Zebulon Postal Workers Feel Heat After Cooling Malfunction
Posted July 18, 2006 5:46 a.m. EDT
ZEBULON, N.C. — It's a hot time of year to be traveling by bike. That's why Phillip Ryman usually enjoys his midday stop at the Zebulon post office.
"Normally this a cooling place on my route when I'm on my bike," said Ryman. "I pop in, get the mail and cool off."
But that wasn't true on Tuesday. Right now, there is no central air-conditioning in the post office.
"Our air conditioner started giving us problems a couple weeks ago, and our field maintenance people have been coming down and working on it just about daily and finally it died," said Zebulon Postmaster Billy Hales.
Hales said crews installed several portable air-conditioning units and fans, but said it's still pretty hot inside.
"We bought a bunch of Gatorade, Popsicles, water and ice, and any time the people need to take a break, we tell them to go ahead and take a break," said Hales.
Several Zebulon postal employees, who all wanted remain anonymous, contacted WRAL to report safety concerns about working in the hot building. One claimed two pregnant employees were told they must come to work despite the heat, or they would be suspended.
"We do have two pregnant ladies, and they will be told that if they think it's unbearable, then they need to stay home," said Hales.
Hales wouldn't comment on any specific personnel details, but says any employee can use paid leave for now. So far, he said no employee has come to him with any safety concerns.
"It's a little bit warm, but the postal service prides itself in working in working in all types of weather," said Hales.