January 2014 Update
2014 is shaping up to be a year of change in some regards and possibly a year of stagnation in others. Some of these changes will be welcomed, while others must be challenged, and the Local Union remains focused on seeking the best outcome for our Membership regardless of what transpires.
One of the primary factors driving proposed changes will be mail delivery. It is well known that Letter Carriers nationwide have been delivering mail after dark. In fact, numerous tragedies involving Letter Carriers being murdered, shot, assaulted, and robbed, has been extensively covered by the national media outlets. With the next round of plant consolidations currently on hold, we will see a concerted effort made to get Letter Carriers off the streets before dark. The only possible way for this to occur is to change the manner in which the mail flows from the processing plants to the delivery units. This is where there is a potential to affect the Mail Handler bargaining unit.
The exact time-frame and extent of any potential changes remains unknown. The leadership of the metro area Branches and I continue to meet with management regarding these matters. Many things are on the table. In the St. Paul and NDC Branches the conversion of MHA’s to career is a possibility that may have a positive result on the situation. At least it seems to me that creating new career employees as well as new duty assignments has potential to minimize any impact to the duty assignments currently held by full-time regulars. So, that is an objective which we will continue to pursue in St. Paul and at the NDC.
The situation in the Minneapolis Branch is more complex due to the number of Mail Handlers who remain excessed from the facility. That matter is also being addressed but progress is slow.
Irrespective of what occurs in any facility, once our efforts at minimizing the impact is complete, our focus must shift to contract compliance. In this regard we remain committed to ensuring that each Member of the Mail Handler bargaining unit is afforded the rights to which they are entitled under the terms of the National Agreement.
Oh, I almost forgot that I mentioned the possibility of some stagnation. Well that starts with “C” and ends with “ongress.” Once again Postal reform is on the table in the Senate. Specifically, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee attempted to markup Senate Bill 1486; but, after amendments, a letter from all four Postal Unions opposing the legislation, and complaints from the mailing community, they didn't get too far.
That markup has been continued until February 6th. It remains to be seen whether this will actually move forward.