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NAPS President Ivan D. Butts, Executive Vice President Chuck Mulidore and Secretary/Treasurer Jimmy Warden attended the May 30 consultative meeting via Zoom. Representing the Postal Service were Bruce Nicholson and James Timmons, Labor Relations Policy Administration.
Agenda Item #1
NAPS requested reconsideration of the USPS decision ending the temporary extension of modified pay provisions for EAS-18 and above. This request for reconsideration is due to the ongoing COVID pandemic; recent CDC data documents a sharp increase in COVID positivity cases being reported across the country. With this increase comes a decrease in employee availability, which has been a leading cause of EAS employees being required to work longer hours and, at times, deliver mail and essential supplies to customers since early 2020. NAPS requested that the modification of pay provisions remain in effect indefinitely until such time that the CDC has declared the COVID pandemic concluded.
All COVID-related MOUs have expired for non-bargaining and bargaining employees. Criteria and time periods for isolation have decreased, as recommended by the CDC, and have continued to decrease over the past year. The Postal Service is posting and filling EAS positions expeditiously. These factors contribute to higher availability of non-bargaining employees. This pay modification will not be extended.
Agenda Item #2
NAPS asked for an explanation why EAS employees are being required to video via Zoom Gemba walks on their phones. What is the rationale? Are these walks being recorded at the district or some other level? How are privacy concerns being addressed?
The Gemba walks via Zoom videos are virtual audits and began in 2020. The process is to be recorded rather than specialists performing work activities/audits on site. The recording is used for analysis and process failures such as identifying delayed mail and parcels; the recordings are done by Retail and Delivery Operations Command Center specialists.
These employees are tasked with identifying and evaluating the health of offices. The invitations to conduct these Zoom activities primarily are sent to offices identified through various reports based on performance and compliance. One example could be an office not reporting delayed or curtailed mail over several days, yet significant service failures are identified. The videos are not shared with other departments.
The Zoom Gemba walk is no different than specialists performing physical audits in a station. If the Zoom Gemba walk does not identify any concerns, there is no onsite audit. If issues are identified, recovery procedures are put in place and may include physical audits and training.
Training was provided to NAPS on Operational Excellence, “Go to Gemba,” during the 2020 fall NAPS Executive Board meeting.
Agenda Item #3
NAPS asked for the rationale for the Redline Process implemented in units across the country. Carriers with mail in their hands are being told not to cross certain red lines painted on the floor. EAS employees are being required to certify their units are in compliance with the SOP for that process. How are EAS employees supposed to monitor this process with the myriad other duties they are required to perform?
The Redline Process has been in place for many years and is a helpful tool for supervisors to audit mail that has been returned to the office after carriers complete on-the-street duties. The Back Door Audits are conducted to ensure all deliverable mail has been delivered and the supervisor is made aware of any circumstances of non-delivery.
The red line is intended to be a visual for carriers and helps the supervisor in conducting back door audits. Carrier and management activities should be in accordance with Handbook M-39 and M-41. Requiring all carriers to stand behind a red line or supervisors to wait at the red line for every carrier to return to the office to complete an audit is not the expectation.
Agenda Item #4
NAPS requested the policy and procedures for upgrading VMF managers. What is the criteria for level upgrades for VMF managers? As background, VMFs have received, in some cases, hundreds of additional Mercedes vans with more on the way. Headquarters has told VMF managers that no pay-level increases will occur until the final deployments are completed (whenever that is).
At that time, a decision on the appropriate pay levels could be determined. This delay is unacceptable. VMFs manage increased numbers of employees and vehicles while this delay is occurring, without additional compensation.
There is no frequency to change the grade of a VMF manager up or down. We discussed this in the past and agreed we should not establish a frequency that upgrades a manager’s level, then down-grades the manager’s level within weeks of the upgrade.
We do not intend to wait to study the VMF structure, levels of managers and complement of supervisors until all vehicles are deployed, but will revisit this in the coming months. Once we are ready to make changes to the formula that establishes VMF managers and supervisors, we will include NAPS in the development of any changes.
Agenda Item #5
The Safety Specialist TL job was abolished under the most recent district restructure. NAPS successfully fought for this position to receive
a proper SDA based on the levels of employees supervised. NAPS has been made aware that, under that EAS restructure, all these positions were eliminated, despite the successor position being required to do the same work, but now is not receiving the SDA.
The supervision of driver safety instructors (DSIs) continues under this successor position. NAPS believes this position should have the proper SDA reinstated.
NAPS identified an issue in 2018 with the former Safety Specialist TL position being required to supervise bargaining-unit employees. The position was studied and, therefore, added to the SDA chart. There was no “fight” over the matter. The Safety Specialist SR position will be reviewed to determine the appropriate authority over the DSIs and make any appropriate changes.
Agenda Item #6
The USPS.com/careers website shows only the first 100 postings. After that, a person has to search for the actual office to find a vacancy. This is hindering hiring in some areas. Perhaps when hiring postcards are sent out, wording can be added that allows for a keyword search for a particular office.
