More details on Methane Detection System problems at Pontiac mail center

More details on Methane Detection System problems at Pontiac mail center

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].

Some background:

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,

In Solidarity,

Roscoe Woods



Roscoe Woods
480-481 Area Local

One thought on “More details on Methane Detection System problems at Pontiac mail center

  1. Just when will these continuing reports of abuse and negligence, this time resulting possibly in the deaths of five postal workers, get the attention of some agency, not the Postal Service, OIG, or Inspection Service, and come to think of it, the Board of Governors?
    I’m looking at Congress, local and national. I’m pointing fingers at OSHA, NLRB, and even perhaps the FBI or representative law agency. Nobody can say without lying they don’t know about the rampant and continuing abuses from incompetent immature childish local managers. And let us not forget the five people who have died now because of obvious negligence on the part of management.
    The first person to go should be Megan Brennan herself. This is under her watch. I refuse to believe she is ignorant of the abuses, and she is responsible for deaths in Pontiac and the poor fellow we remember in Oakland who died because the piss poor excuses for management out there wouldn’t allow anybody to call 911. In that instance however, I also find the craft people reprehensible for not telling the supervisor to shove it and call anyway. I know if somebody was hurt in my office, I wouldn’t even think of asking management for permission to call for help.
    Next, the Area big shots who can be proven to know about the methane leaks should be questioned and at the very least fired, if not arrested. District will get closer to the decisions made that resulted in the leaks, and likewise, all responsible should be prosecuted or at least sent packing.
    The actual installation where the local supervision failed to record the sensor failures or act should be arrested for negligent manslaughter. People died because they were lazy, stupid, and wanted to cover their asses at the expense it would turn out of five people’s lives and the grief and shock that would be passed on to family, friends and co-workers. Apparently these same people were abusive and maltreated their work force, too.
    Nobody should allow this to happen. However, I predict everything will be swept under the rug, blame placed wherever the management can get away from, and parties involved at the worst be relocated but otherwise see no action taken.
    I encourage workers at this installation, families of the victims and anybody else negatively affected to consult attorneys. I implore that all four unions speak out forcefully against this totally preventable tragedy using all media available, and in the case of my union, the NALC, who is negotiating with those maggots in management, make their abuse a center piece of the collective bargaining. This must not be ignored.

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