Arizona state lawmaker calls for better working conditions for USPS mail carriers during heat

An Arizona state representative is calling for an investigation into the working conditions for US Postal Service mail carriers, after one worker documented cooking a steak on the dashboard of a delivery truck during a hot summer shift.

That mail carrier says it only took two and a half hours for the steak to cook.

State Rep. Shawnna Bolick received the message and photographs recently from a mail carrier in her district, which covers parts of Phoenix. The photos showed at one point, it got up to 128 degrees inside his truck, and also showed one mail carrier's experiment in recent weeks, with a steak, not fully thawed, cooked to medium-well while it was on the dashboard of a delivery truck during the hottest part of the day. Now she's getting messages from mail carriers from across the state, detailing the sufferings of several other mail carriers when they have to work in the extreme heat.

"I have seen on my scanner show 138 degrees inside the truck before," said an Arizona man who has been a U.S. Postal worker for nearly 40 years, and wanted to remain anonymous. He spoke with FOX 10's Nicole Garcia by phone.

"We're kind of scared," said the man. "We don't want to speak up against them. They'll try to terminate us or make our lives miserable during our workday at work."

State Rep. Bolick sent a letter to the President of the American Postal Workers Union, demanding an investigation and immediate action to improve carriers' working conditions.

"Constant heat," said the man. "We got a fan inside of our truck. It blows the heat from the windshield on you. It does circulate, but it's a hot dry heat."

In a statement, the U.S. Postal Service said it protects employees with its Heat Safety Program and street supervision checks, but the mail carrier we spoke with calls that "lip service".

"Well, if they're going to sit there and say they're checking on us during the middle of summer, they need to do that," said the man. "They need to drive around with cold water or a cold Gatorade or something."

Earlier this year, the USPS was fined nearly $150,000 by OSHA for the heat-related death of a 63-year-old Los Angeles area mail carrier. Temperatures the afternoon of the carrier's death had reached 117° F.