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Jim Pierce, Maintenance Craft Director
Sam Kim, Maintenance Craft Trustee

 

Hello Maintenance

With the changing of the weather into the summer heat, we will also experience some heated changes here in the Maintenance Craft with all of the foreseeable retirements coming this summer. We are going to be experiencing shortages in staffing until Management can fill the vacated and residual maintenance positions. With all of these retirements pending there will be some major changes in the Maintenance Craft here at the Saint Paul P&DC.

With that being said, we are going to be experiencing a great amount of Maintenance Position movement, with promotions, bid changes, filling of vacant/ residual bids by transfers and hiring off the street, to include the employees coming into maintenance from the in-service process. I cannot stress this strong enough that It is very important that you keep copies of all records you submit to management, such as, but not limited to bid sheets (PASF’s), declination forms, or any and all documents you may have to supply to management.

If you have contractual questions or concerns on the Maintenance bidding processes make sure to request a Union Steward to answer your questions.

It is very important that you make sure that what you submit to Management on the bidding forms are what you want and it is correct. Also, if you have submitted a Preferred Assignment Selection Form (PASF) and you notice that you were not included in the bidding process, you will need to request to see a Union Steward.

We are currently experiencing a shortage of Maintenance Craft Union Stewards on all tours. Currently, there are three of us representing all of the Maintenance Department for the Saint Paul Installation. If you are interested in becoming a Union steward please contact me. I want to thank the current Union Stewards Matt Garcia and Jeff Maine and Alternate Maintenance Steward Jim Czepa for the Hard Work they are doing for all of the Union members. I want to thank Rod Renner and Sam Kim for the hard work they performed for the APWU Members while they were Union stewards. Our Union cannot provide the strong representation without the help of the employees that step up to represent you the members. If you see one of the employees named here, make sure to let them know that you appreciate their dedication. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Maintenance Craft employees that are making the life changing decision to retire from the Postal Service.  I hope that all of you retiring have the opportunity to enjoy many years of retired bliss. It was an honor to work with you and to represent you as your Maintenance Craft Director.

 

Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director

 

I hope everyone is enjoying the idea of warmer weather coming around the corner. I want to take this opportunity to discuss a couple of ongoing issues here in the Maintenance Department in regards to the Custodial Occupational Group employees. The Union has argued and settled grievances on the issue of Management continually issuing more then 7 hours per day on the Employee Assignment Work Sheets (EAWS) for the Laborer Custodial employees at the Saint Paul P&C and the Twin Cities L&DC, to include the Station and Branches. This is a violation of the MS-47 TL-5 Section 5.9.1.1 Route Size. Unfortunately Management cannot get it right and they continually violate this on an ongoing and continuous basis.

If you are issued more than 7 hours on a given day, please look at your EAWS to see if the Work Order / Route is due on the that day.  If all work assigned for the day, is due on the day issued equal to more then 7 hours, request to see a Union Steward. We will file the appropriate grievance.

Management here at the Saint Paul P&DC are failing drastically to utilize the Group Leader Custodial PS-5 employees as the position are required. Here is the actual language for the position.

Position Description

Group Leader Custodial PS-5

Functional Purpose

In accordance with specific instructions, or well defined work assignments furnished by supervisor, oversees the work of up to approximately 15 laborers, janitors and cleaners performing general Laboring and Cleaning duties.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

Assigns tasks to be performed by laborers, janitors and Cleaners.

Checks performance of employees both during and upon completion of assignments.

Instructs new employees in cleaning methods and in the proper use of tools and equipment.

Oversees the moving of furniture and equipment.

In addition may perform laboring tasks as required; acts for supervisor in that person's absence.

SUPERVISON

Supervisor of unit to which assigned.

SSELECTION METHOD

Senior Qualified when filled from Custodial Laborer (Lvl 3) 3502-03XX, SP 6-13.

Best Qualified when filled from any other position.

The above position description language governs the assignments that shall be assigned to the position holder. This issue will be discussed in the grievance process. The Union will continue to file the appropriate grievances until Management properly implements the proper duties and responsibilities to the Maintenance Craft employees assigned to the position.

Each tour should have a Group Leader assigned to the above duties on a daily basis on each tour. If you notice that this is not happening please write a statement of fact and request to see a Union Steward to assist the Union in combating this issue.

We need to ensure through the grievance process that Management understands and complies with the position of Group Leader Custodial PS-5 position description on each tour as required.

One other issue that has been brought to the Union's attention is that Management is requiring the MPE-9 and ET-10 employees on tours 1 and 3 to train the new Maintenance Mechanic PS-7 employees to do more than what their Position Description allows when it comes to troubleshooting reaction calls. If you are told to train the MM-7 employees so they can perform reactive calls better, the Union needs to know about this as soon as it occurs.

MANAGEMENT CANNOT ASSIGN THE MAINTENANCE MECHANIC PS-7 EMPLOYEES TO PERFORM REACTIVE MAINTENANCE CALLS. PERIOD!!!!

Level 7 Maintenance Mechanics cannot diagnose, make determinations of faults, troubleshooting in any capacity.

 

If you are a Maintenance Mechanic PS-7 employee and you are told to answer maintenance calls you need to let the Union know about it as it happens. Do what you are told by Management and then ask for a Union Steward so we can file the appropriate grievance. As long as Management assigns the lower level Mechanics to perform this work, they are not going to feel the pressure to provide the higher level positions. If they can get the work done cheaper by using lower level employees, they will not post higher level jobs.

WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN, AND STOP IT IF IT IS HAPPENING ALREADY.

I want to welcome our newest Maintenance Craft Union Steward Jeff Maine, if you see him make sure to thank him for stepping up. Currently your Maintenance Union stewards are Rod Renner, Matt Garcia and now Jeff Maine. The Union Stewards are doing awesome work enforcing your contractual rights.

 

Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director

 

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

 

From February 2018 Postmark

 

 

We are on the backside of old man winter and we can all look forward to a new spring with warmer weather. Our Maintenance Craft Union Stewards are responsible to represent the Saint Paul P&DC Installation, Stations and Branches, Twin Cities L&DC, and to include all 540 & 550 Associate offices. I want to take the opportunity to let you all know that we are here to fight for your contractual rights. If you are on tours 1 & 3 and you are interested becoming a Union Steward contact me. We have a need on the tours 1 & 3 for Union representation, to ensure Management follows their contractual obligations.

I am elated to report to you, the members, we prevailed and Management finally paid all five of the employees owed. After a very long 2.5 years we settled the grievance and the three ET-10 employees were paid a collective amount of $157,691. The two BEM-9 employees were paid a total of $30698.22. In all, the total amount paid to the five employees filed for the improper reversions of the five positions totaled $188,389.22

I need to touch on a very important topic that I have seen happening recently. I am noticing that some of the Management at the Stations & Branches are volatile, aggressive, bullying. If you are subjected to, or witness  this type of treatment at your facility, request a Union Steward so we can address this with higher Management. No employee should be subjected to this type of treatment when performing their job.

