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USPS & APWU Early Out MOU |  Early Out Retirement Info | BRING ON THE EARLY OUT ! Discussion Forum




From postalreporter "Bring On the Early Out" forum post # 8050 (9/10/03)


In a nutshell:

1) You should have 3 benefits printouts each with a different date from which to calculate, plus a sheet on Life Insurance

2) We will NOT be given the option of choosing the date of departure, that is a HQ decision based "operational requirements"
(How can you plan for a second job/career when you don't even know when they are going to let you leave? How many firms will keep a job open for you on the vague promise that you might be available in 2 months, 6 months or 7 months?)

3) Health Benefits are carried over as is optional life insurance (double check your coverage AND your potential needs together BEFOREHAND)

4) ***Your Seminar Rep (mine had an assistant in tow) cannot comment on plant closings, future VERA's, changes in the Federal Laws on age 55 or 2% penalty. They have NO idea, but mine said "Rumors... I will believe a change when I SEE IT." (Shakes head.)***


6) Changes after you go out MUST be handled thru OPM (You have been warned!), you will be given a PIN number to use

7) TSP CAN be withdrawn but the penalty before age 59 1/2 is
20%, you CAN leave it there as is and move the funds around after you go out, but you CANNOT CONTRIBUTE MORE AFTER YOU LEAVE THE USPS

8) Will those who got LOI forms and responded be DENIED the VERA? "Not likely...I can't see that happening."

9) What will happen to CSRS people who attend the Seminar but choose not to take the VERA? "I can't tell you." (shakes head)

10) Are we put on a "special list"? (Shakes head VEHEMENTLY as does assistant.) "No...no...nothing like that. Just keep coming to work." (Shrugs)

11) Your excess AL arrives with your final paycheck. It is TAXED

12) You DO get COLA after retirement, you may actually get MORE than employed USPS personnel

13) You MUST sign release papers, you CANNOT be forced out, you have the right to decline the VERA

That's pretty much it. This two percent penalty is killing me. I will likely not be able to go. (Sighs, resigned to six more years.)

This whole VERA came out of HQ. A few comments were made about how badly this has been handled. The Rep nodded sadly but did not say anything. I have no clue what questions any of you may have but that is pretty much all I have to offer.



From postalreporter "Bring On the Early Out" forum post # 3752 (7/2/03)

First - I said a long time ago that probably nothing would happen until after the Commission's report. Mgmt. knows whatever they decide might/could be overridden as fast as the Commission's report is on the table.

Second - I'll type as fast as I can the letter I saw today:

July 1, 2003
Memorandum for Manager, Human Resources (Districts)
Subject: VERA for APWU

We were advised today by HQ that approx. 58,000 APWU employees (in the Clerk, Motor Vehicle Operator, and Maintenance Crafts) will be provided a "Request for Interest" form and other materials regarding early-outs under VERA. This will occur sometime around July 10th or 11th, 2003.

All completed "Request for interest" forms will go to Headquarters. Clerk Craft employees will be given first consideration for the VERA. A determination as to who gets offered a VERA will be made by Headquarters (with input from the Areas and PCs) - based on location, operational needs, excessing needs and overall needs of the service.

In the near future, a package will be sent to you (Managers, Human Resources, Districts) outlining the process to be followed, including necessary timelines, in order to effect early-outs for the initial group of employees exercising a VERA option - by the first target date of Oct 31, 2003.

As more information becomes available, we will have a telecon to discuss issues and concerns - either next week or after you receive the package from Headquarters.

Obviously, one very important concern is the ongoing effort to verify or update RTR records. Headquarters will be assisting us in getting people trainer to identify and correct possible errors.

Finally, of note the USPS is requesting early-out VERA authority from OPM for eligible Mail Handlers and EAS employees. A decision is expected in approximately four (4) weeks.

Any question please call me or Gary Connely.

Gerald S Sanchez
Manager, Human Resources
Pacific Area Office

This is a message  #1305 from the Early Out forum . postalreporter takes no responsibility for its accuracy.

