November 2011 Update
The last several weeks I’ve been traveling throughout Minnesota attending the Labor-Management and Town Hall meetings pertaining to the Area Mail Processing or “AMP” studies. The facilities I’ve visited most recently have been Rochester and Duluth as management has concluded that the business case supports consolidation. While the AMP studies regarding these facilities have been forwarded to the area level for further review and approval, ultimately these studies must be sent to the national level for a final determination.
To say that the results of the AMP studies for Rochester and Duluth were not well received by either the employees or the public would be an understatement. This is particularly true for some craft employees who previously worked in the metro area and who are now facing a potential second relocation in as many years. Ironically, it is anticipated that they would be returned to the metro area. The frustration felt by many is understandable and this seems to be the direct result of the AMP process itself. The AMP process is designed to gather information which supports a conclusion concerning a proposed consolidation. Put another way, the AMP process is a review of numbers which seeks to determine whether it is more cost effective to move operations from one facility into another facility. Unfortunately, this process operates upon financial and logistical considerations rather than out of concern for the impacted people.
People who attend the “Town Hall” meetings have often spent months worrying about whether their facility will be consolidated and wondering what will happen to them. They come into the meeting wanting answers to these questions and this is where the AMP process lets them down. In no way do I wish to fault the managerial team conducting the AMP study for sharing the information they have, certainly, it’s better to have more information than less information. It’s just that the information available during these meetings is not responsive to the attendees concerns.
Thus far the “Town Hall” meetings have gone something like this: The postal service is losing billions upon billions of dollars each year and is reviewing hundreds of facilities for consolidation. Your facility is one of those being reviewed and we have concluded that the business case supports consolidation. The management people here don’t make that decision. The information is sent to the area and then headquarters where sometime in the future someone will make the decision.
The end result is that people leave the meeting with the same questions with which they came.
The facilities of Mankato and St. Cloud in Minnesota as well as Minot and Grand Forks in North Dakota remain under study for potential consolidation; although, no conclusions have been reached as of this date. So far I have personally attended all of the meetings related to the AMP studies and it is my intent to continue this practice in the future. In the event that a consolidation occurs I am committed to ensuring that every Mail Handler is afforded the rights and benefits guaranteed them under the terms of the National Agreement. We’ve been through several excessing event during the last couple of years and we are prepared to face any situation.
Finally, we continue to await word about the ongoing negotiations on the National Agreement. I’ll be in Washington on December 1st for the meeting to update the Local Presidents on the current situation. More information in that regard will be forthcoming.