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NAPS State Convention in Muncie ~ June 22 - 23, 2001

 

Friday, June 22: 

 

Vince Palladino ~ NAPS National President: 

 

  1. USPS Reform:  Not only is the economy down; we have no money coming in.  We can’t decide on what postal reform we want because we have so many people trying to fix so many things.  There were so many, “don’t touch this and don’t touch that’s” that it is causing reform to be drug out.  The craft employees have clamored to congress and USPS HQ that a reform bill won’t be passed with elimination of Saturday delivery.   Districts will not be eliminated; neither will Areas be cut; however, there will be plant consolidations.  Some studies will close some small plants.  It’s not a done deal.  The list is out.  Terry Freeman has a copy of this list.  You’ll see some changes in shared services, such as Injury Comp.  In one Area, three districts will be in one office (a pilot).  If this works, it will be rolled out nationwide.  You won’t see anything gigantic like we saw in 1992. 
  2. EVA:  To get to where we’re going, we need postal reform.  The first part of getting congressional attention is to say that new construction will be halted and that Saturday delivery elimination will be looked at.  As EVA goes along, we get it even with the USPS loses money.  EVA may be phased out because it has made some people at higher level act differently than they would without EVA (the pressure to cut expenses).  Secondly, we can’t convince anyone outside of the USPS how we can lose money and still provide “bonuses” to our management employees.  Therefore, there is an incentive to get rid of the EVA.  Here are a couple of surprising facts:  The breakeven number before the USPS can touch your money is when the USPS loses 2.3 billion dollars.  We’ll get an EVA though because we have maintained record productivities and met most all of our goals, in spite of the USPS as a whole losing money. 

 

Bob Washington – NAPS Central Region Vice President:

 

Shared resource and consolidation impact:  Danny Jackson was very cooperative in trying to work things out.  It looks like anyone who finds themselves in a consolidation won’t be adversely impacted; in other words, you’ll be able to find another job.  Many detailed people don’t really know where their home base is.  Be sure and have some type of record that tells you your primary duties and days off.  There is still a problem of treating employees without dignity and respect.  At the Area level we are asking why this is not put to rest.  If you are in a situation that you feel is inappropriate, you need to speak up about it.    There is a school of thought that if you keep quiet that it will help you in being promo table.  Please speak out about it.

 

Ken Braun – Greater Indiana District      District Manager

 

Thank-you for such a great quarter 3.  We saved $2 million dollars.  This had a dramatic impact on the entire GLA.  We are 6 tenths of the national budget..  We are hitting many of our targets and they are always improving.  This is attributed to the leadership; I mean this sincerely.  Telling people what is expected is not treated them badly.  Not telling them what is expected IS treating them badly.  The VOE survey in this area went up seven points.  This is a big plus.  Leadership is action and not position.  All you have to do is take care of business.  We senior leaders just to help remove the stumbling blocks to help you do your jobs easier.  I’ll be as frank with you as I can; especially during this critical time in the USPS budget.  We are close to having to borrow just to make the payroll for AP 13.  I welcome criticism.  Oftentimes when you give us criticism we get good feedback to help us grow our business and do it better.

 

Chuck Donnigan, GID Senior Plant Manager:

 

We are having a great year; especially due to the open communication that we have.  We’ll continue to tell you exactly how we feel, even if we don’t agree with you.  Let us know if you agree or disagree. 

 

Panel Discussion (Q&A): 

 

HR 144: HR 144 is not a bill.  It won’t fly.  EVA is not a bonus.  The productivity this year is at an all-time high.  This is the reason you’ll get an EVA – your improving on what the USPS projected.

 

Personal leave policy in GID:  Chuck Donnigan - For exempt employees who work over 4 yours, we can grant personal leave (it is not charged).  Policy is to file a form 3971.  Vince – in cases of emergencies, you can get 6 hours plus of personal leave (and not charge sick leave).  You need to be very careful to not abuse it such as setting a pattern.  Bob Washington said that employees MUST complete a form 3971 even though it isn’t recorded in TACS.  This is a liability issue.  Linda Peterson mentioned that some supervisors are told that the only leave available is annual or sick.  Ken Braun said that personal leave is not comp time or any other leave.  There are no provisions for hourly increments of leave.  Bob said that it is not acceptable to fill out a leave form without talking with the supervisor first.  Steve S said that personal leave is often treated like a comp situation.  Ken said that he has never disapproved personal leave; however it is each managers obligation to lead their areas appropriately. 

 

FedEx impact on Indiana:  Per Chuck and Ken, our district will have the largest negative impact due to the Eagle Hub being in Indianapolis.   Destinating Express Mail will arrive approximately 2 hours later.    Paul Norton gave an overview of Express Mail service commitment changes in GID anticipated starting August 27th.

