“Given the significant challenges that our nation’s supply chains are already experiencing, we respectfully suggest that the nation cannot afford the additional potential substantial harm that would be engendered if the ability of the Postal Service to deliver mail and packages is significantly negatively impacted,” Deputy Postmaster General Douglas A. Tulino wrote in its request to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), dated Jan. 4.
In a portion of the USPS letter obtained by The Epoch Times, Tulino also argued that the vaccine-or-test mandate that was outlined in OSHA’s rule, known as an emergency temporary standard, may cause a “critical disruption to our vital operations” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The USPS, which is one of the largest employers in the United States, also requested OSHA to extend the compliance deadlines by 120 days, reported Reuters. The letter also asked to suspend the Postal Service’s obligations under the OSHA mandate until courts can provide a final ruling on the rule.
Operating 30,000 locations countrywide, the Tulino added the USPS will need to train “tens of thousands of local supervisors and managers” to monitor employees’ compliance.
The letter further warned said that requiring USPS “to absorb what could inevitably be a dramatic loss of employees at a time when the labor market is extremely tight and in the middle of the Postal Service’s Peak Season would have a potentially catastrophic impact on our ability to provide service.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments on the rule, which impacts private businesses with 100 or more workers, on Friday. It stipulates that workers either submit to weekly COVID-19 testing and mask-wearing or get vaccinated.
While the mandate is slated to take effect on Jan. 10, OSHA has said it won’t issue fines for violations until Feb. 9. The USPS isn’t covered by Biden’s separate rules, which mandated that 3.5 million federal workers be vaccinated or obtain medical or religious exemptions by Nov. 22.
A Labor Department spokesperson told Reuters OSHA has received the request and was reviewing it. OSHA determined compliance was “feasible for employers with 100 or more employees, including the postal service,” the spokesperson said.
Darlene Casey, a USPS spokeswoman, told news outlets that the service will comply with the mandate after the 120-day period is up if the OSHA rule survives court rulings. The Postal Service in the meantime will continue to use its existing policies in dealing with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“The Postal Service is seeking temporary relief because it wants to ensure that its ability to deliver mail and packages is not hindered amid the current disruptions in the nation’s supply chain,” Casey said. “In addition, the Postal Service wants to adopt policies and procedures that comply with the [OSHA rule] while also fulfilling the organization’s other legal obligations.”
The Epoch Times has contacted OSHA for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.