For almost a year now, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the entirety of the postal workforce, have risked their own and their families’ health and safety just by going to work during the global coronavirus pandemic. Mail handlers have always served an essential roll. But now our work is more important than ever as we ensure the delivery of necessary government and personal correspondence, vital prescriptions, and needed home goods during this time of crisis. Despite social distancing when possible and the use of PPEs, over 3,500 mail handlers have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning the of the pandemic. This along with quarantining and caring for our children and elders has not only impacted our lives, but also the Postal Service’s on-time delivery rates and service.
Understanding the value of our jobs and the inherent risk postal employees now find themselves in, the Centers for Disease Control recommended Postal Service personnel to be considered frontline essential workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 during the second part of phase one vaccination, or Phase 1b. The CDC recommended to states’ health departments to follow this guidance, however, several states’ plans do not include postal employees in their plans.
Our friends in the House of Representatives, however, recognized the necessity of our work and the risk we take on a daily basis during the pandemic and introduced H. Res. 108. This resolution, as introduced by Representatives Stephen Lynch (D-MA-08), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) and Brenda Lawrence (D-MI-14), emphasizes the importance of the work of Postal Service employees and calls upon states to prioritize them in vaccine distribution plans. NPMHU fully endorses this resolution, and I ask all members of the House to cosponsor it.