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Displacing EAS Employees During a Pandemic?
By Dioenis D. Perez
Long Island, NY, Branch 202 Vice President and Postmaster of Syosset
Christmas is right around the corner. It’s been a difficult year, now with the stress of the holidays, busy mailing season and still living with COVID-19. It hasn’t been a normal year; everyone understands this, except USPS Headquarters regarding its EAS employees.
By the time this issue of The Postal Supervisor magazine is published, some EAS employees in Levels-18 to -22 offices may have lost their positions and were forced to either move to another office or into a mail processing plant EAS position. It’s indisputable: These EAS employees now will face additional hardships with their families during a pandemic.
USPS leadership would argue and say it’s business, not personal. Oh, really? Then why wasn’t it a problem to roll out and update approximately 20 memorandums of understandings (MOUs) through Dec. 31? The MOUs were updated every 60 to 90 days since February. These MOUs principally benefit all the craft unions.
On Sept. 18, I received a NAPS Headquarters email listing all 20 MOUs that were approved by the USPS. I was particularly interested in looking for one that would benefit EAS employees. It doesn’t exist.
For years, the USPS has been trying to reimage itself by spending money on EAS engagement training and emails and employee surveys. And now, pandemic MOUs looking to make it a friendlier and more caring work environment for all, not just for craft employees.
There has not been one MOU for EAS employees during the pandemic. Then again, if you’re a people company and you support an engaged, positive and caring working environment, you wouldn’t think to have one, right? Wrong! A MOU that would stop excessing Customer Service supervisors because their offices fell below the SWCs zone of tolerance during a pandemic is now warranted!
Doesn’t the USPS know what their areas are doing during a pandemic regarding eliminating EAS employees from offices through the SWCs process? Offices that are losing an EAS employee because the areas identified them below their SWCs are, indeed, below their complement levels through no fault of the office.
The areas should have taken the time to investigate first and ask the district for reasons why offices are understaffed, instead of forcing the districts to remove EAS employees from their offices. If they had done this first, they would have learned why an office fell below staffing levels before displacing an EAS employee and negatively impacting their family’s lives during a pandemic.
Many offices fell below their staffing levels because of resignations, retirements and COVID-19. These offices don’t control the hiring; they’re short in authorized CCAs, PSE and PTFs. Why punish offices that are paying a high overtime percentage because they’re short-staffed? It’s not their fault.
The overtime percentage is warranted to provide delivery and window services daily. Postmasters are working nearly 30 hours in the craft each week because of this. The areas and Postal Headquarters should be ashamed of themselves for removing an EAS employee from their office during a pandemic.
What’s really broken with the SWCs process is the communication between the areas and districts while trying to resolve each office’s problem. Instead, they take the easy path by quickly removing an EAS employee—without considering how they disrupt that EAS employee’s and their family’s lives while working in a pandemic.
With dignity and respect, always.