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To Pay or Not to Pay
By Chuck Mulidore
In deference to playwright William Shakespeare, I quote: “To be or not to be, that is the question …” In no way equivalent to the majesty of his words, but of no less importance to the members of NAPS, I dare to revise the words of the great bard to the moment of our times: “To pay or not to pay, that is the question”—for the USPS.
To pay its EAS employees in a fair and just manner or to continue to perpetuate a pay system that provides neither pay nor performance. A pay system that has become so complicated, even to its developers and enablers, the goals of the NPA process that undergird the PFP system could not be delivered to you a full seven months after the fiscal year had started. A pay system that essentially has negated itself—cancelled itself—under the weight of its own lack of relevance and purpose.
So, why am I quoting Shakespeare and talking about EAS pay in the same few sentences? Well, under Title 39 of the U.S. Code, Section 1004, subsection (e)(1), the Postal Service must present a compensation proposal to NAPS within 45 days of the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement between the Postal Service and its largest union, currently the NALC, which was finalized on March 8. NAPS received its proposal from the USPS on April 23. Thus, the process begins again.
As you may recall, the previous pay consultation process with the Postal Service ended with NAPS filing a lawsuit after the completion of a fact-finding report by the nonpartisan Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). The panel significantly found that the Postal Service’s EAS pay system had “serious flaws” and did not meet the requirements of Title 39 to provide a compensation system that attracts and retains qualified career managers and supervisors, provides a reasonable differential in pay between supervisors and the employees they manage and reflects a well-motivated workforce to improve the effectiveness of postal operations.
The fact-finding panel essentially agreed with NAPS’ long standing criticism of the pay system for EAS employees. However, using Title 39, U.S. Code, Section 1004, subsection (3)(5), “ …the Postal Service shall provide the supervisors’ organization its final decision on the matters covered by fact-finding under this subsection. The Postal Service shall give full and fair consideration to the panel’s recommendation and shall explain in writing any differences between its final decision and the panel’s recommendation.”
Thus, the Postal Service used this authority under the law to reject the recommendations of the fact-finding panel and implement a bad pay decision on all EAS employees. Shortly thereafter, NAPS ended up in federal district court, filing a lawsuit against this unfair pay decision. That lawsuit remains in the court system pending resolution as the new pay consultation process unfolds.
NAPS also took to the legislative front to correct flaws in Title 39, leading to the bipartisan introduction of H.R. 1623, which would require that pay consultations start no more than 60 days from the expiration of the previous pay package and, most importantly, require the Postal Service to accept the findings of a FMCS fact-finding panel. These are game-changing solutions that would promote a fairer pay consultation process and yield better pay and benefits for all EAS employees.
At the end of the day, that is what NAPS wants above all else: a just pay consultation process that will yield a fair pay result for all EAS employees. That is our responsibility to the membership. Whether it is in the courts or in the halls of Congress, we never will give up that fight until we have secured an equitable pay system for all EAS employees; we know the current system is not.
So, USPS, the question now is posed.