We are looking for members to step up to be Union Stewards on Tours 1& 3 to represent the Maintenance Craft. With that being said, even if you do not want to become a Union Steward you can still help the Maintenance Craft by being vigilant on what Management is doing on a regular basis. If you witness Management violating the contract by performing our work or other possible violations let the Union know so we can address the issues. If you witness Management performing Bargaining Unit Work report it to the Union so we can stop Management from stealing our work.

I want to thank the Maintenance Craft Stewards Matt Garcia and Rod Renner who are dedicated and very busy and are doing an awesome job protecting your contractual rights. Without their dedication and hard work these two are doing for you the members, we would not be as effective as we are. Without these dedicated stewards the Maintenance Craft representation would not be as strong as it is, so if you see the Maintenance stewards throughout your day, make sure to thank them for the hard work they do for you.

Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director

 


A New Year is upon us and it seems like we are experiencing some major changes in the Maintenance Management here in Saint Paul. Hopefully we will see some positive changes, and some Managers and Supervisors with actual Maintenance background. I myself will not be holding my breath for that.

With the current shuffle in Maintenance Management I am cautiously hopeful the Maintenance employees will no longer have to deal with supervisors and managers treating them with no respect and aggressive and abrasive attitudes while performing their daily work on a regular basis and will be treated in a more positive work environment.

 This is not a new issue and it is very frustrating which I have discussed with every Manager of Maintenance (MM) since before Tim Lynch was the Acting/ MM as well as the previous MM William Clancy. Unfortunately it seems that it has condoned and encouraged by the upper managers. Lets hope that with the new Management this is addressed.

If you are experiencing unwarranted attention from your supervisor while performing your daily work such as, un-respectful attitudes, abrasive and aggressive attitudes, from your supervisors and managers request to speak to a Union Steward so we can address these issues with higher Managers to attempt to resolve this kind of abuse in the future.

Unfortunately on a daily basis we are dealing with supervisors that have no idea what their basic job description requires. Yes, the Supervisor does have an actual job description for their core duties and responsibilities. It is very frustrating dealing with a Management team that have no basic knowledge of the National Contract, Handbooks & Manuals they are required to follow. It is ironic some of the supervisors in the maintenance department when they were in Craft could quote the Articles of the National Agreement verbatim and since they entered Management they seem to suddenly become ignorant of this information and they try to reinvent the wheel in respect to the contract.

Several employees have come into the Union office in the past several months with major pay issues and it is brought to Managements attention and it still they have not fixed it, and continues to be a major problem. I highly recommend all Maintenance employees to check your paystubs to ensure your pay is correct. If you do find any pay issues first bring it to the attention of your supervisor and manager if at that time it still is an issue ask for Union representation to assist in the correction to your pay issue.

Again, with all of the changes in the Maintenance Management here in Saint Paul we can only hope that we gain new supervisors who have Maintenance background and a modicum of knowledge of the handbooks & manuals as well as the National Agreement, or at the very least they are willing to learn. Unfortunately, experience indicates Management cannot find decent candidates to take the positions and are left with candidates have no knowledge or willingness to learn the handbooks & Manuals or Articles of the National Agreement they are required to follow.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact your Union steward for answers to the contractual issues.

We are looking for Maintenance Craft employees that are interested in becoming a Union Steward, we are in need of Tour 1 and Tour 3 Union Stewards. If you are interested contact me to discuss the possibility.

 

Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director

 

from the November 2017 Postmark

 

It's that time of year again when the weather turns colder and the leaves are falling, and the bonfires are blazing, so I hope you and yours are enjoying this fall weather. This time of year is exceptionally hard and quite busy for the Union Stewards in Maintenance Craft because we are dealing with the end of the 2017 FY MS-47 Line H, cases for the Saint Paul PDC Installation Station and Branches, Twin Cities LDC to include 11 Associate Offices.

I am hopeful that the MS-47 Line H cases for 2015 & 2016 for the facilities that have not been resolved will be soon, as soon as, we find out the status for each of these cases we will let you know.

I want to take time here to address the Maintenance Craft Laborer Custodial PS-4 and Building Maintenance Custodial PS-5 employees assigned to the Associate Offices this also applies to the Custodial employees at the Main facilities, indirectly. You all should expect to receive training soon for the MS-47 TL-5 Custodial Team Cleaning (CTC). This training is good in the respect that it will provide structure for the processes of cleaning your facilities. There is a draw back in the fact that cleaning products are crap and do not clean as they are intended.

Each of your facilities will purchase new cleaning equipment and you will receive training on the methods that the Postal Service wants the Maintenance Craft employees to perform. I know most of you at the Associate Offices have not been provided any guidance or training for your position of Custodian, so this will be a good thing for you to learn.

There is a responsibility that goes with this new MS-47 TL-5 Handbook that will be placed on both the Maintenance employees as well as, Management I want to take a moment to address.  Each of you Maintenance employees should be made aware of the PS Form 4839 Custodial Schedule Worksheet. The 4839 form is the weekly schedule that shows which task and time is allowed to be performed on any given day. A good method of tracking your daily work is to make a copy of the 4839 form for each week (52 weeks) and you can write on the copy what task you actually perform and the time you took to complete the task.

A typical 4839 form would indicate the restroom cleaning would be performed three days in a week, Monday, Wednesday, & Friday just to point out what to expect. It is important that you follow the Custodial Schedule Worksheet as it is written. It is very important that your Postmaster provide you different Operation Numbers for you to punch on when you perform any task that are not Maintenance, such as, Express Mail Delivery, Customer Locks Repair/Replace, CBU, NDCBU, repairs/replacement, vehicle transporting, etc., In a nut shell if the task is not included on the PS Form 4852 A&B you need to punch on a different Operations Number that is not Operation # 7470.

The key for the compliance with the MS-47 TL-5 Custodial Team Cleaning (CTC) is to document every task you perform with a date and amount of time it took to complete the task. As stated above the PS Form 4839 is a good tool to follow and write the time on the copy.

If you have any questions regarding these issues please contact your Union steward.

To all Veterans that are in the Maintenance Department I want to thank you all for your service to our country. I also want to take a moment to remind the Veterans that if you have not signed up to receive your Veterans Benefits through the VA it is never too late. For the post 9/11 veterans, here is a contact number:

Pat Foley, M Div, LICSW

Post 9/11 TCM CARE COORDINATOR

(612) 629-7636

Patrick.foley@va.gov

 

Here is the phone number for all veterans to call for VA Benefits:

1(800) 827-1000

Website for VA Benefits:

www.ebenefits.va.gov

Veterans Crisis Line:

1 (800) 273-8255

Minnesota Veterans Benefits Website:

www.mn.gov/mdva/resources/

Thank you!

Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director

Saint Paul Area Local

 


From the October 2017 Postmark

 

Hello Maintenance,

I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to go to Las Vegas for the National All Craft Conference. I want to thank both Sam Kim and Matt Garcia for doing a great job representing the APWU while the rest of us were at the All-Craft Conference.

It is time again to meet with Management for the 2017 fiscal year for the MS-47 TL-5 Line H discussions to determine if Management has a Line H liability to the Laborer Custodial PS-4, Group Leader, Custodial PS-5, and Cleaners PS-3. It is hoped that if it is determined that Management has failed to meet the 90% of the Line H total, the grievance will be settled in a timely manner. However, if history is repeated Management will delay the inevitable.

