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Greetings Local 302 members and friends!
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the many updates since our last newsletter earlier this year. That mailing predated this pandemic, and it seems like it was a completely different world. COVID19 has negatively affected all of us, and I would like to recognize the many that have suffered and perished as a result of this disease. Local 302 has had many of our members, or loved ones fall victim to this disease, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them. In an effort to help, Local 302 has instituted a policy of donating a $200 grubhub gift card to our members who have tested positive so they can have meals safely delivered while quarantined. We are also completely committed to ensuring that any of our members who qualify for COVID leave under the newly agreed to Memorandums of Understanding and FFCRA laws are properly paid. If for some reason you have not been properly compensated please let your steward or Branch President know. In addition to providing masks and/or face shields to our membership, Local 302 has made a $3,000 donation on behalf of our members to the American Red Cross Wildfire Relief Fund. At the time of this writing, Northern California continues to be hammered by wildfires and the accompanying unhealthy air conditions. All of Local 302’s members are already required to wear face masks due to state mandates in California and Nevada, and this smoke is making breathing fresh air pretty much impossible. While new COVID19 cases have declined, and some counties are easing restrictions- we are not through this yet! Please stay safe and continue to follow the COVID19 safety protocols of wearing face coverings, washing your hands and maintaining a 6 foot distance from others when possible. Most importantly, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, etc..) – DO NOT COME TO WORK. Go get a test and stay home until you know you are covid free. The unscheduled sick leave number is (877) 477-3273. The USPS also offers employees and their family members with free, voluntary and confidential counseling from licensed professionals 24/7. The EAP contact number is 800-EAP-4YOU (800-327-4968).
Election day is right around the corner on November 3rd. All USPS facilities have instituted a Local Election Mail Task Force, with “Ballot Ambassadors” selected from every craft and Local Union. It is imperative that we continue to earn America’s respect as the most trusted Federal agency, and ensure that every ballot is properly processed and delivered. If you have a radio or television, you have no doubt heard pundits proclaiming that “This is the most important election of our lifetime!” This is especially true for us as Postal workers. The current US president has said that “the Postal Service is a joke”, and has said he wants to privatize our Agency. He refuses to recognize our dedicated workforce as eessential workers, and has promised to veto legislation intended to reinforce USPS finances. The National Postal Mail Handlers Union and Local 302 have endorsed candidate Joe Biden, and strongly urge you to vote to support candidates that will support your livelihood as postal workers.
I am proud to report that we have recently purchased a new office space in Fairfield, and will be moving by the time you read this. This new space should allow us more room for in-house training, and is more centrally located for all of the facilities of Local 302. We look forward to holding an open house for our membership at the new facility once California social distancing guidelines allow for it. Unfortunately, all National, Local and Branch meetings have been canceled or postponed since March, including our National Convention, General membership and branch meetings, Union picnics and steward trainings. As State and Local social distancing guidelines relax, we will begin to reinstitute these meetings.
We are currently in negotiations in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Redding and Eureka to modify our branch Local Memorandum of Understandings (LMOUs). The LMOUs for every branch are available for you to view on our website, and clarify facility-specific rules such as what percentage of mail handlers are allowed off each week on vacation. The currently existing LMOUs will remain in effect for facilities not listed above.
www.npmhulocal302.com has a host of other information available to our membership, and I encourage you to visit the site and explore information about the Local and your specific branch. If you use the browser on your mobile device, you can download our mobile app directly from the website to put most of this information right at your fingertips on your phone. Local 302’s media director Jeanette Amador does a fantastic job keeping this site updated (as well as putting together this newsletter), and I want to thank her for keeping us firmly planted in the 21st century.
On our website and the National union site, www.npmhu.org, there are many COVID related Memorandums of Understanding that have been signed by our National Union and USPS management. These MOUs provide for liberal leave and changes of schedule, additional MHAs, sick leave for MHAs suffering from COVID and FFCRA (FMLA) partially paid time off for mail handlers with child care needs during this pandemic. Should you have any questions about these MOUs, feel free to contact your stewards or the Local office.
Our members recently received a COLA increase. We will also receive the second contractual increase of our 2019 National Agreement on November 21, 2020. We are also scheduled to receive our retroactive pay from the 2019 contractual increase at the end of this month. The exact amount will vary based on the amount of hours you worked between November 2019 – May 2020, but we anticipate most mail handlers will receive $200-300. This retroactive raise also included a one-time retroactive dues increase which was deducted in pp 19, 2020. Should you have any questions or concerns about these adjustments, please contact me or Treasurer Shawn Dalton.
We should have received Local 302 aprons and smocks by the time you are reading this. Distributing 1600+ aprons to our members is challenging under normal circumstances, with everything going on right now, we expect it to be particularly difficult. Please be patient, and let us know if you do not get one. We have also ordered our 2021 pocket calendars, and hope to distribute those when performing vacation sign-ups. Most of us had to cancel any travel plans in 2020, so I know you are ready to get your vacation on in 2021! Our stewards will be coming around in a couple weeks to get your vacation picks for next year, so please be ready (I know I am ?).
I have been conducting bi-weekly ZOOM meetings with your Branch Presidents to discuss all of the issues impacting our membership. These meetings have been a valuable tool for our BPs and Chief Stewards to stay abreast of the constant barrage of changes and challenges facing us as postal workers. I would like to personally acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions of these BPs, who have all included articles in this newsletter. All of our stewards and Branch Presidents on the work room floor can be overworked and underappreciated, and I hope that you join me in thanking them all for the work they do on your behalf. I also want to take the time to invite volunteers to join our team of stewards to help police the contract in your facility. The Union starts with “U”!
Finally, I want to thank all of our members for the essential work you do every day. Happy holidays, and please stay safe.
NPMHU REACHES TENTATIVE AGREEMENT
Ballot Count Delayed Due to Covid 19
USPS Expands Wounded Warrior Leave
* NEW LOCAL OFFICE LOCATION: 3700 HILBORN ROAD # 200, FAIRFIELD, CA 94534
* ALL BRANCH MEETINGS CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!
USPS IS HIRING IN ALL
SHARE WITH FAMILY
AND FRIENDS !!
USE YOUR POLICAL VOICE TO HELP USPS EMPLOYEES
Earlier this week, the House and Senate re-introduced the USPS Fairness Act, H.R. 695 and S. 145. These bills are identical to what was seen in the last session of Congress, calling for the repeal of the 2006 mandate for the Postal Service to prefund its retiree health care benefits.
As you are aware, the prefunding mandate is the primary source for the USPS’s financial losses and drives the argument for privatization and limiting services. The repeal will help the fiscal health of the Postal Service and is the first step towards comprehensive postal reform.
I ask you reach out to your Representative and Senators, letting them know you support this legislation and ask they do too.
You can find a prepared letter at the NPMHU Action Center, https://npmhu.quorum.us/, with this message. Please share this request and link with your members.
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