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Lawmakers, employees raise concerns about heat after USPS mail carrier’s death

July 11, 2023
2020 05 14T180203Z 1 LYNXMPEG4D1WQ RTROPTP 3 USA POSTOFFICEFILE PHOTO: A United States Postal Service (USPS) truck is seen in the rain in Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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In some cases, USPS has taken at least some steps to respond. In Texas, for example, local management has allowed letter carriers to start their days earlier—at 7:30 a.m.—so they can avoid some of the hottest parts of the day. To some, however, that is too little, too late. In times like these, said Christine Putz, a letter carrier in Ohio, top postal officials offer “fluff” about how they care for the workforce.

“That only happens after a death hits the news,” Putz said.

She noted that supervisors have been handing out headbands meant to provide some cooling, though their benefits fade within an hour of working in the heat. The postmasters sometimes put a case of water bottles in the fridge.

Despite those efforts, she said, “The morale of the workforce has never been lower.”

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