According to the Postal Service, the face covering policy is revised as follow as result of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Effective immediately, all postal employees and contractors who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are not required to wear face coverings consistent with the guidance enumerated below.
In accordance with guidance from the CDC and OSHA, “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” According to the CDC and OSHA, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks or more after they have completed their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the United States. Supporting verification of COVID-19 vaccination status will not be required and should not be requested.
Employees who have not been fully vaccinated are required to wear face coverings in any situation in which they cannot achieve or maintain social distance—at least six feet and in public facing settings where there is a state or local face covering order or directive in place.
Linked above is a new MOU just signed by the NPMHU and the Postal Service to provide for additional Mail Handler staffing, in large part by converting 6,596 Mail Handler Assistants to full-time regular career employment no later than August 14, 2021. Also attached is a chart listing the 245 facilities in which these 6596 conversions will take place and the number of conversions that will take place in each listed facility.
As set forth in the MOU, the Postal Service has agreed to convert 6596 MHAs to career status, in the listed facilities, by August 14, 2021. In exchange, the parties agree to extend the exception period for the continued employment of MHAs in excess of the 24.5% installation cap until July 16, 2021 as set forth below. MHAs hired in excess of the 24.5% installation cap for COVID related reasons remain subject to a separate MOU.
1. The parties agree to extend the exception period for the continued employment of MHAs in excess of the 24.5% installation cap as set forth below:
A. Facilities other than those listed on the attached table that are in excess of the 24.5% installation cap will separate Peak MHA hires (i.e., MHAs hired for reasons unrelated to COVID-19) on or before July 16, 2021, following the procedures of the current National Agreement.
B. Installations that plan to convert five or fewer non-career employees to career status in accordance with the attached table will be permitted to retain the number of Peak MHA hires above the 24.5% installation cap equal to the amount of conversions listed in the table beyond July 16, 2021. After the above-referenced conversions are completed and accounted for in the MHA cap, those retained Peak MHA hires above the 24.5% installation cap will be separated on or before August 27, 2021 following the procedures of the National Agreement. All other Peak MHA hires in these facilities will be separated on July 16, 2021, following the procedures of the current National Agreement.
C. After the above-referenced conversions are completed and accounted for in the MHA cap, facilities listed on the attached table that are in excess of the 24.5% installation cap and which plan to convert more than five non-career employees to career status in accordance with the attached table will separate any non-COVID related MHA hires on or before August 27, 2021 following the procedures of the current National Agreement.
Additionally, we have agreed that the exception period for the 2021 peak season for exceeding the 24.5% limitation as set forth in Article 7.1 B3, will be expanded by one additional accounting period. This additional accounting period must be adjacent to the two accounting periods previously identified to the Union under Article 7.1B3 for 2021 and the Postal Service shall notify the Union, at the National level and at the appropriate installation, of the selected additional accounting period for each installation no later than July 30, 2021.
Also see attached a copy of the Questions & Answers that have been agreed to for this MOU Re: Additional Mail Handler Staffing – June 21, 2021. Please contact the National CAD should you have any questions.
Today’s historic signing by President Biden making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a recognition of Black power and a reflection of America’s ongoing journey to tell our nation’s story. As we honor the sacred Juneteenth holiday that celebrates Black resilience and joy, America’s labor movement will continue to use our voice to lift up and learn from the Black experience. We must be a voice for all who live and work in the United States and to say out loud the names of those who were taken from us by racist violence.Though explicit slavery has been abolished for more than 150 years, the exploitation of Black labor continues to this day through a systemically racist economy designed to promote wage disparity in the workplace and the chronic unemployment, underemployment and economic exploitation of Black people. America’s labor movement must remain at the tip of the spear to uproot systemic racism in all forms if we seek to fully uphold our nation’s promise of dignity for Black people.
As provided for in Article 15, Section .3E of the National Agreement between the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the United States Postal Service, both parties have agreed to jointly produce a Contract Interpretation Manual (CIM), which represents a good faith effort to identify contractual issues on which the National parties are in agreement regarding interpretation and application of the parties' National Agreement. The latest issue of the CIM is Version 5, which was released on June 8, 2021.
The following Memoranda of Understanding between the United States Postal Service and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union have been extended through August 6, 2021. The parties agree to meet and discuss these Memoranda of Understanding prior to August 6, 2021, to determine whether or not further extension is appropriate.
- Re: Temporary Expanded Sick Leave for Dependent Care During COVID-19
- Re: Temporary Exception Period COVID-19*
- Re: Suspension of Temporary Additional Paid Leave for MHAs
*Revised on March 19, 2021.
- MOU – Temporary Expanded Sick Leave for Dependent Care During COVID – 19
- MOU – Temporary Exception Period – COVID – 19 * Revised March 19, 2021
- Liberal Changes of Schedule and Leave Letter.
