Though Verizon Communications offers up-to-date amenities including cellular service and DSLs, most of the company’s fleet of Chevy vans and trucks lack a leading modern convenience: air conditioning. “It’s tough when there’s no breeze,” says technician Jerome Williams, sipping bottled water in Code Red heat. “I leave the windows down anytime I can.” The union representing Verizon workers has fought for AC for years. “It has been an issue for as long as I can remember,” says Communications Workers of America Local 2336 President Jim Pappas, “and I’ve been here 35 years.” The company recently conceded that workers could wear shorts on hot days. Verizon spokesperson Sandy Arnette says that full-blown cooling is no-go. “If technicians are constantly in and out of the air conditioning,” Arnette says, “they can develop stiffness in their joints, colds, or even pneumonia.” —Chris Shott

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