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President Ivan D. Butts, Executive Vice President Chuck Mulidore and Secretary/Treasurer Jimmy Warden attended the Dec. 13 Zoom consultative meeting. Representing the Postal Service were Bruce Nicholson, James Timmons and Paulita Wimbush, Labor Relations Policy Administration.
Agenda Item #1
NAPS asked how many FY22 NPA mitigations were filed. Of that number, how many were approved and how many were denied? How many went to the second level for appeal? How many were approved and disapproved at the second level up to the final level?
A total of 67 mitigations were submitted; 33 mitigations were disapproved; 34 mitigations were approved at the next higher level and were sent to USPS Headquarters for validation.
Agenda Item #2
NAPS asked when multiple offices/ZIP codes are moved into an S&DC location, will local MOU agreements still exist for each ZIP code?
The LMOU at the S&DC site is the controlling LMOU for that site. All the spoke routes/employees moved or excessed into the S&DC will be covered by the LMOU at the gaining S&DC. If employees remain at the losing or spoke site(s), the LMOU for their respective craft at the losing/spoke site(s) still is in effect.
Agenda Item #3
NAPS asked when hiring CCAs for the S&DC offices/ZIP codes within this new location, will these new appointments belong to every ZIP code or only to a specific ZIP code?
CCAs will be hired for the S&DC, one ZIP code.
Agenda Item #4
NAPS requested the USPS share how many EAS employees are answering the RADAR surveys regarding EAS employees casing and delivering mail and where this is occurring. Also, Delivery Support specialists have been asked to case mail on occasion; are they also completing the RADAR survey or carrying a route? What is the USPS doing to prevent this?
Lori Koon, Delivery Support specialist (TL), WestPac Delivery Field Operations Support 4, attended to address this item. Additionally, the survey can be accessed by any employee with access to RADAR to enter the specifics on casing or delivering mail. The survey is in its infancy stage. Data is being shared biweekly with field operations managers and the management associations.
Agenda Item #5a
NAPS said that, currently, MPOO groups are not equal, nationally, in size, levels and responsibilities. Does the USPS have any plans to right-size the MPOO groups? For the MPOO groups that don’t have administrative assistance, when will the USPS provide such assistance?
There are not specific requirements or limitations for the MPOO span of control. A district is evaluated for the number of MPOOs they earn based on established workload criteria. It is at the discretion of the district manager to determine the mapping of post offices to the MPOO. District managers consider geographic location and span of control and account for the level of the postmaster to MPOO.
Note: One EAS-25 is earned if there are at least two EAS-24 post offices in the district. Two EAS-25s are earned if there are 10 or more EAS-24 post offices in the district. There is no intent to map offices to MPOOs from a national HR level.
Regarding administrative support for MPOOs, they are allotted to have support of a secretary, P7-07 position. MPOOs are expected to share resources (secretaries) where geographically possible.
Agenda Item #5b
NAPS asked how many EAS employees work under USPS Headquarters vs. the number of EAS employees who work in the field.
Headquarters EAS: 8,657
Field EAS: 38,451
Total EAS: 47,108
Agenda Item #6
NAPS reported that a NALC local in Maine recently posted a notice of intention to strike to bring awareness to the lack of employees in that district. Carriers were exhausted, with no help on the horizon. Additionally, NAPS became aware of carriers working until 2 a.m. in Baltimore.
These two instances are not unique. NAPS repeatedly has asked the Postal Service what its plans are to address these shortages. In fact, the NAPS resident officers met with DPMG Doug Tulino to specifically address this issue. Tulino indicated the USPS was taking steps to address pockets of carrier shortages around the nation.
All too often, these shortages lead to supervisors, postmasters and managers being forced to deliver mail. NAPS asked what specific steps the USPS has taken to address the national employee shortage and improve its broken onboarding process.
Many social and environmental challenges have contributed to the lack of applicants for positions in the Postal Service. Several of those challenges include “The Great Resignation” that started in 2020 and has had a negative impact on many businesses, including our competitors, as well as many government agencies.
Hiring activity from local businesses is constant and continual for jobs in our industry, as well as other industries. Several parts of the country have extremely low unemployment rates.
The Postal Service has taken the following steps in recruiting potential applicants and stabilizing our workforce:
Recruitment efforts are ongoing. We work closely with Headquarters Brand Marketing on continuous advertising around our needs with links to eCareer. And we work with Brand Marketing, Corporate Communications and the Social Media team promoting our job fairs.
