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In the Right Direction, But Still Far to Go
By Ivan D. Butts
NAPS National President
Hello, my NAPS brothers and sisters. I wrote this column as I wrapped up participating in the third of six Chief Retail and Delivery Office (CRDO) supervisor symposiums held in various locations throughout the United States. I applaud the work of Angela Curtis, vice president, Delivery Operations, who planned and arranged these events. The symposiums marked what USPS leadership coined “the fulfillment of investment in EAS employees outlined in the PMG’s ‘Delivering for America’ 10-plan.” As is my nature, I would rather have seen this investment be more money in the pockets of EAS employees who deliver America’s mail.
Regardless, I’m thankful for the work of Dr. Joshua Colin and his CRDO team. They brought the resources and experience needed to make these events profitable in resetting the learned and developed skills of EAS employees who deliver for America.
I want to share some key takeaways from the symposiums I attended. The points I highlight, unfortunately, are the same points raised after any Postal Service training that focuses on EAS employees maintaining what leadership believes regarding “Operational Standards.” I put that term in quotations not because it’s false, but because it remains unattainable for reasons I will discuss.
At first, though, I was ecstatic when I heard Colin exclaim from his leadership level that he wants frontline EAS employees to act with integrity when reporting curtailed and delayed volume and undelivered packages. These employees must properly record the mail and packages.
This is clear messaging EAS employees need to take back with them and follow. Colin’s acknowledgment that frontline EAS employees are being coerced, bullied and threatened to commit falsification is partly from the argument NAPS has made for years that the messaging is watered down as it filters down.
When I heard Colin say, “I know they are doing it and I’m going to tell you what to do about it,” I thought to myself, “What?! Game changer!” So, I waited and waited. But the symposium ended without hearing what to do about it other than the same “Don’t do it” spoken to leadership over the years and watered down to “Don’t make me look bad” to frontline EAS employees.
What do you do with this direct message you heard from Colin, chief Retail and Delivery officer and executive vice president? You must implement the directive and document when or if you are called on to act without integrity by those only looking to “not look bad.”
You must clarify what they intend by their statements: “All scans must be cleared before you go home” and “All clock ring errors must be cleared before you go home.” We know what they are saying is if you falsify data, you can go home to your family.
But we can’t do that. We must follow the clear direction from Colin and affirmed in this article. Just don’t do it!
However, suppose local leadership gives you a written directive to act against the clear direction you received from Colin and affirmed in this article. In that case, you must look at USPS policy and procedures according to ELM 665:
665.15 Obedience to Orders
“Employees must obey the instructions of their supervisors. If an employee has reason to question the propriety of a supervisor’s order, the individual must nevertheless carry out the order and may immediately file a protest in writing to the official in charge of the installation or may appeal through official channels [emphasis added].” (https://www.uspsoig.gov/hotline)
I’m not saying the symposiums were not the most significant engagement events I ever witnessed in my 30-plus years of NAPS advocacy; they were. However, there still are points of clarification and statements made through which we must work:
We need to break these points down further; look to my upcoming columns on these issues.