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President Hogrogian's June 26, 2020 Message to the Membership

June 26, 2020 Message from President Paul Hogrogian (pdf)

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.

Two weeks ago, the COVID-19 infection numbers appeared to be quite encouraging.  The June 11, 2020 report reflected that there were 765 postal workers who were confirmed to be COVID-19 positive and 284 employees presumed to be positive for a total of 1,049 infected employees.  There were also 2,781 postal employees in quarantine.  The numbers certainly seemed to be “flattening”.  The latest numbers (as of June 26, 2020) are quite disturbing.  They show 1,127 postal workers who have tested positive and 341 employees who have been presumed to be positive for a total of 1,468 infected employees.  The number of postal employees in quarantine is 3,533.  Unfortunately, 69 postal workers have died because of COVID-19, including 4 Mail Handlers.  The numbers reflect an increase of almost 40% in infected postal employees over a two-week period.  While the numbers in the Northeast and East continue to improve, the numbers in other parts of the country, especially in those jurisdictions where face covering and social distancing policies are not strictly enforced, are worsening. The increase in the infection rate is occurring at precisely the same time as more and more postal employees are returning to work. The availability rates in many postal installations continue to rise and stands at 82% nationwide.  The Pre-COVID rate was 84% and the COVID low was 70%, although certain installations showed a much lower availability rate. 

This means that we cannot let our guard down.  We must remain vigilant and continue to protect ourselves and our co-workers.  The “flattening” of the infection rate in the Northeast and East proves that the protocols put in place work.  We must continue to follow these protocols, especially those concerning social distancing and the wearing of face coverings and masks.

The Postal Service will soon make “hot weather” cloth face coverings widely available in the near future.

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. 

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 also reached agreement with the Postal Service to extend the following Memoranda Of Understanding (MOUs) and policy statements until July 17, 2020:

  1. Sick Leave for Dependent Care (Child Care)
  2. Liberal Leave Policy
  3. MHA Leave
  4. Temporary MHA Exception Period

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.

Paul Hogrogian

President/NPMHU

 

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