UPS and the Teamsters have reached a tentative agreement that will see the addition of air conditioning to UPS delivery trucks. This development, which comes after negotiations between the company and the union, is expected to provide much-needed relief and protection for Teamster members operating these vehicles. According to Sean M. O’Brien, the General President of the Teamsters, this marks a significant milestone in the fight for improved working conditions. However, it’s important to note that the agreement only applies to new delivery vehicles purchased after January 1st, 2024. As a result, drivers may not experience the benefits of air conditioning this summer.
In addition to air conditioning, UPS has also agreed to install cab fans in its delivery vehicles to enhance airflow. By June 1st, 2024, trucks without air conditioning will have a second fan installed. Furthermore, new vehicles will be equipped with exhaust shields to minimize heat conduction from the powertrain to the van’s floor. Existing package cars will have these shields added within 18 months of the contract being ratified. Another improvement involves the installation of air intake vents in both new and existing trucks. These vents will facilitate the flow of fresh air from the vehicle’s front to the cargo area, alleviating the sauna-like conditions that often arise in the package-storage areas.
It may come as a surprise to many that UPS’s well-known brown delivery vans have been lacking air conditioning. Unfortunately, this is a common practice even among standard USPS delivery trucks introduced in 1987, which also lack AC. The introduction of air conditioning in UPS trucks, along with the forthcoming cooling capabilities in the Postal Service’s next-generation fleet, signifies a positive step forward. As climate change manifests itself through extreme temperatures and polluted summer air, it is disheartening that drivers delivering our packages have had to endure sweltering heat during their routes. Over the past few years, more than 100 UPS workers have been hospitalized due to heat-related illnesses, as reported by NBC News.
These negotiations between UPS and the Teamsters form part of ongoing discussions within the union. By addressing this fundamental issue of heat safety, UPS aims to avoid a potential strike, as union members have been voting on a strike authorization. The results of the vote will be announced by the union on Friday, and while approval won’t necessarily lead to a work stoppage, UPS’s commitment to providing basic heat-safety essentials demonstrates a willingness to improve working conditions.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about air conditioning
Q: When will UPS trucks be equipped with air conditioning?
A: UPS trucks will be equipped with air conditioning in new delivery vehicles purchased after January 1st, 2024. However, existing trucks will not have air conditioning unless they are replaced with new vehicles.
Q: What additional measures are being implemented for heat safety in UPS trucks?
A: In addition to air conditioning, UPS will install cab fans for improved airflow in its delivery vehicles. Trucks without air conditioning will have a second fan installed by June 1st, 2024. Exhaust shields will also be added to minimize heat conduction, and air intake vents will be installed to improve ventilation in the cargo area.
Q: Why did it take so long for UPS to add air conditioning to their trucks?
A: The lack of air conditioning in UPS trucks was a common practice, not only for UPS but also for standard USPS delivery trucks. It was only after union negotiations and growing concerns about heat-related illnesses that UPS agreed to take this step to improve working conditions.
Q: How many UPS workers have been affected by heat-related illnesses in recent years?
A: According to NBC News, over 100 UPS workers have been hospitalized for heat-related illnesses in recent years. The addition of air conditioning and other heat safety measures aims to address these concerns and protect the well-being of drivers.
Q: Will the addition of air conditioning prevent a potential strike?
A: The negotiations between UPS and the Teamsters, including the agreement to add air conditioning, are part of ongoing discussions to avoid a potential strike. The union members have been voting on a strike authorization, and the results will determine the next course of action. However, UPS’s commitment to improving working conditions may help alleviate the need for a strike.