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The March 30 consultative meeting was conducted during the NAPS spring Executive Board meeting; all board members were present. Representing the Postal Service were Bruce Nicholson, Paulita Wimbush and Tomica Duplessis, Labor Relations Policies & Programs.
Agenda Item #1
NAPS asked for a full briefing on the HERO process.
Kellie Calderon, USPS director of Compensation Programs, provided a briefing on the HERO Performance Pilot (see June 2023 issue, page 45).
Agenda Item #2
Based on an OIG report, many supervisor workhours are not properly recorded or transferred, which leads to numerous issues; specifically, 43% of supervisors indicated they had not been paid for additional hours they worked. As indicated in the report, USPS senior leadership agreed with the report’s findings.
NAPS asked what specific steps senior USPS leadership will take to ensure supervisors who are entitled to additional pay are compensated properly and not intimidated to incorrectly record their workhours.
Regarding NAPS’ statement that “43% of supervisors indicated they had not been paid for additional hours they worked,” per the OIG’s findings, this was due to supervisors not recording the workhours. The OIG’s findings were as follows:
“We interviewed a judgmental sample of 72 supervisors, including acting supervisors, and found that 31 (43%) reported working extra time that was not recorded in TACS. Also, 34 (47%) of the 72 supervisors stated there were circumstances where they were required to work through their lunch breaks… . This occurred because supervisors did not always follow procedures to record their extra hours by either using the time clock or a PS Form 1260.
“Ten supervisors cited reasons related to their perception of management’s expectations and possible consequences of working more hours than expected. Eight supervisors indicated management had instructed them to limit their extra straight time, while two supervisors stated they were afraid management would not allow the extra time or they may take some action against them because of the extra hours.”
Supervisors are eligible for additional pay when meeting eligibility of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM), 434.143, Eligible for FLSA-Exempt EAS Additional Pay:
“FLSA special-exempt employees in EAS-18 positions and below are eligible for EAS additional pay if authorized to work over 8.5 hours on a scheduled day or any hours on a nonscheduled day, even while on a temporary assignment such as to an OIC position. When authorized work exceeds 8.5 hours on a scheduled day, EAS additional pay is received for the first half hour as well as for the authorized work over 8.5 hours. Regular FLSA-exempt employees in EAS-23 positions and below positions except postmasters and officers-in-charge are eligible during the designated Christmas period provided they are authorized to work over 8.5 hours on a scheduled day or any hours on a nonscheduled day and the additional hours are spent directly supervising bargaining unit employees in mail processing or delivery functions.”
The OIG agreed with the Postal Service’s response that management would reiterate proper timekeeping procedures and emphasize the requirement for supervisors to adhere to their work schedules and record all hours, including extra hours.
Agenda Item #3
NAPS Headquarters has been made aware that while NDCs no longer process SCF letters and flats, this remains part of the Four Walls Service indicator as part of NPA. When and how will this be corrected?
We will present this concern to the NPA Committee for determination and ask NAPS for suggestions on measuring this indicator. Normally, the process for a scorecard that cannot generate a score would be to remove that indicator and redistribute the weight appropriately to the other indicators. The NPA Committee includes representatives from each function of the Postal Service, as well as from NAPS Headquarters.
Agenda Item #4
NAPS Headquarters requested the formula/algorithm that Postal Headquarters uses to calculate clerk complement for the HR Field Departments.
There is no established staffing criteria for the HR clerk jobs listed below. The HR clerks were established in 2017 per an agreement with APWU to add 362 jobs as a result of EAS desk audit results. The Postal Service allocated 362 of the total HR clerk craft count to the districts in 2017. Distribution was based on total employee count and the district made the determination on the specific job that would be established. The 362 jobs were redistributed following the 2020 restructure; the 362 jobs have remained.
Agenda Item #5
NAPS asked why an EAS Form 50 does not include tour, hours of work and NS days.
The Form 50 does not include the employee’s tour, hours of work or NS days. When the need to change an EAS schedule is determined for justifiable business reasons, the request is processed by submitting the appropriate forms in eHRSSC. The forms are processed by local field HR.
The schedule change information is stored in the Human Capital Enterprise System (HCES)—the warehouse for everything related to the employee. HCES information is output to other systems, such as TACS/eRMS for entering work-hours and leave and the HRSSC for job postings. Employee schedules also are output to webCOINS.
Agenda Item #6
NAPS asked what specifically is included in the national loading time average of 22 minutes, which was mentioned many times at the supervisors’ symposiums and is identified on the daily triangulation report. Why is the 22-minute load time being used as a hardline—not a guideline—when each carrier is different? This number is skewed based on parcel volume and other factors and should be removed from the report.
