Last weekend, it got to some truly brutal temperatures in Phoenix, Arizona. The city known for being built in the middle of a desert where it has absolutely no business regularly sees temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s roughly 38 C for the rest of the world), but last weekend was beyond the pale. It was 110 degrees last Saturday, which was hot enough to cook eggs on the asphalt.
Or in the case of United States Postal Service trucks, cook a steak on the dashboard.
That’s not just hyperbole: a USPS worker literally cooked a steak to an internal temperature of 142 degrees F by leaving it in a ziplock bag on the dashboard. This was done to showcase the brutal temperatures that some postal service workers have to endure because their postal trucks are completely without air conditioning.
You can take a peek at the medium-rare steak in the video from ABC15 News Arizona. We wouldn’t recommend eating that steak since the USDA recommends a minimum temperature of 145 degrees—and it was also cooked in a plastic bag—but it’s probably edible. Although the plastic probably did nothing for the steak’s flavor.
Pictures of the poached steak were picked up by Arizona State Representative Shawnna Bolick who then sent a strongly worded letter to the American Postal Workers Union to advocate for safer working conditions. Her letter indicated that temperatures regular soar above 128 degrees F (53 C) inside a non-air conditioned mail truck and that several postal workers have already been hospitalized with symptoms of heatstroke.
In response, the USPS issued the following statement:
"We want to emphasize the Postal Service works to protect its employees all year through a strong health and safety program. This includes instructions on messaging through the handheld carrier scanners, frequent service talks on recognizing heat illnesses and taking shade or hydration, and street supervision that checks on carriers during the day. Our letter carriers work hard and we appreciate that effort in all conditions."
Phoenix isn’t the only city with unreasonably working conditions for USPS workers. A 63-year-old postman died in Los Angeles last year during a heat wave which saw temperatures reach 117 degrees during the day.