The eCareer webpage has been enhanced with improved flows and descriptions of each craft’s work, as well as videos describing the importance of and the type of work employees would be doing in each craft.
We have leveraged Informed Delivery to target mailboxes of all ZIP codes with specific, repeated campaigns in our hard-to-hire sites.
Annually, we host approximately 6,000 job fairs targeting all positions and locations, but certainly have several job fairs targeting hard-to-fill sites and positions. We also have Field HR managers who have been successful in recruiting to work closely with those managers who have hard-to-fill markets to continually examine other opportunities that may exist.
HR and Operations have partnered in hard-to-fill locations rooted in internal awareness and recruitment from our current workforce to further support our hard-to-fill locations. Data shows our current workforce, when fully engaged in recruitment, is one of our top sources of success. All in—non-bargaining employees—all levels at districts and divisions, bargaining-unit employees, etc. with providing stand-up talks, recruitment tools, job fairs and actively seeking internal referrals is a source of a pipeline that is powerful.
“Available for duty” is critical. We are ensuring that USPS policies are followed with unscheduled absences; addressing it accordingly is essential.
Agenda Item #7
NAPS pointed out that Subsection 512.513 of the ELM states that Postmasters must promptly report planned annual leave absences exceeding five working days. Subsection 512.411 states that postmasters are excluded from getting advance approval for annual leave.
512.4 Authorizing Annual Leave
512.41 Requests for Annual Leave
“Except for emergencies, annual leave for all employees except postmasters [emphasis added] must be requested on PS Form 3971 and approved in advance by the appropriate supervisor. Leave requests from rural carriers must be approved in accordance with Article 10 of the USPS-NRLCA National Agreement.”
512.513 Leave for Postmasters and Installation Heads
“These employees must (a) promptly report emergency or planned absences exceeding 5 working days [emphasis added] to their postal managers and (b) maintain accurate records of their leave.”
However, Subsection 123.1 of the ASM states that postmasters must obtain advance approval for absences more than five days. The ASM does not state working days—just days. Does that include their nonscheduled days?
123 Absence From Office
123.1 More Than Five Days
“For periods of absence more than 5 days, postmasters must obtain advance approval [emphasis added] from their district managers, unless this approval authority is delegated.”
Postmasters have taken the stance they only have to promptly report, not obtain, approval for their annual leave exceeding five working days. But MPOOs often use the verbiage in the ASM that advance approval is required. What is the controlling document?
The ELM and ASM provisions apply. Postmasters and installation heads normally are not required to request advanced approval of annual leave for five days or less. Postmasters must receive advance approval of absences more than five days. Postmasters must schedule leave so that postal operations are not impaired.
ASM 123.2 Five Days or Less
“Postmasters normally are not required to obtain advance approval for absences of five days or less, including periods of annual leave, sick leave, or personal absence. They must maintain an accurate record of all absences taken and advise their managers of planned periods away from the office. On an individual basis, district managers may require postmasters to obtain advance approval of all absences when the postmaster’s previous performance warrants such action.”
Agenda Item #8
NAPS brought back Agenda Item #3 from the October 2022 consultative:
NAPS asked for a Network Transformation briefing on the “NDC unwind” on which Jim Herrmann recently briefed WestPac. This “unwind” is underway in Chicago; all NDCs will be following suit.
The NDC unwind initiative is to explore changes in processing at the NDC, such as eliminating originating processing of marketing/periodicals and retail ground processing while continuing to provide excellent service. Every NDC will need an individual plan. The plan is to modify and possibly eliminate the NDC to NDC network. A briefing will be provided on this initiative.
NAPS believes this process falls under the 60-day consultative review process as described in Title 39 Section 1004 (d) … “(1) In order to facilitate consultation and direct participation by the supervisors’ organization in the planning and development of programs under subsection (b) of this section that affect members of the supervisors’ organization, the Postal Service shall—
(A) provide in writing a description of any proposed program and the reasons for it;
(B) give the organization at least 60 days (unless extraordinary circumstances require earlier action) to review and make recommendations with respect to the program; and
(C) give any recommendation from the organization full and fair consideration in deciding whether or how to proceed with the program.”
As this process already is underway, NAPS is requesting the USPS adhere to the requirements of the law in consulting on the “NDC Unwind Process” and the RP&DC National Transportation Network that involves logistical changes to the USPS Transportation Network.
NAPS will be invited to future briefings on the changes to NDCs and establishment of RPDCs. NAPS will be notified, as part of the consultative process, on changes to management staffing criteria or changes in the duties and responsibilities of EAS managers and supervisors.
