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"Give yourselves a round of applause for helping get postal reform legislation passed last year.”
He told delegates 2022 was a record-setting year for the Supervisors’ Political Action Committee (SPAC), including spending a record amount of money. “Thanks for allowing us to do that,” he said. “Our focus is on 2024; it will be a huge year for us, SPAC-wise, because of the elections. One way to be at the table, driving our message, is through SPAC. Get involved in the ‘Drive for 5.’ You can automatically contribute from your paycheck—$5 or $10. That’s an investment in your future and your career.”
Mulidore introduced National Auxiliary President Laurie D. Butts. “I can’t talk enough about all they’re doing for us,” he offered. “Get involved in your local auxiliary; keep them growing. I appreciate Laurie and all the Auxiliary does for us.”
NAPS Director of Legislative & Political Affairs Bob Levi started his presentation with the song, “Getting to Know You,” from the musical “The King and I,” with photos of the 90 new members of Congress on the screen. “Part of what we’re doing this week,” he explained, “is getting to know a lot of new members. Our first-timers will get to know Congress first-hand.”
Levi told delegates they are the leaders and vanguard of legislative activism for NAPS and all of the USPS’ 47,000 EAS employees. “It’s important to step up to the plate and take leadership,” he urged, “because you are the leaders of the Postal Ser-vice.”
He talked about the SPAC Café and opportunities for NAPS members to contribute.
“When members of Congress see Chuck and me, we represent policy,” he said. “And I hope they see two very knowledgeable individuals. When Ivan was in that position, he, too, reflected that idea—knowledgeable and passionate promoters of the USPS and its EAS employees. Our goal is to represent each of you with every engagement of Congress.”
Levi discussed the current Congress, including leadership of both parties. With narrow margins in both the House and Senate, how can NAPS influence policy? “Right now if you can sway the opinion of five members one way, that’s consequential in policy decisions,” he said. Some low-hanging fruit congressional budget-cutters may target are CSRS, FERS, FEHPB and, potentially, the Postal Service.
Levi displayed a graphic labeled “The Legislative Spin Cycle:” At 12 o’clock, NAPS establishes and publicizes its priorities. At 3 o’clock is LTS, which is NAPS’ opportunity for advocacy, although it could extend up to 12 o’clock as advocacy should be year-round.
Delegates received specially designed NAPS brochures to leave with their lawmakers this week that provided space to fill in their names and contact information. “During the year,” Levi explained, “they can contact you because you are the postal experts. This will encourage a higher degree of year-round engagement with your representative and senators.
“You are the key legislative point-person in your district. That puts a local face and contact with the lawmaker’s legislative assistant, which will extend NAPS’ advocacy throughout the year.”
At 6 o’clock on the legislative spin cycle, he confirmed, is congressional action that extends over a representative’s two-year term. Then, at 9 o’clock, is election accountability. After an election, the cycle starts over again. “That’s the cycle of which we have to be aware,” he said. “We control a lot of this through our advocacy and accountability.”
Levi discussed H.R. 594, the Postal Supervisors and Managers Fairness Act of 2023.
“This is our prime issue,” he stressed. “It’s not complicated; it’s straightforward. The legislation is about fairness and a process that has gone off the rails. It would establish a reasonable timetable for the consultative process over EAS pay and benefits. Simple, right?
“Next, if there is a disagreement with a pay package and NAPS goes to a Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service fact-finding panel, that decision would be final and binding on all parties. That would preclude the need for a long, adversarial and expensive process to determine what NAPS could and should have gotten in the first place. As you solicit co-sponsors, this is your first ask.”
H.R. 595, the Postal Employee Appeal Rights Amendment Act, would provide due process for all EAS employees before the MSPB. NAPS is asking for co-sponsorship of this bill.
A new issue for NAPS is protecting postal personnel and the mail system. Levi explained that, before 2020, postal police enforced the law outside the perimeter of a postal facility. But, in fall 2020, the Postal Service decided to restrict these uniformed members of the Postal Inspection Service to postal facilities.
