June 2014 Update
The month of June is speeding by at a rapid pace, at least from the viewpoint of your Officers and Representatives. The Local Office and many of the Branches have been busy dealing with issues involving MHA conversions and retreat rights. The first facility to see MHA conversions in the Northland District was the NDC Branch; and, now that process is moving forward in the Saint Paul Branch as well.
The facilities in the Dakotas District have been converting MHAs for some time. It is expected that the conversion process will continue in both Districts and will involve a group of MHAs on each occurrence.
The conversion of MHAs has required the administration of certain contractual provisions in a manner uniquely suited to the circumstances. An MHA who has not completed two 360 day appointments prior to conversion must serve another 90 day probationary period. During this probationary period the newly converted full-time regular does not enjoy the full status of the position. In particular, they do not have seniority rights for the purpose of bidding. Nonetheless, they may be assigned to residual duty assignments. The assignment of these probationary full-time regulars is accomplished by offering them their preference by relative standing rather than by seniority. This may seem like a distinction without a difference; but, it is the contractually proper implementation.
Retreat rights are in the process of being implemented for Mail Handlers who have been excessed from the Minneapolis, Rochester, Saint Cloud, and Mankato Branches. We have, for the most part, seen a uniform approach; although, there may be circumstances which will have to be addressed in the grievance procedure. In any event, the completion of this process should open the door for conversions in the Branches currently employing MHAs.