WELCOME TO THE TNRLCA

MEMBERS CHANGING their ADDRESS

 

Please be sure to give the Secretary/Treasurer your new address when you move.  The Union does not necessarily know you have a new address just because you gave it to the USPS.  Please text 865-740-3162 with your new information.

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2022 Christmas Pay Procedures

for Rural Carriers

 

The 2022 Christmas period for rural carriers begins Saturday, December 3, 2022 (Week 1, Pay Period 26-2022), and ends Friday, December 23, 2022 (Week 1, Pay Period 01-2023). During this period, Article 9.2.K., Christmas Allowances and Procedures, of the 2021–2024 USPS/National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA) Agreement will apply. This document contains the explanations and instructions for rural carrier time-keeping and compensation during the Christmas period.

Please read and become familiar with the contractual provisions of Article 9.2.K. and the information contained in this document. If you have any questions, please contact your assigned steward.

 

Members, please go to NRLCA.org to view the "2022 Christmas Pay Procedures for Rural Carriers" document. 

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Settlement for Delayed RCA Leave

 

Article 10.5 of the 2021-2024 agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association provides that RCAs shall earn annual leave based on the number of hours worked.; one hour for every (20) hours of work in a pay period, up to a total of (4) hours maximum.

The new provision also states that the RCA leave should begin no later than (6) months from the effective date of the agreement (on or about September 23).

Due to programming issues, annual leave accrual for RCA’s will now begin effective pay period 22.

Because the U.S.P.S. missed the date by two pay periods, as to provide remediation to RCAs for the two pay periods, the parties agree to the following:

All RCA’s (Designation 78-0) will receive four (4) hours of compensation at $20.00/hour for pay periods 21 and 22, respectively, regardless of actual hours worked, provided they are in a pay status for each of these pay periods. This payment will be in the form of a lump sum adjustment and will be processed as soon as practicable. The lump sum payment will be in lieu of any retroactive annual leave accrual.

The agreement is not applicable to RCAs in designation 74-0 or 79-0 assignments during pay periods 21 and 22.

Members please go to nrlca.org to read the MOU.

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new 2023 FEHB, FEDVIP premiums

The Office of Personnel Management released the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) premium rates for 2023. Federal employees and retirees will see an average increase of 7.2% in their portion of premiums. This is the highest increase since 2011.

The average increase for federal employees and retirees for the Federal Employees Dental Insurance was 0.21%, and a decrease of 0.41% for vision plans.

Open season will run from Monday, November 14 through Monday, December 12. Check out the Rural Carrier Benefits Plan (Aetna Insurance). The savings are phenomenal and the coverage is basically the same. However, you must be a member of our union to get this insurance. I have a limited number of brochures on the RCBP. If you would like some information, call, text or email the state secretary/treasurer and I will send you what I have available. Also, if you are not a member and would like to try this insurance plan and save lots of your hard earned money, contact me for a form 1187 to join our association. The annual savings are often more than the annual dues.  What are you waiting on?

Additionally, if you already have the RCBP, the 2023 premium for self + Family (382) is less expensive then the self+1 plan (383). You might want to switch yourself to self + Family. It is a savings of $9.91 per pay period for a total of $257.66 per year.

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fall picnic DESSERT contest results

1st Place Winner:  Alex Leftwich (Recipe under What's Cookin')

2nd Place Winner:  Danny Stack

CONGRATULTIONS TO THE WINNERS AND

THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT EATS!

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Update on Retro Pay Adjustment

 

As we know, the Postal Service (USPS) and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA) ratified and signed a new collective bargaining agreement on March 23, 2022, approximately 6 months ago. The new ratified agreement covers the period May 21, 2021 through May 20, 2024, and provides much-deserved general wage increases and cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments for rural letter carriers, including retroactive general wage increases dating back to August 2021 and COLA adjustments for July 2021 and January 2022.

The NRLCA was advised by USPS officials that due to antiquated USPS software issues, the retro payments due and owing to rural carriers would not be made until May of 2023.

