We Are Essential
Michael O. Foster
June 1, 2020
(This article first appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
To the brothers and sisters of the MVS Division, along with the hundreds of thousands of postal workers who have selflessly placed the needs of their country above their personal health and the health of their families, thank you. We salute the APWU sisters and brothers who bravely performed their duties during the COVID-19 pandemic and lost their lives.
As we go to press during these trying and unknown times, our deepest condolences go out to the family of all our fallen members who have succumbed to the worst epidemic of our lifetime.
While the entire country faces the realities of the coronavirus, and an apparently ungrateful government, MVS has proven every day that we are vital to the USPS mission.
The parties at the national and headquarters levels continue the arduous tasks of working together to create protocols and Memorandums of Understanding to instruct the field on the safest ways to keep our members safe and perform their essential duties as postal workers. However, the reality remains that far too often, in too many post offices and installations, local management ignores these instructions designed to keep workers safe.
Supervisors, whose only objective is to “move the mail at any cost,” in neglecting to follow the instructions of safety and health professionals to provide safe guidelines, equipment, and materials to keep the members safe, do a grave injustice to the efforts and intentions of the national parties. These are the times when we need the union more than ever.
As the APWU and sister unions commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Great Postal Strike, the role and the mission of the union is as critical and necessary as it was in 1970 when postal employees were forced to tell the government “no more” to intolerable pay and working conditions. We have come a long way in 50 years from “collective begging" to "collective bargaining.” In all fairness, there are some locations and parts of the country where the local parties are getting it right and working together to create safe working conditions, and effectively moving the mail safely. It is management’s obligation and the responsibility of the union to demand safe working conditions and protections for our members.
“What Do You Think About the New Lift Gates on Postal Service Trucks?”
With a start date of April 1, 2020, and an estimated release date of August 2020, the Office of Inspectors General (OIG), solicited comments from postal employees on the lift gates on the cargo trucks purchased beginning in 2018.
The survey asks:
What are your experiences with the lift gates on Postal Service trucks?
How are the lift gates making it more efficient to load and unload the mail?
Have you noted any safety issues with the lift gates?
The MVS officers and members participated in the First Article Testing (FAT) of the Cargo trucks, as required in Article 39.3.B., and made numerous comments and identified safety concerns to postal management and the manufacturer on these trucks including the lift gate. You can read these concerns and the USPS’s response along with the OIG survey on the MVS page.
Although the OIG sometimes contacts the National union when conducting these types of surveys, we have yet to be asked about the union’s concerns with the lift gates.
The survey can be found on the OIG website at uspsoig.gov.
We encourage all members who operate or repair these trucks to participate in the OIG survey.
Stay safe, proud to be union.