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President Ivan D. Butts, Executive Vice President Chuck Mulidore and Secretary/Treasurer Jimmy Warden attended the Sept. 7 Zoom consultative meeting. Representing the Postal Service were Bruce Nicholson, James Timmons, Paulita Wimbush and Tomica Duplessis, Labor Relations Policies & Programs.
Agenda Item #1
NAPS has been made aware that new supervisor orientations are being held via Zoom calls; NAPS is not being invited to attend. Previously, NAPS always had been allowed to attend and speak to new EAS employees when the orientations were held in person. As NAPS is the representative organization for EAS supervisors, NAPS requested to be invited to attend these orientation meetings.
Supervisor training classes have been held via Zoom for several years. NAPS previously made this same request and a response was provided Oct. 2, 2022. Per that response, the course curriculum is a rigorous program currently on Zoom and with the prior traditional, in-person setting. There is no time to allow for additional events, such as allowing NAPS time to address members as part of the course.
In prior years, consideration was given by district Human Resources to requests from local NAPS officials to address course participants. Local NAPS officials often were approved to meet participants before or after class on a certain day. District Human Resources still has this discretion.
Agenda Item #2
NAPS continues to be made aware of district and area managers and MPOOs having EAS managers, supervisors and postmasters getting on meetings in the evening, often as late as 6 p.m., to discuss the previous day’s information after EAS employees have left their facilities for the day. EAS employees should be able to have a home life with their families.
NAPS continues to raise the issue of EAS employee treatment to the Postal Service, generally with weak or inadequate response from USPS senior leadership. This relationship with field EAS employees is reflected in ongoing poor Gallup engagement scores. When and what will it take for senior USPS leadership to finally address this issue?
Delivery Operations confirmed that USPS Headquarters does not conduct meetings with Executive and Administrative Schedule employees outside employees’ normal workhours; nor does Headquarters require the field to hold these meetings. The meetings referenced do not appear to be conducted daily by every senior manager in every district. Therefore, it should be addressed locally by NAPS officials with the individuals who scheduled the meeting and ask the purpose and value of the meetings.
Agenda Item #3
NAPS asked for the number of EAS employees who have requested and/or submitted PS Form 2574s, leaving the USPS either by resignation or transfer, for the past five years. The requested information should include: name, position title, grade, effective date and reason.
The Postal Service is unable to provide this requested data for postal employees who are not members of NAPS due to significant privacy concerns. If NAPS can provide a list of members for whom it would like this information, we will work internally to determine whether and how the requested data can be provided pursuant to applicable privacy laws and regulations.
Agenda Item #4
NAPS requested a copy of the rules and application regarding the Centralized Funding for Development Scholarship program.
The policy on the Centralized Funding for Development (CFD) can be found in the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) 740, External Training Policies. A copy of the ELM policy and the CFD application with instructions was provided.
Agenda Item #5
NAPS has been notified that the Chief Retail & Delivery Operations group is publishing a report titled, “Nefarious Scanning.” NAPS takes issue with the use of this and any other defamatory word(s) by the USPS. The use of such words is more reason why the USPS continues to be in the bottom quartile in the Postal Pulse survey year after year. “Nefarious” is defined as wicked, evil, bad, morally wrong and odious.
The USPS suggesting that EAS employees in an office on this report are wicked, evil and/or bad is reprehensible and continues to demonstrate the poorest leadership at the highest levels of this agency. NAPS requested that the use of such derogatory language be discontinued.
While there is no report titled “Nefarious Scanning,” the USPS Headquarters Scanning Team does send a daily email to the field titled, “Red Line to Nowhere—Most Nefarious.” This email displays questionable scans made outside the delivery’s geofence, displaying a lack of integrity or “nefarious” scan. This daily email has removed the “nefarious” reference and has been renamed “Red Lines to Nowhere—Undelivered.”
Agenda Item #6
NAPS said that, currently, delivery support and postal support specialists are traveling many hours to an office to perform various Gembas. Afterward, they are required to submit a report, often encompassing an eight-plus-hour day, often working 10-plus hours. When these EAS employees travel to and from an office via motor vehicle, private or otherwise, they are on the clock to and from as a part of their day. They should not be required to work beyond their established hours of work.
Per Delivery Operations, delivery support specialists (DSSs) are required to travel to offices daily and are on the clock during this travel time. The distance traveled varies every day, which means the time a DSS is available to perform Gembas at the office and other work duties varies. The expectation for each DSS is to manage their time and work an eight-hour day.
The standard process would be for a DSS to communicate with their team lead if there are issues or concerns that would potentially require more than
an eight-hour day. The team lead then would decide whether to authorize overtime or reduce the tasks for the day. Delivery support specialists are non-exempt employees, eligible for overtime.
Agenda Item #7
NAPS asked how many postmaster positions the USPS has nationally. NAPS also requested the USPS provide NAPS with the number of postmaster positions for each level.
The USPS provided the following:
Agenda Item #8
NAPS noted that, currently, the Service Performance Measurement (SPM) system is a hot item for the CRDO team. EAS employees are told not to question the data as presented. However, the SPM program keeps sending requests for houses on hold; they are coming out in the verified holdouts in the 999 mail.
The scanner will continue to ask the carrier if this is a delivery on their route, but doesn’t acknowledge the hold mail. The carrier can’t scan “NO” pieces to scan because the system shows there are pieces to scan. This issue needs to be fixed because it affects scores in the triangulation report; the CRDO team wants corrective action taken for every failed SPM scan.
