There has been a lot happening in recent weeks & a lot to cover so let me get right to it.
Stop Staples – The Postal Service has put retail operations in several Staples store throughout the country including right here in Massachusetts. They are being staffed by Staples employees. The APWU is vigorously fighting this USPS initiative. Our position is if the Service is going to do this, it should be staffed by postal employees who have taken an oath to protect the safety & integrity of the U.S. Mail.
This is an obvious attempt by the Postal Service, once again, to privatize mail service.
Brothers & sisters, we must take this attack on our livelihood seriously. The Postal Service is trying to sell off our jobs, piece by piece. If we do not fight & fight it now, they will succeed. Yes, I said “WE”. That means ALL members… your families… your friends… everyone you know. Ask everyone to boycott Staples until they staff with postal employees or end the affiliation altogether. We all must send the message to any corporation that wants to engage in this dirty little game of privatization being played by the Postal Service, that they will lose, not only what they hoped to gain, but even the business they previously had.
Conversions – The APWU at the national level signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will give PTFs in the clerk craft & PSEs in all crafts the opportunity to become FTRs & career employees respectively. You need to understand that this MOU is to fill residual vacancies. Residual vacancies are duty assignments that were not bid upon by any full-time employee in the voluntary bidding process.
In the clerk craft, the MOU does simply convert PTFs to FTR or PSEs to career. It goes by vacancies in an installation filled by the following “pecking order”:
1. Unencumbered employees in the same installation. Unencumbered employees are FTRs who do not have a duty assignment. If there is a residual vacancy in an installation, the unencumbered employee in that installation would have to fill that vacancy. If it is the only residual vacancy in that installation, no further conversion would happen in that installation.
2. Retreat rights of clerks excessing outside of the craft within or outside of their installation. Retreat rights only apply to installation from which excessed. For example, if you were excessed from a clerk job in Avon to another office in the carrier craft & you know that there is a clerk opening in Brockton, you do not have the option to retreat to the clerk craft in Brockton. Your only right to retreat to the clerk craft is for a clerk vacancy in the Avon office.
3. FTR clerks impacted by excessing & requesting transfer within 100 mile radius. Currently, there are no excessing impacts that fall under this category that will affect our local.
4. Conversion of PTF clerks in the same installation. PTFs working in an installation with one or more residual vacancies will be converted by standing on the PTF rolls, one for one.
5. FTR clerks impacted by excessing & requesting transfer beyond 100 mile radius. There is always the possibility that this could occur. However, I would say that the chances are slim.
6. One time posting of residual vacancies for PTFs in other installations within the District. This is the opportunity for PTFs to move into an FTR job in another installation. There is a posting on eReassign for 21 days from May 1st through May 21st with residual vacancies from other installations within the District. This is not done on a first come, first served basis as some postal management has told people. At the end of the 21-day period, PTF clerks will be placed by seniority into the residual vacancies in the installation requested through eReassign, as soon as practical.
7. Transfers from a) APWU crafts with priority consideration & b) other crafts without priority consideration (all limited to one in four or one in six as defined in the MOU on Transfers. Anyone not in the previous six categories in the pecking order has this option to move to another installation with a vacancy or vacancies. APWU crafts will receive priority consideration.
8. Clerk PSE conversions to career within the installation. This will be done by the PSE’s standing on the PSE rolls in their home installation.
In the Maintenance & Motor Vehicle crafts, residual vacancies will be filled in accordance with craft articles in the contract. The Maintenance MOU calls for PSE conversions to be done by District, not by installation.
I want to clear up a misconception that seems to be going around the local. There is an apparent perception that I am negotiating & complicit with certain things with the Postal Service, such as the radio/headset policy in Brockton & reposted jobs in New Bedford. Unless you see a document with my signature on it… I didn’t negotiate it. I do not agree with the radio policy, other than to say I do agree that we should exercise safety at all times. Grievances are being filed on this issue. Also, I have told management in New Bedford that they can’t just move bids around willy nilly. There has to be an operational reason. We had a labor-management meeting planned. I will assign one of the SSAL officers to meet with the Service on clerk bids in that office.
I began this article at home in my living room. I am completing it in a hospital bed awaiting bypass surgery on my heart (yes, it is confirmed that I DO have one.) Hopefully, things will go well & I will be back doing a job I love… representing all of you. But if something unforeseen should happen, I want to take this opportunity to thank you… all of you. I do not now & never have taken it for granted. I have done this job because I thought it was the right thing to do. Because people deserve to come to work & be treat with dignity & respect. I can’t stand seeing people being mistreated & not be able to do anything about it.
From rank & file members to union officials to elected public officials, I have had the opportunity to work with some remarkable, dedicated people. Some are gone now. Some have moved on. Some are still waging the battle. Give them your support. It is a thankless job that is getting increasingly difficult to do. Don’t be concerned. You are in good hands.
I’m not going to lie. The cards may be stacked against me right now. But I’m a fighter & not ready to go yet. So I’m going to fight because it’s what I do. Hopefully I will see you all soon. But if not, I want you all to keep the faith & carry on the fight for justice in the workplace. The struggle continues. Thank you all for allowing me the honor & privilege of being your representative for the last 23 years.