Currently, the Canadian wildfires are affecting the air quality and raising the Air Quality Index (AQI) to unacceptable levels along the East Coast--especially the Northeast. Current forecasts call for the issues to last at least through Friday and even longer. Weather patterns are forecast to shift a bit that could improve the conditions. However, if weather conditions change and the fires continue to rage out of control, the smoke will continue to be problematic.
I am aware that some delivery has stopped but have not been made aware of any other curtailment. APWU employees also work outside. We have custodians, BEMs, AMTs, Clerk Messengers, MVOs, TTOs, and more that all work outside. None of them should be working—or forced to work—outside in these hazardous AQIs. Attached are some items from the Postal Service on the air quality—AGAIN THESE ARE POSTAL SERVICE PROVIDED DOCUMENTS. Please take the air quality seriously. I personally grew up in some of the worst air conditions in the country and know how it can affect one’s health, stamina, and more. Remember, employees can wear masks if they choose and management should be providing them consistent with MI 810-2009-4 I sent out last night.
There seems to be conflicting information on whether or not employees can wear N-95 masks or not. I have heard a stand-up was issued that says they can, yet we have emails in our possession that says they cannot. It is the APWU position that employees can wear N-95 masks voluntarily and that management must provide them consistent with MI-810-2009-4. If employees are denied N-95 masks or told they cannot wear them we should be filing PS Form 1767s and any related safety grievances. We just came out of COVID where we all wore these types of masks and it wasn’t an issue.
Anyone can check their current AQI by going here: AirNow.gov – On the toolbar click “Fires” then “Fire and Smoke Map”. When map loads, select any colored dot for the current AQI reading.
I will continue to update the field and provide info as I get it. Below my signature block and message is the most recent message I received from the Postal Service.
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Industrial Relations Director
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO