January 11, 2018
01/11/2018 – The Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) recently announced for eligible Clerk Craft employees by the Postal Service has generated many questions from the members of the APWU. The Postal Service published a list of 93 questions and answers shared with our members in an earlier Web article.
Many are asking, “Should I accept early-out retirement?” It is not the place of the national APWU to give advice on whether to retire or not. That is a personal decision. However, it is decision with implications that members should know and consider.
USPS management did not discuss the VER with the APWU in advance of the announcement. APWU national officers initiated a January 10 meeting with postal management to address issues and concerns about the VER including why the VER was not offered to all crafts, the need to halt all plans for excessing in light of the VER and the process in place for retirement counseling. Management has committed to respond to the APWU’s questions which we will share with the membership as received. In this meeting, the union also pressed its views that:
- the Postal Service is not overstaffed, and service to the public is suffering due to understaffing; and,
- if the Postal Service moves forward with misguided plans to reduce the workforce, the Postal Service should offer a monetary incentive for those eligible for regular retirement as well employees eligible for an early-out.
Incentives have been offered numerous times in the past for both bargaining unit and supervisory employees.
If you are eligible for the VER, the USPS will be mailing you a packet on January 12th. The packet will have vital information about your opportunity for an early-out. The packet will include your annuity estimate (this is not a guarantee of what your annuity payments will be; OPM makes the final determination of your annuity, and it could be different than the estimated amount provided in your packet) and information about available benefits including eligibility, limits, and costs. Anyone considering the early-out offer needs to study the packet.
You are eligible for USPS-sponsored retirement counseling – both group and individual. Information on who to contact and how to arrange counseling will be in the packet. The packet along with your counseling session(s) will explain eligibility for any annuity supplement, your health insurance premiums, how your FEGLI life insurance can change, and other issues. According to a previous grievance settlement with the APWU, local management must arrange a reasonably private space for employees who wish to receive individual counseling on the clock. Your spouse can participate in the counseling session(s). Take advantage of every opportunity to learn the specifics about your retirement benefits.
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