Jan 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

USPS wants 120-day extension for COVID vaccine-or-test mandate


A U.S. Postal Service worker pushes a cart with deliveries through the streets of midtown New York in December 2020. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Postal Service has asked the Biden administration for a 120-day extension to comply with the COVID-19 vaccination mandate, according to a letter obtained by the Washington Post from deputy postmaster general Doug Tulino to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The big picture: The request comes days before the Supreme Court holds oral arguments to consider legal challenges to the president's vaccine mandates for health care workers and large companies.

  • “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,” Tulino wrote in the letter dated Tuesday.

Context: The Postal Service is an independent federal agency that did not fall under the administration's official government-wide mandate, but it is subject to compliance under OSHA’s large-employer rule.

The move is the latest in a long string of decisions that have roiled congressional Democrats and the Biden administration under postmaster general Louis DeJoy.

  • Democrats have been looking at ways to respond following many of DeJoy's modifications to staffing and policies, which a 2020 Inspector General report found had an adverse effect on Postal Service operations, leading to slower and less reliable mail delivery.
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