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May 22, 2020 – Friday Message
Greetings fellow UPMA Members:
Memorial Day – with Memorial Day coming up on Monday for most of us the day will probably be much different than any Memorial Day we have had in the recent past. With the restrictions still in effect in many parts of the country, even with the implementation in some areas of Phase 1 and if you are in West Virginia and Texas I think they are up to Phase 4, or something; however, for most travel and gatherings are limited. Enjoy the time that you have with those members of your family and any friends that you are able to get together with. Everyone needs some time to regroup and relax as much as possible.
Special Exempt Status – The information is posted on our website unitedpma.org regarding the extension of the Special Exempt pay status to all Postmasters not previously covered. In order to get paid for the extra hours you work you must first and foremost have it approved by your manager before you put in for the hours and secondly you must be supervising craft employees directly, or the hours must be directly related to COVID-19. This change takes effect tomorrow, Saturday, May 23rd and remain in effect until July 17th.
National Convention Update – Over the past few days I have been hearing from more and more of you with questions on what we are doing as far as our 2020 National Convention is concerned. As many of you are aware, the majority of the other Postal organizations that were scheduled to have conventions this summer have already cancelled those conventions. We are weighing our options with hotel regarding guarantees and other portions of our contract with the Marriott St. Louis Grand and we are working with the hotel to get answers to a number of those questions. Your national executive board will be looking over some options for going forward, or pulling back from the convention, whatever they feel is in the best interest of the organization and our membership during these trying times with the COVID-19 pandemic. My goal is to have a decision made and announced to you by Thursday, June 4th on how we will be moving forward.
National Office – It was announced this week that Northern Virginia where the national office is located is going to continue under the stay at home orders and it appears that that will be in effect until sometime in mid-June at the earliest. As a result the staff continues to work from home and either Gerri, or I, go to the office every 10 days, or so, to go through the mail and make sure things are taken care of that way. We continue to see huge spikes in the number of new cases here in the DC area so that is what is prompting the elected officials to keep the current orders in effect. I will do my best to keep you updated as we go forward.
Legislative – On the legislative front we had our monthly telecom with the Legislative/PAC Chairs and the Chapter Presidents this week and the government relations team outlined where we are at regarding legislation. The HEROES Act has passed in the House of Representatives and we thank everyone for their efforts and phone calls to make that happen. Now the bill has been moved over to the Senate where it does not appear that it will be getting any real traction. It appears the Senate will be developing their own bill and they will almost certainly include some of the items that are in the House bill. So, we will need everyone to contact their Senators to make sure that they include the funding requested by the USPS Board of Governors in the upcoming bill. Within in the next few days we will have some language that you can use for these contacts posted on the website. Our government relations team of Chris, Brian and Joel has been working very hard to make sure that we are staying in contact with key players to make sure they know the needs of the Postal Service and that the members of Congress will help assure that funding is included. We are pleased that we have seen some real bipartisan support over on the Senate side and that is a great thing. We will let you know when we have that language posted. It appears that there may be another bill introduced on the House side that would be simply for Postal relief, so we will see where that goes.
Postal Service - The Postal Service continues to work hard to make sure that they have the adequate PPE and cleaning products available for you out in the field. I know that it is easy with the relaxation of some restrictions to perhaps want to let our guard down. You must make sure that doesn’t happen. Continue to do your daily cleaning and practice social distancing and where you are required to wear a mask, make sure you are doing so. It is important that the Postmasters, Managers and Supervisors set the tone in every facility to show the importance of adhering to the regulations and more importantly that you are all doing what is right for yourselves, your employees and your customers on a regular basis.
Have a good weekend and a great week ahead! Stay safe!