PHOENIX — Arizona State Representative Shawnna Bolick is asking for an investigation into what appears to be unsafe work conditions for Valley postal service workers. Bolick sent a letter to Mark Dimonstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union, after she received pictures of a steak cooked on the dashboard of postal delivery vehcle due to excessive heat.
“It is shocking to hear of postal workers having to endure the extreme Arizona temperatures that result in delivery trucks, many of which do not have air conditioning, regularly reaching above 128 degrees,” Bolick wrote Dimonstein. “Working conditions must be improved immediately to ensure the safety of mail carriers subjected to these dangerous temperatures.”
— James T Harris (@JamesTHarris) August 3, 2019
According to Bolick, earlier this year the U.S. Postal Service was fined nearly $150,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the heat-related death of a 63-year-old Los Angeles area mail carrier. Temperatures the afternoon of the postal worker’s death had reached 117 degrees.
Full text of the letter:
July 31, 2019
Mr. Mark Dimonstein, President
American Postal Workers Union
1300 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Dear Mr. Dimonstein:
It has come to my attention that quite a few USPS employees over the past few weeks in the Phoenix area have been sent to the emergency room to deal with heat stroke and heat exhaustion. In a few cases, these postal carriers have been hospitalized for several days and at least one was disoriented in their mail truck.
This is inexcusable. On the American Postal Workers Union website your mission includes “improving your employee’s working conditions.” It is deplorable for our women and men delivery truck drivers to average temperatures above 128 degrees Fahrenheit inside their mail vehicles during the hottest hours of the day.
One of your workers resides in my district and has sent me daily updates along with photographs illustrating on a digital thermometer how hot his mail truck gets during the afternoon. Over the past several weeks, his mail delivery truck has averaged about 128 degrees Fahrenheit inside his vehicle. This past weekend he conducted an experiment and cooked a steak to an internal temperature of medium (142 degrees) not fully thawed at 10am on his dashboard from 10am until 12:30pm. I’ve enclosed those pictures for reference.
As you may know, in early July there was a death of a 28-year veteran for the USPS in Los Angeles County. I would like to know what your organization is doing to improve your employee’s working conditions. I implore you to review any safety or incident reports that have been filed and hold necessary hearings to help improve the working conditions of your members because right now they are inhumane.
Please feel free to reach out to my office to let me know what course of action you plan to take to remedy this current situation.
Representative Shawnna Bolick
Arizona, Legislative District 20
Ms. Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer
Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt, U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA
OSHA-Phoenix State Plan Office
OSHA- Phoenix Federal Building
Rebecca Kingsley, District 2 Coordinator, American Postal Workers Union Auxiliary
Janice Gillespie, Legislative Aide/Editor, American Postal Workers Union Auxiliary
Congresswoman Debbie Lesko
James Ashley, Arizona Industrial Commission