NSS Restructure - USPS Realignment of Districts

Due to the realignment of Districts there has been changes to the assignments of District Representative as well as Assistant DRs



New DR Herschel Howard

Greetings Oregon rural carriers allow me to introduce myself to those I have not already met. I have been the assistant District representative for Monte Hartshorn and an area steward for Charlie Brown before that serving the carriers in eastern Oregon. I have also been a local steward, area steward and assistant district representative for Idaho, Utah and Nevada serving those states and the union since 2004. With the national redistricting of the United States Postal Service due to go into effect May 1st, 2021 changes are coming to how the NRLCA covers these new districts to best serve our craft. I have been asked to represent the new Oregon, Idaho, Montana district by the NRLCA. It has been my pleasure to serve our current district representative Monte as his assistant and I will do everything I can to try and give you the carriers of Oregon the same due diligence and care he always has. Monte has been a friend and mentor and I hope that his new district appreciates the outstanding new District representative they have received from Oregon.

Thank you Herschel Howard

Good Bye and Farewell from Monte Hartshorn

Some articles are harder to write than others, and this is one of the difficult ones.  With the Postal Service’s new districts (the old “Portland District is now a district comprising of the states of Oregon, Idaho and Montana) our national board had to realign District Representatives.  I have been informed that I will be the District Representative for Washington and Alaska beginning April 10th, 2021.

I have so enjoyed my time as the District Representative here in Oregon.  I began in 1998 as a Washington Assistant State Steward in the Portland District working closely with the Oregon State Stewards.  Though the years, I was privileged to be on the old QWL/EI District Joint Steering Committee and also to teach many count classes.  In 2012, I was assigned to both the Seattle and Portland districts and since May, 2016 to be your District Representative.  From the beginning, the carriers and stewards in Oregon have made me feel welcome.

As I write this, I think of some of the momentous times we have gone through.  Some of my best memories are of the steward trainings that I have conducted.  I have so appreciated every one who has stepped up to represent their fellow rural carriers.  Oregon has some of the finest stewards in the nation.  One of the worst moments was when we lost RCA Amanda Kropf and I visited the office the next day.  I never want to have to do that again.  But with the highs and the lows, the spirit and the pride of the rural carriers in Oregon has never diminished.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Oregon state board for their constant support.  I want to thank the Local Stewards in Oregon.  Each and every one of them has been part of the team.  I want to mention Doug Adamson, Patrick Lewis, Aaron Lamar, Scott Murahashi and Carrie Firman-Berry who have served as Area Stewards and express my heart-felt appreciation.

I have to separately thank Oksana Tropets who has served as our Assistant District Representative.  Oksana has been my right hand and my friend.  Through good and difficult times, Oksana has been there giving advice and support.  I feel blessed to have worked with Oksana.

Herschel Howard is going to be taking my place as the new District Representative for the new Oregon, Idaho and Montana District.  Herschel has been a friend and I am confident that he will do an absolutely wonderful job.   Herschel is no stranger to Oregon as he has been serving as the Assistant District Representative who covered eastern Oregon.

Again, I have been so blessed to work with and to serve the rural carriers in the state of Oregon.  I want to wish that you all become more involved in your union and that you remember:

Ignorance May Be Bliss, But It Will Cost You!     


“If it is not in writing, it never happened!”                  

Monte Hartshorn, NRLCA District Representative

Important message from the National Office

In the recently passed stimulus bill, Congress only included $10 billion in borrowing authority for the USPS to cover operating expenses and other costs incurred. $35 billion was requested. Without a proper stimulus package—something that was freely given to many corporations—the Postal Service will run out of money by summertime.

There has never been a more important moment to tell your members of Congress how disappointed you are that they have chosen to neglect a critical agency and its essential employees during this crisis. Tell them that the Postal Service is and will continue to be crucial to fighting the pandemic by delivering critical medications, testing kits, and other necessities to Americans across the country.

We anticipate that there may be more stimulus money at a later date, but it is critical that we all contact our members of Congress and let them know how we feel. Please help us by calling your members of Congress and passing this message to all rural carriers across the nation.