I want to address the Laborer Custodial employees and let them know that their Union is working hard for them, by forcing Management to comply with the new Handbook MS-47, TL-3 & TL-5 and the limitations the Handbook places on Management on everyday application of the provisions. The Union cannot do the policing alone we need the cooperation of all Laborer Custodial employees to report to their local Union representative when you feel Management is not complying with the intent of the handbook as it is written. We all know that Management is purposely violating the handbook on a regular basis, and the only way we can ensure Management complies with the MS-47 TL-3 TL-5, is if "YOU" the employee notifies the Union when you see Management violating the MS-47.

If you are not sure if they are actually violating the MS-47 TL-3 & TL-5, or if you have questions on the application of the MS-47 as it applies to your bid, such as, the Laborer Custodial PS-4 employees assigned to Station & Branches which these positions are still under the MS-47, TL-3 Handbook, where as the Laborer Custodial  PS-4 assigned to the Saint Paul P&DC fall under the MS-47 TL-5.

I want to thank Matt Garcia for the hard work he has performed learning the MS-47 TL-3 & TL-5 provisions  as they apply to the Maintenance Craft Bargaining Unit employees.

I was hoping to come back from the All Craft Conference with more information to report on for this letter, however I will be making my report on the All-Craft Conference and posting it on the local Union website: www.stpaulapwu.org

We are looking for Union stewards on tours 1 & 3 if you are interested please submit your request to Local President Todd Elkerton. You can submit your written request via email or on any type of paper. There is no formal request form.

Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director

 


Maintenance Report

from the September 2017 Postmark

I hope all of you and yours enjoyed a great summer, and are looking forward to the coming Fall Season.

We as a Union Brothers and Sisters need to work together, not against each other. Management thrives on dividing the Maintenance Craft. We are stronger as a Craft when we work together and make sure that Management enforce the contract evenly and correctly. As Maintenance Craft employees we do not need to be friends with each other we just need to be united as a Craft. To ensure we as a Union are not trampled on by Management. If we as a Craft are able to work together as a united force Management will know that we will hold them accountable to the contract.

One of the many issues we have here is new Supervisors in the Maintenance Department that have no clue what the contract says or what their actual job requires. I have offered to help the new supervisors with everyday issues of the contract as it applies to the Maintenance Craft and it seems to fall on deaf ears and Management is unwilling to ask for guidance and they continue to violate the contract.  

Management can not hold your Annual Slips (PS Form 3971) hostage. They cannot deny your annual leave for call-ins, employees on sick leave, employees training, if the quota is open. If you submit your 3971 into your supervisor for the next day or within 2 weeks prior to the date in question the supervisor must provide an answer by end of your tour. If you experience this issue ask to see a Union Steward.

Further, if you are not allowed to see the Annual Leave book because the office is locked or the annual leave book is not readily available to look at ask for a Union Steward. The Annual Leave book needs to be available to the Maintenance Craft employees for review. If this is not allowed the Union needs to know.

Management Performing Bargaining Unit Work is not allowed. Management cannot utilize tools PERIOD! The issue of Management utilizing tools is addressed in Step 3 Settlement Local # 606T66, this settlement is the result of a grievance that was filed against the MES performing Feeder Alignment adjustments/Inspections back in 2006. In essence the award was given stating that MANAGEMENT CANNOT use tools on machines. If you witness any Management using tools on a machine ask for a Union steward and provide to the Union a statement with the following information; Who, what, where, when, and how long they were performing the work. We need to preserve our work and stop Management from performing our work. "IF YOU SEE IT REPORT IT" Management short staffs us, and then they perform our work when they cannot get work done in a timely manner to suit their needs.

If Management directs you to work outside of your Position Description and it is not unsafe you have to perform the work, however after performing the work make sure you request to see a Union Steward to address the improper assignment of work outside of your normal duties. On a regular basis Management is directing lower level Maintenance employees to work higher level duties and they are getting away with it. Management is not going to staff the Maintenance Craft to the proper staffing levels if they successfully get away with improperly assigning higher level work to lower level employees for less hourly pay.

We are looking for employees interested in being a Union Steward for tours 1 and 3, if you are interested please leave a message in Local President Todd Elkerton's panel.

Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director

 

May 2017 Postmark

Hello Maintenance,

Well the weather is rather unpredictable so far this spring. However, I can say that Management is very predictable in the sense that they are very uncommunicative and/or uncooperative with the Union. The communications between Management and the Union is currently quite strained. There does not seem to be any communication it has been a trying issue around here, which I suppose is to be expected: Right?               

A very critical issue that is not being addressed here in the Saint Paul P&DC Installation, the Twin Cities L&DC, as well as the Associate Office in the 540 & 550 areas is the blatant lack of training. Management is required to provide training to the Maintenance Craft employees so that we can perform our Maintenance duties. The Management here in the Saint Paul Area as a whole, it seems is very reluctant to provide training. I have had Managers tell me that they do not have the capabilities and or ability to train the Maintenance employees.

They expect us to know our jobs and expect us to execute our Maintenance duties without training us. They want to resort to discipline when the work is not done to their expectations. Or worse yet, I am constantly told by Management that they have to Subcontract bargaining unit work because our Maintenance employees do not have the training to perform the tasks they want to subcontract.

We are in a position where a great deal of very experienced employees in all Maintenance levels, are going to be lost to us due to retirements, in the near future. It is already happening. Yes, we have gained a lot of new Maintenance employees in the recent past, this is great. However, and I am noticing that Management is not providing the training to these employees. They merely hand them an assignment sheet and point them in the direction of the workroom floor and expect them to know what to do.

I am a strong proponent for training our Maintenance employees in all of our duties. That being said, I want you to know that if Management assigns an employee to work with you and you are directed to show the employee(s) their duties on the workroom floor this is a form of training. If say you are a MM-7 and you are asked to show (train) another MM-7 or (higher level) employee(s) what to do on a given task you are entitled to higher level pay for your experience in training the employee(s). If you request higher level pay and do not receive it, request a steward and we can resolve it in the grievance process.

The Maintenance Craft needs TRAINING, TRAINING, TRAINING and even more TRAINING, so we can perform our Maintenance duties to our fullest capabilities. Management here in the Saint Paul would rather subcontract our work out, then provide us the training they are obligated to provide to us per the contract. With that said, I want to thank all of the Maintenance Craft members in the Saint Paul covered areas for the hard work you do with the resources you are provided.

The excuses for not TRAINING us have got to stop!

Note** Management may not agree with this approach, but I will say it, If you are interested in a posted class sign-up for it regardless if it is for your tour or not. The object is to get TRAINING.

I hope you and yours are able to enjoy the nice weather coming our way.

Jim Pierce, Maintenance Craft Director

 

From the March 2017 Postmark

 

I want to thank you all for the opportunity to serve as the Maintenance Craft Director once again. Also, I want to congratulate Sam Kim for the position of Maintenance Craft Trustee. It is humbling that we went unopposed for this election. Again I thank you!

