September 2012 Update
As we await further progress towards arbitration, conditions on the workroom floor remain strained. Overtime for non-desired list Mail Handlers remains prevalent in many facilities, retirements as well as transfers to other crafts have significantly reduced staffing, those who previously complained about casuals are now clamoring for their appointment, and management seems perfectly content to continue down this road.
Does this seem like an overly pessimistic view of the present circumstances? In a couple of facilities it does. But in the majority of facilities represent by Local 323 it rings all too true. Management has made it well known that they will not be hiring Mail Handlers until resolution of the impasse over the terms of the National Agreement. Clearly, management is hoping an arbitrator will give them the concessions and flexibility the Union was unwilling to concede at the bargaining table.
Locally we’ve taken steps to try and alleviate as many problems as possible. The Article 12 Committee at the National Union has provided us with support in this regard. Recently, an agreement was reached which allows Mail Handlers excessed to Des Moines from Minneapolis with an opportunity for reassignment to our NDC. The families of many remained living in the Twin Cities. If allowing these people to return to their families will lessen the workload foisted upon non-desired list Mail Handlers, then this long sought agreement will serve its purpose.
I must admit to being somewhat disappointed at the number of people who chose to avail themselves of this opportunity; yet, I can’t say that I’m totally surprised. People get tired of waiting and move on with their lives. They make new friends, they purchase new homes, and they become accustomed to their lives in their new locations. Management would do well to take this into consideration before excessing people to far-flung facilities in other States. They may not respond to your beckoned call when you want them to return.
Additionally, a similar agreement was sought concerning the Mail Handlers excessed into facilities in outstate Minnesota and Wisconsin. As of the date of this writing, it does not appear that this agreement will come to fruition. But efforts continue, and if it becomes necessary to formulate a different approach, then we will.