WELCOME TO THE TNRLCA
MEMBERS CHANGING their ADDRESS
Please 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.
MOU Signed on Rural Route
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.
NATIONAL CONVENTION RESERVATION
Reservations for our National Convention which is being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL, are now being accepted at our overflow hotel, Rosen Centre Hotel (www.rosencentre.com)
You may contact the hotel directly at 1-800-204-7234 to book a room at the same $149 group rate with a discounted self-parking rate of $12.50. There is no transportation provided between the two properties. However, the hotel is about 2.2 miles or approximately 5 minutes by car, or a 15-minute walk from Rosen Shingle Creek. Note: This is the closest hotel to Rosen Shingle Creek. Please make your reservations today if you haven’t already.
The National Convention dates are September 6 - 9, 2022. Should you need the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel phone number, it is 407-996-9939
IMPORTANT NOTICE ON RURAL CARRIER SAFETY
The following is a statement of NRLCA’s position on three very important issues:
The safety of rural carriers and the public.
Requiring or allowing regular carriers to work on other routes and/or on Sundays.
Requiring Leave Replacements to work more than 12 hours in one day.
We want to reach every rural carrier as soon as possible. Therefore, we are asking that you print a copy of the attached statement and post it on the Rural Carrier bulletin board at the office(s) where you work. Please share the notice with rural carriers in other offices and ask them to post also. All NSS Stewards will be working to ensure this notice gets posted in all rural offices.
Updated Salary Schedules
Effective July 16, 2022
The USPS has brought all salary schedules up to date for salary as required under the 2021-2024 National Agreement. These schedules will be effective 7/16/2022 and will be reflected in the paycheck dated August 5, 2022. Back pay will be paid at a later date yet to be determined.
Rural Route Adjustments and Overburdened Routes
On July 29 the USPS informed the NRLCA they have mapped over 97% of all rural routes in the new RRECS system. As the USPS is working to implement RRECS with a mini mail survey in September, they are now at a point where work is needed to be paused on rural route adjustments and overburdened routes. Every time the USPS adjusts a route, it will have to be sent to AMS to be adjusted and then remapped in RRECS. The USPS has stated they are so close to implementation, they will be stopping any adjustments so nothing interferes with the system.
If an adjustment has already been completed and submitted with a firm date, they will allow those routes to go through. The USPS is also working on the routes impacted by Flat Sequencing System (FSS) discontinuance and Sorting and Delivery Center (S&DC) establishment. Adjustment to those impacted routes will go through as well. No other routes are authorized to be changed or adjusted.
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.
EMA Rate to Increase 6.5 Cents/Mile Effective July 2, 2022
(Pay Period 15-2022)
On June 10, 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the May 2022 Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) which established the Private Transportation Index at 277.077, an increase from the February 2022 Index of 257.803. Therefore, based on the May 2022 CPI-W release, the Equipment Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for rural carriers will increase 6.5¢ to 97.0¢ per mile.
This EMA rate will be effective July 2, 2022 (Pay Period 15-2022).
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
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.
• 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.
USPS Self-Service Profile (SSP) Passwords Need to Be
Reset as of April 24, 2022
The Postal Service is revising the information security policies related to the employees' password criteria for their Self-Service Profile (SSP). The self-service password created in SSP is used to access a range of resources, including LiteBlue, Postal Ease, ePayroll, eRetire, eOPF, eReassign, ldeaSmart (external), and HERO (external). Visit https://ssp.usps.gov to reset your password.
Strong and unique passwords act as the first line of defense against potential cyberthreats. To better secure personal information, all employees will be required to reset their SSP password to meet the new password requirements. This change will take effect on April 24, 2022. After the April 24, 2022, effective date, all employees will be required to reset their SSP password using the new password requirements. Once reset, the new password will be immediately available to access applications.
The new password requirements are as follows:
• SSP passwords must be 15 characters in length.
• The last 5 passwords cannot be re-used.
• The password cannot contain the employee's first name, last name or Employee Identification Number (EIN).
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:
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.”
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.
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.
USPS has not yet provided the Union with the final business logic used to calculate route times and evaluations.
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.
rrecs data collection delayed
NRLCA President Ronnie Stutts signed an MOU with the USPS establishing the final timeline for implementation of the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System. (Go to NRLCA.org to see the document.) The MOU establishes that data collection for the new RRECS Activity Scans, introduced on February 26, 2022, will be delayed for an additional time period. The overwhelming reason for this delay is the lack of training provided to rural carriers by local managers. The National Board is working diligently with USPS Headquarters to ensure every rural carrier receives proper education in these crucial job duties. If you have not been trained at all, or feel you were inadequately trained on the use of the new RRECS Activity Scans/Entries by management, please contact our DR, Von Dykstra, as soon as possible. NRLCA.org will continue to provide information and documentation as it is made available.
All regular rural carriers will continue to be compensated for the new RRECS entries via the 8127 block on the timecard for all time under 60 minutes per pay period or Form 8127 submitted for time that exceeds 60 minutes. (There is a difference between the Form 8127 and the 8127 block. Make sure you manager/supervisor is paying you correctly. You do not have to be paid one hour every two weeks.) Leave replacements will be compensated using Form 1314. This compensation started on February 26, 2022 and will continue through April 22, 2022. There is no need for the carriers to track these new entries on the 4240. The RRECS Entries are being tracked electronically and local management is being provided with the quantity of entries each week. Compensation for this period is based on 5 seconds per entry.
