September 11, 2020 Update from Dan Heins, UPMA National President

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 09/11/20

Friday Message, September 11, 2020

There has been a lot of concern expressed regarding the requirement to have your rural route inspections completed prior to September 30, and many of you are struggling with how to get them done with the requirements regarding social distancing.    I have been working with USPS Headquarters to encourage them to come up with an alternative plan that would address the concerns that have been expressed regarding the safety concerns of having to follow the carrier while trying to take notes, etc.  The other issue that keeps coming up has to do with the fact that many of you are being directed to use your privately owned vehicle.   You need to understand that you CANNOT be directed to use your POV.  It is totally voluntary unless you have obtained the additional insurance payment that is available through Ebuy to cover the difference between your regular policy and the cost of being covered to use your vehicle for the transportation of mail, or other duties.     If you are told you have to use your POV, you need to let you manager know that you are not interested in doing that and have them work with you to find a solution.     I will continue to work with Headquarters to determine if there is an alternative method of conducting the inspections this year.

At this point there have been two meetings of the USPS Election Mail Task Force that was formed involving representatives from USPS Headquarters, the Presidents of the Management Associations, and representatives from the draft unions.  So far the majority of the discussion has focused on what can we do to help educate the public who are planning to vote by mail to make sure that they request their ballots early and mail them in early to avoid any problems when we get to election day.    The task force is meeting weekly at the present time.    The task force is looking at ways to smooth out any of the rough spots that may present themselves as we get closer and closer to the election.   As more information is available and some of the plans that are being discussed are finalized I will make sure that I share those with you.   I want to encourage you to share issues that you may see currently, or that may arise as we move ahead to share those with me so I can bring them forward until the USPS has finalized another reporting structure.   

As we move toward the election, we will continue to see more and more attention to what the USPS is doing with the election mail and how issues are being addressed.    Make sure that you are referring all media requests to the media specialists at the District or Area level.    With the volatility of this issue you want to make sure that you are not saying anything that could be seen in any way as less than complimentary to the Postal Service and in many cases the most innocent statement, if taken out of context, can be seen as saying something totally different than what you meant.   The easiest way to handle this is to simply say that you do not wish to make any statements at this time.   This is the best way to protect the Postal Service and yourselves in these cases.

Today marks the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on our country that changed our world as we know it and in many cases changed all of us, as well.   Nine eleven is one of those times in history where most of us can remember where we were at the moment we heard about the attacks.    Today we remember those that gave their lives that day and those that were involved in the clean up and the recovery from the attacks.   We all need to make sure that we cherish the freedoms that we have because of the lives of those that have given the ultimate sacrifice on 9-11 and those that have given the ultimate sacrifice through their service to this country over our long history.  

The COVID pandemic continues to affect us in many different ways, as well.   As always, make sure that you are setting the example in your offices by wearing masks and doing the hand washing and sanitizing necessary to keep everyone as safe as possible.     Thank you for all that you do every day to make sure that the mail is being delivered and that our customers are taken care of.   

As always, take care and stay safe,

Dan Heins
UPMA National President