05/30/2013 - UPDATE: According to published reports, two suspicious letters mailed from Shreveport LA last week tested positive for ricin.
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About Safety and Health
The Industrial Relations Director is charged with responsibility for the health and safety of all divisions of the Union. Article 14 of the National Agreement requires management to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees covered by the agreement. To achieve this end, the contract provides for the establishment of joint safety and health committees at various levels throughout the Postal Service.
National-level Labor-Management Safety Committees
At the Headquarters level, there is a Joint Labor-Management Safety Committee and a Joint Labor-Management Ergonomics Committee.
Problems in the field should be directed to the APWU Regional Safety and Health Representatives.
The APWU is responsible for working to ensure that USPS management implements safety programs and policies that will protect workers; reviews new equipment for ergonomics and safety factors; keeps track of the latest developments that affect postal workers' health and safety--including new studies, regulations and standards; works to pass beneficial legislation in Congress and to stop harmful bills; and provides education and information to APWU members and locals.
Under Article 14 of the National Agreement, it is the responsibility of management to provide safe working conditions in all present and future installations and to develop a safe working force. The Union will cooperate with and assist management to live up to this responsibility.
Vance Zimmerman, Director of Industrial Relations, is responsible for safety and health for all divisions of the union.
Local Safety Committees
The collective bargaining agreement also provide for a Joint Labor-Management Safety and Health Committee at each postal installation having 50 or more employees. In installations having fewer than 50 employees, installation heads are encouraged to establish similar committees when requested by the Union. Where no safety and health committee exists, safety and health items may be placed on the agenda and discussed at labor-management meetings.
Below are some useful safety and health links. Note: the APWU is not responsible for the content of these sites.
News: Safety and Health
Another Ricin Incident
05/29/2013 - Two suspicious letters, one to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and another to an address in Washington DC, are being tested for ricin, the Postal Service has notified the APWU. Both letters were postmarked in Shreveport LA on May 20. The Washington DC letter indicated the presence of ricin in preliminary tests; the New York letter is similar, but has not tested positive.
05/15/2013 - Preliminary lab tests indicated the presence of ricin on two suspicious letters in Spokane WA, the Postal Service told the APWU on May 15. The letters are being analyzed and tested further for hazardous material, according to a Mandatory Stand-Up Talk management presented to workers.
04/23/2013 - The suspect in the ricin case was released on April 23, and the Justice Department is moving to drop charges against him, according to published reports. Paul Kevin Curtis was charged on April 17 with sending tainted letters to President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and a Mississippi judge, but no physical evidence linking him to the crime could be found. There have been no reports of ricin-related illness among recipients, postal employees or non-postal employees who handle government mail.
04/18/2013 - Postal managers gave employees Stand-Up Safety Talks on April 18, notifying workers that the FBI has confirmed the presence of ricin on two letters that passed through USPS mail-processing facilities in Memphis TN and Washington DC. One letter was addressed to President Obama; the other was addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).
04/17/2013 - The union is eagerly awaiting the results of follow-up tests on letters that indicated the presence of ricin, APWU Eastern Region Coordinator Mike Gallagher said on April 17 after a teleconference with postal officials from the Capitol Metro Operations Area and the Capitol District. Two letters tested positive for the deadly toxin in preliminary tests on April 16. One letter was addressed to President Obama; the other was addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).
04/17/2013 - Postal officials have assured APWU President Cliff Guffey that they will update union officials today, April 17, about incidents involving mail that tested positive for ricin, a deadly poison, in preliminary tests on April 16.
Union to Pursue Matter Vigorously
04/17/2013 - APWU officers learned through the news media on April 16 that a letter that may have been contaminated with a deadly poison had been found in the mail
03/08/2013 - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a citation to the Postal Service for unsafe working conditions at its Scarborough ME facility and fined the agency $27,500 on Feb. 1.
02/26/2013 - In response to demands by the APWU — and approximately a year of negotiations — the Postal Service issued new guidelines on Jan. 29, 2013, governing the procurement of postal equipment by managers at the local level.