With postal employees working longer nighttime hours, a member of the Florida congressional delegation is calling on the U.S. postmaster general to offer them more reflective gear and flashlights.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., write U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on the matter this week.
“Those who are already risking their lives to keep us connected during the pandemic should not face yet another safety risk,” Crist said. “It is imperative that our letter carriers have everything they need to deliver our mail safely and efficiently. Knowing that letter carriers are having to work longer hours, sometimes after dark, it only makes sense that we provide them with tools as simple as reflective vests and flashlights.”
“Letter carriers of Florida and also around the country are getting very concerned with delivering late at night without the proper safety equipment seven days a week. We applaud Rep. Crist’s efforts to bring this issue to the attention of the postmaster general,” said Al Friedman, the president of the Florida State Letter Carriers Association.
“I write to you regarding the safety of letter carriers who are delivering mail after dark,” Crist wrote DeJoy. “As you know, our frontline employees at the U.S. Postal Service have been more critical than ever during the pandemic. They have put their health and safety on the line, working longer hours than normal to deliver mail, packages, medication, and ballots reliably, and as quickly as possible.
“Much attention has rightly been paid to the provision of personal protective equipment for postal employees to protect against the virus. But I have recently been made aware that letter carriers face yet another safety issue. Specifically, letter carriers in my district who deliver the mail on foot or by bicycle after dark, an occurrence that has increased due to the pandemic workload, report that they lack the reflective vests and flashlights they need to do the job safely. The increased volume of mail plus the shorter days of winter mean that many of these workers spend hours on the streets after sundown with nothing to help them see or be seen, making their job harder and leaving them vulnerable to passing motorists,” Crist continued.
“I know you share my belief that it is the responsibility of the United States Postal Service to keep the workforce safe. To that end, what nighttime gear, including reflective vests and flashlights, are currently available? If you do find that the availability is inadequate, what steps will the USPS undertake to rectify this issue?” Crist wrote in conclusion. “Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your timely response.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.