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ADDRESS CHANGES

Members, if you have moved, please send your new address to the Secretary so that your address will be correct in the database. This is how you receive your newsletters, county meeting notices, and any other correspondence from this Association. We do not necessarily get the change of address just because you gave it to the post office. You may text or call your new address and/or phone number to 865-740-3162. Also... keep yourself informed on upcoming events by clicking on the "Events" tab of this website.

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2024 tnrlca state convention

 

Please make plans to join us at the 2024 TNRLCA State Convention. It is scheduled to begin on Saturday, June 22 and go through Monday, June 24, 2024. We will be meeting at the Cool Springs Marriott, 700 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin, TN. Click on the link below to reserve your room. The discounted rate is $150 (+ tax) per night, and this rate is valid for reservations made by June 4. It includes guest rooms reserved for the nights of June 19 - June 24.

https://www.marriott.com/event-reservations/reservation-link.mi?id=1702401674842&key=GRP&app=resvlink

We look forward to seeing you there. Members, should you have any issues reserving your room, please call the Secretary/Treasurer at 865-740-3162 for assistance.

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POSTAL SERVICE HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM (PSHBP)

The Postal Service Reform Act required a separate Postal Service Health Benefits Program and it will go into effect January 1, 2025.  It will provide health insurance to eligible postal employees, annuitants, and eligible family members. Everyone will be required to actively select their plan of choice for 2025 during Open Season. This year Open Season is Monday, November 11 through Monday, December 9, 2024.

RETIREES: There is a special enrollment period going on now through September 30, 2024. If you are retired and you did not enroll in Medicare Part B three months prior to or three months after you turned 65, you may do so now without a late enrollment penalty should you wish to do so. (Normally, the late fee is 10% per year after your 65th birthday.) However, if you sign-up during the special enrollment period, the late fee will be waived. You will be required to select a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD) to continue prescription drug benefits in 2025.

You are an EXCEPTION to the Medicare A&B Requirement if:   

1) You are currently employed at the USPS and will be age 64 or older on January 1, 2025.

2) You will be retired as of January 1, 2025.

3) You are covered by Indian Health Services or VA Services.

4) You live abroad (other than PR, Guam, VI, American Samoa, or N. Mariana Islands).

Annuitants already enrolled in Medicare Part B will be required to remain enrolled in Medicare Part B to continue coverage under PSHB. 

Active employees under the age of 64 as of January 1, 2025 will be required to enroll in Medicare Part B after you retire and become eligible for Part A. (Usually at age 65)

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2024 NRLCA National Convention Room Block is Open!

Members, visit NRLCA.org for the direct reservation link and group code.

 

HQ Hotel: Peppermill Resort Spa Casino

2707 South Virginia St., Reno, NV 89502
Reservations phone: 800-282-2444
www.peppermillreno.com

Group Room Rates:

Peppermill Tower: $147/night (single-quad)
Tuscany Tower: $155/night (single-quad)

*Note: Rates may be higher for pre- and post-convention dates

NOTE: Room block opens on May 1 and closes July 16, 2024.

 

All reservations must be secured by a credit card. At the time of reservation, please be advised that your card will be charged one (1) night’s stay for each room reserved under the reservation. If multiple rooms are reserved by one individual, each room reserved will result in a charge equivalent to one night’s stay.  Cancellations must be made at least six (6) days prior to arrival. Please note on your reservation if you require an ADA-accessible room.

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Help for Those Affected by Tornadoes in the Midwest

 

The NRLCA is providing humanitarian relief for those impacted by the severe storms and tornadoes across the Midwest. An Amazon wish list has been created by NRLCA District Representative Natasha Patterson (FL) to help our fellow postal workers and communities in the hardest hit areas of Nebraska. District Representative Gary Wulff in Omaha, NE will receive and deliver supplies to the affected post offices for distribution. He will also coordinate with anyone affected in Oklahoma and Iowa. If you’d like to help in the recovery efforts, please visit www.ruralcarrierhelp.com. Please keep everyone affected in your thoughts and prayers!