 

Rumors about consolidation of plants in our area:  Only Bloomington is on the list.  Originally, Kokomo and Terre Haute was also projected.  Bloomington was proposed due to Indianapolis increasing processing operations at the Eagle Hub.  Seven of our plants are in the top 10 in the country in BPI performance.   We are waiting until our hand is forced.   We don’t want to close processing at any plants on weekends or for one day.  This reduces our success. 

 

Utilizing 204Bs in lieu of regular supervisors to offset payment of overtime to the regular supervisor (Gary IN):  Chuck said that this is not an official policy.  This is a case-by-case situation.  Chuck will look into the situation at the Gary P&DF.  

 

20 to 1:  Vince said the 20 to 1 ratio is bad because they count everyone in the plant.  This makes it no longer 20 to 1.  Ken said that since 1992, our cluster is a 20 to 1 location.  He doesn’t feel that 20 to 1 is to harsh.  20 to 1 is not to large of a span of control.   Vince said that plant managers put on 204-Bs because they can’t get the mail out the door with 20 to 1.  Ken said put the mail on the automated equipment then you won’t have a problem with 20 to 1.

 

Dignity and respect (Gary IN):  Supervisor was yelled at in front of craft employees.    The USPIS downplayed it.  Ken said blame softly and praise loudly.  Everyone has their flash point.  The manager must have lost some rationality at that point.  We need to deal with that through help such as anger control.  Not knowing all about the situation makes it difficult to pin down a good answer.  There is no excuse for yelling at each other in front of the employees. 

 

Sexual harassment:  Ken said to take immediate action.  He said that it costs the USPS a tremendous amount of time and money when we don’t act immediately.  A question was asked how do you deal with an innocent supervisor who is charged?  Ken said that on issues of allegations made, we have to do an investigation for the concerns of the individual involved.  Vince said that an initial investigation will determine whether or not the supervisor should be taken out because of the law.  It should be explained to the supervisor at the outset.   We in our positions have to be very careful to avoid creating a hostile work environment.  Employees can go to the IG now in addition to traditional avenues.  It is imperative that we conduct ourselves above reproach.   Mark Jarrett said the key is on how we start an investigation.  A poor beginning can be like a cancer. 

 

Eagle Hub:  Chuck said there is a lot of discussion and not a lot of answers.  We are revisiting our DAR for the facility.  It was thought that GID would take over the HASP operation and move the P1 operation and AMC to the Eagle Hub building.  This was part of the DAR to bring Bloomington’s mail processing to the MPA annex to Indianapolis.  When we add up the money it equals over $10 million in capitol.  This can’t happen.  There is concern about losing the Eagle Hub facility if we don’t utilize it very soon after it is vacated.  HQ initial preference is to keep it postal.  Keeping it though will cost us a lot of money.  Ken said that if we get the Eagle Hub building that he would consider moving some of the district staff to the Eagle Hub building and get out of the lease on the other property.   Remember, we own the building but the airport authority owns the land.  We will either pay for the landing fees or they’ll roll it over to our lease cost.  We don’t know enough about the costs to make a decision now.  There are to many unknowns.  We’d actually like to sublease the building and yet retain possession of the building.  Facilities at USPS HQ said that we may be a little premature on our assessment of the use of the building. 

 

ASP Program:  Ken said that GID is still involved.  Fort Wayne and Gary wants to know if they are still a player?  Ken said that the ASP program is ongoing in support of the entire district.   Vince said that HQ is realizing that each district is operating autonomously.  We are very close to eliminating the promotion of supervisors through 204-Bs.  HQ is also trying to improve the entire program.  HQ wants to change the program by making the level 15 as a detail for 6 months then put in a pool.  After a year they would assign the positions.  NAPS is of the opinion that the ASP should apply, then the manager select.  Hopefully, NAPS and HQ USPS will come into agreement on the ASP program.  Vince wants to see the formula for ASP changed.  The formula doesn’t take into consideration the details out there.  We need to work hard to coach the ASPs better.  NAPS needs the support of the district manager to act as a watchdog to make the program work better.

 

Presentation by Jamie Johnson on retirement counseling

 

Presentation by Delores Hunter, Michiana Area Vice President

 

Committee Assignments by Terry Freeman

 

Vince: 

1.      Pay issues: 

2.      ASP program

3.      EVA:  HQ wants us to accept an interim merit.  This will delay moving us into the pay ranges that we are striving toward.  HQ NAPS has hired a firm to assist them in dealing with this issue.  The merit that NAPS is asking for is a good size.  We can no longer accept what HQ gives us without fighting back.  We are threatening fact-finding if we don’t get a proper increase this year.  NAPS will likely have to spend a lot of money to help get the supervisors the money that they need to bring them up to an equitable level.

 

Vince Palladino comments Saturday, June 23, 2001:

 

EEO changes step-by-step.  The job may be contracted out.  Environmental people will go from district to area positions.  They are 19s and 21s.  They’ll bid for level 23 area positions.  They’ll still be USPS employees though.   

