NAPUS Sounds Off On USPS Suspending Postmasters Convention Leave

Press Release
For Immediate Release

For more information, contact Dale Goff at 703-683-9027

Alexandria, VA, May 22—“The Postal Service’s decision to suspend a convention leave benefit for the remainder of the current Postmaster pay agreement is tantamount to a breach of faith, if not contract, with the nation’s approximately 27,000 Postmasters,” O. Dale Goff Jr., national president of the National Association of Postmasters, charged today.

Goff was reacting to the agency’s abrupt and ill-conceived decision to suspend, effective May 31, Postmasters’ convention leave for the remainder of FY-09 and all of FY-10. Prior to May 31, the Postal Service said it will not attempt to convert to annual leave the approved convention leave some Postmasters already have used this fiscal year.

“Under the existing benefits schedule, Postmasters are entitled to five paid days of leave to attend the annual state or national convention of NAPUS,” Goff explained. “Existing law limits altering such benefits to statutory pay consultations; consequently, the Postal Service has run afoul of the law and NAPUS has so advised Congress,” he added.

Postmaster General Jack Potter personally informed me on May 22 that, basically, Postmaster convention leave is a luxury the Postal Service no longer can afford,” Goff stated. “The PMG further indicated he was not willing to compromise on the matter.”

“No one has a better understanding than Postmasters of the serious economic challenges facing the Postal Service,” Goff said. “But to violate a pay and benefits package by taking away a benefit that serves to help Postmasters better perform their jobs makes absolutely no sense at all.

The Postmasters organizations were informed in mid-May of the proposed decision and recommended convention leave be continued at least through FY-09. In return, they said, there would be no challenge to the proposed suspension for FY-10, with the understanding no additional elements of the current pay package would be addressed prior to the start of the 2011 pay talks.

Labor Relations Vice President Doug Tulino responded for the Postal Service: “I do appreciate your recognition of the difficult economic circumstances that have necessitated this decision and, therefore, we must decline your recommendation.” Tulino alluded to a May 1, 2009, letter in which he referenced “provisions within the law that permit this action under these extraordinary circumstances.”

“Postmasters remain optimistic about the future of the Postal Service,” Goff said. “Nonetheless,” he quickly added, “NAPUS is in discussions with its attorneys regarding the suspension of this valuable Postmaster benefit. This also will be a matter for NAPUS to call to the attention of our many
friends on Capitol Hill.” “That said,” Goff noted, “it’s important to note the USPS considers this action to be, in the agency’s words, a ‘suspension,’ not a cancellation.

That gives us every reason to believe our Postmaster convention leave benefit will be fully reinstated during the next pay talks.”
The 111-year-old National Association of Postmasters of the United States represents more than 42,000 of the nation’s active and retired Postmasters, Officers-in-Charge and Postmaster Leave Replacements. The NAPUS National Office is located in Alexandria, VA. National President Dale Goff is the Postmaster of Covington, LA.

NAPUS Press Release (PDF)