Bargaining between UPS and the Teamsters who represent 250,000 UPS workers is currently underway with both sides looking to complete the settlement before a July 31 contract expiration date.
Since a 1997 strike by Teamsters against UPS, each new contract has been signed early in order to ensure no disruptions in service. In 2007, Teamsters took on major concessions despite UPS’ record profits. Now, as both sides look to move forward, Teamsters have serious complaints about vague threats of retaliation and GPS surveillance.
UPS made $4.38 billion last year yet is demanding that workers pay an added $90 per week for their health premiums. Paul Trujillo, a part-time loader and alternate steward in Lexington, Kentucky, says that Healthcare is the major concern for most workers.
UPS drivers are also displeased with having almost every moment of their day under surveillance. Using GPS, touch-screens where customers sign for packages and “telematics” (200 sensors mounted on each truck), UPS can survey every second of a worker’s day. They know how long it takes for a worker to get a signature and return to their vehicle and they know if a worker has hit their brakes too hard.
If that’s not draconian enough for you, fear not. UPS is rolling out a new system TDU calls “telematics on steroids.” The new system will route and reroute drivers, stripping them of the decision-making process and turning them into virtual puppets. The never ending data and corresponding reports also give ammunition to managers looking to find a reason to complain about a worker.