Dave Geissigner, Maintenance Craft Director
Maintenance Craft Director
Maintenance Craft Director
many of you know, our Union had their National Convention in Chicago in July. The turn out was half of what it was in former
years because many locals have been consolidated and many jobs have been reverted. This created an overwhelming pall over
what is normally a pretty festive event. There were many speeches about how we are going to fight back and how are we going
to adjust to what appears to be this new reality, and I would like to expound upon what resonated most with me.
First, it is going to take legislative action
to once and for all declare the US Postal Service as a governmental service, and not a business. This doesn't mean that
it would not be a profitable business, but rather it would guarantee that every American would have access to their government,
and the government would have access to every American regardless of internet or electrical access.Secondly, it is going to be absolutely imperative
that Congress approves the Postal Service to be a provider for banking and financial services. This is a huge step in the
right direction as 25% of the US population does not have these basic services but rather need to depend upon check cashing
services and payday loans as banking alternatives.
And finally, APWU President Diamondstein reiterated our former President’s words that
we are not just a grievance machine. Individuals who don't get this bigger picture will continue to be the ones who drop
out of the Union because they perceive they some how got screwed and the Union is just for grievances. To the contrary, the
Union is the only mechanism we have to even remotely get some of what I outlined above done.
Tell these non-members the only power we have to stop consolidation
and enact postal banking is our Union, the APWU. They can pretend it is world without end, but without a strong push back
to all these forces that are against us, the Postal Service will eventually join the many good paying jobs of yesteryear and
morph into a privatized delivery service.
My Fellow Maintenance Employees
continue to lose more and more people to retirement, management continues to drag their feet on PSE conversion. Both sides
agree that the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed is intent on having PSE's converted to regular.
The stumbling block is what is the definition of a residual bid, especially if a PSE is already "occupying" that
position. Stay tuned. It will probably get uglier before it gets better.
Also of interest to some of you is Postal Management has agreed to post a Building Maintenance Position
in Stillwater Mn. This is a BMC-5 position and it will go out to e-reassign. There are very few, if any BMC 5's on e-reassign,
so a pool that could be drawn from are people who would consider a downgrade for this position.If you are an MM-7, MPE 9, ET, or BEM, and would like to work
on your own in Stillwater, this job might be for you. E-reassign is done by chronological order so the sooner you get on e-reassign
and put in for Stillwater, the better.
all of you have a safe and happy summer.
My Fellow Maintenance Employees:
told you earlier in past issues, the shortages that we are experiencing in staffing in almost every occupational group is
now manifesting with increased discipline. There are more days in court and more people being cited for not completing tasks
as assigned. Performance issues and sick leave usage are continual favorites for management.It is important to know that the Union does believe in an honest
day’s work for an honest day’s pay, but that does not preclude you from making certain demands on management so
that you know exactly what your responsibilities for a given day are. Does your assignment sheet total more than 7.4 hours of work per day? If it does,
you need to ask exactly which tasks have priority.
If you are stressing out and trying to do
more than what can reasonably expected of you, you need to request a steward. It is not your fault we are short staffed.
Another issue that
many of you are wondering about is the conversion of PSE's to Full Time Regulars. The Union at the National level was
supposed to come up with a question and answer informational packet on how this is all supposed to be implemented, but we
haven't seen it yet. Counting 3 newly authorized custodial bids at the airport, we should soon have 10 or more residual
bids which should, hopefully, get many of our senior PSE's into full-time.
It is probably going to be a long strange summer for many of us
as we work through what appears to be management in flux. Different people are popping up and each one has a unique approach
and a different view of craft employees. We are going to have to continue to stick together. To continue
to throw each other under the bus is self- defeating and stupid.
Most of us want to just put our time in and get to the finish line with the least
amount of damage. If you have ever thought about becoming a steward, let me know. If you’re more prone to want to pursue
a leadership role with our Local Union, even better. The good old days are probably over, but with each other’s help,
things can be so much more tolerable.
My Fellow Maintenance Employees:
As I predicted a while back,
Management's reaction to our shrinking staffing numbers is becoming more canine and wolverine. We are
experiencing more Official Discussions and a more accusatory tone in the day-to-day inquiries about our machines. Couple this
with the few working class heroes that we have who are always willing to throw you under the bus with management and we have
a situation ripe for more discipline and hostility.
We must be content to be at our machine, diagnosing
problems, and whittling away at deficiencies on your terms. Management might hand you some print out about some skewed results,
but you know your machine better than anyone. Put your protective clothing on if needed, lock out your machine, check the
performance of the machine each day, this all takes time.
Management will continue to have an agenda as they try
to put out fires each day, but remember, the diagnostic assignment is in your job description, not theirs. Don't let management
do your work.
