Package Calendar: Response from NRLCA Leadership

C$$

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Hello Everybody!

Yesterday I received a certified letter from NRLCA leadership. If you missed season 1, here's a quick recap:

1) Carrier's submitted pictures of their route/ride/PO flooded with packages.
2) The pictures were compiled into calendars.
3) I sent the calendars, along with a letter and my contact info, to the NRLCA officers and the PMG.
4) I'm all out of calendars, but if any stragglers want one, I'll happily acquire more and distribute :)

If you want to read the full saga, see this thread

So below are pictures of
1) The letter I sent.
2) The response from NRLCA to my questions.

*Please Note* I cut the pleasantries from the NRLCA letter. Rest assured they were most amicable, but I figure mostly you care about the information...

My Letter
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Response (3)
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And don't worry, I haven't forgotten all of you beautiful lurkers out there, w/o accounts, who can't view images. Below is a recap with

Topic underlined
My Questions in bold
The Union Response indented
My thoughts/reply in blue

1) RRECS

1) When Will RRECS be implemented?
a) RRECS will be implemented as soon as all of the routes can be mapped to our satisfaction and the data collection is validated. As we have explained on the NRLCA website, pilot testing is being conducted on mapping of the routes and establishing electronic lines of travel right now. These efforts have been delayed several months due to the safety issues brought on by the pandemic and social distancing measures.
So full steam ahead on RRECS. at least publicly... It seems the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

2) When Will PO start collecting the year of data necessary to implement RRECS?
b) As Posted on NRLCA 20 Feb 2020, data is being collected right now and will continue from this point forward. Any evaluations established under RRECS will be based on the immediate previous 52 weeks of data collected.

I don't remember seeing this posted to their site. Or at least, I don't remember getting this take away...
I checked the site, it was posted on 10 Feb 2020. here is the link:
https://www.nrlca.org/News/1064
It doesn't specifically mention the 52 weeks of data collection, so a slight misunderstanding/miscommunication
.

3) What happened to the end-to-end test of the study routes?

c) The NRLCA member of the engineering panel that developed RRECS has analyzed the data from the end-to-end test and we are currently discussing a few discrepancies in data collection with USPS. It would be irresponsible to our members to go forward without correcting this discrepancies.​

...Like what kind of discrepancies?

4) The engineering final report was submitted over 2 years ago. why isn't it public?
d) The final report is 87 pages of technical data, some of which may be proprietary to USPS. The NRLCA cannot release it publicly w/o USPS agreement, which we do not have.​

So... ask them to release it. If there is proprietary data/techniques, redact them. This isn't about trust but transparency. Completely revamping our pay based on a proprietary "shadow" document is not cool.

2) NRLCA Communications

1) Since area conferences and national convention are cancelled, why doesn't leadership record their presentations and release over the inernet?
a) The Board is considering the use of video presentations on the NRLCA website. No final decision has yet been made.​
2) Could leadership do Q&A on the NRLCA social media accounts?
b) The Board has also discussed the possibility of providing a Q and A section. No decision has yet been made.​

Personally I think these would be important steps. If you feel likewise, now seems the perfect time to make your opinion heard...

3) A cohesive plan for current parcel levels

1) What happens if package deluge continues into Christmas? Even into 2021?!?!
a. The Step 4 Grievance we filed on June 18 seeks compensation for all hours worked over evaluation from the beginning of the pandemic until the next time routes are evaluated. This remedy would provide relief until new evaluations can include increased parcel load.​

Working way over evaluation is just not an option for some carriers. They have other life commitments. And these carriers hurry up; some cut corners. Most of us have seen this, right?

2) How can we assist rural carriers who were counted without Amazon?
b. Assisting carriers who were counted prior to the implementation of Amazon parcels is certainly a consideration. The Step 4 will provide compensation to those carriers for hours worked over evaluation. We must also consider the large number of carriers with routes that were counted when they were receiving Amazon parcels and subsequently amazon has taken over delivery of their own parcels in those zip codes. any actions we take will affect all rural routes, not just those with increases in volume.​

Frankly:
counted with Amazon then Amazon disappears
And
counted without Amazon then Amazon appears
are both violations of a "fair day's wage for a fair day's work" and should be addressed. Probably not a popular opinion with those now missing Amazon...