It’s not mere coincidence that, over the past two years, attacks on letter carriers have increased 144%; mail theft has increased 161% over one year. NAPS is working closely with the Postal Police Officers Association to advance this issue. “This is not just about our employees,” Levi stressed. “It’s also about the sanctity of the mail.
“The pushback you may get is from people raising questions about whether this is an effort to increase the unionized workforce. It is not. This is about mail safety and protecting employees. We’re not asking for a major increase in the number of officers; this is about using postal police more effectively to identify where there are risks and help deter crime, as well as developing strategies to combat postal crime.
“Some say it won’t make a difference. We’re not asking to cover all the postal routes in the country, rather to identify which routes are most vulnerable. It’s a federal crime to steal the mail and attack postal employees; let’s uphold the law.”
NAPS President Ivan D. Butts addressed delegates and welcomed them to this year’s LTS. “The cherry blossoms are blooming!” he declared. “I hope you have a chance to see them. We’re blooming, too, as we prepare to go up to the Hill and educate this new class of lawmakers and tell them what the Postal Service is and what we do for America.
“Your role is so critical; it sets the tone for the next two years. You are dialed into having a positive effect on postal sustainability and protecting our EAS employees.”
Butts acknowledged the National Auxiliary and thanked them for their help with SPAC. “They do a fantastic job for us,” he offered. “With their help, we do great things with SPAC. And, thanks to your generosity, we’re making a lot of friends. I appreciate what you do for SPAC. Your tremendous commitment ensures we can do the things we need to do.”
He reiterated that the grassroots work of NAPS advocates is critical. “We were big players in postal reform,” he declared. “We played a major part. When the bill was tied up in the Ways & Means Committee, Chuck and Bob created an opportunity to speak to then-Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA).
“Look at it this way: With the engagement we’re able to have in Congress with the support of SPAC and what you do out in the field—you have power!”
Butts lauded Mulidore for continuing to build SPAC, make it stronger and use it effectively to make NAPS a better organization. “Let’s have a great LTS,” he urged. “Thanks for your time and all you’re going to do over the next two days.”
Mulidore referred to this year’s LTS theme, “Taking Care of Business.” “You wouldn’t think we were old-time rockers,” he said. “We were in the office talking about LTS, what we were going to do at this event. Bob said, ‘We’ll take care of business.’
“The roadmap and signs of past, present and future are indicative of how we need to think about ourselves and what we do—issues that are important to our organization. It’s been a good message.”
Butts introduced the next speaker, UPMA National President Edmund Carley, saying he and Carley attend each other’s events and talk to their members. He acknowledged there are issues on which the two associations don’t agree, but they continue to advocate for their members. “I appreciate our friendship,” Butts said. “We stay connected because we are stronger together.”
Carley commented on the room full of NAPS delegates, even after postal reform legislation was passed. UPMA held its legislative summit the previous week. “Ivan came and did a great job,” he commented. “A lot has happened since I became president in November 2021. In my first year, we got postal reform. How do you top that?”
Carley observed there still are lots of other important things to address, such as ensuring postal reform legislation is implemented correctly, including retirees’ integration into Medicare. There’s also a requirement for PMG Louis DeJoy to report to Congress on his 10-year plan.
“We all should be part of that conversation,” Carley urged. “It’s important that our voices are heard as the people who are supervisors and managers and who do the work of our post offices.
“I’m an active postmaster. When my term ends, I go back to my office; they’ve not been taking care of my office. They ran my supervisor into the ground, so he left. I primed him to be a postal manager and he quit. He has a good job now. There’s other work out there; we’re not the employer of choice. And there’s a disconnect be-tween what happens at USPS Headquarters and in the field. We have to stand together in that gap.”
Carley discussed legislation to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision
(WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) that directly hurt civil service retirees who also qualified for Social Security. “It’s something they paid into and deserve,” he stressed. “It’s a stain on the nation that we don’t meet that obligation.”
