July 17, 2020
Hopefully, all of you have received the word and the hard copy correspondence from USPS Headquarters that the Memorandums of Understanding that were in place with all of the unions that were set to expire this week, have all been extended through September 25th. The agreement that we had reached with the USPS regarding the special exempt status for all Postmasters and for the majority of the other EAS employees has, as of Thursday, July 16th also been extended to September 25th. Remember, this does not give you free reign to use this additional pay. You need to meet the criteria as set out by the Postal Service and you MUST have it approved by your manager prior to working the hours. In all cases the need to work must be in some way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As those of you in the field are very aware, we are seeing some changes in how the Postal Service now does business with trips on time, etc. With these changes come some reporting requirements. Make sure that you are aware of what those requirements are and as the Postmasters, Managers and Supervisors in your operations, make sure that you are firmly adhering to those requirements. If you must delay mail (at the beginning of the day, or at the end of the day) REPORT IT!! With the new changes that have been implemented, this is going to be inevitable in almost every operation in the country and if you are following the mandates as they have been set forth and if you are forced to delay/curtail mail, again I say REPORT IT!! It is up to each of you to manage your operations to the best of your abilities and when you are following the guidelines you will not get in trouble for reporting the mail that may not have been processed, or delivered. However, you want to make sure that you are reporting it because if someone does an inspection and finds mail in the building that was not reported that can and most likely will create some issues and may well lead to discipline. So, protect yourself and your fellow employees by doing what is right. Part of this entire process is making sure that the craft employees that work in your facility understand your expectations for them, as well. Be very clear and direct in your instructions and it should make the operation run that much more smoothly.
With the current heat wave that we are in in a majority of the country make sure you are addressing the heat related training and the issues the employees should be looking for on a daily basis. Again, be clear in what the signs of heat related symptoms are and give them clear instructions on what to do if they suspect that they may be sufferings from a heat related illness. This is one of those instances when an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Verify that the carriers will have adequate water with them for the day, or that they know where they can go to cool down and stay hydrated during the day. With everything that is going on this is one injury that we can hopefully avoid for our employees.
As we go on, the COVID situation is improving somewhat in some areas and not so much in others. Here, too, I encourage you to make sure that your employees are following the prescribed guidelines. Use the hand washing/hand sanitizer and make sure that if masks are required that the masks are being worn, as well. Encourage the employees to find a mask that works for them and then make sure they are using them. As I stated earlier with the heat related issues this may be something that each person needs to look at to find a mask that will work best for them. However, it is imperative that you have the supplies in your offices and as always, if that is an issue, let your manager know and get the supplies you need.
Thank you, stay safe and healthy and have a good week!
Dan Heins, UPMA National President