This Too Shall Pass

Sharyn M. Stone

May 20, 2020

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

I hope this article finds everyone safe, healthy, and if impacted by COVID-19, recovering. I do not remember a time since I was hired into the Post Office more fraught with concerns. Our comfort zone as Americans is forever altered. We fought numerous campaigns to prevent the elimination of the Postal Service, but now we are literally fighting for our lives.

At the Regional level we are in constant contact with the Areas, getting updated information on an ongoing basis, ensuring that locals are notified and offices are properly cleaned when there is an exposure.

Resources Available on apwu.org

As essential workers, be aware of your rights and the protections. Apwu.org has vital information on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). It provides language on emergency paid sick leave, what leave is available, how you take it and the documentation required. The law allows you to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or if their child care provider is unavailable.

We are fighting battles on two fronts. On the website is a link for you to tell your members of Congress to support our Public Postal Service during this crisis. Make your voice count now and going forward.

At a time when we all want to feel more in control, we can be proactive. Provide notice to Congress to support our Public Postal Service.

In the midst of this battle, there is uplifting news. The public is constantly thanking postal workers for being there, especially now during this crisis. Whenever I see a commercial with posters thanking first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery workers and others, I always look for postal workers on the signs and we are there. I have seen pictures and other expressions of thanks as well. Granted, a lot of the thanks are directed to carriers and window clerks because they are the face of the Postal Service. But, as we all know, they couldn’t do what they do if the unseen workers did not do necessary processing, maintenance, and driving first.

Remember to Maintain Social Distancing

We all know a lot of the areas we work in are not large, but we must make every effort to maintain six feet of social distance in break areas, restrooms, locker rooms, etc. These spaces are not exactly roomy, but try to find a way to make it happen. Supervisors should be open to discussing changes that protect everyone on break.

Article 12

Starting in February, there has been some excessing. There were quite a few Maintenance impacts. All of the impacts have been met on, argued over, reduced in some cases, and grieved locally if necessary. The move date is now in September.

Clerk impacts are now starting to be issued and met on. It has been a while since we have had any excessing, so here are a few reminders. When excessing to the needs of the craft/and or installation, management must notify the Regional Coordinator six months in advance whenever possible, but no less than 90 days before. The memo that limits the excessing to a 50 mile radius is still in effect and the distance is measured by the shortest driving distance, address to address. If the impact/reassignment is within the installation, employees excess to the needs of a section, and the same notification is required to be given on the local level.

The notice is provided to the Local with the same meeting requirements. The Regional Coordinators, Omar Gonzalez (Western Region), Kennith Beasley (Southern Region), Tiffany Foster (Northeast Region), AJ Jones (Eastern Region) and I are available to assist you with information on excessing and the critical issue of COVID-19.

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