Looking forward to a busy 2018
As we put the bow on the 2017 Holiday Season it is clear the package delivery has taken over at the Postal Service. We have been told this year again saw record volumes of packages delivered. This volume pushed the overtime to levels we have not seen in many years. While the St. Paul Area Local worked hard to not have non-list employees forced to work overtime it did occur on a few days in December this year. With all the problems increased work hours and volume creates for our members, it is clear we survived another Christmas as expected.
Early in 2017 management implemented a new Function 1 Labor Scheduler and the people in Washington DC who crunch the numbers decided the Postal Service was experiencing a financial shortage and the solution was to attack full time positions in the Processing and Distribution Plants. This plan was to reduce 16,000 full-time duty assignments in these Processing Plants. St. Paul was not immune to this reduction. Starting in March, local management was told by the adjustments of some expectations in the programs the Plant was no longer efficient and needed to reduce full-time duty assignments. The St. Paul Area Local is using the grievance process to protect as many full-time duty assignments as possible. The first case on this attack had an Arbitration hearing on December 19. We hope to hear the results by the end of January 2018 .
In November 2017, management determined it needed to reduce even more full-time duty assignments and met with the Union with its plan to excess full-time employees from the Installation in February 2018. On December 23, 2017, management presented the members with a preference sheet of seven positions which were available to full-time employees within the 50 miles radius required in the contract. There were numerous contractual violations in how the jobs were presented and the St. Paul Area Local educated management on these issues. Just after the closing date on the preference process the St. Paul Area Local was informed by Lead MDO for the Northland District the preference process was being cancelled and they would look to move people at the next moving date. While not stating specifically, the next moving date will be in early May 2018. This preference process created a great deal of stress and unknowns for those affected over the holidays. While we were not able to solve this stress for our members, we are happy the process was cancelled and delayed for 90 days. This will allow us to continue to work hard to minimize the impact and maybe remove the threat of excessing from the installation over this time period.
Our National Contract will expire on September 30, 2018 and the summer of 2018 will be a period of significant negotiations between the APWU and USPS. It will be a difficult negotiation with the present financial condition of the USPS. The contractual provisions which have allowed us to protest the reduction of full-time jobs will be under a great deal of pressure as management tries to tilt the scales towards the ability to reduce full-time duty assignments. Contract negotiations need the members to be involved through their solidarity support of the Union. We are better together as we try and negotiate a better tomorrow. I know many members think the Union not been strong in this struggle. However, looking at the history of the APWU it has been a steady march forward in protecting good paying jobs which provide many benefits to family members and its communities. It is clear when we fight we win. The St. Paul Area Local will continue the fight in 2018 to protect these good full-time jobs. We ask the members continue to support us in this struggle.