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By Ivan D. Butts
NAPS Executive Vice President
At the writing of this column, we had just received and digested the response from the USPS to the recommendations issued by the fact-finding panel in regard to the National Performance Assessment process being employed by the USPS for EAS employees. Pushing forward.
Additionally, I have just been informed that a member of our USPS Executive Leadership Team does not like the tone of my articles. I have written several articles that referenced OIG audits and, on review, I believe the column at issue is my March 2019 column, “We Will Leave No One Behind.” I pointed out a fundamental fact that an OIG audit, HR-AR-11-006—2009 Pay for Performance Program, found that NPA scores had been reduced.
This is not the first time I have heard that someone at USPS Headquarters did not like the “tone” of my articles. The statement was not that I misspoke, I misrepresented or I outright lied. If that were the case, it would be of great concern to me and, if proven correct, would prompt me to make an immediate correction and heartfelt apology. However, that is not the case.
USPS Headquarters leadership is not saying any of those things. They are saying it’s my “tone,” which, to me, is saying, “Ivan, I know you’re right about what you’re saying, but I just don’t like the way you are saying it or the fact you are saying it.”
I don’t know another way of talking about the injustices I hear from our members or see how USPS leadership engages EAS employees. I make no apology for facts being misread as tone. Someone must speak about this deteriorating state of connectiveness between the leaders of the USPS and the EAS managers who fulfill the mission of the USPS.
If the USPS has a better way of accomplishing this, other than the current “I don’t care about EAS employees” approach, my email address and phone number are publicly available. I look forward to engaging you in this conversation.
Now, to the point of this article, which is the USPS’ response to the sound, rational and articulated recommendations of the fact-finding panel. Working as an EAS employee in the USPS during the past 10 years of what I term as a blatant attack on the pay and benefits of EAS employees from the highest levels of postal leadership, the USPS’ response to the fact-finding panel’s recommendations was nothing less than par for the course.
During this time, EAS employees steadfastly have been the continuing, driving force keeping America’s postal service moving. I wonder if this is not part of the problem. Could EAS employees’ commitment to providing America with the best mail service possible also be a contributing factor to the USPS’ neglect and refusal to adhere to the statutes of Title 39 U.S. Code § 1004?
I am sure the USPS would disagree with that statement. However, I will ask you: Have you driven your privately owned vehicles without the voluntary rider (not supported by NAPS) policy for USPS work? Do you eat lunch at your work location and continue working? Do you use your personal cell phone for USPS business? Do you work any time beyond that for which you are paid? Do you answer phone calls off the clock (thanks to AJ)? These things may seem noble. However, could they also be fueling a “They’ll get it done” attitude of neglect from USPS leadership?
The USPS has taken some tremendous strides in stating that EAS employees are part of the Leadership Team. I have seen and written columns about the high levels of engagement at safety symposiums and leadership meetings. However, in the matter of fair and reasonable pay for EAS employees, this leadership continues to fall short of the mark; we see a continued loss of wealth.
One last thought on the issue of tone. When I reflect on the tone of the USPS before the start of our pay talks to what this final pay package reflects, I think about something Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said. In a May 17, 1957, speech titled, “Give Us the Ballot,” he referred to the high blood pressure of words and anemia of deeds concerning congressional leadership addressing the case of justice.
Leading up to pay talks, we heard the high blood pressure of words about how leadership knows EAS pay needs to be fixed. We now stand at the point of anemia of deeds with a pay package that, once again, devalues the work and commitment of EAS employees. The same employees who are constant and steadfast in our resolve to manage and deliver service for America’s USPS.
No “tone,” just facts. Pushing forward.
In solidarity …