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 April 28, 2020, there were 1,234 postal workers who were confirmed to be COVID-19 positive and 847 employees presumed to be positive for a total of 2,081 infected employees. The latest numbers (as of May 6, 2020) show 1,100 postal workers who have tested positive and 624 employees who have been presumed to be positive for a total of 1,724 infected employees. The number of Mail Handlers who tested positive is 199. Unfortunately, 54 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.
Special emphasis should be placed on the following:
1. Stay home when you are sick. Please be responsible and do not put your co-workers at any further risk than they already are.
2. Please immediately report to your supervisor if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. This will allow the necessary contact tracing to be conducted as soon as possible. This will help in limiting the spread of the virus.
3. Maintain Social Distancing (six feet from others). Workstations should be modified to ensure that employees are working no closer than 6 feet from their co-workers.
4. The Postal Service has modified its policy on face coverings and now requires the wearing of face coverings or masks in all areas or operations where social distancing (six feet from others) cannot be maintained. This would include all bullpens, platforms and many other mail processing operations. This is mandatory and not optional. Please keep in mind that the wearing of masks or face coverings is in addition to and not instead of social distancing. These requirements apply in all postal facilities to all employees, postal or otherwise. This would include all HCR drivers and contractors.
The Unions have been assured that a sufficient supply of masks and cloth face coverings is available in all postal facilities. The Postal Service has recently purchased 1.4 million reusable cloth face coverings. Employees may also use personal face coverings which employees might prefer to use.
5. The Postal Service has committed to ramping up its efforts to clean “frequently touched surfaces.” Buildings where employees have been confirmed to be COVID-19 positive will undergo a thorough “deep cleaning.
6. Stand up talks should be given on a regular, if not daily, basis. These talks should be given orally before small groups of 10 or less.
7. Supplies (Gloves/Masks/Hand Sanitizers/Wipes) are to be made available. We have been assured that these supplies will continue to be replenished as needed. Senior Postal Management has reported to the NPMHU that sufficient personal protective equipment is available:
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.).
It is vitally important that ALL postal workers follow these protocols. These protocols are amended as circumstances change.
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 must be put in place. The details such as the exact temperature threshold, procedures when an employee exceeds that threshold, and return to work protocols are still being finalized. Discussions are also taking place about which installations will implement “temperature taking” procedures. The Postal Service has informed the NPMHU and the other postal unions that they will soon be testing the temperature taking equipment that they plan to use in the following facilities:
- Merrifield P & DC
- Oklahoma City P & DC
- Merrifield Carrier Annex
- Fairfax, Va
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.
The health and safety of our members continues to be our priority. We will continue to ensure that the Postal Service complies with its own protocols by providing the necessary supplies (gloves, masks, hand sanitizers, wipes and cleaning materials), performing the necessary cleanings on a regular basis, keeping employees informed by giving daily stand up talks, and keeping our members protected by following the quarantine recommendations of the CDC.
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.