A very important opportunity for maintenance employees is upon us – March 1, 2018 is the beginning of the next “Maintenance Open Season.”  Open season occurs every three years.  If you’re thinking of transferring to another state or if you’re a BEM contemplating the implementation of the MS-1 for the St. Paul Station & Branches – this is a very important opportunity that you might want to take advantage of!     Did you know that if you’re an ET, or an MPE, and you want to transfer to a MM-7 position in, say Florida, you’ll need a qualifying score for the MM-7 position on the 931 exam.  Just because an ET position “encompasses” the duties and responsibilities of the MPE and MM positions. you are not considered qualified to transfer unless you have a qualifying score in the MSS System.  And, that if maintenance management wants to detail you to a higher level position, say MPE to ET, first you have to be eligible, qualified and available in the immediate work area.  And to be qualified, you have to have a qualifying score for the ET position in the MSS System.

There are two categories of positions in the Maintenance Craft – MSS positions and non-MSS positions.  Non-MSS positions are Laborer Custodian and Maintenance Support Clerk.  MSS positions are AMT, BEM, LBM, MM, MPE, & ET.  Maintenance management must follow the EL-304 – Maintenance Selection System (MSS). This handbook ensures the selection and promotion of qualified maintenance personnel and the uniform application of qualification requirements for MSS positions.  The Maintenance Selection System (MSS) is a three-part system (written test/exam, review panel evaluation, and supervisor evaluation) for Maintenance Craft employees to establish eligibility for designated maintenance occupational groups and levels.  There are four (4) exams available to take – Group A (Exam 931) = AMT, BEM, LBM, MM; Group B (Exam 932) = ET-10; Group C (Exam 932) = ET-11; and Group D (Exam 933) = MPE.

Per the EL-304, Qualifying For Transfer “An in-craft employee may be afforded a special opportunity to qualify for transfer to a different installation in a position covered by the MSS. The transfer position may be either a promotion or change to a lower level. Both of the following criteria must be met:

The employee has a letter from the office he/she has requested a transfer to confirming their selection for the position pending qualification.  AND

The employee has never completed the MSS process for the group containing the position in question. Note: Employees with a prior rating of ineligible for the position in question are not permitted this special opportunity.”

Also, per the EL-304, Qualifying For A Change To A Lower Level “A qualified in-craft employee may request a change to a lower level in-craft position in the installation. An in-craft employee who has not qualified under MSS for a position may not be afforded any special opportunity to qualify”.

Starting on March 1, 2018, maintenance craft employees who are not on a promotional eligibility register(s), may apply for inclusion on the appropriate promotional eligibility register(s). Notification will be posted on the bulletin board on or before March 1st of the open season year. The employees who apply will receive the results of their application(s) no later than 150 days from March 31, provided the applications have been properly completed by the applicants.   This opportunity is not for an employee who previously received an ineligible rating. An employee with an ineligible rating would use the update process. [for information on the Promotion Eligibility Update process – please refer to the CBA, Article 38.5.D ].  There are seven steps to the MSS application process: Announcement, Application, Record Review, Review Panel Evaluation, Examination, Supervisor Evaluation, and Results.

I cannot stress this enough – DO NOT ABANDON the process!!  If an applicant abandons the process, he/she will not have another opportunity until the next Open Season.  Anyone who abandons the Review Panel Process will not take an exam.  When filling out the “Selection Form” for the 931 exam, I recommend that you mark ALL of the positions available!  Failure to mark a position indicates that you are not interested in that position/occupational group.  This is where it gets important for a BEM (with the new MS-1) – a BEM had to take the 931 exam – BUT if that BEM did not place a mark by the AMT occupational group = the MMS process (review panel) will not score/consider them for the AMT position.  Make a copy of everything that you provide/submit to maintenance management – especially the Employee Maintenance Position Selection form and the CSA Booklet.  When you receive your exam results (In-craft Rating Summary) – place it in a safe place! Like a burn safe – you might need it several years from now.  And remember – all of the occupational group registers, except for MPE to ET, are listed by “Best Qualified” = the higher you score on the exam and review panel – the higher on the register you’ll be.  (The MPE to ET is senior qualified).

Remember – If you don’t know your rights – you don’t have any rights! & You only have the rights you’re willing to fight for –  Keep up the fight

Rod Renner, Maintenance Steward, St. Paul APWU Local