High Importance to the Clerk Division Local Leadership

We should be filing maximization grievances when there are 30 hours of work per week under Article 7.3.b and NTFT MOU.

As far as retail windows closing for lunch, we should be grieving for all available hours, including Article 7 crossing crafts, Article 1.6 supervisors performing bargaining unit work (citing Article 1.5, Jobs Audit MOU, Clerk Craft Jobs MOU and the Clerical Work MOU.

There is work to do even when the retail window is closed. In Level-18 offices, if clerk hours are reduced as a result of the lunch closings, file 1.6.b grievances. Postal Service management has not returned all the bargaining unit work back to the craft.  This is applicable even in the higher level offices. We must fight these battles head on. File daily grievances, if necessary, interviewing all the necessary employees and supervisors.

We should have our employees contact their congressional folks and appealing to our local civic  leaders and congressional representatives about how these cuts will affect customer service and delay mail, eventually driving customers to other providers, with no guarantees of service, pricing or the security and  sanctity of their mail.

We should be handing out leaflets to our customers explaining that we, as servants of the people’s post office want to provide great customer service, and want to be open to the public during all business hours.

We should be informing customers who receive Informed Delivery, mail should be delivered that day, and not delivered the next day as a result of mail being delayed at the direction of Postal Service management.

We should be requesting delayed mail reports and the Facility Database Report on a daily basis to ensure that delayed mail is being properly reported and that reports are not being falsified.

We should advise our clerks to not falsify reports at the request of their supervisor. They should contact their steward.

We should be informing  our customers, congressional representatives, mayors, and local community leaders that service will be hindered by the closing of post offices during lunch hours.

With the elimination of machines, mail will be delayed, which will negatively affect service standards.

We should be filing grievances when the Postal Service literally locks the entire building during lunch hours. Once an employee reports to work they should be allowed to take their lunch in the facility.

We should be alerting our customers, local leaders, and congressional representatives  about how this could potentially impact the ability to vote by mail and the Postal Service’s ability to meet the goal of processing and delivering ballots, especially  now that the Postal Service has made the decision to remove at least 671 pieces of letter and flat mail processing equipment throughout the country. All of this taking place months before a national election, during a pandemic period.

In short, we need customer, community and congressional support.

We can’t solve everything in the grievance procedure. Some things have to be taken to the streets.

In the event the COVID-19 MOUs are extended, under the current circumstances of the elimination of automation machines, the closing of retail post offices for lunch, the elimination of penalty overtime or whatever else is coming down the pike, it is critical that you apply the COVID-19 MOU language as WRITTEN.

They are bargaining in bad faith if they sign an F-1/F-4 Clerk Staffing MOU, knowing they don’t intend to honor the maximization of career employees section of the MOU, which would include penalty overtime.

We must grieve any of these violations to include crossing crafts.

If the Postal Service wants cooperation from the Clerk Division, they must postpone the removal of automation equipment and the closing of retail windows for lunch until at least the conclusion of the COVID-19 agreements.

While the Clerk Division would prefer to sit down at the table with the Postal Service to mutually discuss the matters, we are prepared and ready for the fight. All of these postal actions have been done without any discussions with the APWU, who represents clerk the bargaining unit employees.

Rest assured that we will be challenging these negative and unilateral changes at the national level. We will be reaching out our congressional leaders, as well as asking for postal service customer support. This is the time we will need the mailing  industries as well as the grand alliance.

We will be working with APWU President Mark Dimondstein (APWU spokesman and following his leadership, the APWU National Executive Board and APWU Political/Legislature Director Judy Beard.

As always, continue to work with your respective NBAs, who we will be providing updated craft specific guidance.

We must fight this as a team, from the work room floor to the top of our organization, to survive the attempted changes that are surely coming.

Rest assured, this will not be an easy battle and everyone has a part to play.

We fully understand the budgetary issues facing the Postal Service, but those  are solvable issues with Congressional assistance  and should not be corrected at the expense of postal clerks, by violating contractual rights gained through union negotiations.

The bright side of all of this is that now employees will surely see how important it is to have a union and to be a part of a struggle. Things they took for granted will be tested.

On another note, we have to message our employees that under the liberal leave agreement  they must provide the employer with COVID-19 reasons when requesting leave. Without stating those accepted reasons as cited in the MOU, many clerks are being disciplined.

Hopefully the parties can negotiate a call-in prompt, so that when the employee calls in to report an absence, it will ask  if the request for leave is COVID-19 related.

On behalf of the Clerk Division, which includes Assistant Directors, Sam Lisenbe and Lynn Pallas-Baber and the entire Clerk Division NBAs, we stand ready and able assist you at the local level.

