Simone Martin says his job as a UPS delivery truck driver was particularly difficult on July 21, during a heatwave in New York. In the summer months, Martin often dips a cooling cloth in an ice container that she keeps in her truck and wraps it around her neck. But during that recent heatwave, nothing she did kept the discomfort at bay.
“That was the worst day for me,” he told Earther. “I felt like I was going to pass out. I had to keep stopping and reapplying the ice thing to my neck and head.
Martin fears for his health as he delivers boxes around town. “I feel lazy on some days. So sometimes I couldn’t, I couldn’t really move. I really had to stop and stand under a tree, “he said.” Once I get back in the truck, I start to feel exhausted. I have a headache from the heat. “
This was a dangerously hot summerand several US cities have broken temperature records. UPS delivery drivers must work their 10-hour shifts in trucks without fans or air conditioning. As a result, many drivers have reported feeling unwell and some have been too hospitalized. “Something is different this year. There are a lot more people, ”Jeff Schenfeld, Dallas union administrator and longtime UPS employee, he told NBC News.
The union leadership of Drivers and Teamsters, which represents approximately 350,000 UPS workers, is angry that the company has not taken quick action to improve summer working conditions. They have required for UPS to place fans in every truck, prolonged breaks on hot days, and for the company to supply water to workers. UPS did not respond to a request for comment on these terms and the company’s response to them.
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Union leadership criticized UPS for failing to provide ways to cool the trucks, despite the company getting in the way billions of dollars in profit outside the work of drivers. “UPS executives sit inside their air-conditioned offices and C-suites all day while UPS Teamsters endure some of the most intense weather conditions imaginable and this company has to admit what it is or isn’t doing to protect these. workers, “Teamsters general president Sean M. O’Brien said in a statement this week.
According to the statement, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sued UPS “for heat related injuries and occupational hazards” 16 times since 2011. OSHA has heating standards for worker safety, but updating current OSHA standards or adding new ones could take years, the Washington Post has reported. The union is unwilling to wait that long.
Just last week, UPS workers have mobilized with union leaders outside the UPS Customer Center in Brooklyn, calling for better terms. They were also angry about the death of 24-year-old Esteban Chavez Jr., a UPS driver in California, passed out in his truck on a day when temperatures were reported above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. He died in late June, and although the official cause of Chavez’s death is still unknown pending the coroner’s report, Chavez’s family he thinks heatstroke killed him.
Even in July, filmed from a Ring doorbell in Arizona it showed a UPS driver collapsing after delivering a package, fueling even more anger at workers’ conditions. “UPS drivers are trained to work outdoors and the effects of the heat. Our employee used his training to be aware of his situation and contact his manager for assistance, who immediately provided assistance, “UPS said in a statement on the video. 12NEWS KPNX reported.
In addition to protests and union organization, workers also turned to social media. A recent Twitter discussion from a worker whose Twitter bio describes him as a “Teamster since 2011” discussed the dangerous conditions, including how the temperature in his vehicle was around 122 degrees Fahrenheit last week. “UPS Corporate’s solution: drink water, eat melon and take a break under a tree,” tweeted Anthony Cantu. A Carrettieri for a Democratic Union Twitter discussion this week showed photos of the thermometer readings reportedly inside trucks, with temperatures well above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).
Martin pointed out that much of her work makes her feel overheated, but the worst part is locating and collecting packages in the rear of her vehicle. “Those three minutes are like hell in the back of the truck,” she said.
According to Martin’s recollection, before his death in California and the video of the delivery driver collapsing in Arizona, workers used to have to get water, but now workers are provided with water and Gatorade at work. “[UPS is] under pressure, and now they have eyes on them because it’s out there in public, ”Martin said.
Martin hopes she and her colleagues don’t have to wait years for fans or ice machines to work. She wants growing public pressure to motivate UPS to invest in worker safety. You say delivery drivers and union representatives don’t ask for much.
“We’re hard workers, let’s go out there and do our job,” he said. “The company should see it this way: it will get more from us if we feel comfortable.”