UPS and coronavirus: Teamsters speak out
Lansing, MI – UPS Teamsters across the country are speaking out about their experience battling for masks, gloves, cleaning supplies and transparency about potential exposures. Due to either crowding or contact with the public, every job at UPS puts workers at increased risk of exposure. Even if workers had all the supplies they needed, the inherent risk can never be eliminated.
Across the nation, workers are disturbed by the delayed and superficial response by the company. “Nothing has changed. Inside, in the small sort and the unload where I worked until I got sick, work was much as normal: multiple people working within a few feet from each other like nothing had changed,” states Stephanie Shiver, package handler from the Mesquite, Texas hub.
Many fear for their safety and what that added danger means for their families and communities. Many Teamsters express anxiety every day they go to work, fearing they will catch COVID-19 and unknowingly spread it to coworkers and customers. Lack of gloves, hand sanitizer, masks and basic hand soap are among the most common issues. Workers report crowded areas during work hours, even after social distancing orders went into place.
In cases where a worker is quarantined for suspected COVID-19 infection, other workers who may have been exposed are kept in the dark. Curt Siekert, a freight worker from South Holland, Illinois, explains, “I'm deeply troubled by the lack of transparency in the death reported out of Louisville. I believe that we have a right to know if coworkers have tested positive and it feels like they won't tell us. Our freight hub in South Holland, Illinois has a number of supervisors out and no information has been given – that I'm aware of. It's kinda scary.”
While UPS assures the public about safety measures they have taken for their workers, workers on the ground are telling a very different story. The specifics vary in detail from hub to hub, but one thing the reports have in common is this: UPS is not doing enough to keep the workers as safe as possible.