To all of the Laborer Custodial PS-4 and the few Building Maintenance Custodial PS-5 employees out in the Associate offices, I want you out there to know that the Union is here for you and if you are in need of Union representation you need to ask the Management in your location for a Union Steward. When you ask your Management they have no more than two hours to get you a Union steward. If you are not given a Union steward within the two hours of asking or at the very least a message from the Union steward you are entitled to a remedy of $25.00 for the failure to get you Union representation. If you find that you are not receiving Union representation through your management, call the Union office at (651) 224-2639 and let us know so we can educate them on this issue.

Further, I want to address another issue that is happening out in the Associate offices, which is the fact Management, is subcontracting maintenance work. If you happen to see non Postal Maintenance people performing maintenance work in your facility please contact the Union office ASAP. You are the eyes and ears we need out in the outer areas.

We are looking for people that are interested in becoming a Union Steward on Tours 1 & 3 as well as the Twin Cities LDC, to help us represent everyone in Maintenance. I want to thank Rod Renner, Matt Garcia and Sam Kim for the hard work they do representing the Maintenance Craft everyday.

Maintenance Craft Director

Jim Pierce

 

FROM THE FEBRUARY POSTMARK

 

Well, the 2016 and any previous MS-47 TL-5 Line H cases are being held pending the outcome of the current Step 4 grievance that was filed by the parties for an interpretation clarification of how and what constitutes the Line H calculations. Until the Step 4 grievance is settled there will not be a known remedy. The good thing about this Step 4 settlement good, bad or indifferent we will have a definite understanding to what and how to calculate the Line H remedy for years to come. That is the thought anyway.

 On another note I hope all of you and yours are in good health this winter season. By the time you read this we should have had the first Maintenance Labor/Management meeting to address Maintenance issues and there are many.

I want to welcome the new additions we are gaining in the Maintenance Department. We are gaining quite a few new Maintenance employees recently, from the other crafts to join the ranks of the Maintenance Mechanic PS-7 employees. When you see these new Maintenance employees make sure to welcome them to our group. We need to make sure that Management does not try to insist that the new and other MM-7 employee's work beyond their job descriptions. The MM7 employees are not allowed to diagnose, troubleshoot, make determinations of faulty equipment or parts. These tasks are for the Level 9 & 10 Maintenance employees. The MM7 employees can assist; replace parts and equipment when directed, by a level 9 MPE or BEM or an ET- 10. If you have questions as to what your job description is please contact the union office and we will provide you a copy of the job description.

Remember if you see Management with a tool in their hand it is a violation of Article 1 Section 6.  Management Performing Bargaining Unit Work

On a regular basis Management is performing machine and equipment inspections independently using gauges & tools to inspect the feeder alignments and other sections of Mail Processing equipment. If you witness and observe Management performing this type or any other type of Maintenance work ask to see a Union Steward and file the appropriate grievances. We need to put a stop to Management performing bargaining unit work. We are the skilled employees that are supposed to be performing the Maintenance work not Management.  Allowing Management to perform our work is not helping the Bargaining unit employees it only helps management.

With the aging Maintenance group here at the Saint Paul PDC Installation there is a potential for a huge percentage of the Maintenance employees that are going to retire in the near future and we need to prepare for the void these retirements are going to create. I have been stressing to Management that we need to gain more classes in Oklahoma to provide the needed training and experience to accommodate the loss of knowledge we will be losing upon the retirements that are inevitable. 

Again remember to welcome the new Maintenance employees and if you see Management performing our work to report it to your Union steward and we can file the appropriate grievance.

We are looking for Maintenance employee on tour 1 and tour 3 that are interested in becoming a Union steward, if you are interested please contact Local Union President Todd Elkerton.

 

 

Maintenance Craft Director

Jim Pierce

 

From the January 2017 Postmark

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and all of you and yours enjoyed time with family and friends I hope the 2017 New Year brings great things to you and yours as well.

I wish I could write an article to all of you stating that Management has finally started to comply with the Handbooks & Manuals as well as the contract, however I cannot write to you about any such thing. In the 20 plus years I have worked at the Postal Service I have never seen the Maintenance Department operate this poorly. Oh sure, we all have had opportunities to say this is crap and it cannot get any worse then this at any given time in your employment here. But let me tell you, I have never seen it this bad.

On several occasions I have discussed with Management that I would help educate as well as the Maintenance Stewards are willing to educate Management on the provisions of the National Agreement to ensure that they are in compliance. I know it is a lofty expectation to think that Management would want to learn the contract.

I want to tell all of the Maintenance Craft employees, Union Member or not, the Local Union here in Saint Paul is going to provide education to Management in the proper process of following the Handbooks & Manuals and the National Agreement. The process is either going to be smooth or it is going to be rough either way education is expensive.

Be very leery what you hear from Management as far as any supposed agreements between Management and the Union because there are only contractual agreements established. If you are told by a Supervisor and or Manager that I have agreed with Management to allow them to conduct their business against the contract it is very likely false. If you have to question anything please ask a steward or myself after you are told of any such thing. I will give you an example.

I have not agreed that Management has the right, to assign custodial coverage at the Stations and Branches to whom ever Management decides to send. It is clearly outlined on Page 200 of the National Agreement. I addressed this a few weeks ago with Management and now I have been told that I supposedly have made an agreement with a Supervisor that Management can send whoever they want. THIS IS FALSE.

The 2017 New Year I hope Management will commit to conducting joint Maintenance Labor / Management  meetings to address issues that affect the Maintenance Craft. So far Management is not willing to talk with the Union on a regular basis, if at all.

If you are interested in becoming a Maintenance Steward please contact Local President Todd Elkerton or myself, we could always use more stewards on tours (1) and Tour (3) as well as at the Twin Cities LDC.

 

May the New Year bring you and yours good tidings.

 

 

Maintenance Craft Director

Jim Pierce

 

 From the November 2016 Postmark

Well another Fiscal Year has past and all you Laborer Custodial employees know what that means. We will be addressing the MS-47 TL-3 & TL-5 Line H issues once again. The Saint Paul MN PDC Installation is currently under MS-47 TL-5 and the Stations & Branches as well as Associate offices are still under the MS-47 TL-3 version. Management has failed to comply with the provisions of the MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING Re: MS-47TL-5 Implementation and Maintenance Craft PSE Conversion, in regard to meeting with the Local Union during the month of October 2016.

I want to stress to all of you out at the Associate Offices to document everything you do each and everyday. You were hired to perform identified MS-47 TL-3 line item work identified on the various PS Forms that comprise the MS-47 Staffing requirements such as, but not limited to the PS Form 4776, 4839, 4869 and most important PS Form 4852 with the Line H totals on it. Management is required to establish the use of each of these forms at every Post Office throughout the country. However they have failed to do so. It is very important that you document, document, document every task you perform daily.

Remember to write a running log of every task you per-form to keep clear records of the times and dates you perform each task. If you are required to deliver Express Mail remember in accordance with Step 4 settlement # H4C-4J-C11777 a Labor-er Custodian is paid the rate of pay the Clerk is paid to deliver such mail. Also remember that when operating motorized riding equipment such as, but not limited to Riding Lawn Mower, Riding Sweepers, etc., the Laborer Custodian is to be paid higher level PS-5 pay. Since Management does not have a PM tracking system established yet, it is apparent that you the Custodian will have to keep a detailed record to show what you performed each day.

