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Union calls for Silverlake UPS location to close after employees test positive for COVID-19

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Posted at 12:13 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-23 16:48:15-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — There is a potential COVID-19 outbreak in a Tucson UPS distribution facility. The union representing UPS workers, Teamsters Local 104, is going public and reaching out for help with its demands.

"There is no bare minimum when it comes to safety. There is no bare minimum when it comes to customer service. There is no bare minimum anywhere else in UPS's world, its not a part of their mission. Why they would stand on bare minimums for safety, contact tracing and testing, I could begin to tell you,” said Karla Schumann, a principal officer with Teamsters Local 104.

Schumann said there are more than 37 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 and countless of workers put on quarantine.

The union group is calling for the facility on Silverlake to temporarily close.

"It is like the perfect storm. You got excessive hours, you've got excessive heat, you've got immunities breaking down, you have a pandemic floating around, the states reopening and their out in the public now, and then you have a workplace that now basically has an industrial spread of COVID-19,” said Schumann.

Which, Schumann said, makes for a scared workforce that has employees worried about catching the virus and potentially bringing it home to their loved ones.

Schumann said Teamsters have been asking the shipping giant to take responsibility in what is needed to keep its workers and community safe.

"These guys go to thousands upon thousands of businesses' front doors every day. They pick up your volume, they deliver from Amazon, they deliver your packages, we all ship every day -- more so now. And it is imperative that we keep a healthy, clean and strong workforce out there,” said Schumann.

The demands include mandatory testing for all employees at the Silverlake location. The union is also demanding the stop of the practice of bringing in workers from others areas, in order to eliminate the risk of spread across state lines.

Another demand is mandatory negative test results for those returning to the facility.

"These guys work in tight, cramped conditions in here. It’s an old building. It was not built for the amount of volume and the amount of people we have in here,” said Schumann.

Schumann did mention the efforts being made by UPS, but said, it is still not enough.

"The bare minimum is not getting it done. They have to get this building under control because this is not stopping,” said Schumann.

UPS has a list of actions it’s says it’s taking to keep employees safe.

Through the Teamsters health care fund, the union group said UPS agreed to let it set up a tent for voluntary testing of any UPS worker at the Silverlake location on Saturday, May 23.