- The Teamsters and UPS have reached an agreement to protect UPS Freight workers who may be affected by the coronavirus, the union and UPS announced on Friday.
- The agreement provides for paid leave for any worker who is diagnosed with COVID-19, or is required to be quarantined, or if the worker is quarantined because of a family member’s illness.
- The agreement, which will cover 299,000 employees, follows concerns the Teamsters raised about workers who become affected by the coronavirus. UPS said it would enhance cleaning its facilities, encourage employees to follow CDC recommendations on hygiene and social distancing, refill hand sanitizing stations, provide sanitizing supplies to drivers to keep signature equipment and vehicles clean, and clean vehicle exteriors and interiors on frequent schedules.
How freight companies handle paid leave for COVID-19, and other issues related to coronavirus, is a major concern of employees and the public.
With the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also declaring UPS and its peers as critical infrastructure, UPS and other freight companies have stepped up communication efforts with employees and the public since the outbreak of COVID-19, to address virus-related issues in the workplace. The Teamsters said ill workers will get pay for eight hours per work day for a full-time employee, up to 10 work days; and 3.5 hours per work day for a part-time employee, up to 10 work days. Further, any employee directly impacted by the virus and missing work will not have those days counted as an attendance infraction.
UPS also assured employees it would work to keep its facilities and equipment clean and virus-free. UPS said to minimize risk to employees, it will not require signatures from the customer. In a March 21 tweet, the company said its procurement teams are working to obtain more hand sanitizer, gloves, masks and cleaning supplies. FedEx has also taken steps to reduce risk of infection to employees.
Jonathan Lyons, FedEx spokesman, told Transport Dive that the company was temporarily suspending most signatures typically required for FedEx Express and FedEx Ground deliveries in the U.S. and Canada. The signature suspension also includes those normally required as part of the FedEx Freight operation in the United States, its same-day service, and those needed in FedEx Office retail stores and onsite locations at various retailers.