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A Holiday Season Like No Other
By Ivan D. Butts
NAPS National President
Greetings, NAPS brother and sisters. This is the edition of The Postal Supervisor when I thank you for your continued hard work and dedication to fulfilling the USPS mission. I also want to wish you and your family the best of the holiday season. We can, indeed, hold on to and cherish these times into the New Year.
This year has proven to be one of the most challenging for EAS employees. We are the managers who deliver for America and continue to be the backbone of the Postal Service that binds America together through mail delivery. It has been a year filled with uncertainty and, at times, mystery, as to what the leadership of this agency is accountable and what the “Delivering for America” plan is accomplishing.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the first of the USPS’ new mega centers—the Richmond Regional Processing & Distribution Center (RPDC). At the center, I saw all the hopes of the future of America’s Postal Service come face to face with the realities of past failed staffing models (those involving EAS employees in particular) that have plagued plant operations for years.
Looking at the service data provided by USPS leadership, we see service declining in this new mail processing environment across the now broader area this facility services. I look at a future where the unions have been allowed to take Article 3 of the CBA away from USPS leaders responsible for staffing, scheduling, mentoring and developing craft employees for career advancement (Article 3 of the CBA and ELM 721) as disastrous.
I agree that USPS leadership allowing Function 1 Operations to use 204 (b)s as a crutch to the tune of over 5,000 full-time, equivalent EAS positions over complement (based on latest USPS data) is the contributing factor. Very soon, this operation will come face to face with this staffing shortage, with the crutch now having another high-priced union grievance attached to it.
Then there were the operational issues noted, such as the rewrap area desperately in need of employee staffing and supervision. Seeing this area, I better understood why we have had 10 incidents of mercury spills in the past six months around the country.
Despite these truths, you continue to take on the task of providing mail, essential supplies and medical prescriptions for America without wavering. You have faced the challenges brought about by a worldwide pandemic and decisions from the executive leadership team that have diminished service and negatively impacted our status as the most trusted federal agency.
Through it all, you continue to be the backbone of this agency. You do all that is necessary to keep America’s mail moving. I am proud to voice your praises everywhere I go and to everyone I meet. Now, we come to this holiday season.
The holidays bring extreme challenges to those dealing with losses in their lives. Know that you are not alone; resources are available to help you through these times. Whether you use the USPS EAP or a provider through your FEHB plan, help is available to make it through.
Your tremendous achievements this year demonstrate the total commitment of EAS employees to the vital and necessary task of leading employees in delivering for America, regardless whether you are on the front lines or in the field or serve in support positions at plants, districts, areas or USPS Headquarters. Your efforts prove this phrase to be valid for all we serve: We deliver for you!
Thank you for the work you are doing. Your consistent efforts in leading the USPS are my validation that our fight for fairness and equality is well-rooted with the dedication of you—the men and women who make up USPS leadership. I am continually humbled to serve you and voice your needs to the USPS Executive Leadership Team.
As we move into the New Year, I wish you and your family a genuinely blessed Christmas season and a happy, prosperous New Year in 2024.