Article on the passing of renowned Actor Ed Asner

At our last Union meeting, I was asked to share this article about a great Union activist, Ed Asner.

Read the article below:

SAG-AFTRA Mourns the Passing of Former SAG President Ed Asner | SAG-AFTRA (sagaftra.org)

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National Negotiations

Contract was set to run out at midnight last night. However, it has been exended. Read more by clicking the link:

Negotiations Update: APWU and USPS “Stop the Clock” to Continue Bargaining for a New Contract | American Postal Workers Union

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Several Updates

I have updated the seniority lists for the P&DC, since last Saturday, due to a large number of conversions, both PSE & Career lists have changed. They are hiring a bunch of new PSE’s over the next couple weeks, o that list will have additional people added in the near future.

Most MOU’s related to Covid have been extended until September 30, 2021. This includes the Liberal leave and change of schedule policy.

I had a meeting with the new acting postmaster yesterday, and during the discussions the issue of out of schedule pay for the Main Office Window Fill-in Clerks (Relief and Pool Clerks). It appears that they have not been properly paying pool and relief clerks. It is up to the Clerks to let us know if and when they are not being paid properly. In general, the rule is, that as long as they notify you by Wednesday of the week prior to the fill in assignment, and that assignment is to cover an absence or vacancy of at least 5 days, they do not have to pay you out of schedule pay for hours worked that are different from your “bid” schedule. However, if they have you work hours that are different from your bid schedule, and it is not to cover a vacancy or absence for 5 days or more, then you are entitled to out of schedule pay for the hours worked outside of your bid schedule. If hey fail to notify you by the Wednesday preceding, you are also entitled to that out-of-schedule premium.

Principles of seniority are very important. You are normally supposed to work your bid, however, when the need arises for an employee to work outside of their bid, the junior employee is that employee. PSE’s are junior to career, and overtime career are junior to normally scheduled career.

Employees requesting EFEL leave must provide sufficient documentation, the rules for this leave are pretty strict. It is only available for employees that can’t come to work due to limited number of Covid related reasons. Please don’t try to scam the system, you likely will not succeed in getting paid.

If you ask the Union for advice, realize we are human, and can make a mistake from time to time. However, it seems everyone that asks me for advice these days either doesn’t like it and does their own thing (usually with negative outcomes) or they want to argue about the advice I give. Please stop. If the Steward tells you something, then you ask the Chief Steward and they tell you the same thing, then you ask the President and they tell you the same thing…. it’s likely your arguing with the people that represent you is getting you nowhere. If you suspect an answer provided by a steward is incorrect, feel free to e-mail me at Rob@apwulocal215.com and I will provide you with the contractual language, or best evidence we have, to answer your question. Thanks

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Union Meeting Tonight

I am making available some of the items that will be mentioned tonight at the Online Zoom meeting. If any member would like an invite to our Zoom Union meetings, please email me at Rob@apwulocal215.com. Click the links below to see some of the items that will be mentioned.

ABA Scholarship info and application

UnionPlus.org – Earn your Bachelor’s Degree online for free

APWU Group Legal Plan Open Enrollment

Worker’s Memorial Day Info

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Updated (Extended) EFEL Guidance

Another letter has been issued extending management’s guidance for approving leave based on the Emergency Federal Employee Leave Act…. You can download it below.

Download Here

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Updated EFEL Guidance (and lack thereof)

Unfortunately, OPM has not yet provided guidelines for EFEL, as was anticipated. Thus, as a result, the USPS at the headquarters level has put out the attached document, dated March 30, 2021, as follow up to the two prior Tulino documents dated March 12, 2021, and March 18, 2021 (previously disseminated). Please note that the attached is a unilateral USPS document.

Once OPM issues its guidelines APWU will issue its interpretation of said guidelines.

You can see the new letter put out by the USPS here.

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Covid related MOU’s extended, and more

Please see the attached documents. President Dimondstein signed extensions on the COVID MOUs through June 4, 2021. Also attached is the extension of the liberal leave policy. He also signed extensions on the annual leave carryover which will allow 520 hours to be carried into leave year 2022 and career employees can also sell up to 80 hours of leave for leave year 2022. One MOU that was not extended–but was suspended–was the additional leave for PSEs. Under the new EFEL all employees could be paid up to 600 hours for COVID related absences.