From April 23, 2022, to May 6, 2022, the number of average weekly RRECS entries will be determined electronically and a base-hour change will be applied to every route effective April 23, 2022. The base hour change will be calculated using the average entries multiplied by 5 seconds each. These base hour changes may or may not affect the evaluation and or classification of the route, depending on where the Standard Hours of the route fall in the Table of Evaluated Hours in Article 9.2.c.6.a. on page 30 of the current contract.
Along with the delay in data collection, the parties have also agreed to use only two interim evaluation periods in the first year of RRECS implementation, as opposed to four periods as originally discussed. This decision was based on carrier input and comments and the desire to limit disruptions and changes in compensation.
The first evaluation will be calculated utilizing volume data collected in the immediately preceding 52-week period (Sept 24, 2021, through September 23, 2022), RRECS activity scan data averaged over the 22-week period from April 23 through September 23, 2022, and mini mail survey data collected for 2 weeks beginning on September 10 and ending September 23, 2022. These evaluations will be effective October 8, 2022, coinciding with the guarantee period.
The second evaluation will be calculated utilizing the preceding 52 weeks of both volume data and RRECS activity scan data (April 23, 2022, through April 21, 2023), along with mini mail survey data collected for 2 weeks beginning on April 8 and ending April 21, 2023. These evaluations will be effective May 6, 2023.
Following the initial year of implementation, all rural routes will be evaluated utilizing the preceding fifty-two (52) weeks of volume and activity scan data, along with the mini mail survey data. The mini mail survey will be conducted for 2 weeks during the first full pay period of March and September, respectively, beginning with September 2023. The last day of the mini mail survey will also be the last day of the 52-week period for all other data collection. All route evaluations will be effective at the beginning of the second full pay period following the completion of the data collection period.
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.
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.
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.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: RRECS Activity Entries/Scans on MDD Device
The NRLCA National Board has received information indicating that a large percentage of rural carriers are not consistently performing the new RRECS Activity Scans/Entries on the MDD device. These new entries became a part of rural carrier job duties on February 26, 2022. Every rural carrier should have received training on these new MDD entries from their supervisor or manager on or about that date. Every rural carrier should be using these new entries on a daily basis. These entries are not only an official job duty, they are crucial to the success of the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System and will definitely affect future route evaluations under that system. In other words, your pay check will not reflect this additional time and will be significantly less than it could be.
If you have not received training or feel you have not received adequate training on the proper use of these MDD entries, please contact our District Representative, Von Dykstra, immediately. It is the responsibility of management to ensure every rural carrier is properly trained and is properly performing these RRECS entries every day.
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.
POSTAL REFORM H.R. 3076 Passes
On Tuesday, March 8, the Senate passed postal reform legislation by a bipartisan vote of 79-19. It now goes to the President for signature into law.
The first overhaul of the Postal Service in more than a decade, this crucial postal reform legislation provides the Postal Service with substantial financial relief to help it remain viable well in the 21st century.
H.R. 3076 includes many provisions the NRLCA has advocated for over the past several years. First, the legislation repeals the mandate that requires the Postal Service to prefund its retirees’ health benefits decades in advance. No other agency or corporation is required to prefund future retirement benefits, let alone to fully prefund in just ten years. The bill also safeguards the provision in the law to provide six-day mail delivery for every American. Delivering mail six and seven days a week remains a critical competitive advantage for the Postal Service, especially in rural areas where rural letter carriers deliver the “last mile”. Finally, the Postal Service Reform Act adopts private sector best practices by maximizing the integration of postal employees and retirees into Medicare. This legislation allows the Postal Service and its employees to fully utilize the benefits that Medicare provides.
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.
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.
You must be retired with Medicare Parts A & B.
This enhanced plan is optional, 100% voluntary for RCBP retirees.
You will remain, and always be an RCBP member by opting-in and joining this plan.
No change in premium—you pay the retiree share of RCBP premium.
You can opt-out at any time and still have the great coverage of RCBP with Medicare Parts A&B.
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.
NRLCA AND USPS SIGN AGREEMENT ON EFFORTS TO HIRE RCAS
At the direction of the National Board, the NSS Stewards have filed over 1200 Class-Action grievances since September 10, 2021. The grievances demanded that all RCA vacancies be immediately posted and reposted weekly until filled.
The following is an excerpt from that MOU:
"This letter will serve to confirm our mutual understanding of the appropriate measures to be taken to fulfill the contractual obligation outlined in Article 30.2.A.2., “The Employer shall make every effort to expeditiously fill leave replacement vacancies when they occur.”
In order to meet this obligation, the parties agree that any office with rural carrier associate (RCA) vacancies, not currently working with an active hiring list to appoint individuals to these positions, must immediately post these vacancies through eCareer. Should these postings not result in any RCA appointments, the positions must be reposted in eCareer as soon as the office learns that the positions have not been filled.
Further, any office with RCA vacancies must have an active hiring list in process or postings in eCareer for RCA positions."
Simply put, an office that has any leave replacement vacancies must immediately post those RCA positions on eCareer. If the office is in the process of hiring from an active hiring list, they need not post again until that list is exhausted. However, if vacancies remain, those positions must be immediately re-posted. If an office has vacancies, they must either be working on an active hiring list or have positions posted on eCareer, period.
Members may go to the NRLCA.ORG website to read the entire MOU.
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.
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!!
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.
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:
HAVE YOU ENCOURAGED A NON-MEMBER TO BECOME A MEMBER TODAY?