Think UPS Workers Will Be Overpaid? Think Again

Wife of driver says long hours, challenging conditions make pay raise deserved
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2023 2:26 PM CDT
Think UPS Workers Will Be Overpaid? Think Again
United Parcel Service driver Hudson de Almeida steers through a neighborhood while delivering packages, Friday, June 30, 2023, in Haverhill, Mass.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

As UPS workers mulled a tentative contract, some white-collar workers went on the offensive, suggesting full-time drivers would be overpaid with an average of $170,000 in annual pay and benefits within five years. Now, the wife of one such driver in Rhode Island is hitting back at "the snobbery," stressing that "we all deserve to be fairly compensated for our labor" and that driving for UPS is no walk in the park. "Every morning, [my husband] leaves the house before our kids are awake and comes home each night after they're asleep. When he returns, he's covered in dirt from head to toe," the 30-year-old hairdresser identified as Kourtney writes at Insider. "There isn't air conditioning in his truck and he sends me photos of the infrared thermometer reading 115 degrees."

UPS has tentatively agreed to equip all new (but not old) delivery trucks with air conditioning beginning in January, per Engadget. It remains to be seen whether Kourtney's husband will benefit. She notes she worries so much about her husband "in those physically demanding conditions that I track his location just to make sure he's always moving." She adds it takes specific skill to operate a delivery truck, yet "people just think 'oh, I could be a delivery driver' and they have no idea what it actually takes." She blames the mentality on capitalism, which she says is designed to pit workers against other workers, when "the truth is, the CEO of your company makes, on average, 272 times more than the average worker."

UPS drivers are "not asking to be millionaires," Kourtney writes. "They just want to be able to provide for their families and enjoy their lives on the weekends after working hard all week." She adds it's about time white-collar workers recognize that blue-collar workers are just as deserving of a comfortable life as they are. "Service workers are the backbone of society. They're the most physically skilled ones and they're the ones performing jobs nobody else wants to do. Despite that, they're constantly taken for granted." At Newsweek, writer Tom Hall notes the contract actually falls short of worker demands in a number of ways. "The $7.50 general wage increase, spread out over five years, will likely not keep pace with inflation for drivers, and will not even apply to new part-timers," he writes. (Read more UPS stories.)

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