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April 17, 2020 Update from Dan Heins, UPMA National President

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 04/17/20

April 17, 2020

Greetings fellow UPMA Members:

Once again it is time for the weekly Friday update from the UPMA National Office.    Your national office staff continues to telework as has been suggested by Governor Northam from the Commonwealth of Virginia.    We are continuing to monitor the mail and the staff is making sure that they are regularly checking their voice mail to make sure that we are responding to our members needs.    If you need to get in touch with us, you can do so via email or give us a call and we will respond as soon as possible.

As you are all aware all the issues related to COVID-19 continue to dominate what is going on in the Postal world and in the rest of the world.    On the Central Plains telecom that I was on Wednesday this week the representatives from the Central Plains EAP group was on and she reminded us that there is an EAP website that is available to everyone for some really useful information.    On the site they have suggestions of things to do while sheltered at home for family members and many ways to take care of yourself during this difficult time.    All you need to do to access the site is to type eap4you in your browser and the site should open for you.   I would encourage you, or your family members to take advantage of this benefit that is provided by the USPS.

On Wednesday evening we had our monthly Legislative and PAC telecoms.    The main focus was on the work that is being done by and with the Congressional leadership (especially the staffs of Representatives Maloney and Connelly) as they put together the framework for the next stimulus bill that is expected to be acted on when Congress is scheduled to return in early May.    If you are not aware the language they are looking at including would be a three-fold approach.   The main component of that package is an appropriation to cover the costs associated with the current pandemic.   The second component is a Modernization Grant to assist with ongoing costs related to infrastructure (things like vehicles, building improvements, etc.)  The third component has to do with some restructuring of the current and future debt limits of the USPS.   Over the course of the next couple of weeks with the help of our government relations team we  will be reaching out asking you to help spread the word to all national lawmakers regarding the situation the Postal Service is in and the need for this action to be taken by Congress to cover these needs.

As we take this message to Congress one of the things that we need to stress is the fact that the USPS is not asking for a handout to cover past losses, or projected losses from operations.   What we are asking for is assistance with costs that are DIRECTLY related to this pandemic.     We need to remind the members of Congress that it has been, continues to be and always will be the United States Postal Service that is assisting every residential and business address in this country to continue to function when most other services are not available.    There is a reason you are deemed “essential” and we need to take that message forward loud and clear to members on both sides of the aisle.    This is not a Republican or Democratic issue; this is an issue that affects all citizens and is especially important in the more rural areas of our country.    We will keep you informed as we move forward and provide you with text that you can use for emails, letters and phone calls to the Congressional offices.

As I have stated before, none of us knows when we will reach the pinnacle of the situation with COVID-19, so we do not know when we will come out on the other side.   Time will give us the insight as to when this crisis will end.     Also, time will tell what the world will look like when we do come out of this and how it may, or may not, change how we all interact with each other.  

This week I received an update from the Postmaster General and her Executive Leadership Team on the state of the business, where we are at with the supply availability and the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  

Every day your chapter leadership, the Postal Area Coordinators and the national leadership participates in telecoms with representatives from the Postal Service at all levels of the organization.   So, If you have issues that you are not able to resolve in your office with your MPOO, or Manager, be it supplies, or whatever, I would encourage you to reach out to you chapter president, or the Postal Area Coordinator, or the national president with those items so we can get them resolved as soon as possible.

These times are stressful enough in the field and whatever we can do to alleviate unnecessary headaches the better it is for everyone.

So, please continue to practice social distancing both at work and in your private lives where appropriate.   As the pandemic continues we are seeing more and more emphasis being placed on the use of masks.    I would encourage you to make use of the masks as much as you are comfortable with.   At this point we cannot force anyone to wear the masks and we do not want to give someone who makes the personal choice not to wear a mask a hard time about that choice.    I know how dedicated all of you are to making sure that your employees and your customers are taken care of; however, remember if you do not feel well, please stay home and take care of yourself.   If there is a possibility you have the virus, or any other illness, you do not want to spread it to anyone else if it can be avoided.  In the long run, it is better for everyone.

Stay safe!!

Thank you,

Dan Heins
National President