we cannot agree to either forego or defer the upcoming NPA payouts scheduled for January 2009. The attorneys with whom we have consulted on this issue believe that the Postal Service does not have the right to demand that we re-open pay consultations or change the pay agreement in any way
Rumors and Pay Raises
Postmasters, supervisors and other postal employees have had their own reasons for concern. Rumors about pay raises being stripped away and massive layoffs of postal employees created another climate of uncertainty. Postmaster General Jack Potter recently inferred that, although layoffs were a possibility and were being considered because everything is being considered, they certainly weren’t imminent. That brings us to Postmaster and supervisor raises.
Postmasters, by and large, give tremendously to the Postal Service. They take seriously their position in the Postal Service as well as their standing in and responsibility to America’s communities. They have taken ownership of their post offices and assume full responsibility for what goes on in their office. They are totally committed to the success of their post offices. In spite of the acute shortages of resources (employees, equipment, support and budgeted work hours) Postmasters are out there somehow making it all work. They impact the bottom line of the Postal Service first by their revenue generating efforts, and cost cutting, but also by the thousands of hours that they labor ‘off-the-clock.’ They have sacrificed much of their family and personal life and often their health suffers under the tremendous burden they’ve taken up. So often, at their sides, enduring much of the same pressure are their supervisors, perhaps the least appreciated of all postal employees (except, maybe, our PMRs). It was to these employees that the Postal service came to ask to give up their general increase pay raises.
It is a serious error to believe that Postmasters and supervisors don’t care about the Postal Service and are unwilling to sacrifice. I’ve established above that the sacrifices are being made. Postmasters have labored for the last year with the promise of a small raise at the end of the year. If things were lined up just so for them and they put in even more effort, they might have even earned a bonus. After a year with possibly the tightest budgets yet, and many working under the lash of micromanaging districts and areas, the Postal Service, in an effort to cut losses for FY 09 asked, through the management associations, Postmasters to give up their small general increase. It did not help that this year the craft employees received their largest COLA (something EAS employees were forced to give up years ago) in history.
While the management associations are committed to helping the Postal Service find its way out of the predicament in which it finds itself, taking a pay raise away from Postmasters and supervisors is not the right thing to do. It is the position of Naps, Napus, and the League that the U.S. Code prevents the Postal Service from unilaterally opening pay consultations, and we have informed Postal Headquarters of our opinion. I absolutely don’t foresee Postmasters and supervisors giving up their raises.