Paul B:  I contacted the OPM and they were kind enough to provide the following response. I found it interesting that the Postal Service asked the OPM to hold their request without action back in March. The response speaks for itself. I hope this information helps all of you.

From: Davis, Judith A [JADavis@opm.gov]
Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2003 4:49 PM
To: (Name witheld)
Subject: OPM review of Postal Early Retirement Authority

Dear (Name withheld):

This responds to your May 15, 2003, inquiry regarding the United States Postal Service's (USPS) request for voluntary early retirement authority (VERA).
Although OPM received a request for VERA from the USPS in January 2003, in March 2003, USPS officially asked us to hold their request without action until OPM publishes new VERA regulations. The new VERA regulations, which implement the provisions of the Homeland Security Act (P..L. 107-296) and allow VERA to be used for restructuring rather than solely to avoid reduction-in-force, are in clearance and will be published in the Federal Register for public comment before they become final. Any announcement on plans to request or offer voluntary early retirement must come from the USPS. For further information, please contact Ms. Susan LaChance, Manager, Selection, Evaluation, and Recognition, at:

    U.S. Postal Service Headquarters
475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 9671
    Washington, DC 20260-4250

By statute, an agency must request VERA from OPM. OPM approves a VERA request only if it meets the statutory requirements (i.e., an agency is undergoing a major reorganization, reduction in force, or transfer of function in which a significant percentage of the agency's workforce will be subject to separation or demotion). Upon approval, an agency should use the authority only to the extent necessary to achieve voluntary reductions in the workforce made necessary by factors such as lack of funds, shortage of work, reorganizations, or closures.

If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Judith A. Davis
Manager, Transportation, Commerce, Justice,
   & Services Group
Center for General Government
Division for Human Capital Leadership & Merit Systems Accountability
Office of Personnel Management, Room 6484
Phone: (202) 606-2327

postalreporter received the following E-Mail From the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)


From: Name withheld by postalreporter

To: 'Lucille M. Caldwell'
Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2003 8:11 AM
Subject: RE: USPS Early Out Retirement


The situation that you described below, as I know it, is as follows:

The Postal Service has requested voluntary early retirement authority (VERA) from OPM. The request was made based on a need to reshape the workforce. The existing VERA regs require that agencies request VERA based on a need to downsize. They also require the agency to submit a RIF date.

USPS has an agreement with APWU that says that they will not run a RIF. Based on that, OPM cannot approve USPS's VERA request until it revises the existing regs to allow agencies to request VERA based on either (1) a need to reshape its workforce or (2) a need to downsize.

The draft regulations have been approved by all parties who normally review them, and now rest on the desk of the OPM official who can approve them and send them to the Director for her signature. From there, they will go to the Office of Management and Budget for further review. After that, they will go directly to the Federal Register. This is a process that cannot be shortened.


Here are a few links

Voluntary Early Retirement

Homeland Security Act of 2002- Section 1313-

Early Out Retirement News Recap

From the e-mailbag

"The early retirement authority requested by USPS is awaiting publication of new early  authority regulations--which we believe will be published very shortly.  Once they are published, we will give USPS's request our full attention. It will be up to USPS to determine which employees, geographic locations, etc, will be offered early retirement."

The above was received from OPM via e-mail April 24, 2003 the author of the e-mail was the same person from OPM who wrote the e-mail message on 2/14/03:

Added 4/4/03- "The USPS has requested voluntary early retirement authority from the Office of Personnel Management. This request is for "line" workers within USPS. However, there are some issues concerning the request that have not yet been worked out. Once these problems have been resolved, it is likely that USPS will obtain voluntary early retirement authority. At that point, they should be able to offer it to their employees in the occupations, geographic locations, and organizations of their choosing. We hope to resolve the difficulties with the USPS request within the next two weeks or less." From OPM 2/14/03

I will continue to post any news I receive in order to keep employees informed. However,  nothing has been substantiated as yet. postalreporter


From the Bring on the Early Out Forum

Cholesterol Dan #771

04-28-2003 10:39 AM ET (US)
FLASH: I just got off the phone with the federal registry. It takes three working DAYS, not weeks, to publish documents. Also, no documents regarding postal early-outs have been submitted as of Monday April 28, 10:35 am, Eastern time.

