Postal worker in Chicago dies in apparent suicide in mail truck – World Socialist Web Site

A young postal worker was found dead in Chicago Monday night, apparently hanging herself in the back of her mail truck, according to a police scanner report and comments from union officials.

At 10:20 p.m. Monday, @chicago_scanner, a twitter account that posts frequent updates of police radio activity, tweeted: “Wallet hanged herself in the back of a mail truck.” The tweet was in response to a question from another user, who had posted images of emergency vehicles and a mail truck outside his apartment, asking, “have you heard anything about belmont/elston? this is outside my apartment right now. there is also police tape and at least 5 or 6 police cars.”

The deceased appears to have been Candy Bertocci, a 27-year-old mail carrier from the Champaign-Urban area of ​​central Illinois, according to numerous posts from friends and co-workers of Bertocci at the United States Postal Service (USPS). on facebook.

A staff member from the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), one of the two main unions covering USPS workers, commented that apparently Bertocci was just starting his second day on the job in Chicago and had only just started as a mail carrier. of the assistant city (cca) in urban last September.

The death has been met with great grief and sympathy from Bertocci’s friends, USPS co-workers and Chicago residents.

“candy bertocci was unique, she touched everyone she met”, commented a former classmate on facebook. She “she was a wild, funny and caring woman who always made everyone around her smile and made everyone laugh. she was kind and empathetic and always took care of others when she could.

“You were loved by so many, it’s hard to believe you’re gone. I just know that you will never be forgotten and you will always be loved.”

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On Tuesday, a group of postal workers gathered balloons and wrote messages on a memorial for her. A worker who posted video of the meeting commented that Bertocci had come to Chicago to help them at the Kedzie-Grace Post Office (also known as the Daniel J. Doffyn Station), in the Irving Park neighborhood on Chicago’s north side. the city.

Much is unknown about the details of bertocci’s tragic death and the factors that may have immediately precipitated it. However, working conditions at USPS, which had already deteriorated substantially in recent decades, have worsened dramatically over the past year, placing incredible psychological pressures and physical demands on workers.

first, the covid-19 pandemic has taken an appalling toll on usps employees, who for much of 2020 received little to no safety measures or personal protective equipment, leading to spontaneous walkouts and other labor actions by workers.

As with many other job sectors, little information has been made available about the true extent of the impact of the virus on the hundreds of thousands of employees at USPS. Yet in December Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump sidekick widely despised for his attempts to speed up the privatization of the postal service and disregard for workers, said in a letter that more than 14,000 workers had contracted covid -19 and 119 had died. . As of the week of February 3, 16,000 postal workers were in quarantine for either testing positive or being exposed, according to data from the American Postal Workers Union (APWU).

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Amidst these dangers, postal workers have been trying to keep up with a surge in mail volume in recent months, both due to the 2020 US election mail-in voting (which trump and dejoy they tried to sabotage) as well as a record number of vacation packages, 1.1 billion, sent by many family members who self-isolated over Christmas.

in December, a chicago postal worker who contracted covid-19 spoke out about the spread of the virus, linking it to mail service delays, and told a local cbs news affiliate there was “zero communication” from usps about new cases, and there weren’t enough staff to handle their workloads.

Throughout the pandemic, the two main postal workers unions, apwu and nalc, have left workers to fend for themselves and refuse to call strikes over grossly unsafe working conditions, while at the same time seeking channel opposition to trump and dejoy. illusions in biden and the democrats, who have been no less guilty of the attacks on postal workers.

Despite enjoying overwhelming support in the population, the postal service has been increasingly underfunded under successive Democratic and Republican administrations, leaving the USPS perpetually on the brink of financial crisis and with downsizing measures of costs relentlessly imposed on workers. Between 1999 and 2019, more than 300,000 full-time positions were reduced or converted to part-time positions, and the annual salary for the lowest level fell from $64,691 (adjusted for inflation) to $39,218 during that time. As in the auto industry and elsewhere, an increasingly multi-tiered workforce has been established, with older and more senior workers being pushed out and pay and benefits decimated for the younger generation. .

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More recently, the dejoy-initiated internal demolition operation has led to widespread mail delays, which many workers have heroically tried to counter to ensure timely delivery. however, combined with widespread staffing shortages, letter carriers have increasingly been working six or seven days a week. The postal service has gone so far as to ask carriers in the region to volunteer to come to chicago, where delays have been particularly bad, to help with the postal service. Bertocci herself apparently came to town to help with the overwhelming backlog, based on comments from co-workers on social media.

The grueling pace and conditions USPS workers face, and the inevitably tragic consequences, are reflected throughout the shipping and logistics industry, and beyond. The same day that Bertocci was discovered dead, an Amazon worker at the Las7 Fulfillment Center in North Las Vegas, Nevada, jumped to his death. On Tuesday, the Clark County Medical Examiner’s and Medical Examiner’s Office officially ruled the death a suicide and identified the man as Paul Vilseck, 48.

an amazon worker at las7, speaking anonymously, told nbc news that when she arrived at work, the company was setting up barricades near where the worker’s body had been found, but without explaining at first that someone had died . “No one knew what was going on,” she told the channel. “everyone was so confused.”

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