The SPM system logic that creates work orders for sampling does account for holds for delivery points to determine eligibility for sampling. The USPS uses the Vacation Hold data from WebEES https://www.usps.com/manage/hold-mail.htm. If the address is listed in WebEES for Hold, the sampling work orders are not sent for that address for the date range listed for hold. The agency also uses information from AMS, the Saturday Hold or other day-specific holds, which mostly applies to business delivery points.
Additionally, it is very rare that, on a given day, there will be a sample request while there simultaneously is a hold for the address. If this occurs, the carrier should have DPS available on the street and scan those mail pieces. For the Triangulation Report, those scans do not appear on the report. If NAPS can provide examples, they could be analyzed.
Agenda Item #9
NAPS asked what the basis is of dates selected for the 2023 Christmas period. ELM citation 434.143 does not mention any specific dates; so, how are these dates chosen by the Postal Service? (The designated Christmas period runs from Dec. 2, 2023 through Dec. 22, 2023.)
Although Dec. 23 and 24 are weekend dates, many FLSA-exempt employees eligible for additional pay under ELM 434.143 will, in fact, be working those days without additional compensation. NAPS requested the end date of the Christmas period be extended through Dec. 29, 2023.
This is a request to modify the Christmas period; pay consultations are the appropriate forum for this request. The Christmas period is a three-week period that typically starts on the first week in December.
Delegates at the 2022 NAPS National Convention expressed by resolution the following issues for discussion:
That USPS management pay the EAS employee’s requested leave at the time of the call per their submitted 3971.
This resolution is a request to modify leave policies. Leave is a component of our benefits programs and pay consultations are the appropriate forum for recommendations to pay and benefits. Additionally, this request is to modify leave provisions and essentially remove AWOL as a leave charge by allowing the employee to request leave that must be honored in every circumstance. This would include approval of requests for annual and sick leave when the employee has a zero balance.
Leave policies are found in Chapter 5 of the ELM, which includes the requirement of employees to request leave consistent with the ELM, as well as postal officials to administer the leave program. An additional provision in the ELM concerning AWOL is 665.42:
665.42 Absence Without Permission
Employees who fail to report for duty on scheduled days, including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, are considered absent without leave except in cases where actual emergencies prevent them from obtaining permission in advance. In emergencies, the supervisor or proper official must be notified of the inability to report as soon as possible. Satisfactory evidence of the emergency must be furnished later [emphasis added]. An employee who is absent without permission or who fails to provide satisfactory evidence that an actual emergency existed will be placed in a nonpay status for the period of such absence. The absence may be the basis for disciplinary action.
However, once the employee provides management with notice of the need for leave in accordance with Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)-required time frames, and the absence is determined to be FMLA protected, the employer must change the AWOL to approved FMLA-LWOP, and delete the AWOL status from the record.
That NAPS consults with the Postal Service to implement a policy where no NTE details will be granted to craft employees before EAS employees are made aware of the opportunity and given the first opportunity for the detail.
This resolution is not adopted. Staffing NTE positions and/or details are opportunities usually of a developmental nature and are temporary. The best qualified or suitable individual should be selected.
Those employees interested in career advancement should notify their manager. HERO is a great tool for those interested in career advancement. Employees should ensure their HERO profile is completed and up to date. Career conversations can be requested through HERO and development plans can be established with one’s manager.
That the USPS consults with local NAPS representatives prior to vacant EAS positions being held longer than 75 days.
This resolution is not adopted. Handbook EL-312, Employment and Placement, encourages temporary vacanciesto be posted and filled within 120 days, including timelines for review committees and selecting officials. Human Resources monitors EAS vacancies to ensure positions are posted and filled in a timely manner. If a local NAPS official has a question concerning a job vacancy, the manager over the vacancy should be contacted.
That NAPS consults with the USPS to reimburse the full cash value to the postal employee who controls the unused benefit (lost benefit).
This is a request to modify fringe benefit programs and the appropriate forum for consideration is pay consultations, Title 39 1004(e). As information, career employees are eligible to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. The employee and the Postal Service pay different percentages of the premium. If the employee chooses not to participate in the FEHB program, it isn’t a “lost benefit;” the employee is not required to pay any premium.
That each time a new program or task is assigned to any EAS employee, the USPS will provide NAPS with an outline of how much time is required to effectively perform each new program or task that is added. And further, that each time a new program or task is assigned to any EAS employee, the USPS will provide NAPS with an outline of how each new program or task is to be integrated into the existing workload and be prioritized with current duties.
This resolution is not adopted. In keeping with its commitment to continuous improvement, the Postal Service consistently evaluates processes with the goal of improving processes and tasks for better utilization. When implementing new programs, the intent is to be more efficient and make the job easier; for example, interfacing OT Admin with TACS reduced the time in entering authorizations of overtime.
A task could be anything that any manager assigns within the office/district/department. Consulting on each assigned task at the national level that was input locally is not in the best interest of time for either the Postal Service or NAPS. If, at the local level, NAPS determines a new task in a facility does not add value, it should be discussed with the local manager. If, at the national level, NAPS believes a specific task adds no value, then NAPS is encouraged to provide information to Headquarters for review and consideration.
That the Postal Service compensates all special-exempt and non-exempt EAS employees who work a non-scheduled day in a service week at a rate of 150% of their calculated base hourly rate for all hours worked on a non-scheduled day.
This is a request to modify pay policy and should be provided during pay consultations, Title 39 1004(e). Additionally, FLSA non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime at time and one half—150% as recommended by NAPS.