It is certainly no secret that the Service plans to cut staffing and realign schedules on a massive scale in 2018. We have written about the uncertainty we face and the potential impacts to mail handlers across the Local and across the country. As previously reported, we have four facilities that have been targeted for staffing cuts and involuntary reassignment of career mail handlers to other installations. This process requires the parties meet at the Regional level to discuss the impact and potential landing spots for those subject to involuntary reassignment. The Union has held the first two of the four scheduled with a follow-up meeting scheduled for the Philadelphia NDC. It should be noted that the employer has not been completely forthcoming with information requested by Local 308 and we have filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Philadelphia Metropolitan District. As reported to both the Philadelphia P&DC as well as the NDC, the meetings were held back to back on December 14th with the former much more productive than the latter. Read Full Report
The Postal Service has recently announced a number of impacts across Local 308 and across the nation for that matter, as they catapult headlong into their Function 1 driven fiasco. I have yet to meet the postal employee with two brain cells to rub together that thinks this is a good idea. But yet this is where we are headed… right into a crippling reduction in workforce, that will achieve nothing beyond extraordinary rates of overtime and a standard of service designed to keep the mail away from our customers for as long as possible. Our National leadership has met with their USPS counterparts on numerous occasions in an attempt to understand the madness the Post Master General now pursues. Of course, the reality of the mail processing work place seems to be lost on the “best and the brightest” in postal headquarters. Nationally we have filed an unfair labor practice charge, as the employer has failed to provide the Union with relevant information regarding the fatally flawed Function 1 process. Read More
The assault on Mail Handler bid duty assignments has begun and many have already felt the sting of management’s latest challenge to logic and the collective bargaining agreement. We have seen vacated bid duty assignments reverted over the last several months and have challenged those. But now an unprecedented elimination of occupied duty assignments has swept through the local and has impacted many across the nation. There is no discernible rhyme or reason to this most recent barrage, and currently there are more questions than answers on motive or the designed end game, if we are to assume there is any design here at all. Read More
Swedesboro Jurisdictional Update
As many of the former Philadelphia L&DC mail handlers know, there is still an outstanding jurisdictional dispute pending the RI-399 process. Once again, the misinformed or misguided are circulating information regarding the status of this dispute on social media that is not accurate. As we often report at our regular Branch meetings, this case along with others within the local and around the country still await scheduling before a jurisdictional arbitrator. Those directly familiar with this process know that it is painfully slow and the L&DC case is no exception. While our National office is working tirelessly to improve this process and schedule cases, we understand the frustration surrounding the delay of getting our "day in court" on this and other disputes. As we inch closer to arbitration please do not hesitate to contact local union headquarters with any questions or concerns you may have.
Shop Stewards Training
February 8th-9th, 2018
Following a successfully bargained contract with new and improved rights for mail handlers, there is always a bit of a learning curve involved for both craft and management. Some would even argue that there are many in management that still don’t understand the previous National Agreement, never mind the new one, and already have a lot of catching up to do. I don’t disagree and would add that there is a likelihood that they’ll never get there and probably don’t want to. Notwithstanding their unwillingness to learn or comply, we are here, and definitely willing, to instruct through enforcement. Our National office has mailed a bound copy of the new National Agreement to each and every member. And yes, it is “mauve”. We encourage all Sisters and Brothers to review the National Agreement and keep it close, especially while at work as it contains changes that will affect your work lives and potentially your very livelihoods. The National office during its most recent meeting of the Local Unions conducted a one-day seminar on some of the most significant changes to the National Agreement. Your Local union intends to follow suit shortly and conduct a review of the new Agreement for Local Union officers and other Union representatives. READ MORE
As the National parties finalize the effective dates of many of the recently negotiated and now ratified contractual provisions, the wage increases effective November 26, 2016 (PP 25-16) and the September 2016 (PP 19-16) cost of living allowance have been implemented and will be reflected on your earnings statement for pay period four. The pay scale reflecting that increase is available on both the National and Local web sites for downloading @ www.npmhu.org and www.npmhu308.org respectively. In addition, the March cost of living allowance has been determined to be $333 annually or approximately $.16 per hour. This increase will take effect on Saturday March 4, 2017 and be reflected in the earnings statement for pay period six. The pay scale that will be in effect on March 4th is also now available on the aforementioned web sites. As you know, retroactive pay adjustments will be necessary for all of the wages earned between pay period 19-16 for the September COLA and from pay period 26-16 for the contractual increase. The exact pay in which those adjustments will be reflected has yet to be announced. If you have any questions regarding your retroactive calculation once it is reflected on your earnings statement please see your Union representative.
Read More of the President's Report
As reported by our National office, The 115th Congress has produced Postal legislation designed to provide the Service with the financial stability it so desperately needs and wrote
"...the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee introduced bi-partisan postal reform legislation. The lead sponsor was Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), but the legislation also is co-sponsored by Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Stephen Lynch (D-MA). Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Dennis Ross (R-FL-15). This legislation (the Postal Reform Act of 2017, H.R. 756) is similar to legislation that was introduced last year in the 114th Congress. That prior legislation was passed by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but never saw action on the full floor and died when Congress adjourned in December.
