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The October consultative meeting was held in conjunction with the fall NAPS Executive Board meeting; all board members were present. Representing the Postal Service were Bruce Nicholson and James Timmons, Labor Relations Policy Administration.
Agenda Item #1
Regarding a scanning upload issue, currently, carrier scan data is not showing delivered when tracked on usps.com. or on the USPS internal tracking site. The information shows only being delivered in RIMS. This needs to be addressed as it affects scanning clearance rates and NPA.
The Postal Service has investigated this and has not found any transmission issues between Regional Intelligent Mail Servers (RIMS) and Product Tracking & Reporting (PTR). The example that NAPS provided did not receive a Stop the Clock (STC) scan in RIMS as stated by NAPS.
Both RIMS and PTR have an Arrival at Unit scan on the correct date. Neither RIMS nor PTR have a STC scan, which indicates the piece was not scanned.
Agenda Item #2
Logistics Job Analysis Surveys were distributed on Jan. 24 to 859 employees. The survey deadline was Friday, Feb. 4. NAPS understands this was part of a “team process” reviewing the accuracy of EAS levels of specific logistic positions. NAPS requested an update on this, survey results and any relevant information on the accuracy of EAS levels discovered in this process.
The focus groups and interviews were used only to establish the new job descriptions for Logistics. The proposal for updating the Logistics staffing model and jobs is under development and will be provided to NAPS. This will include proposed job levels.
Agenda Item #3
NAPS asked for a Network Transformation briefing on the “NDC unwind” on which Jim Herrmann recently briefed Westpac. This “unwind” is underway in Chicago; all NDCs will be following suit.
The NDC unwind initiative is to explore changes in processing at the NDC, such as eliminating originating processing of marketing/periodicals and retail ground processing while continuing to provide excellent service. Every NDC will need an individual plan. The plan is to modify and possibly eliminate the NDC to NDC network. A briefing will be provided on this initiative.
Agenda Item #4
NAPS provided a list of Sorting & Delivery Center (S&DC) spoke offices (downloaded from a group on Facebook) with the offices affected in the near future highlighted. With the S&DC process being implemented, NAPS continues to seek information and regular briefings from the Postal Service.
EAS supervisors, postmasters and managers are concerned about their jobs, while getting few specifics from postal leadership. When does USPS leadership plan to address EAS staffing—not only at the gaining S&DCs, but also those offices that have carriers and clerks moved to the gaining S&DC? Also, who will be facility heads of these S&DCs?
Briefings have been provided to NAPS on the S&DCs since July 2022. Biweekly touchpoints are provided to the employee organizations, including NAPS, to inform them of developments and to respond to questions and solicit feedback. The Athens installation is staffed by a postmaster who will oversee all operations of the S&DC. This is the only site scheduled to be implemented in 2022. Nonbargaining staffing for any of the sites in calendar year 2023 is undetermined.
Agenda Item #5
Currently, offices are being given flex time to set up their DPS. However, the 10.18 seconds per route is not reflective of the actual time needed to perform this task, especially when the office has many routes. Could this measurement be revisited?
The assumption of the 10.18 seconds/route calculation for DPS setup is inaccurate. Offices were given 10.18 seconds per tray. This is reflective of the time needed to perform the task. The following statement was consistently provided to each office that requested flextime for DPS and the calculation used:
DPS Breakdown—Breakdown of brick stacked DPS on bread racks. Based on FY21 daily average of DPS/average number of trays per route (21-inch tray) multiplied by 10.18 seconds per tray.
Breakdown and spreading of Delivery Point Sequence mail (DPS) was factored into the newly adjusted time allowances for Labor Distribution Code (LDC) 4300 allied during the CSV time study completed in FY22. The study was conducted at randomly selected sites based on the number of routes to align workload to work methods within the variance programs. The offices studied ranged from sites with zero routes up to the sites with the largest number of routes in the nation. The newly implemented CSV time factors for FY23 now include breakdown and spreading of DPS mail.
(Calculation: DPS volume divided by 398 pieces per 21-inch tray multiplied by 10.18 seconds per tray.)
Agenda Item #6
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, while Hurricane Ian was impacting Florida, including, but not limited to Southwest Florida, the Postal Service informed EAS employees in the Orlando and Tampa areas to report to work the next day, putting lives and property in danger.