Upon learning this new information, our officers called Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and he was able to move up the retro pay date to January 31, 2023. While the efforts of the PMG are appreciated, a 10-month delay demonstrates a total lack of respect for rural carriers and is outrageous and completely unacceptable. Our officers filed a national-level grievance in August and if a suitable remedy is not agreed to by the parties, they will immediately move the issue to National Arbitration.

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Election Results: 2022-2023

NRLCA National Board

 

Listed below are the newly-elected National Board for the 2022-2023 Association year:

  • President: Ronnie W. Stutts

  • Vice President: Donald L. Maston

  • Secretary-Treasurer: Thomas K. Turner

  • Director of Labor Relations: Bridget Boseak

  • Director of Steward Operations: Shirley Baffa

  • Executive Committeeman, 4-year term: John Adams

  • Executive Committeeman, 3-year unexpired term: Jeanette Dwyer

  • Executive Committeeman, 2-year unexpired term: Patrick Pitts

  • Executive Committeeman: 1-year unexpired term: Nicky Phillips

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EMA Rate to Decrease 1 Cent/Mile Effective October 8, 2022

(Pay Period 22-2022)

 

On September 13, 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August 2022 Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which established the Private Transportation Index at 273.737, a decrease from the May 2022 Index of 277.077. Therefore, based on the August 2022 CPI-W release, the Equipment Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for rural carriers will decrease 1¢ to 96.0¢ per mile, or a minimum of $38.40 per day, whichever is greater. This EMA rate will be effective October 8, 2022 (Pay Period 22-2022).

The next index will be calculated in three months and will reflect the current market price of gas. Remember, EMA is not just gasoline. The following is a breakdown of what is included in our EMA:

          45% - New & Used Motor Vehicles

          24% - Motor Fuel

            3% - Motor Vehicle Parts & Equipment

            8% - Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair

          17% - Motor Vehicle Insurance

            3% - Motor Vehicle Fees 

        100% - TOTAL INCLUDED IN EMA 

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RRECS Implementation Postponed

 

The NRLCA and the Postal Service agreed to postpone the implementation of the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System. The Mini Mail Survey scheduled to begin September 10, 2022 has been cancelled.

The reason for the postponement is simple. The Postal Service has failed to provide this Union with the data necessary to validate the RRECS system’s data collection and route evaluation calculations. This validation was mandated to be accomplished to the satisfaction of both parties by the Engineering Panel, before RRECS is implemented.

Despite the Union’s filing of a Step 4 grievance on May 31, 2022 insisting that the Panel’s Final Determination be followed and data be provided for validation, as of today, the Union has still not been provided key data points, such as pre-sorted flats.

We understand that the reaction to this postponement will certainly be mixed. However, your NRLCA National Board was faced with no choice but to delay implementation and possible negative changes to the paychecks of thousands of rural carriers based on hidden data sources and untested processes.

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MOU Allowing Regular Rural Carriers to Volunteer to Work on Sundays

or Provide Assistance on other

Rural Routes Extended

 

Several months ago, when the MOU providing regular carriers the opportunity to volunteer to work other routes and to deliver packages on Sunday expired, the Postal Service refused to extend the MOU.

The Postal Service’s decision not to extend the MOU has had real consequences. We have predictably seen an increase in RCAs working over 12 hours in one day and regular carriers being required to work other routes and deliver packages on Sundays. Most of you are aware that the NRLCA has filed unfair labor practice charges on both issues. At the same time, the NRLCA has heard from carriers across the country requesting that they try to convince the Postal Service to extend the MOU. After much discussion, the National Board has agreed to revisit the MOU with the Postal Service and it has been extended.

In doing so, the NRLCA board believes this will help to shut down the Postal Service’s improper practice of forcing regular carriers to work other routes and deliver packages on Sundays and provide some much needed relief to the many overworked RCAs. We continue to have a crisis in Postal Service hiring and retention.

