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Postal Service offering mail handlers $15,000 buyouts

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It’s official: The U.S. Postal Service is dangling more employee buyouts.

The buyouts, available to most mail handlers, will amount to $15,000 total, payable in separate $7,500 installments this December and December 2013, according to a Thursday bulletin on a Postal Service web site. With a few exceptions, all career employees covered by the Postal Service’s national agreement with the National Postal Mail Handlers Union are eligible, the bulletin says. Full-time employees wanting to sign up must do so by July 2, and agree to leave or retire by Aug. 31. Part-time career mail handlers are eligible on a pro-rated basis tied to the number of hours worked in the preceding year. Part-timers have until July 16 to make a decision, but must also be out the door by the end of August.

A USPS spokesman could not be reached for comment Thursday night on how many employees would be eligible in all. Union President John Hegarty was also not available.  Last year, the NPMHU reported almost 39,000 regular members, according to a filing with the Labor Department.

The deal with the Postal Service “is intended to provide a financial cushion, and added peace of mind” for mail handlers wanting to move on, the NPMHU said in a separate statement on its web site.  At the American Postal Workers Union, which also represents some plant employees, a spokeswoman said earlier Thursday that the Postal Service had so far not extended a formal buyout offer for its members.

Confirmation of the new agreement with the mail handlers union comes a week after USPS executives said they would proceed with the closing or consolidation of 48 mail processing plants this summer as the first step in a historic downsizing that will eventually shrink the plant network by half and eliminate 28,000 jobs. The troubled mail carrier, which lost $6.5 billion in the first six months of fiscal 2012, is eager to cut costs by enticing workers to leave voluntarily. Earlier this month, the Postal Service offered $20,000 buyouts to some 21,000 postmasters under a separate plan to trim operating expenses at 13,000 post offices.

In 2009, the Postal Service had extended $15,000 incentives to employees represented by the NPMHU and the postal workers union in hopes of encouraging some 30,000 to leave. In that case, the payments were split into $10,000 the first year and $5,000 the second. Among workers not eligible for this latest offer are those on probation, along with any who are transferring to another federal agency, according to the Postal Service.

Federal Times had previously reported that buyouts were coming, but USPS officials refused last week to provide confirmation.

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Comments

  1. RCA Says:
    May 24th, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    What exactly does a “mail handler” do?

  2. paul flynn Says:
    May 24th, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    can i accept this buyout and actually retire before 8/32.

  3. will be Union Dropout Says:
    May 25th, 2012 at 3:02 am

    Many clerks feel that the APWU and Cliff Guffey are holding up any agreement on a VER or Early Retirement for clerks, but again the USPS can offer the VER and Incentives to APWU represented crafts, the APWU cannot stop implementation of the VER, so who is holding it up for the clerk and other APWU crafts?, more lies form which side?

  4. leebren Says:
    May 25th, 2012 at 8:25 am

    If they offere a VERA or VSIP to carriers they would get lots of employees to retire, we can’t wait to go!

  5. leebren Says:
    May 25th, 2012 at 8:26 am

    If they offer a VERA or VSIP to carriers they would get lots of employees to retire, we can’t wait to go!

  6. I want my VER Says:
    May 25th, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    RCA – a mail handler is the person who moves the mail around the building with their broken bodies or – if they’re lucky to have a license to work one – an electronic jack or a mule. They also prep mail for various machines, run cancelling machines, work on the decks loading and off-loading trailers, dumping pallets, cages, BMCs and “body bags” of bundled mail and parcels on SBPS machines. They work on Linear Sorters loading worked trays and buckets of mail into postcons. They take orders from 204Bs who sit at computers all day looking at Fantasy Baseball websites. They have to hear their names being screamed over PA systems by their troll supervisor all day. Some of them have to bust their asses while their fellow mail handlers sit around BSing. They watch their Union Reps buddying aroung with MDOs. They have to “eat shit” on a daily basis, go home with aching backs, shoulders and feet only to do it all over again the next day. That’s what a “mail handler” does.
    I know because I am married to one. Regardless of what happens with my VER (I am a Bulk Mail Tech), my husband will take his. He’s done enough time.

