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.

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

Administrative

$20,000

$20,000

2,055

189

$41.1 million

$3.8 million

2012 Postmasters

Mail Handlers

$20,000

$15,000

4,192

3,025

$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)

STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION

2018 Scholarship Program

Scholarship Programs

Read the 2018 APWU Scholarship Brochure here.

The E.C. Hallbeck Memorial Scholarship will award $8000 ($2000 annually) to ten recipients (one male and one female from each of the five postal regions) to apply towards their four-year college tuition.

Vocational Scholarship winners will receive up to $3,000 for specialized training in such fields as culinary arts, medical or dental assistant, electrician, real estate, auto mechanic, certified IT/computer education, cosmetology, or massage therapy, etc. Eligible programs can be of a nine-month to three-year duration.

  • March 31, 2018 is the deadline for the APWU to receive completed applications.
  • The scholarships are open only to high school seniors.  Applicants may apply for only either Hallbeck or Vocational, not both.