What Is There To Hide?

Tiffany Foster

July 13, 2022

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(This article first appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

In May 2022, the USPS Atlantic and Southern Area notified the Regional Union Leadership and the Management Associations that Postal Service HQ was disbanding the HQ COVID Command Team. The disbandment based on the Atlantic and Southern Area would discontinue the district’s daily reporting of positive COVID-19 cases.

Does Management know something about the COVID pandemic that we don’t? COVID has not gone away. We are still living with it and trying to stay safe and protect our members and families.

Initially, the Atlantic Area stated the disbandment would eliminate the stand-up talks and MMO 031-20 cleaning when a positive COVID-19 case was reported. After our investigation, the regional APWU found that the Atlantic Area was incorrect and retracted its previous position.

Management is still required to give stand-up talks and do the MMO cleaning when a positive COVID-19 case is reported in the office.

Another position taken by the Atlantic and Southern Area Leadership is that the disbandment eliminated the tracking of COVID-19 cases. Well, that can’t be true. Below are the policies still in effect:

  • Close Contact Tracing
  • Return to Work Process
  • Social Distancing
  • Notice of Positive Case Talk
  • Training Room Size Limitations

Based on the Postal Service’s policy, employees are still required to report positive COVID-19 tests to their supervisor. The Occupational Health Nurse Administrator (OHNA) is still doing contact tracing, per postal policy. Doesn’t this indicate that Management is still tracking and recording positive COVID cases? If not, why is there a need for the employee to report a positive test to the supervisor?

Why don’t they want the Union to know when a positive COVID case is reported? What is there to hide?

We need your help.

Article 14 states it is Management’s responsibility to provide safe working conditions, and it is the Union’s responsibility to cooperate with and assist Management in its efforts to fulfill this responsibility.

Due to the Atlantic and Southern Areas ceasing to provide the daily district COVID reports to the Union, it prevents us from verifying and ensuring that you received the stand-up talk about a positive COVID case in your workplace and that the MMO cleaning was done.

If a positive COVID case is reported in your office, please get in touch with your steward. Let them know about the positive case reported so they can verify that Management gave the stand-up talk and followed the MMO cleaning procedures.

1767- the unused enforcer

PS Form 1767 is an underused postal form.
PS Form 1767 is used to report unsafe, hazardous work conditions and practices. This form can also be used to report abusive supervisors, managers and a hostile work environment.

In accordance with Article 14, this form must be readily available in the workplace so employees can, if they choose, fill them out while remaining anonymous.

We are seeing a rise in the abusive treatment toward the employees from supervisors and managers.

What can you do? Write statements, fill out 1767s, and request a steward are some of the things that you can do to report, document, and notify Management about your work condition.

If faced with a hostile work environment or abusive supervisor or manager, it is critical to document what took place, the date and time, and record the name(s) of witnesses, if there were any.

It is essential that your steward is provided with this information. It allows them to initiate an investigation and file a grievance, if one exists, in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement.

The struggle continues as we continue to fight.

My fellow Coordinators, Omar Gonzalez, Western Region, Sharyn Stone, Central Region, Ken Beasley, Southern Region, AJ Jones, Eastern Region, and myself are always ready to get in good trouble.

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