Postal workers demand better working conditions (includes video story)

As Florida’s summer weather soars over 100 degrees, local mail carriers are facing dangerous working conditions.

The United States Postal Service’s 190,000 vehicles do not have air conditioners, doors or windows which makes workers severely at risk to heat related illnesses, and even death.

Last month, a USPS letter carrier died in Texas while on the job due to hot temperatures. The fatality prompted outrage, with some members of Congress sending a letter grilling Louis DeJoy, the United States postmaster general, for his handling of safety concerns, and pushing for better working conditions for postal workers.

Jeffrey Wagner, president of the Postal Carriers Union in West Palm Beach, said even with the dangerous heat, some of the postal service’s policies are making the situation worse.

“They’re pushing our times later,” said Wagner. “They recently changed our start time starting on Saturday to 9 o’clock from 8 o’clock in some offices, and we want to push to get them back to 7:30. We believe it will be safer for our members.”

USPS had plans to replace its 30-year-old vehicles with new ones this fall, which would have features like air conditioning, but delays have pushed the roll-out to mid-2024. It has left letter carriers with less options to endure the sweltering heat, as they wait for their working conditions to improve.

Yam Hunter Preisler is a senior at Florida International University majoring in broadcast journalism. He is passionate about reporting on medical advancements. Yam is currently working as a freelance video editor.