WOODLAND HILLS—U.S. Rep Tony Cardenas, of Panorama City, introduced the Peggy Frank Memorial Act on Friday, February 15, approximately seven months after the USPS driver was found dead inside her truck due to extreme heat.
Peggy Frank, 63, a USPS worker for over 28 years, was found dead on July 6, 2018, inside her United States Postal Service truck in Woodland Hills where temperatures exceeded 117 degrees Fahrenheit. She died of hypothermia, but had pre-existing health conditions, including obesity and heart disease. Her death is being investigated by the Federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration.
In July 2018, the USPS indicated that employees are required to undergo training to be prepared to work in the extreme heat.
In an interview with the Southern California News Group, Representative Cardenas states that “Peggy Frank would have benefitted from us putting this in place perhaps 10, five, or three years ago and her grandchildren would have a grandmother today.” Peggy’s son, Kirk, claimed the USPS doesn’t care for its workers and if they did, air conditioning would have been the norm inside its vehicles.
The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) and if enacted, will require all USPS trucks to have an air conditioning unit within the next three years. No later than one year after the bill becomes a law, the Postmaster General is required to submit a progress report to Congress. When the bill is enacted, the Postmaster General cannot buy or lease any vehicle for the USPS unless it has an air conditioning unit installed.
A spokesman for the National Association of Letter Carriers, indicate the union fully supports the legislation’s intention, but acknowledges that the USPS’s financial situation would make it difficult to accomplish the goal within the three-year time frame.
Only 63,000 of the 230,000 USPS delivery vehicles have air conditioning units as recorded in fall 2017. Heating is installed in all vehicles. Since 2003, all purchased or leased USPS vehicles have been equipped with air conditioning.
The Peggy Frank Memorial Bill intends to protect 500,000 employees who work for the United States Postal Service. The USPD is resisting Cardenas’s proposal, claiming that they lost $3.9 billion in revenue in 2018. Cardenas indicated, “Well, you lost a life. How do you put a value on that?”