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With NAPS, You Never Are Alone!
By Brian J. Wagner
NAPS Immediate Past President
First things first. Best wishes to all for a safe and happy holiday season. May 2022 bring plenty of health, happiness, prosperity, joy and ice cream to you and your family. Now, it’s time to bring this month’s column for your holiday reading.
As immediate past president, I had the opportunity to provide training at the Illini Area Training Seminar at the NAPS Illinois State Convention in October. My training topic dealt with EAS rights and appeals under the USPS Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM), specifically, “Section 650 Nonbargaining Disciplinary, Grievance and Appeal Procedures.” Basically, known in NAPS as ELM 650. The good thing about being a NAPS member is you never have to go it alone when it comes to your rights as an EAS employee. Here’s the scoop!
ELM 650 establishes procedures related to disciplinary actions against employees not subject to collective bargaining (i.e., EAS employees) and emergency action for conduct. I encourage all NAPS members to take the time to not only read, but also study the entire ELM 650 chapter. Fully understanding your rights as an EAS employee can help you throughout your postal career.
In brief, following are some helpful tips if you happen to be called into an USPS interview related to your postal unit or workplace performance. Although not under ELM 650, this next reference may play a role if you are called into a Postal Service investigation. Here is why. Under ELM Section 665.3, “Cooperation in Investigations,” employees must cooperate in any postal investigation, including Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigations.
Therefore, if you are called by your manager or the OIG to answer questions about your operation, mail delays, TACs issues, your performance or conduct or more per ELM 650, refer specifically to ELM 652.4, “Representation.” It reads, in part: “Employees covered under these provisions may request representation during investigative questioning if the employee has a reasonable belief disciplinary action may ensue.”
In most cases, an EAS employee may be called into an investigative interview (I&I), OIG investigation or told to report to their manager’s office for a pre-disciplinary interview (PDI). Although PDIs are craft-based and not reflected in the ELM or recognized by NAPS, when called on to attend a PDI, it’s best to follow the instruction, including that of an I&I and OIG investigation.
It’s also best not to go alone. Exercise your right under ELM 652.4 to have a representative present. In this case, I recommend you call your NAPS representative.
Once you are called into an I&I, OIG investigation or PDI, here are some recommended tips to consider:
Let me repeat, with NAPS, you never are alone. This column of about 700 words is not intended to provide a full understanding of your EAS rights under ELM 650 but to give you a glimpse or taste of what information is out there as EAS/NAPS members to discover and make your lives better.
Besides recommending that you read and fully understand your rights under ELM 650, I highly encourage members to attend NAPS training. Such training doesn’t cover just ELM 650, but explores a wide range of topics related to your postal career and rights as an EAS employee.
Check the NAPS website—naps. org—for upcoming NAPS training near you. I guarantee you won’t be alone or have to go it alone when you attend NAPS training.
You also don’t have to go it alone when tasting my ice-cream-flavor-of-the-month recommendation: white-chocolate peppermint. Take me with you!