The National Average was gathered from every 3999 conducted in the country for calendar year 2021/generated from TIAREAP data. The 22 minutes is the mean of those load times based on 3999 data using clock rings and allocated DCD functions. This is a guideline (parameter) to measure load times.
Agenda Item #7
NAPS contended that geofence is not 100% accurate in the triangulation report. Currently, offices with routes delivering within the vicinity of an office are being picked up by the geofence as extending their loading time. Additionally, when a carrier returns to pick up a piece of another route to deliver and returns later, the geofence does not adjust to the additional street time. Based on these reports’ inaccuracies, this should be removed from the report.
There are instances where a carrier’s geo location is inaccurate, particularly in areas with poor cell reception and/or tall buildings, (e.g., New York City) that can disrupt it. The system could assume the carrier is within an office’s geofence when they are delivering across the street. That said, the number of carriers this affects is minimal compared to the total number of carriers out on the street every day. These issues would be in limited locations on limited routes; local management should be aware of these instances.
Agenda Item #8
NAPS contended that the triangulation report office time variance to 60 minutes is another inaccurate report. Currently, each route is evaluated based on mail volume and casing standards set in the M41 of 18 & 8, along with built-in line items and local MOUs for every office.
Several factors in the morning lower this number, such as 10-minute office breaks and vehicle checks, as well as safety and service talks. DOIS is a more accurate tool to measure office productivity—not a national, 60-minute, hardline number being used. This report should be removed.
This report is a guideline (parameter) to measure office performance and highlight offices and routes that exceed 60 minutes. It brings attention to local management and district leadership to investigate further to determine whether the excess to 60 minutes is justified.
Agenda Item #9
Labor Relations is a Headquarters function. NAPS asked what guidance, if any, has Labor given to the field on issuing corrective action. Who is to write the action? Who reviews the proposed action to ensure it is properly prepared and issued?
District Labor Relations is responsible for writing all 7-day and 14-day suspensions, as well as any removals. The field should contact their district Labor Relations for any guidance on corrective action.
Agenda Item #10
NAPS said EAS employees are carrying mail on city routes and rural routes. The Postal Service does pay certain levels of EAS employees when they do; hours are to be reported on Retail and Delivery Applications & Reports (RADAR). However, how specifically should these workhours be recorded?
If not properly recorded, a false picture is presented on many Operations reports. This is true on both city and rural routes. For example, rural 4240s are not accurate, DOIS earned workhours vs. actual work-hour reports are skewed.
Office and street time reports are not accurate, variance reports are skewed. Actual workhours and SPLY reports are skewed. SPLY workhours will not be accurate. NAPS requests that USPS Headquarters issues an SOP on how workhours used by EAS employees to sort, case and deliver mail should be distributed.
The Time and Attendance Collection System (TACS) site includes instructions on transferring workhours. The LTATS (Loan, Transfer and Training System) Module in TACS allows you to manually enter a transfer of hours for current or previous pay weeks to another LDC (Labor Distribution Code) within your office or to another Finance number/pay location.
The LTATS Entry Module is used to transfer total workhours, not individual employee hours. Therefore, LTATS can be used to combine workhours and overtime for multiple employees in a single transfer.
When transferring hours in LTATS, you can transfer only actual workhours and overtime hours. The TACS system will automatically create LTATS hours based on employee moves. If there are adjustments for prior pay weeks or from offices that do not have Timeclock (EBR) moves, they would be entered in this module.
Agenda Item #11
NAPS pointed out the Postal Service has purchased devices from Geotab so Vehicle Maintenance Facilities can monitor vehicles for performance. Currently, most VMF managers have not been granted access to the telematics system. When will VMF managers be granted access?
The Cyber Information Security Office (CISO) requires that users needing access to any postal system go through appropriate clearance and approval through the ARIS program. Because development time to build ARIS access into Geotab will take months, the IT team is building a temporary, albeit automated, PS Form 1357, Request for Computer Access, in order for VMF employees (EAS and craft) to obtain approval to access the system. All VMF employees will obtain access with differing levels according to their positions.
Agenda Item #12
NAPS asked what Fleet Management is doing to prepare for next generation delivery vehicles (NGDVs). Will all VMFs be able to handle NG-DVs regarding building size and lift capacity? Also, what is Fleet Management doing in terms of infrastructure to handle the new battery vehicles? What is the status regarding training/tools for VMF employees with NGDV and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) vehicles?
Fleet Management, in partnership with Engineering, NGDV PMO group, Safety and other stakeholders, conduct monthly and weekly meetings with the vehicle supplier to review program updates. Management is continually conducting route assessments to ensure NGDVs are deployed to routes where their capabilities are maximized and avoid locations where they may not be used (i.e., height restricted routes/parking).
