Greetings Local 302 members and friends!
A lot has happened in the relatively brief time since our last newsletter. We have successfully completed our Local 302 officer elections, held our annual picnics at Six Flags Marine World and Reno, and our members have once again processed millions of packages through peak season for our customers. Local 302 conducted numerous steward trainings for new stewards, OWCP, MHBP reps and Local 302 ambassadors. Most importantly, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union Contract Negotiation team was able to successfully negotiate a new proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement to replace our contract that expired in September. There are more details elsewhere in this newsletter, and the full changes to the contract text were mailed to your homes at the end of January. This tentative agreement would cover 3 years until September 20, 2025 and would include the standard 1.3% raises we have been receiving as well as continued Cost of Living Allowances and No Lay Off protections. It would also greatly improve the wages and benefits of our newer mail handlers by decreasing the waiting period to top of scale and eliminating the lowest step (BB) of the pay scale. MHAs would also receive a retroactive $0.50/hour raise and have a second step added to their pay scale after 6 months of service. The contract would also provide for automatic conversions of MHA to career positions after 2 years in offices of 200 man hours. The only thing that could possibly be construed as negative in this contract is the MHA percentage going from 24.5% up to 25%. This is negligible and equates to (possibly) one additional MHA for every 200 FTRs in larger offices.
The ballot to vote on ratification on this contract was mailed to you in late January. The Local 302 Executive Board heartily endorses this contract and encourage you to vote yes to ratify this agreement (if you have not already voted). If you did not receive a ballot, you can contact the National office in Washington, DC at (202) 833-9095 to request a duplicate ballot.
A no vote on this contract would send us to arbitration, where we would go to hearings and wait a year or more before we get what an impartial arbitrator deems we deserve. Having been a successful arbitration advocate for 15 years, I can tell you from first-hand experience that this is a crap shoot. As a matter of fact, at our last contract arbitration “award” in 2013, we ended up with all of the worst provisions of our existing contract (Second lower wage scale for new employees, non-career MHA category, proportional COLAs).
The Local 302 officer elections were successfully completed in December with our officers being sworn in by National President Paul Hogrogian on January 21st at the LIUNA Local 304 office in Oakland. This event was attended by the elected Local 302 officers and their families and friends as well as National Executive Board members President Paul Hogrogian, National Secretary-Treasurer Michael Hora and Western Regional Vice President Don Sneesby. We welcome new Local Vice President and Sacramento Branch President Steve Gutierrez and Recording Secretary and San Francisco Branch President Ruben Martin Jr. to the Local 302 Executive Board. They join me, Treasurer Shawn Dalton and State Board Representative Fernando Matta, who were duly elected as unopposed candidates. We thank Chrystal Wilson and Juanita Contreras for their service on the Executive Board and Tony Mayes for his service as San Francisco BP. We greatly appreciate their continued assistance in other roles for Local 302.
We also congratulate new San Jose Branch President Esteban Sanchez and returning BPs Paula Ward (Oakland), Chrystal Wilson (NDC), Jennifer Escobar (Reno), David Santos (Fresno) and James Williams (North Bay). These next few years promise to be challenging ones at the USPS, and I am confident we have the right team in place to fight the coming battles. I would also like to thank the Local 302 Judges of Election Wazeer Livingston (NDC), Michael Paulo (SF) and Tim Hammond (Sac) for overseeing the successful election process. If you would like to volunteer to join our team and help your fellow mail handlers by serving as a shop steward, please contact me or your Branch President.
Local 302 Mail Handler Benefit Plan representatives returned to attending in person health fairs this year. Juanita Contreras, Chrystal Wilson, Jeanette Amador, Jennifer Escobar, Alison Goughary, Lisa Coleman, Dwight Parker, Lloyd McAllister and Elizabeth Anderson all attended open season health fairs and presented information on the NPMHU sponsored MHBP plan. The plan is improving every year, and if you have not taken a look at it in a while- it’s time to take another look!
There is more information and pictures from the events above elsewhere in this newsletter and on our website at npmhulocal302.com. I encourage you stay informed as move into the third year of the USPS’ 10-year plan “Delivering for America”. We anticipate there will be serious changes to mail processing and delivering methods, and possible movement of operations. As always, we will fight to minimize any adverse impact to our members and keep you informed every step of the way.