Congress questions Postmaster General after Dallas letter carrier dies during heat wave

A group of Congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) and Rep. Jasmie Crockett (D-Texas), are demanding answers from the Postmaster General about working conditions for postal workers following the death of a Dallas letter carrier.

The letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy specifically brings up the death of Eugene Gates Jr., who died on June 20 in Dallas during a stretch of extreme heat.

"We write to express our deep concerns over the working conditions and labor policies of the U.S. Postal Service, specifically with respect to letters carriers," the letter reads.


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Eugene Gates' wife says he always came prepared for the heat, bringing water, a cooler, tea and juice with him on the job. She says he always brought dedication to his work, oftentimes coming in early.

The letter goes on to list the deaths of other Postal Service employees who died in extreme heat in recent years.

In 2012, John Watzlawick died while delivering mail in the heat. Watzlawick told management that he felt ill from the heat prior to his death.

In 2019, mail carrier Peggy Frank was found dead "in her non-air conditioned mail truck" in California.

"A 2020 analysis of OSHA records showed that OSHA issued more than $1.3 million in initial fines against the Postal Service for heat hazards in eight years.  Despite these numerous and continued violations, it appears the Postal Service has yet to comprehensively address this issue and adopt nationwide work conditions policies that prevent these avoidable, tragic deaths," the members wrote in the letter.


USPS moves up shifts after Dallas postal worker dies in heat, union says

A week after Dallas letter carrier Eugene Gates Jr. collapsed during his route, and later died at a hospital, USPS shifts in Texas will start earlier.

The letter outlines a few questions for DeJoy about how the Postal Service plans to address concerns over the heat.

They requested a response to their letter by July 21.