November 2010 Update
The reassignment of Mail Handlers in the metro facilities is continuing. The latest round of excessing involves the Minneapolis Branch and stems from management’s decision to close the Twin Cities Surface Transfer Center or “Metro Hub”.
By letter dated October 19, 2010 the Union was notified at the regional level that management had deemed it necessary to excess 48 level 4 full-time regulars, 53 level 5 full-time regulars, 26 level 4 part-time flexibles, and 1 level 4 part-time regular, from the Minneapolis installation. The Minneapolis installation for this purpose is comprised of the downtown Minneapolis plant and the Metro Hub. The initial excessing notice authorized the withholding of an equal number of positions in facilities within a 35 and then 100 mile radius of the Minneapolis installation. By letter dated November 1, 2010, the Union was notified that management had expanded this withholding radius to 350 miles.
Article 12 of the National Agreement provides that employees will be excessed by juniority within the respective categories of full-time regular, part-time regular, and part-time flexible. Branch President Dean Abatte, Vice President Kathleen Schultz, Minnesota State Executive Board Member Shane Ryden, and I, will comprise the Union’s team that will address this issue. Our aim will be to ensure compliance with the contractual objective of minimizing the impact to the regular workforce. Towards that end, we have already met with management on 3 occasions and discussions will continue throughout this process. Keep an eye on the Union bulletin boards for specific information.
Things appear to be settling in at the St. Paul P & DC following the move into the new building. I recently attended a Labor-Management meeting at that facility concerning operations during the Christmas season and other items remaining from the move. Also in attendance at this meeting were Branch President Doug Vitek, Chief Steward Tony Triplett, and L & DC Steward Brian Lay. Agreements previously negotiated concerning the transition and daily work assignments seem to be accomplishing their goals. Moreover, a transportation agreement involving both the St. Paul and NDC Branches continues to regulate the movement of mail and equipment between the adjacent facilities. Any Mail Handler who has concerns or is aware of any lack of compliance with these agreements should bring their issues to the attention of their Branch Steward.
The NDC has gone full circle and management is currently preparing to post duty assignments in order to begin the process of implementing retreat rights. Duty assignments will first be posted for bid by Mail Handlers working at the NDC. The bidding process will eventually create residual duty assignments or duty assignments which no one selects during the bidding process. This process may take several rounds of bidding before a residual vacancy is created. Once residual vacancies are created they will be offered by seniority to Mail Handlers previously excessed to other installations who have indicated their desire to retreat back to the NDC. Once the retreat rights of all excessed Mail Handlers have been satisfied it is anticipated that the remaining residual duty assignments will be utilized for Mail Handlers excessed from the Minneapolis installation. The exact number of residual duty assignments which will eventually become available for this purpose remains unknown at this time. In sum, Mail Handlers currently at the NDC will have the first choice, Mail Handlers with retreat rights to the NDC will have second choice, and Mail Handlers excessed from Minneapolis will then have an opportunity to choose these assignments. Once again, meetings with management have recently been initiated in order to ensure compliance with everyone’s contractual rights. Branch President Mike Straiton, Chief Steward Keith Unterseher, Stewards Mark Hesch, Tony Stickler, John Frey, and I, were in attendance at the initial meeting.
These times are fraught with uncertainty and many people will be required to make difficult decisions. Your Union remains committed to ensuring that all the Mail Handlers of Local 323 are afforded the rights and options guaranteed them by the National Agreement.