On 15th Anniversary of Anthrax Attacks, Workers Recall Those Who Died

10/21/2016Fifteen years after their deaths from exposure to anthrax-laden mail, Joseph P. Curseen Jr. and Thomas L. Morris Jr. were remembered by their co-workers at a reflective and joyful ceremony on Oct. 21.

A monument to the two APWU members was unveiled at the memorial outside the mail processing center that was renamed in their honor. More than 100 USPS employees and managers attended, as well as Curseen’s sister and brother-in-law.

Morris, 55, a 28-year USPS employee, died Oct. 21, 2001. Curseen, 47, a 15-year employee, succumbed a day later. They died of respiratory ailments after they came in contact with letters bound for Capitol Hill that contained the deadly toxin. Continue reading

Video: NRLCA Calls for Restoration of Bioterrorism Protection Program

ALEXANDRIA, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–September 10, 2013–

In the weeks and months following the September 11 attacks, rural letter carriers nationwide stepped forward to volunteer for a program called the National Postal Model (formerly part of the Cities Readiness Initiative), which utilizes the U.S. Postal Service’s one-of-a-kind delivery infrastructure to respond to potential bioterrorism attacks. Unfortunately, this program’s funding is at risk of elimination through federal budget cuts. Below is a statement from Jeanette Dwyer, President of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, on the National Postal Model: Continue reading

Another Ricin Incident Hits Spokane

From the American Postal Workers Union:

Preliminary lab tests indicated the presence of ricin on two suspicious letters in Spokane WA, the Postal Service told the APWU on May 15. The letters are being analyzed and tested further for hazardous material, according to a Mandatory Stand-Up Talk [PDF] management presented to workers.

One letter was addressed to the Spokane Post Office; the other was addressed to a federal judge in Spokane. Both letters were postmarked May 14.

“We have no reason to believe that any employees are at risk from handling the suspect letters as they passed through the mailstream in Spokane,” management told employees in the Stand-Up Talk. “The substance involved was not in a form that could be inhaled or otherwise readily ingested.

“If anyone were to inhale a quantity of ricin large enough to produce symptoms, they most likely would include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing and would appear within 24 hours. If you have not experienced such symptoms, you should not be concerned.  If you have, we urge you to let your supervisor know and see your doctor promptly for an evaluation.”

The APWU will monitor the situation closely, said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “Our members’ safety is our primary concern,” he said. The union will provide updates as more information becomes available.