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President Brian Wagner, Executive Vice President Ivan D. Butts, Secretary/Treasurer Chuck Mulidore and Executive Board Chair Tim Ford attended the Sept. 30 consultative meeting via Zoom. Representing the Postal Service were Bruce Nicholson and James Timmons, Labor Relations Policy Administration.
Agenda Item #1
NAPS requested a briefing on outsourcing work in the new Surface Transfer Center (STC) in the Orlando, FL, area. NAPS received notice of this on Aug. 31, 2020.
James Lloyd, USPS Labor Relations specialist, APWU Contract Administration, provided a briefing on the new STC: Formerly known as HAPS, STCs are mail consolidation and redistribution facilities with the primary function of achieving increased vehicle cubic capacity and use. STCs receive mail containerized by product type or by ZIP code range for cross-dock transfer and dispatch to the appropriate destination.
The current Seminole STC is an operation in the Seminole P&DC. It is operated only on one tour and shares floor space with other operations on the off tours. This operation needs to be expanded beyond one tour and the floor space returned to the P&DC. There is no impact to staffing at the P&DC.
A new Central Florida STC facility is being established. The facility will be staffed by five to seven nonbargaining employees and will include these positions:
Agenda Item #2
NAPS has received several concerns about the ongoing extension of the 120-day rule. EAS employees are being held back from reporting to new positions by losing offices due to the inability of posting vacated EAS positions. NAPS would like to know:
The provision of Handbook EL-312 743.15, “120-Day-Calendar Limit on Higher-Level,” was modified earlier this year in response to the pandemic and to minimize the transition of individuals from temporary assignments, but not at the detriment of those individuals interested in becoming potential candidates for those positions. The provision was modified again in September 2020 due to the continued pandemic, as well as due to the announced hiring freeze of nonbargaining jobs on Aug. 7.
The hiring freeze on nonbargaining positions is a useful tool during organizational change. The field EAS vacancy rate is 5.2%. There are about 2,300 vacancies; about 800 of those vacancies are EAS-20-and-above positions.
Agenda Item #3
On Aug. 7, USPS Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President Isaac Cronkhite issued a nonbargaining-unit hiring and promotional freeze memo for EAS, attorney, pay band and PCES employees. NAPS believes this freeze on filling field EAS positions is making the successful completion of operations unsustainable without proper nonbargaining-unit staffing. NAPS has been told that laterals and downgrades are being permitted, but many are holding on to those who had been promoted or who wish to move to different positions due to the inability to fill positions along with the upcoming fall and political mail season. For the continuity of operations, NAPS requested Cronkhite’s Aug. 7 hiring and promotional freeze memo be lifted until after this year’s peak season or at such time when there are pending Postal Service-initiated actions.
NAPS’ request to suspend the hiring freeze cannot be accommodated. The Aug. 7 announcement of a hiring freeze on nonbargaining positions allows the Postal Service to reposition employees without any further organizational changes. Exceptions to post field non-bargaining positions in eCareer during the hiring freeze are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
The documentation and factors reviewed depend on the position being considered. Consideration is given to positions that cannot be filled with an internal detail assignment, require specific licenses or professional certification and the vacancy causes a significant impact on operations or the ability of the organization to effectively execute its mission.
The hiring freeze will continue until any field organizational changes and future staffing are determined; we will discuss any changes with NAPS. Suspending the hiring freeze could cause an individual to be promoted to a position, but then soon learn the position has been eliminated and the individual is impacted by a reduction-in-force.
If an individual has been accepted for a position due to a lateral or downgrade request, the selecting official should coordinate a release date with the employee’s manager. If the employee’s manager is unreasonable in providing a release date, then the selecting official should escalate the matter to district Human Resources.
Agenda Item #4
NAPS has received concerns regarding the SWCs All Report generated monthly from USPS Headquarters. This report is identifying supervisor workload credits (SWCs) reductions eligible for implementation based on positions failing to be within the parameters of the zone of tolerance (ZOT).
NAPS requested that all SWCs reductions identified by this USPS Headquarters reporting be placed on hold for the continuity of operations during the continued pandemic and fall and holiday mailing seasons.
NAPS’ request to suspend the monthly review of authorized positions in the SWCs system cannot be accommodated. Human Resources conducts a review of SWCs complement monthly. Workforce Analytics updates the staffing model data based on prior-month status. Field staffing conducts a review of supervisor, Customer Service (SCS) authorizations that are encumbered and have either been in the ZOT for 12 consecutive months or have dropped below the established ZOT.
A report is sent directly to district HR (with a copy to area HR for awareness) listing the potential sites in jeopardy of losing a SCS authorization as a result of being in the ZOT for a year or falling below the ZOT. Districts are instructed to review the data and advise if there is any local knowledge that may change the outcome.
Field staffing reviews those responses, makes adjustments as needed and identifies which offices are impacted. A list is provided to district HR to complete its action to reduce the authorization. Field staffing follows up until all responses and actions are completed.
ZOT is only applicable for encumbered positions (i.e., if there is an impacted SCS due to a decrease in authorized staffing). Any vacant SCS authorizations that no longer are earned result in the “Immediate Action” flag for the authorization to be removed. This information is also available on the SWCs All Report under the column AM ‘Possible Vacancy/OVC.’ Zone of tolerance is a tool used to monitor the length of time an encumbered position is no longer earned. It is a method to notify the losing office of the situation in advance and allow the office an opportunity to adjust craft complement and/or acclimate to reduced supervisor staffing.