Local President's Page


February 2014 Update

A Guide to the National Agreement for MHA's


February 15th will mark the one year anniversary of the creation of the MHA position by the Interest Arbitration Board.


In creating this position their decision states, "... the Board awards the creation of a new employee classification called Mail Handler Assistant employees, or MHAs." The Board went on to identify the allowable percentages, include MHAs in the bargaining unit, and held that, "Significantly, MHAs will have a path toward career employment in the future ..."


Since the issuance of the Board's decision, we have worked to integrate MHA's into the Mail Handler Craft. We have been successful in securing career conversions in some locations and we continue to pursue this objective in others. Importantly, we have welcomed the MHA's as Members of our Local Union. In fact, I've recently made the first appointment of an MHA to a Representative position.


The mailing of the National Agreement to all Members has resulted in many questions from MHA's. While these questions have covered a broad range of contractual provisions, the majority share a common thread. That thread is the desire to understand why one provision of the National Agreement applies to MHA's and another does not. This is the answer.


The Arbitration Board's decision sets forth specifically which contractual provisions apply to MHA's and that information is contained in the copy of the National Agreement which you received. If you're an MHA and you want to understand your terms of employment, your benefits, and your rights, your inquiry doesn't begin on page 1, it begins on page 125 with the Memorandum of Understanding Re: Mail Handler Assistant Employees.


Pages 125 through 133 of the National Agreement contain the specific terms and conditions of employment for MHA's and I believe you may find it beneficial to familiarize yourself with these provisions. Pay particular attention to section 2 which begins at the top of page 126. This section on "Contractual Provisions" identifies which Articles and which portions of Articles apply to MHA's.


Here is the beginning of that section:

The Board awards that only the following articles and portions of articles of the National Agreement apply to MHAs as outlined below:

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

Article 5

Article 7.1C

You can conclude from this excerpt that Articles 1, 2, 3, and 5, apply to MHA's in their entirety; that Articles 4 and 6 do not apply to MHA's; and, that the only portion of Article 7 which applies to MHA's is Article 7.1C.


The section continues with Article 8 and goes on to identify in detail the Articles and portions of Articles which apply to MHA's throughout the entire National Agreement. Additionally, it identifies which Memoranda of Understanding (i.e., Leave Sharing, Bereavement Leave, Interest on Back Pay, etc.) are applicable to MHA's.


The Memorandum of Understanding Re: Mail Handler Assistant Employees may not answer all of your questions concerning the National Agreement; but, it is the starting point for determining applicability.