March 2014 Update
As we start to emerge from the grip of the polar vortex the Postal Service prepares to roll out their latest and greatest new plan for operations. Over the years we’ve seen many such plans come and go; so, rather than calling it a new plan, it may be more accurate to just call it the next plan. All of these plans have shared the common objectives of reducing overtime and reducing sick leave. Instead of voicing my opinion concerning the results, I’ll leave it you to draw your own conclusions from your workplace experiences.
We know for sure that the consolidation of mail processing facilities has been place on indefinite hold. In fact, the Union has received notices lifting the withholdings for the facilities of Duluth and St. Cloud. The issuance of these notices leaves the facilities of Rochester and Mankato as the only places within Minnesota that have events which still remain in place. While the facility in Duluth never experienced an excessing event, the lifting of the withholding in St. Cloud allows us to further pursue retreat rights for the Mail Handlers excessed from that facility.
The initial phase of management’s “next plan” will be the metro area facilities of St. Paul, the NDC, and Minneapolis. Implementation of changes in the out state facilities will follow subsequently. The exact extent of the implementation remains uncertain; although, it will most certainly involve the conversion of some number of MHAs. This is not surprising as management has been approaching the 15% district cap on MHAs for a while, and as attrition continues, a violation of this cap would be inevitable.
Management in the Minneapolis facility continues to offer retreat rights as required prior to MHA conversions. A recent pre-arbitration settlement by Branch President Dean Abatte is resulting in the creation of 10 new duty assignments which should facilitate the offering of additional retreat rights. These new duty assignments will first be posted for bid. Then as residual duty assignments shake out they will be offered to Mail Handlers who have been excessed from the facility. That process has had significant movement recently and it is my hope that the offering of retreat rights can be concluded in the near future.
Then there’s management’s plan in North Dakota. It seems that management’s plan in North Dakota is to have no plan, just ongoing damage control. Nevertheless, the North Dakota Representatives continue making progress.
This is a time when we must continue to be ever diligent. We must continue to strive for the best outcome for our Members in each State, and in every facility within those States; and we will ensure that the contractual rights of our Members are respected under all circumstances. Towards these objectives we remain focused.