NY- Congresswoman Clarke calls for stronger safety measures for USPS workers during coronavirus pandemic

Brooklyn, NY- Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) led a letter to Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Megan Brennan to address the “serious concern regarding the health and safety of our local postal workers.” Clarke was joined by nine fellow New York Congressional Delegation members including Representatives Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Grace Meng (NY-06), Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Max Rose (NY-11), José Serrano (NY-15), Thomas Suozzi (NY-03) and Nydia Velazquez (NY-07).

Clarke wrote this letter to the postmaster general after learning that local postal workers are without proper safety supplies during this pandemic and also hearing about lacking enforcement of social distancing at postal locations.

The letter states: “While it is critically important that we maintain essential postal services to keep society functioning, it is equally important that workers and post office visitors alike are given the tools and information needed to protect themselves from infection…A recent series of troubling accounts throughout the five boroughs, including insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) and crowded lines at post office locations, have given us strong cause for concern.”

The letter calls for immediate action to address the following concerns:

  • “Supplies and equipment: We urge you to make masks and other essential equipment readily available to every New York City postal worker as a matter of policy, due to the severity of the crisis within our communities.”
  • “Social distancing and cleanliness: Disconcertingly, we continue to hear accounts within New York City of post office customers lining up, as usual, to see a clerk with little to no guidance related to social distancing. Given these accounts, what measures are being taken by the Postal Service to ensure proper social distancing in post offices, both between workers and visitors and to keep post office locations appropriately sanitized without putting workers at further risk of infection?”
  • “Illness and infection: What policies does the Postal Service currently have in place to protect workers in instances where a colleague falls ill or tests positive for Coronavirus, and how are these policies being disseminated and enforced within Postal Service facilities and local post offices?”
  • “Childcare needs for workers: We have heard reports of postal workers being routinely denied requests for changes in schedule to accommodate this new burden. We have also heard reports of workers being threatened with disciplinary action for making these requests. No worker should be threatened or disciplined for attempting to care for their children during this difficult and unprecedented time. ”

Clarke said: “Our everyday heroes like our postal workers are braving COVID-19 to make sure the essential businesses in our lives are still humming, including United States mail. We owe it to our frontline workers at the Post Office to make sure they are protected when going to work each day by having safety measures in place to protect them from Coronavirus. As we are all adjusting to life while combating COVID-19 I am hopeful USPS Postmaster General Brennan will take the concerns raised in our letter seriously to protect USPS workers and customers and will address these issues in short order.”

View the full letter here.


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