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Rural Route Evaluated Dispute Process (RREDP) Documentation Requirements and Updated Forms

 

The Rural Route Evaluation Dispute Process will be used to address disputes where the assigned carrier has identified potential errors. Local management and the carrier should discuss and work together to submit the necessary documentation needed to resolve the issue.

Please remember that each item being disputed should be on its own dispute form along with the necessary documentation. The dispute and the documentation will be sent to the Manager of Labor Relations at the district level by the Postmaster and to the NRLCA District Representative.
Only clear legible copies should be provided to both parties. Pictures are unacceptable. A hard copy is requested.

Members, visit NRLCA.org to download the RRECS Disputes Documentation Requirements, the updated Rural Route Evaluation Dispute Form, and/or the Rural Route Evaluation Dispute Process (RREDP) MOU.

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Support H.R. 7629:

The Protect Our Letter Carriers Act

 

On March 13, 2024, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Congressman Greg Landsman (D-OH) introduced the "Protect Our Letter Carriers’ Act". This bipartisan legislation will provide the necessary resources to protect letter carriers and prosecute criminals to the fullest extent of the law. The legislation will appropriate $1.4 billion over fiscal years 2025-2029 to replace arrow keys with safer electronic versions and install high security collection boxes. The legislation also requires U.S. attorneys to appoint an assistant U.S. attorney to prosecute crimes against postal employees, as well as reviews sentencing guidelines for crimes against postal employees.

Members, please visit NRLCA.org for more information.

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EMA to Decrease 1/2 of a cent Per Mile

Effective APRIL 6, 2024

 

On March 12, 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which established the Private Transportation Index at 269.698, a decrease from the November 2023 Index of 270.407. Therefore, based on the February 2024 CPI-W release, the Equipment Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for rural carriers will decrease 0.5¢ to 94.5¢ per mile. This EMA rate will be effective April 6, 2024 (Pay Period 09-2024).

]Your EMA includes the following components:

New/Used Motor Vehicles:  45%

Motor Fuel: 24%

Motor Vehicle Insurance: 17%

Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair: 8%

Motor Vehicle Parts & Equipment:  3%

Motor Vehicle Fees: 3%

TOTAL:  100%

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REGULAR RURAL CARRIERS MAY VOLUNTEER TO

WORK SUNDAYS AND ASSIST ON OTHER RURAL ROUTES

The USPS and the NRLCA have extended the MOU allowing regular rural carriers to volunteer to work Sundays and/or provide assistance on other rural routes in the office.  This MOU has been extended due to the staffing problems that exist at the USPS. Regular rural carriers will be compensated at the overtime rate of pay for the hours worked on Sundays and for the additional hours worked when providing service on routes other than their own.  This MOU was signed by the NRLCA to help our overworked RCAs, and for the many regular carriers who have requested this temporary modification so they are able to assist and help the RCAs. This extension goes from Saturday, March 9 - Friday, August 23, 2024.  

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RETIREMENT PARTY FOR PAST NRLCA

PRESIDENT, RONNIE STUTTS

Thank you all for joining us to celebrate Ronnie Stutt's 47 years of service to the NRLCA. We had good times, good food, and now we have more good memories. Registration began at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 24. There was an open bar, and dinner was served at 6:00 with a choice of thyme roasted chicken or pork medallions. Prior to the meal we enjoyed appetizers consisting of a fruit and cheese tray, deviled eggs, and beef wellington bites. The Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin served us a delicious meal. Afterwards there was time for anyone to go to the microphone and speak about their experiences with Ronnie over the years. Many stories were told, and many laughs were had. Our DJ, David Sutherland, provided the background music during dinner and the music after dinner for dancing or simply enjoying. Again, thank you all for participating in this very special event.

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SIXTH COLA ADJUSTMENT FOR RURAL CARRIERS

The January 2024 Consumer Price Index - Urban Wage and Clerical Workers has been released. In accordance with Article 9.1.E, the sixth and final COLA adjustment of the 2021-2024 National Agreement will result in a $353.00 increase for eligible rural carriers. This COLA will become effective March 9, 2024 (PP 2024-07). This figure is based on a 40-hour route evaluation. Larger route evaluations will receive a proportionately equivalent adjustment.  The increase should appear in the paychecks dated March 29, 2024.