Assessments have been conducted and we continue to reassess VMFs that may not have the ability or capacity to maintain NGDVs. Plans are in place to prioritize facility, equipment and tool upgrades as NGDVs are deployed. A training facility is being built at the NCED campus in Norman, OK, for our technicians to service NGDV and other COTS vehicles.
Agenda Item #13
NAPS asked why only supervisors in Level-22 offices and above were allowed to attend the delivery symposiums. When will supervisors in offices below Level-22 receive the training and information provided at those symposiums?
The success of the supervisor symposiums is being assessed. We will inform NAPS of any further training after that assessment is complete.
Agenda Item #14
NAPS has asked for specific pay data from the Postal Service several times, but it has not been provided, in violation of Title 39 of the U.S. Code. When will NAPS receive this information in accordance with the law?
This matter will be discussed outside this forum.
Agenda Item #15
NAPS has been made aware that many districts use unfunded positions/details in Human Resources called the HR Support Group or an Integration Team. Local offices are pressured from Postal Headquarters/district managers to get carrier routes to base or better and get CSV to 100%.
In addition, there are EAS T-time usage restrictions and offices with limited EAS employee coverage. NAPS asked that these details be posted as regular positions for these teams if they are so necessary and important.
We are unaware of an HR Support Group/Integration Team. The HR function, although they interact with CRDO and post offices, is part of the Headquarters structure rather than assigned to a district.
Agenda Item #16
NAPS asked how criteria is met for retention rates in NPA. Can this be adjusted to not include employees leaving because they find better jobs, better pay, go to school or find a job in the field they wanted, to name just a few? This should be changed to only include retention under the control of offices.
Retention was a FY22 NPA goal. For FY23, the metric was changed to career and non-career separations. Detailed reasons for employees leaving are not recorded, but exit surveys are conducted.
Nature of Action (NOA) codes—resignation, separations, terminations, removals and retirements—are recorded. For NPA purposes retirements, removals and separations for cause (charges pending/pre-appointment condition) are excluded.
Based on exit surveys provided by employees leaving the USPS, major factors for leaving the organization revolve around work environment, supervision and work schedules, which all are within our control.
Agenda Item #17
NAPS contended that C360 cases not under the control of offices must be answered; these include packages stuck at the plant or in transit for excess periods of time. As a result, these cases cannot be accurately answered, yet the customer might give a bad rating because they did not get the package in a certain time frame. The USPS only should count what is under the control of local offices, such as customer packages arriving in the office and not delivered or complaints about a carrier.
C360 Package Inquiry Service Requests are routed based on the destination address of the package involved in the inquiry, meaning the inquiry will be routed to the local post office that serves the destination address on the package. Staff at the local post office serve as the assigned point of contact for the customer.
In the case of a package that has not reached the delivery unit at the time the customer opened their service request, multiple tools exist to enable local post office users to assist their customers. Single Package Look Up (SPLU) is linked into the C360 Service Request and allows users to pull up any images captured of the package, which enables them to see if the address label or barcode has any problems that could be causing the delay, look to see if the package shows any signs of damage, etc.
Examining the tracking record in either SPLU or Product Tracking and Reporting (PTR), the LPO user can determine if the package is looping and contact the appropriate processing facility Package Inquiry Team in Outlook (see below) to ask for their assistance. The District Consumer Affairs manager also can provide guidance in resolving the issue.
Service requests related to packages traveling through the network are created only if certain conditions are met:
1. The package has a real “possession” event, meaning it has at least one physical scan on that package. Implied scans or pre-possession events are not proof the USPS really has possession of a package; Email Us prevents customers from being able to open service requests on any package not yet in USPS possession. This functionality was added in 2021.
2. The package must be in USPS possession for at least five days before we allow a service request to be created. Additionally, research has shown that between 70-80% of the time, if the customer had waited just two more days before opening their service request, the package would have been delivered.
When customers call the Care Center about a package traveling in our network, we now explain we believe the package will be delivered in another two days and offer the customer the option of allowing us to call them back (text and email also are options) to give them an update on the package, rather than allowing them to immediately open a service request.
Those measures have been highly effective in reducing the number of package inquiry service requests related to packages traveling through our network. The specific numbers vary from office to office, but, in the current state, as much as 80% of all package inquiries received by an LPO are about packages that have reached the delivery unit—scanned delivered, but not received by the customer—and scanning integrity issues—false scans applied to packages by either craft or EAS employees to “stop-the-clock,” etc..
Concerning the survey question referenced in this concern, the question we ask the customer is as follows: “Overall, how satisfied are you with the quality of service you received in response to the issue?”
We are asking the customer to tell us how the C360 user(s) who worked on their service request provided the assistance needed. The answer to that question is directly influenced by the way the C360 user(s) assisted the customer.