Safety concerns were raised as federal and local authorities issued instructions to stay home. Following is a statement from an EAS employee forced to report to work on Sept. 29, even as then-Tropical Storm Ian was spinning directly over Orlando:
“Due to the negligence, lack of care for employees and personal property and wrongdoing by the United States Post Service on my way to work in Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32804 (near my workplace), my car got stuck in a flooding area. I was not able to see due to the poor visibility and weather conditions (heavy rain and wind combined with road conditions).
“At approximately 6:50 a.m., Orlando police and the Fire Department had to rescue me and assisted removing my personal car (Fiat 500L) from the danger area. After I was rescued by local authorities, they questioned why I was not in a safe location after all the federal and government officials instructed everyone to stay home.
“Finally, the Postal Service decided to change the instructions after 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, after it was informed of all the accidents. More than 300 employees called to report they would not go to work due to unsafe conditions. This situation created stress and fear for my life, in addition to the stress caused to my family and friends on top of all the negligence, lack of care and disregard for the life and property of employees.
“The Postal Service did not offer solutions or assistance to help me during the accident created by them. At the time I am writing this statement on Sept. 30, my personal property still is in the area of the accident; no management official or leader contacted me to ask me if I am okay, need anything or to express concern for my safety, wellbeing or personal property affected.”
There are others who have recited similar stories, including a station manager in Tampa ordered to report to work on Sept. 29, but, due to flooded streets and downed power lines, could not get to the office. Another EAS employee in the Orlando area traveling to work in the early hours of Sept. 29 had a tree fall on his car, injuring his eye.
NAPS asked what postal official(s) made this potentially disastrous decision to open operations on the day following a hurricane, despite local, state and federal authorities advising Floridians to stay home. NAPS also asked why this decision was made.
What process will the USPS institute to ensure that, in future catastrophic events, postal employees will not be forced to report for work in the face of overwhelming federal, state and local guidance to the contrary? Will the USPS provide tort claim reimbursement for property and/or bodily loss and damage to employees who were mandated to report to work during a natural disaster by Postal Service authority?
Employees are not forced against their will to report to work. Mail processing operations were halted before the storm and hurricane preparedness measures were followed.
The Postal Service touches every delivery point nationwide and disasters can affect every part of the country. As with other events, hurricanes can affect communities differently and, at times, these types of events can be unpredictable.
The Postal Service currently is evaluating its preparedness and responsiveness to this hurricane. As with any disaster, we should evaluate our preparedness and responsiveness to determine whether any of our actions can be improved. The policy for employee claims is included; however, traveling to and from work is not part of the employee’s workday.
ELM 640 Employee Claims
641 Nonbargaining Unit Employees
“It is Postal Service policy to reimburse nonbargaining unit employees for loss or damage to their personal property when suffered in connection with, or incident to, their employment while on duty or while on postal property.”
Agenda Item #7
The USPS is stopping the processing of FSS flats in many parts of the country. NAPS asked how the agency will account for changes/impact on city or rural routes. When and how will routes be adjusted? Until the routes are adjusted, supervisors, managers and postmasters will be expected to hold those routes to their evaluations and be held accountable for those workhours.
Cased volume will continue to be counted to determine the necessary office time. Route adjustments will continue to be made in accordance with Handbooks M-39, M-41 and PO-603. Rural routes, specifically, will be adjusted in accordance with PO-603,541.45.
Rural Carrier Duties and Responsibilities
“If, for any reason, management removes a route from the DPS flats sort scheme and the route will no longer receive DPS flats, Form 4003, Official Rural Route Description, will be prepared to appropriately adjust time allowances and processed to be effective on the first day of the pay period in which the automated processing is discontinued.
“Rural District Support Specialists (DSS) will make the appropriate calculation to determine the amount of time to be added to the base hour of the route. The DSS would notify the unit of the changes to route classification or evaluation. The local manager would adjust the schedules for any routes where evaluations changed.”
Agenda Item #8
NAPS asked if the USPS would allow NAPS to use the postal internet to email employees to join the association, just as UPMA was able to do in the Virginia District on Sept. 23.
This inquiry was sent to Tom Blum, acting vice president, Labor Relations, for response before submission of this agenda item. A response will be provided.
