Postal service managers, supervisors ready to fight terminations

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 4/28/2017, 12:32 p.m.
The battle over pay practices of the U.S. Postal Service in the Richmond area is about to become even more ...

The battle over pay practices of the U.S. Postal Service in the Richmond area is about to become even more heated.

First, letter carriers publicly complained and filed a federal class action lawsuit seeking repayment of overtime they claim managers and supervisors illegally stripped from them — allegations that the USPS firmly denies in its response to the suit.

Now, the Free Press has learned the national postal organization that represents managers and supervisors is vowing to defend Richmond area members who have been disciplined or are facing firing for their alleged role in the matter.

Richard L. Green Jr., regional vice president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, or NAPS, told more than 100 members who gathered April 19 at Richmond’s Main Post Office on Brook Road that NAPS is prepared to provide lawyers for at least eight African-American members who have been placed on leave with pay and have been notified they face dismissal, members said.

He said NAPS would do all it could to ensure that those members keep their jobs.

Mr. Green, the third highest-ranking manager for the Postal Service in the Richmond district that includes Central Virginia and Hampton Roads, did not respond to a Free Press request for comment.

In response to a Free Press query, the national NAPS headquarters in Alexandria issued a brief statement confirming that the group would “provide representation to its members if or when disciplinary action is issued to ensure our members receive proper due process.”

The issue could come to a head in coming months as cases involving the eight supervisors and others protesting the disciplinary action reach the internal USPS courts, known as the Judicial Officer Department and Office of Administrative Law Judges. Both hear employee appeals of disciplinary actions.

The key question that remains is whether supervisors were following USPS procedures and the city postmaster’s directions in altering time cards, called clock rings by the USPS.

According to USPS procedures, managers and supervisors of carriers are required to go into the time recording system and make changes, but any change must be justified or explained if it reduces the time worked.

Supervisors also must document their changes on various forms, which the USPS audits at least monthly, the Free Press was told.

As part of its investigation, USPS issued a list of 64 current and former managers and supervisors under investigation, the Free Press was told, and has barred most from making changes on time cards.

Instead, USPS has brought in supervisors from other postal districts to take charge of making changes to the clock ring system during the investigation, the Free Press has been told.

USPS officials have declined to comment.