This site allows for full-text search by keyword. One feature of the new hiring system is that it provides maps for applicants to identify areas to apply for positions.
Agenda Item #7
NAPS asked if the USPS is working on allowing lead-7 clerks to have full access to all the TACS programs. Currently, the APWU’s understanding is they have the right to pull TACS reports, yet they do not have access to do so.
The lead clerk clock office role in TACS is specific to lead clerks. This is not the same access level provided to supervisors. Here is a list of the reports lead clerks can access from TACS:
Agenda Item #8
Currently, the lead-7 clerk does not have the capacity to go back a week or longer and pull station summary reports in TACS. Does the USPS plan on allowing them to do so; if so, when? If not, why not?
According to Headquarters Payroll, lead clerks with the lead clerk clock office role in TACS have access to pull the Station Summary report.
Agenda Item #9
Currently, lead-7 TACS backup clerks have a lag time of days before they are allowed to actually have TACS access again to replace a lead-7 clerk when they are out on sick or annual leave. This is a great inconvenience to the operation and needs to be addressed. NAPS asked if the USPS has any plans—currently or in the near future—to correct this situation.
Facilities with more than one lead clerk should ensure that the other lead clerk(s) in the office is trained and has access to TACS in order to provide backup timekeeping in the absence of the lead clerk who primarily performs timekeeping duties. Offices with one lead clerk can have up to three backup Level-6 clerks trained with access to TACS. A clerk who is detailed to a lead clerk position must have a PS Form 1723 completed and on file, including the name of the lead clerk for whom they are backfilling.
There are several steps in the approval process once a request is made in eAccess:
Headquarters Payroll is creating programming via eAccess for backup lead clerks to have access to TACS.
Agenda Item #10
NAPS asked when delivery units can expect carriers to have access to move from operation to operation with their scanners to be active.
The MDD-TR/MIO Timekeeping National Rollout still is on schedule. It will be implemented in nine area phases between May 21, 2022, and May 20, 2023. Also, referencing the March 22, notification, the Postal Service has determined to continue the MDD/MIO timekeeping pilot in the existing pilot locations through the national rollout.
This will allow for additional collection of data as it relates to enhancements to the technology and improving the user experience. This will include both the clerks and carriers currently testing the applications.
The extension of the pilot will continue from April 23 and will remain in place through the national rollout with Phase 1 tentatively scheduled to begin on May 21.
Agenda Item #11
NAPS asked if Level-7 clerks are required to have eRMS access, thus enabling them to enter approved leave. If so, this could allow a craft employee to see confidential information; for example, corrective action notes.
Enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS) is a management tool accessible to management and used to monitor and manage employee attendance. Lead clerks do not have access to eRMS.
In accordance with the Clerical Work and Clerk Craft MOUs, employees assigned the lead clerk office roll in TACS are not prohibited from entering supervisor-approved leave into TACS. Entering supervisor-approved leave entries into TACS is a lead clerk duty.
With respect to entering leave in both TACS and eRMS, having multiple leave-entry systems can result in leave being entered incorrectly or multiple times, causing clock ring errors, which could lead to employees not being paid correctly and making costly pay adjustments. Also, eRMS is fully integrated with the TACS application (excluding RTACS and Timecard Offices), but TACS does not integrate information to eRMS.
In accordance with the Sept. 7, 2021, memo from Simon Storey, vice president, Human Resources, all leave-entry capabilities in TACS will be disabled after the FY22 peak season. ERMS is the USPS official source system for managing employee leave.
Agenda Item #12
NAPS requested a briefing on “mega units” being planned by USPS Headquarters that will combine multiple delivery units and plant operations under one roof. How will this impact Customer Service EAS staffing and plant EAS staffing? Because this can impact EAS staffing, why was NAPS not consulted on this process?
The Sorting and Delivery Centers (S&DCs) are newly established and in the concept phase. A briefing will be provided to NAPS. Bargaining and non-bargaining staffing is yet to be determined; therefore, no proposal was developed and sent to NAPS.
Delegates at the 2021 NAPS National Convention expressed by resolution the following items or discussion:
That USPS Headquarters, with NAPS officers, jointly creates a formula for SWCs determination that takes into account as many indicators as possible to effectively develop a system whereby local units are properly staffed with numbers of frontline EAS supervisors necessary to successfully and profitably operate a local unit.
The Postal Service has engaged NAPS as a work team to discuss supervising staffing and explore modifications to the model.
That one USPS vehicle be provided for EAS employees use to each Level-18 to -20 office, two USPS vehicles be provided to each Level-21 to -22 office and three USPS vehicles be provided to each Level-24 to -26 office.
This resolution is not adopted. The USPS is updating the Admin Program that would assign vehicles to certain positions and others in a motor pool. These vehicles will be available to EAS employees for use whether they are assigned to the position or assigned to the pool.