WELCOME TO THE TNRLCA

the 2021 tnrlca STATE CONVENTION

HAS BEen CANCELED

After long deliberation, the TNRLCA Board has made the decision to cancel the 2021 State Convention that was to be held in Franklin from June 25 - June 28, 2021.  With everybody's best interests in mind, this decision was made due to COVID-19 issues. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but everyone's health and safety were our main concerns and priorities.

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USPS AWARDS 10-YEAR CONTRACT TO OSHKOSH DEFENSE TO PRODUCE NEXT GENERATION DELIVERY VEHICLE 

 

After years of delays and deliberations, the U.S. Postal Service awarded a 10-year contract to Oshkosh Defense to produce the next mail truck. The Postal Service said the program would launch “the most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades.”

Under the terms of the deal, Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based, will get a $482 million contract to complete the production design of what the Postal Service is calling the “Next Generation Delivery Vehicle.” The agreement also provides Oshkosh funds to pay for tooling and factory configuration needed before launching production.

It will be a purpose-built, right-hand-drive vehicle for mail and package delivery. The design will allow the vehicle to be equipped with either an internal combustion engine or a battery-electric powertrain. The Postal Service has told Oshkosh to ensure that the electric truck can be retrofitted to keep pace with electric vehicle technology advances.

Oshkosh will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 mail trucks over 10 years. “Our century-long history of delivering products to customers, operating in some of the most demanding and severe conditions on the planet, uniquely positions us to bring exceptional reliability, safety, and maintainability to USPS’s Next Generation Delivery Vehicles,” said John Bryant, executive vice president, Oshkosh Corp.

The Postal Service said its efforts to replace the existing mail truck fleet would create vehicle orders that run into the billions of dollars over the next decade. Previous estimates have placed the cost for replacing the current mail trucks at more than $6 billion. The first of the new mail trucks will enter service in 2023.

“The NGDV program expands our capacity for handling more package volume and supports our carriers with cleaner and more efficient technologies, more amenities, and greater comfort and security as they deliver every day on behalf of the American people.,” said Louis DeJoy, postmaster general and USPS chief executive.

The post office now uses about 140,000 Grumman Long Life Vehicles for its main delivery service. Manufactured from 1987 through 1994, they need to be replaced. A 2014 audit from the USPS inspector’s office found that the current fleet could only meet the agency’s delivery needs through the 2017 fiscal year.

The agency spent more than $700 million in 2019 maintaining the vehicles. The average expense was about $5,000, but at least 10,000 trucks needed an average of more than $12,000 of work.

The Postal Service began planning the fleet’s replacement with a new purpose-built vehicle more than five years ago. The post office expected to place the first trucks in service during the federal government’s 2018 fiscal year. Still, many delays, including the latest caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have hampered the program.  The new vehicles will be a significant upgrade from the old trucks now used by letter carriers.

The Postal Service said the new design vehicles would include air conditioning, heating and improved ergonomics. They also get the technology that is now ubiquitous in passenger vehicles, including 360-degree cameras, advanced braking and traction control, airbags, a front- and rear-collision avoidance system that includes alerts and automatic emergency braking. The new mail trucks will have greater cargo capacity designed to handle the eCommerce boom.

At one point Ford was working with Oshkosh on a prototype mail truck based off its Transit cargo van. But it’s not clear whether Ford is still involved in the program.  The automaker declined to comment and an Oshkosh executive also would not talk about suppliers for the program.

“We have teamed up with industry leaders whose proven subsystems and components speak to the quality of the Oshkosh NGDV offering. We will be able to supply more information about the supply base in the future,” said Tom Quigley, vice president and general manager, government programs at Oshkosh.

The Oshkosh contract was a blow to Workhorse Group, a small Loveland, Ohio, electric vehicle company that was competing to build the new mail truck and had presented a battery-electric prototype. Shares in the company fell almost 50% to $16.47 on Tuesday.

 

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     RURAL CARRIERS WHO DEVELOP COVID 19            IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES

         ARE ENTITLED TO OWCP COVERAGE                    

All federal employees who develop COVID-19 while in the performance of their federal duties are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage pursuant to the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). This includes Rural Letter Carriers.

The Department of Labor has created new procedures specifically to address COVID-19 claims. COVID-19 claims are filed using Form CA-1, Notice of Traumatic Injury. The CA-1 must be filed within 30 days and the employee is eligible to receive Continuation of Pay for up to 45 days. Proof of a positive COVID-19 test will be required, as well as a qualified physician’s statement.

Due to the number of claims filed for COVID-19, these claims are taking a longer than normal to be processed, but they are being accepted and processed.

