August 2019 Update
We’re approaching the time where the rubber meets the road regarding National Negotiations, we’re watching to see what action may be taken by Congress after their return from their summer break, and new hires continue to replenish the MHA ranks following the recent round of conversions. In addition, management continues with an onslaught of disciplinary action related to attendance.
The National Union is continuing their efforts to secure the 2019 National Agreement. Regular contract updates continue to be published and a detailed overview was included in the most recent issue of the Mail Handler magazine. The process of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement is never an easy task and this round seems to be no exception. Still, I remain cautiously optimistic. Maybe, considering the situation in the Postal Service and calls for Congress to act on Postal reform, I’m being naive. Or maybe, I’m just don’t like the possibility of having to place our future in the hands of an arbitrator. If our collective bargaining history teaches us anything, it is that an arbitrator will give us some things we don’t like. In any event, should arbitration become necessary, I am confident that battle will be engaged thoroughly and competently. It won’t be too long until we know the path to our objective.
Congress will be returning to session soon as the potential for Postal reform continues to ever loom on the horizon. We are prepared at all levels to contact our elected representatives and make our voices heard in support of, or in opposition to, any potential Postal legislation. Again, we’ll see.
Several rounds of MHA conversions have left the MHA rolls somewhat depleted. Fortunately, the MHA rolls continue to be replenished. This is occurring in decent numbers and with regularity. Of course, we don’t know how long this will continue. Contract negotiations, or time spent waiting for the arbitration process, has sometimes hindered our efforts as the Postal Service waits to see the future costs of the workforce. Regardless of the circumstance, we will continue to persevere in our efforts at career conversions. The credit for our success continues to go to the Branch Representative who have been pressing on this issue week after week for months without end.
The onslaught of disciplinary action continues; particularly, regarding attendance. The common allegation in these actions is “failure to be regular in attendance” or “failure to maintain a regular work schedule.” Yet, when an employee or a Steward asks what constitutes regular attendance, no supervisor or manager seems to know. Either their answer is unresponsive to the question or they state that employees must come to work every day they’re scheduled. Coming to work every day is perfect attendance; and no regulation exist requiring someone to have perfect attendance.
A particularly troubling aspect of these disciplinary actions is that management is including trivial incident of tardiness. Incidents of .09, .10, .11, hours, are routinely being cited as standalone incidents to support disciplinary action. While these are technically late incidents, management would do well to consider what message their inclusion is sending to people. Is management saying that, if your going to be late, you might as well miss the whole day because the disciplinary consequences are the same? I don’t know. Only management knows; or do they?
Ask to see a Steward as soon as you receive any disciplinary action or if you have any other issue. That’s what we’re here for.