UPS drivers upset with company over work-hours hike, now taking legal action

(KATU Photo)

UPS delivery drivers unions are taking legal actions against the global shipping company unless it suspends its decision to institute 70-hour work weeks around the holidays.

UPS announced late Friday that the change in drivers' hours was needed to meet shipping demands between Dec. 1 and Jan. 5, when daily delivery volumes are near double the normal level.

Under federal Department of Transportation regulations, drivers are limited to 60 hours worked in a seven-day period or 70 hours worked in an eight-day period.

UPS told KATU it made a similar decision last year.

"Our employees’ work schedules are in compliance with Department of Transportation requirements," Vice President of Public Affairs Steve Gaut wrote in an email." Union-represented employees are paid time and one-half for work above 8 hours per day and they receive the industry’s most attractive compensation and benefits program.”

The Teamsters Locals unions says UPS "is forcing a 70-hour week for drivers," which is “a nationwide issue jeopardizing the safety of drivers and the general public.”

Local Teamsters 162 President Mark Davison says he's filing a charge with the National Labor Relations Board and a class action grievance on behalf of the UPS drivers in Oregon.

"If they have a problem staffing, they have a process to work with us," Davison said. "They decided that they are going to do what they want to do, and it's disappointing."

Davison says drivers on average make 200 deliveries a day, racking up 400 trips in and out of the delivery vehicle, sometimes up flights of stairs and through inclement weather.

"It is a draining job," Davison said. "[The drivers'] families want them to come home safe. Working 14 hours a day for five days is inappropriate."

Some drivers on the East Coast have demonstrated before shifts.

UPS says it does not believe demonstrations will impact deliveries.

A driver who asked to remain anonymous says they feel like they are "being set up to fail" and says some packages are a day or more delayed.

The company says it hired approximately 95,000 temporary employees to help during the holiday season.

Postal Place owner Jacob Sanchez told KATU he hasn't noticed any delay in UPS deliveries.

"Everything someone does elsewhere has a trickle-down effect," Sanchez said.

He says his delivery driver is very reliable and works extremely hard.

"We have drivers make attempts as early as 8 a.m., and then they are working out until 9 p.m., sometimes," Sanchez said. "Our guy here, I have seen him for the past 8-plus years, he's working Monday through Saturday every week."

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