The Postal Service is testing a daily “proof of concept” temperature check in Northern Virginia and Oklahoma City for employees reporting to work and returning from quarantine.
More than 5,000 postal workers are in quarantine and 12,000 previously quarantined employees have returned to work. At least 60 postal workers have died from the coronavirus.
National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando told members last week the temperature checks carried out are voluntary and are carried out remotely from a camera or scanner.
If an employee has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, Rolando said the employee would be privately informed, discharged home, and paid either emergency paid sick leave or administrative leave until what the fever decreases.
The President of the National Union of Mail Managers, Paul Hogrogian told members last Friday that “as more and more postal workers return to work, more protections must be put in place.”
USPS spokesman Dave Partenheimer told Federal News Network that the agency has analyzed whether any of its working procedures may need to change while the pandemic continues.
“This includes evaluating potential new processes and procedures in order to continue to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers,” he said.
Mnuchin: USPS “doesn’t need” to use $ 10 billion loan
Citing an increase in the Postal Service’s parcel delivery business during the coronavirus pandemic, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the USPS has enough revenue to keep operating without needing a $ 10 billion loan immediately. of dollars guaranteed under the CARES Act.
“The good news is that from now on, parcel deliveries have increased by more than 50% to compensate for the courier,” Mnuchin said Thursday during a live broadcast event hosted by The Hill. “Right now, they don’t need to use the loan.”
However, USPS earlier this month warned that a temporary increase in revenue from packages would not be enough to offset the accelerating declines in mail volume. The agency has seen its shipping and parcel revenue increase by 7%, but it also expects parcel volume to stabilize later in the pandemic.
President Donald Trump earlier this month warned that his administration will not approve the $ 10 billion CARES loan unless the USPS first agrees to increase its parcel and shipping rates “about fourfold” for e-commerce companies like Amazon .
Mnuchin said the president specifically requested that the Postal Service increase its overnight delivery rates for e-commerce businesses.
“Right now the post office is doing an amazing job delivering things to people like they’re at home, we just want to make sure the post office is paid fairly and isn’t subsidizing this business,” Mnuchin said. .
The USPS has $ 11 billion in debt with the Federal Treasury Financing Bank and is its largest creditor. Mnuchin said the agency’s long-term financial woes prompted the Trump administration to launch a postal working group responsible for recommending structural reforms.
The task force recommended giving the USPS board of governors responsibility for making long-term business decisions for the agency, but the board could soon lose its quorum if it cannot find a replacement for the sub -Postal Minister Ron Stroman, who is retiring from his post on June 1.
Lawmaker asks IG to review USPS leadership reshuffle
Stroman announced his departure shortly after the board of directors announced logistics manager Louis DeJoy as his choice for Postmaster General and following the resignation of David Williams, the former vice-chairman of the board of directors.
Citing reports that Williams stepped down from the board because of the administration’s interference in Postal Service operations, Rep. Bill Pascrell (DN.J.) asked the USPS Inspector General to examine whether “undue political interference” played a role in this leadership reshuffle.
Pascrell is also concerned about the creditworthiness of the Postal Service as the agency delivers the 2020 census forms and delivers the postal ballots in the upcoming primary and general elections.
“The recent actions raise serious questions about the Trump administration’s commitment to providing reliable postal service to the United States,” he wrote.
While Stroman has worked with state and local officials to oversee the expansion of postal voting, the Postal Service has no direct role in whether a state changes its postal voting laws or increases its voting. by mail.
National Association of Presort Mailers president Rich Gebbie, also CEO of Midwest Direct, a ballot printing and mailing company, said 2020 is expected to be a banner year for mail voting, but has said states may encounter capacity issues.
“There are a limited number of printers / senders configured to handle ballots (which requires a lot of security, accountability and integrity as well as investments in special equipment) and although some may increase capacity, they would only buy additional equipment. to do this when they have orders in place from a state, ”Gebbie wrote in an email to Federal News Network.