Cholesterol Dan #773

04-28-2003 11:37 AM ET (US)
FLASH: I just got off the phone with OPM. I talked to a mid-level manager. He told me that Post Office management did put in a request in January to offer early outs, but that THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT TURNED IT DOWN! He went on to say that they are expecting the Post Office to submit another request more to OPM's liking in late May to early July. At that point, OPM might or might not accept the new request. He said that the APWU was told LONG AGO to take misinformation off their web site, but refused. In particular, the April 1 date, and the statement that early-outs are promised, particularly offend OPM

Cholesterol Dan #774

04-28-2003 11:53 AM ET (US)
I just got off the phone with the union. I talked with the head of the department handling early-outs. I told him wat OPM told me. (See my previous post) He told me that he would look into it; that it was the first he heard of it. I gave him the name and phone number of the mid-level manager at OPM that I talked to.

Added 4/4/03- "The USPS has requested voluntary early retirement authority from the Office of Personnel Management. This request is for "line" workers within USPS. However, there are some issues concerning the request that have not yet been worked out. Once these problems have been resolved, it is likely that USPS will obtain voluntary early retirement authority. At that point, they should be able to offer it to their employees in the occupations, geographic locations, and organizations of their choosing. We hope to resolve the difficulties with the USPS request within the next two weeks or less." From OPM 2/14/03

Mike Causey Washington Post Staff Writer  
October 14, 1992; Page d2

Agencies looking for a relatively painless, inexpensive way to cut jobs without firing their newest workers will study the success rate of the recent Postal Service buyout, and what happens when Defense begins paying some civilians up to $25,000 to leave the payroll The message seems to be: Make senior workers a decent financial offer and stand clear of the doorway.

From Aug. 15 through Oct. 3, the Postal Service offered six-month salary buyouts to workers who would retire. The agency had about 750,000 permanent workers during that time.

About 48,000 were qualified for regular retirement and 20,619 had taken it as of last week. Under civil service rules, they could retire at age 55 with 30 years' service, at age 60 with 20 years' or at age 62 with five years' service. Benefits are based on service and the employee's high three-year average salary.

An additional 98,000 postal workers became eligible when the Office of Personnel Management approved an early-out, permitting retirement at any age after 25 years' service, or at age 50 with 20 years' service. More than 25,500 took the early-out buyout.

Normally only about 6 percent take early-outs when offered. But with the financial incentive, 26 percent of the eligible postal workers took early retirement.

The Postal Service has extended the buyout offer through Nov. 20 for management personnel, but not for rank-and-file employees.

The success of the postal buyout will be good news to Defense and other agencies that must cut payrolls in the next several years. Without buyouts -- which Congress would have to approve for other agencies -- employees with the least seniority, often young workers, women and minorities, are the first fired. In addition to severance pay, agencies must also pay unemployment benefits. Sometimes the first-year cost of firing an employee is higher than keeping the worker on the payroll.

Buyouts appear to be the answer. Few workers take early-outs now because civil service pensions are reduced 2 percent for each year the retiree is under age 55. Many workers won't accept that cut. But when early retirement is offered with a cash payment, the acceptance rate jumps dramatically.

Defense has yet to offer buyouts to any of its 1 million civilians. But it now has the authority to give workers up to $25,000 if they will quit, retire or retire early. Officials have stressed that relatively few employees, about 5,000 a year, will get the offers. Given the acceptance rate in the Postal Service, officials doubt if they have to make many offers to get 5,000 takers a year.




