Mail Handlers Local 323

Representing Mail Handlers and MHAs working for the United States Postal Service

Local President's Page

Contract Update - Tentative Agreement Part II

We’ll continue our analysis of the tentative agreement by delving into some of the specific changes to contractual language.  While economic issues control our standard of living, changes made to work rules impact our day-to-day lives on the work floor.  The National Union has announced that the ballots to vote for, or against, ratification will be mailed on February 18, 2020.  The time for us to make our decision draws near.


Changes to Article 12:


Article 12 is the most detailed and far reaching provision of the National Agreement.  Moreover, it is often the most misunderstood.  Fortunately, the production of the Contract Interpretation Manual has provided significant clarification regarding Article 12.  Still, changes to Article 12 require some scrutiny.


Article 12.3B12 has been improved, so that a 204-B returning to the craft to bid must complete one pay period of 14 consecutive days prior to submitting a bid.  This increases the period during which a 204-B must return to the craft before bidding.  This is far from the complete elimination of 204-B’s sought by some; but, it does represent an additional restriction.  In any case, this change doesn’t really tip the ratification scale one way or the other.


Article 12.2G is being changed so that Mail Handlers involuntarily excessed outside of their installation will have their seniority established by their service time in the losing installation, rather than their complete Mail Handler service.  This corrects some inequities which have occurred.  Mail Handlers who voluntarily transfer will not receive a seniority windfall if they are then involuntarily excessed.  Seniority inequities are always to be avoided, so this is a good change. 


Article 12.3B6 is amended to provide that changes in starting time for purposes of bid posting and incumbency rights will be measured on a cumulative basis from the latest of ratification of each National Agreement or the start time at the beginning of each bid.  Articles 12.3B4 (fixed days of work), 12.3B5 (change in duties or change in principal assignment area), and 12.3B6 (change in starting time) have been amended to provide for an expedited selection process within the section when these changes require that an assignment be posted for installation-wide bidding.


Wow! This has got to be the most significant enhancement to seniority and sectional incumbency rights since the changes made to Article 12.6 C4d in the 1994 National Agreement.  Sorry, I realize that I lost everyone when I went contract geek there, but this is cool.  If management makes changes to your bid which requires that it be reposted, there will be an expedited selection process which will allow you to remain in your section.   There may be a bit of a learning curve with this part; but the benefit to the Members will be substantial.  These are good changes.


I haven’t covered every change contained in the tentative agreement, just the one’s that I consider to be the most important. You should continue your review of the tentative agreement in its entirety. The ratification vote is your opportunity to have a voice in your future. You may contact your Steward, Branch President, or me, with any questions.


I'll be following up with Part III before you receive your ballot.