The problem is the legislation doesn’t score well; it costs money. “It’s the same thing we heard about postal reform,” he observed. “WEP/GPO is something they need to find the money for and a way to hold harmless people who are hurt by this draconian measure.”
Carley also voiced support for legislation to provide MSPB appeal rights to all EAS employees. “Everyone in this room should be covered by MSPB,” he said. “You stepped up and became a manager, a specialist, all the way up to the historian of the USPS. If they get in trouble, everyone should get the same appeal rights.
“We primed the pump for you; Capitol Hill is ready. They know what you’re going to talk about, but you have other issues and that’s the elephant in the room. If you look at what we do—legislation, education and presentation —99% percent of what UPMA and NAPS do is exactly the same.
“I went to all the CRDO supervisor symposiums. Ivan, Jimmy and I sat in the back of the room. I told every supervisor, ‘You need to be NAPS; if you’re a postmaster, you need to be in UPMA.’ Where we disagree, we’ve managed to weave a path; together, we take a better message to L’Enfant Plaza.
“My motto is ‘Together, we can.’ We can make these jobs attractive so the USPS can hire and retain competent employees. Together, we can parse some of the CRDO implementation in our units so it makes sense to our clerks and carriers.
“I appreciate the friendship and the time to talk to you. Now, go up on the Hill and give ’em hell!”
Mulidore next introduced Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX). “What a beautiful day to come and be a part of this important organization,” Sessions declared. “As I grew up in Waco, I understood well, based on learning, how important are public service and the services of our government.
“My father served as a chief judge and director of the FBI. I had an opportunity first-hand to see not only government, but its performance and necessity that go back to the Constitution, as does the Postal Service.”
Sessions talked about his career at AT&T. He started as a craft employee, then worked his way up to management. As a supervisor, he was a front-line person responsible for making sure the business worked. “It was important to ensure employees understood their jobs and to hold them accountable, but work with them to achieve those specific results,” he observed. “My message to you as postal supervisors—people interested in the business and in the performance of that business—is we’re also in the people business.”
Sessions talked about serving on the postal subcommittee and learning about the agency. “I intentionally learned about your business and the importance of having people who would show up every day and work with people and the law, who would need and want important legislation, benefits packages, pay and equipment,” he said.
“And I learned and grew to respect first-hand the people who were there. I attended several postal management association conventions in Texas and learned the people are dedicated to our country and do their jobs professionally.
“I show up today to thank you with great respect. I come to you for help; you care about the success of your business. Members of Congress need to make sure we are listening to you. Bob Levi, your representative, talks to me about your needs and how it fits into the economy.
“You need to know you are a valuable part of the economy and that people look for you every day. Congress has to be part of that movement and know the business and your issues.”
Sessions affirmed he was pleased to have quickly signed on as a co-sponsor of postal re-form legislation, but said there still is work to be done. “You as an organization are important to the Postal Service and its customers,” he conveyed. “I encourage you to look at each other with respect that is due and earned. I know there are organizations and people that don’t always see things the same, but we need to try and work on that.
“Please stay at the table—let’s go for a fix, not fight. I look forward to hearing what is going to come from this meeting and hearing about the ideas you have. I want to give you my email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope people will use this as an opportunity to engage with me, not complain. Accept my thanks; if you send me credible information, we can work on it together.”
Mulidore told attendees it was important to hear Sessions’ message. He reiterated that NAPS members are powerful advocates and very good lobbyists.
Next on the agenda was Postmaster General Louis DeJoy who was introduced by NAPS President Ivan D. Butts. “It gives me great honor to introduce our 75th PMG, he said. “He’s transforming the Postal Service into a new, sustainable network. It has some unknowns, but he has a plan and it’s being executed.”
