August 2013 Update
August has seen the conversion of all PTF’s to full-time in our larger offices, the release of a jointly developed Questions and Answers concerning contract interpretation, and the finalization of the text of the 2011 National Agreement. The National Agreement has been sent to the printers and the National Union will be mailing a copy to every Member's home address.
Congratulations to all of those who were recently converted to full-time! Your conversion signals a significant shift in the contract administration objectives of the Local Union. At least in offices of 200 or more man years. The 2011 National Agreement has eliminated the position of PTF in these larger offices (St. Paul, Minneapolis, the NDC, Fargo). Consequently, the Local Union will no longer be pursuing an objective which was sought for PTF's time and time again over several decades.
The conversion of PTF’s still remains an objective in smaller offices; but, it has been replaced with a new objective in the larger ones. That objective is the conversion of MHA's to full-time career status. While over the years the criteria for converting PTF’s became constant and identifiable (percentages, work load, residuals), we have just started to identify the path which MHA’s will follow on their way to career employment. Grievances have already been filed under circumstances in which we believe MHA's should be converted to career full-time. Not surprisingly, these grievances have been met with resistance from management and we are continuing to pursue these matters at higher levels.
To be sure, the path MHA's will take towards career employment will contain obstacles. In fact I’m unsure as to whether grievance activity, percentage requirements, or operational needs will ultimately result in MHA conversions. I was sure, however, that the sooner we started down this path, the sooner we would reach our objective.