LOS ANGELES, CA - UPS, the largest package delivery company in the world, is putting profit over human lives by denying its essential workers hazard pay and adequate health and safety protections, even as civil unrest rages and COVID-19 infections rise throughout Los Angeles County.
Even as many cities in Los Angeles County have faced civil unrest and looting in the last two weeks, UPS has required its workers to work past the previous 6 PM curfew set in place by the County of Los Angeles. This has put the lives of UPS delivery drivers at risk in light of the ongoing looting incidents in cities throughout Los Angeles County. Package delivery drivers have been the target of violent looting attacks in other cities such as Minneapolis Minnesota and San Jose California, where UPS trucks were stopped and looted. In Los Angeles County, UPS delivery drivers reported three incidents in one day. These incidents involved delivery vehicles driven by Teamsters Local 396 members who are drivers at the UPS Compton Hub, and the UPS Downtown Los Angeles Main Street Hub. These drivers were threatened and harassed by potential looters who were taking advantage of the civil unrest.
Before the unrest began, UPS workers throughout Los Angeles County were already facing increasingly stressful working conditions due to heavy workloads and a lack of adequate health and safety protections. UPS has seen a sharp increase in package volume due to medical facilities’ high demand for supplies used in treating COVID-19 patients and increased online shopping following California’s Shelter in Place order.
In the last quarter of 2019 alone, UPS profit margins increased by over 20% and are expected to increase further in 2020. Despite this increase in its profit margins, UPS has refused to provide its U.S. workforce with any hazard pay and has refused to take adequate steps to ensure that UPS workers can work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, 43 out of 500 workers at a UPS facility in Tucson Arizona recently tested positive for COVID-19 .
Teamsters Local 396 which represents over 11,000 workers, of which nearly 9,000 are UPS warehouse workers and delivery drivers in the greater Los Angeles area demands that the company take the appropriate measures to ensure that UPS essential workers are protected and can go home safely to their families after work. Teamsters Local 396 Secretary Treasurer, Ron Herrera stated, “UPS must prioritize what is most important, and that is human life. It is unacceptable that this corporate giant is treating the essential workers that create their profits as disposable. UPS Teamsters have been at the front lines, working hard to serve our communities, which are in need now more than ever. As our region deals with civil unrest and increased COVID-19 infections, Teamsters Local 396 will use all of the resources at its disposal including working with local and state officials to ensure that our members at UPS are protected, so they can work safely and are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”