January 21, 2018 6:30PM
2360 SE Morrison Portland Oregon 97214
2360 SE Morrison Portland Oregon 97214
The Voluntary Early Retirement (VERA) recently announced by the Postal Service has
generated many questions from the members of the APWU. The Postal Service published a list of 93 questions and answers shared with the members in an earlier APWU.org web article.
Many are asking, “Should I accept early-out retirement?” It is not the place of the national APWU to give advice on whether to retire or not. That is a personal decision. However, it is decision with implications that members should know and consider.
USPS management did not discuss the VERA with the APWU in advance of the announcement.
APWU national officers initiated a January 10 meeting with postal management to address issues and concerns about the VERA. In this meeting, the union pressed its views that:
1) the Postal Service is not overstaffed, and service to the public is suffering due to
2) if the Postal Service moves forward with misguided plans to reduce the workforce, the
Postal Service should offer a monetary incentive for those eligible for regular retirement
as well employees eligible for an early-out.
Incentives have been offered numerous times in the past for both bargaining unit and supervisory employees.
If you are eligible for the VERA you will receive a packet in the mail from the USPS. The packet will have vital information about your opportunity for an early-out. The packet will include your annuity estimate (this is not a guarantee of what your annuity payments will be; OPM makes the final determination of your annuity and it could be different than the estimated amount provided in your packet) and information about available benefits including eligibility, limits, and costs.
Anyone considering the early-out offer needs to study the packet.
You are eligible for USPS-sponsored retirement counseling – both group and individual.
Information on who to contact and how to arrange counseling will be in the packet. The packet along with your counseling session(s) will explain eligibility for any annuity supplement, your health insurance premiums, how your FEGLI life insurance can change, and other issues.
According to a settlement agreement with APWU, local management must arrange reasonably private space for employees who wish to receive individual counseling on the clock. Your spouse can participate in the counseling session(s). Take advantage of every opportunity to learn the specifics about your retirement benefits.
Some points to consider when making your decision:
• As of now there is no financial incentive to retire early, unlike the 2009 and 2012 VERAs
where incentives were negotiated with the APWU.
• In its August 22, 2017 request to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for VERA
approval, the Postal Service said that 10,522 APWU represented employees will shortly
be “impacted” by “differing personnel actions” and “repositioning initiatives.”
The Postal Service estimates that only 1,712 of the 10,522 APWU represented employees
will accept the VERA.
• Those who apply for the early-out will see financial/income impacts, including:
o If you are an employee covered by CSRS you will have your annuity reduced by
2% for each year you are under age 55.
o If you are covered by FERS you will only earn 1% of your salary as an annuity
for each year worked (e.g. if you worked 20 years, your annuity will be 20% of
your high-3 average salary).
o If you are under the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) you will not receive the
Social Security Supplement until you reach the MRA. Find your MRA using this
OPM Chart. FERS is a three-legged stool: a modest annuity, social security, and
retirement savings in TSP. When you reach the normal minimum retirement age
(MRA); but are not yet eligible for social security, you get an “annuity
supplement” to provide that social security leg. For example, if you are age 50
and your MRA is 57 you will not receive the supplement until you turn age 57
and the supplement will end at age 62 when you can start receiving social security
o You will not receive Cost of Living Allowances (COLAs) on your annuity until
you reach MRA.
o With an early retirement you can’t make additional contributions to TSP or
receive employer contributions as you would with continued employment.
o TSP withdrawal restrictions are not eased for those accepting a VERA.
o Your life insurance coverage (FEGLI) may change. The amounts of coverage
may decrease and the costs (if you continue coverage) will likely rise.o Your health insurance premiums will increase if you currently are covered by the
Consumer Driven APWU health plan.
Make your decision on complete and accurate information about your retirement benefits.
APWU will continue to share important information on the VERA and will share any new
information that comes to light.
The service continues to violate the collective bargaining agreement when they failed to provide information to our Union that is necessary to conduct the 2018 annual leave sign-up.
The LMOU Item 4A states “Management shall provide the Union President or his designee lists of employees by section for Pay Period 24 by the end of PP 25”. This language in Item 4A was first negotiated into the 2007-2010 Portland Clerk Craft Memo.
November 11, 2017 PP 24 Begins. Who is in which AL book is determined and set.
November 25, 2017 PP25 begins. Service has not provided information.
November 27, 2017 Union President provided a good faith reminder of our LMOU language and end of PP25 deadline to the Manager of Labor Relations.
December 8, 2017 PP25 ends, information was not provided.
December 11, 2017 Union requests Step 1 Designee to file Step 1, information was not provided.
December 11, 2017 Service provides notice that LR Specialist Mark Morrissey is Step 1 designee and provides some information. Incorrect information for Plant and PACC, Correct information for City Stations, no information for any other sections listed in our LMOU.
December 15, 2017 Step 1 meeting, information was not provided.
December 19, 2017 Step 1 Decision, information was not provided, service was unable to state when information will be provided.
The parties were not able to reach an agreement for the remedy at Step 1. When asked if he was denying the grievance the service’s Step 1 designee Mark Morrissey stated he was not denying the grievance. When asked if he was sustaining the grievance, the services Step 1 designee Mark Morrissey stated he was not sustaining the grievance. As the service did not provide a decision of denial or sustain, our Union has no choice but to appeal to Step 2 to maintain time limits. The service Step 1 designee stated he agreed there was a violation but could not agree with the remedy and could not or would not provide a time when the documentation will be provided.
As of December 20, 2017, the service had 39 days to prepare and provide the information and has failed to provide the information and refuses to tell our Union when it will be provided.
The 39 days that passed and the timeline of this issue shows an intentional act of bad faith bargaining by the service, Step 1 designee Mark Morrissey and the manager of labor relations.
From the Officers and Stewards of the Portland Oregon Area Local
The Executive board wishes all our members a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.
Kevin Fraser-Clerk Craft Director
John King-Maintenace Craft Director
Steven Clinton Motor Vehicle Service Director
Verna Matthews- Director of Associate Offices
Cheryl Walton-Director of Education
Daniel Cortez-Director of Legislation
The service is rolling out a new survey. The survey is being put out by USPS Headquarters and Shaker Consulting. The Portland Oregon Area Local and the APWU ask that the employees do not participate in this voluntary survey. The service has utilized surveys against the members in negotiations and arbitration. The most current survey is an attempt to downgrade the work we perform. The APWU contract expires in less than a year. We will be collecting the surveys as we have with the pulse survey.
Nominations for local officers resulted in the following officers being unopposed and elected for the 2018-2020 term:
President- Joe Cogan
Vice-President- Bill Martin
Secretary Treasurer- Debbie Battle
Clerk Craft Director – Kevin Fraser
Maintenance Craft Director – John King
Motor Vehicle Service Director – Steven Clinton
Associate Office Director – Verna Matthews
Director of Education- Cheryl Walton
Director of Legislation – Daniel Cortez
Editor – Daryl Teckenberg