Staying Safe

September 16, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

We all have been affected by the health and safety issues related to COVID-19. The uncertainty around when the pandemic will end continues to plague our everyday lives. The invisible virus seems to leave us defenseless.

There is also the added stress of our seemingly discombobulated, ill-advised, and misguided right-wing leaders who are actually putting finance before the health and safety of the American public. Hopefully, common sense and the belief “if my neighbor is at risk then I’m at risk as well” will win the day.

When Good is Not Good Enough

The health experts keep telling everyone to wear face masks in order to stop the spread of the virus. Many refuse and do not seem to realize the potential danger and harm of not wearing a mask. We should always listen to the health experts’ instructions.

Normally in the past when there was a widespread crisis of this sort, people drew closer and always tried to help each other. We should cooperate and use personal protection equipment (PPE) as advised. Think of your coworkers' welfare as well as your own – it will pay off in the long and short runs. We must stand up in defense of decency, normalcy, and humanity for ourselves and for generations to come. The quality and value of our future depends on what we do now.

I would like to quote Edmund Burke, who said “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing, and say nothing.” In defending against the threats to our safety and our livelihood with President Trump’s attacks on our public Postal Service, we have to step up our political offense and defense.

Information is Power

I want to commend the Southern Region NBAs, local, and state presidents for reaching out to the district and regional managers and me. They have been instrumental in persuading management to involve employees on the workroom floor in COVID-19 teleconference conversations, information and messaging.

The safety and health information is about the precautions and preventative measures for employees’ protection, because the information is constantly changing. As of yet, there is no proven vaccine or cure for the virus. Information and knowledge are our major weapons to protect ourselves from the dangers of the coronavirus.

Mismanagement Puts Most Trusted Agency Status in Question

In a survey conducted this year in April, the Pew Research Center indicated a 91 percent favorable view of USPS. This is overwhelmingly higher than all other government agencies. We do a good job and could do the job much better if Postmaster General DeJoy would stop trying to hinder postal operations. Intentionally delaying mail, decommissioning machines, understaffing and lack of congressional funding are all examples of high-level management blocking postal operations.

Alleged Mail Fraud to Undermine Postal Service and Election

Note that investigations, both governmental and private, have shown that voter fraud is extremely rare when voting by mail. It has been proven through the years that the most secure form of voting is by mail. Computers can be hacked, but the mail cannot. When citizens put their ballots into the Postal Service receptacle, they know that the mail is protected by the postal inspectors, OIG, and postal employees. Voting by mail has the integrity that democracy depends on. Every American can conceivably easily vote by mail, because the ballots go to every residence.

Regional Coordinators Sharyn Stone, AJ Jones, Tiffany Foster, Omar Gonzalez and myself, all want you to know that the safety, health, and the well-being of our union members is one of the top priorities along with other union obligations and responsibilities. The stakes are high, and despite the many challenges we face, we remain committed to achieving world-class results for our members. As activist Stacey Abrams says, “when we fight, we win.”

Yours in Solidarity.

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