The MOU was sent to USPS Labor Relations and HQ Delivery and Field Performance with the following instructions:

The Postal Service and the NRLCA have signed a MOU regarding two temporary modifications to the USPS-NRLCA National Agreement. Beginning Sunday, August 7, 2022, and continuing through February 24, 2023, regular rural carriers may volunteer to work on Sunday to deliver packages and may also volunteer to provide service on rural routes other than their assigned routes in the office.  Regular rural carriers will be compensated at the overtime rate for hours worked on Sunday and for hours performing service on routes other than their assigned routes.

Regular rural carriers will not be required to work on Sunday or serve all or part of any other rural route.  Regular rural carriers volunteer to perform these additional services.

Prior to working volunteer regular rural carriers on Sundays or on other rural routes, management must comply with the scheduling provisions of the National Agreement.

Members may visit NRLCA.org to read the MOU.

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MOU Signed on Rural Route

Territorial Adjustments

 

On August 1, 2022, the USPS and NRLCA signed an MOU on Rural Route Territorial Adjustments.

The parties recognize that there is potential impact to rural route evaluations resulting from the implementation of the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System (RRECS). To limit this impact and ensure that routes are evaluated accurately during the first year of RRECS implementation, the parties agree to temporarily modify the following contractual provision:


Article 9.2.C.6 – Identifies 47K and 48K rural routes as interim classifications pending route adjustments. Unless it is operationally necessary or the assigned regular rural carrier requests an adjustment, routes classified as 47K and 48K will maintain the interim classification.

The above modification will begin August 13, 2022, and will continue in effect until October 7, 2023; unless either party provides written notification to withdraw from the terms of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

All route adjustments will be made in accordance with the standard route adjustment policy. New deliveries will be appropriately added to all rural routes and routes may be adjusted accordingly should it be deemed operationally necessary. This agreement does not preclude management from completing route adjustments for seasonal routes, to ensure regular carrier workhours do not exceed the annual guarantee, or when necessary for consolidation of one or more rural routes.

Additionally, any dispute regarding the operational necessity for route adjustments will not be subject to the grievance-arbitration procedure. Concerns related to this MOU should be directed to the parties at the national level for resolution.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE ON

RURAL CARRIER SAFETY

 

The following is a statement of NRLCA’s position on three very important issues:

 

  1. The safety of rural carriers and the public.

  2. Requiring or allowing regular carriers to work on other routes and/or on Sundays.

  3. Requiring Leave Replacements to work more than 12 hours in one day.

 

We want to reach every rural carrier as soon as possible. Please share this information with rural carriers in other offices and ask them to post also.  

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RRECS Activity Scans: Update/Clarification on 2nd Trips/Loading Scans

 

Effective immediately, when carriers are performing 2nd  trips, they must also utilize the Hotkey 6 STARTLOADVEH and Hotkey 7 ENDLOADVEH to capture the load time associated with the 2nd  trip.  This will ensure proper compensation when RRECS is implemented.  In addition, 2nd trips are to continue to be compensated per Handbook F-21 563 and documented on the PS Form 4240. Members, please go to NRLCA.org for more details on the correct process.

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new mutual fund window (MFW) for thrift savings plan (TSP) participants

On June 1, 2022, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board launched a Mutual Fund Window (MFW) for Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants.

Highlights:

• The use of the MFW is entirely voluntary. TSP participants will remain invested in the same five core funds and the 10 target date funds that the TSP currently offers unless they choose to invest in a mutual fund through the MFW.

• The MFW offers roughly 5,000 mutual funds in roughly 300 mutual fund families, including those offered by Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and Vanguard. For funds with multiple classes, the lowest expense ratio class is offered.

• To exercise this option, participants must log into their TSP account and then open a MFW account before they can transfer money from their TSP account through the MFW and select the mutual fund(s) in which they choose to invest.
• All the mutual funds on the platform comply with all applicable U.S. laws and regulations, including those promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The mutual funds on the TSP MFW platform will follow the same rules applicable to any other mutual fund offered in any other public or private retirement plan in the United States.

• The mutual funds available on the MFW platform have not been reviewed by TSP fiduciaries to determine whether they are wise investments for any individual TSP participant. This means that participants must carefully review the prospectus for each mutual fund and decide which ones will meet their investment goals, as they would if choosing a mutual fund outside the MFW.