Agenda Item #9
NAPS asked if the USPS would provide a completed Gemba to show overstaffed offices with all regulars above earned hours in F-4 what steps they need to take in order to attain the CSV goal of 92%. Is it possible to reach the F-4 92% goal in CSV with an over-earned complement of all regular employees?
Gembas are not intended to focus on staffing or CSV achievement. Rather, Gembas are to ensure the correct processes are in place for the unit to succeed, adequately service our customers and represent the brand.
Function-4 review is the platform used to analyze staffing and performance. Once a need for change or improvement is identified, it is the responsibility of local management to adjust staffing accordingly, whether that is posting bids where vacancies exist, reverting vacancies or excessing where overstaffing has been identified. If these steps are taken and Gembas are completed to identify process efficiencies, yes, 92% CSV can be achieved.
Agenda Item #10
On Oct. 4, NAPS was informed by various members who work under Postal Headquarters of a change to be made in PFP for Headquarters employees for FY23. This presentation was made in HERO, changing how EAS employees under Postal Headquarters would earn yearly PFP increases.
NAPS asked why it was not consulted about this new pay process. Title 39 § Section 1004(b) references “organizations of supervisory and other managerial personnel who are not subject to collective-bargaining agreements.” Congress indicated its intent that all non-executive employees of the Postal Service would be represented either by a craft union under a collective-bargaining agreement or by a supervisors’ or postmasters’ organization.
In its opinion earlier this year, the DC Circuit Court agreed with NAPS on this point, holding that, “[S]ection 1004(b) indicates that employees are either entitled to representation by a union for the purposes of collective bargaining under chapter 12 of the Act, or permitted representation by a ‘program for consultation with recognized organizations of supervisory and other managerial personnel.’” NAPS v. USPS, 26 F.4th 960, 976 (D.C. Cir. 2022).
“Executive and Administrative Service” (which is not a term in the statute) is the term the Postal Service has chosen to refer to middle management, which is what the statute refers to as “supervisory and other managerial personnel.” As the court observed, all Postal Service employees, including all employees classified as “Headquarters” or “Area” employees, are entitled to representation, either by the supervisors’ organization or by a union.
NAPS asked why the USPS has denied NAPS’ right to be consulted on this pay process in accordance with the law.
This complaint was sent to Headquarters by NAPS President Ivan D. Butts; a response will be provided.
Agenda Item #11
NAPS provided a Form 50 reflective of the 3% increase granted to EAS employees effective Sept. 24, 2022. NAPS asked why line 68 (Special Salary Code) indicates S-Saved Rate. Also, for EAS employees in this category who receive a PFP increase reflecting FY22, on what salary will that PFP increase be based?
For example, after the 3% pay increase, the EAS salary increased to $108,830, while the top salary in that pay range is $105,660. On which of those salaries will the FY22 PFP increase be based? Or will this particular EAS employee receive a lump-sum payout with no increase in base salary?
Finally, how does this impact an EAS employee’s high-3 retirement calculations?
The saved rate allows for an individual’s salary to exceed any range maximum. The FY22 PFP award will be based on the individual’s salary of record as of Sept. 30, 2022. As for the example, the PFP award would be based on $108,830.
The 3% PFP award likely will be maintained following annual increases in salary ranges just prior to implementation of the PFP awards. These salary ranges will be provided to NAPS in advance for review and comment as it is done every year.
Agenda Item #12
NAPS provided an “Integrity Scans” PowerPoint sent to the field by Tyrone Williams from the Chief Retail and Delivery Office at Postal Headquarters. NAPS asked why this document was sent to the field.
The document could be considered threatening and harassing, as it seems to alter the process outlined in ELM 651 and replace it with a table of penalties, specifically citing a 14-day suspension as punishment for a first offense and removal for the second offense.
NAPS pointed out that the issue of incorporating a “table of penalties” for the USPS has come up in the past, but been rejected by the USPS. However, this attachment is embracing the “table of penalties” process. If the USPS is considering implementing a table of penalties for EAS employees, NAPS must be consulted on this process under the law.
If the USPS is not considering a table of penalties process, NAPS asked that this message be withdrawn by Tyrone Williams in a message to the field.
This was provided to Tom Blum, acting vice president, Labor Relations, by NAPS President Ivan D. Butts prior to submission of this agenda item. A response will be provided.