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TENNESSEE NATIONAL DELEGATE NOMINEES NOTICE

Effective 2024, Tennessee nominees for National Delegate will be permitted to submit an informative Nominee/Campaign Statement to the TNRLCA Secretary via email or U.S. mail to be posted in a National Delegate Nominees' page on the TNRLCA.com website. We hope this will give an opportunity to inform the membership who the nominees are and, therefore, improve voter participation. Emails and letters should have a header that includes the candidate's name and EIN/CSA number so that we are able to confirm the email or letter is coming from the actual candidate. (EINs and CSA numbers will not be posted on the website and are for internal information only.) The informative statement will have a header with the candidate's name as it appears on the ballot. The statement itself will be limited to 150 words or less; anything beyond the 150 word count will be omitted from the post. Space will not be allotted for pictures, graphics, or images. The posts will be text only and no corrections to that text will be made. The posts will appear in the order in which they are received by the TNRLCA Secretary. The posts will remain on the website until 30 days after the State Convention. We ask that statements be respectful and informative. Useful details might include but are not limited to:

*Years of service with the Postal Service

*Assigned office

*Job title

*Years as a Relief Carrier

*Years as a Local Steward

*Any other elected union positions held in the past or other duties performed (e.g. Academy Instructor) 

*A brief statement as to the reason for running for National Delegate.

Additionally, when your nomination is received in the post office box specifically for Tennessee's National Delegate Nominees, the TNRLCA Secretary will send you a letter stating you have been nominated. If you do not receive such letter by U.S. mail, a nomination with your name on it has not been received at the proper post office box. This year that box number is:  PO Box 7502, Knoxville, TN 37921-0011. Nominations must be received in that PO Box by May 3, 2024 to be included on the ballot.

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overburdened route adjustments scheduled

The USPS has announced its plans to begin route adjustments for overburdened routes in April 2024. Routes in overburdened status with total average weekly workhours over 57:36 will be considered for adjustment in Phase 1. Seasonal routes are excluded from this process. Tennessee has 1104 overburdened routes, second in the country only to Georgia who has 1110 overburdened routes.

 

Additionally, rural routes that have decreased below 40 standard hours, and any route that requires realignment (such as to increase efficiency or eliminate safety hazards) will be reviewed.

As per Article 30.1.J, any regular carrier may submit written comments or a written request for consideration for an adjustment.

Also planned for the summer of 2024 - Rural Route Optimization (RRO).  RRO provides a technology answer to optimizing a rural route's line of travel. The manager and assigned carrier will have the ability to edit U-turns, restrict turns and/or roads, create unlimited line of travel options to find the safest and most efficient line of travel, and reject line of travel segments for safety reasons. 

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USPS to Launch New MyHR Website

 

The USPS plans to launch a new MyHR website on January 23, 2024. MyHR is a modernized website equipping USPS employees with easily accessible, centralized, and simplified human resources (HR) information and tools.  Employees will be able to access the MyHR website via LiteBlue.  Organization-wide communications with full details will be distributed via USPS LINK and Stand-Up Talks (SUT) in the near future. As the USPS releases such information, members may access full details on https://www.nrlca.org/

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General Wage Increase Effective November 18, 2023

  • In accordance with Article 9.1.A.3, effective November 18, 2023 (PP 25-2023), the basic annual salary schedule (Tables One and Two) shall be increased by an amount equal to 1.3% of the appropriate February 27, 2021, salary schedule.

  • Further, in accordance with Article 9.1.H.3, effective November 18, 2023 (PP 25-2023), Rural Carrier Associates (RCAs) and Assistant Rural Carriers (ARCs) will receive a similar upward wage adjustment equal to 1.3% applied to the Tables Three and Four wage rates and a 1.0% wage adjustment for a total of 2.3% of the appropriate May 20, 2021, salary schedule.