Do not let Management pressure you into not keeping clear records of the daily work you actually perform. If Management does place pressure on you, for keeping such records, of the tasks you perform please ask for a Union Steward. No matter how mundane you think a task is write it down. The Local Union can use your records to determine what work you performed that is or are not covered under the MS-47 Line H hours at your office. If Management refuses to do what they are required to do as far MS-47 Line H Preventative Maintenance (PM) tracking then it is up to you to make sure we can make a clear argument for you at the end of each Fiscal Year.

I will be sending each of you a new MS-47 Line H Question & Answer Survey in the very near future. I am changing the format of the questions to assist you better in describing what work you may or may not have perform outside of the Line H identified work.

James Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director

Saint Paul, MN APWU

from the October 2016 Postmark

Hello Maintenance,

 

 

I want to thank our APWU Local President Todd Elkerton for all the help he has provided to the Maintenance Craft in working up the settle for the MS-47, TL-5 Settlement of $ 600,000 for the Saint Paul DC Installation and the $95,000 settlement for the Twin Cities LDC Laborer Custodial employees. I want to thank the hard work that the Laborer Custodial employees have done with the cultural changes that are taking place with this new Cleaning Program. It is not an easy process to change the culture that everyone is used to doing, to a new culture that is required to follow the new cleaning program.

 

There is a lot of crap that is going wrong in the Maintenance department here at the Saint Paul PDC Installation to include the Twin Cities LDC, Associate Offices & Stations & Branches.  So I am going to touch on a couple of the bigger issues plaguing Maintenance.

 

One of the issues that has been brought to my attention from the members is Management has failed many of you when it comes to the interviewing process to ensure employees are added to the appropriate PER's. Maintenance employees do what is expected of them to advance their maintenance careers only to have the process stop at Management. Management has failed to follow through with interviewing process of said employees. This is a major problem here in Saint Paul. The one glaring complaint I am told by Management is that they are too busy to get everything done due to all of the grievances I am filing against them. If Management would follow the Handbooks & Manuals as well as the contract this would not be an issue.

 

If you are one of these affected employees, that have not received an interview from Management, for being placed on an appropriate PER for higher level advancement. Please contact Management and also, let the Union know so we can assist you in getting your Maintenance interview completed.  Management is so busy performing our bargaining unit work on a daily basis that they are not able to concentrate on getting work done that is required to be done such as the above issues. 

 

Another issue I am noticing out on the workroom floor is Management performing bargaining unit work while conducting machine inspections and annotating the problems they find and they give it to the Maintenance employees assigned to said machines to make the fixes. This is happening more frequently. 

 

We need to STOP Management from performing our work. If you witness Management performing work such as, but not limited to, Inspecting machines, checking the belts, rollers, etc., Management should not be performing these inspections and if you witness this activity I implore you to ask for a Union Steward and provide a statement with the Who, What, where, when, and how long Management performed this work.

 

We know that we are understaffed and we are working the Breakdown Maintenance strategy here as directed by Management. We need to make a stand against Management performing our bargaining unit work and file all appropriate grievances to stop them from doing our work. Make sure to ask for a steward when you witness management performing our work in any capacity.

 

If we can stop Management from performing our duties maybe they can then concentrate on their own duties they are supposed to conduct, such as promotional interviews for the employees that want to advance in their careers and then they would not have to cram all the interviews in a short period of time every time multiple bids are posted.

 

We need to band together to strengthen our resolve against Management to ensure we place Management on notice that we will not sit back allow them to continue to perform our duties at the same time we are short staffed. Management is sitting on approximately (14) Maintenance Mechanic (PS-7), (4-5) MPE-9, & (7-8) ET-10 positions that need to be filled not to mention the custodial bids that are in the grievance process. Add all these up and it is approximately (28) Maintenance positions we are short. If we sit back and let Management perform our duties then they will not be pressured to fill these positions.

 

 

Management has approved a staffing package that reduces the BEM-9 positions from (18) BEM-9 positions here at the Saint Paul PDC Installation down to (14) positions and then they try to subcontract the work that the BEM-9 employees are supposed to perform. The first thing Management claims is that the BEM-9 employees tell them (Management) that they do not want to perform the work, go ahead and contract it out. I want to put a stop to this practice. The Union is fighting very hard to force Management to staff correctly and to stop them from performing our work or subcontracting our work out. We need to stop allowing Management to give our work away or we will continue to lose our jobs.

 

I want all you members that are working in the Stations & Branches  to include Associate offices to contact the Union if you notice non-USPS Maintenance people performing Maintenance work in your facility. Maintenance work should be performed by USPS Maintenance employees only. If you notice contractors or Management performing Maintenance work I ask you to contact the Union office to report this immediately. Thank you

 

James Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director

Saint Paul PDC  APWU

 

 From the October 2016 Postmark

 

              From August 19th through August 25th, I attended the national convention for APWU.  I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in one of the most democratic endeavors of my life.  Organized chaos governed by Robert's rules at first seemed disorienting, but everyone addressed their concerns, argued their points, voted and accepted the results as whole.  The experience was very educational and there were moments of levity and exhilaration. 

                Best moments came for many of us when the Support Services division fought for additional pay and personal.  As a maintenance member I have little knowledge of support services.  However, this cause was adopted by Minnesota delegation after the situation was explained to all of us during the state caucus.  The Support Services division currently has only a director who is paid at the same rate as the national NBAs.  Support Services wanted to increase the pay of the director to equal that of other divisional directors and also add a national NBA to the payroll.  What we learned from the discussion on the floor was that the Support Services director deals with ten separate contracts and many members who work for contractors and not the Postal Service.  When the measure to give the Support Services director a raise on par with other directors came up, there was a general opposition on the floor.  However, as we heard the both sides argue the pros and cons, one could almost sense the shift in sentiment of the delegates.  The measure to give the Support Services director a pay increase was narrowly defeated.  The defeat set the stage for the second measure which asked for a Support Services NBA to be added to the UNION payroll.  Again the pros and cons were spoken and again we voted.  The measure to give Support Services division a MBA was adopted.  The Minnesota delegation rejoices in this victory with the members of Support Services delegates and we all celebrated.  This was a gratifying experience and I am deeply thankful to the members for sending me to the  convention.

 

Sam Kim

Maintenance Craft

 

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On September 27, 2016 an election was held to fill the position of Maintenance Craft Trustee.



There was one nomination and after a short meeting


Maintenance Craft member Sam Kim was elected to the position of

Trustee.




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  Hello Maintenance


I want to start off thanking the members for sending me and the other Maintenance Union Representatives to the National Conference in Orlando, Florida this past month. I am excited that the new contract converted all Maintenance PSE employees and eliminated all PSE from the Maintenance Craft as of September 3, 2016. This is the first time in the Union history that the contract states Maintenance is an all career Craft.
 
