Taking on Challenges Together

AJ Jones

November 12, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the November/December issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

COVID-19 Continues

Brothers and Sisters, I hope and pray you and your families are healthy and staying safe. As the end of 2021 quickly approaches, we continue to deal with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

COVID cases are on the rise again with more folks being infected, especially with the Delta and Mu variants. Cases were down as a result of all the hard work we did in getting protocols in place. Once CDC restrictions were relaxed just prior to July 4 holiday, we started to see an increase in cases.

Daily MMO cleaning, Stand-up-Talks, and deep cleaning after a positive has been identified in a facility are crucial. Remember, a PS Form 1767 Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition or Practice is always in play and must be completed to document deficiencies. Grievances must be filed to address these serious concerns. I realize this is monotonous, but we must stay focused; together we can meet the challenges.

I would like to thank and recognize officers, stewards, and our members for all their hard work on the front line through some of our most difficult times we have ever faced as postal workers. You all are doing a tremendous job and should be proud of yourselves. I am proud of you; you are all true heroes. God bless our dearly departed.

LMOU Negotiations

Our contract was set to expire on September 20, 2021. In a final attempt to secure an agreement, the parties agreed to ‘stop the clock’ to allow for continuing discussions. Whether we achieve a voluntary agreement or are awarded a contract resulting from interest arbitration, it will lead to local negotiations. Both the union and management have the equal right to open negotiations, so don’t get caught off guard.

Begin preparing by reviewing your Local Memorandum of Understanding (LMOU) in preparation for when that time arrives. Make notations in a current copy of items them. Perhaps you may find items that are in conflict or inconsistent with the CBA. I encourage all local officers to give their members an opportunity to have a say in what may be proposed. Engage them in the process.

Local Internal Safety and Health Committee Internal Local Safety and Health Representatives are vital to having a productive Joint Safety and Health Committee meeting. Does your local have such a practice?

Does your local meet prior to a joint meeting with the employer? If not, it may be something you would like to consider.

This process will provide your local an opportunity to engage your members in safety. Find out what is important to members and the safety challenges they face in performing their jobs. Gather data and review training records, appoint safety representatives, and review your PS Form 1767 Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition or Practice. Safety in the workplace engages our members and encourages them to be more involved in the union. Remember, “Failing to Prepare Is Preparing to Fail."

Consolidations Resurface

The USPS notified the APWU they would reactivate consolidations in 18 facilities that were previously on the table. President Dimondstein established a Consolidation Committee and appointed Vice President Debby Szeredy along with the five Reginal Coordinators in an effort to fight back these resurfaced consolidations. The USPS stated they would not be performing new studies to support this and instead would be using old data from years ago. They began sending impact notices and requested meetings at the regional level.

As we continue to take on new challenges together, my colleague coordinators, Central Region Coordinator Sharyn Stone, Western Region Coordinator Omar Gonzalez, Southern Region Coordinator Kennith Beasley and Northeast Region Coordinator Tiffany Foster are here to fight back against these attacks on our members.

In Solidarity!

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