We want to thank you for all your hard work during these difficult times and be  not weary, we have your back and you are not alone.  I love and strive on challenges. You are in good hands. Don’t panic! I am only trying to get your full and undivided attention. We will prevail only as a team. No one person can do this alone. Rest assured, this is only the beginning. This is why elections are so important.

Please disseminate to the field.

Be safe!


In union solidarity, the struggle continues.

Lamont Brooks
Director of Clerk Division

USPS Announces Voluntary Early Out Retirement (VERA): Part 1

(This article was first reported on January 4, 2018 on the National website Web News Article #: 2-2018)

On January 4, 2018, the APWU was notified by letter that the USPS is offering voluntary early out retirement (VERA) for eligible clerk craft employees.

This letter was received with no advance notification to the union or negotiations with the APWU over who the VERA applied to and under what conditions.

The APWU immediately initiated information requests to USPS management regarding this VERA and demands for bargaining over its scope and impact.

“It is concerning that employees who are now faced with such a serious consideration regarding their work and retirement future, have not been given sufficient advance notification and needed information,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “Such a life changing and irrevocable decision should not be forced to be made in a rush due to management’s lack of consideration.”

Click here for the 2018 VERA Questions and Answers, provided by the USPS.

Click here for the 2018 VERA “Steps At-a-Glance,” provided by the USPS.

The APWU will provide further information and education material as it becomes available.

Retirement Counseling

The decision to retire is among the most important you will ever make. Employees contemplating retirement are eligible for retirement counseling and should take advantage of the opportunity. The APWU encourages you to consider the decision carefully and urge you to participate in USPS-sponsored counseling so you can make an informed decision. Employees requesting additional help after a group session will be accommodated on an individual basis. In accordance with a 2009 pre-arbitration settlement, local management must arrange reasonably private space for employees who wish to receive individual counseling on the clock.

Right below, is the letter APWU National received.

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Mike Gallagher, our Local MBA, provides us with this information:

The Postal Service will extend voluntary early retirement (VER) offers to eligible mail handlers and clerks, beginning Jan. 8. The offers will contain three retirement-effective dates from which eligible employees may choose: Jan. 31, Feb. 28 and March 31.

While USPS has been taking aggressive steps to cut costs and increase efficiencies, additional operational changes are necessary. The Postal Service is exercising the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) delegated to it by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. This VERA action is part of ongoing efforts to rightsize the Postal Service’s workforce and reposition its network through attrition to match current workloads.

Employees who accept the offers will be able to retire before they reach the standard requirements for age and years of service.

Eligible employees will receive their offer letters and annuity estimates at their addresses of record. Employees can change or update their addresses on LiteBlue.

Eligible employees who decide to accept an early-retirement offer can apply by completing and submitting the required documents by the deadline specified in their offer letters. For eligible employees who decide not to accept the offer, no response is required.

The Postal Service is not offering separation incentives to accept the early-retirement offer.

The Voluntary Early Retirement LiteBlue page has general information about VER offers. Employees who have questions can email the Organizational Change mailbox.

Here is some information from the OIG on incentives since 2010.

History of Separation Incentives

Table 1: U.S. Postal Service Separation Incentives Offered to Employees (Fiscal Years 2010–2013)

Fiscal Year Initiated Employees Affected Monetary Incentive per Employee Number of Employees Total One Time Expense
2010 APWU Members and Mail Handlers $15,000 20,800 $312 million
2011 Administrative






$41.1 million

$3.8 million

2012 Postmasters

Mail Handlers





$83.8 million

$45.4 million

2013 APWU Members $15,000 22,609 $339.1 million
Total 52,870 $825.2 million

On June 27, 2014, the Postal Service announced a $10,000 separation incentive for 3,817 postmasters affected by the POStPlan. As of September 30, 2014, 1,380 employees had accepted the incentive. USPS estimates the cost of this incentive to be approximately $14 million.

Source: 11/13/2014 GAO USPS – Status of Workforce Reductions and Related Planning Efforts (original source: USPS. | GAO-15-43)


USPS to test web-based program: ECOMP

Always trying to keep our local (and any other APWU locals) informed, our National Assistant Clerk Craft Director, Lynn Pallas-Barber, gives us a “heads up”:

“Brothers and Sisters,

Please find attached a recent notification from the USPS where they plan to test a web-based program titled “Employees’ Compensation Operation and Management Portal (ECOMP). The program is maintained by the DOL. The test sites are in Northern Virginia, Greensboro and Dallas Districts beginning September 25.  Employees in the test sites will be encouraged to use ECOMP but will have the option of using current methods for submitting their claims. I am working with Javier Pineres, Idowa Balogun and Sue Carney. Any questions please feel free to contact me. We will be requesting a meeting on this issue.”

Below is the documentation to review in detail:
2017-09-11 GCCV20170378 Plans to test web-based program – ECOMP