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Inspired to Work Hard for NAPS Members
In this third interview with the NAPS resident officers, Secretary/Treasurer Chuck Mulidore talks about NAPS’ successful foray into social media, the challenges of growing membership and the options moving forward after the dismissal of NAPS’ lawsuit against the Postal Service. Interview by Karen Young, NAPS editor.
Question: You have spearheaded efforts to get NAPS involved in multiple social media platforms. What made you decide to expand NAPS’ presence via these methods?
Answer: What we have seen over the past several years is younger employees being promoted to EAS ranks, many of whom were CCAs or PSEs. I believed it was important to try to reach out to these younger supervisors through other methods than the traditional sources. Plus, we launched a new NAPS website in 2017 and thought it was important to drive member traffic to this new website to seek information or answer questions. Overall, our social media outreach efforts have been quite successful.
Question: Membership and the importance of signing nonmembers is another area that you stress; over 10,000 EAS employees are not members. What do you find most challenging in trying to convince these employees to join NAPS?
Answer: Part of the challenge for us is that, on average, approximately 150 to 300 members leave NAPS each month, mostly through retirements, but also other means. Each March and September, EAS employees may cancel their NAPS membership via Form 1188. We have a share of those, as well, for a variety of reasons.
So, we have to sign on average 200 to 300 members each month just to break even, which we do regularly. The challenge is to get significantly above that number to make a real impact on those 10,000 plus nonmembers. We know these nonmembers need to be members of NAPS—not only for the high-quality representation NAPS offers, but for all the various opportunities NAPS promotes. These include information-sharing, fellowship and training, as well as our legislative work on Capitol Hill on behalf of EAS employees and the Postal Service.
Question: What motived you to decide to run for the secretary/treasurer position? What part of the job do you enjoy most?
Answer: When President Louis Atkins announced his retirement in 2016, I believed it was an opportunity to continue to advance the organization, considering my background in operations, having been an MPOO and MOPS, as well as a manager and postmaster. I have been a NAPS member since 1998, serving in various organizational capacities, and a member of the Executive Board since 2008. So, my love of NAPS led me to seek to become a resident officer.
I enjoy all aspects of managing the organization’s finances, as well as all the varied functions of being the national secretary/treasurer. But, the best part of the job is the ability to meet members all across our country, talk to them firsthand and personally deliver a message from NAPS Headquarters at meetings, conventions and training seminars. Our members are the lifeblood of the organization and inspire me to work hard every day on their behalf.
Question: How have you adjusted to working during the pandemic? Has NAPS Headquarters been able to keep operations running and continue responding to members’ queries and issues?
Answer: In March, just as the pandemic was really beginning to take hold across the world, the resident officers made a decision to close NAPS Headquarters for our safety and, most importantly, the safety of our staff. But we realized that the business of NAPS had to go on, especially at such a challenging time for the Postal Service and, thus, for our members.
So, we purchased laptops for our staff with features that allowed them to work from home. They have done a great job maintaining the business of NAPS throughout the most challenging of times. We also discovered that the “CARES Act” provided some relief for nonprofit organizations that made a commitment to keeping their employees working, as NAPS did. That has allowed us to take a credit on our payroll taxes over the next few quarters, so our decision to be a good employer also financially benefitted our organization.
Question: You have written a number of columns for the magazine on the Postal Service’s pay-for-performance system regarding its many shortcomings. Do you see any indications the USPS is working on trying to improve PFP?
Answer: Unfortunately, no. The USPS had a perfect opportunity to repair that system after the fact-finding panel’s report came out that unanimously declared the PFP system did not meet the statutory requirements of Title 39. Instead, senior postal leadership chose to attack the validity of the fact-finding panel’s recommendations and not implement any of the necessary changes that would lead to a fair and equitable EAS pay system. That is what led to our decision to seek injunctive relief in federal court to force the Postal Service to abandon its outdated and counter-productive pay system.
Question: On July 17, a federal trial court dismissed NAPS’ lawsuit against the Postal Service that sought to achieve a more fair and just compensation system for EAS employees, as well as allow NAPS to represent postmasters and Headquarters and area personnel. The judge indicated in his ruling that, to do so, Congress would need to modify Title 39. What have been your reactions to this ruling? What do you say to members?
Answer: The federal judge’s ruling essentially said NAPS did not have standing to sue the USPS in federal district court, although we have done so several times in the past. His ruling did not focus on the merits of the case. The judge referenced a section of Title 39 that indicated Congress had provided a mechanism to change Title 39 from time to time by appeal to Congress.
In other words, have Congress change the law to address the EAS pay system, as well as the representation issues NAPS raised in its lawsuit. Our members are rightfully concerned with what follows next. We have assured them NAPS will review all its options, from appealing the decision to leaning heavily on Congress to revamp the law. More to come!
Question: Do you still consider working for the Postal Service a promising career for someone who is new to the workforce?
Answer: Yes, I do, as long as we can right-size the Postal Service, particularly through legislative relief by Congress. The Postal Service has been an excellent gateway to the middle class for decades; that needs to continue. Surveys continue to reveal the USPS is the most trusted federal agency. And—with the right senior leadership, proper oversight by Congress and legislative fixes that will allow the Postal Service to survive—this essential government agency can thrive for another 245 years.
We are duty-bound to serve the American people. If we can refocus the Postal Service back to that core mission, it can remain a promising place for employees to grow in their careers and benefit their families.
Question: NAPS has directed a thoughtful, sound and safe approach to managing its investment portfolio on behalf of its members. Given the disastrous state of the economy, largely because of COVID-19, what impact will the financial markets have on NAPS investments—short and long term?
Answer: As we all know, the stock market has been on a roller coaster ride for months. It definitely has had an impact on our investment portfolio, but the investment strategy NAPS has is fairly conservative—built to weather the economic storms over the long term. We have a solid and strong membership base, NAPS owns the recently named Vincent A. Palladino building in Alexandria, VA, and our investment portfolio is well-funded. Overall, NAPS remains financially strong. I’m confident NAPS is well-prepared to meet the challenges of the future.