The NPMHU appreciates the hard work that Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings, and the other co-sponsors have done with respect to this legislation."
We have all probably heard the phrase “elections have consequences” at one point or another in our lives. There can be very little doubt that the 2016 Presidential Election, no matter what side of the political spectrum you may reside, will also result in “consequences” of one sort or another. It is without question that a seismic shift has occurred in the politics of the nation, and where that leads us, at this point, is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that our day to day struggles with the wayward and wicked in management will continue. And with that our right to stand up and challenge those transgressors shall not waiver. We also know that this Union, at both the Local and National levels, will continue to fight for improvements in the wages, benefits, and working conditions for all Mail Handlers. That this Union will continue the important work of securing comprehensive Postal legislation that protects the cornerstone of democracy that is the United States Postal Service. The work that you do is critically important to the Nation and we can never lose sight of that fact and more to the point, we can never let those in office lose sight of that fact.
The power of this great Union was on full display during our most recent National Convention which convened in Chicago, August 22nd through the 28th. Local 308’s delegation (Pictured with National President Paul Hogrogian and National Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner) included members of your Local Union Council along with Brother Quentin Seth from Delaware. Almost three hundred delegates from all fifty states attended the week-long event, which included important discussion and debate and ultimately voting over changes to our governing documents, the National and Uniform Local Union Constitutions. Details and photographs of each day’s activities are now available on line at npmhu.org
Held every four years, this year’s theme centered on you, the member, with your and our collective power at its focus, where it belongs. The Power of You is what fuels this great Union as we rely on each other to protect and enhance the rights we have fought so very hard for over decades of struggle. There was truly an unmistakable spirit of Unity, Democracy, & Strength that permeated the Convention as the delegates charted the course of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union for the next four years. The delegates also resoundingly endorsed Hillary Clinton for President of the United States in this year’s election. Read Full President's Report
For those of you who regularly attend your Branch meetings you have heard the phrase “this is pick and shovel work” and that there is no magic bullet that will end violations of the contract by the malignancies inside management. Defending a negotiated contract requires all shop stewards, and yes even members as well, to roll up their collective sleeves and exercise their legal right to challenge any and all contractual transgressions. The surest way to lose our right to challenge management is to stop asserting those rights.
There are times that repeat violations require repeat challenges and the filing of scores of grievances on the same issue. For example, rules governing temporary movement from your bid duty assignment. The Contract is not at all confusing or ambiguous regarding movement but management insists on ignoring this important right day in and day out in some facilities. It certainly can be frustrating, but all we ask is that you notify any Union representative certified to protect your rights and let them go after it. Some of our basic rights are sometimes ignored as a matter of convenience. Our job is a simple one, enforce the law and make wanton violations of our Agreement by management as inconvenient as possible.
Read More of the March-April President's Report
Over decades of hard fought collective bargaining, the NPMHU, along with the other Postal Unions, have achieved gains in job security, wages, and working conditions that sometimes go underappreciated or even unnoticed. The current contract contains more than 200 pages of protections and rights we all enjoy. Beyond the National Agreement there are countless additional agreements in the form of Memoranda of Understanding and arbitration decisions that expand and strengthen the rights we have. More than a few of these gains occurring before many current employees were hired, or for that matter, even born. For a significant majority of mail handlers we have always enjoyed the no lay-off protection (Article 6) and have no concept or ever experienced that which other Unions deal with on a regular basis. This right was not given to us out of the kindness of the employer’s heart but earned through tough bargaining. (Read More)
The power of collective bargaining is undeniable. Negotiating with the employer over wages, benefits, and working conditions is a diminishing right that fewer and fewer Americans enjoy. As we quickly approach negotiations with the United States Postal Service over the terms of our next contract, where there is obviously very much at stake as management attempts to strip current and future Mail Handlers of any hope of a living wage with benefits. We are, however, indeed fortunate Brothers and Sisters that we even have this opportunity and I am confident that our National partners will take full advantage of it. There are other important components to our rights as a vibrant and powerful collective bargaining entity. One such critical component is the right to be treated with respect and dignity in the workplace. Read More
As I have traveled the Local in recent weeks and meet face to face with our Brothers & Sisters, there seems to be a common theme described to me by the members I speak with. It is staffing, or more precisely the lack thereof. From Wilmington to Lehigh Valley, from Trenton to Lancaster, members describe, with very little deviation, the increasing pressures placed on them as management pushes more and more the default philosophy of “doing more with less”. To a large degree this policy has been driven by Headquarters management in Washington DC and trickled down through the Eastern Area, the three Districts within this Local’s jurisdiction, and then into the plants and tours. By now you’ve all heard of their Function 1 Scheduler, which proposes to “right-size” the workforce in mail processing facilities. We’ve spoken about this folly in the past so I won’t spend too much time on it here. In a nutshell, this “tool” is designed by a bunch of bean counters sitting in a windowless office somewhere in the basement of L’Enfant Plaza. Their fantastic goal is to staff each and every operation with the “optimum number of employees for maximum efficiency”. These bean counters, for the most part have never managed real mail processing and have no real concept of how the mail is actually moved. Read More
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