Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

UPS workers: What you need to know during the COVID-19 crisis

By Sean Orr

Chicago, IL – This past week, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) won expanded protections for all its members at United Parcel Service (UPS). The mid-contract negotiations were in direct response to the Trump administration's designation of UPS as an essential service during the COVID-19 crisis, meaning that workers will continue to work throughout the duration of this health emergency.

If you contract COVID-19:

Any union worker at UPS will receive up to ten days of paid sick leave at the worker's guaranteed daily hours (eight hours for full-time, 3.5 for part-time) if they:

1) have been diagnosed with COVID-19;

2) have been ordered quarantined by a government agency, medical professional or UPS, or

3) are living with someone that has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

If they need more time beyond the ten days of paid sick leave, employees can use all their optional days and vacation weeks. The union has forced UPS to agree that there will be no discipline for absenteeism due to COVID-19-related issues.

All of the above can be used by any employee who gets COVID-19 or has a family member with COVID-19. If you work at UPS and think that you might have the virus – if you have a fever, a severe cough or trouble breathing – call your doctor immediately.

If you are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19:

But what about workers who are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this includes anyone who:

- is over 65 years old,

- is immunocompromised,

- has moderate to severe asthma or chronic lung disease,

- has heart disease with complications,

- has severe obesity,

- is pregnant, or

- has certain underlying conditions (diabetes, renal failure, liver failure).

If you fall into any of the above categories, you should talk to a doctor for professional advice. Right now, because hospitals are beyond their normal capacity, we recommend that you use Teladoc, an online health care service that, because of TeamCare, is free-of-charge for any UPS Teamster.

If a medical professional deems it necessary that you stay home, you can receive a medical requirement to self-quarantine. Once you have received this requirement, you can file a Coronavirus Short Term Disability Claim on TeamCare. All of this information can be found at

If you are working during the crisis:

Every Teamster needs to know that we have the weight of federal labor law and our union contract behind us in demanding that UPS make our workplace as safe and sanitary as possible. Every truck and every work area needs a box of disposable latex gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray. This is absolutely necessary. We need to make use of our grievance procedure and all other forms of shop floor struggle to ensure that this happens as rapidly as possible.

We also need to demand face masks for every employee. These are not to prevent you from getting sick, but to keep you from getting others sick. Around 17% of people who are infected with COVID-19 will never display a symptom, but they can still spread the virus to others. We do not need N95 respirators – those need to be given to frontline workers in health care before anyone else.

Win all that can be won

Only the working class can save a society in crisis. When we work and struggle together, we can make miracles happen. We have the power in our hands, and we insist that the safety of every worker in essential services is guaranteed. We have the leverage to make these demands met. Struggle, be safe, and we will win.

#ChicagoIL #Healthcare #PeoplesStruggles #Teamsters #UPS #COVID19