November 2021 Update
Things are looking rather shaky as the USPS prepares for the oncoming mail onslaught. But are things looking any shakier than usual? Probably not. Whether you call it peak season or still refer to is as the Christmas rush, we are approaching the time when mail volume will test our mettle as individuals, and as an organization. Many Mail Handlers who plan to retire will tell their coworkers when it will be their last Christmas at the Post Office. Peak season has become so ingrained in our culture that it’s part of who we are as Mail Handlers.
There are many things that can be expected based upon our past experience. Mail volume will be extreme, hours will be long, and at some point, tempers will become short. We can also expect an additional problem which continues to linger from last year. COVID 19. While some are quick to dismiss this as a cause of concern, I see the reports of COVID 19 among Postal employees on a daily basis. Quite frankly, the number of cases currently being reported throughout the Local is alarming.
In addition, we will see some differences from last year’s peak season. Primarily in the experience level of people on the work floor. 2021 saw the largest single year increase in new employees and career complements in more than a decade. That means there will be a significantly higher percentage of Mail Handlers and MHAs who will be experiencing their first peak season.
Those who’ve been around this block a couple of times understand that they must prepare by adjusting their mindset. Each Mail Handler and MHA will need to develop a plan to protect their health and safety during peak season. Start by making the decision to protect your health, the health of your family, and the health of your coworkers by following mask guidelines on the work floor. Secondly, protect your future by working at a safe pace. This is particularly important for people operating powered industrial equipment.
Whether you’re working in a manual operation or operating powered equipment working safely is the path to a long career. I have often said that the worst thing that can happen to a Mail Handler during their career is that they suffer an on-the-job injury. Don’t put yourself at the mercy of the doctors and the workers compensation program. Lastly, look out for your fellow Mail Handlers and MHAs. Helping someone during their first peak season embodies the spirit of Unionism.
Work safe and stay healthy!