• TSP participants who choose to avail themselves of the MFW will be able to use a Morningstar developed search tool to find mutual funds that meet their specific investment interests. They will be able, and in fact encouraged, to review any mutual fund’s prospectus before investing to have a thorough understanding of the fund’s goals and investments.

• In accordance with the statutory requirement that TSP participants using the MFW bear the cost of the MFW, all TSP participants electing to invest in the MFW would incur additional fees: an administrative fee of $55 annually; an annual maintenance fee of $95; a per trade fee of $28.75; and any fees and expenses imposed by the specific mutual fund(s) in which they invest.

• To be eligible to invest in the MFW, a participant’s minimum initial transfer must be $10,000 and the investments through the window can equal no more than 25% of the participant’s TSP account value.

• The funds that a federal employee or member of the uniform services uses to invest in the TSP or the MFW are personal property, not federal funds. Once a Federal employee or member of the uniformed services deposits their paycheck in the bank, it is theirs and not subject to Federal control. Money from TSP participants’ paychecks invested in the TSP is exactly the same; it is their personal property and they have property rights under the law.

• Any Federal employee or member of the uniformed services can, and has always been able to, invest in any mutual fund outside of their TSP account through any mutual fund provider.

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NRLCA REQUESTS POSTPONEMENT

OF RRECS DATA COLLECTION

 

The NRLCA has officially requested that the Postal Service temporarily postpone the data collection period for the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System (RRECS).  Collection of data began on April 23, 2022; however, the NRLCA has identified many critical issues that must be resolved before the system can go “live.” We have apprised the Postal Service of these issues, but many of them remain unresolved.  For example:

  1. USPS has not adequately trained all rural carriers in the new RRECS Activity Scans. Many carriers received NO training, and some “training” has consisted only of being handed a “cheat sheet.”

  2. Management has failed to ensure that every rural carrier understands the importance of the RRECS Activity Scans and to ensure that each carrier completes the scans daily. Only 65-70% of rural carriers complete even the basic 6 required RRECS entries on any given day.This is much lower than it needs to be for the system to record the necessary data.

  3. USPS has not yet provided the Union with the basic data elements required to ensure transparency or to enable the Union to validate the data.

  4. USPS has not yet provided the Union with the final business logic used to calculate route times and evaluations.

  5. USPS has not yet provided answers and clarifications to the Union on several issues with the mapping program and the data collection process.
     

The NRLCA believes that the RRECS system can only work if data collection is done with the appropriate training, transparency, and safeguards to ensure accuracy. Therefore, the Union will not accept any data collected by USPS until the issues that we have raised with the Postal Service – including those listed above – are resolved to our satisfaction.

We do, however, remain steadfast that all rural carriers should be completing the RRECS Activity Scans EVERY DAY as instructed.  The scans/entries are now a core job function and carriers will continue to be compensated using supplemental pay (8127) until the new scans are built into the route evaluations with a base hour change.

Stay tuned to the NRLCA website for further updates on RRECS data collection.

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Comprehensive Guide to the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System (RRECS) UPDATED APRIL 1, 2022

The Comprehensive Guide to the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System (RRECS) has been updated. Please log-in to NRLCA.org to see the newest updates.

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2021-2024 National Agreement Signed

 

On March 23, 2022, NRLCA President Ronnie Stutts and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy signed the ratified 2021-2024 National Agreement. All terms of the new agreement are now effective. 

 

The entire text of the National Agreement will be published as soon as possible in the National Rural Letter Carrier magazine.

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NRLCA and USPS Sign MOU

Concerning Annual Leave

Carryover for Leave Year 2023

 

The NRLCA and USPS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing that for leave year 2023, regular work force career employees covered by the USPS-NRLCA Agreement may carry over 520 hours of accumulated annual leave from leave year 2022 to leave year 2023. That is equivalent to 13 weeks or 65 days of annual leave carryover.

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, 2023. Please go to NRLCA.org to see the actual document.

