Temporary mandate relief sought; supply chain, legal issues cited
Jan. 4 at 3 p.m.
USPS is seeking temporary relief from the vaccine mandate to ensure its ability to deliver mail and packages is not hindered. The Postal Service is seeking temporary relief from an emergency temporary standard (ETS) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Nov. 5. The ETS requires that employees in organizations with more than 100 workers either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly and subjected to stricter face covering requirements.
USPS is also seeking an interim order that would allow the organization to continue using its current COVID-19 mitigation policies and protocols while the temporary relief request is being decided. The Postal Service is seeking temporary relief because it wants to ensure that its ability to deliver mail and packages is not hindered amid the current disruptions in the nation’s supply chain.
In addition, USPS wants to adopt policies and procedures that comply with the ETS while also fulfilling the organization’s other legal obligations.
“We will continue to enforce the existing extensive COVID-19 mitigation program to protect our employees and customers nationwide against the effects of COVID-19,” said Kate Attridge, Labor Relations vice president.
A copy of the request for temporary relief can be found on the COVID-19 Blue page (under “Playbook — Field and Districts”) and the LiteBlue page (under “Additional resources”). The Blue page also has a stand-up talk.
Any affected employee may request a hearing with the assistant secretary for occupational safety and health on the Postal Service’s temporary variance application. The rules for requesting a hearing can be found in OSHA regulation 29 C.F.R. 1905.15(a). Additional information regarding OSHA’s variance program can be found on the agency’s website.