I want to thank Union Stewards Rod Renner, Matt Garcia and Peter Nordgren for keeping up the fight for all of you while Sam Kim and I were attending the National Conference.  I want to take the time to thank the Maintenance Union Stewards for all the hard work they are doing for the Maintenance Craft. During the National Conference I noticed a glaring issue that I am glad to say, I am confident in the knowledge of our Union stewards’ ability to fight for you all. I noticed that even our least experienced Union steward has a better grasp of the contract than a majority of other Union representatives throughout the country.  It never ceases to amaze me when I go to Union functions that there are several locals that seem to ask very basic contractual questions that I take for granted that our Local Maintenance stewards know the answer to. This does not mean our stewards do not need further training on contractual issues, I am merely stating that I am happy to report to you that compared to other locals throughout the country we are light years ahead as far as contractual knowledge. I plan on building on this and obtaining as much training for our Union stewards as possible to further strengthen our ability to enforce the contractual rights for the Maintenance Craft Union members.

Now, I want to take a moment to address some concerns that have been brought to my attention by several Maintenance employees recently. I need for each and every one of you to help the Union take the fight to management in regards to them taking our work away from us. I have been approached by several employees that tell me on a regular basis that they observe Management performing bargaining unit work. I have been told that the Maintenance management is conducting machine inspections, such as but not limited to inspecting belts, bearings, etc., however, the Union has not received any statements from the employees. I am told the reason for this is fear of retaliation from Management.   I am telling each and every one of you that fear of retaliation is their number one tool against all of us. I implore you all to stand up to management and inform your Union every time you observe management performing your work. Let the Union handle the issue of retaliation, we need to put a stop to management performing our work. If you witness a Manager, Supervisor, 204b performing bargaining unit work on any equipment write a statement and request to see a Union steward. When you write your statement make sure you are clear with the following information;

Who performed the work,
What work was performed,
When the work was performed,
Where the work was performed, and
How long the work was performed.

We as a whole in Maintenance have to put a stop to Management taking our work away from the craft. The union stewards need statements from employees to assist them in making stronger cases in the grievance process to win grievance cases. Without statements the argument is weak. This is why management uses the threat of retaliation to intimidate the craft employees to look the other way. We as a collective force need to stop management from performing our bargaining unit work.I want to stress to all Maintenance Craft employees that we need to make sure that all unplanned events are documented with a work order. Management is supposed to provide work orders for each individual pocket that is required to be investigated. If management is not providing work orders for individual pockets for every unplanned event, contact MOS and request work orders for every individual pocket. We need to document this work to get credit. I have been told by management over and over that it does not matter when it comes to staffing. So I ask the question why it is they refuse to provide work orders for individual pockets. I say it would indicate that there is more work then is being reported. I implore everyone to force management to provide work orders for this issue.If you need a union steward, please contact your supervisor to be released to see a steward for any issue that you may have. We are here to answer your basic questions, but if you are in need of a Union Steward you need to make a formal request through management.  

Jim Pierce
Maintenance Craft Director 

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Hello Maintenance

reprinted from the June 2016 Postmark


I want to tell all of you that you are doing a great job with the crap Management is throwing at you. We are short staffed and Management knows it, and Management is getting pressure from higher level Management to get the completion rates higher. They are becoming very creative in their pursuit to achieve higher completion rates. It is amazing that we went from a low completion rate to suddenly we have 100% completion rates overnight. Our Maintenance Management team (I say that loosely) has not changed that much to warrant this drastic change over night.

That being said, I have noticed that Management is asking some of you to sign off on routes even though you are not performing the work. We need to stop doing this for them. If you are approached by Management to sign off on routes you are not assigned to perform please ask for a Union Steward. You have to ask yourself, why would Management ask me to signoff on a route when they claim someone else performed the work but did not have the time to enter it? Or when Management asks you to merely sign off on a route complete and only take one click to sign off on the route? We are bleeding staffing times already and to be adding this to the wound is unacceptable. Again this is helping Management not us.

Management cuts our staffing down to the bone marrow and then turns around and blames you for not getting all the routes completed and then asks you to falsify the completion rate to cover their collective backsides to their higher level management. Where is the justice in that? Management here has consistently stated they are working on getting us more staffing, I call B.S. on this! The 2015 staffing package Management gutted our ET-10 positions from 40 ET-10 positions down to 28 ET-10 position eliminating 12 positions. Management set the staffing level for MM-7 to 30 positions and they have failed to fill even 20 of these positions. Management starts rumors that they are posting 6 ET-10 positions and 6 MPE-9 positions with the new staffing package. When I ask Management about it they claim they have no idea where these rumors are coming from.  This is nothing more then a game to these people.


Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director


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Maintenance Report

Hello everyone,

It is really hard to pick a certain topic to address in these articles when there are so many issues happening here in the Maintenance Department that effect all of us. So I am going to beat the big drum in the room.

 Maintenance employees are still using miscellaneous codes on the Employee Assignment Work Sheets (EWAS) when turning in their routes sheets. We ALL need to make sure we do not use the miscellaneous codes because ultimately it will go against our staffing levels. Management merely eliminates all hours collected under miscellaneous codes they remove them because they cannot make a determination what work was actually performed, so we lose these hours.

Maintenance Laborer Custodial employees are getting hit hard with the reorganization of the Labor Custodial employees. I want to stress to all of you that this is strictly being done by Management and your Union is only here to make sure that Management follows their contractual obligation to make sure they do this correctly. If you have any questions we will answer your questions.

Management in the near future is supposedly going to restructure the BEM-9 employees here in Saint Paul P&DC. However,  so far we have not been contacted by Management in regards to what their actual intent is for the BEM-09 employees as of the writing of this article. Management keeps pushing the dead line further out.  When Management comes to the Union we will let you know what their intent is. We will get the information out to all of you that will be affected by this.

I want to ask all Maintenance Craft Employees to be very vigilant in your observations when you spot Management performing Bargaining Unit work, as well as, Management directing lower level Maintenance employees to perform higher level work outside of the employees Job Descriptions. Management at the Headquarters level is placing pressure on Local Management to reduce staffing and still get Maintenance work completed. So the pressure is on them to try any means possible to get routes completed. So we all know that it is not beneath them to tell lower level employees to perform higher level work such as answering Maintenance calls on Tours 1 & 3. I ask all of you to make sure this do not happen. If we allow this to happen ultimately we lose staffing and so much more. I also ask all of you again to make sure we are getting work orders for all Maintenance tasks you are asked to perform regardless how small and/or mundane you think it may be. Every minute counts towards our  staffing needs.

The evidence that we can be sure of is, Management has targeted first the ET-10's by reducing the staffing from 40 to 28 and now they are going after the Laborer Custodial group as well as the Building Maintenance Equipment BEM-09 Occupational Groups staffing levels. If we continue to allow Management to use these tactics, it will only get worse. So, when you see this directly or indirectly ask to see a Union steward and provide a statement and we will ensure Management is held accountable.


 ***Remember if you have to use a tool when fixing any equipment that is energized you first have to power it down and lock it out. No exceptions!!

 I want to take the opportunity to welcome our newest Union Steward, Matthew Garcia tour 2 Laborer Custodian, if you see him in your travels make sure to say hi.