Here's a form letter to help you get started with:


As a constituent and postal employee (and or a postal customer), I am very disappointed Congress failed to help the USPS. During this unprecedented time, it has become clear that the Postal Service and its employees are essential to the economy and the American public. We are at the forefront of this pandemic, delivering testing kits, prescription medicines, and basic necessities all while trying to keep ourselves and our families safe. It was disheartening to see that you would provide billions of dollars in financial relief that benefits huge corporations but ignore the Postal Service and its employees

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:

   “Bidding 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 bid.

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.

v RCAs 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…

Ignorance May be Bliss, But it Will Cost You!

Monte Hartshorn, Portland District Representative  NRLCA






Start Times update:

The Portland District put out a blanket policy to move rural carrier start times on October 5th to 8:00 AM  or later.  Now, the Portland District is denying that any such policy existed and that they are doing a "office by office” approach.  I have been hearing that some offices are going back to their original start time, some are being given a new start time, but before 8:00 and some are staying with the 8:00 or later.  Since there is this spread, there will not be a Step 3 filed directly against the Portland District.

This gets us back to our original position.  The Contract is quite clear:  Article 30.1.G:

   “Scheduling is the responsibility of the Employer.  Schedules shall be realistic, based upon the receipt and availability of mail, the route evaluation, and other related service considerations (emphasis added).”

Each office will have to determine whether this section of our contract is being followed.  If 80% of the mail is available, it is the Union’s position it is available and ready to be worked.  Management seems to be saying that the mail is only available when they have scanned the “Distribution Up Scan”.  Article 30.1.G and the PO-603 (Rural Carrier Duties and Responsibilities) Section 151.1 should be cited.  If there is waiting time or time wasting practices occurring in the office, management will have a much stronger case.  I am fully understanding (and personally agree) with the safety aspect of this.  As the daylight continues to dwindle, that will only get harder.

To file a grievance, a carrier or carriers should approach management, and ask to schedule a time when they can talk about this mandate.  Local Stewards should be involved in this.  If no local steward, we will try to get someone to help if you need it Before the discussion, carriers should document when the mail is available.  If, after the discussion, no agreement is made, then the carrier-steward should ask management to print a PS 8191.  Fill out the top informational part, add the documentation of when the mail is available and send/give to your steward.  The documentation of when the mail is available is critical.

This is a wonderful example of why we need Local Stewards in each and every office.  The Local Steward is paid by management to investigate and process grievances.

No matter what, we must continue to work in a SAFE AND DILIGENT MANNER.  Please note that safety ALWAYS comes first.

Please let any of the Assistant District Representatives or myself know how we can help you.


Start times

We have been made aware that in all MPOO areas that there is a requirement for Local Management to change both Rural and City start times to 8:00AM or later.  It was first disseminated to be effective on the 13th, but some wonderful person has changed that to be effective immediately.  This instruction is in DIRECT violation of Article 30.1.G and PO-603 Section 151.1.  This direction also flies in the face of common sense.  The darkness is getting earlier, and we are being told to start later—by the way “be safe”.  I join each and every rural carrier in a good dose of frustration and anger.

I have already notified NRO Patrick Pitts and have an appointment with the District Manager Tuesday morning.  I need to find out if this is a District or a Western Area mandate.  I am expecting that a Step 3 will be filed directly against the district, but think it prudent that grievance be filed in offices if this mandate is not rescinded.  The main points would be whether the majority of mail is available when we now come to work, and whether there has been rural carriers on waiting time.

Again, I am aware of the frustration, especially right in front of the Columbus Day holiday, one of our worst for volume.  On Tuesday, if we have carriers out past 8:00PM, please notify me.

Just an update that we are finding the 8:00AM start times to be a Western Area mandate.  Our National Officers are aware and Patrick Pitts is working on this.  As soon as we hear new information, we will get it out.


Blue Collection Boxes


It seems that there is a new Area Directive out.  Any rural route with a Blue Collection Box is being required to do an extra scan (18 seconds) and initial on a log (mark-up---15 seconds)  33*6= 198 seconds.  If you are being required to do this, then Local Management needs to contact Dana Brault at District and ask that the 3 minutes (unfortunately rounded down) be added to your evaluation.




Monte Hartshorn

Portland District Representative

PO Box 321

Castle Rock, Washington  98611




Watch the Beaver Bulletin or contact Monte Hartshorn for any further updates.