Colorado Mail Handlers Local Withdraws From USPS, OSHA Ergonomic Program

“The Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process (ERRP) reduces both the number and severity of musculoskeletal disorders, builds labor/management teams with ergonomic skills, and cultivates partnerships to identify and control ergonomic risk. These partnerships include OSHA, NPMHU, and APWU. Since its inception in 2003, 176 plants and 9 districts have implemented ERRP, with over 155,000 employees receiving training. ERRP sites that have been involved in the process for at least 12 months experienced a 21.9 percent reduction in musculoskeletal disorders this year.”–source: USPS

The  Colorado Mail Handlers Local #321 sent the following letter to USPS:

June 20, 2011

TO: Roland Fuentes
Senior Plant Manager

FR:  Michael J Hora
NPMHU, Local 321

RE: Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process

Mr. Fuentes,

It is with great frustration and regret that I must inform you that the Colorado Mail Handlers Union, Local 321 will cease participation in the Denver P&DC Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process (ERRP) effective immediately. This program is intended to be a partnership in which management, labor Unions, and individual craft employees’ partner under a common mission to ensure that all employees have a safe and productive workplace. However, in Denver Colorado, there is little support for the program.

The actions of many immediate line-level supervisors, MDOs, and even a facility manager demonstrate a methodology that is not interested in reducing injuries through the Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process. ERRP training opportunities are hindered, release time and schedule changes are challenged and Postal managers routinely obstruct craft ERRP team appointments and meeting participation. Several supervisors and managers even believe that the USPS should have approval authority over the Union’s ERRP appointee(s). Moreover, the agency even objects to some ergonomic recommendations recently made by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

In light of the ongoing resistance, it is clear to me that the USPS is not genuinely interested in reducing musculoskeletal injuries through the Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process. The Local Union will champion safety issues through other avenues. I cannot continue to fight with the employer in a process that is supposed to be a partnership. I have tried to address these issues to no avail. In Denver, the agency’s participation in Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process is disingenuous and counterproductive and I will not allow it to continue without

For the Union,


Michael J Hora
NPMHU, Local 321
. cc: Pam Baptiste, OSHA
ERRP Team Participants
John Hegarty, NPMHU

Division of the Laborer’s lnterational Union of North America,AFL-CIO