- About Us
- Legislative Center
- Contact Us
A Historic Win for NAPS—Update on Our Lawsuit
By Chuck Mulidore
NAPS Executive Vice President
On Feb. 22, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its opinion in the case of NAPS v. the U.S. Postal Service. As I’m sure you know, it was a great win for NAPS members!
Not only did the court overturn the federal district court judge’s dismissal of our lawsuit that was filed in 2019 over the pay consultation process for 2016-2019, but the D.C. Court of Appeals also recognized rights for NAPS we have been claiming for over 40 years: specifically, that NAPS represents all EAS employees—supervisors, managers and postmasters, regardless whether they work in the field or for USPS Headquarters—for purposes of pay and benefit consultations.
As for the representation of postmasters in pay and benefit consultations, the court held on page 31 of its decision that: “It follows that section 1004(b) requires the Postal Service to consult with the Association [NAPS] regarding compensation for these employees [postmasters].” This is significant because postmasters in NAPS now have the largest and strongest management organization representing them in pay and benefit consultations.
It was unfortunate that the organization that previously and exclusively represented postmasters sided with the Postal Service on this issue and, thus, was summarily defeated in its efforts to prevent NAPS from representing postmasters. The issue of postmaster representation now is settled law.
However, the Appeals Court did return to the federal district court (the trial court) the consideration of three, distinct issues:
After the Court of Appeals’ opinion last February, NAPS and the Postal Service have engaged in meaningful negotiations to resolve the lawsuit before moving forward again in the U.S. District Court. The NAPS resident officers have made every good-faith effort possible to resolve the issues. Yet, as in any negotiation, there must be good-faith efforts on both sides to gain a resolution.
Unfortunately, that did not occur. NAPS has decided the only way to resolve the issues is to return to court. Thus, the District Court’s consideration of these issues will begin with discovery between the parties. On Dec. 20, 2022, NAPS began this process by replying to the Postal Service’s opposition to our motion to be allowed to proceed with discovery (document requests, interrogatories, depositions and experts) in support of our case.
This will be followed by motions, then trial—a process that could continue for another year or two. NAPS will continue its untiring efforts to resolve these key issues, whether through additional court proceedings or resolution with the Postal Service.
One of the most troubling aspects of this lawsuit is why did it have to happen? Why would the Postal Service deny NAPS something so clearly written in law? NAPS has argued for over four decades that it has the right to represent all EAS employees in pay and benefit consultations based on Title 39 of the U.S. Code. Regardless, the Postal Service has denied this obvious fact.
Why did the Postal Service claim it had compared EAS positions to similar jobs in the private sector when it had not? We may never learn the answers to those questions, but now is not the time to look back; it’s time to look ahead.
While a win in court was good for NAPS, there still is more work to be done. In fact, the work promoting the well-being of all EAS employees in the Postal Service never ends. It is why NAPS exists—and has existed for almost 115 years.
This lawsuit represents a seminal moment in NAPS’ proud history; we all should celebrate our success and rejoice. But, the work continues.