December 2010 Update
The process of offering retreat rights to Mail Handlers previously excessed from the NDC is currently in the works. 21 Mail Handlers have indicated a desire to be returned to the NDC and the option to retreat to a residual vacancy is being extended to all of these people at the same time.
Article 12.6 C5b9 provides that a Mail Handler excessed outside their installation will have a retreat right to that installation, “…so long as the employee does not withdraw it or decline to accept an opportunity to return…” Put another way, the retreat rights currently being offered will be lost unless that person chooses this opportunity to return to the NDC. It is unknown at this time exactly how many people will elect to return to the NDC.
Management is continuing to implement the Article 12 excessing procedures in the Minneapolis Branch for both full-time regulars and part-time flexibles. 20 full-time regulars have already preferenced residual duty assignments for the Des Moines NDC with an anticipated relocation in late January or early February. The process of selecting positions is currently under way for 20 part-time flexibles. These Mail Handlers are selecting part-time flexible positions primarily at the St. Paul and NDC Branches. It is anticipated that the part-time flexibles excessed from Minneapolis will report to their new installations upon the close of the Twin Cities Surface Transfer Center (Metro Hub) in late March of 2011.
Following the implementation of the retreat rights for Mail Handlers excessed from the NDC, residual duty assignments from the NDC will be offered to full-time regulars being excessed from Minneapolis. As of this writing, the exact number of assignments at the NDC which will become available for this purpose remains unknown. Of course should additional duty assignments be newly created, they will first be made available for the Mail Handlers of the NDC. Any residual duty assignments remaining from that process may then be made available to full-time regulars being excessed from Minneapolis. Meetings at both the NDC and Minneapolis Branches will be held next week in order to ensure management’s compliance with everyone’s contractual rights.
Without question the year 2010 will be remembered for the difficult decisions that had to be made by individual Mail Handlers as well as the Local Union. Indeed, from my common viewpoint the prospect of Mail Handlers retreating to the NDC from Des Moines, while Mail Handlers from Minneapolis are being excessed to Des Moines, seems to render the initial NDC excessing an extreme and unnecessary action. It cannot be said with certainty what the year 2011 will bring. We have a new Postmaster General and we must soon begin to prepare for the process of negotiating a new National Agreement. The only thing I can say with certainty is that Local 323 will continue fighting for Mail Handlers and their contractual rights.