Mail Handlers Local 323

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

Local President's Page

May 2024 Update

I’m in need of some restraint. Local 323 endeavors to aggressively enforce the contract when the rights of our Members are violated. This involves writing arguments and I’ve been writing a lot of arguments lately. Are the arguments I write overly aggressive? I don’t think so. It seems to me that they are appropriately suited to the circumstances. Some people (on the other side of the table) might disagree, but that doesn’t really concern me. I’m not a novelist, a journalist, or a reporter, I’m a Union guy who writes arguments. My problem is that after more than three decades of writing arguments, I find it difficult to shift the tone of my writing to something better suited to a web column. So, my objective in writing this month’s column is to restrain myself from writing anything that sounds like an argument. You can laugh now because I’m probably going to fail. But you get to be the judge of that.


The biggest news in the Postal world these days is that further implementation of the results of the Mail Processing Facilities Reviews has been paused for the remainder of 2024. This appears to be the result of poor delivery scores in areas where changes have been made, preparations for the upcoming 2024 election, and a bevy of Congressional complaints. Several Congressional hearings have raised these issues, and on May 20, 2024, the Postmaster General sent a letter to Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), who is the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. (you can download the letter here) In his letter, the Postmaster General explains what has been “paused”, identifies the status of changes that remain ongoing, and goes on to emphasize the need for change. There is one sentence, which I will quote in part which seems to illustrate the philosophy behind the Postmaster General’s 10-year plan, “… simply put, we are digging out of one of the biggest financial and operating institutional holes ever dug …” That is quite a statement.


We haven’t received any notice of or seen any extreme changes being implemented within the Local Union. The only open Article 12 action is sectional excessing within the St. Paul installation. That involves reassigning Mail Handlers from the L&DC (airport) to the P&DC (plant). Still, if as Postmaster General suggests the Postal Service is, “… digging out of one of the biggest financial and operating institutional holes ever dug …”, then management here in the MN – ND District is still digging in. Every day, on every tour, in every facility, management is violating our contract. Grievance activity remains high and substantial remedies (some very substantial) continue to be paid to Mail Handlers. A high percentage of the remedies are being paid because someone other than a Mail Handler (manager, supervisor, 204-b, clerk, truck driver, etc.) is performing Mail Handler work. Meanwhile, management has separated Mail Handler Assistants in the metro facilities due to a claimed lack of work.


Is the Union catching every contractual violation? Absolutely not. This is why I continually ask for the help of the Members in pointing out contractual violations. Ask for a Steward if you see a contractual violation. Keep in mind that management will do everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for violating our contract. In fact, management will do anything except properly staff operations and comply with our contract.


Turning back to the implementation of the Mail Processing Facilities Reviews and the Postmaster General’s 10-year plan, what impact will the pause have in the future? I guess we’ll have to prepare for changes coming at us fast and furious in 2025. Or, who knows, maybe there’ll be another pause. Whatever the case Local 323 is prepared.


So, how did I do? Arguably (pun intended), I failed miserably. So, I guess it still looks like I’m in need of some restraint.