In July 2019, NAPS filed a lawsuit alleging the United States Postal Service fails to meet statutory requirements regarding compensation for EAS employees. Specifically, NAPS alleged that the Postal Service’s FY16-19 Final EAS Pay Package violates the Postal Reorganization Act (PRA) by not paying EAS employees comparably to the private sector, not providing an adequate and reasonable differential between the pay rates of EAS employees and the craft employees they supervise and not maintaining a compensation system that ensures a well-motivated workforce.
NAPS also alleged that the Postal Service has violated the PRA by not recognizing NAPS’ right to consult regarding pay and benefits for Headquarters and area EAS employees and its over 4,100 postmaster members.
USPS’ Motion to Dismiss
On Oct. 25, 2019, the Postal Service filed a motion to dismiss NAPS’ complaint. This is a routine method that defendants use to try to defeat lawsuits at an early stage. The Postal Service argued that NAPS does not have a right to file suit in court under the PRA. According to the Postal Service, the PRA does not expressly permit NAPS to file suit for violations of the statute, nor does NAPS have an implied right of review to enforce the rights established by the PRA.
The Postal Service also argued that NAPS does not have the right to participate in pay or other consultations involving postmasters or Headquarters and area EAS employees (although the Postal Service admitted it already has recognized that NAPS does have the right to consult for some of its Headquarters and area EAS members).
On Nov. 7, 2019, United Postmasters and Managers of America (UPMA) filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit and joined the Postal Service in arguing that NAPS has no right to consult on behalf of its postmaster members.
On Nov. 20, 2019, NAPS filed its opposition to the Postal Service’s motion to dismiss. First, NAPS explained why it has a right to challenge the USPS’ final FY16-19 EAS Pay Package in federal court. Forty years ago, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (the appellate court above the D.C. District Court where NAPS’ suit currently is pending) held in National Association of Postal Supervisors v. U.S. Postal Service that NAPS had a right to what is referred to as nonstatutory review—the implied right to enforce rights granted to it by a statute.
In its motion to dismiss, the Postal Service almost entirely ignored the 1979 NAPS v. USPS decision, mentioning it only in a footnote that mischaracterizes the decision. Further, NAPS showed that, contrary to the Postal Service’s characterization, the 1980 amendments to the PRA did not strip NAPS of its right to nonstatutory review. Rather, Congress made clear that, while it hoped to limit litigation between NAPS and the Postal Service, the courts remained open to NAPS if the Postal Service failed to abide by its obligations.
NAPS also explained why nonstatutory review is necessary here, setting out the specific requirements of the PRA and how the Postal Service has violated those requirements with the FY16-19 Final EAS Pay Package.
NAPS further engaged in a close textual analysis of the PRA to explain for the court why NAPS has a right to represent all Headquarters and area EAS employees, as well as NAPS’ postmaster members. Under the PRA, once an organization is recognized as representing a majority of supervisors, that organization has the right to consult on policies and programs relating to supervisory and managerial personnel.
Thus, because NAPS is a recognized supervisory organization, it has the right to consult on all policies and programs relating to its supervisory and managerial members. Because all EAS employees, whether categorized as field, Headquarters or area (distinctions not found in the PRA) are supervisory or managerial personnel, as are postmasters, the PRA requires that the Postal Service recognizes NAPS’ right to consult on behalf of all its members.
On December 20 the Postal Service filed a further pleading in support of its motion to dismiss NAPS’s pay lawsuit. NAPS now awaits the District Court’s decision on the USPS motion. NAPS remains confident that the facts and the law support its position.
Note: NAPS’ full response opposing the USPS motion to dismiss may be found at www.naps.org under the “Forms & Documents” section of the website.