3) Rural carriers are being exploited...
c. I assure you [sic] we are looking at the numbers. Since the pandemic, national parcel volumes have been up anywhere from 60-80% versus the same period last year. During that same time, the number of regular carriers working over evaluation in a single pay-period peaked in PP11 at 22%. That 22% of regular carriers worked an average of 4 hours per week over their evaluation. The other 78% were under evaluation. The total average hours worked for all routes in that pay period was 4.4 hours per week under evaluation. Other pay periods since March show a very similar pattern with the number of carriers working over evaluation averaging 13% and the total average hours worked averaging 6.7 under evaluation for all regular routes. I understand the feeling that you are being exploited. However it would be very hard to make an argument before an arbitrator that a work force of 78,000 employees who work, on-average, 4 to 6 fewer hours than they are paid weekly is being exploited. That is why we filed a grievance in which we do believe we will be successful. The goal being to get those carriers who are exceeding their paid evaluated work hours compensated at the overtime rate for those hours for as long as it continues without new evaluations.​

Well there you have it. Running and cutting corners is not a victimless crime. OK, that's it, I'm off the soap box, I promise.

4) How do we fix this?
1. We need to make sure work hours data is accurate. The data above is based on information entered in the payroll system and transferred from our 4240s. The hours reflect all work hours reported on the regular route for the pay period, including regular carrier hours, relief carrier hours, and auxiliary assistance that is assigned specifically to the route. You, and all rural carriers, can help by making sure to record all work hours properly and insisting you be allowed to verify the data entered into the system at the end of the pay period. We have encouraged carriers for years to do this.​

Has the OIG or anyone done a study about off the clock hours? I'm curious if this has ever been measured.
How should RMPOs verify work hour data? Is travelling to the APO and verifying a compensated task?

2. Although, the number of carriers regularly working over evaluation is a minority, we know there is a large percentage of carriers who are not exceeding their paid evaluated hours on a weekly basis, but are working closer to their evaluated hours than ever before. In order to protect this group of carriers, we included them in the Step 4 filing by demanding that the normal procedures for enforcing the 2080 and 2240 work hour limits for the guarantee period, (which could include removing high option, skipping the carrier on the RDWL, or adjusting the route) be suspended when the additional work hours are due to the increase in parcels. As mentioned when we posted the Step 4 filing, this issue is specific to the route, so regular carriers should file individual grievances when management seeks to enforce 2080 or 2240 and the carrier feels that the only reason they might exceed thresholds is due to the increase in parcels.​



That's all I have for you right now. Holler if you see any typos, that was a fair chunk of typing.

Have a great evening, and thanks to everyone who contributed to the calendar!
C$$
 
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blamethesub

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Thanks for sharing, C$$. That section discussing a peak of 22% of carriers going over evaluation is getting printed out and brought to work for everyone to read. If that doesn't bring home how working off the clock hurts us, nothing ever will.
 

K

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Thanks for sharing, C$$. That section discussing a peak of 22% of carriers going over evaluation is getting printed out and brought to work for everyone to read. If that doesn't bring home how working off the clock hurts us, nothing ever will.
I think we need a better term than working off the clock really. What do you call people who don't start before their start times but cut every corner they can to get back early. Effectively it's still the same result as working off the clock but...
 

blamethesub

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What do you call people who don't start before their start times but cut every corner they can to get back early.
I believe those are runners. Not much of an issue in my location. Too many of my coworkers start up to a half hour early, then prep parcels in the afternoon for the next day after they've signed out. Giving an hour a day for free will destroy us. I'm finally starting to get through to some of them, but the union letter should help a lot. They are beginning to see if you make it look like you can do the impossible, more impossibility will be demanded of you.
 

flash

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Someone tell me where in the computer time keeping they would record my time when I go to work for free in December to make sure my sub doesn’t quit.. because they literally DO NOT have enough subs or time to cover what my route gets on Monday??? Or what about yesterday when the clerk delivered the largest packages that would have required a 2nd trip on my part.... I don’t believe taking a snapshot of a heavy parcel load that has clearly been doubling over the last 3 years (sans count) is an accurate picture of what we face in a year.
But kudos c$$
 

Morty

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I just aporoached my PM about the pet working off the clock 3 hours a week. And the clerks are just as guilty as they sign off on the times. I'll push this issue again. It hurts us all to pull crap like that.

