July 2016 Update
Sometimes we’re just working. Day after day and week after week it’s the same routine. Coming to work and doing our jobs, looking forward to events like career conversion, a new bid, or that well deserved time off with family. This same workplace routine is shared by your Representatives; but, they must additionally address the same grievances caused by the same supervisors over and over again. It is these grievances, such as, overtime bypass, holiday scheduling, cross craft, and career conversions, which form the core foundation of our contract administration efforts.
Members have asked: Why does this keep happening? Why can’t management get it right? Unfortunately, attempting to answer those questions would be far too lengthy and involved for this column (if I could answer them at all); so, suffice it to say that there will always be new supervisors, always be new managers, and there will always be mistakes. In any event, our response to a contractual violation cannot change regardless of whether or not the cause is routine. It is imperative to recognize that something becoming routine doesn’t diminish its importance. In fact, because they are directly responsive to the enforcement of a Members contractual rights, I would argue that filing these routine, every day grievances, are the most important function we perform. Moreover, while we may not be able to control the cause of grievances, we do control the response. Our control in this regard manifests itself through the grievance procedure.
There are many things looming on our collective horizon. The process of securing the 2016 National Agreement remains ongoing and the Postal Service Reform Act of 2016 (H.R. 5714) has recently come out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Locally, we continue to make progress on MHA conversions. Things will not always be routine, things will happen that are beyond our control, and changes will happen that will make some unhappy, while others welcome them. Some of these things will play out on the workroom floor, some will play out in the grievance procedure, some will play out at the level of the National Union, and some will play out in the halls of Congress. Regardless of what happens, with our core foundation in place, we are prepared to build for the future.