Looking Ahead

AJ Jones

January 11, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Brothers and Sisters, I hope you all had a safe and healthy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year; even if it was virtual. I write to you with great optimism that 2021 will provide an opportunity for a much better year ahead.

Dealing with COVID-19

2020 has certainly had its share of challenges, with the COVID-19 pandemic at the top of the list. This has taken a lot of our time as we continue to push the regulations and MOUs related to the pandemic to hold management accountable. Hats off to all the locals for doing a great job on the front line. I would be remiss if I also did not thank our National Business Agents for all their hard work and the great job in supporting the locals; they have been key.

As this issue goes to press, COVID-19 cases are spiking at an alarming rate. Vaccines are starting to be administered to front line health care workers and soon will be available to all. We cannot relax our efforts in protecting one another and now, more than ever, we must remain vigilant. Social distancing and mask wearing are two forms of respect for one another. Neither makes you immune, but when we practice both it can substantially reduce the percentage of people contracting COVID-19. Postal workers are heroes and have done an outstanding job while working on the front lines.

Since this pandemic started, we have lost many brothers and sisters, family members and friends who are victims of the virus. I would like to recognize each and every one of those individuals and express my deepest sympathy to their families and friends.

Importance of a 1767

A clean facility supports a healthy working environment. Cleaning and maintaining a clean facility plays a major role in reducing the spread of COVID-19. When your facility is not maintained per the maintenance guidelines outlined in your 4852, the daily COVID MMO, or deep clean after a positive test result; it is imperative to address this immediately. The best way to address this is completion of a Form 1767 (Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition or Practice). These forms are required to be on the workroom floor and easily accessible for all employees. Please remember to keep a copy for your records to share with your union.

In addition, a grievance under Article 14 can be filed directly to Step 2. Make this an agenda item at your next Local Joint Safety and Health Committee Meeting. When I speak with folks, I often hear many say to me “This building is never cleaned properly.” The time to address that is now! Do not wait for a positive case to come to your facility.

Article 12

In the Eastern Region, the Maintenance Craft continues to be an Article 12 USPS target. We continued to get regional notices of 12.5.C.5. In many cases, the notices are not justified and we are making those arguments. One issue the union will have to contend with is the USPS decision to impact BEM positions when they go to stations and branches. At the Headquarters level, the parties agreed that these positions would not be touched until attrition. Nonetheless management is plowing forward, and grievances will have to be filed if they continue to refuse.

Looking ahead we hope to get back to some normalcy during this year. As many of you are aware, our National Convention has been rescheduled to coincide with our All Craft Conferences in October. I, along with Central Region Coordinator Sharyn Stone, Northeast Region Coordinator Tiffany Foster, Southern Region Coordinator Ken Beasley and Western Region Coordinator Omar Gonzalez, look forward to being able to see folks in person again.

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