From the National Postal Mail Handlers Union
Message from President Paul Hogrogian
Brothers and Sisters,
Mail Handlers and postal workers from around the country continue to courageously perform essential federal service under the extraordinary circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When I last reported to you regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) on May 7, 2020, there were 1,100 postal workers who were confirmed to be COVID-19 positive and 624 employees presumed to be positive for a total of 1,724 infected employees. The latest numbers (as of May 15, 2020) show 974 postal workers who have tested positive and 492 employees who have been presumed to be positive for a total of 1,466 infected employees. The number of Mail Handlers who tested positive is 236. Unfortunately, 60 postal workers have died as a result of COVID-19, including 4 Mail Handlers. The numbers certainly seem to be “flattening.” More and more postal employees are returning to work as the availability rates in many postal installations continue to rise.
This does not mean we can let our guard down. We must remain vigilant and continue to protect ourselves and our co-workers. The “flattening” of the infection rate proves that the protocols put in place are working. We must continue to follow these protocols, especially those concerning social distancing and the wearing of face coverings and masks.
Complying with these protocols will protect yourself as well as your co-workers. Please contact your Union representatives if your facility is not following any of these protocols (Face Coverings, Supplies, Social Distancing, Stand-Up Talks, Cleanings, etc.).
NPMHU representatives continue to meet on a regular basis with their counterparts in postal management to discuss the Postal Service’s response to the outbreak of the virus and to ensure that the proper protocols are in place during ever-changing circumstances The NPMHU, as well as the APWU, NALC, and NRLCA, have been in discussions with senior Postal Management to implement a “temperature taking” process in postal installations. The NPMHU feels that as more and more postal employees are returning to work, more protections need to be put in place. Details such as procedures when an employee exceeds that threshold and return to work protocols are still being finalized. Discussions are also taking place regarding which installations will implement “temperature taking” procedures. The Postal Service has informed the NPMHU and the other postal unions that there will be four “proof of concept” test sites regarding the temperature taking equipment that will be conducted the following facilities:
- Merrifield P&DC
- Oklahoma City P&DC
- Falls Church Carrier Annex
- Fairfax, VA
The Northern Virginia tests will begin May 18 in the Merrifield P&DC, Falls Church Carrier Annex, and Fairfax Main Post Office, while the Oklahoma City test will begin May 25. These tests will run for approximately two weeks. Should these “proof of concept” tests prove to be successful, the USPS, after consultation with the NPMHU and the other postal unions, will roll out the process to twenty-four pilot sites where further tests will be conducted. Once the testing is completed in the pilot sites, it is anticipated that the temperature taking initiative will be implemented across the country.
Discussions with the Postal Service are also taking place regarding making COVID-19 testing available for postal employees at postal facilities. The NPMHU believes that this would be a positive step in ensuring that Mail Handlers and all postal workers are protected from the COVID-19 pandemic. More details will be provided as these discussions progress.
The NPMHU is also in negotiations with the Postal Service to extend the following Memoranda Of Understanding (MOUs) and policy statements:
- Sick Leave for Dependent Care (Child Care)
- Liberal Leave Policy
- MHA Leave
- Temporary MHA Exception Period
We expect to have an agreement within the next few days.
Our Regional Directors are in constant contact with their counterparts in the Postal Area Offices to discuss COVID-19 issues. If you are aware of any violations of the protocols listed above, please bring them to the attention of your local union representatives so that they may refer them to the Regional Directors. Our Regional Directors have been extremely successful in rectifying problems brought to their attention. However, they cannot correct a problem of which they are not aware.
Please read your bulletin boards and visit our website (NPMHU.org) and our mobile APP on a regular basis to obtain the latest information. We must be vigilant about how we go about our business, but we must remain as calm as possible. We will all get through this together. Please stay safe.
If you have any questions, please contact your steward or another Union Representative.