For complete information regarding COVID-19 OWCP coverage and filing a claim go to the following website: 

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/owcp/dfec/InfoFECACoverageCoronavirus

*From NRLCA

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                     COST OF LIVING RAISE SET FOR                             FEBRUARY 27, 2021

Pursuant to the release of the January 2021 Consumer Price Index – Urban Wage and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), and in accordance with Article 9.1.E, the sixth COLA adjustment of the 2018-2021 National Agreement will result in a $416 increase for eligible rural carriers. This COLA adjustment will be effective February 27, 2021, (PP 2021-06). All COLA adjustments are based on a 40-hour evaluation with proportional application to those route evaluations over 40 hours. The increase should appear in paychecks dated March 19, 2021.

In accordance with Article 9.1.E.3, full COLA adjustments will apply to Table One and new Step 15 of Table Two. COLA adjustments to Steps 1 through 14 of Table Two will be adjusted proportionally to each step’s percentage of Step 15. This will serve to bring Table Two schedule (Step 15) employees to the same pay level as Table One (Step 12) employees, thereby eliminating the pay differential between Table Two and Table One employees at the top step and for the rest of their careers.

NOTE: All leave replacement employees will receive an additional 1% salary adjustment annually in lieu of COLA adjustments. Those leave replacement employees on the rolls prior to August 11, 2012, will receive the additional 1% salary adjustment annually, rather than waiting for a COLA roll-in at the end of the agreement.

*From NRLCA

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      raft incentive in effect as of 1/2/21

As an incentive for recruiters and new members, the 2021 RAFT Program offers the following benefits:
1.  Members who have successfully recruited (the new member must complete, sign and date an 1187 Form "Authorization for Deduction of Dues") will receive $15 for each RCA or ARC and $50 for each Regular or PTF.
2.  The newly recruited RCA and ARC will receive a one time incentive payment of $25 after their 1187 is received by the National Office, processed and sent to the USPS and accepted for processing.
3.  The newly recruited PTF or Regular Rural Carrier will receive a one time incentive payment of $50 after their 1187 is received by the National Office, processed and sent to the USPS and accepted for processing.
4. The recruiter must legibly provide their EIN or CSA number along with their name and address in the upper right hand corner or on a seperate piece of paper attached to the new member's 1187.
5.  No incentives will be paid to the State Association, only to the recruiter and new member.
6.  There will no longer be a "two month free waiting period" for new members. The 1187 will be processed as soon as possible upon receipt by the Union.
                                                   LETS GET RECRUITING!!

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New EMA Rate - Effective January 2, 2021 (Pay Period 02-2021)

 

On December 10, 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the November 2020 Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which established the Private Transportation Index at 199.76, a decrease from the August 2020 Index of 200.83. Therefore, based on the November 2020 CPI-W release, the Equipment Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for rural carriers will decrease 0.5¢ to 70.0¢ per mile.

This EMA rate will be effective January 2, 2021 (Pay Period 02-2021).

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         COVID-19 VACCINE SOON TO BE MADE                   AVAILABLE TO POSTAL EMPLOYEES

Postal Service employees will soon have the COVID-19 vaccine made available to them. Although COVID-19 vaccines are now being distributed nationally, the supply in the U.S. is expected to be limited initially. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided recommendations to federal, state and local governments about who should be prioritized to be vaccinated.

"Phase 1a" was the initial distribution of the vaccine and included health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.  "Phase 1b" is to include postal workers as well as other frontline essential workers such as firefighters, police officers, grocery store workers, public transit workers and others.

There is currently no specific date for "Phase 1b" to be implemented.  You can periodically check your local public health's website, the CDC website which is www.cdc.gov/vaccines or check back here.  As soon as we know, we will be posting it.

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                                2021 COUNTY UNION MEETINGS

Our National Board would like us to hold off on conducting any in-person union meetings for now. Until some point in the future they do not feel in person meetings should be held. Once a significant percentage of the population has been vaccinated and we see lower transmission rates and prevalence of the virus in our communities, we can begin to think about gathering in person again.  Until then, and consistent with CDC guidance, they do not recommend holding in person union meetings. Additionally, they will not be sending any NSS employees to attend any in-person meetings.

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NRLCA and USPS Sign MOU Concerning Annual Leave Carryover for Leave Year 2021

The NRLCA and USPS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing that for leave year 2021, regular work force career employees covered by the USPS-NRLCA Agreement may carry over 520 hours of accumulated annual leave from leave year 2020 to leave year 2021.  That is an additional 80 hours of leave we may carryover for a total of 13 weeks permitted to be carried into 2021.