  • These increases should be reflected in paychecks dated December 8, 2023.

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2024 social security COLA increase

Retirees, and those collecting Social Security:  The 2024 Social Security COLA has been set to increase 3.2% for CSRS, and 2.2% for FERS annuitants.  This is much lower than 2023's massive 8.7% & 7.7% increase which was a 40-year high for Social Security COLA.  Social Security announced this increase on October 12. Starting in January your monthly Social Security check will increase by these percentages (depending on CSRS or FERS) which will help to keep up with the rising prices. Gas and groceries tend to be the most noticeable increases. Inflation has calmed down some in the last 12 months which is why the COLA increase is lower for 2024.

Social Security benefits have been annually adjusted for inflation since 1975.  The two largest increases that have occurred were in 2022 (5.9% & 4.9%) and 2023 (8.7% & 7.7%) since the early 1980s.  The average increase for 2022 was $92 per month and $146 per month for 2023. This upcoming year's increase (2024) will increase monthly benefits an average of $59 per month for CSRS and $41 for FERS annuitants. 

 

When FERS was originally set up in 1986 and became effective in January of 1987, a provision was included should COLA be more than 3%, then FERS recipients would receive 1% less than full COLA if it is over the 3% threshold. FERS annuitants could receive, over a period of time, thousands of dollars less because of the 3% threshold, especially in we have a lot of high inflation years. Representative Gerald Connolly from Virginia is the sponsor of "H.R. 866 Equal Cola Act". This bill addresses that issue. Contact your Representatives to encourage them so support this bill.

Unfortunately, Medicare Part B monthly premiums are set  to increase also.  This COLA will be offset in part by the premium increase. (Medicare Part B covers outpatient services such as doctor visits.) Most Medicare enrollees have their premiums deducted directly from their Social Security payments, so if you do, you will not see the full amount of the adjustment in your check but it will be offsetting the Medicare Part B premium increase.

Medicare's Average 2024 Changes

PART A:  Usual Premium - $0 (No Change); Inpatient hospital deductible - $1632 (Up $32); Coinsurance for 61st to 90th day - $408 (Up $8)

PART B:  Basic Monthly Premium - $174.70 (Up $9.80); Income threshold for higher payments, individual tax return - $103,000 (Up $6,000); Income threshold for higher payments, joint tax return - $206,000 (Up $$12,000)

PART C:  Medicare Advantage, Average Premium - $18.50 (Up $.64)

PART D:  Average Premium - $55.50 (Down $.99)

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multifactor authentication on liteblue

 

The USPS has notified all employees that they need to set up Multifactor Authentication (MFA) on LiteBlue. You must have MFA set up to be able to bid on routes and access other functions on LiteBlue. Please do not delay any longer in setting up your MFA. Should you want to bid on an upcoming route that is posted, you will not be able to do so if you have not completed this task. You cannot get a new PIN number in time to bid if you wait until the last minute. Employees who have already set up MFA on LiteBlue can sign into their SSP using the same MFA. Please take a few minutes to get this set up now if you haven't done so!

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Federal Retirement Fairness Act (FRFA)

"H.R. 5995: the Federal Retirement Fairness Act (FRFA), often referred to as the "buy back" legislation, has been again introduced. This bill would amend Title 5, United States Code, and would provide relief carriers' part-time employment to be counted as creditable service under the Federal Employees' Retirement System.  If you served as a relief carrier after December 31, 1988, this act would provide you with the opportunity to buy back that time and credit it toward your retirement years. Please contact your Representative and ask him/her to support this bill. Members, you may obtain a form letter to send to your Congressman by visiting NRLCA.org.

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RCA VISION/DENTAL INSURANCE

RCAs if you are interested in vision and dental insurance, please visit  nrlca.benefithub.com.   Scroll down to and click on "Enroll or Check Rates" and you are able to check your rates before you apply.  Should you decide to apply for vision and dental insurance, you will need to register on that website first.  You will also need to know the approximate date you joined the NRLCA.  This insurance is underwritten by Greater Insurance Services. Their phone number is 800-747-4472.