Extension of Previous Memorandum of Understandings

Liberal Leave policy Extension Original Liberal Leave policy letter

2022 Annual Leave Carryover

2022 Annual Leave Exchange

Suspension of Additional Paid Leave for PSEs

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New EFEL News

The APWU has received more information regarding the Emergency Federal Employees Leave.

Attached is the most recent document from the USPS that was sent from VP Doug Tulino on the Emergency Federal Employee Leave. This is a USPS created document, it was not created in consultation with the APWU.  This document is being provided as information only and does not imply or suggest the APWU is in agreement with this interim guidance.  OPM will release their guidance in the coming weeks and once they do the APWU will release further information. We have also attached the guidance from 3-12-2021 as well.

Click the above links to see the actual documentation.

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EFEL Update

Further Guidance has been shared… it is as follows:

American Rescue Plan Act 

Update on Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL)  

Multiple questions have submitted regarding the recently passed stimulus bill known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Under section Title IV Section 4001 of the bill, funding for Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL) was appropriated. The APWU is monitoring all developments regarding EFEL and will continue to share information as it is received. 

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is responsible for administering the fund and issuing the guidelines on this new leave. How this leave will be implemented government wide will not be known until OPM issues the regulations and guidelines. 

However, this is what is known: 

  • All Postal Employees, career or non-career, qualify for EFEL. 
  • $570,000,000 has been allotted for payment of EFEL government wide. 
  • Employees can utilize up to 600 hours of total EFEL. 
  • The law allows these 600 hours to currently be used through September 30, 2021 or until the fund is depleted—whichever comes first. 
  • There are 8 qualifying reasons to utilize this leave if unable to work due to a COVID-19 related reason: 
  • Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.  
  • has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19. 
  • is caring for an individual who is subject to such an order as in (1) or has been so advised as in (2).  
  • is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. 
  • is caring for the employee’s son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model, requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models, or if the child-care provider of the son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.  
  • is experiencing any other substantially similar condition. 
  • is caring for a family member with a mental or physical disability or who is 55 years of age or older and incapable of self-care, without regard to whether another individual other than the employee is available to care for such family member, if the place of care for such family member is closed or the direct care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19. 
  • is obtaining immunization (vaccination) related to COVID-19 or is recovering from any injury, disability, illness, or condition related to such immunization. 
  • Pay is at the employee’s normal rate of hourly pay, up to a maximum of $2,800 per pay period. 
  • NTFT, PTF, PTR, and PSEs weekly hours paid will be based upon the average numbers the employee worked the 26-pay periods prior to the leave being taken up to a maximum of 40 hours a week. 
  • Employees will not earn credit towards retirement, retirement contributions, contribute to TSP, or receive TSP matching funds on hours paid under the EFEL. 

The Postal Service has sent out a communication to management on EFEL and the current method to request the leave and how it is to be coded in TACS. 

According to Management’s initial communication employees should submit a PS Form 3971 and indicate they are requesting EFEL on the form. Employees must identify which of the 8 qualifying conditions they qualify under for the leave. Postal management is to code the leave under TACS code 086-21. The Postal Service informed the APWU that this code was made available in TACS on March 17, 2021, at 8:00 CDT. 

The Postal Service is taking the position that qualifying reasons number 1 does not apply to postal employees as they are not subject to Federal, State, or local quarantine/isolation orders related to COVID-19. Also, there has not been “any other substantially similar condition” identified at this time that would qualify under number 6.  

In an update provided to President Mark Dimondstein the afternoon of March 18, 2021, the Postal Service informed him that they are awaiting further clarification from OPM on the implementation, documentation, and other items related to the usage of EFEL. OPM has instructed all government agencies including the Postal Service not to issue their own official permanent policies until the OPM issued guidance is released. It is anticipated that the OPM guidance will be released sometime during the week of March 22, 2021. If the Postal Service issues any additional interim guidance prior to the OPM guidance being released, the APWU will share the interim guidance after an initial review. 

Vance Zimmerman

Industrial Relations Director

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

1300 L Street, NW

Washington, DC  20005-4128

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EFEL Update

Regarding the Emergency Federal Employees Leave discussed below in a previous post, the only update I have at this time is that this law does not require employees to exhaust their sick or annual leave as a prerequisite to EFEL.

As more information becomes available, I will update this page.

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