A message from Monte Hartshorn concerning bidding on a vacant route:
The Best and Worst of Times
I remember it as if it happened yesterday. November 5th, 1988 I became the Regular Rural carrier on Route 1 in Castle Rock, Washington. All I had to do was write a short note on a buck slip (Form 13) that I
wanted the route. It goes to show how much times have changed. Currently, you have to use either your phone or a computer and go through Shared Services (HRSSC) Liteblue to bid. While things worked out well for me, this past year we have
had three or so RCAs who failed to get promoted to regular rural carrier and get their own route.
First and foremost, you have to have your Liteblue up to date. When you were first hired, you were sent a pin number and instructions on how
to log onto Liteblue. Once you logged on, then you were instructed to create a password that was unique to you. Now, when a regular rural route is posted, the posting requires that all bids are through Liteblue. It is impossible to bid if
you have forgotten your password.
All rural routes coming up for bid are required to be posted in that office for ten (10) calendar days. The posting must be physically posted and put on the rural carrier bulletin board or a place where
rural carriers know where to look. If you do not have your password, then you have to contact HRSSC and get a new pin. When you call, the recording will tell you that it could take up to 7 business days to get you your new pin. If you do
call, then afterwards find your old pin, your old pin will not work anymore. Also, note that if you call on day one of the posting, and there is a weekend, you will likely receive your new pin after the bid period has expired. If a grievance is
filed, we will need to show how the bidding system was malfunctioning. We most likely WILL NOT be successful in a grievance if the reason is because the employee forgot their password.
The most common misconception about bidding is that the bid
is for one route only. This is FALSE. It is possible that only one route will be affected if none of the regular rural carriers in the office bid. The posting clearly states:
for the regular rural route(s) listed below is not only for this vacancy, for any regular rural routes(s) in the office that may become available as a result of filling the original route vacancy.”
What does this mean? For
example, if route 1 becomes available, and the regular rural carrier on route 2 bids on it, then the bid will continue with rural route 2 being awarded. There will NOT be a new bid later for rural route 2. So, a posting is for the route listed,
and any subsequent route that becomes available as a result of regular rural carriers moving around.
Some Keys About Bidding:
v The bidding system states that the
bid is open from a specific date to a closing on the date 10 days later. Please note that it is from 00:00 (midnight) on the opening day to 24:00 (midnight) on the closing date, a full ten (10) days. It is important to also note that the time is
based on Central time. The bid will close at 10:00PM Pacific time.
v You do have the ability to bid, then to pull your bid back. However, to cancel your bid, it must be done before the bid itself closes. Once the bid
is expired, all bids are final. “You bid it, you bought it”.
v Regular Rural Carriers should only bid on routes that they want more than the route you already have. If you are happy with the route you have, do
not bid. The only exception to this is if there has been a route consolidation in the office and the route was encumbered by a regular rural carrier. In that case, every route who was involved in the territorial adjustment would be required to
v The senior PTF must accept the residual regular route vacancy or be separated from the Postal Service.
v RCAs: Most important is that if a RCA does not bid for a route, it will not be awarded to the
RCA. If one route comes up for bid, the senior RCA will not get it automatically. The only safe, for sure way is to bid for every route. If there is only one route for bid, it is not necessary to put your bid in a preference order, just select
the “bid all”. We have had several RCAs who only bid on the route that was posted and were not promoted because a regular rural carrier bid on the posted route and the RCA did not bid on the regular’s old route.
have bidding rights after one year of service. Even if you are out of probation, to be able to bid you must have the year in.
v All: If you do not have a computer, you can request to use the one at the Post Office. If you
are having any trouble bidding, do not wait until the last minute. Ask to use the Post Office computer and show your manager the system problem that you are having.
v All: It is always a great idea that if you bid, to take
a screen shot of the bid and of the confirmation number. If something happens, the grievance is a contractual grievance. That means that we will have the burden of proof. Having some documentation may mean the difference between getting the
route/position you want or not.
v All: If you are going to be away from the office for a long period of time (more than a week) and you believe a bid may come up, it is your responsibility to request in writing that management
mail you a copy of any bids. If you do not make the request, management has no obligation to notify you.
v All: There is a great training tutorial on the front page of www.nrlca.org. Prior to any bid, reviewing the tutorial is a good idea. The tutorial has screen shots of the bidding process.
The Saturday that I became a Regular Rural Carrier was a very happy day in my life. It
breaks my heart when I hear on the phone from a RCA that most likely is not going to get to become a regular and begin earning the benefits that they deserve. Make sure that you log into Liteblue at least once a month. That way you make sure that
you keep your login current. Also, while there you can check your pay to make sure it is correct. You can also check your e-OPF (electronic Office Personnel File) to make sure that your contact information is correct, that you are in the correct
retirement system, to find out when your next pay step or annual leave step occurs, and many more items. Do not wait for when it is critical to you and then find out you can’t log in. Please remember…
May be Bliss, But it Will Cost You!
Monte Hartshorn, Portland District Representative NRLCA