 

Role of national vs. local officers:  Only three people on salary at the national level.  Vince has been on the board since 1976.  Those in the field work for nothing and have to be prepared for a lot of changes and adverse actions on the spot.   Paid members receive free legal help.  National officers number one issue is saving our jobs on Capitol Hill.  Remember, without a USPS there is no NAPS.  We have the best from title 39 anywhere.  Others managers in government don’t have what we have.  Yeah, we beg, but we also tell them things that are important.  What I get is what I take back to Washington DC from you at the state conventions. 

 

I have a list of 10-11 plants to eliminate mail processing entirely.  It’s a real battle.  HQ is working hard to protect the little post offices, yet they run to try to eliminate plants.    Now, all the station managers are “security managers”. 

 

TACCS is really a good thing because every manager should know where their employees are and what they are doing.   Its about accountability.  We have to put the responsibility back on the employee and stop carrying the load yourselves.

 

The front line:  you have to be careful of what you are doing out there and how you are doing it.  You are in a sensitive position to cut hours and save money. Its tough dealing with the craft so take the emotion out of your job and watch what you say and you conduct yourselves so that you don’t get put in a bind.  Just walk over, tell them what you expect, don’t touch them, be tactful and professional and go on with your business.   We need more support for our front-line supervisors so that they don’t wind up on expensive and difficult charges.  Don’t let your emotions cause a denial of leave to an employee.  Example, if a carrier’s mom died, let the carrier off work.  Get over it and let the employee off.  It’s the right thing to do.    Bill Young’s column in the NALC Newsletter wrote about supervisors being taken out of their positions in reference to the “joint statement”.  They take this to arbitration and arbitrators are ruling on what is to be done to management.  The arbitrators are making rulings that are embarrassing to the supervisors.  For example, an arbitrator said a supervisor had to write a letter of apology.  This is not a good idea because it says that the supervisor was guilty, when in fact, the supervisor was innocent.  NAPS hasn’t lost a case with Scialla and Associates on cases pertaining to downgrading and poor performance.  Just don’t get caught messing with the pencil.  Report accurately and make your explanation so that the onus is on the next level up. 

 

Senator McHugh gave the USPS an I.G.   They do interventions.  They are NOT postal employees.  They come in with the attitude that the supervisor is guilty from the outset.    Tell your managers to do their jobs in a businesslike manner and control their emotions.  No matter how you look at , when you are doing your job (taking away their overtime), their perception is that you are creating a hostile work environment. 

 

Legislative impact: The national legislative training seminar is a very good thing.  Two things congressmen pay attention to are money (to get re-elected) and votes.  They pretty much have to raise $10,000 a week every week in order to have enough money for their next election campaign.  We need the “familiarization visit” which costs NAPS about $500 per congressman.  This just lets them know who we are.    A lot of congressmen and senators until recently thought that the USPS had no real crisis; they know better now. 

 

10% reductions at the district level:  This is not reducing, it is really NOT FILLING an existing vacant position.  Districts are looking at administrative jobs to try and save hours.  They cannot eliminate a position but they can delay filling a vacant position until it is official from USPS HQ.  They’ll detail someone to do the work though.  We are in an interim period.  HQ will continue with the committees where they can review sharing services.  Look at EEO, environmental,  accounting, HR, sales.  The first pilot in shared services is in Injury Comp (Allegheny Area).  The accounting pilot will start in GLA and then filter to the other districts in the GLA starting January and February. 

 

 

 

 

Sales:  From Potter, the BSN will go back to the districts.  This will happen.  HQ is meeting now to discuss what to do with the sales department that was created.  HQ has admitted that putting sales under HQ was not successful.  NAPS HQ is hoping that the sales force also goes back to the districts as well. 

 

Pay anomaly and pay package:  NAPS has a list of what they are working on in this issue.  Our next pay package is due January 2002.  On the provisional merit, we’re talking about spreading it out some; look at what the clerks got, then go with drafting the EAS pay package.  It looks like the carriers will precede our pay package this time.   After this November, then we have to negotiate the 2002 package for next November.  This is where the list of NAPS resolutions will come into play. 

 

 

Investigative interviews:  Some are called interventions.  If its really an investigative interview, it is usually a matter of impropriety and involves the USPIS.  By law, with some charges such as sexual harassment, there are three levels of investigation.   The area where NAPS is trying to get involved at HQ level is on all the other types.  The people with the problem must learn not to incriminate themselves; especially when they are not guilty, and seek NAPS representation whenever they are being interviewed, especially when the interview ‘could’ lead to punitive action.  Once the interview starts, just answer the questions.  Don’t volunteer extra information; it can get you into more trouble.  ALWAYS take good notes on what you and the interviewer are saying.  No one can give you a direct order to answer a question that will incriminate you.  Bottom line:  If you are running into a problem, give us a call and we’ll try and help you.