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What happens if the NRLCA is decertified?

The NRLCA would no longer be able to represent rural letter carriers.

The National Agreement will be nullified: Every right and term or condition of employment currently guaranteed by the Agreement must be re-negotiated without any assurance that it will be reinstated. Some of the things at serious risk are:

     Current salary rates and guaranteed salary increases

     Twice per year COLA adjustments

     EMA rates

     Grievance and arbitration provisions

     Just cause protections for discipline and termination. (You will be an "At-Will" employee)

     No layoff provisions

     Seniority rights

     Scheduling rights

     Protections from subcontracting (CDS)

     Health insurance, life insurance and retirement benefits

     Work rules

You will lose your union stewards and representatives.

The Union has invested millions of dollars in an extensive and effective steward system. With decertification, your District Representatives, Assistant District Representatives, Area Stewards, and Local Stewards will be stripped of their legal authority to help resolve grievances and other workplace conflicts.

Management will have ALL the power.

The rights bargained for in collective bargaining with the Postal Service since 1970 will no longer be guaranteed, and without a collective bargaining agreement, Postal Management will have the unilateral right to set wages and working conditions.

 

There is no guarantee that you will be represented by another union.

Signing a decertification petition only guarantees an election as to whether the NRLCA will represent you. To replace the NRLCA, another union would have to agree to represent rural carriers, and a majority of rural carriers would have to vote (in a separate election) to establish the new union as the collective bargaining representative. 

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 RADAR Report Must Be Pulled and Posted Daily

Reminder:  Management must pull and post the RADAR Report daily. The requirement is daily, not just during the Mini Mail Survey but every day.  If management doesn’t pull and post the report, notify one of our ADRs or our DR.

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Mapping is the MOST important thing you can do to ensure you are properly compensated

 

Do you have growth on your route? Have you done your updates to your edit book? Are you making sure the managers are complying with the AMS Edit Book Maintenance SWI? (posted on the RRECS Training tab)  Are you requiring your managers to, in your presence, log into Delivery Point Manager (DPM), click “Download,” plot missing deliveries, view/clear issues, and submit? After allowing 10-15 minutes for DPM processing, is your supervisor/designee logging into Line of Travel Manager (LTM) in your presence, selecting “Partial Review,” verifying/plotting Traffic Control Points (TCPs), then submitting and certifying each month? Then once DPM and LTM are finalized, your supervisor/designee MUST initial the DPM and LTM portions of the AMS Edit Book Activity Log. Is that all happening?

 

Mapping is the most important thing you can do to ensure that you are being properly compensated.  If your route isn’t mapped correctly, the breadcrumbs will not record. There may be errors in the DPM and LTM, your coverage factor could be affected. Are all the active boxes showing active or are they inactive? You could be losing money by not making sure everything is up to date and correct. This is not the old system where carriers sometime only updated the edit book when they were close to an hour change or at an old count period. Make sure you are staying on top of this and following through. If the edit book, the DMP and LTM are not being updated and your manager will not update the systems, contact your District Representative or Assistant District Representative.                                                                     **********

Carriers Working Over the Evaluated Hours on Overburdened 48K Routes

 

If you are assigned to a 48K (57:00 to 57:36 hours), and your actual hours exceed 48 actual work hours, you may be entitled to auxiliary assistance. Temporary relief is covered in the EL-902-The USPS- NRLCA National Agreement, the M-38, and the F-21. USPS Operations is developing a plan to adjust overburdened routes, but in the meantime, you may be entitled to assistance. If you are exceeding the evaluation on an overburdened route and not receiving assistance, please contact your DR or ADR.

Article 9.2.C.8

8. Overburdened Routes

a. Definition A route is considered overburdened when:

(1) The standard hours for the route are outside of the Table of Evaluated Hours; or

(2) The regular rural carrier who is assigned to the route does not, or is not expected to,  

      meet the requirement to stay within the annual guarantee for the route.

