Thanksgiving Travel Weather

Richmond post office workers walk off job after working without AC

RICHMOND, Va. -- On a day when the heat index soared past 100 degrees, several mail carriers at the Westhampton Station Post Office in Richmond walked off the job.

"Some of us felt like we were going to faint," one employee who asked to remain anonymous said. "We took a stand and we left because it's too hot to be able to case up mail and there is no circulation inside the station."

The employee said part of the post office where the employees sort the mail has no air conditioning, and when he showed up to work Thursday the thermostat read 90 degrees inside.

"It's like being stuck inside of a microwave, and you can't get out," the employee said.

Problem Solver Melissa Hipolit checked out the situation for herself, and found the area where customers line up does have AC, but she could see fans in the back area.

"How does that make you feel that they provide air conditioning for the customers and not for the employees?" Hipolit asked the employee.

"It's not fair," the employee responded.

Customer Bob Battle noticed the situation and called the conditions unacceptable.

"That's ridiculous that in Richmond, Virginia you don't have air conditioning on a day that it's over 100 heat index," Battle said.

CBS 6 Chief Meteorologist Zach Daniel said Richmond's muggy air makes confined spaces, like a post office, very unpleasant.

"It's been so humid that the temperatures at night have not dropped much at all so you just don't get much of a break," Daniel said.

But the employee we talked to said it's time the USPS cut his colleagues a break.

"I want to see some AC inside the building," the employee said.

Hipolit took the employees concerns to the federal agency that oversees workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and they said they're going to investigate the situation.

A spokesperson for the USPS sent CBS 6 the following statement:

"The HVAC unit is working in the P.O. Box Section and lobby of the West Hampton Station. Fans have been placed in the employee work area and portable air condition units are scheduled to be installed in the morning.

The safety and well-being of our employees is a top priority for the Postal Service. Our letter carriers deliver the mail in all types of weather and ground conditions, and we appreciate their efforts to serve our customers."

CBS 6 News is working for you. Click here to email a tip to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers. Be sure to leave us your name, phone number and detailed description of the problem. You can also leave a message by calling 804-254-3672.

18 comments

  • Dan

    Wow I guess those men and women in Afghanistan just quit when it gets too hot. It was 112 degrees where I am working today. Do you know what I did. I wiped off the sweat, drank some water, and went back to work. You should really be ashamed.

    • U

      Your comment was ridiculous! If a carrier passes out on the workroom floor because of this situation inside the bldg., what are they supposed to do, just look at him or her, pat them on the head & tell them, they will be okay?! It is called HEAT EXERTION!! You should be the one that is ashamed!

      • Maillady

        What those carriers did is illegal. Its called a wildcat strike and will not be tolerated by the post office. All those carriers will be fired.

    • Tinika

      Some of those carriers used to servicemen in the military,so they know all about the weather. But the us outside not indoors where the temperature can changes like a car. Now imagine going to work with no windows and no a/c unit and the fans are doing nothing. Then afterwards going outside in a vehicle with no a/c as well to deliver mail in the same conditions as the inside of that building.

    • Tucker

      I have to say that is the dumbest comment I have ever read. First of all, these mail carriers are not in a war zone, nor did they volunteer. You volunteered. It was hot in Vietnam but I don’t ever recall hearing anyone who was there whining about the temperature.

  • Vera

    Dan, until you walk in a carriers shoes you wouldn’t understand so keep your personal comment to yourself. A place that doesn’t have windows how would you get circulation so what outside it 2x hotter. This been going for over a month and Virginia does just have the temp it’s the heat index. Very Humid.

  • Rick

    How do you think carriers feel…. in LLv’s…only a fan to push warm air around.. was a carrier for years… I survived even on foot route in summer………cry cry-cry…… sad……….

  • Alan Ross

    I have to agree with the postal workers in this case. We’ve been selling Postal Uniforms for over 30 years, and I can tell you that that fabric is not breathable and it must be overwhelming to work in that type of heat.

  • Patsy

    I can’t help but envision our servicemen and women serving in Afghanistan in full battle uniform in 110f

  • Mk

    Yea must be to hot at 90. Its nothing like the over 3000 cooks in richmond who work right next to grills, fryers and ovens with no ac. Im sure they walk out all the time too when its 110 in the kitchen.

  • Honest

    This is why I hate the internet or text messaging because people always hide behind them. Dan, U, especially Maillady, Rick, Patsy, and MK…. these carriers have the right to stand for what they feel was right. It’s a lot more variables to this story that wasn’t reported. Do you know why you get your mail later? Because out here goofing off in the street. No because theyou come to work when the temperature is getting higher instead of like the use to at 6 am in the morning. They have office duties that are conducted before they leave the building. They work very long hours and 6 days a week. Among treated and talked like you are nothing. And you right the uniforms are poorly made. The polyester is not a good material to be working in. They were promised portable air but never gotten it. Sometimes it takes things to come out in media to get things done and walking out. As the one that was wishing for them to get fired….they didn’t. Be careful throwing shade because people always can say what the would do after the fact. All respect to a cook and serviceman because I nevered experience what you do but thank you. So to all the post men and women thank you because I know it’s hard. Been there and don’t want to come back.

    • Maillady3

      Amen. We are experiencing a similar situation at our station in Colorado Springs. It’s been going on for a month. We haven’t had anyone walk off the job, but on some days the station is unbearable. I really appreciate your comment and totally agree with everything you wrote. These keyboard warriors wouldn’t last 1 week carrying mail.

  • OFG

    The postal service has a policy to keep work areas at 78 degrees. They hardly maintain it…. It is a national problem.

Comments are closed.