A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail carrier who died earlier this month after collapsing on his route in a Dallas neighborhood during the Texas summer heat was previously penalized for “unacceptable performance – expanding street time.”
Eugene Gates Jr., was disciplined on May 2 for a “stationary event,” according to the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 132 President Kimetra Lewis.
A stationary event is when a letter carrier’s scanner reads as idle on a tracker. In these instances, carriers are questioned about inefficiencies in their performance and potentially penalized for stopping along their route.
Lewis said USPS started monitoring stationary events in May.
A letter of discipline obtained by WFAA, which was sent to Gates, stated he was issued the letter for “unacceptable performance – expanding street time.” The letter states that Gates stopped by the USPS office twice – once in the morning and again in the afternoon – and also says that he stopped “so many times on [his] way back to station, it took [him] 45 minutes” longer than it should’ve to return to the office at the end of his shift.
The letter says an investigative review was conducted on May 11, notes that Gates’ stationary event was “in violation of postal rules and regulations” and warns that “future deficiencies will result in more severe disciplinary actions, including removal from the Postal Service.”
Lewis said Gates was with USPS since November 1987 before he died while delivering mail on June 20. This was the only disciplinary letter she is aware that he received of in his 36 years with the company.
While the cause of Gates’ death still unknown, it is sparking conversations about the working conditions of USPS letter carriers.
Lewis said she received a message on Friday from a concerned employee at the Oak Lawn Post Office, who said management had sent a message to Oak Lawn letter carriers on their scanner that read: “BEAT THE HEAT!!! NO STATIONARY EVENTS; KEEP IT MOVING!”
Lewis shared the below alleged photo of that scanner message with WFAA.