Mail Handlers Local 323

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

Local President's Page

July 2021 Update


There has been no further movement on Postal reform and those pieces of legislation remain parked in Congressional committees. Still, Local 323 remains ready to spring into action and solicit support from our Congressional Delegations at a moments notice. I remain optimistic about the prospects of Postal reform passing this Congress. So, instead of adopting a wait and see approach, Local 323 is using a wait and be prepared approach.


A significant portion of our current efforts are focused on the second wave of MHA conversions resulting from the National MOU and the upcoming implementation of the package support annex (PSA) as part of the NDC. The Local Union is putting particular emphasis on these two important issues.


The conversion MOU negotiated by the National Union proved for numerous MHA conversions within the Local Union. The specific numbers by facility are:


Minneapolis/St. Paul NDC


St. Paul P&DC


Minneapolis P&DC


Twin Cities L&DC


St. Cloud P&DC


Duluth P&DC


Bismarck P&DF


Grand Forks MPF


Fargo P&DF





Many of these facilities will have completed the conversion process by July 31st. Management is then required to post new duty assignments (bids) equal to the number of conversions. Discussions with management in each Branch are underway in an attempted to minimize the impact to current bids. Put another way, if management has an operational need for different off day or hours, we are encouraging them to accomplish their goals with the new duty assignments. It is likely that we will see some undesirable duty assignments created that will have split days off. Our efforts to protect the duty assignments of senior people will result in junior people assigned to some lousy bids. I don’t particularly like this result; but I understand this is the natural consequence of a seniority-based system.


It is possible that management will start looking at changes to current duty assignments in the future. We will have to address each potential change on a case-by-case basis. Some 204-b’s, SDO’s, and MDO’s, are currently fueling the rumor mill in this regard. Note to management: This is not constructive.


By letter dated June 15, 2021, the Postal Service notified the National Union of the creation of package support annexes. Specifically, the letter stated:


“Consistent with the Postmaster General’s 10-year plan, Delivering for America, the Postal Service intends to acquire 46 pack support annexes (PSAs), which will support mail processing operations in key locations. The purpose of the subject annexes is to supplement customers’ growing package volume.


Enclosed please find a list of the 46 annexes, which identify the physical location of each annex and the mail processing facility each annex will support.


Each annex will be lease for a minimum of two years and will operate on a year-round basis. It is anticipated that all annexes will be operational by August; however, that date is subject to change.”


This letter designated an annex supporting the Minneapolis/St. Paul NDC. That annex is physically located near the downtown St. Paul airport. I have visited the location twice and was accompanied on one occasion by Vice President Abatte. While we have not seen the interior, the size of the building suggests no shortage of space. Many, if not most of the details concerning the operation of this annex remain unclear. NDC Branch President Mike Straiton has sought to schedule a labor-management to seek clarification on the many issues.


While details concerning management’s plan are few, the Local Union is planning for any possibility. During the last week of July, I convened a meeting to discuss the implementation of the annex with Representatives from the NDC Branch. In attendance were Branch President Mike Straiton, Chief Steward John Frey, and Steward Tony Stickler. We considered all possibilities and how they would be addressed through discussions or through the grievance procedure. This remains a matter of upmost importance.


Lastly, let me turn my attention to the northwest and the Great State of North Dakota. Local 323 appears to be caught in middle of disagreement between two management offices. In early March, the Postal Service announced that the 67 Districts would be consolidated down to 50. The consolidation resulted in the creation of the MN – ND District and the abolishment of the Dakotas District. Step 2 appeals from the installations in North Dakota have been sent to the Dakotas District Labor Relations office for years and exactly how and when this transitions to the MN – ND District Labor Relations office seems to be a matter of dispute between the two offices. Under Article 15 of the National Agreement the Union is required to file Step 2 appeals with the installation head or their designee. So, considering the disagreement between the offices, ND State Executive Board Member Brock Engstrom sent emails to the installation heads inquiring as to who are their designees. In the absence of an answer, we will return to the contractual default of filing our appeals with the installation heads. We are operating in the arena of you can’t make this up and I would like to commend Brock for his diligence in ensuring the procedural integrity of our grievances.


There is much to do and more to come. The Representatives of Local 323 continue their work and march foward into the future.