United States Postal Service employees are calling for safer working conditions after the death of a mail carrier in Maryland who was killed last year while delivering letters after dark.
A group of postal workers held a rally Monday
night in Washington, D.C. attended by the family of Tyson Barnette, a 26-year-old carrier who was fatally shot in Landover, Md. on Nov. 23 while working a nighttime route, reports myFoxdc.com
"Don't let another life be taken by something that can be fixed as easily as pushing the (shift) times back in the morning," his mother, Bridget Barnette, said.
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Although postal inspectors have offered a $125,000 reward for information on the Barnette case, there has reportedly been no word of a suspect or motive.
The workers at Monday's event, held at the Martin Luther King Memorial, demanded an end to after-dark deliveries
, earlier shift start times, an adjustment to supposedly overburdened routes and the reopening of mail processing plants that have been shuttered because of a decline in the volume of mail, reports WTOP.
Postal Service officials have said that they understand the employees' concerns and are doing what they can to address them. Postal spokesman Dave Partenheimer reiterated that view in a statement Monday, although there was no mention of changing hours or reopening closed facilities.
"The Postal Service takes the safety of our employees very seriously. We have a robust safety program designed to heighten awareness of dangers carriers can face while performing their duties and teach techniques to minimize that danger," he stressed." We are also working with the National Association of Letter Carriers to identify additional actions we can take to keep our carriers safe during daylight hours —
when most assaults occur — and while delivering later in the day."
But, he continued, "Late-day deliveries are sometimes unavoidable due to inclement weather, traffic issues or other unplanned events and seasonal fluctuations in mail volumes. Additionally, the Postal Service is making investments in technology aimed at providing real time product visibility and improving safety. This includes two-way communication capabilities and Global Positioning System functionality, which will allow for real-time communications with carriers."
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