Maintenance Craft

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Dave Geissigner, Maintenance Craft Director
Gary Keicker, Maintenance Craft Director

  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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