent to me that you lack a common understanding of how things work in this business. When virtually anything happens in postal management you immediately point to the failure of NAPS to accomplish something and tout our use of Title 39 as the remedy.

Paul, I am so disappointed in you, words cannot describe it. You have the right to disagree with how I do things, but I will not allow you to trample on my integrity. I don’t even know if an apology could repair the damage you have caused in our relationship. In the future you should think a little more about what you write before you write it, get all the facts and then if you want to put your foot in your mouth, go right ahead.

Tommy Roma
Northeast Area VP


Earlier this year, USPS suspended the employer contribution to the annuity portion of the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) to conserve cash and preserve liquidity — in large part to ensure that the Postal Service could continue honoring its commitment to meet employee payroll. The suspension freed $900 million in USPS funds during fiscal year 2011.

USPS now has decided that, subject to further legislative developments, it will pay suspended employer contributions and resume biweekly payments of the employer contributions with the Dec. 9, 2011 pay date. Pending legislation in both Houses of Congress would, if enacted, make the surplus FERS funding available to the Postal Service.

Download complete letter here.

Please share this announcement with your members at the local level:

NAPS Invokes Rights under Title 39, USC and requests Fact Finding:

On Monday, November 14, 2011, the National Association of Postal Supervisors initiated a request to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to enter Fact Finding with the United States Postal Service in accordance with procedures in 39 U.S.C. Section 1004(f) and 29 CFR Part 1404.

Now that our request for Fact Finding has been submitted, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. Section 1004(f)(2), within 15 days after receiving our request, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service shall provide a list of seven (7) individuals recognized as experts in supervisory and managerial pay policies.

Each party shall designate one individual from the list to serve on the panel. If, within 10 days after the list is provided, either of the parties has not designated an individual from the list, the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service shall make the designation. The first two individuals designated from the list shall meet within 5 days and shall designate a third individual from the list.

The third individual shall chair the panel. If the two individuals designated from the list are unable to designate a third individual within 5 days after their first meeting, the Director shall designate the third individual. In addition to the submission to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, we served notice to the Postal Service of our intentions to initiate Fact Finding.

As further information becomes available we will release it to the membership. We appreciate your support in this matter.

NAPS Resident Officers

EAS Pay Package for Fiscal Years 2011-2015

Dear Mr. Atkins:

Enclosed is the Postal Service’s final decision concerning changes in pay policies, schedules, and fringe benefit programs for supervisors. This decision is the outcome of the pay consultation process outlined in Title 39, U.S. Code, § 1004 (e). This decision was made following full and fair consideration of recommendations submitted by the National Association of Postal Supervisors.

This compensation package covers fiscal years 2011 through 2015.


Doug A. Tulino

Download EAS Pay Package here.