 

b. Relief of Overburdened Routes Permanent relief will be arranged as soon as practicable for overburdened routes. Auxiliary assistance may be provided as a temporary means of providing relief for those routes as defined in 8.a.(1). Assistance is provided, equivalent to the lesser of the following:

(1) The regular rural carrier’s actual weekly work hours that are in excess of 48 hours (48K classification); or

(2) The standard hours for the route that are in excess of 57:36

 

F-21

576.3 Overburdened Route

An overburdened route is authorized temporary auxiliary assistance to provide relief.

 

M-38

830 TEMPORARY RELIEF (AUXILIARY ASSISTANCE)

831 AUTHORIZATION

On rural routes where the carrier frequently is making late deliveries, or failing to connect with dispatches, or is working excessive weekly hours, auxiliary assistance may be authorized temporarily until permanent relief can be provided. Exhibit 831.I is an example of a memorandum which may be used for authorizing auxiliary assistance and ordering the formulation of a plan for relief of overburdened routes. Note: Immediate relief by use of auxiliary assistance must be provided to a carrier when the evaluation or actual time (whichever is lower) exceeds 57:36. See Part 833.

 

832 DETERMINING TYPE OF ASSISTANCE.

Auxiliary casing and/ or route assistance may be granted the route. Preference should be given to office assistance.

 

833 DETERMINING NEED

When determining the need for auxiliary assistance for overburdened routes, both the actual and evaluated hours must be considered. The lesser of the two will be used to arrive at the amount of assistance to be authorized. Auxiliary assistance is provided for the difference between evaluated hours or actual hours (whichever is less) and 57:36.

 

Examples:

Route 1 is evaluated at 62:45 but the actual hours are 62:36. The difference between 62:36 and 57:36 is five hours: auxiliary assistance may be authorized for that amount.

 

Route 2 is evaluated at 62:19 but the actual hours are 64:47. In this instance, the evaluated hours must be used in the computation, and the auxiliary assistance to be authorized is five hours (62:19 - 57:36 is 4:43).

 

833.2 Where either the actual or evaluated hours are below 57:36 per week, no auxiliary assistance is afforded.

 

Note: No EMA is deducted when auxiliary assistance is given the regular carrier.

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Compensation for Additional Trips

 

On June 2, 2023, the USPS and NRLCA agreed to modify two pre-arbitration settlements, specifically case #C95R-4C-C 98023318, which involves compensation for rural carriers when required to perform an additional trip to the street due to mail that could not be accommodated on the first trip, either due to the volume of mail or the physical size of the parcels, or both; and case #Q95R-4Q-C 99245966, which involves compensation for rural carriers when required to make deliveries after returning from the standard street duties, such as delivering Priority Mail Express.

 

In both of these cases, the parties agreed that regular rural carriers and leave replacements (when a leave replacement is compensated based on the evaluation of a regular or auxiliary route served and when actual workhours do not exceed 40 hours per week) will be compensated at two minutes per mile for each mile involved in the additional trip(s) and for actual loading time at the carrier's straight time rate (Article 8.3.A.).

 

Effective May 6, with the implementation of the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System (RRECS), the appropriate compensation for additional trips will be three minutes per mile for each mile involved in the additional trip(s). Loading time for an additional trip(s) will no longer be compensated in accordance with these settlements. Any loading time associated with the additional trip(s) must be recorded using the appropriate STARTLOADVEH and ENDLOADVEH activity scans on the Mobile Delivery Device (MDD).

 

A rural carrier using his/her personal vehicle will continue to receive Equipment Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for each mile over 40 miles per day that the carrier is required to drive to complete the assigned route including the additional trip(s).

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NRLCA and USPS Sign MOU to Carryover

annual leave for Leave Year 2024

 

The NRLCA and USPS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing that for leave year 2024, regular work force career employees covered by the USPS-NRLCA Agreement may carry over 520 hours (65 days) of accumulated annual leave from leave year 2023 to leave year 2024.

In all other respects, the ELM provisions for payment of accumulated leave are not changed because of this Memorandum.  This MOU will expire December 31, 2024.

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