Management continues to accumulate names of individuals who have put in for prescription safety
glasses with the idea of having a vendor stop by the plant, take your eye prescription, measure your head, and then come back
in a few weeks with your new glasses. This is how it is envisioned at this point. We will give them a few more weeks to orchestrate
this, but I know some of you are in need of these glasses now. I will continue to keep you informed of how the "policy"
will become the reality.
Maintenance Craft Director
President St. Paul, MN Area Local
January 7, 2014
your union has prevailed in the grievance process, the Postal Service will, once again, on a case-by-case basis, agree to
purchase your prescription safety glasses. Management is hoping to work out the details with a vendor and
resume the program within the next several weeks. If you are in need of prescription safety glasses because
of your category of required PPE, you should discuss this with your supervisor so that he or she can begin the necessary paperwork
for the request.
Also, much of the roll out of the new protective garb for electrical workplace safety has been met with confusion
and contempt. The policy needs to equally and evenly applied to all Occupational Groups and Tours that
need protection from electrical hazards.
At present, if your supervisor has instructed you
to use the safety equipment, do so. The policy has not been totally coherent and until several aspects
of it are ironed out, don’t put yourself in a position of violating an instruction from your supervisor.
If you are in doubt about your safety attire while servicing an electrical device, suit up.
It takes more time, but you are being paid by the hour and not by the pound.
St. Paul, MN Area Local
My Fellow Maintenance Employees:
Management continues to frantically dig a hole that is becoming
so deep, the lies are beginning to cave in on them.
we have had a Rochester employees just show up one day and start working on our machines. When asked about
what the hell is going on, management stated that they can do this because there are too many employees in Rochester and not
enough in Eagan as per Article 7. Then management said that this employee is on some detail, although we haven't seen
the paperwork supporting that. Then management said that this employee is requesting some accommodation under Article 12 in
order to minimize the impact of Rochester closing, as if the employee is reassigning himself because of his plant's impact,
but the rest of us have to use e-reassign. Now don't get me wrong, this Rochester employee is as much the victim as you
are. Management reverted an ET tour 2 Saturday Sunday bid because they said it wasn't supported in the staffing package
and then they gave an employee from Rochester this same Saturday Sunday Tour 2 bid. I explained all this last week to a Labor
Specialist in Minneapolis and he thought it is almost as if Management in Eagan is making the Union's argument that the
PD&C is grossly understaffed. All
this has been grieved and it is my hope that it will come to some kind of settlement quickly. These types of actions by management
are severely impacting Labor/Management relations and it is hard to argue with someone when they keep reinventing new lies
and can't remember the old lies.
the time you read this, the MOS clerk excessing should be on its way. Here again, management is saying that we have too many
MOS clerks because we do not support our 19 stations and branches even though MOS does all the purchasing for these stations
and branches and has to enter and file the station and branches assignment sheets. Soon we will see the Hanel parts retrievers
become less and less stocked and Supervisors will continue to cop a part out of MOS when they think no one is looking. This
too is being grieved, but the grievance process can barely keep up with what appears to be a mass unfolding of so many areas
of our National Contract. We've
got ET's and BEM's doing tray cart repair and MM7's doing daily assignments on DBCS's. We have got a myriad
of equipment that has never had a route sheet on it and has never had any maintenance and now management has the audacity
to say that the Eagan PD&C has not only got the worst numbers in the Northland District, but now we are racing towards
the worst numbers in the Nation. Our
former National President Moe Biller's famous quote was "the struggle continues", but now it could almost be
said that the "struggle accelerates". Hang in there and stay calm. The mail processing equipment
is now so poorly maintained that soon catastrophic failures will be the norm. We will run out of parts on a regular basis.
Bathrooms and lunch tables will become filthy. This game of chicken or who is going to blink first is rapidly reaching a fever
pitch. Every one of us knows our jobs and how best to accomplish the task at hand and you also know, management is most of
the problem, not the solution. If Management wants solutions they can put down all those charts and graphs
and seek advice from the best indicator they could ever have, YOU.
My Fellow Maintenance Employees
Dave Geissinger Maintenance Craft Director I would like to thank all of you who
voted for me and Gary Keicker. You can tell by the vote totals that obviously some of you were hoping to change the way you
perceive that things are done and I would like to talk with you about that if you could stop by some time. I also would like
to commend those who stepped up to run for office. It's easy to just sit back and complain, but some feel moved enough
to do something about it and we should all be thankful that there are people like that among us. And finally I would like
to say, we still need stewards on the run tours and we are hoping that some of you, especially if you’re one of those
who hopes to glean another ten or twenty years out of the Post Office, will step up.There is a lot to learn and
prepare yourself for so that you will be the one to lead in the future.
Several people have asked
if all the sub-contracting that is going on in the building has been grieved. Yes it has, and for as many aspects of the contract
as Management has violated, it should be a grievance with substantial merit and be very lucrative.Another question that keeps coming up is what about custodial staffing for all the bids that people retired
from? The answer for that is mixed. Many custodial bids were posted at the beginning
of the month, and hopefully the senior people that preferrenced them are now enjoying their new bids.
