Lawmakers Look to Give More Postal Employees Appeal Rights

Elaine Thompson/AP file photo

A new bill would give more U.S. Postal Service employees the right to appeal negative personnel actions, potentially providing thousands of workers with a new ability to present their cases to a third party.

Democratic Sens. Jon Tester, Mont., and Brian Schatz, Hawaii, introduced the Postal Employee Appeal Rights Amendment Act this week, which would give about 7,500 mid-level postal managers the right to have their cases heard by the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Congress initially gave USPS postmasters and supervisors the right of MSPB appeal in 1987, but that measure excluded a large swath of mid-level managers. Postal employee advocates said Congress intended to give appeal rights to all USPS managers, but narrow interpretations of the law by MSPB and the courts left out the 7,500 employees.

“This has resulted in unfairness to USPS employees, created unnecessary costs, and in some cases, prevented the disclosure of fraud, waste and abuse,” said Louis Atkins, president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors. “NAPS supports this legislation that serves to correct this due process issue.”

Tester said the bill would improve postal performance, in addition to workers’ rights.

“The Postal Service is critical for folks around the country who count on timely delivery every single day,” Tester said. “When we strengthen the working conditions for postal workers we improve overall employee morale -- boosting the quality of delivery standards and saving ratepayer money.”

Appealable adverse actions would include removals, suspensions, reductions in pay and furloughs. Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced similar legislation in the last Congress, though the bills never advanced past their respective committees. 

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