A Message From Your President
By Bobby Rollins, President
I would like to start by thanking each and every postal worker for showing up to work and continuing to provide our customers with the medications, and vast other essential items they need in this most difficult and challenging time. You are true warriors in the battle with this terrible virus and have been an important lifeline for our general public.
With the Corona Virus impacting Postal Workers across the country and directly hitting home at our own GMF and other facilities recently, it is of utmost importance that each and every employee is clear on certain rights pertaining to Covid-19 in the workplace.
I want to first and foremost want to make it clear that each and every employee has the right to take time off at ANY point they want. If you just began your tour and you got a bad vibe and want to go home, fill out a PS Form 3971 put COVID-19 on it, give it to your supervisor and end your tour and go home. You do not have to have symptoms and you do not have to have been in direct contact with someone who tested positive. You have the right to go home just to protect yourself from possibly being subjected to the devastating effects of the virus. If you’re at home and don’t want to go to work call the automated system and request FMLA. No documentation is to be required, no discipline is to be issued, and you can request Annual, Sick, or LWOP. If you request paid leave and anyone from management tells you that they are going to LWOP you and not pay you the leave you requested, then please notify your steward so they can contact me immediately. I have established a direct contact with upper management to fast track and get these issues addressed immediately, and sadly we have experienced some problems with supervisors in the field who have required some changes in attitude. These types of actions are unacceptable. To quote our District Manager Jason Mc Mahill and the statement he delivered to the GMF employees, “Each and every employee’s health and well-being is more important than the mail”. Please keep in mind that the one time you can disobey a direct order is when it pertains to your safety and well-being.
Although I am certainly not in a position to make a decision for any one of you, I ask each and every one of you to give serious thought to what is in the best interest for you and your family in the next 2-4 weeks. If you look at the staggering numbers coming from other Post Offices across the country, we are just fooling ourselves if we don’t think that it could be our reality in the near future. With that being said, I highly recommend that everyone pay close attention to the different risk levels and if you are in the high risk category I strongly urge you to give the next 2-4 weeks of your life some serious thought and if your life is really worth risking coming to work.
If you have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive or you have symptoms or generally don’t feel like yourself then please respect your co-workers safety and well-being and immediately stay home until you feel better for at least three days in a row. If your condition seemingly gets worse opposed to better contact the proper health care officials required immediately and seek medical help.
If you are quarantined by the CDC, Health Department, or sent home by management as a result of Covid-19 you will be paid Administrative Pay. PSE’s have 80 hours of “other paid leave” to use for self or mandated quarantine or to stay home and watch/care for your kids while they are unable to attend school. This is a benefit that was negotiated at the National Level with Headquarters because PSE’s don’t earn S/L.
I requested that management put red tape and sneeze/cough protectors in the lobbies of all of our Post Offices and was deeply concerned that several weeks passed and it still wasn’t done. I give kudos to Wheat Ridge and Edgewater as both facilities took matters into their own hands and created their own barriers to enforce the social distance rule and provided the protection that each and every window clerk deserves. These are simple measures that need to be acted on quickly because every minute of every day without could certainly result in a higher rate of illness and possibly death amongst our window clerk workforce. I was told that the barriers should be installed in all stations and branches by the end of next week and at the latest the beginning of next week. I urged management to please hang clear shower curtains or place tables in front of the counters between the clerks and customers to “force” the social distance rule until the plexi-glass barriers arrive but didn’t receive confirmation that it would happen. This is concerning and I hope they do the right thing and what is in the best interest of each and every one of you. A lot of the facilities I visited that didn’t have barriers had stores that were open within a block of the facility that had shower curtains and rods available and it’s a cheap, effective, quick fix. I urge them to make this happen.
I can’t emphasize enough about obeying the social distancing rule in the workplace. If you work in a congested operation, then concessions need to be made to alleviate the congestion. It would be great if management and the employees in the operation could come together and find the best possible solution to the problem immediately. If a resolution isn’t reached to abate the problem, then contact your union representative so I can be notified and address the issue immediately with upper management.
In lieu of the numerous positive cases coming out of the GMF, the size of the facility, and the number of employees in and out of the facility per day; Plant Manager Mary Alt is putting measures in place to have the GMF sanitized with spray misters. I have requested to have this done on a regular schedule as frequently as possible but have not secured a commitment from management yet on cleanings beyond the initial one.
The virus has definitely had an impact on our Steward force as some have chosen to self-quarantine for various reasons all of which I support. It is imperative that each and every one of you know that the APWU has secured extensions for grievance activity at all levels. If you feel your contractual rights have been violated and your steward is not available then please document what your issue is and provide all the specific details you can and contact your steward when they return to work so your issue can be grieved. There shouldn’t be any Investigative Interviews happening right now for attendance. If you are summoned for an Investigative Interview for attendance contact your union representative right away so I can be notified and fast track this issue with upper management immediately.