  7. David Hunt Says:
    May 25th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    the max that could be offered is $25,000.00 whydont they offer the max? thats ridiculous!!! it would cushion most people until they are eligible for social security, retirement supplement, and tsp.

  8. 14202 Says:
    May 25th, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Bad news when your not sure who is lying union or management, lies from USPS are normal circumstance, abuse and threats by Postal Supervisors are normal circumstance, I know, Hitler told me to do it, that is what the Gestapo and SS said when torturing and killing innocent civilians, try working in the Western NY District, management even has the OIG do their dirty work for them, to carry out threats, to even discipline and removals, and one has to wonder why we want to escape this disgusting environment, privatize and kill the whole organization, do our sanity a favor.

  9. Percy Harrell Says:
    May 26th, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Maybe the PMG is using the Postmaster craft and Mail handler craft and Reduced Incentives from $25,000 maximum too $20,000 for Postmasters and $15,000 for Mail handlers too test and see how many Employees will accept the downsized offer and then determine what amount and benefits too offer the clerk craft too obtain the number of positions and jobs that are expected too be eliminated.

  10. PosatlWorker Says:
    May 26th, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Its unbelieveable that our own Cliff Guffey, President of the APWU, is holding up the same offer to APWU members! What gives him the right to deny the incentive to any APWU member that desires to accept it?? He’s playing politics with many people’s lives and should be impeached if he is responsible! Please write him for an explanation and demand that he immediately accept the USPS incentive offer! All APWU members should demand to resign from the Union if APWU and its President is responsible for the lack of an incentive offer from USPS or if its shuttled due to his actions!

  11. Cliff APWU Says:
    May 27th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    What about the clerks and the NALC?, APWU has excessing of many clerks going down, and this was before the closings , consolidations, and cutting of Post Office hours, it is a shame that the Postmaster General made such a mistake, by offering the smallest craft and the Postmasters (25,000 of them ?) the early retirements, and not the larger crafts, what is he thinking?

  12. Cliff APWU Says:
    May 27th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    The PMG sees how many not many and offers the rest.

  13. WORKER Says:
    May 27th, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I THOUGHT once a federal agency ask OPM for a vera .or buyoout,,if OPM approve it then it is done with dose anyone know the answer?

  14. Nancy B. Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    The APWU is pushing to come to an agreement on five or six other issues before agreeing on the incentive. I think that one of the issues (dealing with staffing for maintenance workers) has been addressed. Sorry to say . . . that if they don’t use this leverage now, these issues might never be solved. And since the Post Office should have made these offers early in the year (for tax purposes), and before the senate voted to try to get the supplemental Soc. Sec. payments withdrawn, a few more months is going to be an inconvenience, rather than a dealbreaker. (I know you can read about the maintenance staffing issue on the union website. I heard that when measuring footage in a building, they wanted to eliminate the space that is under machines. If that had happened, the staffing for maintenance workers probably would have been cut by at 1/3).

  15. Clerk87 Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    This is crazy. Only younger folks that don’t need benefits would except such a small amount, and I’m sure both amounts will be taxed. So double taxed:(

  16. Jim Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 7:41 am

    How to improve federal employment. 1. 30 years maximum. No excuses, no extensions, 30 years and you’re done. Eliminates the 75 yr old placeholder and brings in new blood. 2. No full time federal employee may be married to another full time federal employee. One or the other retires or drops to part time. Eliminates kingdom building and nepotism and creates another full time job for someone else. 3. Keep management to a minimum. Not everyone needs to be promoted just for longetivity. This ties right into the 30 yr max.
    Had the USPS adopted this strategy years ago, the wouldn’t be in the sorry shape they are now.

  17. Glenn Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    What about the maintenance craft? I am a custodian and can retire next year. Are they going to offer us an early out?

  18. Mitchell Says:
    June 1st, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Nancy B,

    The APWU has no right to hold up an agreement in order to get other things it wants by blackmail, thats unfair and illegal bargaining!! Guffey will lose his job over this if he screws up the incentive package for APWU members playing hardball politics!!

