Postal service calls for temporary exemption from Biden’s vaccine rule

The Postal Service is asking for a temporary exemption from President Joe Biden’s vaccine or testing mandate, arguing that a waiver would prevent major disruptions to mail delivery.

The demand comes just days before the Biden administration’s rule takes effect, and as the highly transferable variant of the omicron pushes workers out of various sectors of the economy.

Postmaster General Douglas Tulino wrote in a Jan. 4 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that requiring postal workers to comply with the new rules “will likely result in the loss of many employees – either through the departure of employees or through disciplinary action. “

Workplace rules issued by OSHA are expected to take effect Jan.10, but the agency said it would not issue citations for violations until Feb.9, or “until an employer does. reasonable and good faith efforts to comply with the standard. “

Darlene Casey, spokesperson for the Postal Service, said on Wednesday the agency wanted to continue using its existing Covid mitigation policies and that a waiver “would ensure that its ability to deliver mail and packages is not hampered amid the current disruption in the country. Supply Chain.”

The Washington Post first reported the waiver request.

The postal service has nearly 650,000 employees in 30,000 locations across the country. Tulino noted in its letter that the agency has “only received a handful of citations” related to Covid, indicating that its security protocols have “been extremely effective to date.”

OSHA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Biden administration’s vaccine rules face a number of legal challenges. The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments this week on whether to block the mandate after business groups and GOP state attorneys general sued the federal government.

Tulino said in Tuesday’s letter that if the rule “is maintained, the postal service will have to adapt to the impacts of the implementation, and it accepts it.”

“However, it is the timing that is particularly problematic,” he added. “Although the impact on our service can be devastating at any time of the year, forcing the postal service to absorb what could inevitably be a dramatic loss of employees at a time when the labor market is extremely tight and at the same time. Mid-Peak Postal Service The season would have a potentially catastrophic impact on our ability to provide service to the American public when demand is at its peak. “

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