Your Maintenance Stewards are:

Sam Kim Tour 2 ET-10, Rod Renner Tour 2 AMT-9, Mike Kobes Tour 3 Custodian, & Matt Garcia Tour 2 Custodian so if you see these guys around say hi


Jim Pierce Maintenance Craft Director

unionism.jpg

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Hello everyone,

I want to take the opportunity to thank all of you for sending me to the Four State Caucus up in Fargo, ND. I was able to take the opportunity to get some answers to some issues that impact the Maintenance Craft. Such as, but not limited to, the issue of assigning Maintenance work to the Laborer Custodial employees.  I was able to confirm from the National Officers that the new MS-47 TL-5 lays it out for Management that the Custodial employees are to be issued 7.0 hours of work per shift. Management is supposed to issue a full work days worth of work which is described in sections 5.9.1.1 & 6.1 of the MS-47 TL-5. In a nut shell management issuing several dailies equaling more then 7.0 hours in a work day and directing the employees to partial the routes is incorrect. Management should schedule only 7.0 hours work to each Laborer Custodial employees on a daily basis. The Union has filed a grievance for the fact that Management is in fact assigning more then 7 hours each day.

I want to attempt to explain to you here the stance of the Union on the above issue, which is, if an employee is assigned 3-4 dailies on a daily basis and is instructed by there supervisor or Manager to partial each route (Tour 3 currently is doing this) in the idea that it is better to work a little in each area. If the Custodial employee partials their routes instead of completing the routes the amount of time remaining is lost forever. In other words, if the employee is assigned 3-4 daily routes and the routes are 5 hour routes and the employee partials the routes for 1.7 hour, the remaining 3.3 hours are lost and ultimately deducted from the total Line H at the end of the fiscal year. So if on a daily basis say 4 daily routes worth 5 hours each are issued and the employee merely partials the each of the routes for 1.7 hours each the total amount of hours that would be deducted from Line H would equal 13.2 hours lost. The Local Union will fight for you to make sure management will follow the MS-47 TL-5 but we will need your help as well. I will be discussing this issue with Management to make sure they stay in compliance with the MS-47 TL-5 and file grievances as required to make sure the MS-47 TL-5 is followed.

I am asking all Maintenance employee to make sure you as a maintenance employee are documenting everything you do on a daily basis. Work order, work order, work order, document, document, document. We are losing staffing in all occupational groups due to the lack of proper documentation of our work. Management at the Area level are relying on Historical Data to justify the need for staffing. We need to make sure we STOP using any reference to miscellaneous when putting the work codes on our Employee Work Assignment Sheets (EWAS) Make sure you get a work code close as possible to the actual work you performed. Make sure to ask for a work order for everything you do in a day.

Make sure that if you are asked to perform work on any unplanned event (Pocket) you are given a work order before you perform the work on any individual pocket. Each unplanned event should generate a work order for the individual event. If a machine has 6 unplanned events on a given day there should be 6 individual work orders. the work order should follow the progression of the repairs to the individual pocket. If you are not provided a work order please ask to see a Union steward. We are loosing hundreds if not more hours for not documenting this work which will reflect our staffing levels. If you are refused work orders for any work you deem worthy of documenting please ask to see a Union steward to see  if we can resolve the issue.

Jim Pierce, Maintenance Craft Director


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Hello Maintenance

Well the New Year is here and would like to wish all of you and yours a wonderful New Year and I hope you enjoyed the Holidays. I want to start off by thanking the Union Stewards for all the hard work they have done this past year. We have been very busy this year we doubled the amount of grievances we filed all of last year to approximately 150 step 2 grievances not including the vast amount of step 1 settlements that our stewards have settled on your behalf. If you see one of your Union stewards make sure you thank them for the hard work they have been  and are doing for you.
 
I also want to take this opportunity to address an issue that is becoming a big issue for all of the Maintenance Craft at every level and occupational group. This is an issue that has been brought up in the past and I want to pound the drums again to try to get the message out to all of us throughout Maintenance. The issue is accounting for every maintenance task that you are assigned to perform no matter how trivial you may think it is. We need to start making sure we are given work orders for each task we are asked to perform. We need to make sure that management is accounting for everything we do.

Management at the Area level and beyond is making it harder for local management to give an accurate accounting for what we have in the facility for the purposes of staffing accountability. So we have to make sure that we do our due diligence to make sure that we are doing everything we can to account for work that is performed such as, but not limited to; Changing out batteries for the BEM’s to mention one of many items for the BEM’s and each individual unplanned pocket that you are asked to look at. We need to start asking for an individual work order for each and every individual pocket that is listed as unplanned. If you have a machine that has 4 unplanned event pockets then you should get 4 work orders. We need to make sure we fight for our jobs now and not wait for management to reduce our staffing any further. If you ask for a work order and you run into problems where management does not provide you a work order please ask for a Union steward. This also applies to all Maintenance employees assigned to the Stations and Branches.

Associate Offices:    For all of the Maintenance employees assigned to Associate offices I ask that you start to keep detailed notes for every task that you perform daily, weekly, monthly to give a accounting for the time you work so we may apply this information to the Line H requirements of the PS Form 4852 Staffing Package. You as  Laborer Custodial employees have certain tasks that you were hired to perform. Therefore, you should only be performing these tasks which should be established from the Staffing packages for each facility. The Union will be meeting with Management to address these issues. Until this is accomplished; I ask you to start making these notes to help assist us. The information we need is the date, how long it took, the task performed to start with.

 If you have any questions, please contact a Maintenance steward. 

 Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director  

reprinted from the January 2016 Postmark

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reprinted from the November 2015 Postmark

I want to welcome all of the new Maintenance employees that have joined maintenance craft in recent months through the In-Service process and let you know if you have any questions or concerns to contact your Maintenance Stewards.

A lot of stuff is happening in Maintenance, with the implementation of the new TL-5 Cleaning Program for the Laborer Custodians, the addition of the new SPSS machine as well as other maintenance issues going on here in Saint Paul P&DC.

A new day is dawning, so here is a little on the new TL-5 cleaning program, I ask all Laborer Custodians to learn as much as possible on the cleaning methods and cleaning frequencies and to follow it to the letter. Do exactly as you were trained and follow the program to the letter. If management sets a certain cleaning frequency to clean an area only once or twice a week, only clean the area once or twice as directed by the established cleaning frequency.
The TL-5 needs to be followed to the exact way management determines to make sure that the TL-5 methods work or not on their own merits. If it becomes an issue where an area is scheduled only the bare minimum cleaning frequency and management requires you clean it more than the scheduled times, ask for a Union steward.
 
I was told by other Craft Directors that where the TL-5 has been implemented they are finding that, not only the cleaning products do not work but that management is having the custodians clean areas more than what the established cleaning frequencies require. In a nutshell, we need to hold Management to the exact cleaning frequencies and cleaning methods as required by the TL-5 itself. This program is only as good as it is. So either it works or it does not work, but we have to hold management to task to make sure the TL-5 is followed as they direct.  

This new TL-5 cleaning program requires management to utilize
ONLY authorized cleaning products, Management is not allowed to bring other cleaning products into the facility. They are limited to only using the approved cleaning products. I was told by other Maintenance Craft Directors from the facilities that have been on the new TL-5 program for awhile that the authorized cleaning cool-aid does not work, so management in their facilities are creating work-orders to clean the facility with unauthorized cleaning products. When our local management tries to do this it is imperative that you let the local union know this so we can file grievances holding management accountable to the implementation of this TL-5 cleaning program.

Management is spending an average $365,000 per facility for all new cleaning equipment inventories for the implementation of the TL-5 in the hopes that this cleaning program works. So, if we as a whole hold management to the established cleaning methods and cleaning frequencies of the TL-5 we will see if this new program is sustainable. 

As of the October 23, 2015 Labor/Management meeting management has not provided the local union any of the Maintenance requirements as in Preventative Maintenance (PM) and Maintenance level requirements for the new SPSS. When I find out what management is going to provide for the Maintenance requirements for the new SPSS equipment I will pass it along to you as I get the information.
 
Thank you all,
Jim Pierce
Maintenance Craft Director
 

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  reprinted from the September Postmark

Hello   Maintenance Brothers and Sisters

I hope everyone has had a great summer so far. I want to thank the Union stewards for all the hard work that they are doing for the Maintenance Craft. The Local Union has received a few Step 3 settlements bringing back three (3) ET-10, two (2) BEM positions with back pay and Out-of Schedule Premium pay, and all vacant and residual (up to 17) Custodial positions have to be posted and filled. The Staffing Package grievance has been remanded back to Step 2 for further inventory and work up so we can make sure that all equipment in the facility is correctly added to the Staffing Package. 
With that being said, I have had sometime going over the Staffing package and it is very apparent that there are several pieces of equipment not included in the Staffing package. For example, as I have told some of you that the Staffing Package only accounts for 4 Strappers and there are approximately 18 strappers in the facility with 12-15 being used daily. Management at the Headquarters level will only allow the local management to account for the 4 strappers claiming the term  “See historical data” if there is no route or work order generated for the equipment it is not counted. So I suggest we start taking a closer look at the equipment that is sitting idle in each of the maintenance shops and perform maintenance on this idle equipment.  If you are assigned to clear jams on the tray transport systems make a work order and on the work order make sure to identify the section of the Tray Transport System.  I want to ask the BEM’s to make work orders every time you change batteries because the only way we will get credit for batteries is if work orders are generated since this is another inventory item Headquarters has categorized as “see historical data”. As we go through the staffing package more thoroughly in the coming days I will be notifying everyone what is needed to make sure that all equipment is added to the Staffing package as best as we can.  The hope is that if we can add all the idle equipment as well as all the equipment that should have been counted correctly we can bring back the several maintenance positions that have been reverted since the beginning of the year.

On another note as most of you have heard Management cannot have 204b’s if there is no vacant Supervisor position to occupy. 

I want to take the time to let all of the Maintenance employees (Custodial FTR, PTR, & PSE) that work in Associate offices know that if they have any questions or concerns as far as their contractual rights, to contact the Local Union office and talk to a Union steward. I have found that there are several of the maintenance employees that work in Associate Offices that have never talked with a steward before.
I will keep everyone posted to anything that happens concerning the Maintenance Craft.

 Jim Pierce
Maintenance Craft Director

 

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Hello Maintenance          

     

Finally, nice weather is upon us. The next few months are going to be pretty hectic here at the St. Paul P&DC. People are going to want to take time off to enjoy the nice weather and  we all know we are short staffed (Management created this problem) and we are not able to get all our work done as it is.

              
 
We need to be vigilant in making sure that management does not do maintenance work. If you see management performing our work, make sure to ask for a steward and write a statement. If you do write a statement please make sure to cover the basics such as, but not limited to: Who, what, where, when and how long.
When management gives you your daily assignments and you get to your machine and later management approaches you to tell you that there are unplanned events on your machines and they tell you what pockets to fix,  ask them for the work order for each pocket individually. If they do not provide you a work order for each individual pocket ask for a union steward and provide a statement to your Union steward. We need to make sure that MOS is issuing work orders for every unplanned event no matter what action you take.
 
Management has said we are expected to get a new machine, Small Package Sorting System (SPSS) sometime around August 17, 2015. Management is going to want to move several machines to make room for this new machine. I am going to be discussing with management the best approach to accomplish this work.  With all the machine moves and daily routes to be done I see management trying to get creative on their approach to accomplish all that is coming. We need to be very vigilant to make sure bargaining unit employees are performing all of this work.

 Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director 

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  Hello, To All Maintenance Employees

 I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that took the time to vote in this past election. I want to thank those of you that voted for me to represent you as the new Maintenance Craft Director. I want to assure the Maintenance Craft employees that the maintenance stewards are here to represent you.  I will fight to preserve the Maintenance jobs.Make sure to help your Union Stewards and yourselves by being vigilant preserving our jobs by making sure we all work within our Job Descriptions and making sure management does not do our work. If you witness a lower level maintenance employee performing higher level work report it. If you witness management performing Craft work report it to your Union representative.The writing is on the wall,  Management is willing to walk-out our maintenance employees for not answering calls quick enough. Yeah, they claim the employee was belligerent and confrontational which is not one of the reasons outlined in Article 16. If you think this is an isolated incident get real, it is going to get worse. Management is short staffing the Maintenance Craft even though we can not keep up with the PM routes and the number of machines that we have in the facility.  When I asked Management how we are to fill out our ECBM and Employee Assignment Work Sheets (EAWS), none of them gave me the same answers. It seems our management does not understand how to correctly fill out our daily routes, so how can they expect us to know how to do it?When assigned PM routes and required to answer maintenance calls we need to keep a running tally of each maintenance reaction call and get a work order for every individual incident.If management is harassing you into working faster and placing time limits on reaction calls ask for a union steward.  

Jim Pierce

Maintenance Craft Director 

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APWU                                                    APWU
Todd Elkerton,  President        St. Paul, MN Area Local                    February 10, 2015
www.stpaulapwu.org                                                                      651-778-1637          
 
SPECIAL   MAINTENANCE  CRAFT   MEETING  

WEDNESDAY,FEBRUARY 18, 2015

1:30 P.M.   

UNION OFFICE

2261 WATERS DRIVE

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, MN  55120 

 THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEETING IS TO DISCUSS THE MAINTENANCE CRAFT VACANCY

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  My Fellow Maintenance Employees:           
Dave Geissigner
          
Maintenance Craft Director
 

As 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. 

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  My Fellow Maintenance Employees 

As we 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. 

I hope all of you have a safe and happy summer. 

Dave Geissinger 

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  My Fellow Maintenance Employees: 

As I 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. 

Dave Geissinger 

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  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.


Dave Geissinger
Maintenance Craft Director

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APWU                                                    APWU
Todd Elkerton,  President        St. Paul, MN Area Local                         January 7, 2014
www.stpaulapwu.org                                                                                   651-778-1637

             MAINTENANCE BULLETIN     

  
Because 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.
 

Dave Geissinger
Maintenance Craft Director
St. Paul, MN Area Local APWU

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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.

Recently 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.

By 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.
 

Dave Geissinger

Maintenance Craft Director

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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.

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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.
 
Management 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. 

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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.

Dave Geissinger
Mnt Craft Director

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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.
 

Dave Geissinger

Maintenance Craft Director
 

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