Mail workers battling heat inside post office, as well as outside

Thursday’s heat may have had you putting off that walk outside to get your mail. But, many people have to work outside no matter the temperature. That includes workers with the United States Postal Service.

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” goes the famous USPS creed. After 22 years of carrying mail, Brian Valentine believes every word of that unofficial motto. “(It’s) just one of those things that’s part of the territory,” he said. “I love it. I get paid to get outside, get exercise, meet people, serve people."

Valentine says the key is staying hydrated before, during, and after work.

Chris Carroll remembers the daily grind before his management role. “There’s more nice times to carry in the post office than there is times like today, when the heat and humidity is going to be 105-plus,” Carroll told me.

The heat isn’t just a problem for mail carriers working outside. It’s also a problem inside a local post office. The Avondale Post Office has been without air conditioning since June 15, according to CMI Heating and Air Conditioning. The company is replacing three 20-year-old units at the post office.

No air conditioning means a miserable work environment, and even a hospital visit for one employee who got too hot. Despite having industrial grade fans, it’s still often hotter than 90 degrees there. “We’ve got to deliver the mail. I mean, the mail never stops coming, and our customers want it. They expect it, and that’s the service we want to provide to them,” Carroll said.

A representative with CMI told me by phone that they fixed one air conditioner on June 16, but the company wasn’t given permission to fix the other units until three days ago. USPS leases the other building from an out-of-state company. Ir replaced one Thursday and expects to finish the last one Friday afternoon.

Carroll tells us that employee who was hospitalized was treated and is back at work. 

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