Local UPS drivers are unhappy about being asked to work up to 70 hours a week during the Christmas season.
UPS recently increased the number of hours a driver can work in a week from 60 to 70. Teamsters Local 391,which represents UPS drivers in Raleigh, has filed a grievance against the company and says the change could put drivers’ safety at risk.
“When a driver is behind the wheel for 70 hours, that certainly puts them at risk,” said Rick Armstrong, vice president of the union. “They’re exhausted, they’re tired. It’s a hazard to their driving.”
UPS, headquartered in Atlanta, issued a statement Monday saying the company appreciates the effort of employees during the holiday season when delivery volumes are double the normal level. The company said in October that it expected to deliver more than 750 million packages around the world during the 25 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve – a 5 percent increase from 2016.
“Our employees’ scheduled work week is in compliance with Department of Transportation requirements,” the company said. “Union-represented employees are paid time and one-half for work above 40 hours per week, and they receive the industry’s most attractive compensation and benefits program.”
Mike McGaha, president of Teamsters Local 391, sent a letter to Matt Hoffman, the eastern region labor manager for UPS, on Monday to voice the union’s concerns. In the letter, McGaha said UPS was making false statements that the union approved and supported the increase in hours worked.
“The manner in which this policy was announced shows a lack of respect to your employees and our local union,” the letter states.
During the peak holiday season, UPS plans to employ 95,000 temporary workers, including drivers, delivery helpers who ride with drivers, package sorters and loaders.
Armstrong said most local UPS drivers work 60 hours a week, and the holiday season puts extra stress on them and their families.
McGaha said in his letter that he will take legal and contractual actions to protect the union’s drivers.
“Local 391 will not stand idly by while you make unreasonable demands on our members,” he wrote.