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Pants on Fire
By Brian J. Wagner
NAPS Immediate Past President
While visiting my two youngest grandchildren in Washington this past November, I heard my 9-year-old grandson say to his 6-year-old sister, my granddaughter, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” Children, even adults, know to say this popular rhyme when they catch someone in a lie.
I wasn’t sure if my granddaughter was claiming “My Little Pony” had more magical powers than her brother’s “Pokémon’s Pikachu.” Regardless, for kids, their truth usually is based on feelings and emotion—not evidence or facts. Children sometimes will seek a higher authority—such as mom, dad or grandma—for a ruling of the truth.
However, a child’s immaturity sometimes will show through by denying the facts or truth when the answer doesn’t go their way when received from a higher authority. For the record, I am not about to take sides between my grandkids or even claim to be a higher authority than grandma.
I am taking sides, however, when overwhelming evidence and facts, including a decision from a court of law, is presented before adults, an association or a government agency, but is vehemently denied. What do you call a person or organization that won’t accept facts and the truth, but wants to spew their untruth as truth with the intent of spreading misinformation to anyone who will listen? A “denier.”
Now, you probably are thinking this article is about the 2020 general or 2022 midterm elections; not true. Here’s the scoop:
This column is about the truth related to NAPS’ lawsuit against the United States Postal Service and the landmark decision issued on Feb. 22, 2022, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recognizing NAPS with the right to represent all USPS supervisors, managerial personnel and postmasters in consultation with the Postal Service regarding compensation and pay policies. You can find this truth in the appeal court’s decision via case number 1:19-cv-02236.
In brief, the appeals court held that NAPS’ representation extends to virtually all supervisory and managerial personnel, regardless whether the Postal Service classifies them as Field, Area or Headquarters employees. Furthermore, the Appeals Court held that postmasters are a subset of “supervisory and other managerial personnel” and are entitled to be represented by NAPS.
After extensive legal analysis of the statute, the court held, “It follows that section 1004(b) requires the Postal Service to consult with the Association
[NAPS] regarding compensation for these employees [postmasters].” The court provided a diagram of section 1004(b)’s nested structure of employee representation, emphasizing that postmasters are inside the circle of employees that NAPS is entitled to represent. Again, this nesting is referenced in the Feb. 22, 2022 decision.
However, when perusing LinkedIn, I found a Nov. 4, 2022, message from the United Postmasters and Managers of America (UPMA) national president to members referencing NAPS’ current lawsuit against the USPS. The president’s message stated, in part: “ … NAPS is looking to be recognized as a postmaster organization by the USPS. UPMA believes this is contrary to the original intent of Title 39, which delineates supervisory, postmaster and manager associations. UPMA continues asserting that a supervisor association cannot also be a postmaster association.
“The confusion comes in what the definition of ‘representation’ is. … However, when it comes to pay talks … planning and developing programs … UPMA only is recognized as speaking for postmasters. It is a complex issue and it is unclear where this will end up. …”
There is no confusion; the issue is not complex or unclear. As previously stated, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has confirmed that NAPS is entitled to represent all U.S. Postal Service supervisors, managerial personnel and postmasters in consultation with the Postal Service regarding compensation and pay policies.
In its Nov. 4 message, UPMA truthfully stated it is recognized to speak for postmasters. Let me note: postmasters only. No matter how many supervisors, managers or other managerial personnel UPMA claims to have as members, according to the court, NAPS is the only postal management association recognized by law to represent supervisors, managers and other managerial personnel in consultation, compensation and pay policies—not UPMA.
However, per the law and the appeal court’s Feb. 22 decision, NAPS is legally recognized to represent postmasters in the same capacity as UPMA. At this time, the USPS, just as UPMA, is in denial of the court’s legal decision that NAPS has the right to represent postmasters. As of this writing, NAPS’ DCO has approximately 24,000 active EAS NAPS members, of which approximately 4,870 are titled postmasters.
The truth: UPMA requested the appeals court to deny NAPS’ right to represent postmasters in consultation with the USPS on compensation and pay policies. Their request was denied. Therefore, the truth is NAPS represents postmasters in USPS consultation over pay and benefits.
UPMA can write and say all the untruths it wants about NAPS not having the right to represent postmasters. However, the organization’s continued denial does not overrule the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia—the second-most powerful court in the land. The truth doesn’t stop existing no matter how many times UPMA or anyone else tries to deny the truth that NAPS represents postmasters.
There also is no denying that NAPS is pursuing its lawsuit against the USPS as it relates to the FY16-19 pay decision. And, furthermore, there is no denying that NAPS, under Title 39 and confirmed by the appeals court, has the right to represent all EAS employees, including postmasters.
Therefore, as you start 2023, I wish you and your family a very happy and healthy New Year. I encourage all NAPS members to get fired up in 2023 to sign new members and speak the truth with as many as possible that NAPS has a legal right per the Feb. 22, 2022, appeals court’s decision to represent all EAS employees, including postmasters. If anyone tells you differently, remember this rhyme: “Denier, denier, pants on fire!”
I will not deny that my ice-cream-flavor-of-the-month recommendation is a sure-fire winner: maple bourbon blondie.