And to make a fuss about 22% to 13% getting taken advantage of. I recall reading that our time standards were slashed in '06 because less than 2,000 carriers were consistently way under evaluation. What's the percentage of 2,000 out of 78,000?
 

gettingcloser

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Thanks for sharing, C$$. That section discussing a peak of 22% of carriers going over evaluation is getting printed out and brought to work for everyone to read. If that doesn't bring home how working off the clock hurts us, nothing ever will.
Makes me so frustrated. If we lose this greivance half the carriers in my office will be mad as they continue to come in early thirty minutes to an hour early every day. All off the clock.
 

gettingcloser

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I believe those are runners. Not much of an issue in my location. Too many of my coworkers start up to a half hour early, then prep parcels in the afternoon for the next day after they've signed out. Giving an hour a day for free will destroy us. I'm finally starting to get through to some of them, but the union letter should help a lot. They are beginning to see if you make it look like you can do the impossible, more impossibility will be demanded of you.
Wish I could get through to my co workers. They don't seem to care. It's just our salaries so who cares.
 

DUPED

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First off I want to say Thank you C$$. I appreciate you!
I will tell you straight up I am cutting corners....not marking packages & moving about as fast as this almost 50 year old body can move. I am averaging 50-150 more parcels daily ( most all oversized that require dismounting) compared to last count. I refuse to work hours over my evaluation every day of the week for free in this dire heat. On Mondays I am over 2-3 hours even when humping it. Some days1/2 an hour some days 1 1/2. I may be stuck in hell, but I for damned sure refuse to be in that hell any longer than I have to for some money that may be added to our checks some day in a lump sum and 40% vanishes in taxes.
The grievance our leadership sent up will benefit the slower carriers most. Therefore, the grievance if won, will help the slower carriers no doubt. So much for working hard.
Why didn’t our union file a grievance asking for compensation for excess parcels averaged over our last count numbers? They clearly have all the data as evidenced by their response.
The arbitrator said himself the Evaluated system was incentive based & therefore we as a craft tend to work more efficiently. Does not behoove us to work slowly or pace ourselves like City/Clerk Crafts.
Just like during Christmas...if you work harder ... tend not to get auxiliary assistance. Slower carriers get the reward. Have no life at home to go to or simply don’t like be at home....dollar signs in their eyes, who knows.
Maybe I ought to reinvest my dues into something else.
So before one of you try to attack me for me comments....remember that only 22% of us are going 4 hours above evaluation. The facts are clear many of us or humping it because we feel as if we have no other choice. You are the minority......not me.
As a side note......many of these hammered, Amazon top heavy offices our waiting daily for clerks to sort the huge increase in packages. So we are dealing with this also NRLCA.
 

LostinDakota

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The clerks are also tired of dealing with the Amazon packages, either transferring to a non Amazon office or quitting, or claiming disability or weight restrictions so they don't have to work Amazon in the morning. New method here is to claim you have been exposed to Covid-19 so get yourself tested and quarantine until the test comes back. Repeat as necessary. This could go on for a very long time.
 

foxyfox

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Ok so if carriers are scanning in their vehicle but hitting "scanned at front door" is this still hurting us? What matters for data collection the point of scan or the option selected?
Furthermore, how is anything counting when the actual time items have not started being tracked yet? The mini count hasn't happened yet. Most of us haven't done the extra scanning yet. They don't know our official park points and placement of parcels when they dont fit in mailbox. I dont see how any of this data counts right now.
 
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btdtret

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C$$ -- Well done! BRAVO ZULU! Atta Boy!! etc.

-- Would any of your posting be considered "working off the clock?"

-- Since you asked, a couple of typos in which spell check let you down:

- #3 Rural carriers being exploited: Since march [ March ] ......
- #4 How do we fix this..: the ours [ hours ] reflect this....

" That 22% of regular carriers worked an average of 4 hours per week over their evaluation. The other 78% were under evaluation."

-- At least their math is good! ( must be a goodly portion of the 22%ers post here are RI! )

-- Any mention of how many routes do have Amazon?

