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Dear Sisters and Brothers;

As you know the economy is in bad shape, and we may be headed into recession. If this isn't bad enough the Postal Service has lost almost three billion dollars this year, and are trying to find ways to cut costs. At the same time that this is happening the Postal Service is starting to deploy the new FSS Flat sorting machines. As of the most recent deployment schedule Local 309 will not be receiving any of the FSS machines. However, Local 301 which is also in the Northeast Area will get thirteen FSS machines and Local 300 which is also in the Northeast Area will be getting ten of the FSS machines. This deployment will start in early 2009 and all of the machines should be installed prior to the end of September 2010.That is just the Northeast Area, in every area in the country the Postal Service is deploying the FSS machines, including the Northeast that is about 102 FSS machines Nationwide, that will be initially deployed.

The effect that this deployment has on Local 309 and most of the continental United States is Article 12 Withholding of all residual vacancies, not only in the Mail Handler Craft, but also the APWU and NALC. Article 12 stops hiring except for essential positions and it also stops conversion of Part-time flexibles to Full-time Regular. Further, anyone being excessed can possibly be excessed up to five hundred miles. Now before everyone has a breakdown, I might add that of people being impacted by FSS machine deployment and additional excessing for other reasons, within the Northeast area, the Postal Service has identified 2,216 Craft employees who need to be excessed from their facilities. The problem is that the Postal Service has only identified 562 Full-time Regular positions that are being withheld within the Northeast Area, this means that 1,654 craft employees have no place to be excessed to. We can only hope that attrition helps out these employees, as no one should have to go through excessing from one facility to another, even being moved a short distance away, is expensive with gas prices above three dollars a gallon.

The above is only one of several problems with mail volume decreasing, because of the depressed economy the Postal Service has to find other ways to cut costs, a couple are fairly simple by Postal standards they reduce overtime costs as much as possible and they reduce the amount of sick leave used by disciplining employees.

They try to reduce transportation costs by cutting out different truck runs, combining carrier routes and adding more stops to the routes. They reduce the amount of time Carriers sort mail, so they spend more time delivering the mail.

The Postal Service has other ways than those mentioned above to try to reduce costs, and have been used quite recently in our Local. The famous Function 4 review and Function one review of Clerk and Mail Handler work, and the Area Mail Processing Study. They send teams of Supervisors into the Plants and they record everything that a Clerk or Mail Handler does during the course of a shift, and find ways to reduce shift hours or even do away with a shift. In this way they can then declare so many positions not necessary, and again excess those employees to other facilities. The only drawback is that they have identified so many employees to be excessed and have no positions for them. Stay tuned it can only get better.

Fraternally,
David E. Wilkin
President, Local 309

 

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