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Why NAPS Legislation Is So Important
By Ivan D. Butts
NAPS Executive Vice President
As I write this column for the May issue, we still are waiting to receive a pay proposal from the USPS per 39 U.S. Code § 1004(e)(1), which reads, in part:
“The Postal Service shall, within 45 days of each date on which an agreement is reached on a collective bargaining agreement between the Postal Service and the bargaining representative recognized under section 1203 of this title which represents the largest number of employees, make a proposal for any changes in pay policies and schedules and fringe benefit programs for members of the supervisors’ organization which are to be in effect during the same period as covered by such agreement.”
A Google search on the subject of fair pay will lead you to many articles on the gender pay gap and the harm to American households it can cause.
This is one of the many fundamental issues that America needs to face and address. However, what about the pay disparity we see as Postal Service supervisors and other managerial personnel? This subject is slightly more legal and technical. In 39 U.S. Code § 1003 (a), it reads, in part:
“The Postal Service shall classify and fix the compensation and benefits of all officers and employees in the Postal Service. It shall be the policy of the Postal Service to maintain compensation and benefits for all officers and employees on a standard of comparability to the compensation and benefits paid for comparable levels of Issue work in the private sector of the economy.”
This provision of federal law gives the USPS a mandate that always should serve as the agency’s first guiding principle in pay discussions. The law is created with the basic assumption that the USPS will uphold by implementation the law’s provisions as prescribed and required.
That presumption of law means the USPS would make the necessary market comparisons of comparable levels of work in the private sector as required. However, what we have seen in the USPS’ actual testimony has been the absence of any private-sector comparative analysis per the law.
If this had been the case, the USPS’ findings would have been in line with the unchallenged testimony of Dr. Howard Risher, NAPS’ subject-matter expert, at the Dec. 10-11, 2018, hearing before the three-member panel of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
In his 2017 and 2018 reports and at the hearing, Risher explained that, for the vast majority of the jobs he surveyed, the EAS salary range midpoints of their pay ranges fell below the national average and far below the national average of total compensation. He concluded, “The survey data show EAS ranges and salaries should be increased by an average of 14.6%. The pay gaps between EAS employees and their private-sector comparisons are as high as 30% in some instances.”
Now, we begin the process—again—searching for fair pay as supervisory and other managerial personnel of the USPS through pay talks. We also have in the works historic legislation to make changes to 39 U.S. Code § 1004. We need your help in reaching out to legislators to support H.R.1623, the “Postal Supervisors and Managers Fairness Act.” The measure would amend Title 39 and modify procedures for negotiating pay and benefits of supervisory and other managerial personnel of the United States Postal Service, among other purposes.
This is our landmark legislation to provide an avenue of resolve when the USPS fails to adhere to the good faith assumptions afforded them by federal laws that are to be followed.