" Since the pandemic, national parcel volumes have been up anywhere from 60-80% versus the same period last year. "

-- That is probably the most damning statement in there. Especially with the contracts MOU #1: It is the understanding of the parties that a national mail count may [ or may not ] be initiated where rural delivery has been impacted on a NATIONAL LEVEL. Examples of such change would be a reduction of delivery days, a SUBSTANTIAL change in mail VOLUME, etc. ( apparently a 60-80% increase is not substantial enough )

"however it would be very hard to make an argument before an arbitrator that a work force of 78,000 employees who work, on-average, 4 to 6 fewer hours than they are paid weekly is being exploited." ( ooops, there is another one: however [ However ] )

-- As Arbitrator Clarke FINALLY pointed out ( long ago, it seems ), the evaluated pay system is an INCENTIVE system. ( A carrier who works efficiently ( or just does not get much mail or Amazon ) is rewarded by going home early while getting paid for the full day even if working under the evaluation. For those working over the evaluation - sorry! The "bump" was explained during my hiring interview ( in the latter part of the last decade of the 1990's ), half the carriers were expected to be under evaluation and half over evaluation - so it all evens out in the end - supposedly. )

-- Somewhere during the wait for RRECS, supposedly 90% of the carriers will make the evaluated time has been mentioned. (Postal math at work?)

-- Anyone who has followed past contract talks / arbitrations knows the USPS has no problem citing how many hours were paid for, but not worked. On the other hand, the NRLCA seems to have neglected pointing out how many work hours were over evaluation, but not paid for by the USPS.

-- Again, thanx for taking the initiative of taking the fight to the national officers -- something new to them, no doubt!

-- Stay on your soapbox as long as you want!
 

PastOThirty

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Is there supposed to be incentives built into our pay system or not? If not, or not more than a negligible amount, such that beating the evaluation is uncommon or close every week, what is the point of all this?

We know standards to provide the incentive are broken. Everyone of concern knows it. Some exploit it at every turn. Others periodically benefited. Many suffer under it though. Is that how we average it out? On the backs of are fellow carriers across the county or in the other end of the state?

If the board stands for fairness, then it must, not may or should, but must, demand for a suspension of the FLSA exemption until volumes are non-volatile and based on the new, more lenient standards.

Meeting the evaluation during the late spring, summer, and early fall should be easy, because in the late fall, winter, and early spring, we struggle to. That is the intent and should be the expectation. Not as stated in the position/PR piece that most carriers are typically beating it now. They should be, but by wide margins not the narrow margins we know it to be. The fact many aren’t doing that should be all they have to act on.

Not surprised, but feeling cute, might vent more later.
 
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Surprise!

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I just aporoached my PM about the pet working off the clock 3 hours a week. And the clerks are just as guilty as they sign off on the times. I'll push this issue again. It hurts us all to pull crap like that.

And to make a fuss about 22% to 13% getting taken advantage of. I recall reading that our time standards were slashed in '06 because less than 2,000 carriers were consistently way under evaluation. What's the percentage of 2,000 out of 78,000?
Where did you get these numbers?

It has been years since I knew how to do this stuff but I don't think 2,000 out of 78,000 would be all that significant. If it had any significance at all. Did the association accept Postal Service interpretation of the numbers at face value? Did the association hire someone with the skills to interpretate these numbers?
 

PastOThirty

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Ok so if carriers are scanning in their vehicle but hitting "scanned at front door" is this still hurting us? What matters for data collection the point of scan or the option selected?
Furthermore, how is anything counting when the actual time items have not started being tracked yet? The mini count hasn't happened yet. Most of us haven't done the extra scanning yet. They don't know our official park points and placement of parcels when they dont fit in mailbox. I dont see how any of this data counts right now.
Are the problems procedural, technical, administrative, or other?

We can and should be consulted on procedural problems.

If they are technical or administrative problems, that is on the boss, and we should be getting an interim remedy or relief.
 

Gotrope

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Ok so if carriers are scanning in their vehicle but hitting "scanned at front door" is this still hurting us? What matters for data collection the point of scan or the option selected?
Furthermore, how is anything counting when the actual time items have not started being tracked yet? The mini count hasn't happened yet. Most of us haven't done the extra scanning yet. They don't know our official park points and placement of parcels when they dont fit in mailbox. I dont see how any of this data counts right now.
I believe they said the scanners were self populating the four points per address by the overlapping current data collected daily. Confirmation of population of data is what was delayed due to social distancing. I haven't heard a definitive answer on GPS to the door or scanner menu selection at the door being the deciding factor. This might be a disputed data collection as mentioned 😉
 
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