Mike Causey Washington Post Staff Writer  
October 1, 1992; Page b1

U.S. Postal Service managers who have been given another 51 days to take a half-year salary bonus to retire or to try to survive in a streamlined new headquarters must make the tough decision while being bombarded with rumors about the shakeup of the government's biggest agency They must decide whether the rumors are true, false or, as some suspect, a form of psychological warfare being waged by management to pressure them to leave or meekly take lower-level jobs.

At a special hearing yesterday chaired by Rep. William Clay (D-Mo.), Postmaster General Marvin Runyon confirmed that employees who accept downgrading to stay on the payroll are being asked to sign away their rights to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Normally, federal workers who accept downgradings or object to other reductions-in-force related actions can later appeal to the board if they feel they were misinformed or given confusing information from management.

Many postal employees believe they are being misinformed or given confusing and incomplete informaton about the reorganization, according to several members of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee, including Reps. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) and Constance A. Morella (R-Md.).

When Runyon headed the Tennessee Valley Authority (earning the nickname "Carvin Marvin"), carrot-and-stick incentives were used to induce more than 11,000 workers to retire or quit. During that period, there were 654 appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board based on allegedly improper reductions-in-force actions or procedures. Only nine employees won their cases, although there were other cash payments and a few reinstatements.

In August, the Postal Service offered employees the chance to sign up for early or regular retirement by Saturday and get a six-month salary bonus. About 42,000 signed up. But many are clerks and letter carriers. Officials have decided to extend the buyout offer -- to management personnel only -- through Nov. 20.

Meanwhile, many managers have complained -- to Congress, newspapers and managers' organizations -- that highly touted programs to help them find other jobs aren't working, that they are being kept in the dark about the location and salary of out-of-town postal job offers.

An example of one headquarters rumor: Workers who refuse new assignments soon would lose their headquarters passes and be told to report to a special room in another building while their fate is being decided -- and where they could ponder the buyout offer. Wild sounding, yes, but unnerving. In the late 1980s, for example, a postal official in Indianapolis required workers assigned to light duty because of illness or injury to sit in a glass bullpen in the middle of the workroom floor. The employees had to sit there for eight hours reading postal manuals while their colleagues worked around them.

"Some of the rumors we are hearing are crazy," a congressional aide said yesterday. "But the Postal Service is a big place, with a history of bad management, violence. And this downsizing is a traumatic thing.




Mike Causey Washington Post Staff Writer  
September 4, 1992; Page d2

So many employees have signed up for the Postal Service retirement buyout -- more than 12,000 as of yesterday -- that the agency may have to keep some people on the job past the Oct. 3 retirement cutoff date Today is the deadline for workers to make a non-binding commitment to retire or stay.

The service is offering a six-month salary bonus to workers who take either regular or early retirement. Workers are eligible for immediate pensions at age 55 with 30 years of service, at age 60 with 20 years or at age 62 with five years of service. During an early-retirement open window, employees can retire at any age after 30 years of service, or at age 50 with 20 years of service. Annuities are reduced 2 percent for each year the retiree is under age 55.

Although the Postal Service hopes to trim back its management ranks, many of the employees who have signed up are clerks or letter carriers. In some smaller offices, half the clerk-carrier work force will be leaving in early October, prompting officials to set up a "holdover period" that will allow them to keep some employees on the job through January.

Workers eligible for retirement have been told they must tell the Postal Service today whether they plan to retire early or stay. Officials say the information is for planning only and that employees will be free to change their minds.

Officials and employees of the Defense Department -- which has 96,000 civilian workers in the Washington area -- are watching to see how the postal buyout works. Both the House and Senate have separately authorized a buyout plan for longtime civilian workers. The House bill would give a six-month salary bonus to civilians, whether they took regular or early retirement. The Senate bill would limit the payments to $20,000 and offer them only to employees at bases or installations that are not being closed.

At 10 a.m. tomorrow on WNTR radio (1050-AM), Thomas A. Glennon, of the Office of Personnel Management, will talk about some of the decisions workers face when offered early retirement or a buyout.