 

In all other respects, the ELM provisions for payment of accumulated leave are not changed because of this Memorandum.

 

Should you be planning on retiring before January 2, 2021 (the beginning of the new leave year), your maximum cash out on annual leave will still be 55 days.  However, if you are planning on retiring between January 2 and December 31, 2021, your maximum cash out on annual leave will be 65 days.  Of course, this is dependent on how many annual leave days you have earned but have not used on the actual date of your retirement. 

This MOU will expire December 31, 2021.

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             MOU REGARDING SICK LEAVE FOR DEPENDENT CARE EXTENDED

The March 23, 2020 MOU which temporarily expanded the use of Sick Leave for Dependent Care and implemented a liberal leave policy has been extended to March 26, 2021.

The MOU expanded the use of Sick Leave for Dependent Care to allow employees to use their sick leave for unexpected childcare needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to allowing Sick Leave for Dependent Care, for the next 60-day period , managers and supervisors should allow liberal changes of schedule in recognition of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To the extent operationally practicable, managers and supervisors should accommodate employees who submit PS Form 3189, Request for Temporary Schedule Change for Personal Convenience as a result of childcare issues caused by daycare closures, school (Pre-K through Grade 12) closures, or the unavailability of a child 's primary caregiver as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Managers and supervisors should also allow liberal sick leave usage for employees who are sick, and liberal annual and leave without pay (LWOP) usage to the extent operationally feasible during this time period . If an employee requests leave for reasons related to COVID-19, such leave should be treated as scheduled (as opposed to unscheduled) leave.

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    Assistant Rural Carriers (ARC) MOU 13

           and Implementation Guidelines

 

Due to the continued increase in parcel volumes throughout the country, the U.S. Postal Service and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA) have agreed to modify Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 13 of the 2018-2021 USPS-NRLCA National Agreement and the corresponding Assistant Rural Carriers (ARC) Implementation Guidelines cited in the MOU.

These modifications/updates have been agreed upon primarily to allow for expanded scheduling of ARCs during the week to provide assistance with the delivery of parcels and for these employees to be appointed in any office with rural delivery. ARC appointments will no longer be restricted to offices receiving Sunday Amazon.

We are asking everyone to make sure that the managers in your office are aware of this extended use of the ARC position.  This MOU gives the USPS another avenue to hire ARCs in any office. With peak season just around the corner, we must do our part to see that management is doing their job to hire a sufficient number of leave replacements.

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                             FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provided employees with two additional types of leave: Emergency Paid Sick Leave, and Expanded Family and Medical Leave for child care needs. This leave benefit became effective April 1, 2020, and continues through December 31, 2020.

Since the introduction of the new leave types, the Office of Personnel Management has provided official guidance that leave payments under the FFCRA are not eligible for retirement and Thrift Saving Plan (TSP) deductions.

If you took leave under FFCRA, any deductions withheld for TSP or retirement as a result of FFCRA leave will be refunded to you in pay period 20-2020, retroactive to April 1, 2020. Retirement refunds will show on your October 2, 2020, paycheck. These refunds will not impact creditable service time towards retirement eligibility.

If you wish to keep your retirement and TSP contributions, you must change your FFCRA leave to a different leave type. Contact your supervisor to request an adjustment of your FFCRA leave to annual or sick leave. These adjustments must be in line with leave policies, covered by earned leave balances, and be entered in AdjustPay before September 11, 2020, to prevent a refund of retirement and TSP deductions. Employees receiving the TSP refund can increase their TSP election for the remainder of the year. All TSP eligible employees may change their TSP election at any time during the year.

Additional details about the FFCRA and other COVID-19 information can be found on the special COVID-19 pages of the employee websites, Blue or LiteBlue.

Thank you for listening, and thank you for your professionalism, commitment, and all you do for our customers, your co-workers and the Postal Service. Stay Safe.

*This has been copied from the NRLCA.ORG website.
 

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                             2021 nrlca calendars

We have a limited number of 2021 NRLCA calendars available.  If you are a member from Tennesse and would like one, please contact the State Secretary at 865-740-3162 (text or call) to request one.  A limited number is available and supplies will run out.

             Letter Carriers' Donor Drive

 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the postponement of the previously scheduled May 9th "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive.

As an alternative, a special website has been created to assist those wishing to participate in the food drive to donate funds to their local food bank(s) to help the pantry purchase food.

If you would like to donate to a food bank in your community, go to:

1)  nalc.org/food

2)  Select your state

3)  Choose a food bank in your area

4)  Make a contribution

 

HAVE YOU ENCOURAGED A NON-MEMBER TO BECOME A MEMBER TODAY?