November 2012 Update
Arbitration hearings continue over the terms of the 2011 National Agreement as we keep an eye on Congress for any indication that there will be some type of lame duck Postal reform. Meanwhile, the level of activity for the Local Union and its Representatives is moving at a rapid pace. Issues such as the marketing of the Mail Handler Health Benefit Program, the Local 323 Dental Program, the implementation of PTF conversions at the NDC as well as in Saint Paul, mounting challenges to the recent craft determination for the AFCS 200, and the consolidation of the Rochester installation into the Saint Paul P&DC, are keeping your Representative more than busy.
On top of the current list of concerns, of course, is the arbitration of our next National Agreement. In this regard, I would encourage everyone to read Contract Update #14 which provides significant insight into the positions being espoused by the respective parties.
The 2012 election cycle saw President Obama re-elected with the Democrats maintaining control of the Senate and the Republicans maintaining control of the House. So, it appears we’re in the same boat that we were in before. While there have been rumblings of some type of lame duck Postal reform passing Congress, we’ll have to wait and see if that actually comes to fruition.
The Local 323 Health Plan Representatives have been busy attending open season health fair throughout the States of Minnesota and North Dakota. Specifically, Kathy Schultz, Brock Engstrom, and Brad Kaluza, have been traveling the highways and byways to provide the Mail Handlers Benefit Plan with the most extensive exposure possible. In addition, the Local 323 dental program continues to be made available to regular as well as associate Members.
The decision to award craft jurisdiction for the AFCS 200 to the clerk craft has required a coordinated effort between the Local Office, the Saint Paul Branch, and the Minneapolis Branch. The Saint Paul and the Minneapolis Branches are the only installation within Local 323 in which the AFCS 200’s are installed. We will be challenging this management decision through the appropriate procedures. This matter is not likely to be resolved at the Local level and we have to be prepared to pursue it in the long run.
It must also be mentioned that management is moving forward with consolidation of the mail processing operations from Rochester into the Saint Paul P&DC. While the mail will be going into Saint Paul, management has indicated that any Mail Handlers excessed from Rochester will be going to the NDC. A meeting of the Rochester Branch has been scheduled for December 8th to answer the questions and address the concerns of the Membership.