DeJoy told attendees he was happy to be with them. He discussed his initiatives and the steps he has taken to ensure the agency’s continued success and viability. “I want us all moving in the same direction and being happy to be here and engaged in our work,” he affirmed.
DeJoy said it was important to enhance career paths for supervisors. “We have to stabilize the workforce,” he stressed. “We are working through basic commercial operating practices to run better shifts. I know supervisors are important.
“In fact, supervisors are important for the nation—how the country progresses in its economic growth. You are responsible for the success and safety of others. That’s extremely important and relevant to our success. You direct our front-line management structure.
“Everyone needs to understand the organization’s strategy and execute it; do things right. That’s the essence of supervision and management. We’re in a competitive business; our only way forward is to compete and get more package business.
“I will continue to reorganize and realign, but this means change for everyone. I believe that change means success. This is what we need to do—improve, compete and survive for the next 250 years. That’s our responsibility and my responsibility as the leader of the Postal Service and your leadership team.”
DeJoy told attendees the agency has gotten funding as a result of the “Delivering for America” plan. “We had a strategy and engaged leadership. It was believable and we got support. Unity in message is important. We can have little differences, but there are priorities we need to address in the overall infrastructure and operational model in order to be the preferred delivery source.”
He talked about the successful effort to ship COVID-19 test kits to everyone. “It was an unbelievable accomplishment,” he declared. “No one else could have pulled it off in the timeframe we did. We have a great relationship with the White House and established the agency as a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure.”
DeJoy said he wants the Postal Service to be more efficient and gain more revenue to be used to cover the costs of the mission. “We’re modernizing our IT infrastructure. We’re in the logistics business and know how to process mail. We’re stabilizing service and the shipping industry is noticing,” he told NAPS members.
“We have money for electric vehicles and a strategy that we are driving. We’re revitalizing old plants and installing the right equipment. To compete is what we are about. We’ll create new products; we’ll be a market-maker. We’ll have our owns sales strategy; the market will come to us with other uses. That’s an evolving organization leading the way to change.”
DeJoy referenced the 106,00 new vehicles ordered—10,000 electric. “We will lead the nation in reducing our carbon footprint,” he declared. “We have a strategy to move forward and garner our position in the marketplace. That will be part of our green strategy. The Postal Service goes everywhere; if you’re not using us, it’s like not recycling!”
The PMG said the agency has a voice with industry, sales and marketing. The Postal Service is the most-trusted and most-used agency. “That means we’re the most important,” he affirmed. “There are ideas in our 10-year plan to make us better. Your members can be part of a winning team that can reinvent the USPS and be good for the American people. That’s the most important part—to be around for another 250 years.
“We need to work together. This leadership team working with your leadership team and conducting a plan that continues to evolve as we move forward. If we align, keep open minds and work together, we’ll make the adjustments to make the Postal Service 100% successful.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) was the next speaker. He addressed NAPS members via Zoom, wearing a NAPS bandana. The congressman is undergoing treatment for cancer. “Thank you for my most-excellent bandana!” he declared. “No bandana has more power than this one; I wear it with pride.”
Raskin told delegates he was thrilled to be with them and delighted to be the ranking member on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. “I know it’s near and dear to your hearts,” he observed, “as it oversees the Postal Service. Last Congress, I was honored to work with you to get postal reform enacted. It has so many significant provisions to be a game-changer in terms of the agency.”
Raskin said eliminating the prefunding requirement and integrating retiree health benefits into Medicare will save the Postal Service $50 billion. “I also was very happy about the public online dashboard to provide more transparency and accountability,” he offered. “I hope the act heralds a new era of bipartisan, convergent investment in the Postal Service to make it work. The USPS has been such a central, instrumental institution in American history.”
Raskin lauded the agency for being at the forefront of social change by allowing women to be in the workplace, creating a diverse workforce and being in the vanguard of technological and social change in the country. “This is not just your past,” he stressed, “but your future, as well. It is our responsibility in Congress to give the USPS all the elements and tools it needs to thrive into the future.
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