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UPS delivery delays related to COVID-19 cases and large influx of packages

Union is working with company to keep drivers safe
Posted at 9:53 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 18:58:47-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — More people are finding themselves ordering what they need online because of the coronavirus outbreak these days. Now a number of Tucson UPS customers are saying the company is having some majors issues with deliveries.

According to Teamsters Local 104 UPS workers have been in talks with UPS corporate on a daily basis since February to resolve COVID-19 workplace safety issues. Union leaders say there are cases at the main hub on East Silverlake in Tucson, but would not confirm how many. The union spokesperson Karla Schumann says between 400 to 500 people work at the site.

"The amount of work on these guys right now is like a peak season in May. There's no speaking of striking or anything along those lines we've been extremely busy and inundated," Schumann said.

KGUN 9 spoke to customers Sandi Pedone and Paula Swindle who say they've been having problems getting their packages being 1 to 2 weeks late. Pedone says she went to pick up her $3,000 medication that was supposed to be refrigerated from the East Silverlake location and was upset. According to Pedone the package was on the floor and not kept cool making it useless and causing her to reorder the medicine. As for Paula Swindle she ordered some knives and says she got a notice that her package is in Tucson but days later she has yet to receive it. Locals also shared their frustrations on the Nextdoor app with others who are having various issues with deliveries.

“If they need to hire more people they should do that or call people tell them to come to the hub because we’re having problems delivering,” Swindle said.

“You can set-up a curbside pickup the location I went to has a large parking lot you can describe your vehicle have them take the packages out,” Pedone said.

KGUN 9 called UPS about the problem and received the following statement that says, in part:

"If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, we undertake two big efforts. First, communicating with co-workers. Second, making sure the facility is cleaned before the work area is used again"

Meanwhile, the union says its continuing to make adjustments with social distancing and cleaning to keep workers and the public safe. On site testing in the future could also be part of the mix.

"The PPE is there were providing the masks the gloves, we don't want workers coming in sick and that means less people sometimes. Be patient and just know they're doing their best,"Schumann said.

Full response from UPS:
We continue to operate in line with demand and the needs of our customers, except where limited by government restrictions. We have both a privilege and a responsibility to continue safely working during this challenging period.
Packages are returned to sender if they cannot be successfully delivered after three attempts and they have been held for nine days. This most likely happens because the business is closed and alternative arrangements have not been made, or if the delivery requires a signature and we have not been able to make contact with the customer to verify their identify. We have suspended signing for signature-required deliveries, but are still verifying identification while social distancing.
If there are some specific deliveries in question, please share or ask the customer(s) to share the 1Z tracking numbers with us and we’ll investigate the situation.
If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, we undertake two big efforts. First, communicating with co-workers. Second, making sure the facility is cleaned before the work area is used again and employees are reminded about hygiene and other protocols.

Communicating with co-workers
When UPS learns of a COVID-19 positive case, we inform co-workers in their immediate work area that a case exists, without disclosing the individual identity of the ill employee due to healthcare privacy concerns. We are disclosing the incidents to co-workers who need to know because of their potential contact with the ill employee, however we do not communicate site-wide those instances of a diagnosis, as this is beyond the scope of guidance provided by public health officials.
We follow public health authority protocols and assist those officials with identifying the employee’s contact trace. We know that there are many potential sources of infection and we do not assume that cases of infection occur as a result of the work environment. We recommend to co-workers that they self-monitor and contact a physician if any symptoms occur.
If there is a need to disclose a positive case to the news media for public health reasons, that disclosure will come from local health departments or other responding authorities.

Cleaning before returning to work
We thoroughly clean and disinfect the work areas where that employee worked according to public health department recommendations before work resumes. The requirements vary from state-to-state, but generally involve a bleach-based cleaner applied to all surfaces in the work area.
We are vigilantly taking steps to protect the health and welfare of our employees, customers, and the general public. We continue sharing hygiene protocols, social distancing information and protective equipment in line with the CDC’s ongoing guidance. We have distributed protective equipment to employees and we are regularly replenishing supplies at our facilities. This includes masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, hand soap, wipes, and other bleach-based disinfecting solutions. We strongly recommend that our employees wear masks or face coverings, and we have provided our employees with the guidelines to properly use them.

The company also has modified, and will continue to modify as needed, our normal operating procedures to maintain social distance protocols. For example, we have added space between work stations inside our facilities, added security personnel to regulate lines to ensure social distancing, and modified turnstile entry procedures and changed access to service counters and other public spaces. We have also significantly increased cleaning and disinfecting our vehicles, equipment and work surfaces throughout our 2,800 global facilities. Further, we have modified our delivery processes so that our service providers do not have to come in contact with customers to obtain a signature, thereby ensuring we continue to deliver safely."