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Labor update

The Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) have reached a tentative agreement on a 44-month contract that covers more than 206,000 employees represented by the union.

“This agreement is economically responsible, fair to our employees and it positions the Postal Service for continued success as the delivery service provider of choice for the American public,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Doug Tulino.

The tentative agreement is subject to a ratification vote by the union membership, a process that will take several weeks.

Upon ratification, the agreement will cover the 44-month period that began Sept. 20, 2019 — when the previous contract ended — and expire at midnight on May 20, 2023.

The year in finances

Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett discusses the Postal Service’s year-end financial report in his latest “Dollars and Change” video.

USPS recently reported $73.1 billion in operating revenue for fiscal year 2020 (Oct. 1, 2019-Sept. 30, 2020) and $82.2 billion in operating expenses, leaving the organization with a net loss of $9.2 billion.

First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail volumes continued their ongoing decline during the year, although mail volumes did rise in the fall due to an increase in election-related mail. However, the revenue generated from this increase was countered by the operating expenses associated with expediting the processing and delivery of mail-in ballots.

The Postal Service also reported a 19 percent increase in package volume during the year — the result of major increases in online shopping due to the coronavirus pandemic — but package revenue growth during the medium to long term isn’t expected to make up for losses in mail revenue.

“Going forward, given the lasting declines in mail that accompanied the 2007-2009 Great Recession, we expect that the COVID-19 crisis may have similar effects on mail volume and that volumes may never recover to the pre-pandemic levels,” Corbett says.

The Postal Service can address its financial imbalances through a combination of management actions and legislative and regulatory reforms.

Employees also have a part to play, Corbett says, by helping the organization to improve efficiency, reduce costs, innovate and grow revenue — and by staying healthy during the pandemic.

“The number of coronavirus cases nationwide is increasing. But following the guidelines for protecting yourself will help keep you from catching and spreading it,” he says.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

Scanning snapshot. A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 96.72 percent during the week ending Nov. 20, down almost two-thirds of a percentage point from one week earlier.

The data was collected Nov. 25.

Western-Pacific led the four areas with a rating of 97.31 percent, while Southern ranked last with a 96.39 percent rating.

Among the 67 districts, Dakotas, part of Western-Pacific Area, ranked first with a rating of 98.61 percent, while Mississippi, part of Southern Area, ranked last with a 91.88 percent rating.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.”

Open season information. The Postal Service will offer its “Making the Most of Open Season” webinar twice on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Each session will take place through the Zoom videoconferencing platform; participants can also use their phone to dial into the meetings.

The first session will occur at 11 a.m. EST. Participants can log in via Zoom or call 503-336-1236 or 952-229-5070 (meeting ID: 1615507401; password: 715827).

The session will be offered again at 7 p.m. EST. Participants can log in via Zoom or call 503-336-1236 or 952-229-5070 (meeting ID: 1608447881; password: 482714)

Additionally, employees can participate in a live chat with health insurance experts on Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

The chat is part of the Virtual Benefits Fair, an online event that is running during this year’s benefits enrollment period. Participants can register on the fair website.

The Open Season LiteBlue page has additional information.

Beware hazards. Postal Bulletin’s Nov. 19 issue has an overview of Hazmat Awareness Month, which USPS marks every November. The publication also has the latest updates to policies, procedures and forms.

Got news? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.

Financial literacy

Illustration of Ben Franklin from currency wearing face mask

“News Quiz” is a weekly feature that lets you test your knowledge of recent Link stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. Fill in the blanks: The Postal Service recently reported operating revenue for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 was (blank), while operating expenses were (blank).

a) $9.2 billion, $73.1 billion
b) $9.2 billion, $82.2 billion
c) $73.1 billion, $82.2 billion
d) $82.2 billion, $73.1 billion

2. Which of the following Utah facilities is not sending undeliverable Marketing Mail to a plant that makes home insulation from recycled paper?

a) Provo East Bay Processing and Distribution Facility
b) Salt Lake City Processing and Distribution Center
c) Salt Lake City Auxiliary Service Facility
d) South Jordan Vehicle Maintenance Facility

3. True or false: According to the government, total premiums for Federal Employees Health Benefits Program plans will increase an average 6.3 percent for 2021.

a) True
b) False

4. How many days’ worth of coronavirus pandemic supplies should each USPS facility have on hand?

a) a 15-to-30-day supply
b) a 30-to-45-day supply
c) a 45-to-60-day supply
d) a 60-to-75-day supply

5. Match the USPS product in Column A with the planned price (effective Jan. 24, 2021) in Column B.

Column A
a) Priority Mail small flat-rate box
b) Priority Mail large flat-rate box
c) Priority Mail regular flat-rate envelope
d) Priority Mail legal flat-rate envelope

Column B
I) $7.95
II) $8.25
III) $8.45
IV) $21.90

Answers: 1) c. 2) d. 3) b. Total premiums for Federal Employees Health Benefits Program plans will increase an average 3.6 percent for 2021. 4) b. 5) a. III., b. IV., c. I., d. II.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.