- MOU – Suspension of Temporary Additional Paid Leave for MHAs
- MOU – Temporary Extension on Step 3 and Arbitration Appeals
If you have any questions, please contact the National Contract Administrative Department.
The FAQs are also available on the Coronavirus Employee Resources page on LiteBlue, under the EFEL tab.
The National Office has just received notification from the Postal Service regarding the OPM Guidelines for Use of the COVID-19 Emergency Paid Leave also known as the Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL). On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2). The Act included provisions authorizing emergency paid leave (EPL) for covered Federal employees in specified qualifying circumstances through special funds. The EPL provision in section 4001 of the Act is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). You may review the memorandum and OPM guidlines at the link below.
It is with great regret and sorrow that we announce the passing of Brother Robert “Bob” Cusolito. Brother Cusolito was a Memeber of Branch 9, Boston and proudly served the members of Local 301 in various capacities over the years including assisting with the Amalgamation of Local 301 in the early 1970’s. As an elected officer beginning in 1977, he served to two terms as Recording Secretary and five terms as Vice President of Local 301, a position from which he retired in 1998. In 1992, Brother Cusolito further served as the Northeastern Region Vice President on the National Executive Board of the NPMHU. Bob was also a veteran of the US Navy having served on the USS Salem (CA-139). We ask that you please keep Brother Cusolito and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Donations In Bob"s Memory May Be Made To the Alzheimer's Association of Massachusetts/New Hampshire.
Memorandum: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (pdf)
When President Biden was sworn into office on January 20, 2021, he promised that one of his first actions would be to help push through the next COVID-19 relief package. On March 11, the American Rescue Plan Act (P.L. 117-2) was signed into law. While most attention has been paid to the provisions in the bill that give direct payments to 85% of Americans and to revenue grants for state and local government, there also are important provisions providing emergency leave and compensation to members of the postal workforce.
As many NPMHU members are aware, last year’s CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) offered postal employees leave due to COVID-19 related illness; these statutory guarantees expired at the end of 2020, however, leaving employees without this safety net.
The American Rescue Plan revives this protection for all Mail Handlers and other postal employees by providing postal and federal employees with up to 600 hours or 15 weeks of leave, known as the Emergency Federal Employee Leave or EFEL. This leave is available if a postal employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms, has to self-isolate due to COVID-19, seeks medical attention to address symptoms of COVID-19, or has to take care of children or elderly relatives due to lack of schooling or care. Payments are capped at $35.00 an hour. It should be noted that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has allocated only $570 million to fund this leave for the entirety of the postal and federal workforces. Once these funds have been exhausted, Congress will have to revisit the need to provide leave again. Also, any payments received under this program will not count toward any retirement annuity and cannot be used to contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan.
Additionally, the American Rescue Plan also provides for workers’ compensation for those diagnosed with COVID-19 due to exposure at work. Because the Postal Service has been a vital necessity to customers during the pandemic, NPMHU members and their postal workforce brothers and sisters have routinely put their health at risk while at work. This compensation provision gives those in the USPS workforce the peace of mind that, if they contract the virus, they will be financially compensated through the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.
The language of the American Rescue Plan went into effect on March 12, 2021, and this leave and compensation should already be available to NPMHU members and the rest of the postal workforce. The EFEL will continue through September 30, 2021. Until final directives are issued, mail handlers seeking to use EFEL should submit a PS Form 3971 indicating for which of the eight qualifying reasons listed in the chart below they must take leave, and employees must affirmatively state that they are unable to work because of the qualifying reason. The eRMS Leave Code or Reason Code for the Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL) is 086-21. If there are other questions or you need help getting access to these benefits, please contact your local union representatives or stewards or the NPMHU Contract Administration Department.
Did you recently convert to Fulltime Regular?
If yes, you have 60 days to make your decision and enroll in a FEHB plan.
Beginning on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, Mail Handler Benefit Plan representatives will host informational webinars to provide an overview and discuss the features of the union sponsored health plan (MHBP®). Each webinar will run about 30 minutes and will include time for live questions and answers. These webinars are intended for our new career mail handlers, nearly 5,300 of which converted to fulltime regular effective March 13, 2021.
Remember, newly converted mail handlers have 60 days from the effective date of your career appointment to enroll in a Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB). If you don't make an election by that time, you are considered to have declined coverage, and you must wait until the next Open Season to enroll. Qualifying Life Events may permit additional opportunities to make a change outside of Open Season.
- Register for an upcoming webinar
- View informational videos
- Download the MHBP 2021 Promotional Brochure (pdf)
Please find the webinar schedule below:
March 22, 2021 – 9:00 AM EST March 22 – 12:00 PM EST
March 24, 2021 – 5:00 PM EST
March 29, 2021 – 9:00 AM EST March 29 12:00 PM EST
March 31, 2021 – 5:00 PM EST
April 5, 2021 – 9:00 AM EST April 05 – 12:00 PM EST
April 7, 2021 – 5:00 PM EST