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NAPS Officers Are Here for You
By Marilyn Walton
NAPS Western Region Vice President
This year began with lots of NAPS visits and events. We traveled from city to city, sometimes attending two events a week. Events ended suddenly in March.
We traveled to Washington, DC, in early March for NAPS’ annual Legislative Training Seminar (LTS). We were beginning to be concerned about COVID-19. At first, I wasn’t concerned because neither I nor anyone I know had traveled out of the country. But, during our time in DC, COVID-19 concerns became breaking local and national news.
When visiting legislative offices on Capitol Hill that allowed visitors during LTS, hand sanitizer was required and there were no handshakes. Little did we know this was the beginning of social distancing, face masks and other precautions to maintain personal safety.
As we visited with aides to California Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, imagine our surprise when, as we were leaving Feinstein’s office, she stopped to greet us, take a picture and thank us for dropping by her office. This chance encounter presented a photo op that became one of the last group pictures we would take for the foreseeable future.
As has been published, we had an outstanding LTS. The Executive Board had an opportunity to meet with PMG Megan Brennan and personally thank her for her service. We also met with Deputy PMG Ron Stroman. They will be missed.
On my return home in mid-March, Californians were ordered to stay in place. Our new normal became daily Zoom meetings, COVID-19 updates, employee virus tracking and obtaining PPE resources. When COVID-19 tracking began, it was thought it would be a couple of weeks.
Now, at the time of writing this article in mid-June, it has been three months. We now are slowly opening back up. I still am tasked with recording and sharing daily/weekly tracking of confirmed virus cases. We live in a new world of social distancing, face masks and moving forward cautiously.
In-person group meetings and training have been cancelled. The NAPS 2020 National Convention has been postponed to August 2021. Zoom meetings, telecons, emails and text messages are the current modes of communicating. It is the new normal.
I have to commend all postal employees and, of course, our hardworking EAS employees who continue to navigate the daily standups, new rules, policies and ways to communicate and still manage the daily mail and provide service to customers. The Postal Service executive leadership in the Pacific and Western Areas brought the unions and management associations together to address daily concerns on behalf of our members. This partnership has been invaluable in getting through this turbulent time and keeping the lines of communication open to everyone.
When will normal as we knew it return? Maybe never. However, all NAPS officers, including our Western Region NAPS team, will continue to communicate, inform, train and represent our members where and when we are needed. We are here for you!