Did they empathize with the customer and apologize for the situation or brush them off as “not my problem?” Did they provide communication and updates to the customer throughout the process? Did they ensure the service request was not closed prematurely, giving the appropriate time for the matter to be investigated and resolved?
If, ultimately, the package was not found, did the LPO C360 user(s) involved provide the customer clear guidance on how to file a claim, open a Missing Mail Search (where applicable) or advise the customer to contact the sender to let them know if an uninsured package was never received? And throughout all of this, did they maintain a kind, respectful attitude in their attempts to assist the customer?
All those actions are what influences a customer’s perception of the quality of service provided them during the investigation, handling and resolution of their service request. Even when bad news is the only news we have to provide the customer, we see positive responses to the OSAT question when provided in an empathetic way with clear communication that shows the customer we did everything we could to assist them.
Agenda Item #18
NAPS contended that EAS employees in Support functions—HR personnel from Texas District 2 in the Houston District—were denied administrative leave for an ice storm that crippled the state in February 2021. The local NAPS branch went through district USPS leadership.
All craft and EAS employees from delivery and the plant were paid administrative leave for the days the entire state was without power and roads were undrivable. However, the HR group never was paid administrative leave.
Texas-2 HR Manager Seritia Clark told the NAPS branch president that District Manager Chenise LeDoux had made the decision not to pay them. Clark was not going to change the decision, even though, technically, HR did not report to the district manager.
NAPS requested that HR EAS employees be paid administrative leave for Feb. 15 and 16, 2021.
Requests for administrative leave need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. We are unaware of the local determinations for these decisions for a time period of over two years ago. This should be directed to the area office.
This event occurred during the pandemic; most administrative positions were working remotely or had the capability of teleworking. Employees on annual leave, sick leave or LWOP are not eligible for administrative leave.
519 Administrative Leave
“Administrative leave is absence from duty authorized by appropriate postal officials without charge to annual or sick leave and without loss of pay.”
519.2 Special Conditions
519.21 Acts of God
“Acts of God involve community disasters such as fire, flood, or storms. The disaster situation must be general rather than personal in scope and impact. It must prevent groups of employees from working or reporting to work.”
519.212 Authorizing Administrative Leave for Acts of God
“The following provisions concern administrative leave for acts of God:
“a. Postmasters and other installation heads have authority to approve administrative leave for up to 1 day.
“b. District managers and Postal Career Executive Service (PCES) plant managers may authorize administrative leave beyond 1 day, but not to exceed a total of 3 days, for their installation and those reporting to it.
“c. District managers and senior or lead plant managers may approve administrative leave for periods up to and in excess of 3 days for their installation and those reporting to it.”
519.213 Determining the Cause of Absence
“Postmasters and other appropriate postal officials determine whether absences from duty allegedly due to ‘acts of God’ were, in fact, due to such cause or whether the employee or employees in question could, with reasonable diligence, have reported for duty.”
519.216 Employees on Annual Leave, Sick Leave, or LWOP
“Employees on annual leave, sick leave, or LWOP remain in such status. They are not entitled to administrative leave.”
Agenda Item #19
NAPS asked how hold mail and noticeleft parcels will be handled in S&DCs. Is the plan for customers to drive extra miles to the S&DC to pick up the mail or will customers pick up the mail at their former post office (the retail unit)? Will S&DCs have a retail window?
The purpose of establishing S&DCs is to reduce transportation and mail handling costs, as well as provide postal customers additional services. S&DCs will allow for easier standardization and management of operations, while improving building and operating conditions for employees.
On establishment of an S&DC, carriers in nearby facilities and clerks were shifted from their prior installation to the S&DC. There was no impact to customer service; clerks assigned to window operations remained. The prior installations and their retail units still service customers of their ZIP code rather than the S&DC.
Agenda Item #20
NAPS Headquarters has heard from supervisors in the field they are given scanning instructions on how to scan parcels that have been brought back in the evening. For example, due to darkness or other safety concerns, road closures or extreme weather events, such as flooding, to name just a few. What are the correct end-of-day scanning instructions for parcels that, for one reason or another, are brought back undelivered by an employee?
Packages should be attempted/delivered at the point of delivery most of the time. If there is an act of God/extreme weather, then, if approved from their MPOO/DM, they would use “Weather Delay” scan. These packages should go out for delivery when it’s safe to do so.
If there is a safety concern due to road closures, weather-impacted loop/street, they would scan “No Access” at the closest point of the no access (unless dangerous to do so). These packages should go out for delivery when safe to do so.
If the packages were not attempted and brought back, they should be scanned “Delivery Delay.” This is not a stop the clock, but simple information for the customer. These packages should go out for delivery the following business day.