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RRECS information available

* A comprehensive guide to the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System (RRECS) for members. The 99-page guide includes an overview and history of RRECS, a mapping overview, an explanation of the drive speed matrix, a comparison of the new RRECS standards to the 4241-M worksheet, a comparison of the Evaluated Compensation System (ECS) to RRECS, a guide to determining rural route evaluations under RRECS. 

 

* A user-friendly Q and A concerning RRECS that is now updated with over 200 questions from carriers and answers to those concerns by the National Board.

* A 33-page guide to MDD Activity Scans/Entries

Members may go to the NRLCA.ORG website to obtain this information.

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K-95 Masks Available

for USPS Employees

 

The USPS has approximately 14 million K-95 masks on hand. Local postal management can order these through the supply chain out of Topeka, Kansas. If you would like a K-95 mask to wear at work, you may request it from your immediate supervisor. Remember, employees and contractors who do not deal directly with the public are required to wear face coverings if they cannot achieve or maintain social distancing in the workplace, regardless of the employee’s or contractor’s vaccination status.

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New Medicare Advantage for RCBP

 

For 2022, RCBP is offering an incredible enhancement for retirees with Medicare Parts A & B, the option to opt-in to Aetna Medicare Advantage! While this new option may create questions, this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document is meant to assist our RCBP retirees in making a decision that is best for them and their family.

Here are few key points to keep in mind regarding Aetna Medicare Advantage for RCBP.

  1. You must be retired with Medicare Parts A & B.

  2. This enhanced plan is optional, 100% voluntary for RCBP retirees.

  3. You will remain, and always be an RCBP member by opting-in and joining this plan.

  4. No change in premium—you pay the retiree share of RCBP premium.

  5. You can opt-out at any time and still have the great coverage of RCBP with Medicare Parts A&B.

  6. Part B premium reduction!

 

What are some of the plan highlights?

  • $900 Medicare Part B premium reduction per year for each eligible member

  • Added programs such as SilverSneakers®, Healthy Home Visits, nonemergency transportation for medical appointments, meals after a hospital stay and more, at no extra cost

  • Unlimited chiropractor visits

  • Unlimited physical, occupational and speech therapy visits

  • Low prescription copays—as low as $0 from preferred pharmacies and $2 from standard pharmacies

  • Nationwide doctors (use any doctor who is eligible to receive Medicare payment)

 

Please visit NRLCA.ORG for more information.

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MAIL DELIVERY after 8:00 p.m.

Postal Service Headquarters Leadership has committed to the NRLCA that rural carriers should not be out on the street later than 8:00 PM.  Your National Board believes that delivering mail and packages past this time creates a very unsafe situation and is committed to stopping this practice whenever possible.  We ask that any rural carrier who is required to deliver mail after 8:00 PM immediately notify your District Representative so that we may bring this to the attention of higher level USPS Officials as soon as possible.  Please assist us by reporting infractions as requested.

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raft incentivE PROGRAM 

As an incentive for recruiters and new members, the 2021 RAFT Program offers the following benefits:
1. Individual recruiters will receive the following monetary amount paid by the National Office of $15.00 for each RCA or ARC recruited and $50.00 for each Regular or PTF recruited. The recruited individual must sign an "1187 Dues Withholding Authorization Form" and stay on the USPS employment roles for a period of three months after the State Secretary or National Office processes the 1187 Form. The recruiter should legibly list on the upper right hand corner of the new member's 1187 Form the following to quailify for the incentive payment: their full name, EIN or CSA number, and their address.  Please submit all 1187 forms to the State Secretary/Treasurer immediately after receiving them from the recruited individuals. Please do not hold them.
2. The newly recruited member will receive three free months of membership before his/her Form 1187 is sent to the USPS for processing and the deduction of pay period organizational dues.  
3.  No incentives will be paid to the State Association.
LETS GET RECRUITING!!
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Buyback Legislation Introduced

 

Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) introduce partisan legislation to allow rural letter carriers the ability to buy back their time spent as an RCA. The legislation, H.R. 4268, is once again named the Federal Retirement Fairness Act. Visit the NRLCA.org website to follow this story.

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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 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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