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'We're lucky to have jobs, but at what cost?' | USPS employee says not enough safety measures amid pandemic

ABC10 has received several calls and emails from delivery workers saying the companies they work for are not doing enough to keep their employees safe.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Workers at multiple delivery and packaging companies are saying their employers are not doing nearly enough to to ensure their safety while out working during the coronavirus pandemic.

A United States Postal Service employee, who asked to remain anonymous in case of retaliation, told ABC10 that not much has changed at his post office since Gov. Gavin Newsom issued statewide stay at home orders for all but essential employees.

"For us there is no self isolation,” the USPS employee said. “Being out in public and then going back home. I can't see grandparents. Parents even."  

The man said there is a lack of cleaning supplies and the office, and there aren’t enough gloves for all employees to change multiple times a day.

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Plus, there are no masks. And for the equipment they do have, the worker told ABC10 that they're so limited that he's buying his own.

"At the post office itself we're dealing with metal containers that are shipped from post office to post office,” the USPS employee said. “It's a little nerve-wracking because we are taking it home and if somebody there gets sick how long before everybody is sick?"

When asked about workers conditions, USPS officials told ABC10 that all employees have access to masks, gloves, and sanitary wipes. The official said they've been taking more precautionary measures like not requiring customer signatures to get packages, only their information.

Still, postal workers' worries are substantiated.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows COVID-19 was detected on cardboard for up to a day.

"I try not to move it all around my house just open it at the entrance of my house and then I put the cardboard in the garbage and wash my hands," said Amandine Gamble, a UCLA Post Doc researcher who co-authored the study.

At Amazon, at least 11 warehouses had workers test positive for coronavirus, one of which came from Riverside County. The company is shutting down those facilities for additional cleaning, paying employees in full pay while they're out of work.

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Amazon says it shifted start times and break times and eliminated stand up meetings during shifts at their fulfillment center. They said they also have their delivery drivers wipe down their vehicles and other work equipment at the beginning and end of their routes. 

In addition to following CDC guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene, UPS provides an emergency paid leave program to any employee affected by coronavirus.

But the USPS worker ABC10 spoke with said although he's thankful for a job that is considered an essential job there's no option to work from home.

"We're all here to work. We're lucky to have jobs, but at what cost?" the USPS employee said. "It's a little nerve-wracking especially considering that we are out in public all day everyday.

"We do come in contact with people all day no matter what. No matter what we try. We're picking up their mail. Getting their parcels delivering their parcels."

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Ananda Rochita.

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