Changes to processing windows, clearance times and networks are not considered programs and not subject to the consultation process pursuant to Title 39, 1004 (d). However, feedback and recommendations by NAPS’ president are welcomed and encouraged.
Agenda Item #9
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced on Sept. 21, 2022, that all EAS employees would be receiving a 3% pay raise to be reflected in paychecks received Oct. 14, 2022. There was no exclusionary language to be found in this statement.
The USPS imposed a cutoff date of Aug. 27, meaning EAS employees with a promotion date of Aug. 27, 2022, or later were not eligible for the 3% increase. This date appears to be arbitrary. Why was this date chosen as the cutoff?
The PMG’s Sept. 21, 2022, memorandum, “Non-bargaining Pay Increase,” was intended to recognize high-level efforts by the management team throughout fiscal year 2022 and during the continued impact of the global pandemic and record inflation and reward them for their performance. Employees working in EAS positions prior to Aug. 27, 2022, were eligible for a 3% basic salary increase.
Bargaining-unit employees already were scheduled for a salary increase on Aug. 27. Offering an additional 3% increase to those bargaining-unit employees who were promoted between Aug. 27 and Sept. 24 would result in those employees possibly receiving a higher salary than other EAS employees with greater tenure that performed at that high level during FY22.
Agenda Item #10
NAPS asked what the policy is regarding EAS Headquarters employees reporting off work. Are these Headquarters employees permitted to use the 1-800 number to call in for leave? Some Headquarters EAS employees are being told they cannot use that system, while others are permitted to use it.
Access to the Enterprise Leave Request Application (eLRA) is at the discretion of the functional vice president.
Agenda Item #11
NAPS has been made aware by EAS Headquarters employees that under the ongoing HERO goal-setting process, functional leaders were inputting employee goals into the HERO system. Also, the goals were the same throughout the functional area. This appears to be in violation of the presentation given to Headquarters employees in which EAS employees were told they would jointly develop and input their goals into the HERO system.
If the USPS intends to enter employee goals and the goals are the same, how does this line up with the USPS’ stated purpose of HERO to allow Headquarters EAS employees to have actual line-of-sight goals and input those into the HERO system?
Evaluators can assign goals to communicate business priorities and performance objectives to their employees. Assigning goals facilitates employee involvement in high-impact business initiatives and drives alignment across common goals.
Headquarters employees have been encouraged to input their own goals. Headquarters employees and their evaluators have been provided training on having meaningful conversations when goals are established, primarily at the start of the fiscal year.
Evaluators can assign goals. The goal setting requires employee involvement; the employee’s individual performance/success with those goals are measured. This specifically recognizes the individual’s contribution toward the goal. NAPS was informed that establishment of the Functional Effectiveness indicators, with indicators specific to the function that the employee works, provides line-of-site goals for employees.
This line of site applies to all employees, regardless whether the employee is under the HERO Performance Pilot or the traditional Performance Evaluation System (PES). Employees assigned to Headquarters are measured based on individual objectives/goals, as well as NPA indicators that include Functional Effectiveness indicators.
Agenda Item #12
At a recent NAPS branch meeting, the resident officers were asked to find out why EAS Headquarters employees have to reserve parking spots at Postal Service Headquarters 15 days in advance. And they must do this each day. The employees indicate there normally are plenty of parking places available. What is the rationale for this practice?
Before the start of the pandemic, March 2020, daily reservations for employee parking were not permitted. Headquarters parking requests were submitted by application to the parking coordinator. Once approved, the appropriate fees were collected. Priority was given to employees in the following order:
1. Postal executives
2. PCES and pay band
As of June 21, 2021, the new parking process and parking app was developed to allow employees, regardless of level, returning to work at the L’Enfant Plaza Headquarters building an opportunity to submit requests for any available parking. Parking spaces on garage level C through F can be reserved up to 15 days in advance through the parking app at no charge beginning June 21, 2021, until further notice.
Due to the limited number of spaces, reservations are issued until all spaces are reserved. The parking restrictions have required additional modifications due to employees’ misuse of the app. Employees should cancel any reservation if they decide not to use a space on a specific day. Employees should
not reserve spaces for other employees. The following employees do not need to reserve spaces and are permanently assigned after annual parking fees are paid:
Although empty spaces in the garage give the impression these spaces are not reserved, the spaces likely are assigned permanently to an employee. That employee could be on travel, annual leave or on telework on a specific day.
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