Following a scenario in which a US postal worker successfully cooked a steak on the dashboard of their vehicle during a ridiculously hot summer shift, an Arizona state representative is calling for an investigation into working conditions for US Postal Service workers. According to the mail carrier it only took two and a half hours to cook the steak in question; a testament to how hot it can get in those vehicles.
State Representative Shawnna Bolick recently received photos and the message from a postal worker in her district, which is part of Phoenix. The photos showed evidence of the temperature inside the truck rising to 128 degrees at one point, and also showed the mail carrier’s experiment in cooking a not fully thawed steak to medium well using the dashboard of his truck during the hottest part of the day. Following this, she has received letters from many mail carriers across the state, detailing the hardships of their job and its working conditions during extreme heat. An anonymous Arizona man that has been working as a postal carrier for forty years claims that he has seen the temperature in the vehicle rise up to 138 degrees before.
“We’re kind of scared,” said the man. “We don’t want to speak up against them. They’ll try to terminate us or make our lives miserable during our workday at work.”
State Rep. Bolick, upon being informed of all of this, sent a letter to the President of the American Postal Workers Union, demanding not only an investigation, but immediate improvement of the working conditions for mail carriers.
“Constant heat,” said the man. “We got a fan inside of our truck. It blows the heat from the windshield on you. It does circulate, but it’s a hot dry heat.”
A statement from the US Postal Service claimed that it protects its employees with its Heat Safety Program as well as street supervision checks, but according to the anonymous mail carrier this is all just “lip service.”
“Well, if they’re going to sit there and say they’re checking on us during the middle of summer, they need to do that,” said the man. “They need to drive around with cold water or a cold Gatorade or something.”
Even earlier in 2019, the United States Postal Service was fined $150,000 by OSHA for the heat-related death of a 63 year old employee in Los Angeles. The afternoon of his death, temperatures has reached 117 degrees. Clearly, there is a definite truth in the dangers mail carriers face in hot states with crazy temperatures, and USPS isn’t doing enough to ensure their comfort and even their safety as they go about conducting one of our society’s most important infrastructure jobs.