  19. Greg Bell Says:
    June 3rd, 2012 at 9:18 am

    The APWU cannot stop the VER, but the Incentive falls under bargaining, which can be superseded.
    Some of us have personally met with past APWU presidents and officers and may still be Union officers,But a man is known by his works, well we all make mistakes, ask yourself this ,why did the Mail Handlers, NALC and Rural carriers not cave in, but instead went to Arbitration?, Guffey is like the Captain of the Titanic, “Full Speed Ahead”, yes, right into the Iceberg,so the APWU made out better, check those facts again,the biggest thing a Union President can do, is to settle a contract, but you try to do that with the interests and in the interests of those that count the most, the “members”, lest we forget,
    the VER Incentives being used to bargain with will be shown to be a wise move, if there is give and take, and the VER with Incentives is given in the very near Future, if not,many members will drop out, and many other members will choke on that “Guffey Vote” ( or those who voted for the man with no nuts)maintenance ?, ask Guffey, they should be when closing and consolidating!

  20. Greg Bell Says:
    June 3rd, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Wrong to all who say a few issues, VERA cannot be stopped, Union has no power to do that, the problem is that APWU President Guffey, keeps asking for more!
    The Official Voice Of The Northwest Illinois Area Local
    American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

    Floor Edition
    May 31, 2012

    APWU Still Waiting…

    I spoke with President Guffey’s Chief of Staff; Tom Maier on 5-29-12 to ask him why there is no incentive for APWU. He told us that President Guffey has not agreed to an incentive because the USPS has thus far refused to return work to the craft as promised in the 2010-2015 contract. He said they will be meeting on 5-31-12 and to call back the next day. We will continue to call him until an incentive is announced for APWU.

  21. Loretta Says:
    June 3rd, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I’m a MH and I think that we should get the incentive money offer all at once and pay one tax and not be penalize for taking the early out at an early age as far as the S.S. supplemental insurance goes being at age 561/2 yrs. old to recieve it. Why shouldn’t you be married to another federal employee. Be married to whomever you want without being penalized. If you’re not fortune enough to find your love, don’t ruin it for others who are. It takes at least 2 good incomes to make it these days.We all need to stop complaining and thank our lucky stars that we have a good paying job these days of trying times. We all know how the system work. We’ve been a Postal Employee long enough to know that nothing never goes the way you want and if it does it’s usually come at a high price. Patients is a virtue. Your time is coming. All crafts is going to get their time to retire( incentives or not) if your age and time in years are maxed out then leave already. What are you waiting for (cutbacks and money taken away from all those long hard years of work you put in and your too weak and worn out and broke down to enjoy your retirement). GOOD LUCK!!!

  22. Postalworker Says:
    June 6th, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Nancy & Greg & now C. Guffey himself!

    Every APWU member should write C Guffey and tell him that he cannot continue to try to use the offered incentive as one of his main bargaining chips for everything he wants on his Agenda!!! The incentive is not a bargaining chip but a gift from USPS that Guffey has failed to accept and thus risks losing now and forever! I think he is completely out of his mind to think that he can even use or consider it a bargaining chip! He knows its all for show to appear that he is trying to wisely bargain for several items he wants from USPS, as he has admitted in his only public statement to APWU members on the issue!

    Wake up Mr Guffey, you cannot use something or a gift from USPS to try to obtain even more from USPS using the very gift that USPS does not even have to offer to APWU members!!! Even a fool would recognize this, but maybe you are blinded by your position or have visions of Grandure??? Get off your A— and sign an agreement to accept the USPS offer or gift before its too late!!!! You may be or become the most hated man in the USA by your actions so far! Do you want to be remembered this way?, I hope not!

  23. Postalworker Says:
    June 6th, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Nancy, yes we really got a great issue solved (floor space under machines), but held up and risked never getting an incentive offer from USPS as the tradeoff! The floor space issue would not and does not amount to a hill of beans or very very few manpower positions for custodians, if any! I hope you are happy with yourselfs and your great bargaining skills! You are only making yourselves look like fools! Please, 1/3 of manpower for this? You must be nuts!

  24. denise c Says:
    June 8th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    is it that the apwu will lose members and dues if the clerks get a buyuot is that why there is a hold up for us?