Each and every employee should be getting a stand-up talk every day. If you are not getting stand-ups then contact your union representative so I can be notified and fast track this issue right away.
I am very much aware that management reads our newsletters as much as our members do and for all whom do I please ask that you respect the rules as outlined and do your best to have your employees’ best interest at heart and I won’t have to submit your name into the fast track. If you chose to ignore the rules and make life miserable for your employees during this most volatile time you can expect that there will be virtually nothing you can do beyond that point to regain the dignity and respect that will be lost by your employees and this union.
In closing I’d like to say that on a more positive note the APWU did secure a new contract and I will be putting out a special news express with the highlights of the new contract. In the meantime, stay safe and thank you all for your important service to our grateful customers. They have showed their appreciation in many different ways that not all of you are aware of. The number of cards and letters the post office has received, and the number of signs being held up by customers in the window of their homes thanking their carriers as they approach to place their mail in the mail box are increasing by the day. They are truly thankful as am I.
Zero Tolerance Policies and
the Postal Service Standards of Conduct
by Charles Quintana, Assistant Director of Clerk Craft
The Postal Service is committed to the principle that all employees have a basic right to a safe and humane working environment. In order to ensure this right, it is the unequivocal policy of the Postal Service that there must be no tolerance of violence or threats of violence by anyone at any level of the Postal Service. Similarly, there must be no tolerance of harassment, intimidation, threats, or bullying by anyone at any level. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action, including removal from the Postal Service. (ELM 665.24 Postal Service Standards of Conduct)
Every employee has the right to work in a safe environment free of harassment or other inappropriate conduct. According to USPS policies on the subject, inappropriate behavior undermines moral and violates the USPS policies and standards of conduct. Policies on inappropriate behavior and standards of conduct can be found in the ELM as well as on Zero Tolerance policy directives that have been put out from USPS headquarters. Poster 150 outlines Workplace Harassment from what you can do to how your supervisor should handle any allegations.
Workplace harassment is a sensitive subject and can be hard to deal with because of the various circumstances and factors of the issues involved. But there are certain steps management must take when confronted with any accusations of inappropriate behavior.
Management must react promptly, and they must protect the confidentiality of the subject. Managers should investigate all complaints using Publication 552.
The most important thing management is tasked with is investigating, understanding, and preventing any and all harassment complaints. The investigation should be thorough, complete and unbiased.
It works both ways! If we expect a safe environment free of harassment, then we should not engage in any actions that entice this behavior. Report any concerns to your supervisor.
If you have any questions, feel free to call me.
COVID-19 Stand Up Safety Meetings
by Tinamarie Vivens-Stafford, Director Human Relations
On March 25, 2020, Management held Stand Up Safety Meetings on all tours at the GMF. As you may already know, we have had the first Positive Coronavirus case at the GMF. Due to the HIPPA Law the only information that management could give us is that the person is a Mail Handler. This made some employees upset and concerned about their safety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the GMF is in no imminent danger and that they do not need to quarantine or contact anyone in the immediate work area. The major points from the meetings were:
-Management is giving us a choice on whether we want to continue working or not under these unprecedented conditions.
-Regulars can self-quarantine without any questions asked and use SL, AL, or LWOP.
-PSE’s were granted other paid leave up to 80 hours for the same purpose. You will forfeit your leave if not used by May 17, 2020.
-If you call in on the 1-877 or online under liteblue “eLRA” use “Community Disaster” for the COVID-19.
-Management will code COVID-19 call-in’s as FMLA. If you receive a FMLA packet and you’re not able to get it filled out, it will not be held against you.
-If you turn in a 3971 in the “remark” section put COVID-19.
-This all falls under the “Liberal Leave and Change of Schedule” which was negotiated by the APWU National Officers.
-If you receive a positive test or in direct contact with a person that tested positive DO NOT come in to work. Contact your supervisor so that the appropriate actions can be taken by management.
-If you are sick please stay at home.
-Remain 6 feet from each other, wash your hands, gloves and masks are available upon request.
-1767’s should be filled out if your area is not being cleaned or your out of the above supplies. Please give a copy to your steward.
-Take a shower and wash your cloths once you arrive at home.
-The GMF is in the process of being wiped down with the alcohol solution approved by the CDC and will be cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis.
-Management found a company that makes hand sanitizer, we will all receive our own bottle and can refill it. The larger bottle will be kept in a controlled environment and is not for home use.