Postal Workers Increasingly Concerned the Agency Isn’t Protecting Them From CoronavirusawsDONOTREMOVE
US Postal Service workers are urging the government to take more measures to protect them from the current coronavirus epidemic. They remain vulnerable and unprotected against the infection due to the lack of basic health supplies.
The USPS confirmed on Thursday that over 85 of its employees had been diagnosed with COVID-19. The number of cases nearly doubled in just 3 days. A New York City letter carrier, aged 50, also passed away after being infected by the virus. Although the agency has assured to provide more equipment, supplies, information, and communication to all its employees, they are still dissatisfied with the measures taken so far.
A Cincinnati letter carrier stated that her supervisors were least bothered about the well-being and health of their workers. Her request for hand sanitizer supplies had been rejected by her supervisors, who have provided a pair of ordinary gloves that are ineffective in preventing coronavirus infections. Many other employees also stated anonymously that the postal management was not forthcoming about which of their employees had tested positive for the virus. No efforts have been taken so far to sanitize the postal facilities either. Some Ohio workers are now requesting donations from the public to sanitize their supplies.
The USPS stated last week that it was promoting protocols and healthy behaviors, such as increase workspace cleaning, usage of sanitizers, regular handwashing, and encouraging sick workers to spend time at home instead of coming to work.
With cleaning supplies not enough to cater to existing demand, many employees are not sure about whether they’re eligible to take time off or not. The USPS management has already struck several agreements with union representatives and announced that they would be implementing a liberal sick leave policy. Those with annual leave would be allowed to utilize it for staying at home, caring for their children. Workers ordered to quarantine themselves by public health officials would also be provided administrative leave, it said.
However, several employees have reported being threatened by their supervisors to withhold pay for the leave period. Many employees remain firm that unless they are given hand sanitizers and N95 masks, they will not be returning to work. Senior employees complained that they weren’t provided with sanitizers or masks, despite being in an at-risk age group.
Over 75000 USPS workers signed a petition online, requesting Megan Brennan, the US Postmaster General, to ensure that employees were protected from potential issues due to the COVID pandemic and decried the violation of their rights by management. Their demands include full pay for workers over the age of 65 or any workers living with seniors over this age, paid time off for people who’ve contracted coronavirus, hazard pay compensation for people who remain at work. They also called for operations to be suspended in places with highly vulnerable populations. Additionally, the employees also requested that they be given basic supplies like face masks, gloves, and sanitizer spray.
While the agency has declared several measures to protect its employees from the pandemic, many workers are concerned that these steps might not be enough. The Benefit Coordinators THE Federal Short Term Disability Insurance!