USTC J9 COVID-19/Stop Movement Call (2 June)

June 02, 2020

J9 held their COVID-19/Stop Movement call with the Services and industry representatives Tuesday (2 June). The initial portion of the call was focused on the Stop Movement Placemat slide deck.  The following are highlights from the call:

 

  • On slide one of the Placemat. J9 pointed to a growing up-tick in pickups in recent weeks; and that uptick is also reflected in future projections.  Also covered on the slide are invoices over three days.  The numbers show a great improvement in recent weeks.
  • Slide two is 2019 data used for comparison with the 2020 Placemat slide.
  • Slide three is the Peak Season Demand model.  When J9 was asked about the meaning of the totals at the top right of the slide that says, “Pent Up Demand” they stated the data was suspect, and they were working on ways to better reflect demand data.  The bar chart in the graph is data they are more comfortable with.
  • Slide 4 shows RDD data compared to the three year average.  Right now, RDDs for direct deliveries and deliveries into SIT are above the three year average. The average days late for direct deliveries has come back down, close to the three year average after a recent spike.
  • Slide 5 is a summary of punitive actions (letters of suspension and warning) compared with the same time last year. The slide also includes COVID-related actions.  As you  might imagine, the raw numbers of LOWs and LOSs are down compared to last year due to significantly less shipments.  COVID related letters of suspension are increasing since last week…while LOWs are down.

 

Slide 5 started a conversation on a perceived disparity from JPPSO to JPPSO and/or Service to Service on how infractions associated with face coverings are handled.  USTC stated they are hearing about disparities in mask use by movers and they will be getting additional guidance out on mask requirements via their Health Protection Protocols FAQ that they post on move.mil/sme.

 

Some argued DoD should standardize punitive actions, and that LOWs should be used for first infractions.

 

J9 spent some time articulating they’d received feedback on mask use from various areas, and acknowledged they needed to provide a bit more guidance on when masks can be removed.  That guidance was promised to be in the FAQs by COB 2 June.  But ultimately, J9 stated the mask policy is to protect the customer and the movers, and masks are required regardless of whether a customer states they aren’t needed in the residence. 

 

Air Force stated they have standardized their guidance on punitive actions associated with failure to wear masks, and that guidance is they will issue letters of suspension when masks aren’t worn at the residence; even for first infractions.  None of the other Services provided an input to their policy on this topic.

 

J9 was asked, in terms of when masks can be removed, if DoD was mirroring the smoking policy, and J9 responded that the policy is the crewmember must be 10ft from the customer’s personal property, and 10ft from any equipment used to transport a customer’s personal property.  I highly recommend you wait for the FAQs to be published before using the above statement as definitive guidance, to ensure a full understanding of the requirement.

 

COL Gipson mentioned that J9 is getting many calls from agents who tell them the 10% surcharge is not being passed down from the TSP.  She said she heard some move managers are implementing a baseline for payments, and that is not the intent.  She said this initiative was not to enrich the move managers; and that J9 is asking industry to police themselves on this issue and make sure accurate disbursement of the 10% adjustment is taking place.

 

The issue of shipments put in origin SIT due to COVID came up.  Many of those shipments have been sitting at origin since the start of the Stop Movement; and are now starting to move during peak season.  IAM and AMSA have petitioned USTC to allow for a peak linehaul rate to apply to these shipments, since they were never intended to move this late into the peak season…or during peak at all.  J9 understands the issue, and is attempting to work a resolution with the Services.  Rick Marsh stated the Services have asked, if they allow this change to rules, will industry reciprocate and not accept peak season rates for shipments picked up during peak season, but move during the non-peak season?  It was more of a rhetorical question, but J9 wanted industry to know that there is give and take with these types of changes made during peak season, and it makes it difficult to come to a quick decision.

 

Non-COVID related…J9 was asked whether there was a timeline for when DPM contracts would transition to the GHC, because some DPM contractors had just been awarded contracts that have a 3 year base, and two option years.  J9 stated they can’t provide details on such a schedule at this point, because the protest of the GHC has caused a stay in the contract; but as soon as the protest was finished, they would provide more guidance.  AF PPA stated they believed, as long as the  DPM contract template was used, most of those contracts have a clause that allows the installation to cancel the contract with 6 months notification. 

 

VADM Mewbourne, USTC Deputy Commander, asked industry for input on what other non-DoD markets look like right now for HHG.  And whether anyone was seeing shipment/movement impacts for HHG due to the civil unrest happening in the country. 

 

When asked whether the DoD has insight to what it will take to move in the opposite direction in terms of not having to wear masks, etc, VADM Mewbourne stated his assessment is that DoD will largely follow CDC guidelines on things like social distancing and mask use; and that he would look at Johns Hopkins data on where counties and states, and regions are turning “green” and he’d expect installations in that area would follow closely behind (turn green and reduce their health protection conditions [HPCON]), and increased shipment movement would follow that.  He was asked about the Stop Movement order and the 30 June end date, and made clear, the 30 June Stop Movement order was rescinded, and replaced with the conditions based criteria in the SECDEF’s 22 May memo

 

VADM Mewbourne ended the call stating he’s enjoyed the professional working relationship with industry that he’s been able to witness during the Pandemic and that it’s clear that when we work together, we can accomplish great things.