  25. Sharon Says:
    June 8th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I have heard over and over that Guffey is holding up the EO because of some jobs that the clerk craft was supposed to get, and havent gotten. I wonder if one of those jobs was LEAD CLERK?? There were a few bids in a bid sheet the other day…it had that job in there. There were of them. Part of the duties was supervision when the supervisor wasnt there. Hmmm sounds like a job that would not be making friends. I for one, will have a problem taking orders from the LEAD CLERK. I smell alot of grievances filed toward the fellow CLERK/SUPERVISOR. God why in the world would someone want this job anyway. You make 25 cents more and hour and you wouldnt have any authority at all….certainly no friends.

    A few people in my office is just waiting for a EO. Most of us are so stressed out, we just cant wait to finally have some peace in our life. Hopefully my TSP and my retirement will see me through. I wont be having a retirement that I thought I would but its better than being at that true hellhole. Just looking at everyones faces is horrible. We all smell bad times ahead.

    As for the supplement that FERS gets, you have to go when you fill out EO papers. I dont think you get it otherwise. This is why I am waiting. I am eligible now to leave but I have to stick it out for the supplement. I think it there is a RIF going on in your area you might get it then to.

    Good luck to everyone….We will need it.

  26. PosatlWorker Says:
    June 9th, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    APWU Members,

    Tell Mr Guffey to stop all the propaganda and stupid politicking and just approve the Incentive for all eligible APWU members!! He has gotten out of hand with all the impossible stuff he tells us he is fighting for and we should fight for, but which are totally unrealistic! How does he think the Postal Service will ever be able to stay out of default or ever break even, if some (maybe a lot) manpower is never reduced or if unneeded facilities are not closed or consolidated due to the lack of 1st Class mail??? What he is trying to do is not possible or close to being realistic! Mr Guffey is living in a dream world as all his proclamations indicate and I think he has totally lost it! What he is doing is a disservice to the American people, but mainly it’s a disservice to APWU members who are relying on him to make intelligent decisions! All he is doing is not facing reality which will lead to a much sooner collapse of USPS if he’s successful or doesn’t wake up soon on how wrong he is! Just tell him he is wrong and to do something that will at least help his APWU members and approve/accept an orderly offer of an incentive to those members willing to accept the offer! What he is doing with the Incentive offer/gift is simply outrageous, which is trying to use the Incentive offer/gift as a bargaining chip or ploy to get even more from USPS! Mr Guffey just get off your High Horse and act on your real priorities, number one being acceptance of the Incentive offer from USPS! Mr Guffey, can you not understand that reducing the Service Standards is much better than replacing the USPS with UPS or FedEx Management and no Unions, which is what will happen if you drag this kind of thinking out until the Republicans take over the Senate and White House??? Get off the High Horse now before its too late!!!

  27. Yanick bremer Says:
    June 17th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    APWU NATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD

    Cliff Guffey
    President
    (202) 842-4250
    (202) 842-4297 (FAX)
    Greg Bell
    Executive Vice President
    (202) 842-4250
    (202) 842-4297 (FAX)
    Elizabeth Powell
    Secretary-Treasurer
    (202) 842-4215
    (202) 842-8530 (FAX)
    Mike Morris
    Director
    Industrial Relations
    (202) 842-4273
    (202) 371-0992 (FAX)
    Rob Strunk
    Director
    Clerk Division
    (202) 842-4220
    (202) 842-8517 (FAX)

    Sharyn Stone
    Central Region Coordinator
    55 E. Jackson Blvd.
    Suite 400
    Chicago, Il 60604
    312-986-8645
    312-986-8747 (FAX)
    (312) 786-0390 (TDD)

    Mike Gallagher
    Eastern Region Coordinator
    1401 Liberty Place
    Sicklerville, NJ 08081
    856-740-0633
    (856) 740-0742 (FAX)
    (856) 740-0715 (TDD)

    John H. Dirzius
    Northeast Region Coordinator
    5 N. Village Ave., Suite 3
    Rockville Centre, NY 11570
    (516) 678-1327
    (516) 766-0967 (FAX)
    (516) 678-1813 (TDD)

    Princella Vogel
    Southern Region Coordinator
    15055 Woodham Dr., S. 100
    Houston, TX 77073-6024
    (281) 821-9000
    (281) 821-9028 (FAX)
    (281) 447-5378 (TDD)

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