By Roscoe Woods, President, 480-481 Area Local
Recently there was a report posted on the internet that dealt with a concern raised by the APWU regarding issues associated with the Methane Detection System in place at the Pontiac MI. Metroplex. The report can be found here [PDF].
After a series of work place fatalities spanning 14 months the 480-481 Area Local of the APWU reached out to APWU HQ to discuss our concerns. Among issues we were concerned with, excessive overtime, a tense and at times hostile work environment, under-staffed machines as well as issues we had with the methane detection system.
As President – First I called OSHA, then I called APWU HQ in D.C.
APWU National President Mark Dimondstein as well as Vice President Debbie Szeredy after talking to me reached out to the OIG at the HQ level and the OIG investigation that resulted in the report linked to above began. An OIG investigatory team came to the Metroplex and stayed for a few days doing a series of interviews, Chief Steward Eric Neal and I were interviewed about our concerns.
Additionally I reported on this issue at the October 480-481 Area local Membership meeting. Attached to this update is a document that shows the results of the methane testing that was conducted in January of 2016.
The report attached notes that on the date of testing there were no immediate health or safety concerns regarding the methane levels in the Metroplex. The report notes that there seems to be a problem with the detection system itself.
The USPS is taking measures to see these “faults” are in fact remedied so we can all be certain this system is working properly. The actions taken are at the recommendation of the OIG and the oversight is from not only the OIG but all the impacted unions and management associations.
As a side note, this testing was not done by the USPS, it was done by an independent outside agency.
All documentation associated with this issue has been forwarded to APWU HQ. I have had several meetings with our national leadership as well as the OIG on this issue and I want to assure the members of the 480 481 Area local that we are engaged in ensuring that there is no health risk associated with the air quality at the MI Metroplex.
The investigation has yet to be completed and once it is and we have the final report I will report to you all the results.
I want to thank the Mail Handlers Union for their leadership in this issue as well as Senior Plant Manager Brian Fisher for providing us the documentation in a timely manner so we can make certain the OIG’s recommendations are being followed as well as making sure our leadership at all levels has the data.
I also want to thank our national leadership for taking swift action to see the OIG investigated this facility and our concerns.
The contract requires that we all follow the instructions of our supervisors unless of course those instructions could harm us or others. I want to assure all of you that if your union thought for one second the air in the Metroplex was a risk to your health we would be out front telling you all to stay out.
Questions or concerns please give us a call,
480-481 Area Local