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Union Update on Negotiations April 9th, 2017

Should Federal Police Take Their Service Guns

Home With Them?

A senator wants the U.S. Postal Service to allow its internal police to carry their government-issued firearms even when off the clock, saying it would help keep the officers safe.

The Postal Inspection Service’s uniformed police officers currently must lock their guns at their duty locations at the end of their shifts. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said that was unusual among federal law enforcement personnel and prevented the officers from defending themselves while off duty, especially while traveling to and from their duty stations.

“Uninformed Postal Police Officers place themselves in harm’s way every day to provide protections to postal facilities, employees and customers,” Tester wrote in a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan. The senator asked the postmaster general to modify the current policy so the officers can take their service weapons home with them. Officers in similar agencies, such as the Veterans Affairs Department and the Federal Protective Service, can hold onto their service weapons while off duty, Tester noted.

Lawmakers have previously dealt with the issue of allowing federal law enforcement to carry their service weapons off duty; last year President Obama signed a law that would allow federal officers and agents to carry their government-issued firearms during government shutdowns or other forced, unpaid time off. The 2015 Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act passed unanimously in Congress. Lawmakers pushed for the change after the 2013 government shutdown left agencies unsure whether law enforcement personnel could carry their official firearms while the employees were sent home, and at least three agencies told employees they could not carry their guns.

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association supported that measure, saying the ability to carry service weapons off duty ensured the safety of federal personnel.

“This issue has never been about shutdowns or firearms, but about the absolute necessity of ensuring the safety of our members and their families,” said FLEOA President Nathan Catura.

The postal provision would apply to about 600 officers across the country. Catura said in a letter of support those individuals face serious risks as they travel to and from work and called on the Postal Service to “amend this dangerous policy.” He added FLEOA was aware of “numerous examples” in which Postal Police Officers “risked their lives in an unarmed status while assisting local police.”

“In an era when ambushes of police officers are at an all-time high, having well-trained and committed off-duty Postal Police Officers protects them, other law enforcement officers and most importantly the general public,” Catura said.

A spokesman for the Postal Service said the agency has received the letter and would respond to the senator, but declined to offer any details on its thinking on the topic. 

A message from our Vice President Frank Albergo:

Union Update:

 

1. FLEOA: Jon Adler (former National FLEOA President and current National FLEOA Foundation President) was a guest on the Fedtalk Radio Show in DC. He discussed the PPO firearm issue. Below is the audio link. Fast forward to the 40 minute mark and listen for about 5 minutes. I promise, you'll enjoy it.

http://fedagent.com/columns/on-fedtalk/1901-this-week-on-fedtalk-a-focus-on-federal-law-enforcement


2. NLRB CHARGES: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is conducting a hearing against the Postal Service regarding a complaint (labor board charge) that the Union filed. Rather than giving a long, drawn out explanation (which I'm famous for) I'll make this quick:

The Postal Service is exploiting a loophole in the CBA that prevents the Union from taking Step 4 grievances to Arbitration. Needless to say, that's a failure to bargain in good faith (and the reason for the hearing). Unfortunately, I'm told that the board is very lenient the first time around. But since the Postal Service can't help themselves, I'm sure there will be more to come. With each subsequent charge, the fine increases.

The hearing is scheduled for August 4, 2016 in Washington DC. Go Labor Board!!!


3. EXPIRATION OF THE CBA: The expiration of the 2012-2017 CBA is quickly approaching. Article 37 states, "The party demanding termination or modification of this Agreement must serve written notice of such intent to the other party not less than ninety (90) nor more than one hundred twenty (120) days before the expiration date of this Agreement."

In other words, negotiations will start in January 2017, the contract will expire in April 2017, and I honestly believe--the Union is in the best bargaining position its ever been in. For the first time, the Agency is on the defensive, responding to what the Union does, rather than vice versa.

Why? The Union has filed a barrage of NLRB charges, national grievances, and RFI's (Request for Information) that call into question the integrity and competency of the Inspection Service. The responses given by the Agency are usually utterly ridiculous and only prove our point. It's no wonder it takes labor board charges to force the Agency to hand over the requested information.

4. INTEREST ARBITRATION 2014: Interest Arbitration 2014 was a turning point. Although no one was happy with the Arbitrator's decision, the case that the Union presented laid a foundation that is proving invaluable. Simply put, in order to prevent a complete disaster (from their perspective), Labor Relations was forced to take many untenable positions. Unfortunately at the time, the Union lacked the financial resources to make a proper rebuttal. However, those financial short comings were corrected over the last 2 years by hard work and perseverance.

As the 2014 Interest Arbitration testimony made clear, a discord exists between local Inspection Service management and National Headquarters. Apparently, the security needs of the Postal Service are felt more acutely at a local level. Accordingly, and perhaps against the behest of National Headquarters, local management broadened the function of PPOs to include more mobility in the form of phishing patrols, community policing, and carrier protection patrols. In other words, in order to meet the security needs of the Postal Service, local postal police management expanded the duties and responsibilities of PPOs beyond that of "facility security." Ultimately, the Postal Police position evolved despite opposition from National Headquarters.

Therefore, PPOs now conduct duties similar to those of their federal uniformed counterparts, many of whom are considered Police (0083 Series) as defined in the OPM Grade Evaluation Guide. However, the Union believes that these police duties are categorized under vague abstractions like "mobile posts" or "assistance to inspector" to serve Labor Relations' bargaining purposes, and in order for local management to avert National Headquarters' disapproval. In so doing, PPOs are performing real police duties without commensurate compensation.

I believe this will all change during the next round of contract negotiations. Although nothing is guaranteed, I cannot imagine a scenario where the Union doesn't prevail. That's not hyperbole, I mean it.


5. FACEBOOK: Join the Facebook group "Postal Police Facts." There's lots of great information available. Just send a request to Jim Bjork. Union members only.


6. MAILING LIST: if you know of anyone who wants to be included on this mailing list, please have them email me at fnalbergo@gmail.com with "PPO mailing list" in the subject line.

Great to see everybody last Saturday. Enjoy the summer and stay safe.

Frank.

The PPOA and FLEOA are a Team!!!

 

The PPOA continues its mission to represent the membership in the best way possible.  Moving towards that goal, the PPOA and FLEOA (Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association) are proud to announce that members of the PPOA are now enrolled in FLEOA.  This provides a variety of benefits to the PPOA and to the members individually.  Among the benefits to the PPOA as a whole are the relationships FLEOA has developed and the lobbying of many legislative issues on Capitol Hill that FLEOA has successfully carried out.  FLEOA and their 25,000+ members will be joining us in front of the U.S. Congress as well as in front of Agency Leadership.  As many of you may know, FLEOA President Jon Adler has tackled the PPO 24/7 weapons carry issue.  He did this without any commitment from the PPOA to join- Jon simply felt that it was an Officer Safety Issue that needed to be resolved.  He personally contacted Chief Postal Inspector Cottrell and met with him to present the issue as a top priority and he continues to work on seeing it to fruition.  Also, FLEOA is currently pushing for legislation that would include PPOs in the 20 year Federal Law Enforcement Retirement Program.  Additionally, FLEOA has filed a lawsuit against the OPM regarding the OPM Information Security Breach.  The PPOA has been diligently working on these issues and combining forces will enhance the opportunity for success.  The PPOA foresees this as a relationship that will enhance the power of the PPOA and lead to many successful ventures with FLEOA to provide pay and benefits to PPOs that have been ignored for too long. 

 

James Bjork will continue as PPOA President.  This relationship does not diminish nor replace the PPOA and its Executive Board as they continue to represent the PPO’s interests.  Your FLEOA  PPO Agency President, Geoff Bailey, will liaison with PPOA President Bjork to find ways to best represent PPOs and their issues utilizing FLEOA.

 

Individual benefits are available on the FLEOA website at www.FLEOA.org.  Some of these are:

 

An attorney to represent YOU in on the job incidents for performing your duties.  No longer will you have to rely on an agency attorney to protect the agency ahead of you.

  • Member discounts on services such as liability insurance, homeowners and automobile insurance, and education.

  • Other benefits from the FLEOA Foundation such as scholarships, line of duty death and emergency situations.

  • Contact with Agency Managers including meetings with Agency Directors, seeking improved working conditions, and availability of Agency Presidents for representation in matters unique to an Agency.

  • Legislative voice in DC and with Congress to protect your benefits.

  • Membership in your local chapter which provides networking and social contacts as well as benefits local to your area.

  • Discounts for supporters of FLEOA on Apparel, Equipment, and a variety of Services

Please visit the website to review your Uniform/TFO membership category and its corresponding benefits in their entirety at www.FLEOA.org .   

 

This benefit is paid for annually by the PPOA through your dues.

 

Enrollment applications MUST be completed by members of the PPOA in order to activate your membership.Correspondence regarding this process and additional information will be forthcoming in a mailing to your residence.

 

 

 

Jon AdlerGeoff BaileyJames Bjork

President of FLEOAFLEOA PPO Agency President PPOA President

11/14/15

 

Brother and Sister Officer Members:

 

An unfortunate incident has occurred in New Jersey.  Brother Officer Omar Dozier was involved in an off-duty exchange of gunfire.  The details of the nature of the shooting are being investigated and are not entirely available to the PPOA or FLEOA.  According to Officer Dozier, he has stated that it was an attempted robbery or car-jacking by individuals attempting to impersonate law enforcement.  In self-defense, he drew his off-duty weapon and exchanged gunfire with a suspect.  Unfortunately, Officer Dozier was struck in the right hand with a non-life threatening wound.  He was treated and released at a nearby hospital.  It is unknown at this time if the perpetrators were wounded or apprehended.  More information will be forthcoming as it is available to us.

 

Please keep Brother Dozier in your prayers.

 

Stay Safe!

Signed,

 

PPOA Board Members

FLEOA Agency President

More PPOA News

Collective Bargaining Agreements

2012-2017

This Agreement referred to as the 2012 CBA is entered into by and between the United States Postal Service (hereinafter referred to as the “Employer”) and the Postal Police Officers Association, AFL-CIO (hereinafter referred to as the “Union”). The terms of this Agreement are effective as of April 4th 2014, unless otherwise provided

Off-duty postal police officer wounded in shooting in Newark