Tampa Bay letter carriers demand more safety gear to ward off late-night delivery dangers

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Many letter carriers in Tampa Bay say they feel their lives are in danger, calling for a change. In the meantime, they said there’s an easy way you can help keep them safe.

President of Florida State Association of Letter Carriers, Al Friedman, said the coronavirus pandemic, time change and holidays are working against them. They are now having to deliver late into the night.

“I got carriers calling me from St. Pete, Clearwater, major cities, even Orlando, that are out past 9 p.m. If that happens, we gotta have those headlamps and gotta have those vests,” Friedman said.

Friedman said there are about 20,000 letter carriers in Florida and 2,000 alone in Pinellas County. Many, who Friedman said, feel their lives are in danger.

“I don’t want to go to the family, and I don’t think the postal service wants to call a family, and say ‘your family member isn’t coming home today.’ And I don’t want it to be from lack of equipment,” Friedman said.

Friedman said not having reflective gear and headlights is dangerous.

“There have been several confrontations at the door…’who are you? What are you doing on my porch? You have two minutes to get off my property,” he said.

He said one way you can help is by leaving your porch light on.

Congressman Charlie Crist wrote a letter to the Postmaster General calling for action.

“It’s important to make sure our postal workers are safe, and number two, that people get the mail they need and count on,” said Congressman Crist.

It’s been two weeks since that letter went out and Congressman Crist and Friedman said they both haven’t heard back.

Tuesday, 8 On Your Side called USPS to get answers.

“We wanted to follow up to see what’s been done for these workers so far or what will be done,” 8 On Your Side’s Christine McLarty said when she called Tampa’s local USPS Spokesman, David Walton.

Walton said the answers need to come from headquarters. We sent them an email and received a response saying, “We received the letter and will respond directly to the member of Congress about concerns they raised.”

“I’m very concerned,” Friedman said.

Friedman says USPS has sent some reflective gear to some employees but he’s calling on it to be sent to everyone.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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