December 19, 2017
After UPS Management’s unilateral decision to increase drivers’ maximum hours from 60 to 70 hours per week, the Company has now escalated to outright lying to the press and the public about the extent it overworks its employees. This excess workload is a clear and present safety concern for the drivers and the communities where they operate their commercial vehicles.
Last week, the Atlanta Business Chronicle published an article in which UPS Spokesman Dean Foust openly lied, stating that “no driver worked in excess of 66 hours over [the eight-day period from December 2 – December 9, 2017].” This statement, which was an attempt to assuage public concerns that UPS drivers were being overworked to a dangerous extreme, is provably false. DOT and Payroll data obtained from UPS show that in the UPS Pacific building alone, more than 25% of the package car drivers worked in excess of 66 hours during that week – and those 66 hours were accrued not over eight days, but over six.
“We are appalled that UPS would blatantly lie about something as important as the safety of its employees and the public. They know very well how dangerous it is to expect a 70-hour workweek for a job as physically and mentally demanding as driving a UPS package car,” said Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “The moment the Company implemented this change, the Union filed grievances with the Company, Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, and we pulled all of our package car driver Safety Committees to protest this obvious dereliction of driver safety. We made our position crystal clear on this issue.”
“It would seem that now UPS sees the writing on the wall, and is worried about their public image as they force their exhausted employees onto the roads for an extra ten hours a week. They have been washing out new drivers at an unprecedented rate, which of course left them unable to handle peak season volumes,” Hicks continued.
Meanwhile the first round of negotiations on the National Master UPS Agreement begins January 22, followed by local negotiations in February where UPS’s actions will be a major obstacle to bargaining success.
As UPS prepares to return to the bargaining table, Rick Hicks has this to say to the Company: “If UPS believes that our members are going to forget about this betrayal by the time their contract expires in July, then they are sorely mistaken. This 70-hour workweek is just the most recent example of UPS’s abuse and mistreatment of its employees, and this company needs to wake up and realize that our Teamster members are not going to sit quietly and let this continue.”
Founded in 1909, Teamsters Local 174 represents 7,200 working men and women in the Seattle area, including over 2,000 members employed at UPS. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamstersLocal174.