Recent NAPS experience has demonstrated that nothing short of legislation will yield a fair and equitable process to “consult” over pay and benefits for the 47,000 Executive and Administrative Schedule (EAS)-level postal employees. Currently, the determination of pay and benefits for EAS-level employees is subject to excessive delay, undue secrecy and the lack of accountability.
Unlike postal employees represented by labor unions, employees represented by NAPS do not benefit from “collective bargaining” or the right to binding arbitration in the event of an impasse between NAPS and the USPS. In contrast, Section 1004(f) of Title 39 of the U.S. Code provides postal supervisors, managers and postmasters with a “consultative process,” with the expectation that front-line managers and Postal Headquarters would be able to work collaboratively to seek equitable and fair compensation.
Section 1004(f) provides for the appointment of a Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) fact-finding panel in the event of an impasse. However, the USPS can and has summarily rejected or ignored the findings of such a panel. NAPS twice has secured the assistance of fact-finding, most recently in 2018. The 2018 fact-finding case, released in spring 2019, found in favor of NAPS, but was rejected by the USPS.
As currently codified, Section 1004(f) fails on three levels. First, the consultative process begins only after the largest postal labor union concludes its negotiation with the USPS. This delay harms front-line postal managers because, in most instances, the old pay and benefits package lapses a year or more before the implementation of a new package.