The negative side of these retirements is the ink was barely dry on the posting of all these bids
and Management laid on us the new staffing package and the overall amount of custodian
bids went from 66 down to 57. It's a shame that the charade of MS-47 measurements and frequencies is going to an even more ridiculous level, but it is. If there is one positive note to all this it is with
this new staffing package, management now considers us to be at maximum staffing which
will leave no room for any excessed employees from other plants. E-reassign and the in-service registers will be basically irrelevant.
Another thing that could
change work place conditions for many of us will be the implementation of 5 day delivery sometime in August. Management
is just beginning to ponder the realities of that. If our PD&C continues to take mail
from La Crosse and Eau Claire as we did from Rochester and have that coupled with 5
day delivery, it is conceivable that we will not have enough maintenance employees with weekends off.
believes that mail volume will be huge on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and once again bids may have to be realigned.Change will continue to plague us the remainder of our postal careers as the post office races toward
a very uncertain future. Are we a public service or a candidate for privatization?
The answer to that question is in the not too distant future.
I wanted to express my concerns to you about what I consider to
be a growing problem, lack of respect shown towards your union stewards. Many times some of our maintenance
brothers and sisters will launch on a steward in the hall way or in the lunch room with an accusatory tone as if the Union
steward is somehow complicit in the perceived complaint.
The steward will politely stand there and just take this
chewing out. When you start out the conversation with something like "What are you doing about Vadnais
Heights?" in a derogatory tone as the steward happens to be walking down the hall, perhaps not even
on steward time, you can probably expect less than a professional reply. They have to be thick skinned, that's true, but
not someone's whipping boy.
The stewards are volunteers
who have chosen to help serve you, not be served up by you. Stewards are the back bone of this organization,
the true worker bees in this giant national organization. We will all need a steward some day and let's
be appreciative that someone around here wanted to step up. Stewards don't need to be coddled as much
as they need to be supported and appreciated and a little civility will go a long way in helping you, and the steward, achieve
a positive outcome.
Mnt Craft Director
It seems every couple of years some individuals will try to distort the
reality of what is in the National Contract, Handbooks, and agreed to Memorandum, and what isn't.
Many of us took a jolt by bids being realigned. After 10 or 15 years some of us finally got the days off that we
wanted only to once again be sent back to square one. I have always hated the phrase "It's Management's right
to mismanage" and I have attempted to stay engaged and ahead of the curve to minimize the "mismanagement",
but sometimes management is determined to shoot itself in the foot.
The bid realignment was
contractual, but it definitely is not solving the overtime problem or gotten the machines to run any better,
but they will be the last ones to admit that.
The year 2013 is going to make the changes of 2012 look like
a walk in the park. For starters, management is now under a directive by Drew Aliperto to keep overtime
to 1% of payroll, which literally means zero. They also are under the directive to reduce staffing by 8%, which coincidentally
is about the attrition rate from the early retirements. They also want to utilize PSE's to the full 10% capacity as rapidly
as possible foregoing in-service registers and e-reassign to fill vacancies.
Four years ago we were talking about
date stamping sandwiches in the vending machines and where to park tractor trailers in the parking lot.
Now every conversation is about staffing, hours of work, and terms of employment with training cutbacks, travel expenses
slashed, prescription eyewear reimbursement eliminated, and overtime becoming very scarce.Now we are currently left with fighting
for each and every job we currently enjoy and a continuing paranoia that when these PD&F's in the Northland District
are closed, will the excessing limits of 50 miles be changed Nationally to accommodate all these people at the expense of
the junior people in our own plant?
The Good Old Days are over for many of us who remain, but it isn't because
your Union is not doing its job. We have had record Step One's settled, mostly for cash and not language, we have had
the largest Step 2 settlement of our Local's history, we have a record amount of very high buck cases sent to Step 3,
and we try to engage each of you on a regular basis on the work room floor so that you can voice your concerns and vent your
rage because of the constriction of the Postal business model that is all around us.
You can delude yourself into
thinking someone will wave a magic wand and everything will go back to 2006 but that's not going to happen.
What you can do is step up to the battle at hand. We need several stewards on the run tours and one at the airport.
As the Postal Service limps along with the mortal wounds inflicted on it by Congress and management, the battles
around here are going to intensify. Anyone who is telling you that they can just beat their fist on management's
desk and file few grievances and make it all better is just lying to you. The fight will continue all through your
remaining postal career. They would love for your to retire, quit, or die. Labor is not the problem around here, it is management.
They really could care less as long as their bar graphs and pie charts are colorful and cute. Many of us with a mechanical
background take offense with the whimsical approach they use to tackle the myriad of problems around here.
Hang in there and we will win this war of attrition. From the roof top units to the low cost sorter, trained maintenance
staff will again be appreciated as we do our jobs for our true bosses, the American Public.
Maintenance Craft Director